DEV Community

loading...
Cover image for 5 things that are ruining your blogs & how to fix 'em! 😱

5 things that are ruining your blogs & how to fix 'em! 😱

technoglot profile image Amelia Vieira Rosado ・Updated on ・7 min read

Photo by AarΓ³n Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

5 things that are ruining your blogs & how to fix 'em! 😱

Hello folks and welcome back! πŸ‘‹πŸ»

Today I'd like to share with you 5 things that I wholeheartedly believe are ruining your blogs. Now, I've only been actively blogging for a month now (more info here), but I've also been reading a TON. So despite not being a blogging guru, here's some advice I can share to help you make your blogs better. I hope you find them helpful! 😊

Buckle up and enjoy the ride! πŸš€

Poor visual structure 🀒

Gee, have you heard of headings?

you gon learn today

I've seen too many blogs that have ZERO headings in them whatsoever. Sorry to break it to you my dearest, but a blog without any clear visual structure is just an eyesore. πŸ˜“

mic drop

With that out of the way: how can you solve this? Easy. When drafting your blog, try to think in terms of headings. Each heading being a section of your blog. Once you have your blog title and section headings written down, you can proceed to fill in the blanks. In other words: write the actual content.

Not convinced yet? How about a mini step-by-step guide? πŸ€”

  • Step 1️⃣: Write down your blog title
  • Step 2️⃣: Write down your section headings
  • Step 3️⃣: Write the actual content of your blog

Additionally, here's a structure you can use in all your blogs:

  • Short intro (between 3 and 5 sentences long)
  • Body of your blog (typically having several sections, each with corresponding paragraphs)
  • Conclusion (no longer than 3 sentences)

But wait! There's more. Keep on reading! πŸ‘‡πŸ»

P.S.: This blog is something I'd consider properly structured. Not because I wrote it, but because it has a clear structure. Take notes.

HUGE blocks of text 😡

Just who are you trying to kill of boredom, huh? How dare you not break that huge piece of text into smaller paragraphs?! Seriously, you have offended my eyes and brain! 😑

In all seriousness, like I said in the previous point: structure matters. Adding headings is important, but so is creating paragraphs. Additionally, spacing out your content makes it more visually pleasant for your audience. Please don't lump together all the content in a single section. As a rule of thumb: keep paragraphs between 3 and 5 sentences long. Longer than that will probably make it a dissertation. Or a best-selling novel (if you're lucky) πŸ˜…

PRO tip πŸ’‘: Always preview your content before publishing it. If you can get a friend or two to proofread your blog and give feedback, that's awesome too! If you feel some parts of your blog are too bulky, just go back in there and: Break πŸ‘πŸ» It πŸ‘πŸ» Up πŸ‘πŸ».

You don't engage πŸ˜’

Quite frankly, I don't understand this behavior. I've seen some excellent pieces and discussions around here. Yet despite all the comments and reactions, the author does not engage with their readers. WHY?!

tell me why, backstreet boys

Uh, yeah...moving on! πŸ˜‚ Engage with your audience. PLEASE! πŸ₯Ί I cannot for the life of me stress this enough. ENGAGE!

Someone commented on your post? Drop a like on their comment. Drop a "Thank you so much for reading!" or a "So happy you enjoyed it!" as a reply to their comment. Yeah, yeah, I hear you loud and clear: "I'm too busy for that 🧐". If you happen to be a busy fella, just put aside 10 minutes in your schedule. Use these 10 precious minutes to engage with your audience, reply to their comments or answer their burning questions.

However, there is a time when I'd say it's okay to un-engage. For instance, let's say you posted a blog 2 or 3 weeks ago. Till this day, you still get notifications from people reacting to that blog post or commenting on it. Do you still have to reply to those comments? The answer: if you want to.

I typically still get back at comments after so long, but if I feel really lazy, I'll just drop a like on their comment. That's so they know that I saw their comment and enjoyed reading it. Quite frankly, don't expect me to remember every last word I wrote in a 3-week-old blog post. Sometimes I don't even know what people are getting at when commenting on such an old post of mine! 😜

PRO tip πŸ’‘: Genuinely engage with other people's content too, not just yours. It is more important than you think! 😊

You don't switch it up πŸ₯±

sleepy boss baby

By this I mean that ALL your blogs follow the same format. You literally have abused the listicle blog post format! Or perhaps you only write about the same topic all the darn time. Now, allow me to elaborate.

