10 Questions Every Blogger Should
Ask Themselves Before Posting

Questions

One of my high school English teachers once told me that writing is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration, suggesting that a good writer starts with a quick burst of creativity and spends the rest of their time refining and editing those initial ideas. While this advice may seem counter-productive to bloggers who need to create content quickly and consistently, it is actually sound wisdom. This ratio of creating vs. editing time helps clarify your ideas so your audience understands your point of view.

To help you in these crucial editing stages, we thought we would lay down some important questions bloggers can ask themselves so they can make an honest, constructive and critical appraisal of their work before posting it up for the world to see. Asking these simple questions could mean the difference between a hastily written blog article that remains obscure and a well-written, influential and accessible blog that courts a loyal audience with ease.

1. How quickly can my readers understand what my post is about?

If you want your ideas and opinions to spread across the Internet, you need to make sure that your readers can understand what you’re saying as quickly as possible. Generally, most web readers will decide whether to stay or leave your blog within the first minute. Make sure you have the right content, links, images or titles in place to communicate your blog post’s purpose as concisely as possible.

2. Does my blog offer something novel or unexpected?

Does your content bring anything new to table? Will it entice readers and bookmarkers? As part of establishing your blog’s value, you should strive to find new perspectives (or blend several together) when approaching your subject matter. Be honest with yourself and question the originality of your work. If you find that there are many articles and discussions in the blogosphere nearly identical to yours, resist following and take a different approach. For instance, if you write about blogging and “how to increase traffic” is a popular subject, try writing a post on “how not to increase traffic.”

3. How helpful is my content?

While this question ties into the above point, it differs in the respect that you are trying to meet specific and current needs of your audience rather than simply capturing their curiosities. How will your post help readers? What can they take out of it and into their world? Break down your content into practical steps so readers can use it in their daily lives. This point is not exclusive to writing ‘how-to’ posts, but could be as simple as including important links, images and diagrams to better explain your points. In addition, when you make your content ‘action-ready’ it encourages others to share it amongst their peers, driving more attention to your blog.

4. Why should my readers trust me?

Readers base their judgment of your blog on the quality of your content and on how well you present yourself as an authority. This means you have to establish trust with your readers. Provide them posts jam-packed with useful, reliable information and examples from your own experiences.

5. Does my content speak to people on a human level?

You should examine your posts and see if they make any emotional appeals to the reader. How can you better connect to your readership? Many people come to blogs expecting to discover something about the writers themselves. Revealing a little about yourself will encourage your readers to do the same, allowing for more open and free discussions on your blog.

6. Is my post easy to read and scroll through?

Alluded to in the first point, web readers have little time for your lonely post – they have tons more information to scan through and are reading your post diagonally looking for reasons to read more carefully. So try to make it easy for them. Take the time to go over the mechanics of your writing and its presentation. Do you require more headings, bullets or numbers? Are your ideas clearly organized with formulated paragraphs and topic sentences? While going over structuring isn’t an exciting task, your readers will thank you for delivering your information in the clearest way possible.

7. Does my content cover what needs to be discussed or answered?

When important news breaks in your field, are you there to cover the story? Are you keeping in the know, following updates and developments for important stories? Also pay attention to the questions that frequently arise in your field. What is your readership looking for? How can you answer their questions? Pay attention to your analytics to understand why people are coming to your blog and what keywords are being used to find you. You can adjust your content according to trends and developments as they happen, further cementing the value of your blog.

8. Am I revealing enough information about my topic?

While you want to focus your posts with one central idea to help with clarity, ask yourself if your blog, as a whole, fully covers your subject matter. Are you holding back? The more information you provide, the more of a response you will likely generate with your work. Of course, there is always the danger of going overboard and saying too much. But the more open your blog appears, the more attractive it will be to your potential readership, especially those who like to link, bookmark and comment.

9. Am I fulfilling my readers’ expectations?

Ask yourself if you are being consistent with your blog’s established themes, focus, timing and style. As readers begin returning to your blog on a regular basis, they will bring a certain set of expectations regarding your presentation and depth of content. Straying too far from your established ideas and post frequency can seriously hurt the traffic you derive from loyal fans. So be sure to gauge and deliver on their expectations. Respond to comments, ask open-ended questions and even conduct polls on your blog if you are uncertain about how to establish your personal blogging style. If you openly ask for user input, chances are good that you will receive it. Act on their responses openly and honestly.

