A Blogger’s Festivus: My Airing of Grievances
Christmas is the time of year where many bloggers fondly recall their favorite memories and posts from the past year. Other bloggers look forward to the upcoming year with hope, optimism, and bold predictions.
See, around here, it’s not Christmas time. Nope. It’s Festivus time. And in the spirit of Festivus, it’s time for my airing of grievances with the blogosphere. (In my best Frank Costanza voice) “I’ve got a lot of problems with you people, and now you’re going to hear about it!”
Grievance #1: Not every post you write is linkbait gold, so stop over-promoting it
Look, I don’t have a problem with you promoting your blog. Hell, I encourage it. Promotion is an essential part of blogging that many bloggers overlook. But what I do have a problem with is when you treat every single post (several posts each day) as if it’s pure linkbait gold. You constantly rally the troops to try to get your post on the front page of Digg, ReddIt, Sphinn, or some other social voting site. Then, you Tweet out links to the post with the urgent preface of “PLEASE RT!!!”
The bottom line is this: Not every post you write deserves to go viral, hit the front page of Digg (or other similar sites), or become a trending topic on Twitter. And that’s okay. That doesn’t mean you should stop promoting your posts, but I think it’s a good idea to save your heaviest promotional pushes for the few pieces that are truly linkbait worthy. Otherwise, if you rally the troops too often, they’ll stop giving you their full effort, and then the law of diminishing returns kicks in.
Grievance #2: Every post you write contains 20 different links to your sales pages
Linking internally on your blog does have its benefits. It can improve usability, and it can also improve your website’s search engine performance. Having said that, directing every link to sales pages for your products and services is not the way to grow your blog. Blog readers don’t want to feel as if they’re constantly being sold something. They want to learn, and they want to read your unique insight on topics important to them.
That’s why your links should point to pages with content that enhances the learning experience. This can be past posts on your blog, articles you’ve written, and other blogs (linking out is a must!).
Grievance #3: You have too many ads
Monetizing your blog is one thing. Cramming it so full of distracting ads that it interferes with reading your content is another. If you do allow advertising on your blog, make sure you present it cleanly so that it doesn’t overwhelm visitors and make your blog look like a NASCAR jacket.
Grievance #4: You treat headlines as an afterthought
People like to say that quality post content is the key to building a successful blog. And while that’s partly true, it’s not completely accurate. See, you can write the best posts in your niche, but if they don’t have headlines that make people click, you’ll never get the full attention of your audience. Stop treating the headline as an afterthought. It should be treated as the most important part of every post you write. Otherwise, your email subscribers won’t open your messages, and the users on Digg, ReddIt, Sphinn, etc. won’t take the time to visit your post or vote it up.
Grievance #5: You write misleading headlines
Is there a cheaper trick in the book than lying in your headline just to get people to read your post? Seriously, if you tell me you’re going to give me “10 Tips for Increasing My Conversion Rate”, don’t give me 2 tips and ask me to buy your eBook for the other 8 tips. I remember seeing a post one time that had a headline along the lines of “How I Bought a Flat Screen TV for $50!” Right off the bat, the blogger confessed that he didn’t really buy the TV for $50, but that he’s only making $50 per month payments on his credit card for it. Needless to say, I automatically stop reading blogs that try to mislead readers, and you can be sure I’m not the only one.
Well, those are my grievances with other bloggers. What are yours?
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go prepare for the Festivus Feats of Strength.