First of all, there is nothing wrong with listicles (that was an example by the way. No need to get booty-tickled). What is semi-wrong however, is feeding your audience the EXACT SAME blog post format over and over and over again. Sure, it makes for a consistent blogging style, but it may get boring and monotonous to your readers in the long-run.

Secondly, writing about the same topic is not a sin! You found a niche? Exploit it by all means! I'm no one to stop you. But, please dare to venture into unexplored waters. Maybe write a TIL (Today I Learned) blog post for a change. Or tell us a funny anecdote. Whatever it is, switch it up a bit.

Back to the drawing board you go! ✍🏻

Lack of media πŸ“Ž

By this I don't mean that you need to add 3000 GIFs in a single blog post. What I mean is that your post feels bare. There's no diagrams, no pictures, no GIFs, no embedded videos. NOTHING. It's just TEXT. All TEXT! BLOCKS and BLOCKS of TEXT! (Can you tell how traumatized I truly am? 😒)

Let me make this clear. Code snippets don't count. That's text too! πŸ˜‚ But seriously, it does not hurt to add an image to your blog. Or to embed a tweet or video you found helpful and that relates to the topic you're writing about. Remember how I told you earlier that you should mind your blog structure and should break up large chunks of text? Well, media helps you with this!

As a reader it is pleasant to stumble upon an image or two when reading. It gives the brain something different to process other than just text. (I'm not a neuroscientist, but I bet our brains are not wired to love large chunks of text anyway πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ) So please give it a go in your next blog post. Add some media to it and rejoice! ✨

BONUS πŸŽ‰: Extremely lengthy posts

Be honest, would you read your 30 minute long blog post?

absolutely fucking not

Excuse the language! 🀭 What was I saying? Oh yeah! If your answer to the above question was NOPE or along those lines, then what makes you think that your audience will read such a long blog? I personally would read a 30 minute read only if I am in the depths of my despair and have literally tried EVERYTHING suggested on SO (Stack Overflow), without any luck.

So you admit defeat... Good. But what now? Allow me to introduce you to the innovative thing that is SERIES!

WOW

But, let's be real. It's a simple, yet overlooked thing. You got a 15 minute read? How about you turn that into a 3 part series, with each part being a 5-minute read? Sounds great, right? However, there's one little gotcha that I have noticed when writing series myself. The later parts got less attention than the first part. Though I must admit I lack the sufficient scientific proof to back up this statement. (I've only written like 3 series so far. Or was it 4? Meh, I forgot! 😜)

So the next time you find yourself writing a 60 minute read, how about you:
a) make it a series of blogs, or
b) make it an in-depth guide (e-book) that you can sell online for a few bucks?

You can thank me later! πŸ˜‰

C'est fini! 🏁

Hooray! You made it to the end of this one! How about a medal? πŸ… Now, tell me, how did you like my first listicle EVER? Let me know in the comments! πŸ‘‡πŸ» Guess who engages with her readers? 😏

ME!

Once again, thanks for reading! πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈ Now go make those blog posts sexy!

May the code always be with you... πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’»πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’» See you next time!




Still here? Catch me on Twitter or find me elsewhere! If you like my blogs and are feeling generous, kindly consider to πŸ‘‡πŸ»




technoglot footer banner

Discussion (49)

pic
Editor guide
Collapse
vonheikemen profile image
Heiker

I would read 15/30 minute post if it has the information I'm searching. When I was learning about functional programming in javascript I often saw short blog posts that left me with more questions than answers.

There were also times the topic was split into a series but it was never finished. They would say something like "Now we can do a super cool thing, but I'm going to tell you in the next article," and then they never wrote that next article (I'll never know what that super cool thing was).

Collapse
technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

Valid points raised! As I mentioned in the blog, I personally (lots of emphasis on personally) would only read such a lengthy blog when nothing else answers my burning questions or satisfies my needs. Nothing wrong with lengthy blogs though, it's just up to the readers whether they read or not.

As you highlight in your comment, both series of blogs and lengthy blogs will have their pros and cons. Hence I invite bloggers to think thoroughly about the pros and cons of both of these approaches and settle for whatever suits them best.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I appreciate it! 😊

Collapse
cariehl profile image
Cooper Riehl • Edited

I agree with both you and the person you're responding to: the format of your blog post depends on the information you're trying to convey!

In this post, for example, you used gifs and jokes to keep the reader entertained while still getting your point across. I think that was a great decision (whether or not it was made consciously), and it made your post more accessible considering its content.

