There are so many advantages to where the world is right now in terms of communication. One Google search can let us know how to render kidney fat, how to write Terms and Conditions for our website, how to crochet a hat small enough for a premature baby, the best accommodation blog in Durban…(just some of my recent searches). But, anyone that spends more than five minutes a day online will have found that plain old good-quality writing has gone to pot in many cases. Actually, maybe pot would help.
Bloggers usually start writing a blog because they 1) have something to say and 2) fancy writing. That’s wonderful. I’ve learnt so much from other blogs, and I’m fascinated by the idea of delving into the more personal thoughts, ideas and (sometimes) rantings of others. But, as soon as I come across a blog that is badly written, I’m out of there, even when the content may have been interesting in theory. I just can’t. I thought it may be because my real job is a writer and editor. But, I’ve spoken to others and they all agreed. And I’m not just friends with writers and editors…
Why your blog needs to be well written:
- It takes away from the integrity and credibility of a blog when there are simple mistakes or clumsily worded ideas. Even if your surgeon had a good reputation in his field, would you feel confident if he walked into the operating theatre with his scrubs on backwards? What about if your hairdresser asked you to bring your own GHD? We trust someone that is professional, equipped and ready to handle what is tossed in their direction. If you’ve committed to tackling anything (in this case, a blog), you will benefit so much more from doing it right.
- For readers that soldier through the writing, they soon become distracted by the mistakes; paying more attention to those than to the ideas behind them. Moms and wives will understand that a clean home is a lot of work that very few visitors notice. But, let it be a mess and it’ll get tongues wagging. The same goes for content. Well-written content may not win you awards (although it could), but it certainly will prevent the damage that badly written content can cause.
- Search engines actually look for good content. They sift through the websites and blogs and favour those with superior spelling, grammar and syntax. This means that top-quality content will actually affect your initiative or business (this applies to blogs, websites, corporate communication, marketing and advertising). SEO optimisation is, for the most part, all about good content.
- People have a lot on their plates, and what they spend their time on needs to be worth it. Unprofessional and sloppy writing does not earn its place in the minds of readers. It will be discarded as a waste of time. Writing a blog takes effort, time and passion. Don’t let that go to waste.
So, here are some very quick, simple ideas for better quality writing:
- Write the piece in a Word document (or similar) and run a spellcheck on it, if you are not using a platform like WordPress, which does this kind of text review for you.
- Read your blog through and thoroughly at least twice. Read it slowly. You can even read it backwards, if necessary. This trains your brain to look at each word, rather than scanning a sentence.
- Ask a friend or colleague to read it. Sometimes, when you know what you want to say, your eye misses what actually appears on the printed page. This happens especially when it comes to “the”, “to”, ”at”, “and”, etc…
- Never use words that you are not absolutely convinced that you understand. It takes a few seconds to look them up and get their context right. Do it! Please.
- Separate ideas with headings or bullet points. This prevents waffling, and makes your content quick and easy to read and understand.
And that’s pretty much it. The rest (you know, all the clever advice and ideas that you have to share) are all yours. They can’t be forced or regulated. Just do it!