After committing to get back to blogging and seven straight weeks of a weekly blog post I thought I was hitting my stride. Last week’s blog post didn’t pan out quite as well as planned. This week I dissect what went wrong in last week’s post.

The post title

The first big mistake I made was the post title, I was trying to be clever and thought “There is no grid” sounded cool because it was like the “There is no spoon” line from the film the Matrix. Unfortunately this just ended up as a click-bait sensationalist title.

Not my intention at all, but I completely should have seen this before I released the post. The title didn’t reflect the point of the post either, in fact it sat entirely at odds with it.

This immediately got a negative response from a number of readers. Big mistake!

Incoherency

The post was littered with incoherent and poorly executed points of view. I either contradicted myself or vaguely clung to a loose argument the whole way through. This confused quite a few people. To me it made sense, but I knew what I was trying to say and I was blind to this when I edited, re-read and edited the post before going live.

Misleading blockquotes

I chose some misleading parts of the copy for the stand out quotes in the page. This didn’t help the incoherency issues above.

Learning from my mistakes

I made a real mess of last week’s post. Luckily most readers got past the silly title, the brash quotes and generally poor coherence to the real point of the blog post: Think about what you are designing – you don’t have to start with a grid.

Handling feedback

This was the first post I’ve written where I got some really heated debate including what felt like an overwhelming amount of negative feedback. It was all due to my poorly written post and mainly from the sensationalist post title.

Never having had this surge of feedback before with many negative comments, I had three choices on how to respond:

  1. Ignore it
  2. Answer every comment (negative and positive) as best I could
  3. Become incredibly defensive and possibly not very polite

I went for option 2, it was important that I conveyed the actual point of the post. But I shouldn’t have had to do that, the original post should have made that obvious.

Stats

I collected a few pieces of data from last week’s post.

Comments across Twitter, the post comments and comments on Designer News

Positive: 82%
Negative: 18%

New blog newsletter subscribers

Up by 17%

New Twitter followers

15

New Snapchat followers

5

Google Analytics

Over a 7 day period before the post: 585 visitors
Over a 7 day period on and after the post: 8,196 visitors

Bounce rate down 10% in on and after the post stats.

Stats Analysis

The above stats are interesting for me, as the negative comments really did feel like they were coming thicker and faster than the positive ones. They didn’t taste good, that’s for sure. What is interesting is that even though I did so many things wrong, something hit a positive chord with the audience. It was the most shared and visited post I’ve ever written. I’m a bit perplexed by this.

I was really lucky that many readers were able to read between the lines and work out what I was trying to say.

In Summary

I feel like I did myself a disservice last week, if I had done things differently then I may have got a better level of engagement and less negative vibes.

I need to remember the following when writing a post:

  1. Make sure I choose a suitable title.
  2. Make sure I write something valuable.
  3. Make sure what I write is well structured and coherent.
  4. Don’t sensationalise things (even accidentally).
  5. Always sum up my points with a final summary paragraph.
  6. Keep it simple, don’t try to be clever.
  7. I want something to be shared because it is “useful” not “stupid” or “tripe” or the wrong kind of “funny”.
  8. Finally, get someone else to read the post before I hit the publish button (this is why this post is slightly later out than usual as I had to wait to make sure the above points were covered).

It is still early days and I’m still finding my stride it seems, but it’s been an interesting journey so far. Thank you to everyone who has been following along and commenting, positively and negatively.

In next week’s post

Next week, I’m going back to my routes – I’ll be documenting my personal WordPress Cheatsheet packed full of useful functions and snippets of code that will hopefully speed up your workflow and reduce your googling.

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