For a post about a technical idea in a specific language, I would prefer it to use gifs and emojis sparingly, since they distract me from what I'm actually trying to learn. That's because a technical blog post serves a very different purpose than a more "social" one. I think it's important for us to be aware of that difference, and understand when certain formats are more or less effective.

I'm glad you're following your own advice by engaging with your audience! I often learn more via discussions in the comments than I do from the actual post itself.

Thread Thread
technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

For a post about a technical idea in a specific language, I would prefer it to use gifs and emojis sparingly, since they distract me from what I'm actually trying to learn.

That's the idea, to keep the technical ones emoji- and GIF-free (or to a minimum at least). But I'm not there yet, haha! πŸ˜…

I'm glad you're following your own advice by engaging with your audience! I often learn more via discussions in the comments than I do from the actual post itself.

Glad you found value here! What you mention is the exact reason why I insist that people engage (with my posts and otherwise). It sparks great discussions and exposes me and others to various perspectives. Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts, I appreciate it! 😁

Collapse
yoursunny profile image
Junxiao Shi

I write a lot of "15-30-60 minute post" but readers can CTRL+F search for relevant sections.
Enable IPv4 Access in EUserv IPv6-only VS2-free has two methods for enabling IPv4 access on an IPv6-only server.
I could split to two article, but then each article lacks context and comparison.

When I point people to my article (e.g. answering in a forum), I tell them what section / keyword to search for.

Collapse
cariehl profile image
Cooper Riehl

I could split to two article, but then each article lacks context and comparison.

This is a good rationale for keeping information in a single place, like a really long post. I admire you for being aware of it!

My biggest issue with overly-long posts is that length tends to lead to complexity. You mentioned that when you share the article with people, you also tell them which section to search for. This does solve the complexity problem for those people, but someone who happens to stumble across your post may be overwhelmed by the length, and choose not to read it.

I've found that even providing instructions at the top of the post can be ineffective. When I see one of these "15-30-60 minute" posts, my immediate internal reaction is "I don't have time to read that right now", and I never even make it to the "instructions" section at the beginning of the post. I am (personally) much more likely to read a short 5-minute post that is part of a series, and then I'll usually go on to read other posts in the series.

Thread Thread
technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

My biggest issue with overly-long posts is that length tends to lead to complexity.

That's a big bad gotcha right there. Good thing you brought that up! There's definitely pros and cons to either approach.

Collapse
yoursunny profile image
Junxiao Shi

I sometimes hint at the "super cool thing" but I explain what it is.
If readers write to me asking for it, I may put it up in a few weeks.
Otherwise, it might be two years later.

Collapse
w3dojo profile image
W3Dojo

I have been reading about functional programming as of late, and I totally agree, I would love to find a nice long post that explains it. If you know of any good ones, share the love. <3 <3 <3

Collapse
vonheikemen profile image
Heiker • Edited

Sure.

But first some shameless plug: I wrote a "roadmap". Is more of a reading guide for the posts I have written and the resources I've found about functional programming.

For the impatient that don't want to read my roadmap, here are some links:

Also some of my posts can be found as "observable notebooks", if you want to check them out: Functional programming for your everyday javascript

Collapse
theowlsden profile image
Shaquil Maria

Back to the lab again yo (eminem, lose yourself)

☝️This is me after reading this postπŸ˜…

Good content as always! Let's see how I can implement these tips into my future posts

Collapse
technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

Hahaha, Sir Eminem has shown his face! I got the Backstreet Boys and now Eminem, what more could I ask for? πŸ˜‚πŸ€­

Good content as always! Let's see how I can implement these tips into my future posts

Looking forward to your future posts! Now go flex those blogger muscles! πŸ’ͺ🏻 Ah, and thanks for the support! πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Collapse
jmdejager profile image
🐀πŸ₯‡ Jasper de Jager

Nice post, in the structure you always use, way too long.. but hey you would probably not even read this comment, you never do..


πŸ˜‚ just kidding, I think you really captured the essence of your blogging success! Very interesting read and I'll be taking some of these tips for my own writing 😊

P.S. consistency IS a plus in series I think

Collapse
technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

Hahahaha, that mild "critique" at the beginning! 🀭

I think you really captured the essence of your blogging success!

Hehe, just thought I'd put it out there! 😁

Very interesting read and I'll be taking some of these tips for my own writing 😊

Great you found value here! Can't wait to see how your posts continue to evolve over time! 🧐

P.S. consistency IS a plus in series I think

Absolutely! πŸ’―

Collapse
yoursunny profile image
Junxiao Shi

My funniest engagement is:

If you find this article interesting, please do a few push-ups in my honor, cheers!