10. Am I reaching out for support?

When developing your content, it’s important that you indicate to your readers that you are an active part of the larger web community, even if it is within a specialized niche market. Seek out the advice of readers by asking them questions in your posts. You should ask yourself if other bloggers in your field can benefit from your content. Writing content with their interests in mind, as well as the interests of your readers, can help boost your blogging authority if said experts find your articles useful. You should always have an active interest in the social networking community and be willing to express it in your posts – either by explicitly mentioning other blogging/bookmarking talents or by editing your content so that it is more bookmark friendly.

Asking These Tough Questions Will Help

While asking yourself these questions may make you sweat, as a committed writer, you have to sometimes break apart your most cherished work to get down to the core points and ideas you want to get across. It will ultimately help you shape and define the style, focus and accessibility of your blog.

Be honest with yourself and mend problematic areas that may be blocking you from realizing your true potential. All this hard work and self-examination will show when your content is nicely streamlined and managed for your soon to be avid readers. So don’t burn yourself out trying to write ten posts a day when a single, well-crafted and well-edited post can do just as much…and more.

About the Author: Damien Van Vroenhoven is a web strategist and blogger for Apollo Media’s Social Media Marketing blog. He is more commonly known as The Rock Blogger.

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Comments

  1. Great post…..it’s sometimes easy to get lost in what you are doing and to forget that at the end of the day you have to provide a useful and relevant service to your readers…..
    Julie

  2. Your post is not only great in content, but it is also a prime example of your #6: it’s easy to read and very scroll friendly. I actually scrolled through the questions and was then hooked to read the details. Very well done.

  3. This is SO useful.

    I need to look at this every time I write something, then someday, maybe I’ll be an awesome writer.

  4. Excellent pointers, Damien, and good job getting published here on Copyblogger.

  5. Great job – you fulfilled what you wrote. And I printed it as a reminder for my own posts.

  6. Damien, you did a great job (as always) of outlining important steps in delivering prime content. This essentially clarifies the importance of perspective in writing content. By taking a step back and putting yourself in the place of your reader, you can focus on delivering direct content that will have the reader glued to their seat (sticky content).
    Looking forward to more of your posts, both on our blog and other great blogs like CopyBlogger’s.

  7. Thanks for this information! I write a wine and food pairing blog and have used bolding and bulleted lists to make my posts easier to read. Great advice!
    Kathleen Lisson

  8. Great article and very true. I do wonder though…with more and more people not wanting to read, and so starved for time does it make sense to break that valuable content up into much smaller little bites.

    Today your post was well written and contained valuable information. Would there be value in having an introductory post that briefly outlined your 10 points and then 10 follow-up posts that provided the details for each point?

    I’m thinking the reader still gets the valuable information. And when that information is broken into little bites they can get it quick and then ponder on it until the next days posts. Is that on track or off the mark thinking?

  9. Believe it or not, I have read quite a few such lists, but htis one is more complete and more valuable than any I have seen so far. Cheryl is right, each one of these points could be a post of its own, but you have compressed it very nicely.

  10. Thanks for the advice. I know that personally I sometimes find it hard to go back to what I have just written and edit it, but 99% of the time it is necessary. Whether you’re asking yourself the above questions, or simply checking to see if your sentences are well constructed.
    It is definitely sound advice. Thanks

  11. Great post Damian!!!!

    Your ability to fruitfully, yet concisely describe the essentials of a great blog post is a testament to your own abilities and writing skills. I read a great deal of blogs, and I have not come across an article that articulates these points so well.

    Another great post!!

  12. Why do think it is so easy to jump from “inspiration” to finished product without going back to reflect and edit our work? I wonder if it hits as to the motive of our writing. If I am writing for myself I am tempted to post thoughts quickly and if I am writing for the benefit of others I am burdened by the responsibility to post worthwhile content. I do both and am learning as I go but I was just curious of other people’s thoughts.

