How to write a bloody awful blog post – update

It’s more than four years since this tongue-in-cheek article about business blogging appeared and looking at it again, I find it utterly terrifying.

writing bloody awful blog posts HTWB
Why? Because so little has changed. So little has improved. Day after day businesses are still churning out the bullsh*t I rather cruelly outline below.

So, Google, much as I would love to have updated the article to show how far we have come in four years’ worth of blogging experience, if I am to be honest with you, I can’t update a damned thing apart from one or two small points…

Let’s blog badly … and at least have a laugh about it

writing bad blog posts on HTWB

Make sure you don’t write anything to keep your readers interested or enthused about your product/service

Are you still getting bored with articles advising you on how to blog better, all banging on about the same bland clichés? How to sell squillions’ worth of whatever via super posts in social media if you “invest” your hard-earned cash only to receive the same old garbage that the blog gurus duplicate like rabbits er, procreating in the springtime? How to grab your readers by the throat and get there, they’re, oh yes – their – undivided loyalty to your product or service even if your speling and grammer is terrible (‘cos bloggin’ ain’t the same as writin,’ so it don’t matter?)

Here’s how to do it not just badly, but atrociously. Yeee Hah!

Get their attention with a headline they’ve seen 952 times before

Ever since Dale Carnegie wrote his popular book “How To Win Friends And Influence People,” people latched on to the idea that writing a headline for any form of business-based article would work perfectly provided that it began with the words “how to” and from there you could add more or less any tail end and you’d get them falling over each other to buy your stuff. I am guilty of this, so mea culpa, but at least I approach a lot of my associated blog posts with a sense of humour.

Why not try it? And of course all capitalized in the US-preferred way that makes you read in hiccups, because the gurus think All Capitals Make Anything Short Of A Shopping List Look Important…

How To Reassure Your Clients That You’re Honest Even Though You’re Scr*wing Them Stupid

How To Get Lots Of New Business By Lying Through Your Teeth

How To Spot The Fake Social Media Expert In This Post

…And so-on.

For lots more (and more serious) articles on how and what to write for your blog, click right here on HTWB

Use images that illustrate absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the topic

why are some blog posts so bad HTWB

Inane, vulgar images that suggest fame and fortune are fab, never mind what your blog post is all about

Everyone understands that you’re in a hurry when you write your blog posts, yeah? Of course they do. So don’t bother searching for copyright-free images that enhance and embellish your words – waste of time.

Just trawl the internet for a few minutes and grab hold of any old garbage that vaguely suggests “business” and “success.”

Bar and column charts with a large arrow pointing upwards (never downwards) are just fab, even if your blog post is about minimizing the odour of cat poop in your exciting new kitty litter product. Ditto shots of smiling humans as long as they’re wearing business suits of course, and preferably represent a good spread of ethnic variety. If all else fails, slap in a question mark or a pretty flower.

And of course, only bother to put one image in, somewhere near the top, even if the rest of your post is solid text with paragraphs the length of War and Peace. Who looks at pictures, anyway?

Update: yes, this is still happening despite the fact that in the last four years the amount of copyright-free images has grown exponentially and there is now a superb choice. Of course that depends on a) knowing where to look and b) taking the trouble to choose well. Hmmm.

Ensure that keywords are used to the max: after all, clicks and backlinks are all that counts

Long ago and far away we learned that keywords are pretty much all that counts in shoving your blogposts up Google’s nose. A while back Google tried to spook us off doing that but hey – it’s still easy and Google won’t notice if you overdo it!

All you need is to get those keywords into your text as often as possible, without of course overdoing the keywords as to overdo keywords might be seen by readers as something of a keywords overkill. Mind you, because keywords are so important in this context you would be justified in stressing the importance of such keywords because readers might not understand the significance of keywords unless they were to have keywords repeated in one paragraph (about keywords) 9 times or more.

Update: we are now beginning to get the hang of such darkly techie SEO terms like “intuitive searches,” “latent semantic indexing,” and other phrases that also sound like psycho-babble. But despite these considerable improvements Google is making to the whole search experience, you would be amazed at how many business owners – and so-called SEO experts – are still stuffing keywords in all over the place. Makes you want to weep…

Focus your blog post on “you,” …whoever and however….

