It's the middle of the night and I hear “click, click, click, click…”
I say “What's going on?”
He says “The light is not working.”
I say “It's because the light bulb is burnt out.”
“…click, click, click, click…”
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
~ Albert Einstein
Wondering why your blog is as silent as a graveyard at midnight?
Maybe it's time to stop flipping the switch and replace the burnt out bulb?
What's the Problem?
If you write, write, write, and no one is reading, what do you think the problem might be?
Time to take a closer look at your writing?
And to make this post more interesting (for me anyway; I always admire my own brilliance), I decided to walk you through my own journey of Unbecoming a Dull Writer.
How to Write a Dull Post
One of the first posts I've written for Traffic Generation Café was
What on Earth Is SEO And What Does It Have To Do With Traffic Generation?
Side note: that post used to be a LOT duller than it is right now, but I spruced it up (including the title) when putting together my resource page on search engine traffic.
Another side note: I accidentally deleted the post when playing with my wp_posts database – something you should never do unless you know what you are doing! Oh, well… good riddance, I suppose.
If you were to take your time and dig really deeply into the heart (or more like the stomach) of Traffic Generation Café, you'd eventually stumble upon the following excerpt:
Would you click on it?
Does it entice you with an alluring blog post title or a great opening?
Forget about the image or the lack thereof – is there ANYTHING about this post that would attract you to read more?
Just in case you are scratching your head afraid to give the wrong answer, what I am looking for is a strong NO.
Let's see why this post doesn't even come close to the kind of epic content you have to write to build readership.
Written for SEO
As I already mention, I wrote this post at the budding point of Traffic Generation Café.
I wrote it because I felt my blog needed a logical beginning of sorts.
That's just the way my brain works.
You start something new by explaining what it is.
So naturally, I decided it was a good idea to write the post with a plethora of keywords in mind.
It was NEVER ranked for ANY keywords (intentional or accidental) and is now being brought back to life as one of the dullest posts on my blog.
SEO won't buy your products, so stop writing for it.
Ends with “So What?”
Every time you write a post – or, even better, before you actually write it – ask yourself “So what?”
What's the point of the post?
How will your readers take it back to their business and improve something based on the information they just read?
Was their anything in that post that will give them an “Aha!” moment?
Who on earth would want to read my “What Is SEO?” post, if it's much simpler, more efficient, and won't unnecessarily waste your brain cells to Google the term and read a brief explanation of what SEO is without ever leaving the search results:
Informational, NOT Actionable
Unless you are running a news site, chances are your readers are not coming to your blog for information.
Just to be clear, by “information” I mean anything that answers the questions “What? Who? Where? When?“.
Your readers have a specific problem/pain and they are looking for the solution/cure.
They are looking for the HOW.
My informational post certainly does explain what SEO is, but leaves my readers looking for posts on HOW to actually apply SEO to their websites.
And most likely, they'll be looking for that additional information elsewhere.
Don't talk about the problem; talk about the solution.
Post formatting refers to the process of breaking down your post into easily digested bits of information.
That includes the use of:
- different size headers,
- bullet points,
- shorter sentences and paragraphs
- anything that makes readers' job reading your post a breeze.
My post definitely lacks that.
Content presentation reveals content quality.
Lack of Call to Action
My post ends with:
“You are right: you don’t have to comment or retweet, but do it anyway; I love hearing from you!“
That was as close to a call to action as I got there, but notice this:
What I am asking my readers to do is very self-serving.
So I get more retweets and engagement in comments; what do my readers get?
Compare it to this call of action:
“If you like this post and think it would be valuable to your followers, tweet the ish out of it for me, okay?
All you have to do is click the button below. Thanks!”
The desirable outcome is the same – share the post.
However, the second call to action provides the reason WHY the readers might want to spread the word: because it might be valuable to THEIR followers, and give them the reputation of “the one who shares the good stuff”.
Add a call to action with benefits.
Overall Lack of Personality
This is one of those very subjective points that is hard to quantify.
Your post is either engaging and interesting or it isn't.
How do you know which one it is?
Your readers will tell.
Or the silence should be a good hint.
My post was neither.
It was plain. Boring. “A dime a dozen”.
“A dime a dozen” is one of the most common deceases your blog could be infected with right now.
But it isn't any longer.
This is the part where I was going to tell you how I cured my dull writing, but then I had a better idea.
The last thing I want you to do is to walk away from this post and continue to write the way you do while wondering why no one is reading it.
So before I tell you how I improved my writing and brought success to Traffic Generation Café, I want you to tell me about yours.
I Showed You Mine, You Show Me Yours
It takes guts to face the music.
However, the band is here.
Here's what I want you to do:
1. Examine Your Writing
Why is no one reading your blog?
Is it too dull? Too generic? Too plain?
If you get some traffic (check your Google Analytics), but no one comments, shares, or buys, then you definitely have a problem.
You do get traffic/comments/shares, but they mostly come from the SAME people.
You networked with them, shared and commented on their posts and now they are at your blog to return the favor.
You also happen to be a swell guy/gal and they just want to give you a pat on the back.
Even though the interaction makes you feel like you are doing a good job, the comments you are getting are a bit generic and you are not getting new readership or sales.
Time for a heart-to-heart with those folks?
You are who you are, you write what you are passionate about, you won't change for anyone – “they” will just have to accept it.
And you are right.
You don't have to change.
And neither do your readers.
They don't have to read your blog, they don't have to buy from you, they don't have to remember who you are.
And they won't.
2. Write a Post About It
Now that you realized where your shortcomings are (or asked someone else to point them out to you), share it just like I did.
Write about it.
Come up with a plan on how to change it.
What are your strengths?
What can you give to your readers that no one else does?
How can you become magnetic?
3. Let Me Know About It
I'd love for you to let me know that you've taken arms again dull writing by linking to this post from yours AND letting me know about it – email, comments, whatever you prefer.
Depending on what kind of response I get, I might want to feature you and your post at Traffic Generation Café and give your new “undull” blog a boost of traffic.
If You ARE a Good Writer…
If you are a good writer, but weren't born with it, let us know how you found your voice.
Your insights might be extremely valuable to those bloggers who are still struggling.
I'd love to see you do the same thing:
- Write a post about your journey and eventual success,
- Link to this post to let me know you published it,
- Help my readers to learn from you.
If the bulb is burnt out, stop flipping the switch.
To see different results, you need to start doing things differently.
Before I let you go to turn your writing upside down, tweet the ish out of it for me, okay?
All you have to do is click the button below. Thanks!
PS Stay tuned for the second part of the post to see how I went from a dull faceless writer to the owner of a high-trafficked blog.
Update to the Post
I see that the topic struck the cord.
I am thrilled.
I now it's painful to admit that we are not “all that”, but these are just growing pains.
Since I published this post, I've visited many blogs.
And there's one more thing I'd like to add to my list of “How to Write a Dull Post”:
Make it all about YOU.
Whoever told you that blogging was all about sharing your own experiences, views, life, etc. was right about one thing – that might make your blog an semi-decent read for your family and friends.
But you won't build a business out of it.
I am not saying that you should take yourself out of your blog; not at all!
Just use your personality and experience to solve THEIR problems.
Stop solving your problems and solve your readers' problems.