You check your traffic every day but all you find are tumbleweeds blowing across the landscape of your blog. Well, there’s a reason you’re not building readership. Your blog sucks.
Most do, and all for the same reasons. The same 10 reasons.
1. You use syndicated content. You can download badly-written articles on the topic of your website at ezine.com, helium.com, goarticles.com and other places on the web. You can cut and paste these pieces on your blog and all you have to do is provide a link back to the author’s site or blog. You can, but you shouldn’t. Without unique content your blog is nothing.
2. Your blog is boring. There I said it. Write about topics that interest me, your reader, not topics that interest you. I want you to keep me engaged, entertain me and teach me. Otherwise, you’re boring me.
3. Your blog revolves around your person. Stop talking about yourself already. I don’t know you personally, and I couldn’t care less about your ramblings. Tell me something I can use in my own life. Facts, stories, not boring personal stuff.
4. Oh no, not your favorite music on auto-play! So as soon as I access your blog, the ukulele string quartet starts playing? I’d rather hear an accordion band. Don’t add music to your site. Half the people won’t like it and the other half will find it’s a distraction.
5. You use clip art. I can spot it a mile away. The model smiling, the perfect family spending the day at the beach, the marathon runner — all license free clip art. And with free clip art, you get what you pay for.
6. I can’t find the post I want to read. So I have to scroll down through pages and pages to find the piece you posted two months ago. First, even the simplest blog platforms allow for categories and search boxes.
7. Your writing totally sucks. Oh, not the writing itself. You’ve got a good writing style. Easy to read. But your posts are loaded with typos, misspellings, lost punctuation and other mistakes that signal you don’t care enough about your readers.
8. You’re spinning articles. You might not be using software to actually spin the articles, but you are writing about the same stuff everyone else inside your niche is. This is not as bad as getting content from article directories, as you are actually using your own words here, but it won’t cut it all the same. Write something interesting or go home.
9. You post once a month. How often you think I’m coming back to see if there’s some new, pithy pearl of wisdom I can glean from your blog? If you can’t update your blog at least a couple of times a week, forget about it.
10. Your blog looks like 12023532989 other blogs. WordPress offers hundreds of templates from which to choose. So, if you choose Minima Brown, your blog will look like all the other writers who build blogs using Minima Brown (or Blue).
Does your blog suck? Well, roll up your sleeves and do something about it. It is still time!
One point I do not agree with is updating over-regularly. There is this thing called RSS and it enables blogs to come to you instead of you going to blogs. It’s nice, give it a try!
Jason Markow says
Time to roll up my sleeves! My site is guilty of #6. However, I am aware that this is a problem, and that is the first step towards fixing it… right?
Also, I am not sure I agree 100% with #2. This could be that fact that a copy of Crush It! is sitting less than 2 feet from me, but if you are not writing about stuff you are totally jazzed about, you are (to quote @garyvee) “Going to be out hustled”. I understand the message you were going for with it, but if what you want to write about is not what your current community wants to read about, perhaps you need to find/build a better community.
Arun Pal Singh says
This covers almost everything that is generally responsible for blog’s poor performance.
Good thing is that everyone of them can e worked upon.
Nice article Edward Khoo.
Think i’ll go shoot myself now after reading your ‘tips’ for blogging. Only just decided to start a blog so great tips thank you. What’s worrying me is that i am quite boring, sometimes don’t keep up to date with blog as have limited energy & feel like i will not be able to blog twice a week @ least. Should i crawl back in my black hole & not participate in the fast world of social networking?
Not everyone can be a successful blogger & find it quite nice when one of my friends decides to follow me. I am not on Face Book or My Space etc but i do tweet. Think i’ll settle for less traffic, friends only looking @ my unworthy attempts to be creative & sleep when i need it. Still great tips which i will pass on but not everyone is so talented.
