Why does everyone and their mother think they can write? I honestly don’t have a clue! For me, writing is a challenge. I can have a good topic or a wonderful idea, but when I sit down and put my fingers in the position to type, I usually stare at my computer screen for a good amount of time!
This is the era where nearly anyone can and have a website, blog, or a social media page, where we are free to write our feelings away or just about anything that crosses our minds. And this is OK as long as you don’t need of your writing skills to make a living or to drive traffic to your page.
While researching good topics to base this article on, that will teach you and I something about copywriting, I found this great article at CopyBlogger:
20 Warning Signs That Your Content Sucks by Jonathan Morrow, where he summarizes the 20 most common mistakes we make about writing.
I will group these mistakes in fives, and tell you what I learned from them and which ones were directly a slap on my face!
1. You think your content is “good enough”
2. Your posts read like journal entries
3. You’re not getting many (or any) comments
4. Your visitors stay less than two minutes, on average
5. You spend less than an hour on each post -slap no. 1!
Content doesn’t have mid-tones, it’s either great or it sucks! So you should always try your best on every piece you write. Writing web content the same way we wrote in our diaries when younger is just not going to cut it. A good way to measure if your content is good enough is by the amount of comments people leave on your posts, and the average amount a visitor spends on your site (you can install Google Analytics or find out if your web hosting company offers any website statistics tools).
Item number 5 was my first slap on the face, as I always try to do everything as fast as I can. I should always remember that writing good content is more about quality than quantity.
6. You’ve never received fan mail
7. You’ve never received hate mail
8. You focus on SEO before you get your first link - slap no. 2!
9. You believe SEO is the secret to building a popular blog
10. You’re saving your best ideas for later
Receiving emails from readers is always a good sign. Whether they are happy emails or just hateful ones, this means your content is good enough to make people take the time to write to you.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a great way to drive traffic to your website, but it’s useless if what people see/read when they arrive is crap. I never gave too much thought to this because when I do SEO for a client, I am just doing it thinking as the web developer, not as the marketing expert(which happens to be my boss) or a sensible reader. If you invest the time and money on SEO, you should make the same effort to have amazing content on your website that will not drive the traffic you’ve just earned away.
If you have great content to post, do so! Do not wait to get all the traffic on your site to then release the best yet to come. Your website or blog is not a movie trailer, so don’t treat it as such.
11. Your blog is about … well … everything
12. You don’t know the benefit
13. You think you deserve more traffic than you’re getting
14. You have a science, engineering, or technology background -slap no. 3!
15. You’ve never read a book on copywriting
A good strategy in any field, is to specialize in something you know you are good at. Same applies to writing: Write about something you know about or that you have enough interest to do reliable research for your readers. People can tell when you are consistent with your content and if they find it useful, they’ll come back for more. People will not like you just because, you should always have fresh and helpful content on your site if you want to keep the traffic flowing.
My third slap, and probably the hardest one was #14. Before being in the technology field, I was pursuing an engineering degree, so I am as logical as they come! It’s very hard for me to try to write something from “my heart” without over-analyzing and dissecting every bit and piece. So far, this is my biggest challenge when it comes to writing, as I am afraid to show emotions to readers. This is a work-in-progress task for me.
16. You have no idea what keeps your readers up at night
17. You write less than 1,000 words per day - slap no. 4!
18. You read less than 10 hours per week - slap no. 5!
19. You’ve never talked to a reader on the phone or in person
20. You’ve been blogging for less than six months - slap no. 6!
In order to do good writing you must bond with your readers. You should figure out what are your reader’s interests and try to connect with them by including their interests and feelings in your writing.
This last section in Mr. Morrow’s article was just slap after slap for me! I barely write, and definitely not in a daily basis. And for that matter, I don’t read much either, and I am a newbie to blogging and to writing in general.
But what I have learned from his article is to accept the fact that I am new at this, that my content will inevitably suck for some time, probably more than I would want it to, but it will and I just have to accept it, try my best, and not to settle for mediocrity. I have to think my content will be put to the test every single time is out there. Good content is hard work, and I should NEVER forget that!