Years ago there was this advertising guru called David Ogilvy (he was the one who said “the consumer is not an idiot; she is your wife.” Soon after he was roasted on a spit and eaten in New York City by women who, similarly, were not idiots, but thankfully were not vegetarians, either.)

Consequently all good advertising, marketing, political and other desperate organizations who want to sell stuff have followed Ogilvy’s advice and talked to “you.” This concept has now followed us into the social media and blogging culture, e.g.:

Could Your Insipid Nature Be Why You Can’t Sell Diddly Squat To Your Customer Base?

You Can Reduce Your Stress In 10 Seconds By Clicking Away From This Boring Post

Why You Are Such A Hilarious Yet Predictable Failure

Don’t forget the numbers game

Social media gurus go on at some lengths to tell you that heralding your blog post with a number – e.g. “XX best ways to…” is a failsafe way to get traffic. Once again, mea culpa, but ….

10 Top Tips On Getting The Fastest Clicks Away From Your Site

2,870 Detailed Tips On How To Quickly Grab And Hold Readers’ Attention

7 Killer Ways To Kill All Interest In What You’re Trying To Promote

And finally, the all-famous Call To Action (a.k.a. CTA…)

why some blog posts are bloody awful HTWB

Be sure to make the call to action as blatant and hideous as possible

Unless you’re just writing blog posts for fun or for general interest we have to assume that they’re trying to sell something. No-one gives information away for free, right? There’s no such thing as a free lunch, right? So let’s get jiggy here as my good friend Kriss Akabusi would say, and think of some bloody awful CTAs (still with all words Capitalized Of Course)…

So Don’t Just Sit There With Your Stupid Mouth Gaping Open – Click Here And Get My Stuff Now

Much As You Should Buy My Product, Do Yourself A Favor And Get My Competitor’s Product Because It’s Better, Cheaper, And I Get An Affilate Fee Anyhow

Buy, Buy, Buy – Anything, I Don’t Give A Flying F*** As Long As It’s Something Of Mine

More ways to write a bloody awful blog post

Just have a look around the internet – Google “blogging coaches;” that will give you a good start – and copy what you see in the vast majority of me-too posts from all those gurus who proclaim spectacular expertise in blogging.

Update: they don’t call themselves “blogging coaches” so much these days. Perhaps they have given up trying, although you will still find similar types lurking under the headings of “social media experts,” “digital marketers,” and of course “blogging experts.” If you want to have some fun with them, point out that none of them are “marketers” – what they’re doing, or trying to do rather badly, is provide “marketing communications.”

Marketing is quite different: the “four Ps” are 1)Product, 2)Price, 3)Place and 4)Promotion and what all these kiddies are actually doing only fits into number 4. This proven fact is a great bullsh*t stopper at networking events .. try it some time. 

What’s the worst or most useless blogging advice you have seen? Please share!

Mischieverse is Suzan St Maur's first book of naughty, humorous poetry ... coming soon from Corona Books UK.Thinking of buying some gifts for folks with a good sense of humour? Check out my latest book of hilarious and somewhat rude poems about the things that get up our noses every day … perfect to chuckle over. In print or Kindle.
Some samples here.
Buy it here.
“An amusing sideways look at anything and everything … the perfect gift.” A E Rawson, novelist.
You’ll love it.

photo credit: Aaron Jacobs via photopin cc
photo credit: rick via photopin cc




  1. Darn…I’ve just spent ages writing a post with a title that starts with a number 😉

    I guess like most things in life, everything is OK in moderation. Posts that start with a number can be very effective, can’t they? I also read a blog where the writer uses images on her posts that have nothing to do with the actual post – they do, however, always follow the same theme, which seems to be a key part of her identity.

    • You’re absolutely right, of course, Angela. What counts is the intelligent use of any of these formats. However what irks me is the way that people abuse the formats by slinging any old garbage into the content and hoping that – because according to the gurus “lists are popular” and “an image helps to attract readers to your post,” etc. – the format alone will get them the traffic.

  2. Oops – I think I’ve been guilty of most of those at one time or another! Time to rethink my blogging style ….

    • Don’t bother rethinking your blogging style, Jane – it’s fine, because what you say is very interesting and worthwhile reading! As I’ve intimated elsewhere to Angela, what is so annoying is the way the “gurus” somehow get across the message that the only blog posts that work are those which use the “cookie cutter” formats and it almost doesn’t matter what the hell you say as long as it fits into “10 top tips” or “7 myths about…” etc.