I don't know how many minutes it takes to read this article though, but it's probably more than 30 minutes.

yoursunny.com/t/2021/NDN-video-rea...

Collapse
technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

If you find this article interesting, please do a few push-ups in my honor, cheers!

LOL, that's a great one! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

I don't know how many minutes it takes to read this article though, but it's probably more than 30 minutes.

Given its nature, it will probably take a while to read through the end πŸ˜…

Collapse
juanfrank77 profile image
Juan F Gonzalez

To me is really, like reaallly, mind-blowing🀯 that you have only been actively blogging for a month with this level of consistency and engagement in your posts.

I've been doing this for over a year and it's been meh overall (although I never expected to become "famous" or anything so I'm cool with it).

I was guilty of the first 2 points for the first months of writing. Then I went back to read those articles again and I was like "dammn Big wall of text right there".

Now I try to break them up and make them less dry but sometimes the topic doesn't help haha.

Great takeaways here! I feel like making a post on your level will take me a week's worth of writing in chunks.

Collapse
technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author • Edited

Heeey @juanfrank77 ! Thanks for dropping by! 😁

actively blogging for a month with this level of consistency and engagement in your posts.

The secret is to not give the reader a choice! 😈 But yeah, much like you explained in your most recent blog, giving yourself constraints, helps with consistency.

(although I never expected to become "famous" or anything so I'm cool with it)

Me neither to be honest! What I enjoy the most is just putting that knowledge out there instead of holding on to it like this:
my precious

I also love to interact with others and pick their brains every now and then! πŸ˜‚

Then I went back to read those articles again and I was like "dammn Big wall of text right there".

You're good to go! At least you're self-aware! πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»

but sometimes the topic doesn't help haha.

Hahaha, ikr... 🀭

I feel like making a post on your level will take me a week's worth of writing in chunks.

Above all else, stay true to your style! (You're style is great tbh, laidback but clear!)

Once again, tysm for sharing your thoughts! πŸ˜πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Collapse
juanfrank77 profile image
Juan F Gonzalez

Hahahaha that Gollum gif was awesome! "My precious knowledge" lmao

Thanks for the compliment to my style. I feel like the first drafts sound too "formal" so I go through a couple of times and rewrite them to sound more like how I'd talk.

Thanks again for sharing "your precious" 😜

Thread Thread
technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

I go through a couple of times and rewrite them to sound more like how I'd talk.

Same here! Makes it all sound more human! 🀭

Thanks again for sharing "your precious" 😜

Anytime! 😁

Collapse
devlorenzo profile image
DevLorenzo

Hey @jmdejager , you late this time πŸ˜‰
Anyway, nice post again Amelia!

Collapse
technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

Bahahaha, you guys racing each other now? πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Thanks for the kind words @devlorenzo ! 😁

Collapse
jmdejager profile image
🐀πŸ₯‡ Jasper de Jager

my comment was longer, took some time to type 😁

Collapse
technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

That clapback tho 😜

Collapse
tareqnewazshahriar profile image
Tareq Newaz Shahriar • Edited

This post contradicts itself
- Too much use of gif,
- Too much use of emojis
- Long paragraphs to make a simple point

Collapse
technoglot profile image
Collapse
technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

I don't see the contradiction. Care to elaborate?

Collapse
tareqnewazshahriar profile image
Tareq Newaz Shahriar

Sure. Your post is about things that ruin a blog, yet you wrote it in a way, seems to me those ruined your post too. I was disturbed by overuse of gif, overuse of emojis and long paragraphs to make simple points. I stopped reading, left my comment and went away.

Thread Thread
technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

Sorry to hear you had such a terrible experience. I suppose my style does not suit all tastes. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ And that's fine.

Collapse
miguelmj profile image
MiguelMJ

Good post, Amelia!

Presentation and structure are not the core of the experience, but in the end they do make the biggest of differences. I think that for the first points, people don't know how to write because they have not read (or at least don't pay attention to how it's written). Dumping all the content seems easy because you don't put in the shoes of the reader.

Also, as a little content creator myself, I can't understand how people don't answer to at least the first few comments they get! It's not that they should be constantly paying attention to their notifications, but come on, those people take the time to read what you say and appreciate it verbally!

Collapse
technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

Yikes, somehow I almost missed your comment @miguelmj !

Dumping all the content seems easy because you don't put in the shoes of the reader.

