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Misleading Titles, Disappointing Blog Content

Posted by on Mar 14, 2016

I’ve got to admit that sometimes I wonder if I have a mean streak. I wondered that after I added an addendum to my last post on spam where I gave the information of the guy who’s paid someone twice to leave a spam comment on my blog… the same comment, including the same comment I highlighted in the post; ugh!

Exam Blues
Robin Hutton via Compfight

I thought about it after I did it, then I came to a conclusion; nope, not one bit! Sometimes you have to call a duck a duck even if it’s swimming in gold coins (y’all know that one lol). If it’s purporting itself to be something it’s not, and we’re drawn in by it, then it deserves to be called out for disappointing us.

This brings me to today’s topic, which you see above. I wrote an article almost exactly 2 years ago where I talked about titles, how important they are or aren’t, what the expectation is of the reader when they see the title, and I pretty much ended that article with this line: Don’t play with the audience’s emotions.

When I wrote my post about popups a month ago, I mentioned that I visited lots of blogs every single day and that popups that show when I first get to the site are the most irksome thing I have to deal with and how much I hate it. The second most irksome thing I deal with is visiting a blog or website whose title looks intriguing, only to realize early on that it’s actually garbage.

What makes something garbage when it comes to blogs? Basically it’s one of two things. The first is an article that ends up having nothing to do with the topic. The second is an article promising that it’s going to give you something new and then ends up being a rehash of things we’ve already seen hundreds of times.

I’ve had this particular debate with some long time bloggers. They’re of the opinion that even if something isn’t new to us that it’s new to others. I always agree with that premise. I also always say that’s not my issue; my issue is that someone basically copied what someone else wrote, maybe changed a word or two here and there, and has just delivered an almost perfect carbon copy of the words of others. That’s really my biggest gripe; I don’t care that people talk about the same subject but really, does it take that much effort to have a little bit of originality or the writer’s personality when delivering the same thing again?

Most School Spirit, Senior Superlatives, Fayetteville High School, 1952
North Carolina Digital Heritage Center
via Compfight

Here comes the possibly mean part I alluded to earlier. This one bothered me so much because the title was pretty catchy and drew me in. The title is 15 Blogging Tips and Tricks to Make Your Blog Stand Out, and the link, in case you want to read it, is www.seogdk.com/2016/03/15-blogging-tips-and-tricks-to-make.html. I’m definitely not highlighting these things but at least I’m sharing them so you can make your own decision as to whether the post, a guest post by the way, delivers on its promise. Meanwhile, what I’m going to do it highlight some of the topics and talk about why they don’t make anything “pop”.

Decide Your Blogging Niche

Beginner 101; what is your blog about? True, a lot of people who decide to get into blogging aren’t sure what they want to write about, so it’s not bad advice. It’s just not advice that’s going to make anyone’s blog “pop”. It’s direction might help your blog become successful, depending on what you consider success being, but there’s nothing exciting about figuring out what you’re going to write about.

Design Your Blog Properly

The problem with this bit of advice is that it’s way too vague to be helpful. There are some marvelously designed blogs that are eye catching; I’ll acknowledge that. But when you think about proper blog design in general, you have to agree that all blogs are pretty much the same. There’s an area for content, an area for comments (if the blogger cares), an area to advertise or show other stuff in sidebars, a header, possibly a footer (I don’t have one; oops)… that’s pretty much it. That’s “proper” blog design; other things might make a blog “pop”, but as I sit here thinking about it right now the only blog coming to my mind that has real visual pop belongs to The Jack B; it’s visually stunning and he’s a character. 🙂

Add About & Privacy Page

Pop? Really? An About page is a necessity because if your content has engaged people then they might want to know who they’re dealing with. If you’re hoping to do business in any way this is an important page to have.

The privacy page? There’s nothing “popping” about that. It’s not even a necessity for most blogs or businesses, since, if you’re predisposed to do so, you can mention something about it in your About page.

Proper Keyword Research

If you were in college this would be considered a 3rd year topic of discussion. There’s nothing “popping” about it either, but for those of you who are into a specific niche this could be something pretty important to you. The thing about keyword research (which I don’t do for any of my blogs but have done for my websites) is that it’s mostly important for long term success than anything else. That can be pretty important so it’s good advice and something some folk should learn more about, but it’s not going to be the concern of a majority of bloggers.

