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Does Your Content Stink? Kind Of A Rebuttal

Posted by on Jul 8, 2010

A couple of days ago I came across a post that kind of intrigued me and kind of bothered me at the same time. Actually, my mind said it was fulfilling one of the points of the author, and in that case it probably worked as he expected. In another, however, I’m in almost full rebuttal mode, hence I’m writing about it on my site instead of his.

Abandoned Kits
Creative Commons License vladeb via Compfight

The post was titled 10 Signs That Says Your Content Sucks (updated 6/2015; the blog is gone now). Actually, though it said 10 signs, only 9 of them actually ask you a question for you to determine if your content stinks.

I have to say that I disagree that if these points apply in some fashion that it means your content stinks. I want you to read his post so I’m not going into full details with it, but I will at least mention what I’m countering. This means I won’t hit all his points; no need.

First point, journal entries. In essence, he says no one is interested in our lives. Actually, since I decided to be more personal on this blog, I’ve had way more traffic and received a heck of a lot more comments. Beforehand, I think many folks had no clue who I was or what I was about. You can play it too close to the vest in not divulging any personality sometimes. Remember what my most visited post is all about; it was personal and social commentary, and I doubt anyone learned much from it.

Second point, number of comments. The reality is that some of the best stuff written on the internet is not only never seen, but never commented on. Blogging turns out to be a community, and if you don’t give yourself to trying to reach out to others, unless you’re famous for some other reason, you’re going to get neither visitors or comments. Judging your content based on only comments is useless.

Third point, if time were the great predictor of how many comments people were going to get we’d all take a week putting together our posts. Every post isn’t a home run, just like every song on an album (or CD; I still like to refer to them as albums) isn’t a top 10 hit. If you’re looking for that kind of perfection you’re never going to attain it, and you risk alienating your audience because they have no idea when something new is coming.

Fourth point, fan mail. Yes, I get some fan mail. But I receive a heck of a lot more comments than fan mail. Truthfully, I didn’t start getting fan mail until probably the middle of last year; it threw me off initially. I tend to view it as some people wishing to express a point of view, but not wanting to be “outed” on the blog itself. On my business blog, I get a lot of email responses whenever I write on topics of racism and diversity instead of comments on the blog. Are those posts better, or are they scary enough for some folks to not want to put their name on it in the blogosphere?

Fifth point, hate mail. Why would I intentionally want to put out a post to receive hate mail? Who am I supposed to be, Rush Limbaugh? I don’t ever want hate mail; I’d rather be ignored if someone didn’t have the guts to post their rebuttal on my blog. However, I have received a version of hate mail twice ever; didn’t like it one bit, especially since one was on a tribute to my dad, thus it was way out of place.

Beautiful woman with grimace beacuse of bad smell. Isolated on white.
Creative Commons License Aqua Mechanical via Compfight

Sixth point, is it my responsibility to educate or expect someone to learn something from every post? It’s an interesting point, and one that I believe is what finally makes some people give up blogging. If you don’t diversify, you’re going to stagnate and want to go away.

Did anyone learn anything from my cleavage post (which I had to take down because Google hated it & took my page rank away for a year…), easily the most popular post ever on this blog? What about my story about losing and finding my keys? Were people entertained? Yup! Is there anything wrong with entertaining? Nope. Charles Barkley once said “I am not a role model”; well, he got that one wrong, but what’s not wrong is that “I am not everyone’s educator”. I’ll educate when I want to, but otherwise, as Wanda Sykes like to say, “I’m a be me.”

I think that’s enough. Chris actually made me think, which is good, even if I disagree with his premise. Darren Rowse’s blog gets plenty of comments, but at least half of his posts these days are written by someone else. Are those posts all great content, or are those people who visit because he’s the Problogger? Sometimes, lousy content gets lots of comments, even more than good content; I see it all the time. It’s about connections and community as much as the content. Without content, nothing moves. With good content, you’re afforded one type of opportunity; with bad content, you’re actually afforded another type of opportunity.

But does your content stink based on the number of comments you get? There’s no real way to affirm that. What say you?
 

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16 Comments »

One never knows what people will like or dislike. Some of my worse photos have gotten lots of attention. Go figure? I don’t anymore. I just do what makes me happy and hope some will want to come along for the ride.

Yeah, I have to disagree with a lot of what he says, too. Almost counter what most people tell you to do or avoid. Call it anti-blogging which might work for some people.

July 8th, 2010 | 10:27 AM
Mitch:

Thanks Scott. It was thought provoking, and it just might be what he was going for. I just didn’t like the measurement criteria.

July 8th, 2010 | 7:40 PM

Yes, sometimes. And I have to agree with you on many of your points. I have some posts that I am extremely proud of yet have low or no comments, yet a giveaway could garner a hundred comments. It’s really about what people want, what they want to comment on, time, money, time, caring, time, well, you get the point. Besides, I read more posts then I comment on and I suspect many others do as well.

July 8th, 2010 | 4:03 PM
Mitch:

I think we all do, Anne. Sometimes there’s just nothing to say, and other times you want to formulate something good, then get distracted and go away. There are a number of people who say we shouldn’t ever fully answer a question either, that we should make people ask us because that keeps them engaged. For me, I’d be enraged. And like you, I’m sometimes amazed that certain posts get no response when I know that I’d be the type to comment on it if I saw it.

July 8th, 2010 | 7:42 PM

It’s interesting that you mentioned adding personality to blog posts. I was just reading a few articles earlier about it.

