Why Your Post Sucks and Everyone Hates Your Blog

doh Why Your Post Sucks and Everyone Hates Your Blog
Doh!

That headline is what we social media experts and uberbloggers call link bait. It is slightly more sophisticated than saying something like Kim Kardashian Sex Tape, Naked pictures of Brad Pitt or Better Than Viagra. It has one purpose and that is to get you the reader to click on it. It is kind of a weak way to go and I try not to use it too often. I prefer to be far more blatant and write something like “5 reasons you won’t read this.”

I suppose that I should be pleased that Akismet isn’t a person because those samples of link bait are guaranteed to generate quite a bit of spam. If Akky were a person he would be less than pleased to see me make extra work for him.

During the past week I have read a half dozen posts that have made me shake my head for a variety of reasons. Join me for a moment on a brief tour of the inside of my head. Mind the dust, when I turned 40 they replaced brain with a colander and it has gotten kind of messy inside there.

I am not a fan of these YouTube videos starring Hitler. I generally don’t see much value in using a genocidal maniac as the comic foil for videos and or posts. It is even worse when they are poorly written. Granted I probably have less tolerance for laughing at the man who is responsible for wiping out part of my family. I suspect that more than a few people share this in common. One person tried to explain his use of Hitler as being similar to the exploits in Jackass. There is a huge difference between showing videos of your friends farting on another and using a genocidal murderer who is responsible for the deaths of tens of millions.

And we move on.

More than a few posts discussed the proper way to comment on blogs. It took restraint on my part not to point out that telling people to innovate and be creative 25 times is not innovative, creative or particularly interesting. Sometimes less is more. That might sound funny coming from a man who has a problem with brevity but it is true.

But what bothers me more than that poorly written, ill constructed and definitely not innovative post is the general cynicism and selfish streak that seems to be taking hold in the blogosphere. I keep reading posts where people write about how much they dislike one line comments. They keep talking about how they hate reading “great post” and how they often delete those because they don’t want to be used by other bloggers as a tool for building page rank, SEO and link juice.

I take a different approach. While I prefer longer comments that demonstrate that someone read my post I don’t get upset with things like “Great post” provided that they aren’t used for free advertising. In fact if someone writes a thoughtful comment that links to some sort of commercial service I will usually leave it up.

My goal is to build a community and to create conversation. My blog is like a backyard barbecue. I want to facilitate conversation not stifle it. I don’t wander around my backyard shushing people for talking.

One last thought to share. RSS, Twitter and Facebook have really had a negative impact on blogging in two areas.

1) Fewer people come to the actual blog to read the posts. They lose some of the flavor of the blog and it is far less likely that they will click through the archives.

2) We really do share fewer links than we used to. It has been said here and many other places but it bears repeating. There is a lot of value in sharing links in blog posts. Social media is about engagement and interaction. Interact with others. Share information that you think is worthwhile and valuable and do it without trying to figure out if you will be compensated for it.

And most importantly, be nice. Good things will come from it.

Editor’s Note: This post first ran here but this is a situation where the more things change, the more they stay the same and since I was jammed for time I decided to run it again. Sadly it is still applicable.

photo by: striatic
  • http://cynk.wordpress.com that cynking feeling

    I get so nervous commenting on others’ posts. Most times I type a bunch and then delete. I end up writing “great post” to signal I stopped by without going on and on.

  • http://www.futurewhisper.com Abhay

    Its ok to have a one line comment until it has value and its up to you to find value in the comment; it may be there for you or not. Big comment for sure doesn’t mean value or great insight.

    Let the things growing if it’s not a spam.

  • http://thezenpsychologist.com Andy

    It’s funny you say Twitter users (Tweeters?) don’t share links enough. I’ve always thought the reverse, people share too many links. There are so many users who are only there to regurgitate links to their blog, they don’t realise it’s actually better promotion to use it properly & be a real person on there.

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Bloggers don’t share links the way we used to. In the old days it happened with frequency and now, well it happens too rarely.

  • http://billdorman.me Bill Dorman

    Great post…

    Guilty as charged as being that lazy SOB who shares w/out reading.

    In the ebb & flow of a casual blogger all I can say in my defense is, at least I’m here, huh?

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      There is substance in your posts and that speaks volumes.

  • http://www.josetteplank.com Josette Plank

    Great post!

    AW KMON YOU WERE ASKING FOR IT!

    But yes, I’ve written many a “This Blog Post Is Not Search Engine Optimized” type posts. Because they weren’t. And I don’t have the patience for it. I’ll do it for other blogs I write for, but for my own stuff? Solid Hunter S. Thompson stream of rant, like it or lump it. It keeps me sane. I find that eventually, the Brown Buffaloes find me. Like I found you.

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Josette,

      Yes I am, was, er whatever. I am always asking for it. ;) The best writing comes from just writing about whatever we feel/see. When we touch fear good things happen.

  • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com Stan Faryna

    This was a great post the first time around.

    And it’s still great. You can write an evergreen about blogging like no other blogger that I read.

    Like you, I bear no grudge for a short comment. We don’t always have a lot to say and trying to say something more is not always for the best. More importantly, I’d rather someone make a quick comment (a tip of the hat) just to know they stopped by and enjoyed the post.

    Hope things are going awesome for you.

    • http://therebelchick.com Jenn

      While I would love to have a ton of long, detailed, conversational comments, I am happy to have ANY comments. It seems like the only people who comment on my posts are other bloggers, which I assume is because they know how much THEY appreciate comments themselves. General readership? Sheesh, I’d be happy with a “Hi.” ;)

      • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

        Hi Jenn,

        The lurkers always intrigue me. They are always around and some of them read everything. Sometimes it is nice to hear from people so that you know that your words mean something.

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Stan,

      Things are pretty good, albeit a bit crazy. Got a pinched nerve making life interesting but beyond that all is good.

      How are things in your world?

  • http://www.thenewelizabeth.com TheNewElizabeth

    Great post!

    Ooops. I just started getting more serious about my blogging and I’m trying to read a lot about how to improve. You totally got me with that headline.

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Elizabeth,

      I am a huge fan of blogging and have two pieces free advice on how to improve. Read alot and write a lot. It makes a huge difference.

      • http://www.thenewelizabeth.com TheNewElizabeth

        Thanks, Jack. Sounds like a good plan!

  • http://joedegiorgio.com/ Joe

    Hey Jack…Great post.

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Joe,

      Hope you are having a great weekend.