God Never Condemns - Kelly O'Dell Stanley Quote
Creative Commons License Kevin Shorter via Compfight

Don’t be a CopyCat

Once again, this is great advice, but the writer is talking about not plagiarizing what others write more than what I talk about, which is to try to be unique. This is the first topic title that’s different than the norm only because she changed up the words, but have you noticed all the other topics are the exact wording of things you’ve seen before? Don’t worry; the rest of the topics will be the same also.

Write Quality Content

Ugh; I hate this one with a passion almost every time I see it… and I see it often. Even now, I still haven’t met anyone else who’s ever written anything telling others what high quality content is besides me… yes, that’s a link to another one of my posts. 🙂 I’m not saying I’m the premiere authority on what quality content is; what I’m saying is that no one else is even trying to give people their opinion on what it is. They just keep quoting that same, tired statement over and over; folks, don’t you want more than that? Of course, not all that many people have done a video about it…
 


https://youtu.be/0lqXyG9qVDM

Update Consistently

Are you excited? Do you have goose bumps? Do you feel the “pop”? No? Listen, this is once again pretty good advice while not really saying anything. If you’re going to have a blog it’s assumed that you have the intention of writing every once in a while. The more you can write, the better the opportunity you’ll have to connect with others. It’s a necessity for blogging success; it’s just not anything that’s going to push you higher into the stratosphere.

Joyfully sharing
Creative Commons License Quinn Dombrowski via Compfight

Give Some Time to Social Share

I actually have mixed thoughts on this one, but decided to include it. It’s important to promote your blog posts on social media while not overdoing it. Doing so could help you get more visitors and comments, help your posts get ranked higher, and even generate income somehow. Depending on how skilled a marketer you are, it actually could make your blog “pop”.

On the flip side, if you’re content doesn’t support your marketing, the pop is temporary and misleading, which leaves people disappointed. Kind of like how I found this article on Flipboard, which is good marketing, and was unhappy when I saw how it was written; ugh.

Use Google Analytics

Now we’re into back end research, which is good to do if you want to track traffic or campaigns, but has absolutely nothing to do with your blog specifically in helping it make any impact on your audience. At this point I’m wondering if I’m taking the “pop” inference a bit too literal… nah!

Build Your Email List

Maybe the “pop” here relates to those hated popups I’ve already railed against up above (and here and here), but it’s not what the writer’s saying. It’s not that she’s incorrect; a proper mailing list can help most bloggers grow their subscriber base so they’re easier to market to, and it could help them be more successful. But does that impact the visitors to the blog or the content in any positive way? Does it really do anything more than make the blog owner feel good?

By count I griped about 67% of what was written on that other blog post. Please go check it out and tell me if I was too harsh or maybe didn’t know what I was talking about; I’m not scared. However, whether you think I was mean or spot on or you’re somewhere in the middle, you have to admit that what I gave you was not only right on point with my title but was definitely original, even if it’s something I’ve touched on before on this blog.

Is a little originality on common topics really too much to ask for?
 

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30 Comments »

Favour:

Hi Mitch,

A very useful Write-up here.

I was forced to laugh when i saw this “Don’t be a CopyCat”

I must say that many bloggers are fully-grown copycats that needs to be flogged or, maybe advised rather 🙂

Thank you for this informative write-up.

It was indeed helpful.

March 14th, 2016 | 11:51 PM

Thanks (is your name really Favour?). I’m thinking advised would work better than a flogging; I certainly wouldn’t want to be on either end of that type of transaction. lol Just a little bit of originality; that would be nice to see.

March 15th, 2016 | 6:28 PM
Akaahan Terungwa:

Hi Mitch,

A little originality on common topic is not too much to ask for if:

1. You are creative (in the first place)
2. Know the subject matter (like the back of your hand) &
3. Are prepared to help your audience (in a most sincere fashion).

From the entry you just dissected, the author lacks all three elements and a close look at the original article (where it appeared) indicates that the post is a guest entry and the poster is interested in links, traffic, exposure or all three.

Like your last entry, this is a sad issue that is gaining currency by the second…and even the so called ‘A List’ blogs are damn guilty…I know I see a lot of trash on them and have since stopped wasting my bandwidth and time on many.

Do enjoy the day!

Always,
Akaahan Terungwa

P.S.

I like what you’re doing here and not not consider the possibility of you having a mean streak…if we all take on poor quality and less than ideal practices like you have, the blogosphere will be 10 times better.

Believe me.

March 15th, 2016 | 3:38 AM

Thanks Akaahan. I do it in the spirit of trying to help someone who I really don’t believe would understand what’s wrong with the article. I used to get all sorts of those types of things when I accepted guest posts on my finance blog; it’s dull and mundane and never an original thought; ugh. Sometimes criticism can seem mean, but since I don’t know this person I have no emotional attachment to what I said in this post about that article.

