Everyone pulls a boner on their blog sometime (figuratively speaking, of course). A joke misfires, or a reference is misunderstood. It’s okay, step back off the ledge…this is not the end of your blogging career. Here are some tips about how to regain your credibility as a blogger after a disastrous post.

Some of these come from having done stupid things on my own blog, some I’ve only experienced as an appalled blog reader. All of them seem like no-brainers, but they’re so common, there must be a pile of missing blogger brains somewhere…maybe on the side of a road in South Dakota.

This is not meant to shame anyone in particular, but to offer constructive tips your friends might be too embarrassed to pass on. Search your heart, and your posts, to see if you need to change your ways.

Comedy-check your jokes before publishing.
When you make a joke or pull a prank online, you can’t see your readers’ faces, so you don’t know how many people groaned. If you’re not Aziz Ansari or The Bloggess, you may need a comedy reality check. Before you blog your next joke, run it past someone who you know is funny (for me, that’s @zrdavis—that guy is hilarious). If they don’t laugh, dump it…and consider taking a comedy class, which can sharpen your joke-telling skills, as well as deal you a humbling lesson in direct feedback.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Don’t assume meme + you = funny.
If a meme goes viral, that means its creator was funny. It doesn’t mean the meme itself confers magical comedic powers, no matter how badly you want the attention. The more you exploit popular memes (and the more you ignore that your instance fell flat), the more desperate you look.

In particular, please stop making “Shit _____s Say” videos. It was funny once, maybe twice, but there are now 6 million versions of it. And as my friend @SdGeek put it, “Even Shatner couldn’t pull that off, and he’s Shatner, for God’s sake.” You can hitch a ride on the Meme Express, but lemmings rarely make for good comedians.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Check your spelling.
I can’t understand why anyone would skip spell-check…especially people who write for a living, or expect their blog to represent them professionally. However you do it, check for misspellings every time or look like a lazy idiot.

I recently saw a self-professed “nerd” misspell “San Francisco.” This hasn’t been an honest mistake since the typewriter era.

Don’t use multiple exclamation points.
You can stop bragging that you graduated from a prestigious university if you punctuate like you did in junior high. Using this –> !!! is never okay, unless you’re referring to the band (yes, there’s actually a band by this name). More exclamation points do not convey more urgency. They say that your blog post is as frivolous as a passed note in class.


Even single exclamation points can be overused. If more than half your sentences end in exclamation points, you are conveying not excitement, but hysteria. It’s like ringing alarms when there’s no fire—annoying.

Don’t confuse “being positive” with “everything I do is important, monumental and fantastic.”
The only person who will agree with you is your mother, but remember, her love for you is unconditional. Internet strangers aren’t so kind. Try writing a post that never uses the word “I” and has no pictures of you in it. If that’s difficult, we may have found your problem.

Never, ever lie about your professional life.
Reader trust is almost impossible to get back once it’s lost. Whether you’re just trying to make a joke (“I’ve accepted a fabulous job with a major brand – just kidding!”), gloss over the fact you got laid off (“Sure, I still work at that big company”), or pump up your resume by being vague about how many national brands you’ve worked with (you say many but it’s really just one), don’t lie. Your credibility is at stake, and if you show you can’t be trusted to own it and be truthful, many will not believe anything else you have to say.

Don’t go long stretches without blogging.
Okay, I’m guilty of this one; as you can see on this very blog, I go months without posting. But in my case I was writing and editing a city-based collaborative blog, then a 150-person consumer advice blog for Lending Tree, then a corporate blog for DivX. So really, I was blogging quite a bit…just not here.

Some people just have one blog to worry about, yet still only post about once every 3 months. These same people think this will get them a job in social media. By comparison, bloggers on tech blogs like Mashable and VentureBeat post 2 to 5 times every weekday. Who would you rather resemble? Pick your post frequency and stick to it.

Apply these tips to your blogging, and you will gain credibility, add fans, and stop torturing your friends. You will also become leaner, more sexually attractive, and finish sudokus faster. (That last claim is a joke. Don’t worry, Zach Davis says it’s funny.)