“What is written without effort is, in general, read without pleasure.” Samuel Johnson
First and foremost, allow me to thank Chris Spooner, designer and writer, for motivating me to write this post as, what I would like to call it, a follow up to his recent post: 10 Usability Crimes You Shouldn’t Commit. I highly appreciate the unintentional inspiration!
There are millions of posts out there that provide you with tips and know-how’s for appealing content; stressing how the post should be long sometimes while, at other times, advising you to keep it short. Telling you that you need to have clear headings yet highlighting that they should not be different.
For this post, we will spice it up a bit for you! We will address the 10 content crimes you should avoid committing in efforts to answer the following questions: What kind of content has the power to drive people away from your site? What content related flaws might cause visitors to disregard the mere thought of reading your posts? What are the most annoying mistakes you can do in content writing?
10 Content Crimes You Should Avoid Committing:
1. Avoid Cluttering!
Although you might feel the need to write long posts to convey and explain a certain idea or concept, and despite having to write pages of factual content as times, make sure that your page has a clean clutter-free look!
2. Avoid “Unauthenticated” Posts!
If you are writing a personal post on your blog describing a certain state of mind or heart, links do not carry a heavy weight except in terms of SEO and backlinks. However, when you are writing about a hot, trending topic related to economy, sciences, business, technology and so on, you need to add links as proofs to your arguments and deductions. Links act as references in a book; they make the content more trustworthy and believable!
3. Avoid Non-Functional Links!
So, you took my advice and added links to your content. You need to make sure that your links are working! No one will appreciate clicking on a link leading him/her to a blank page, or even worse: an advertisement!
4. Avoid Repetitiveness!
One of the worst content crimes you can commit is repeating your content, within the same topic and ideas. Your reader will eventually start predicting your next post, and that is when your page views will go down! Try to have new, fresh topics, such as hot news or latest trends. When you’re out of ideas, try something different and creative such as a video post for example!
5. Avoid Running Intros!
You set your mind to write a post and you start with the intro. You are loaded with ideas so your intro is almost as big as the body of your content. This is not acceptable! Running introductions cause boredom and give a sense of a lack of professionalism! Instead, keep your intros short, to the point and clear enough to convey a general idea of the post yet capture your readers’ attention.
6. Avoid Hanging Outros!
You are looking for a conclusion to your idea or argument, you find none, so you just leave your content hanging with no real clues for your readers for what they should comment on. This is not advisable! You can leave it to “your readers’ imagination” on some occasions yet, in order to entice people to participate and give you feedback in your comments section, you should try to wrap up your argument, maybe ask for opinions or further insights.
7. Avoid Direct Boasting!
You have been in the writing and blogging business for years now, people come to your blog for advice about marketing, social media or maybe just cooking recipes. That’s great, as long as you avoid “blowing your own horn”! Your content should not be about you being a guru at what you do, rather about your experience which you share to educate and enlighten others with.
8. Avoid Fabricating News!
You have lost your muse and you have no new content to add so you start fabricating news and making up stories. This might be highly destructible in the long-term: despite the fact that it can boost the number of your page views in certain events, generally, it will cause your credibility to falter!
9. Avoid Unorganized Content!
Regardless of the topic you are discussing, you need to layout your ideas in an organized manner so your readers will understand them in an equally organized manner as well! Utilize options such as headings, bold, italic, read more, images and videos in order to tidy up the overall look of your content and to highlight and distinguish certain points, facts or even quotes.
10. Avoid Mistakes:
Whether they are grammatical mistakes, spelling flaws or even factual inaccuracies, these hinder the overall image of your content thus your blog or site. Try using Word to help you find your grammatical mistakes which WordPress and Blogger, for example, can not spot! Have someone edit after you. And always, always, get your facts straight!
Finally… Avoid Avoiding this Post! :)
I hope this analysis will have a positive influence on your content, consequently reflecting on to your blog’s image and online presence.
Please feel free to add any other content crimes you think are fatal and share them with many readers like you down here in the comments section.
“Those who write clearly have readers, those who write obscurely have commentators.” Albert Camus