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How to Write Good – Tips For Bloggers on Blogging

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.


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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen

7 Comments

  1. Posted December 18, 2005 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    I’d love to be able to point out that my first language is German but the truth is my spelling skills are about as refined as a second grader.

    And it’s an excelent point you make. If for no other reason than not to embarass yourself, spelling is important. It’s easy to dismiss the bad speller and a blogger can’t afford to be easily dismiss.

    So I have to thank you for ignoring my missteps, and the irony, which I find funny, and commenting on my post anyway. I appreciate the nice words.

    I’ll make one of my blogging New Years resolutions to be a more accurate speller. I need to use Writely, Text Wrangler or something like that.

  2. Posted December 19, 2005 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    It says a lot that your article was good enough that I overlooked the spelling issues. ;-) Good writing will usually overcome some spelling and grammar, which is why it was so surprising to find the casual mistakes. The writing was so excellent, it never occurred to me that English wasn’t your first language. Great work! And fantastic writing. Keep up the great work, Griffin. We need more bloggers like you!

  3. Posted December 20, 2005 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Just to clarify for the record, English is in fact my first and only language. Don’t want to leave a possible misunderstanding out there. I was wishing (joking) I could hide my awful spelling behind some excuse, any excuse. I probably could have made that a little more clear. And thanks again for the encouragement. It’s appreciated.

  4. Melanie
    Posted January 28, 2007 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    The title of this post (ie. “How to write good”) itself fails the English as a first language test as to suckiness. “Good” is an adjective. “How to write” requires an adverb (“well”).

  5. Posted January 29, 2007 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    I’m glad someone gets this. ;-)

  6. Posted February 15, 2008 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    I agree with this posting, I often ask myself if my las blog was horrible or worth wile. I think it is important to review your work and make sure the content is worth its salt.

  7. Posted February 13, 2009 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Some bloggers don’t care whether their posts suck or not.

    They’re blogging with a mission – to get rich blogging or to let off some steam.

    So, they don’t pay much heed to writing quality and how their posts will impact their readers.

    A good example is one who sets up a blog to sell affiliate products.

    His posts doesn’t offer anything much of value to the reader. It’s loaded with nothing but sales talk.

    Then there’s the blogger who talks about his dog and how he has been moody for a week expecting you to be concerned.

    He feels relieved after blogging about his dog without worrying about his readers.

    Bloggers have to stop being selfish and think about their readers before writing their posts.

    Otherwise take the advice from this post and save the bandwidth for others who have something valuable to say.


11 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] Having recently assaulted bloggers for missed spellings and poor grammar, an overwhelming consistency across blogs all over the world is the lack of attention to detail, editing, and spelling. Grammar is tossed out the door as people write in Leet, abbreviate (Gr8t 4 u), and slang their way through their language. [...]

  2. [...] How to Write Good – Tips For Bloggers on Blogging [...]

  3. [...] on this topic by people smarter than I am. For starters, here are some illuminating posts from Lorelle, Copyblogger, and Stephen Downes. Jakob Nielsen also had a good article that forces us to think [...]

  4. [...] How to Write Good – Tips For Bloggers on Blogging [...]

  5. [...] useful, original content takes thought, creativity and talent. If you find it too difficult, then do something about it. Or not. If you have something to say, and the talent to say it, then shout it out. But if you have [...]

  6. [...] How to Write Good – Tips For Bloggers on Blogging [...]

  7. […] How to Write Good – Tips For Bloggers on Blogging […]

  8. […] How to Write Good – Tips For Bloggers on Blogging […]

  9. […] How to Write Good – Tips For Bloggers on Blogging […]

  10. […] How to Write Good – Tips For Bloggers on Blogging […]

  11. […] How to Write Good – Tips For Bloggers on Blogging […]

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