5 Most Annoying Things about Common Blog Post Titles
Blog titles are your first introduction to your reading public. They are your siren call to your potential customers and clients. In a Google search, especially on a small screen, the title – limited in length to a few tens of characters, in many cases – may be all that your reader knows about you before clicking on your link.
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Thus, they deserve as much attention and care as every other portion of your blog, website and other elements of your marketing efforts. There exist some really annoying ways to construct a blog title, virtually guaranteed to irritate your audience. You can avoid these by being considerate of your reader’s limited time and aesthetic sensibilities.
Misuse of English words
The English language is arguably the richest world language in terms of vocabulary. Although there are some few concepts that do not have a specific word to express them, these instances are rare. If a writer exerts some effort, the right word, or at least the correct phrase to express almost any concept awaits your finding it.
There is thus simply no excuse for the use of the wrong word. This applies as much to blog posting titles as much as it does to more formal types of writing. It is so irritating to see a blog title that was clearly composed with enthusiasm but little in-depth knowledge of the vast range of word choice options.
Misuse of English phrases
English has many idiomatic phrase constructions that are vivid and instantly evocative of images and ideas. However, as with any idiom, misuse of these phrases is a dead giveaway that the writer is either not literate or not an English speaker. One example of idiomatic constructions that are often (and irritatingly) mistaken is that of colloquial pairs. Phrases such as ‘prim and proper’, or ‘by and large’, are virtually incomprehensible except as idioms that one simply memorizes. These phrases resist decoding of some of these phrases means that they are risky to use unless one has checked their meaning and applicability. Here again, a less than literate or fluent speaker is likely to ‘come a cropper’, or ‘lay an egg’, to use two phrases meaning make an embarrassing error.
What is the solution to the two problems noted above?
One is to be literate oneself. This involves reading constantly, and reading high quality material in a variety of fields and genres. Thus, for example, if you are a businessperson, try reading outside the financial press.
Additionally, you should not only cast your eyes on the New York Times Book Review section (or another book review source) from time to time (in addition to the business section), but also actually read some of the books that are reviewed. This will expose you to the vocabulary and locutions employed in other areas of study and expertise. With time and increasing breadth of reading, you will be able to distinguish incorrect use of phrases more readily.
Another solution is to hire writers who are fluent and competent users of English. This raises its own problem. How do you tell whether someone is a ‘power user’ of English? Well, if you are, yourself, a native speaker, it should be relatively easy.
However, even native speakers may have spent more effort in their lives in honing (this is a frequently misused word, by the way) their business or technical skills, than on expository writing. In this situation, or if you are an ESL speaker yourself, it may be necessary to actually run a detailed grammar and word usage check on a sample of a prospective writer’s work. If a writing sample comes up clean, that gives you some assurance of this individual’s competence.
Saying that something is the best, the biggest, the most, is sometimes accurate but more often is just hyperbole. Consider carefully, as well, when making any sort of claim of uniqueness (e.g., ‘we are the only’). If it is not entirely true, and it seldom is, it is simply an irritant to your readers. Just stop and think before asserting that anything is the ultimate of any characteristic.
Your readers have limited time to devote to reading your blog, or any other writer’s. They appreciate being directed accurately to the most relevant topics. If you misstate the topic in the title, you can really turn off your readers. Think about what the content is, rather than what you want to sell, in generating a title.
Uncertainty about the subject
This can occur when the author does not understand the topic. Alternatively, it can occur when the author faces a nearly impossible challenge; to include the key words that the blog requires, as well as the specific topic of the post.
How can you avoid this particular irritation? Be sure that you or your writer understands what the topic is, and don’t insist on overly long key words or phrases.
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Your readers deserve to know what exactly you are trying to convey, not just be hit with a mini-sales-pitch. Be correct in your use of language and accurate in describing your blog post, and readers will think kindly of you and your product or service.