That's pretty sloppy to me. I think that if anything, once should have the reader in mind when writing anything.

Also, as a little content creator myself, I can't understand how people don't answer to at least the first few comments they get!

Worse yet, some get back to NONE of the comments! It's a really weird practice IMO. πŸ˜•

Thanks for sharing your insights as usual! πŸ™ŒπŸ»

Collapse
raphael_jambalos profile image
Raphael Jambalos

Great content, as always Amelia! I really hate reading blogs with no visual contents. Even if the content is good, I don't always have the willpower to read through walls of text with no "mental breaks". I think the author should reduce the friction of reading as much as possible. Most of us read blogs on our free time, when half our brain cells already died on the 8-12hrs work day we just had :P

Collapse
technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

I don't always have the willpower to read through walls of text with no "mental breaks".

Totally on board with you on this one! πŸ˜‚

Most of us read blogs on our free time, when half our brain cells already died on the 8-12hrs work day we just had :P

Exactly! πŸ€£πŸ’― Main reason why authors/bloggers need to show more compassionate to their readers' brain!

Thanks for dropping by @raphael_jambalos ! Glad you enjoyed this read 😁

Collapse
naseki profile image
Naseki

Now THIS is a listicle I can tolerate! πŸ˜† Another great article!

I find it particularly hard to determine when I should divide something into multiple posts instead of a single one. I was considering it for one of my posts but decided not to because the two subjects couldn't really be separated while staying interesting in my opinion, and a 7-minute read wasn't too dramatic either. πŸ€”

I'm also not yet sure how I'd treat a series of very closely related posts in the first place, since I'm a biweekly poster. Would you have to post them one after another every day until the series ends then?

Collapse
technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

Now THIS is a listicle I can tolerate! πŸ˜† Another great article!

LOL, glad you can tolerate this one! πŸ˜‚

and a 7-minute read wasn't too dramatic either. πŸ€”

Certainly not! But I've seen 15 minute reads around here and the like. I think 15 minutes is a stretch, even if the post is really really valuable and in-depth. But that's me. There's pros and cons to both series and long posts. I think bloggers should consider both before publishing a 60 minute read. Just my two cents.

Would you have to post them one after another every day until the series ends then?

It's really up to you. I'd say stick to your schedule if you like, since that may give you the most consistency. Personally, if I write a series, I post the parts a few days apart from each other. No particular reason, I think I do it just to keep my pace nice and spaced out. Hope that makes some sense somehow. 😁

Collapse
pranavbaburaj profile image
Pranav Baburaj

So you admit defeat... Good. But what now?

Yes, I admit defeat. Thank you for those tips . I Will try to improve my articles

Collapse
technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

LOL, truly hope this helps! πŸ˜… Go redeem yourself and always keep improving!

Collapse
technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

Oh hey there! πŸ‘‹πŸ» Happy Earth Day! 🌎

happy earth day

Collapse
abdulbasit313 profile image
Abdul Basit

Good read. You are pretty active here.

Collapse
technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

Yes, yes. I happen to run this place 😜 (just kidding, but yeah, I'm very active πŸ˜…).

Thanks for dropping by! 😁 Glad you enjoyed it.

Collapse
daniel1404 profile image
Daniel Diaz

Let's see how you engage with this comment 🀣

Collapse
technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

Hahaha, come on! You can do better than that! πŸ˜‚

Collapse
mardab profile image
Marcin DΔ…browski

30 minutes? Have you seen fasterthanli.me/ ?

Collapse
technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

Nope, never. But 88 minutes? oof...

Collapse
dollardhingra profile image
Dollar Dhingra

I really enjoyed reading your post! Thank you for the ideas

Collapse
technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

Glad to hear that! 😁 And thanks for dropping by! πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Collapse
vishnureddys profile image
Vishnu S Reddy

Hey, I've just started an online community of developers. Could you check it out and provide some honest feedback? It's called hello ML and you can visit it here helloml.org.

Collapse
bernardand profile image
bernardand

In this post, for example, you used gifs and jokes to keep the reader entertained while still getting your point across. I think that was a great decision (whether or not it was made consciously), and it made your post more accessible considering its content.

Collapse
technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

you used gifs and jokes to keep the reader entertained while still getting your point across

Hahaha, trust me not everyone was entertained. Some got so frustrated with this post that they prematurely abandoned it without finishing it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ Apologies to those who's brain cells I murdered. (the least sincere apology I ever made)

Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts! 😊