You write about adding some personality in your writing, which works for you since this is a more personal blog relative to your consulting blog. What is your policy on adding personal posts to a technical blog? Did you make this one to keep the two blogs’ material separate?

July 8th, 2010 | 6:06 PM
Mitch:

Actually Keith, I created this blog because I was on one of those vanity sites spouting my opinions on stuff to keep it separate from my business blog and the thing suddenly went down for a couple of weeks. Overall I do talk about different things on the two blogs, but I doubt there’s anyone who would say that at least half of the things I write on my business blog don’t show personality, especially when I’m talking diversity issues. I think even when writing technical stuff that if you don’t inject a little bit of personality here and there, such as a personal opinion or how it personally impacts you, that it could be perceived as “stuffy”, and you never want to get that tag, whether you’re giving good information or not.

July 8th, 2010 | 7:45 PM

Personally I think a blog says a lot about a persons personality. When I first started blogging I was interested in just trying to write articles for search engines…

Later on I started posting stuff on my blog specifically for people who are in my email list.

As time went on I grew to learn that to be a good blogger you have to entertain, educate and create.

I started to learn stuff that to really get comments on your blog.. You indeed need to leave good comments on other peoples blog.

The real power of blogging is within the blog community, not the search engines.

For the record,

There are many many times that I read stuff that I think is great but don’t leave a comment because A. I am either to busy to really think about a good comment. Or B. I am just passing through. What I am getting in a habit of is re-tweeting stuff I like which I am about to do with this post…

Thanks for sharing!
Larry

July 8th, 2010 | 6:52 PM
Mitch:

Great stuff, Larry, and it looks like you’ve gone through a blogging metamorphosis, which I applaud you for. When I started this blog, I wasn’t really sure how I wanted to write either, but one day I just came to it and decided to be me, and on that day I think things really started to work for me.

July 8th, 2010 | 7:46 PM

Well,
I like what you said here but since am into blogging world new, I think what matters most is your personality. it doesn’t matter about the content once you’re writing from your heart and getting a traffic you want.

Some of us believed that by getting a 100 comments in a day is a sign of a good content.

I disagree with Chris because he doesn’t know what he was saying though.

Thanks for sharing this and am going to pass it on now..

God bless

July 9th, 2010 | 2:43 AM
Mitch:

Thanks Valentine. I wouldn’t necessarily say he doesn’t know what he’s saying, just that he’s taken a different point of view on it than I have.

July 9th, 2010 | 10:03 AM

There’s such diversity in just the blogs I’ve seen, and I’m still new at this. I don’t see how you can come up with a set of rules or guidelines that aren’t either so specific that they apply to a very thin slice of the population, or so general that they’re basically useless.

What I like about your blog, Mitch, is the balance of technical advice and personal observations and experiences. I never know what I’m going to find, which is one of the reasons I show up every day or two to see what’s there. There’s a human being behind your posts — one minute you’re giving an in-depth critique of some software or book, and the next you’re describing your struggles with your workout program, or the loss of a friend. I can see how someone else may not welcome such variety, but for me, it’s great stuff.

Okay. I’ve buttered you up enough for today.

July 9th, 2010 | 10:31 AM
Mitch:

Thanks Charles. If I were the type to blush, I might be blushing now; but I’m not. lol

You know, there are statements on telling people how to bring visitors and the like, and those things are either good or useless. However, trying to determine why people do or don’t leave comments is always up to speculation. I think it’s hard to say that bad content doesn’t bring comments because I’ve seen many badly written blogs that get a lot of comments, and some very beautifully written blogs that get hardly no comments. Even the top bloggers, who supposedly have always given great content, had almost no comments with their early material.

I think you write wonderfully also, and the day you move to a self hosted blog, you’re going to make lots of money! 😉

July 9th, 2010 | 10:01 PM
Val:

Hmmm… well, I read that post by Chris and also clicked on another of his posts and my feeling is this: for someone who has set himself up as an information guru, his blog sucks! I wouldn’t want to comment on it.
😉
(And before anyone has a go at me, that’s just my opinion, humble or otherwise!)

The thing that strikes me about his sort of post – which, obviously I know, is intended to be for people with business blogs as people like myself with personal ones are coming at it from a whole different perspective – is that it’s taking the whole idea of blogging out of context. Even for people in business, surely the whole point is to make contact with people on a human level and relate to them as human beings, not just numbers, quantities of comments. It’s dehumanising the human element of the internet.

Unlike Blogging With Chris’s blog, yours is worth commenting in. It has interesting content and you’re a decent and nice human being.

July 10th, 2010 | 11:45 AM
Mitch:

Thanks Val. You know I write a business blog as well, and it doesn’t get close to as much attention as this one does. It’s a bit more direct as it concerns business, and also tackles some tough topics in a different way than this one does. I don’t believe it gets a lack of attention because the content is bad, but because it’s for a much different audience. Sometimes being personable or honest will get you attention or not, but either way it doesn’t necessarily generate lots of comments. If that were the only arbiter for one’s blog, we’d all have editors screening our stuff before it was allowed to be on the internet.

July 10th, 2010 | 12:33 PM
Rose:

This is just crazy. If a blogs content was based purely on how many comments a post receives then my blog totally sucks.

July 13th, 2010 | 11:22 PM
Mitch:

I’m with you, Rose; I’d probably have to kill myself. lol

July 14th, 2010 | 3:39 AM