8 Blogging Mistakes that Waste Your Readers’ Time

The Internet has made it possible for us to live in a world of “information overload.” A few clicks, a few swipes on a smartphone, and we have access to more ideas, blog posts, and news stories than we could ever possibly consume.

It’s hard to remember — or imagine, if you’re that young — when information was a scarce resource. But time is still a scarce resource. And with this much information easily available, you must treat your readers’ time with respect when they give it to you.

Especially if you want to build trust with your audience so they give you more of their time in the future.

The curious paradox is that even though it doesn’t cost anything to publish blog posts, send emails, share our life with others through social media updates, if you’re not adding value with those pixels, you’re wasting the time of your readers.

And time is an irreplaceable resource. Time is precious. We all know it.

So avoid these eight common blogging mistakes below at all costs. At all costs.

1. You love complexity

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”Leonardo da Vinci

A great blogger tells simple stories to explain complex concepts, because they appreciate the time of their readers.

Next time you write, figure out ways to be as concise and precise as possible. Simplify. There’s no need to dumb down your ideas, but try to help your readers process your post and be inspired by you in less reading time.

2. You’re self-indulgent

The harsh truth is this: Your readers aren’t interested in you, your life, or your stories.

As a blogger it’s your job to help your readers, to guide them, and inspire them. Talking about your experiences is fine — it can add color and personality to your posts — but only if it helps your readers become healthier, happier, or more productive.

When you want to write a story about your life, ask yourself this: What’s in it for my readers? How can my experience help them?

3. You think more is better

The idea that more content is always better has been heavily promoted by some, but this is wrong. The task of a writer is not to write more “words”. The task of a writer is to communicate a message in the length it takes to fully communicate that message.

Got your message across in 537 words? Well done. Now, try to do it in less than 400.

When you cut excess words from your sentences, you’re doing your readers a favor. When you replace long words with simpler words, you’re delighting your readers.

Make your posts as easy to read as possible. Write as if you’re writing for a 12-year old. Show your readers you value their time by writing in plain English.

4. Your conclusions are stale

You pour your heart and soul into writing your post, but when you reach the end… you just write a lame question or serve an uninspiring conclusion.

Just like introductions, the way you end your post matters immensely.

Don’t disappoint your readers with a lukewarm conclusion. Put all of your enthusiasm into an ending that inspires, motivates, and energizes your readers.

5. You don’t know who your readers are

The idea that you’re writing for thousands of readers may sound great, but it can kill your writing voice … fast.

When you don’t know who your audience is, your blog posts become generic. They end up speaking to no one in particular.

If you try to please everyone, you’re far more likely to please no one at all.

That’s another paradox of writing.

Try to write for an ideal reader. Someone you know, or someone you have to imagine into existence. But write to please just one person. Your post will be more personal, more conversational, and more engaging.

6. You don’t care about your topic (anymore)

If you don’t care, why would your readers care?

And, yes, this has happened to me in the past.

Passion is the foundation of any great blog post. People can sense enthusiasm.

You must never lose your fire.

7. You edit your posts (or don’t edit them) in ten minutes or so

Are you the Chosen One? The one who’ll write impeccable first drafts? The one who’ll bring balance to the Universe?

No?

Well, we all have to edit. Writing is a lot more about rewriting, than it is about writing that fantastic first draft.

Out of over a few million words I wrote in fourteen years, I only have a 2 page chapter from The Writer that I never had to edit much. And I spent 9 hours working on just the opening sentence.

The more effort you put into editing, the easier your post becomes to read. Your message becomes clearer, and your readers will be grateful.

8. You don’t write like yourself

Let’s be real for a second. There are at least a few hundred other bloggers write about exactly the same topic as you. What makes you different? What makes you stand out?

It’s not what you write, but how you write.

If you write like yourself, letting your personality shine through, you become a brand. You write about topics from a different perspective, share your own personal experiences in order to inspire your readers, you add your own sense of humor, metaphors, and analogies.

Your personality, your experiences, and your voice make your posts unique. Your readers don’t just come back for more useful tips. They engage with you because of who you are.

The harsh truth about blogging …

Your readers don’t need another blog. They really don’t. Your readers need you — your wisdom, your ideas, your unique stories on your chosen area of expertise.