5 Golden Rules of Entry Level Resume Writing
Hooray for you – you have made it to graduation. You have a degree in hand, and everything that this represents, to offer the world of work. Now, how to launch your career? Along with making polite networking calls to everyone you know who might be in the position to hire, or be acquainted with someone who can hire; you need to assemble your resume/curriculum vitae. We’ll discuss some ideas for optimizing that effort.
You may have been applying for jobs since you were of legal age to work. You may have a list of work experiences that fills several pages already. On the other hand, your first job hunt out of college may be, in fact, your first job hunt. In either case, your resume is your best means communicating how wonderful you are to prospective employers.
Employers are receiving masses of resumes these days. While your parents may complain about how hard it was to get an employer’s attention back when they were trying to get their first jobs, your situation is more extreme. Your target employers are getting resumes via email as well as snail mail and personal delivery ‘over the transom’, as the old-school phrase described it. The amount of time that they can dedicate to your individual resume must be measurable in nanoseconds!
You need to make the most of your one chance to grab the attention and eyeballs of the person who is making the hiring decision. In everything you do, consider the limited time available to make an impression on your reader.
Don’t send out a one-size-fits-all resume – Know your audience:
You need to research the organization or entrepreneur the resume is meant to impress. With the help of your computer and a printer, customization is not only possible, but crucial. See above for the reason; limited time on your reader’s part.
She/he needs to be able to see how your qualifications are going to help them IMMEDIATELY. The reader should not have to figure this out. Spoon feed them! Connect your qualifications directly to the firm’s mission. The only way to do this effectively is to know the firm, their product, and anything else you can find out, in as much depth as possible. And, no, the effort is not wasted if you do not get that job. This research will stand you in good stead in applying to any similar firm.
Don’t undersell yourself – Make the most of what you are:
Consider all your good points and everything you have accomplished for inclusion in your resume. What should you include? Things that are legal, which you could discuss without embarrassment with your parents, are good items with which to start.
Make a list of all courses you have taken, including non-credit ones. Make another with all your volunteer service, and one listing any experience that paid. List your travel, camps, outside lessons (e.g., violin, fencing, karate), and most especially, your honors. Go deep here, and list everything that could be construed as an award or distinction. List, as well, anything you did as your private passion. Maybe you taught yourself to fish, or knit, or had a garage band.
Don’t include trivialities
After you have listed everything – EVERYTHING – the real work begins. Your list is valuable and you should keep it. This investment of time you have made is a long-term one. However, you must select from this comprehensive list only the right items to put in each customized resume.
For example, the prize you won for raffia work in middle school is not relevant for most office job applications. However, if you are applying to be a camp counselor, this could get you the job! Your embarrassing stint wearing historic colonial costume and demonstrating the crafts of the 1700s and 1800s may not seem immediately useful, but one young lady parlayed that very experience into an actual job teaching history.
The internet makes all information shareable – fast. Assume that any assertion you make can and will be followed up on if you receive a serious job offer. Be sure that you have provided enough information to allow your employer to reach someone who can confirm your achievements or at least your dates of employment.
This is more important when you are starting out than perhaps later on. Employers are concerned about, among other things, your work ethic, and work habits, because you are just starting out. They cannot infer these things from your resume, and it is fair that they wish to speak with someone who knows you. Just be honest. If you cannot be sure that you will get a good reference, leave that employer or experience out.
Your personal interests and the people/bands/movies/online games of which you are a fan do not generally constitute relevant information unless such predilections have resulted in some tangible achievement. Save such revelations for your social media page, but be careful there as well. Be sure that you have set things up so that only your presentable information is visible. In your resume, be professional rather than cute.
Be truthful but not gushing, and toot your own horn. No one else will. Your resume is your best means to this end.
5 Most Annoying Things about Common Blog Post Titles
Because blogs have become such a vital part of so many marketing efforts, it is critical that all their constituent parts be appealing and informative. This includes the title. You can avoid alienating your readers if you also avoid annoying them. Of course this is a challenge, given that you have such limited space and such minimal access to your reader’s attention. However, you can reduce your chance of irritating potential customers and clients by eschewing the following all too common errors.
