The Web is choked with badly written articles, blog posts and web copy. Most of the bad writing stems from the same common problems, mostly having to do with lack of preparation and just plain laziness. It results in the writing of uninteresting pieces that nobody really finds useful and may do you more harm than good in your marketing efforts. Watch out for these five signs that you may be writing bad content.
No Formatting: Huge, unbroken blocks of text, with little or no formatting to break up the piece. Headings and bold intro sentences help create a visual reference for skimming readers and make it more likely they’ll find what they’re looking for in your content, stay on the page longer and click on links.
Misleading Titles: It’s easy for a writer to get off track and wind up in a completely different placed than they started from when writing an article. The problem is that a lot of writers don’t bother adjusting their title to reflect the change in the actual content of the piece. For example, you may initially have a title like “Biggest Mistakes Writers Make,” when the article actually talks about why every writer needs their own portfolio site. This is a “truth in advertising” issue, and it turns readers off when they don’t find what they thought they’d get when they clicked on a search-result. They click the “Back” button in a hurry, and that’s bad for your website.
Passive Voice: Even though passive voice sentences are technically correct, they’re just bad writing. They sound weak, weasely and poorly thought out. Your readers pick up on that, and start to think you don’t have confidence in what you’re saying. The sad part is, passive voice is an easy thing to correct, but a lot of writers just don’t take the time to do a simple rewrite of the offending sentences.
Poor Research: I firmly believe that you can have an interesting conversation about anything, even extremely technical, dry subject matter. But you have to have some worthwhile details to talk about, and the only way to get those details is to do your research; otherwise you end up with a shallow, vapid piece of writing. And with no deep or concrete ideas, there’s no reason for anybody to read what you’ve written.
No References: Part of writing for the Web is connecting your readers with the information that you located in your research. If you link to relevant resources, people are more likely to find your articles useful, and you’re more likely to attract links as you develop a reputation for dense, well thought out content.