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Blog Writing: I lk yr blg

The following comment on this blog inspired me this morning:

hello ive done most of it but doesnt wrk with me, ive gt a decent content on ma blog.. what do u suggest?

I took a look at his blog and, well, this is not a review of his blog but a commentary on how not to write if you want your blog to be successful with readers and search engines.

I’ve talked a lot about in blogs and how important, in fact critical, it is to your blog’s success. Let’s review.

  1. In order to be found and gathered into the database of search engines, your blog content must be readable and have keywords recognized by the search engine.
  2. In order to be found by humans searching with keywords in search engines, your blog must have the keywords, used properly, they are searching for.
  3. In order to be read by humans, it must be able to be read.
  4. In order to get humans to return to reread your blog, tell their friends about your blog, put your blog on their blogroll, and write about your blog so everyone will know about your blog, it must be readable and have worthy content.

Using abbreviations like you are writing in an online chat, as many young people do, doesn’t instantly change the language. Acronyms and abbreviations make their way into a society’s language base slowly. IBM was International Business Machines for a long time before the initials became instantly recognized. MS means Microsoft in computer short speak, but few people use MS to refer to Microsoft when they write. When you are reading and see MS, you don’t think Microsoft, do you? You think Multiple Sclerosis. While BTW (by the way) is used fairly commonly in online chat and emails, it still isn’t part of our everyday conversation.

In order for a blog to score points with search engines, it has to be readable. To score with readers, it also has to be readable.

BTW we was hdng 4 mo when sally said WTFRUD? Said nada. Wanna gtm w us? She said nah. IGHW. Later.

Think about how search engines work and scan your page, gathering keywords and content into their database and compare the above paragraph with its translation.

By the way, we were heading for the main school office when Sally said, “What the f— are you doing?” We said, “Nothing. Want to go to a movie with us?” She said, “No thank you, I have home work to do. See you later.”

I wish I was totally making this up, but I found it months ago on a personal blog by a young girl and had to save it. How do you think this girl’s blog will do with search engines?

Successful blogging in this case means attracting traffic and keeping an audience, so it means you have to feed the search engine beast keywords to help them store and categorize your blog for others to find. Without the words, how can you be found by anyone? Unless you promote through word-of-mouth or get others to write about you, how can you expect to be found?

Remember, it isn’t just about the search engines, but how people search. If you want to be found, you have to have something worth finding in your content. When was the last time you searched for “gtm” to represent “go to movie”?

While this is representative of a young girl’s personal journal, it speaks loudly for examples I’ve seen on more serious blogs by adults. My head aches reading them, so I can’t imagine they have many fans unless the shortcut writing is part of their “thang”, as my nephew says. Used properly, it can be a fad and attract popularity because the overall content matches the slang and acronyms. It takes a lot of work and skill to master that kind of speak successfully, though, and not every word is an abbreviation.

Using the occasional acronym is fine. NP. But changing keywords into abbreviations, which might change over time and fads, limits readability and keyword resources. It can also date your blog.

What do you think? Have you found blogs that use this abbrevi speak and found them interesting to read?

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen


  1. Posted May 15, 2006 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Oh, you’re after my heart aren’t you!

    The one thing that I really hate is what (in the UK) is known as text speak. The kids (and more and more adults) are using it in their text messages to save space when “texting” their friends.

    They then think it is suitable to use in every day writing, in their school work, on forums and apparently on blogs now too.

    I can cope (jst) with it on forums, but if I see it on a blog, I don’t care how good the message is, they’ve just lost a reader.

    I complain about it constantly on my own blog (which is down at the moment :o( ) and in the forum I used to run and now moderate it is completely banned.

    Smileys are good though! ;o)

  2. Posted May 15, 2006 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    By the way – IBM = In Bred Mutant. Google for Isle Of Wight. 😉

  3. Posted May 15, 2006 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know that I totally agree with you. The example you gave from a young girl’s site seems to be written for a specific audience (ie, her friends). She doesn’t need her blog to be readable to most humans or to the search engines. Her written patterns are a form of expression that takes slang to a new level, and slang has always had its place in writing, especially as a form of rebellion against ‘the man’.

    Also, when you re-wrote her text, you took out all of the personal idiosyncratic gramatical quirks she had in there and replaced them with standard English. Though I am personally a fan of standard English, its banner has often been used to oppress those not currently “in power” in english speaking countries (though in America, our current resident of the white house (I can’t call him President) has singlehandedly made it OK for any politician to sound like an idiot on TV).

    Think the backlash against Ebonics, the backlash against the folks who wanted to introduce writers who were women and people of color to the accepted “Cannon” of wester literature, the backlash against the Scots and Irish by the English, the backlash against various Native American Tribes by forced governmental schooling with only english speaking allowed.

    I think that each form of language has its place, and I think that blogging success is not solely dependent on the number of readers you have and how fast your blog is growing. It is only dependent on whether the audience you want can find you and understand you. Anything else is simply gravy.

  4. Posted May 15, 2006 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    I agree with you, JTony. However, the original inquiry to me was on how to improve blog promotion and audience, their definition of success.

    If you want to increase your audience and search engine “retention and attention” you need to write for your audience as well as the search engines. If your audience is well-spoken English folks with a good education under their belt, then write for them. If your audience is giggling 6th grade girls, then write for them. If your audience are Indian, Pakistani, Iraqi, Russian, German, or from wherever, then write for them and their culture. The writing must match the audience, no matter who they are. And the words and grammar must match the content, whatever it is. But if you really want to promote your blog well, then have “words” in the content that search engines can work with.

    While those “in power” might be government officials, on the Internet Google and Yahoo reign supreme. They are the supreme dictators. If you don’t write for their needs, forget about it. Sorry to say.

    Speaking a few languages myself and dialects within them, I ain’t the furst to trow rocks at lingo. 😉

    If your audience is well served by abbrevi speak, then go for it. I’m looking for blogs that do well with it to highlight them here. Haven’t found any, yet. Do you have any examples?

    BTW, my definition of blogging is success is that you are happy with what you are blogging about and how you blog, and it keeps you blogging. When you are doing what you love, it doesn’t matter who shows up to watch. 😉

  5. Posted May 17, 2006 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    I sware, that is so true. Please people if you want your blog to be understood, WRITE OUT EVERYTHING. Just because you are lazy doesn’t mean type like this:

    yo dwg, wtfit? hmu w/ soem dough.

    And either way, like anyone would care about your post because it is really, really, dumb.



17 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Blog Writing: I lk yr blg […]

  2. […] Two favorite articles I wrote about how to write for the web are “How to Write Like a Wanker” and “Blog Writing: I lk yr blg”, both inspired by rage at the horrible writing on the web today. In the first article, which offers a link to an excellent article, “How to Write Like a Wanker” by Vincent Flanders, I quoted: No matter what Flash-blinded web monkeys would have us believe, the Internet is a text-based medium: especially its major discussion forums (IRC and Usenet) where people from all over the world can interact and share information. A popular misconception about text messages on the Internet is that, to be an effective communicator and earn the respect and admiration of your peers, you must be able to write lucid prose; that your messages, articles, posts and pages must be easy to understand and pleasant to read. […]

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  8. […] don’t agree. Here is a real comment example from my article, “Blog Writing: I lk yr blg.” hello ive done most of it but doesnt wrk with me, ive gt a decent content on ma blog… […]

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  17. […] was inspired to do this exercise by uncovering an old post I wrote called “Blog Writing: I lk yr blg.” It challenged you to write to be understood by your audience, writing to their level and […]

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