That and I still left her 5 things I have no problem with. 🙂

March 15th, 2016 | 6:33 PM

Hello Mitch Mitchell,

Indeed the title we choose for our blogs, should be an appropriate one.
People often end up with wrong tittles, which carry away their customers.
The content too goes in the waist, depending upon your tittle.

All things which you include should have a a proper quality content.

Very informative post to share among.
Thank you.

Shantanu sinha
Shantanu Sinha recently posted…Myself Shantanu Sinha, and here’s 20 Things you don’t know about meMy Profile

March 15th, 2016 | 4:32 AM

Thanks Shantanu. With as many blogs as I visit a day, I get “fooled” all the time and that irks me. Most of the time I just leave, but in this case I decided that it would make both a good blog post and a lesson for anyone who might be thinking about making this kind of mistake with their posts.

March 15th, 2016 | 6:36 PM

The problem is most new bloggers are more concerned about SEO and page rank (which is defunct), rather than on providing valuable content which will organically extend their reach. Their posts are fluff, stuffed with key words and provide little value if any. Titles fall under the same heading. Thanks for sharing Mitch 🙂
Kathleen recently posted…Demi Daze Starts Today!My Profile

March 15th, 2016 | 10:32 AM

Thanks for your comment Kathleen. I think you’re probably right; SEO and keywords are always the last thing I recommend to anyone who’s just learning how to blog. Way too much work; even after all these years I still don’t do any keyword research because… well, I just ain’t got time! lol

March 15th, 2016 | 6:38 PM

Hi Mitch,

Thank you for the shout out, it is much appreciated.

I don’t mind people writing about the same topics, I just wish they would insert their own take into them.
Jack recently posted…Sometimes You Fight The Devil…InsideMy Profile

March 15th, 2016 | 2:34 PM

Glad to do it Jack, and that’s really all I want also.

March 15th, 2016 | 6:38 PM

Hello Mitch,

“Don’t play with the audience’s emotions”, completely agree with you, playing with their emotions is like playing your own goodwill, ultimately harming ourselves.

We often see titles which promise something new and useful but end up getting either old things written by someone else or not as much useful as the title was.

Duplication : I had done this, but I am not ashamed to admit this as at that time I was a newbie and hardly knew anything about blogging. So I forgive myself 😛

Talking about titles then if you’re creating title to build a craze, for example “This is why apple don’t make a good laptop” (I had read this title somewhere) then the content inside should be equal to the craze you’ve already built. Isn’t it?

Thank You,
Karan
Karan Bhagat recently posted…Access Google Chrome Store Apps Right From Your Desktop and TaskbarMy Profile

March 15th, 2016 | 10:42 PM

I’ve always thought so Karan, but there are lots of misleading titles and people teaching others how to create them. I’m not the best at titles; never have been. But I hope that whatever I write I deliver not only what I promise but something at least a little bit different than what others have said, even if the topics are the same.

March 16th, 2016 | 12:37 AM

Hi Mitch,
My first time at your blog and this is a great post to start with.

having a blog that stands out is a key to success in blogging. I completely agree that our audience is that which makes us who we are and we should not play with their emotions.

I personally think that bloggers should worry more about their content quality and valuable inputs rather than talking about SEO.

Choosing a blog niche is very important because something that doesn’t make us wake up at 4 am isn’t something you should be doing.

Great post. this will help the newbies and even the already bloggers to reevaluate what went wrong. 🙂
-Swadhin

March 18th, 2016 | 1:01 AM

Thanks Swadhin; I try to help, even if at times I might be a bit sarcastic at it. Blogging can be fun, and it can be profitable, but it works better if people show at least a little bit of originality.

March 18th, 2016 | 8:45 AM

Well said, ! It is frustrating to be drawn in by a tantalizing title only to be disappointed with the actual content.

March 19th, 2016 | 4:55 AM

Yup. Hopefully someone will learn from this.

March 19th, 2016 | 10:53 PM

Hi Mitch, This is informative post especially for newbies.
As you said, the title is very important in order to get our post at the top of the google search. Without a proper title, even a 5000 words content become worthless.
Publishing a post is easy but primary work for that post like do a good research, select a perfect title with high-quality keywords, etc.. are the hard things.
The one who understand that basic scenario will be the successful blogger.
Thanks again for shared this awesome post, Mitch.
Thyrone recently posted…7 Of The Most Popular Perfumes For Women – Top FragrancesMy Profile

March 20th, 2016 | 2:33 AM

Thyrone, I’m the worst at titles most of the time. So I have to rely on my content to help me get by. Those who are better at it can leave us feeling cheated and having wasted our time, and I tend to believe that more people are irritated by that than what might be considered a bad title.

