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Putting Your Best Punctuation Forward: Rules of Blogging

Updated: Mar 10

Blogs are a vital ingredient for success, especially for B2B companies that achieve a higher-than-average conversion rate by frequently publishing high-quality posts.

But in today's competitive landscape, simply churning out content won't cut it. Quality is king, and it's the key factor that can elevate your blog from mediocre to magnificent. And one often-overlooked aspect of creating high-quality blog posts is punctuation.

Poor punctuation can result in a lower lead conversion rate from an average of 3% to potentially 0%.

That's why, in this article, we'll explore 5 essential punctuation rules that can add a touch of professionalism, clarity, and accuracy to your business blogging.

1. Quotation marks are for direct speech [ “ ” ]

Integrating quotes into your blog post to support your claims is a widespread practice among B2B bloggers.

The rules are straightforward:

  • The concluding quotation mark should always appear outside the concluding punctuation, whether it's a period, question mark, or exclamation mark.

  • Also, use quotation marks to indicate direct speech or a quotation.

For instance,

"According to our CEO, 'Our company's success is due to our dedicated team.'"

Note that the period comes before the closing quotation mark because it is part of the sentence, not the quote.

Unfortunately, many unprofessional blogs still make this mistake. Follow this simple rule to elevate the quality of your blog and impress your readers with your attention to detail.

2. Use the commas appropriately [ , ]

The Comma is a versatile punctuation mark that is often subject to unusual roles, disrupting the flow of your article. The readability of your message relies heavily on maintaining a smooth flow throughout your writing.

However, comma usage can be confusing, even though it is meant to create a soft pause and enhance readability. Misplacing a comma can affect the flow and tone of your message.

To use commas effectively in your blog writing, consider how you would speak the words aloud. Insert a comma where you would naturally pause when listing items or trying to create a break.

For example, consider the sentence:

"Writing is about communicating your ideas, persuading your reader, and engaging them in an eccentric manner."

Without proper comma placement, this sentence could easily become ambiguous and unappealing.

One important comma rule that is often overlooked is the Oxford comma. This refers to the comma after the penultimate item in a list of three or more items, just before the conjunction “and” or “but”.

The Oxford comma can make a significant difference in the clarity of your writing and should be used consistently throughout your blog posts.

For example:

“Some of our key services include content writing, On-page SEO, content marketing, accounting and financial consultations.” (without the oxford comma).

“Some of our key services include content writing, On-page SEO, content marketing, accounting, and financial consultations.” (with the oxford comma).

Without the oxford comma, "accounting and financial consultations" may be mistakenly perceived as a single service. The oxford comma removes this kind of ambiguity and makes your blog content easier to understand.

3. Use the Dash Effectively

Dashes can also be used to create a sense of emphasis or interruption in a sentence. This can be particularly effective when you want to highlight a key point or break up a long sentence.

For example:

Our company's core values - innovation, integrity, and customer focus - have guided us since our founding.

It's important to note that dashes should be used sparingly, as overuse can disrupt the flow of a sentence and make your writing feel disjointed.

When in doubt, read your writing aloud to see if the use of a dash feels natural and appropriate.

4. Use exclamation marks sparingly [ ! ]

The exclamation point is a powerful punctuation mark that conveys strong emotion or emphasis. However, it should be used sparingly in blogging, as it can easily become overused or distracting.

Avoid using multiple exclamation points or using them inappropriately, as this can detract from the credibility of your writing and message.

For example:

Victoria is beautiful!"

could be written as:

Victoria is absolutely gorgeous.

The latter sentence emphasizes Victoria's beauty without having to use the exclamation mark.

5. Use the semicolon [ ; ] appropriately

Most readers do not fully understand the use of the semicolon and hence, may interact with it wrongly and end up confused.

A semicolon is typically used to connect two complete sentences, but it has the potential to lengthen your sentences. To maintain your reader's attention, it's important to keep your sentences concise and avoid unnecessary length.

With the average human attention span currently at 8.25 seconds, it's critical to optimize your blog content for engagement. Therefore, it's recommended to limit your sentences to 25 words or less, allowing your visitors to stay engaged and interested in your content.

With this strategy, the journey of potential clients through your blog, from the title to the call to action, will be smoother and more effective.

In Conclusion

Using punctuation correctly can make your blog content clearer and easier to understand for prospective clients, increasing the likelihood of converting them into active clients.

At Ojehs, Inc., we understand the significance of punctuation in creating quality blog posts. With our support, you can rest assured that your blog posts will be of the highest quality and effectiveness, leaving you free to focus on other business priorities.

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