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5 Content No-Nos That Will Scare Off Your Readers (Avoid at All Costs)

Is your content getting crickets? You may be committing one of the five deadly no-nos of online writing. Learn what they are and how to avoid them.

5 Content No-Nos That Will Scare Off Your Online Readers (Avoid at All Costs)

Scenario: Your content is getting nothing but crickets.

You might have brilliant post topics.

You have the expertise to change people’s lives.

What’s more, you spend hours polishing off your work to a spectacular shine.

Your website is user-friendly and beautifully designed.

So, why is this happening?

Why are readers clicking the “back” button like it’ll save their lives?

Why are you getting zero shares, zero comments, and zero subscriptions?

I’ll tell you why.

It’s because you’re committing one of the five deadly no-nos all online writers should avoid.

In this article, I’ll show you exactly what they are and how to get rid of them.

But first, should you even continue with your blogging efforts?

The Importance of Blogging: Why You Should Never Say Never to Your Blogging Success Goals

I know, growing a blog is hard.

You have a ton of competitors.

(There are over 500 million blogs out there today. Plus, more than 2 million blog posts are published per day!)

But no matter how rough things get, don’t stop.

Your success will pay off in spades.

Here’s why.

  • The amount of Google searches exploded from 3.6 billion per day to over 6 billion per day when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the globe.
  • 68% of all online experiences start with a search engine.
  • 60% of marketers say the highest quality leads come from inbound marketing (SEO, blog posts, etc.).
  • 68.5% of consumers say a blog adds credibility to a website.

What all this means is the odds are against you if you try to become a successful content marketer without a blog.

If you’ve started blogging, keep going!

Don’t worry if you’re not getting the attention you crave yet.

Simply eliminate the five big no-no’s below, and you’ll be on your way to success.

The 5 Deadly Sins of Blogging: What to Avoid at All Costs in Your Online Writing

If you already have a blog, well done! 👏

You’ve done a ton of the hard work, now all that’s left is to pull in a legion of fans, subscribers, and leads.

I know! Easier said than done.

But as they say, start small and grow tall.

Get rid of the five big sins of blogging, and you’ll be closer to your goals than you imagined.

Deadly Sin #1: Icky Content


Where do you go when you want to consume beautifully crafted literary writing?

Your library, maybe.

Or your Kindle.

I bet it’s not a blog.

Because the truth is, people don’t go online to read.

They go online to solve an aching problem in their lives.

When they see your blog, they’ll give it a quick glance.

They’ll ask:

  • Will this blog help me solve my problem?
  • Will the reading process be quick and easy?

If the answer is “no” to either of these questions, they’ll bail.

And the surprising truth is, question #2 is as important as question #1.


Even if your blog has all the answers in the world, readers won’t get into it if they feel they’ll have a rough time reading it.

So, here’s the #1 method for ensuring this doesn’t happen.

Get rid of icky content.

This is content that:

  • Beats around the bush.
  • Is packed with filler and fluff.
  • Is stuffed with generic information readers already know.
  • Makes readers feel overwhelmed with heavy jargon and huge walls of text.

Let’s look at an example of icky content.

icky content(I wrote this.)

Did you read the whole paragraph?

No, right?


  • Full of useless words.
  • Packed into an endless wall of text.
  • Full of facts everyone knows.

Remember, though, that your content doesn’t have to be useless to be ignored.

It can be rich and valuable, but your readers will still bail if it’s not packaged in a friendly way.

Like this.

good content bad formatting

Here are five tips to keep in mind so you avoid icky content every time:

  • Say what you have to say, and then stop.
  • Keep sentences short.
  • Get straight to the point.
  • Cut paragraphs in two when they get too long.
  • Throw useless words and phrases in the trash.

Check out this awesome example of direct, fluff-free content.

(Yup, it’s so awesome it got over 14k shares!)

good content

Deadly Sin #2: Looking Down Your Nose at Readers

I get it.

You know more than your readers do.

You have the skills, experience, and techniques they’re clueless about.

Otherwise, why would you be blogging to help them?

But here’s the thing: knowing more than them doesn’t mean you should look down on them.

Speaking to them in a superior, condescending way will have them rolling their eyes and running for the hills.

You don’t want that.

So, how do you speak to readers?

