Griffinopolis’s article on “How to Blog Good” takes on one of my favorite subjects: how blogging is about writing and content not just about bells and whistles.
One thing that struck me about many of the articles I was reading is that, while very helpful, they were primarily concenred with the mechanics of blogging. This post will explore what I believe is the single most important aspect of any blog’s longevity and popularity, the content or what you actually write. You can go ahead and hang neat toys on your blog. You can go ahead an increase your blogs SEO, but if your blog is as interesting to read as a sixth grade history textbook then it’s all for naught. Pretty colors and cool toys mean nothing if you’re boring as hell. So, I’m gonna write a post about the eight steps to better blog content.
The post goes on to detail the eight points to “better blog content” such as write about what you are passionate about, write about what you know and know about what you write, develop a unique voice, stay focused, be honest, and so on, but my favorite is “Strive not to suck”.
Do I suck? Unfortunately, this is a question you have to ask. Just because anyone can have a blog doesn’t mean everyone should. You need to ask yourself if you suck at blogging. I don’t get math. Give me a math problem and I curl up in a fetal position on the the floor and beg for it to be taken away. I hate math so I don’t do it. If there’s a math problem to be solved and it’s not 2+2 then I ask for help or just pretend it doesn’t exist. What I don’t do is pretend I’m good at it. This only makes matters worse or ends up making me look like an idiot. So do you suck or as it relates to this post, can you write?
If you don’t have a small sliver of writing talent then don’t blog. Go ahead if you want, but 1) your blog content will be boring as hell and 2) no one will read your stuff cause it’ll be boring as hell. If you do suck at blogging don’t spend a second worrying about it. Just cause you can’t blog well doesn’t mean you suck. Truth is all the worlds blogs could disappear overnight and the planet wouldn’t blink an eye. It’s not essential that you blog and, though it’s safe, it’s not a bridge you need to jump off. If you sucked at tennis would you spend loads of time playing it? It’s possible you’re not good at writing. So don’t do it.
The point is very valid. If you have something to say, and the talent to say it, then shout it out. But if you have something to say and you don’t know how, then learn. If you don’t have anything to say, and you don’t know how, then please, save the bandwidth for those who do and find other methods of releasing your passion. You don’t have to blog just because everyone else seems to be doing it.
I’d like to add to the “suck” criteria a few things that make the difference between true talent and skill and mediocre expression of thought. SPELLING COUNTS!!! Grammar counts. You might be writing in English, though it isn’t your first language, but we can usually tell and be forgiving. Those of you, and the author of this article is included in this reference, who speak English as your first language HAVE NO EXCUSES FOR BAD ENGLISH.
For example, the article I’ve highlighted above is brilliantly written. Great use of metaphors and expressions to clearly make the point. But it fails in spelling, especially on simple things like names (Oprey Winfrey) and simple words (concenred), things that should easily be caught. Hey, I don’t have a spell checker on my WordPress blogs and I get the occassional word screwed up when I’m in a hurry, but like your typing or spelling tests, if you get more than 5 badly spelled words in the first few paragraphs, I’m not inclined to take you very seriously and read on. I consider this part of the “do you suck” category.
As you can see, I’m very forgiving as the quality of the article and its intention far outweighs my cringing at the spelling. The talent and skill of expression sings out, a good example of how sucky technique can still win when content quality doesn’t suck.
The points are still valid. The key to writing blogs is the writing. Good writing will win, no matter the topic, every time. Put your energy into the “neat toys” and your blog will be a ship passing in the night in the ocean of blogs. Put your energy into the writing, and it will glow like a beacon in the sea of dark ships.