Off to find a shotgun or decent aperture to hide in. Will be back for more of your helpful tips when i can be bothered. Stay warm in this cold snap 🙂
Hahhahaah! I am also totally relieved that my blog has none of those 10 reasons you shared.
I think as long as your blog adds a great value to your readers those 10 things will matter less. Syndicated content can add a lot of automated value at one place if It is properly chosen with your readers and blog subject in mind.
Jeff Sabo says
I agree with the points in regards to talking too much about yourself and bad writing. Personal stories aren’t bad to throw in every once in a while can make for a good post but doing it too often will have its disadvantages. Similar to what you were saying, readers can only take so much of the same stories over and over again and doing so will not show much creativity. Bad writing is often a turn off and if the readers can’t understand what you are writing about, they will not have a reason to come back.
I think another point to make is trying to force humor instead of letting it happen. I knew one guy who always tried to force humor or tried to be clever in his newspaper column in college and as a result, you never could figure out what point he was trying to make. His humor almost never came across in any of his columns as he spent more time trying to be witty and sarcastic then writing something that was easy to comprehend and understand. Forcing a joke or two in there can be distracting and will take readers away from the point you are trying to make.
Edward, you made some good points here. Though I admit all the reasons you’ve mentioned, I suggest you give an advice in a milder manner. Such words would make a green blogger feel terrible!
lol very true. A good blog has to stand out from the crowd and grab people in. Good visuals is a must, which sadly says a lot when you have good info and no visitors.
@Eric C: Yea, now I get what you mean & I couldn’t agree more with the part which most bloggers shouldn’t use pictures on every post, I assumed that top bloggers in their niche are using the same tactic which is why they are following their footsteps, regardless of whether it suits their own post
@Southern Writer: Oops, I should go back & read the 7th point 😛
Niall Harbison says
All good reasons but the one that gets me the most and has me running a mile is…
Sorry I have not posted in so long but I have been really busy!
That has me out of there in seconds.
I would just like to point out that on ezine.com and goarticles.com you CAN NOT simply list the author and link to the author’s site or blog. Not everyone who uses article marketing is a freelance writer- some (many) people use article marketing to obtain anchored backlinks to whatever post or site they’re promoting at the time. All links must be included exactly as in the post AND resource box and must be do-follow. Doing otherwise violates TOS and can bring on a world of hurt from an angered Internet Marketer. I’ve had several articles stolen (if it violates TOS it’s stolen) with my links exchanged for their own, and then my site not even hyperlinked!
Granted, using syndicated articles won’t do much for readership unless it’s a really good article, but do NOT simply copy/paste unless you’re including links exactly as presented on the site you’re copying from.
Southern Writer says
Did you mean “there is still time”? You might want to go back and check your 7th point. :- )
(I’m just razzin’ you a little.)
Trisha at Travel-Writers-Exchange.com says
Great list – I cannot agree more heartily with #4. Nothing makes me leave a site more quickly than finding ANYTHING on auto-play – I don’t care HOW valuable the content on that site is (was), if the first thing that happens when I land on a site is that video or audio starts playing I click the close button immediately. And I don’t go back there ever. It’s a pet peeve, sure, but it’s my pet peeve and I’m sticking with it.
I would add ONE more item to your list:
#11. You DON’T allow comments. I have been to many blogs that don’t want to mess with moderating comments, so they don’t allow them. If you can’t interract with your readers, how do you know if you’re giving them what they want, or if they’re leaving unsatisfied? You’re putting obstacles in your own way if you don’t allow comments.
Eric C says
@ Edward – Re #5 – I agree that people shouldn’t use clip art. What I’m getting at is that people use clip art because they feel they need pictures on every post, as per advice on many blogging sites. I mean, I would go so far as to say your advice should admonish people from using pictures they didn’t create themselves, or directly relates to the post at hand. Otherwise, they’re just finding the pictures from one database or another, which is as bad as clip art.