  3. I love how you pick up all the cliches about ‘blogging’ in such a funny way.
    What gets on my nerves about self proclaimed bloggers is when they get so carried away with being ‘authentic’ that they become arrogant and bossy.
    And if you can’t write properly – why not make a recording.

    • Thanks Lisa … at least I laugh at myself which is more than many so-called “blogging experts” can! Although I was once told that “blogging is different to writing” by a supposedly expert blogger (I wonder what she used to generate text for blog posts if she didn’t write them?) but of course writing – in the form of blogging – is the vehicle through which to share information, whether for business, entertainment or whatever. Too many people forget that and so fail to see the wood for the trees (a cliché, sorry!) … they just carry on rehashing the same old boring information time after time like 8 x reheated beef stew. Whoever said “content is king” was right, but sadly too few people were listening to him/her.

  4. Susan, this is a work of genius! Well, pretty bloody at least. It’s been a while since I read anything on blogging that made me smile and think quite so much. So, hands up, I’m guilty as charged. Thank you for giving me a kick to give my blogging a kick!

    • *close (oops, can’t even string a sentence together in a comment)

    • You’re too kind, Bryony! I’m hardly a genius but I do have the (metaphorical, because I’m a girl) balls to take the wee-wee out of myself and anyone else who might be guilty of perpetrating useless crap on the internet. Don’t worry too much about your blogging … by all means use the well-trodden formats but please continue to fill those in with good, rich, original, interesting content!

  5. This is amazing Suzan; I’ve read posts like this before but yours is definitely the wittiest to date. You’ve made me a bit jealous that I can’t come up with something like this 🙁 I’m probably guilty of most the things in your list at some point or another too.

    • No worries Amy, I use the classic blog formats all the time and as I’ve said elsewhere … just look at the name of this site! Thanks so much for your kind words and I’m so pleased you enjoyed the article. I also took the liberty of looking up your site and see you’re in Nottingham … home of Boots and their erstwhile TV studio for which I wrote many, many training video scripts and co-directed several of the productions. Have always had a soft spot for Nott. ever since – great city, fab social life… Also have followed you all over the SocMed.

  6. Hilarious, this just about made my day! These are indeed the classic bloggers tropes, now every time I catch myself about you use one I’ll be thinking of this post…

  7. I love your wittiness Suzan.

    Once in a while I use numbers in my blog post titles and I think about keywords to use there but not as much in the body text. I think of the audience I’m writing for and write to them so THEY understand.

    And of course I write and spell properly 🙂 I can’t help myself. It’s in my genes, I guess. I always won spelling bees in elementary school and taught “reading and writing” for the eight years that I taught, too.

    So I agree with you that “gurus” make it sound as if language is not important in writing and sell their “way to write a perfect blog post”.

  8. Thanks for the tips. I have been new to the world of blogging and currently still finding ways to improve my posts.
    However, I still don’t really agree with the tips of using images that are not related.

  9. Haha, great post, great humour. I’ve just opened up my site for guest posting so will no doubt get a few howlers. Maybe i should send them here first for some tips…

    • Hi Stuart – glad you enjoyed this. Yes, by all means send your guest posters over here for an induction read … might save you wading through lots of unsuitable material for your blog! Sz xx

  10. Easily the most no-nonsense article i’ve ever read about writing a good blog post. It was the title that got me hooked, and then i just kept reading! Have linked to it via Blog Bods so more people can read it. Think most bloggers have a lot to learn from yr style of writing – you cut to the chase – and yr funny too.. I like to laugh while i learn!

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Mike, and thank you for sharing it on. I’m glad you agree with me that learning can be funny and enjoyable all at the same time…so much more fun than being preached at by some of these so-called “experts” who talk down to their readers as if the latter were school children! Come back for another visit soon!

  11. Ha! One of my favourites so far, of yours, Suze – only just found it while searching for something else. Answered my question too…

  12. Michael A James says

    This is superb advice, as it focuses not on “what to do” or “how to do it;” rather on “how it’s done.” While the martyr and the casualty are both dead bodies, they’re perceived quite differently by readers of their plights.. More simply put (as it applies to blogging), There’s a big difference between “being authentic” and “Keepin’ it real,” and the latter is how it’s done…


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