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Communications, Rants

Nineteen ways to piss off your readers

I was going to write ‘piss your readers off’ but then I realised that ending a sentence with a preposition would upset even more people…

(Feel free to correct me if ‘off’ is not a preposition in this case!)

  1. Talk about yourself to the exclusion of your readers;
  2. Write about the same subject as every other blog site;
  3. Use jargon and acronyms, even well known TLAs;
  4. Expect your readers to be dumber than you;
  5. Talk about a gadget / thing / tool / place as if everyone in the world has one / knows what it is / knows where it is;
  6. Review a product or service without explaining that you get some cash from your review;
  7. Set yourself up to be the sole authority on a subject;
  8. Have an explosive title but fail to deliver on its promises;
  9. Have more than one spelling mistake;
  10. Have broken links (like when you get the wrong domain ending – .com instead of .net for example);
  11. Fail to date your article;
  12. Hide who you are;
  13. Force people to open another document (like Word or PowerPoint) just for a single photo or half a page of text;
  14. Publish too many ‘list posts’ (this is a list, and it’s my first one!);
  15. Write in a recursively tautological fashion (that’s bullshit for ‘blog about blogs’ – ‘talk about Facebook when we all know how Facebook works’ – ‘justify your arguments by linking to your own previous posts to prove your authority’ et cetera);
  16. Fail to provide links to useful sites and interesting people (I need to work on this);
  17. Write nine paragraphs about a fantastic product you’re selling, but only explain on the payment page that it’s just for Americans
  18. Confuse your opinion with fact;
  19. Argue with the lovely people who comment on your work – you’ve had your say, let others have theirs.

I’m told by the ‘10 steps to the perfect list post‘ that I need to order these nineteen items to make sure my top ones are really good ones, but looking through my list I’m happy with how they came out. I particularly wish to stress how annoying numbers 2, 7,8, 11, 13 and 17 are, so perhaps they should be my ‘top six’ (but I understand I should have a top five, not six).

Anyway, can you give me a really good one (or bad one) for number twenty?

I don’t mind explaining that, while I’ve been writing and web publishing for many years, this is the first time I’ve been so actively focused on my readership; I really don’t want to piss you off, so I’m trying to focus on what’s good to read, and blogging best practices – am I falling down on anything?

How’s my writing? Text 07950705258 if you see me writing without due care and consideration for other superhighway users.

[Wedge]

About Wedge

I’m Wedge, and this is my website! I’ve worked within internal communications since 2004, managing intranets and digital comms. Now I’m a freelance comms and intranet specialist - I help organisations plan and improve their intranets. I work with other agencies, and write a lot of blog and magazine articles. I founded the Intranet Now conference. You can catch up with me on Twitter - I’m @Wedge.

One thought on “Nineteen ways to piss off your readers

  • I think it’s okay to do 15 in some circumstances.
    i.e. you’re following up on something you wrote earlier.

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