Feb 14 2007

Why some people’s posts are always well written.

This blog is quickly becoming me airing my blog writing dirty laundry! As I think about the topics to write here I find myself challenging the way I write my various blogs. It isn’t always fun to highlight one’s own faults but it can be rewarding and in the long run I’m hoping to become a better blogger for it.

Have you ever regularly visited a blog and been blown away by how each and every post is well written and entertaining? Even if a post is just saying that today I went out and bought the Spike puppet from Angel, when written by certain bloggers they can turn a snack into an entertaining meal.

I can’t say that I can honestly tell you what the secret is behind every one of these writers but a lot of the ones that I discussed it with had a similar habit that I thought I might share.

Editing.

Groan.

You probably shared in my groan there if you are anything like me, when I write a blog piece I often get to the end of the post and just hit the publish button whilst caught up in the rush of having finished a post and hopefully having gotten my opinion across.

More often than not I’ll check out how the post sits on the page and find myself reading through and realising that I’ve left things out or have very poor punctuation. So after the horse has bolted I find myself having to go back in and edit out my errors. Even when I’m doing this spot fire run I’m generally only targeting the mistakes that I’ve found before and give little thought to overlooking the whole piece.

The next time you are writing a post, particulary a long one I want you before you hit the publish button to stop what you are doing and take in a deep breath, maybe go and get yourself a drink or take a quick walk. Then come back to the post that you just wrote and read it over in the editor. Look not only at your mistakes but also the overall flow of the post.

Does the first paragraph make you want to read further? Does it make sense? Are there any in jokes that need explaining? Have you forgotten to link anything?

I can’t promise that this will make your posts more popular, if you are writing for yourself then you decide what makes a good post and if you are writing with a particular audience in mind they decide. If you do take a moment or two to edit your work I can assure you that your posts will become more consistent and that will make your blog better and bring readers back.

One last thing though. Too much editing can ruin a piece so don’t obsess too much. One or two quick run throughs should be plenty unless the piece has real problems in which case you should consider coming back to it in a couple of days anyway.

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  1. Blog About Your Blog’s Most Popular Articles | Blog About Your Blog wrote:

    [...] Why Some People’s Posts Are Always Well Written by Lee [...]

    April 19th, 2007 at 11:03 am
  1. Matt Keegan said:

    With blogging, one or two edits is all that I do. Blog writing isn’t the same as creative, journalistic, or corporate writing. It is informal, conversational, and much more relaxed.

    Happy blogging!

    February 15th, 2007 at 12:14 am
  2. Lee said:

    Hi Matt – I don’t agree with you when you say that blogs are just informal, conversational and much more relaxed. Certainly a blog can be those things and many are but I don’t think it is THE defining characteristic of a blog any more.

    A couple of the blogs I contribute to are creative writing exercises, another is a more academic blog where a relaxed style would not work. There is also my personal blog too that is relaxed and conversational however if I were to constantly post disjointed badly flowing posts I would not maintain my readership (in fact you can see my more hastily put together posts do not gather half as many comments as the ones that I’ve taken a little more time with no matter how long they are).

    Blogging is no longer restricted to people’s online diaries. I know bloggers who use their blogs to showcase their writing, to discuss academic and philosophical concepts, business bloggers, promotional blogs etc.

    If you take a look at some of the more successful blogs you see that in general care has been taken so that the posts are not sloppy. There are three blogs that I can think of that are personal blogs that I no longer visit regularly because the readability isn’t there any more.

    If you are trying to lead a conversation regarding a particular topic then sloppy writing is only going to undermine your perceived authority on a subject, why would I want to talk to you if you can’t hold up your end of the conversation even if we are just talking about my fondness of the new Spike puppet? (another great example is that I accidentally left out the ‘are’ in that sentence, had I not picked it up in my once over it would’ve sounded wrong)

    I think you can still be conversational and relaxed if that is your goal yet still maintain a quality of work. Your site is a very good example of that, if the blog was put together with no attention to quality or without your 1 or 2 edits then it wouldn’t have the consistency that it does have. It is that consistency and feel that the site has that makes it readable to those of us outside that industry.

    My point is even if your blog is meant to be informal you should still give it the once over edit as it will only improve the readability of the blog.

    Thanks for commenting!

    February 15th, 2007 at 2:07 am
  3. Roger said:

    A topic that is close to my passion. Believe the most important element is getting the right voice and tone. Fundamental if the piece is aimed at getting a conversation going as opposed to just telling.

    February 15th, 2007 at 12:18 pm
  4. Lee said:

    Thanks for sharing Roger – I also think that the tone of your writing is really important and it has to be consistent otherwise you are sending mixed signals. Unless that’s what you want to do of course!!

    February 15th, 2007 at 1:05 pm
  5. Ryan said:

    It’s been my experience that if the post is too long, I start skimming…. and probably miss something. That may have something to do with the fact that my attention span is the same as my dog’s. I’m not the only person like that.

    In short, a well written post is short and doesn’t ramble on, and on, and on, and on. I can get past the bad punctuation, misspelled words etc – I can’t get past the part that I can’t finish reading the post in less than 10 mins.

    Anyways – I hate long comments too……

    February 15th, 2007 at 6:00 pm
  6. Lee said:

    Ryan – a lot of bloggers agree with you – if I’m writing a particularly long post I like to give the readers the ‘read more’ option. This only takes care of the aesthetic of the post on the front page but hopefully trick enough of you short attention spanned people into reading on LOL

    February 15th, 2007 at 9:19 pm
  7. momofthree said:

    Have you heard of the Traffic Club? I mentioned your blog there. Would you reciprocate?http://pillartoroof.blogspot.com/2007/02/traffic-club.html

    February 16th, 2007 at 8:37 am
  8. BNY said:

    your post describe’s Joe.My.God’s blog at http://joemygod.blogspot.com

    February 16th, 2007 at 6:59 pm
  9. robert said:

    hi all. nice blog. its very ineresting article.

    March 18th, 2007 at 8:12 pm
  10. Starrlight said:

    Great post! Revise revise revise people. Another good idea is to read it out loud to yourself.

    April 21st, 2007 at 11:40 am
  11. Andrew Bargery said:

    I agree, you need to edit to keep the quality of your posts high, but you need to be careful not to lose what’s great about blogging – the natural personality in the writing that often comes across from well thought out posts.

    I also always think some images help if they compliment the copy and mean less editing is required.

    May 11th, 2007 at 5:23 pm

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