Blogs with Eating Disorders (or Four Types of Posts You Shouldn’t Be Writing)

Blog posts that just puke up useless content drive me nuts. Seriously, people – say something interesting. Find a new angle. Give an opinion. Debate. Expand. Don’t regurgitate other people’s content.

Puking Up What’s Already Been Said

I get tired of seeing posts that offer very little in the way of value. The worst offenders are bloggers that write posts that say, “Wow! Soandso just wrote a great post! Go read it!” Chances are that I already have.

Even if I haven’t read the highlighted post, nothing motivates me to click through. Nothing entices me to go read. It’s a piss-poor display of linking out just to get noticed. It’s also a waste of space in my feed reader.

Entice me somehow. Write a couple of sentences about why you liked that particular post, how it related to your business or add your comments on a point that interest me enough to go read what was in the post to begin with. Encourage me. Make me curious. You can do it.

Group Pukes

Have people completely lost their creativity? Someone writes a post about a good, interesting topic. It attracts a lot of attention. The result is a small flurry of posts from different bloggers who all want to talk apples because Mighty Joe is talking about apples.

Doesn’t anyone like fruit salad anymore? Talk about apples, sure. Expand on Spartans or the merits of Macintosh. Discuss the end of Russets or the hardships facing apple growers. How about writing on the virtues of pears or bananas over apples? (If there are any, mind you.)

Admiring Your Own Puke

Everyone loves the spotlight and the glory. It’s great to see another blog feature a guest post we wrote. It’s flattering. It’s cool. I get that. Let’s face it: writers are egotistical.

Is there any need to flaunt and write a post that says, “Go read my post over there!” What value does that provide to readers? Be a little modest and humble, to begin with, but go one step further to make your post worthy of being posted.

Tell people you wrote a post, proudly tell them where to find the post, and then keep writing! Add something new, expand on a thought, talk about how you felt when you were asked to guest blog – but don’t preen for the crowd, okay?

Sharing Puke

Alright, linking out is a bonus for bloggers. Many bloggers have a day or two where they post up a list of links. Let’s address the benefits:

  • A ton of trackbacks appear in other people’s blogs and attract attention.
  • Linkfests replace having to come up with something to post.
  • Linkfests provide readers with new content of interest or related posts.
  • A post of links on the past month’s content gets people reading backwards on your blog instead of looking forward to new posts.
  • Links also affect that all-important page rank jazz.

Now let’s look at the reader’s point of view of happening on a blog post that is just one huge linkfest:

  • Who the hell wants to come to your blog just to read a list of links? Wrap some text around that link – write your thoughts. Motivate people to click through. Create curiosity.
  • You’re giving the impression that you’re too lazy to write or you’re tapped out of new ideas. Are you? Why not cut back on posting a little instead, if you’ve run out of ideas. Your readers will forgive you.
  • Looking back on the month’s post is alright, but honestly, I’ve read the post once. I don’t need to read it again. Highlight older posts, sure – and add something to them. Make them better. Hell, contradict what you wrote, if you feel like it!
  • The traffic-driving strategy works against you. It goes something like this: “Don’t stay on my blog! Go read over there! That blog is way better than mine!”
  • We love page rank. We understand page rank. (We have a PR 3 – or so my Google toolbar tells me. Keep in mind my Google is Canadian, so I don’t see the same results Americans do. We may be a PR 0 in the U.S., for all I know.) But we don’t like bloggers who focus on page rank first, people second. Link out for good reasons. Don’t just create huge linkfest list to boost your PR.

There is a right way and a wrong way to link out, as far as your reader is concerned. If you’re someone who loves to stick fingers down your own throat just to puke up everyone else’s content, go ahead. Have a party.

Me? I’ll take a pass. There are far more effective ways to link out and have those links work for your blog – and your readers.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.