  13. One thing I’ve been working on is going back and making sure my paragraphs are small enough and have logical progression.

    So if there’s a second step, I make a new paragraph.

    And making more bulleted lists.

    I know I find those easier when I’m reading.

  14. great advice for any Blogger. I know sometimes it is difficult to keep the information flowing, and have something readable at the end.

    I am going to be keeping this information in mind when I Post to my blog. Sometimes SEO can be a bit technical, and I will need to take the time to make sure my audience can clearly understand the points.

  15. Good post as usual.

  16. Ah, cuts to the quick, this post. I think we all probably do very well at a few things on this list, and generally suck at others. I know I often need to get to the point quicker. I get wrapped up in my own musings, thinking I’m drawing the reader in, and I could be pushing them away. Thanks for the helpful thoughts !

  17. Trying to incorporate all of these ideas is not an easy task.. But it bears consideration

  18. That’s why you succeed Brian..What a good post.

  19. Your high school teacher came up with that 1:9 inspiration:perspiration ratio, huh? I always thought it was Thomas Edison. ;-)

    db

  20. great advice
    i will try to my blog

  21. Thanks for the great post! Ka-Ching!

    One question that’s important for me personally, “Was that post a pleasure to write? Fun? A hoot?”

    If it was a grind to write, it might be a gruelling to read. Give it 24 hours to rest; then go back to edit or scrap it. Perhaps a total re-write!

  22. In the end I am just glad that I could answer all of them honestly and feel good about it .. sometimes one needs posts such as these to be sure about being on the right path..

  23. One of the things I’ve improved upon is stating the point of my post in the first 50 words. I figure that’s all I have for them to decide whether to stay or go. The first sentence or two has to be powerful and compelling. After I’m done editing the whole post, I go back and spend as much time editing just the opening. The rest of my post doesn’t matter if they never get to it!

  24. Oooh. Pretty bold, red font to leave a comment.

    Sigh. Your right. I need to polish up my posts. Now that I’m surfing the blogosphere, I can see what not to do.

    One of the things you do well (point 6) is how big your bold titles are. It does a great job of chunking the text for scanning.

  25. Great Questions to ask yourself,… i need to ask them more before i post on my blog!!!!!!!!

  26. Thanks for writing this.. I started out recently so I’ll keep these pointers in mind

    – Will

  27. you really have a point, ask yourself first before doing something for you to determine whats right and wrong :)

  28. This is a great read – certainly it brings to mind a lot of things we have to look out for when preparing our posts and writing our blogs. I always try not to publish too early and fast and sit back to see if I can improve it further.

  29. very useful. I will be bearing these things in mind the next time that i post :)

  30. All good common sense points…but it always helps to refresh with these and make sure you are writing for your customers. Thanks for the post.

  31. Apparently, this kind of post should remind all bloggers to use their heart and common sense before they post.

    I remember myself writing about the same topic almost 4 months ago.

    But of course, your post is more profound and detailed.

    Thanks for reminding us again.

  32. Excellent article.Point #3 “how helpful is my content?” I think this is the most important part.People visit a blog often to find good and useful information.If you can provide that, you are half way there.

    Many people concentrate on the wrong things, like making their blogs pretty.

  33. Having just started a blog I found your comments to be very useful

  34. These are excellent points to keep in mind. I’m printing this to tack above my desk as a reminder, sometimes we do get in to a bit of a hurry and forget our purpose! Thanks!

  35. Some awesome tips. I am sure each blogger can benefit from these points. 10% creation and rest 90% editing ratio you mentioned was something which need further elaboration. Thank you for sharing.

  36. Thanks for the excellent advice for blogging……all bloggers should read this article.

  37. Thoughts to ponder. I think one of my greatest weaknesses in my writing is not being thorough enough. In RL, I tend to get a bit long winded and I don’t want that to be true about my writing. I could always say more but I’m concerned that the reader will grow frustrated at the length of the post and miss the point completely. I guess it’s one of those catch 22. If the post is too short, they’re missing the point anyway…

  38. And 11 — does my post offer TOO MUCH info, no room for discussion, but hey, maybe that’s why you left that one out, so I’d leave this comment — you clever thing, you! :)