That’s why I write posts like this from time to time, hoping that not only new people but even some existing folks will think about their content before regurgitating the same words others have said.

March 20th, 2016 | 10:55 PM

Yep, nothing new there Mitch. Not that I’m going to check that post out but I bet you most of the comments tell the author what a great job they’ve done writing the post and how much it’s helped them.

Don’t know what’s worse, the luck lustre post or the commenters brown nosing in order to get some brownie points 😉
Peter recently posted…Best Australian Sports Betting SitesMy Profile

March 20th, 2016 | 3:24 AM

That’s interesting Pete because I wondered the same thing. You’re right, everyone who commented on that post praised the writer for what she said, yet truthfully not a single one of those folk actually addressed a single point in the article.

March 20th, 2016 | 10:56 PM

Hey Mitch,

That was superb. You just treated one of the obstacles that prevents bloggers(newbies especially) from being successful online. Content is king, as a blogger, your paramount priority should be your content. Having bad contents will automatically chase your readers away leaving you in frustration. Having a nice title is cool as well, however, as we strive to produce great contents we shouldn’t ignore the search engines as this will go in long way in improving your sites value.

Thanks for sharing

~Chinedu
Chinedu Ngwu recently posted…Submitting Your Next Job Application – 6 Things to KnowMy Profile

March 20th, 2016 | 4:52 AM

Well, yes and no Chinedu. Having a great title will certainly bring people in but it’s the content itself that’s more valuable long term to a site’s SEO. The thing is, if your content is similar to someone else’s content, no originality, then search engines have no reason to rank the new site because they absolutely know it’s a copy.

March 20th, 2016 | 10:58 PM

Thanks for that. Just when I think I have got a grasp on things, I get more information that sends my mind exploding. I write titles and I am just starting to learn about google rankings and there is a wealth of information out there.
Purushottam Thakur recently posted…Top Best Free Search Engine Submission Tools – 2016My Profile

May 3rd, 2016 | 11:44 AM

There’s certainly a lot of information Uttam, and one can get caught up in all of it. We just do the best we can to learn what we need and move on from there.

May 4th, 2016 | 12:47 AM

Clocking is the perfect example for this. Title and description are the most impotent part in digital marketing.

Content visibility is very much important, because with good content and improper visibility, you good content is useless. 🙂 🙂

I always keep this in mind 😀 . After all I’m still learning
Julian Wang recently posted…Want To Use Chromecast Audio Multi-Room Group Playback?My Profile

May 4th, 2016 | 4:04 AM

Julian, what’s clocking? I’d agree that content visibility is important but if the content is bad it affects people worse, especially if it’s a guest post.

May 4th, 2016 | 11:44 AM

Cloaking means presenting differing things to the Bot and the visitors. Google Never ask for great content. Google just need unique and fresh content. If content is bad, 60% of SEO get failed (not include E-commerce websites). If our product is not ready then how could we introduce it for sale in the market :). Our reader can be of any age group. Some may have eyesight problem, Some grow old. For that point of view, I say content visibility is very must.

I read your few posts and I found your content is visible 100%. you know your audience very well 🙂
Julian Wang recently posted…How To Setup Chromecast On 5 GHz Band?My Profile

May 4th, 2016 | 11:59 PM

Thanks Julian. Actually I know what cloaking is but you wrote clocking so I thought it might be something different. lol

I like to think I know my audience but I figure to pretty much write what I might want to read and hope others enjoy it as well… even if sometimes some folk think some of the posts are too long. 🙂

May 5th, 2016 | 12:07 AM

Hi,
The truth just has to be said even though its bitter, copycat bloggers are lazy but yet want to rip bountifully from blogging, it won’t certainly work out for sure, my point is even if you copy, add some originality to it, it won’t hurt to add your own perspective to the article.

What annoys me most is when I receive guest post request, only for me to check it out and realise that it is a bunch of trash or completely copied from somewhere else. I just think we could make the blogosphere a bit better for everyone if we all can be more original.
Obodo Charles recently posted…How To Make Money With A Low Traffic BlogMy Profile

May 8th, 2016 | 2:06 AM

Odobo, that’s one reason why I almost never accept a guest post unless I ask someone to write one on a topic I think they know better than I do. A lot of the writing is either boring or stolen; no one wants to read that stuff.

May 8th, 2016 | 3:08 PM
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