Titles that don’t give a clear indication of the subject matter
Your readers, customers, clients, supporters, or donors– whatever their reason for coming to your blog post – has very limited opportunity, time, and attention to grasp your topic. They may have less than a second to read your title. They must decide instantly whether this is something they need to read, want to read, have the discretionary time to read, and are willing to invest the time to read. For your part, you have those same pitifully limited fractions of a second to let the reader know why they should click on your post at all.
You need to be crystalline and transparent in the way you convey your content. Never mind that you may want to sell a product or service in the title as well. It is very important that your title reflect what the blog post is actually about. Otherwise you risk confusing your readers and potentially losing some who could actually use the substantive information you are providing.
You also may make readers resentful because they will feel that although they are being offered an informational blog, they are getting something else instead. Of course, you need to start by knowing what you are trying to convey in order to express it succinctly and accurately in a few words in your title.
The technique that this writer uses is as follows: to create the topic sentence as precisely and as truthfully as possible, and then pare this down to the absolute minimum.
Titles that are just plain meaningless because of confusion over word usage
Have you seen the phrase ‘kick-up’ used where it should be ‘kick-start’? Have you seen the word ‘preponderance’ used where the near-but-not-quite synonym ‘superiority’ would be more graceful and more accurate? Have you seen a blog post title that included the awkward near-miss phrase, ‘going an extra mile’, rather than the more usually seen ‘going the extra mile’? These painful misuses of the English language trip up the eye and make the brain ache. If you can avoid doing this to your readers and potential clients, do so!
There is no secure defense against such mistakes except true literacy. You need to be comfortable with idiomatic English (or whatever language you are using) or hire writers who are entirely at ease with it. There is no reliable substitute.
In the absence of a writer who is fully fluent and facile with language, you can fall back on the online guides to grammar and usage. There are grammar checkers as well that cost something in a subscription or a one-time fee, but if you are doing a great deal of blog posting, it may be worth it.
Titles that promise the best, the worst, the newest, the most effective, the ultimate – perhaps even including the title of this post!
While this title format is tempting, sometimes ineluctably so, it should be kept for only those situations where it is really justified by the facts of the case. Asserting that you have identified the ultimate of whatever item is under discussion, and then just recycling what everyone already knows is a tease for the reader that may result in resentment.
Try to be restrained in your claims for your blog posting content. This writer has no hope of convincing anyone not to use this format, but please be forewarned about the risks.
Titles that just sell, sell, sell
We noted earlier that concealing a sales pitch under the aegis of an information blog posting is irritating. While it is more honest to make the sales purpose of the content explicit in the title, it is nonetheless annoying. Try to respect your readers’ time by offering something they can apply to daily life, rather than merely an advertisement.
Titles that are so driven by awkward keywords that they make no sense
It is certainly the case that keywords are important, and that they help your readers find you on the World Wide Web. However, an awkward key-phrase is going to really mess up the title thoroughly.
Yes, perhaps someone out there has searched, for example, on the word ‘homeworks’ – why, one has trouble imagining, but apparently someone has done so, and repeatedly enough for it to be detectable by the search engine algorithms. However, trying to include this seldom (if ever) used form of the word in the title is going to guarantee a clunky result (this writer speaks from painful personal experience). The same is true of any odd-ball forms of any word or phrase.
If you feel that you must, absolutely must, use a word or phrase that sounds ridiculous, in the title, give yourself or your writer the freedom to work around this literary road block
It is critical to not be misled into thinking that blog titles are somehow exempt from the rules for writing that apply elsewhere. Be clear and have integrity in what you put in the title. If you respect your readers’ time in your title, you will garner their attention and, one hopes, their business.
8 Ways to Add Color to Your Writing Routine
Writing for others, expository writing, writing to assignment, writing to a deadline; these are all challenging parts of being a freelancer. When you are creating on schedule, and expressing what someone else needs for you to express, rather than your own feelings or ideas, your writing can become quite mechanical. There is a distressing tendency to fall back on a handful of options for sentence structure or for illustrative phrases when writing under pressure.