#6 – I’m just saying, if you can’t find articles, use external sites. It is super easy.
Web Marketing Tips says
I must say that there are four points which you should consider at first.
Number 1 – Unique content with attractive titles and interesting so that people keep reading it till last.
Number 2 – You should have your own design which define you and your thoughts.
Number 3 – You should use latest technology such as awebar and other things so that your task become more easier and you will be able to reach more and more people.
Number 4 – Be active in your community with latest thoughts and ideas.
Gabe | freebloghelp.com says
Good list. You just pointed your finger at 90% of the blogs out there!
Don’t really agree with #10, visual appeal doesn’t affect much as content appeal.
My latest empirical research involving 300 participants showed blog design doesn’t affect much on readership. Surprisingly, only 15% stated as the primary reason. And the top ten blogs that they visited daily, were mostly SIMPLE PLAIN blog.
Anyway, good tips!
Chris Peterson says
Well, I agree with all steps. Out 10 steps I liked so much 1 and 9 step. Copied from other website and posting once a month, it will not good for blog.
If we will copy from others then our blog will not give more unique visitor. It is necessary twice a week to re post.
Kent @ Leawo says
Thanks for the post! Most of the points are reader-oriented. I agree with you in some points, but since reader’s opinions are varying, the points would certainly not apply on all blogs. For me, I usually keep an eye on the comments to find out how readers feel about my blog and interact with them. Oh yeah, interaction is very important. I think you should have added this point. With appropriate interaction, would your blog still suck? I doubt it.
Nice read- couldn’t agree more with rule #5…it never hurts to show some originality and take your own photos, with some basic composition skills you can snap some great pics with a basic compact digital camera or even an iPhone!
The writing one is important too- everyone has short attention spans online (even if the content is interesting); keep the articles concise and break everything up into short paragraphs. Even bulleted lists or highlighting important words in bold or a different color helps hold the readers attention.
Sorry for the double comment,
@Eric C: #point 6 is about categories & search boxes within a site, Google & Delicious are considered as external sites
@Eric C: #5 point is about using Clip art, I didn’t touch the part about using pictures on every post.
@Chester: Controversy sells doesn’t it? 😛
Hmmmnnn….. I guess the one thing that you forget here is that your personality reflects your blog. So, if you are a boring person that may seem so here.
Eric C says
@ Webwordslinger – I think my problem with pictures is that they now feel in authentic. The post comes first, the picture second, because bloggers feel they have to use them on every post.
People find the images by searching through the free databases, but then again, how else would they have the pictures. In the past, I’ve written posts for websites with mandatory photo policies, and I don’t think the photos match the text at all. Again, it feels untrue, inauthentic.
@Boris – I toally agree.
I think another point missed here is : hitting the right headline. It’s your selling point.
Dosh Dosh writes a lot of quality articles when he first started blogging and he managed to establish himself as an authority in the blogging niche, that’s why even though he has reduced his post frequency people still want to visit his blog because it contains a lot of meat. I don’t think anyone who have just started can attract large amount of visitors by just posting once a month
These are good reasons. I think that if you really want to make your blog better and learn how to keep on improving it on a daily basis you really have to work on each area of learning how to make it better and keep on doing it.
It’s just like anything else in life or in any other job you may have. You have to know the rules and follow them and keep on doing whatever it takes to make it work.
You’re going to make mistakes and the key is to learn from those mistakes. Great article!
Posting once a month or even once a week is the wood rot that destroys sites before they even get off the ground.
I try and post twice a day at least. Although I must add it’s quality that counts but lots of it!
Excellent post, well worth a re-tweet
Daniel Scocco says
@Vishal, an exception does not break a rule.
I would add this as the eleventh one:
You blog for money. You are convinced that blogging is about getting money without effort. You just follow strategies that would increse your traffic: You include shocking content, polemic subject, contests, anything that you believe could increase your traffic…
Blogger Den says
Pretty harsh comments, but I have to agree that a lot of these are very truthful.