Never take your readers’ attention for granted. Their time is precious. Use it wisely.

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60 thoughts on “8 Blogging Mistakes that Waste Your Readers’ Time

  1. Good tips and we’ll said!
    The only thing I’d push back on a little is content length (and maybe this isnt the point you were trying to make). I agree that you should not be worried about your word count and place a bunch of filler “junk” into your posts to drag it out, but statistically speaking the longer (2,000-3,000 word) articles and posts do better (I can find the exact statistic I’m thinking of, I just don’t have it in front of me at the moment). That being said, if you’re going for longer posts, it better be good content! The more quality information you can give the reader in a single post, the better the post will do for your reader, and in the eyes of Google.
    I do agree with you though. If you write 400-500 words and you’ve gotten your point across, you’ve done your job.
    Great posts by the way! I enjoy reading what you have been posting!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Good read and very informative! Will be applying these principles to future blog posts! I also like the area regarding “editing.” I’m not surrounded by other writers so this constantly editing that I tend to do( whether it be regular emails, texts, blogs, Facebook posts, memorandums) makes me feel a bit on the normal side. This is all apart of that internal gift that you, myself and every other writer has. Blessings to you and thank you for writing this!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. As a new blogger this is extremely helpful thank you! I am currently working on writing a series of books and looking to publish one in the near future. I have always loved to write and it has changed drastically with the internet over the years. Thank you for these tips!

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Reblogged this on The Perils of Improbable Potholes and commented:
    Great piece! What stands out to me is #6. I have a variety of projects I have dropped. Does it mean they were “bad”? Not necessarily. Does it mean they were great, and I had nothing else to say? Typically no to that. But, somehow, I knew it was time to move on. I think that applies to #6: you have to know when it is time to move on. Even the giants do this. The example that comes to mind is Lucas and Star Wars. At some point, he had to move from being Luke, or Anakin, into being Obi-Wan, and eventually retiring altogether.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you for the tips! I am still working on my conclusions. I think I do pretty good on the body of the post, but I’ve always had issues or at least I think I have issues ending my posts. And I’m glad I’m not the only one that posts something and then edits it a few minutes later lol.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Great tips! Number 2 now has me paranoid, lol. I bring in personal anecdotes from a reflective stance with the hope of making my points more relatable.. I certainly hope that does not come across to readers as being self indulgent

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thanks for the tips – I have to admit, it’s hard to write like myself when I’m not sure who I am…and as for editing – even when I edit three times, it seems like I always miss SOMETHING. I think I need to use a second set of eyes (maybe the ones in the back of my head?)

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Great advice. I disagree with “they don’t care about you, your life, or your stories.” Maybe that’s true if you’re writing a blog that simply promotes products, but I think people will always love stories. And through these, you start to care about the author’s/blogger’s life.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. I wonder if this is true for specifically humor writers who are trying to establish a platform. I’ve written my book, now trying to navigate the social media world and launching a blog. I’m not a “how-to”er. That said, your tips were helpful, thank you.

        Like

  9. All the items in the list are also good things to bear in mind when writing *anything*, not just blog posts.  Well said.
    I’d like to add a little to item 7.  I usually wait a few hours (often until another day) before hitting the [Publish] button on something I think I have finished.  Previewing well after “finishing” usually shows that the post is not quite ready after all.  While desktop is the only platform of interest to me, I also preview how things will look on a tablet or phone.  It’s not just a courtesy to readers on other platforms.  It also helps me see where more editing is wanted.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Thank you! I’ve read that posts need to be 1,500 or more, but I’ve often felt that adding more words to my posts would be fodder. That being said… I need to edit more.

    Like

  11. I think that I consider this as the best blog post I have read from you.

    Even though I get less views on my blog, I continue to write blog posts based on my personality, heart, experiences, etc.

    I give my readers the information they need or want. If they are not happy with it, then I am fine with it. I am not going to give up on something I am passionate because most of them do not like my blog posts.

    If there is something we truly want to do and improve, we must do it regardless of what others say/think/do.

    Like

  12. I fell in love with the Victorian writers in high school, and those authors were paid by the word, so of course they were wordy. And I became more wordy. But blogging has forced me to say more with less, so this advice really hits home. Thanks Cristian.

    Liked by 1 person

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