One assignment begins to sound disappointingly like the next and the previous one. After a while, you may find that your writing is not as interesting as you would like, and that is has become rather flat and grey, with no spark to interest the reader. If you went into writing because you love it (and why on earth else would one do so?) this situation can be depressing. A flattening and washing out of the dimensionality of your writing can also be a handicap in getting new jobs. Your clients want your services because you can grab the reader’s attention. If all they wanted was a mechanical text generator, they could use a piece of software.
How can you keep your writing fresh and vivid? Think of your writing routine like your home. You want it to be filled with useful furnishings in beautiful colors in all probability. You want it illuminated well, and appropriately. You want your writing to be the same way, don’t you? You want to get the job done with appealing text, illuminated by useful insights.
The best way to add this sort of liveliness to your writing is to be absorbing new and unfamiliar words, phrases, and locutions, drawn from every academic field, and realm of activity and endeavor. You should be expanding your bank of ideas every day, and learning how to use them appropriately. This need not cost an overly excessive amount in terms of money, time, or effort.
Learn a new adjective and adverb each day
There are dozens of free vocabulary-building websites online. If you access one that you like, this can remain open while you are writing so that you can flip back and forth between your writing project and a screen that explains a new word or phrase. You really learn them thoroughly, and their proper use in real-life sentences.
Read a variety of literature
There is really nothing better than this approach. Reading is the way to see imaginative combinations of words and vivid metaphors in action. Your goal should be to look at a broad range of writing genres and styles. To accomplish your purpose, you want to be reading way outside your comfort zone and usual areas of interest.
For example, if you regularly read the sports page of your favorite newspaper or news blog, find the arts review section, or the book review section, and take a look. (If you find a title there that remotely intrigues you, this is your chance to read a well-recommended book, or an exhibit that is worth visiting – see below.)
Alternatively, if you read manga for fun, try reading some poetry from the 19th century or before. As you read, note the special terminology used in different fields, whether finance or literary criticism. You can be sure that every field has its own jargon and ways of expressing things. If you pick up on these, you may find ways to use them in your own writing, with care. At the very least, you will see that there is more than one way to say something.
Listen to radio in a variety of genres
There is wonderful stuff on the radio. If you are in a place that has limited radio, you can stream many radio programs over the internet. Consider Prairie Home Companion, or Le Show, from National Public Media. The BBC has a massive roster of fascinating shows that feature scientific and cultural discussion and use specialized terminology.
Watch movies and TV shows that you don’t usually follow
Here again, you can hear marvelously varied language in films from varying genres. Police procedurals, courtroom dramas, and wildlife documentaries, in particular, will expose you to specialty jargon.
Appreciate visual art
Whether you see it in a gallery, in person, or online, there is art available everywhere. The experience of viewing fine art is inspiring, and if you take the trouble to note your impressions of the work, you will be stretching your writing muscles in a fashion that is hard to duplicate.
Listen to music
This is a similar technique. You may be able to find free concerts, or just listen online to YouTube, but music is also inspiring, in slightly different ways. Again, if you will record your feelings in response to the performance, using words other than ‘awesome’, you will find your image-generating facilities improved.
Immerse yourself in nature
Nature is overwhelming. If you have any chance to be in touch with things that are green and growing, take it. The experience of nature, no matter how brief, will touch your nervous system in an irreplaceable way. Here again, you need to take down your impressions of your contact with the natural world. This exercise will expand your capacities as well.
Talk with people whom you don’t usually, perhaps by volunteering
Listen to the novel rhythms of their speech and think about how you could apply some of the ways that they use language. Although most people speak in slang and with incorrect grammar most of the time, the expressions that people use can spark ideas and images for you. This infusion of novel linguistic adornments can help to ignite your own creativity, and find expression in your writing.
Keep in mind that exposure to new words, phrases, and ways of speaking, is the key to your work being constantly renewed. Use the riches of language around you to inspire new ways of expressing yourself and add color to your writing routine.