  • Save the heavy jargon for your private diary.
  • Don’t make them feel stupid.
  • Learn how they talk (you can find this out through Reddit or social media groups), and write like they talk.
  • Make them feel like they’re hanging out with a friend.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell them about your past mistakes.
  • Make them feel you’re just like them, with the same fears, desires, and goals they have.

Check out this post by Jon Morrow.

(Doesn’t it make you feel he’s just like you, with his own dilemmas, heartaches, and dreams?)

reader-friendly content

Deadly Sin #3: Talking to the Wrong Crowd

Imagine this nightmare.

You’re invited to do a speaking gig, and your topic is “Do I regret my divorce?”

You spend three days planning what you’ll say.

You get together an epic PowerPoint presentation.

Finally, the day arrives.

You step into the auditorium and start speaking.

You load passion into every single word you say.

Your slides are flawless.

The only problem?

No one is listening.

Surprised, you glance at the crowd and only then realize your mistake.

You stepped into the wrong auditorium!

Right now, you’re standing in front of a bunch of high schoolers who couldn’t care less about divorce.

I know, the example is extreme. This will never happen to you.

But the truth is, a ton of bloggers do this to their audience.

They write on and on, delivering passion and beauty in everything they say.

The problem is, no one cares.

They’re speaking to the wrong people.

If you want to become a successful blogger, avoid this mistake at all costs.

Here’s how:

  • Create an audience persona, so you know exactly who you’re speaking to.
  • Learn your audience’s main pain points, then learn how to solve them.
  • Speak with clarity and examples your audience relates to.

Think about it.

When you step into the right auditorium filled with divorcees, your presentation will rock.

Everyone will be enthralled.

It’s really that simple.

Look at this example from Making Sense of Cents. (If you’re like a ton of people worrying about holiday debt, this blog will have you reading to the very end.)

reader-targeted content

Deadly Sin #4: Being Like Everyone Else

Here’s something that’ll surprise you.

You aren’t the only blogger in your niche.

(Or it won’t surprise you – it depends.)

What’s astounding is that although many people realize this…

…they act as if they didn’t and go ahead loading the web with generic, regurgitated content.

If you’re doing this, stop right now.

Saying what’s already been said in the same way it’s been said is a sure way to be ignored.

Instead, you should stand out.

Say something new, or say it differently.

Express your unique opinions.

Tell entertaining stories.

Speak to readers in a way that surprises them and makes them curious.

Check out this example by Mark Manson.

(From paragraph #1, your jaw drops. WTH? The election is a dull affair? Not much to discuss? Continued solidarity between political parties? I need to read more!)

unique point of view

Deadly Sin #5: Forgetting to Give Readers a Goodie Bag When They Leave

Ever been to a kiddie party?

If you have, you know the drill.

You play with the other kids and have a lot of fun.

You eat cake.

You pin the donkey’s tail.

But the best part comes when it’s time to leave.

You have a goodie bag, a stash of candy, and toys that are all yours.

In this moment, it’s not about the birthday celebrant and his gifts.

It’s about you.

When blogging, don’t ever forget this.

Make sure every reader leaves with a goodie bag, whether that’s:

  • Practical advice on how to solve an aching problem.
  • Inspiration to go forward when they’re feeling down.
  • A new point of view.
  • A great laugh.

It’s up to you.

The goal is to make readers feel full instead of empty-handed when they read your blog.

Like this.

satisfying content

How to Write a Blog That Wins a Legion of Hearts

I know, blogging is hard.

Right now, you feel like you’ll be ignored forever.

No one is commenting on or sharing your posts.

Your bounce rate is through the roof.

You ask yourself, is it really worth going on?

Let me tell you this: it is.

And you don’t have to struggle with a lifetime of readers bailing on you.

As early as today, you can write a blog post that speaks to people’s hearts, entices a deluge of shares and comments, and has readers aching for more.

Simply eliminate the five deadly blogging sins from your writing, and you’ll come closer to your goal than you’ve ever been.

More Resources:

Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, November 2020

Category Content
VIP CONTRIBUTOR Julia McCoy Founder, Author, Educator at The Content Hacker™

Julia McCoy is an 8x author and a leading strategist around creating exceptional content and presence that lasts online. As ...

5 Content No-Nos That Will Scare Off Your Readers (Avoid at All Costs)

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