I don’t normally go on a tear via my personal website, but I have some feelings that I need to get out in the open, mainly about why your blog sucks.
I’ll freely admit I’m not the most technically savvy of the blogger bunch, but as a professional writer I know a thing or two about writing, and I know a
good great blog when I see one. I often get emails from new bloggers, and even a handful of bloggers who have been around for longer than me. They want to know what I’ve done to gain a following and what they can do to take their own blogs to the next level; I’m just going to put what I have to say out there, even if it invokes the ire of others around me.
The Main Reason Why Your Blog Sucks
You are not a Writer. You’re just not.
I’m not saying you have to be the next Ernest Hemingway. I would even venture to say writing online takes less work and talent than writing for print or publication. Yet there are thousands of people out there who want to start a blog to become famous or make money and it will never happen for them, because they don’t care enough to proofread their work. Write if you want to write, but don’t ask me how to make it better and then get offended when I suggest you hire an editor. My sponsored posts aren’t always the most dazzling copy, but I at least take the time to edit them for content and clarity. I proofread my own posts twice before they go live, and if something manages to slip by me, my Dad or Brother will text me what the issue is and I fix it IMMEDIATELY, because I’m absolutely embarrassed when I publish something with a typo on it. Like, stay-at-home-from-my-sweet-thirteen-birthday-party-because-I-have-mouth-herpes, embarrassed.
Why is it such a big deal? Well, because I think posts with multiple typographical errors make the authors look uneducated and unprofessional, and I’d hate for someone to think that of me.
I’m a big fan of everyone becoming a blogger- each person has a unique story to tell and something to say. I also believe writing and blogging do amazing things for the soul.
But there is a reason why certain bloggers are always picked to be the favorites, why people are reading their work more than they are yours. It’s because they can clearly communicate emotions, ideas, and tell thoughtful stories that incite readers to engage and share with their networks. You can create a blog, post regularly, market online, manipulate SEO, get traffic from the internet and fool yourself into thinking you have a successful blog- but a trained monkey can do all of that that. If you don’t care about the writing you won’t be able to tout your blog as a body of work, or get invited to take part in fun opportunities. Good writing begs to be noticed.
The reason for my rage-fest today is two-fold.
A little over a month ago, I was contacted via HARO for a piece about spectacular career reinventions. I thought, “I have a pretty neat story” (IMO), I’ll submit. I was picked and the authoress emailed me with a long list of specific questions, questions I (foolishly) thought were for an interview.
Despite telling me she’d send over the final proof before publication, the post went live and to my chagrin, I found my answers stripped into a narrative post, but it made NO SENSE. Add to that, she didn’t proofread, my last name was wrong and the post was rife with spelling errors. It makes me look like an illiterate idiot, but that wasn’t what irritated me the most.
The author of this blog took some liberties and changed sentences around and then slapped my name up in the byline as if I had written the post for her, which we had never discussed. I rarely guest post, and only turn in something I’m proud to attach my name to, especially when it is my given name rather than my “blog” or “stage name” (Lauren Bee). She took it down without issue, but it still rubbed me the wrong way.
Not textbook forgery exactly, but it’s close. She’s saying I wrote something for her when I didn’t. I don’t think the intent was malicious, but I feel duped nonetheless. Lesson learned, I will ask more questions from now on. Ironically, Eddie of Finance Fox (yes, that Eddie of the recent twitter plagiarism scandal) gave me great advice regarding finding publicity for the blog: If they’re interested, they’ll come find you. Yes, I see the irony in his advice now, but I still feel it’s good wisdom worth sharing.
The Second Reason I am Peeved
I had someone ask me to take a look at their site and tell them how they could improve. I did this for free, blogger to blogger, as a gesture of good will. I want to pay stuff like that forward. Both Jeremy from Modest Money and Andrea from So Over This have done for me in the past. I told her the content was lacking in length, style, and had a few grammatical errors here and there, and that she should try to be as pristine as possible and connect more with readers in order to drive engagement, not necessarily regurgitate financial content you can find on any other site. I can promise, I did this in the nicest way possible, but perhaps my tone was misunderstood.
She responded I was rude for insulting her writing. YOU ASKED FOR MY OPINION. I’m definitely not the master blogger of the universe, in fact, go look at my blogroll and you will see a long list of bloggers who are much better than I am, but don’t tell me I’m rude when you asked for my opinion. I hope this particular burgeoning blogstress dies a slow, painful death trapped in a content marketing hell of her own making.
I kid, I kid.
But, going back to my point about why some people will never have the great blogs, the kind you bookmark and return to again and again- if you don’t care enough about what goes out there, about how your writing looks and reflects upon you, then you’ll never be a blogger. Whether you want to make money online or even share your personal story, if you don’t care enough then you don’t deserve a following, fans, or fame. It doesn’t matter how good your stuff is, if no one can get through the page without getting caught up on your errors, it’s worthless.
Blogging is hard work, f*ers, it might be easier than other professions out there, but that doesn’t mean you get to be a lazy asshole.