Whether you’re new to blogging or an old pro, there are some definite don’ts to watch out for as you create content online. Following are ten of the top mistakes many online writers make!
Huge pages of text would be hard for anyone to process—but when you neglect formatting, that’s exactly what happens. The Web offers many formatting options to enhance your content, from headers and subheaders to bold, italics, and sizing. Use these tools to make your writing clearer.
Too Much Information
Overloading readers with too much information too fast is a surefire way to lose them. Better to tease them with some attention-grabbing info that leads to other info in order to keep their attention.
Too Long Paragraphs
Rambling is out; brevity is in. Online readers typically scan content, so your articles need to be broken up into easily digestible chunks to keep their attention. Avoid long paragraphs and work instead to break down writing into more quickly readable information.
Online content has to be more than a bragging platform. If all you’re doing with your blog and other online writing is proclaiming your company’s value, you’re not going to go very far. Readers want to see what’s in it for them—why should they care about you? Answer this question and you have a much better chance of growing your audience.
Writing for the Wrong Audience
Many online writers craft content that doesn’t suit the audience for whom they’re writing. When you don’t know your audience, you don’t know how to reach them. For certain B2B and technical industries, scientific language and terminology make sense; for retail and other B2C businesses, scientific language would be a huge turnoff. What this means for you is that if you want to be effective, you have to take the time to research your prospects.
We all face a bout of writer’s block from time to time, but that’s no excuse for fluffed-up, empty filler content. When a reader comes to your blog or webpage, they should be able to read your content and gain information. If people leave feeling confused instead, something’s gone wrong.
Lack of Sources
When you share a specific statistic or quote, you need to share the source. Writers who frequently throw out this kind of information without sources will lose credibility fast. Readers want to see that you’re worthy of trust.
Using SEO keywords in your writing is a smart practice, but overstuffing your content with repetitive keywords in a way that makes your writing trite or unnatural is not. When you use keywords, be sure to work them into content in a way that makes sense and is appropriate.
While passive sentences (i.e., The sentence was written by me.) are not grammatically incorrect, they usually make your writing sound weak and lacking in authority. The good news is that correcting the problem is an easy fix. Simply rewrite your sentences in active voice (i.e., I wrote the sentence.) to increase their power.
When the same writer constantly changes tone on a blog, readers get turned off. Part of setting your site apart from others is establishing a clear sense of who you are and the way you write. Without a consistent voice, you’ll have a hard time building your brand.
Shanna Mallon is a writer for Straight North, a Chicago Internet marketing agency. Follow Straight North on Twitter and Facebook.