Thanks for this tips..right now i will to try make good content..
Thanks a lot..
Agent Deepak says
I can’t tell you why but this post was funny for me.
I give second voice to the comment #8 by Eric C
Good post. I would also add things like too many ads or things like “recent visitor” add ons you see on those badly designed websites or bad colors so you can’t even find the comments link. Let’s face it, it’s tough to find someone who can write, design, stay focused, and be funny.
Dana @ Online Knowledge says
Sometime, personal touch (or story?) can kill the boring situation of long tutorial post. 😀
Kok Siong Chen says
Wow! Good points! I wonder which point cause my blog sucks now. However, i will do something for my blog. Thanks for sharing!
Hal Brown says
The truth hurts. I feel liked I’ve just been tongue-lashed. I just had a look at your blog. It is interesting, but would I subscribe to it? I don’t know yet.
We all comparison shop (or we should) for what we read. With the glut of information about blogging and technology, I think this is a very hard niche to enter and be successful.
My question is, do you think your own blogging is violating some of the things you listed here? This is not a criticism, merely a question.
Awesome post. I actually told my friend a few of these suggestions you have above. Well they didnt listen to me and now there website gets little to no views and because of this they quit on it.
I agree most of the points in the post.
Regarding the post frequency, I think of Dosh Dosh, who is really nearly one post per money now.
Regarding the theme, i am also using a free one, since I have little knowledge about CSS and PHP, as well as money.
Very funny and good info. I think I pass the “suckiness” test but I’ll check again.
@Eric C I respectfully disagree. The point is not whether to use images, it’s about using cheesy clip art from the Microsoft site. I’ve seen the same picture of the elderly couple walking on the beach on at least 2 different blogs.
Quality images capture attention, deliver information at a glance (charts and graphs, for example) and demonstrate that you care about your blog’s appearance. Agreed, not every post needs a picture, but it doesn’t hurt.
Check SEOmoz.org for good examples of how to use pix, charts, graphs, etc.
Regards to author.
Upgrading a blog is very important.I read other blogs frequently.I will never read it again if I find that it haven’t upgraded for a week.
Eric C says
3. Disagree. Many successful blogs revolve around a person. I know of someone who just got a book deal. Also, The best writers, no matter their topic, have their personality come through on their blog.
5. I disagree with the school of thought that says every blog post needs pictures. Use pictures sparingly.
6. Agree with the need for chronological and category org, but Edward, figure out how to use google or delicious.
7. You can’t have a good writing style and have typos and misspellings. I mean, that is one definition for bad style.
9. Disagree. Dosh Dosh was mentioned above.
10. Disagree. The look of your blog matters so much less than people think.
Edward, you are such a badass. It’s like you can read my friggin’ mind. If only there were more people like you.
Nicholas Cardot says
Good article. Now that I’m hanging my head in shame I’m going to go rebuild my blog from the ground up. LOL.
@Chad: I don’t think there’s a mute button because the purpose they upload the music is for you to listen to their “wonderful” music 😛
I love titles like this, it makes you have to read the article. And it was worth the read.
I had no idea #1 even existed. I can see how it would tempt people, but it’s also very clear how it can lead your blog down the road to suckitude.
#4 if classic. It seems so late-90s now to do that. I can’t find the mute button fast enough when a site does that.
Vishal Sanjay says
Daniel i know that blogs with syndicated content suck, but then how come “The Huffington Post” is the most popular blog today, you said that blogs which post once a month suck, but how come DoshDosh rules the blogging tips niche, bloggers who use same templates suck, but there are many who make a six figure income.
Captain Matt says
Well 4 out of 10 ain’t bad! I’ll try to get it down to one reason why…
Or ZERO! Getting to work on that now.
I was relieved to find out that there is no way my blog can suck. That is, of course, relying on the fact that these are the only ways my blog can suck 😉