Think of starting a blog? Great, now you can share your story with a wider audience than your personal friends and family. But in order to get this audience you must first clear out what value will you provide for your readers to be satisfied they’ve visited your blog and read your posts.
Because the Internet users are there to learn something new and if you fail to answer their need for useful information most probably they won’t come back. Quality content is the key to a successful blog and the main area you should focus your efforts on, at least at the beginning.
But how to provide such content? What can you do to improve your writing skills so your readers will like what and how you say what you say? Here are the top ten writing tips for bloggers:
Determine your niche, voice and audience
Before you start blogging you must first determine what you want to write about, what is your message and to what target audience you want it distributed. Choose subjects you are interested in and want to research and learn more. This way you’ll always have fun while writing and you’ll never run out of topics to blog about. Also, when writing, have your target audience in mind and adjust your story and voice to their needs.
Get yourself organized
Getting organized is very important. You want your readers to know what they can expect from your blog and to get used to coming back and reading more of your posts. But this also implies you should write and publish those posts on regular basis. This means you should stay focused, write every day and make sure your writing is effective. Do not worry too much about being a good writer, just write – perfection comes with experience. Don’t overload your mind with goals like becoming a famous blogger or published author – read, research, then read more and follow the interests of your readers. Don’t allow yourself to get lazy and do your best to avoid sounding stupid.
Headlines are very important
You want your readers to click the link to your published blog post and the headline is actually the first thing they can see. That’s why headlines are so important – if they fail to attract the reader’s attention the rest of your content may never be read. The headlines should be short (60 to 70 characters, including spaces), interesting and provocative enough to trigger questions in the mind of the reader that the post will later answer. Don’t use headings that trick the reader – the people who read your blog won’t like it, and the search engines also.
People tend to catalog and obsessively cover the topic in their posts, but when blogging it’s better to write one sentence about the most interesting part of the story than to write a huge article. If you want to add something more put additional links and point people to further reading. Make sure the title is understandable, stick to interesting topics and if the post is short enough to be approachable people will certainly read it.
Be simple, specific and use active tone
Simple and specific words are easier for the readers to comprehend. You should only use longer and more complex words if the meaning of your message is so elaborate that you can’t deliver it otherwise. The sentences and paragraphs should also be shorter so your audience can read through your post faster and with understanding. Be simple and to the point to not invite confusion. Also the active voice (Subject, Verb, Object) in the English language is better option and should be used more often than the passive (Object, Verb, Subject).
Prepare to develop a thick skin
There will be great comments of support you’ll get from your regular readers, but you should also prepare for the negative grumpy people that are usually more motivated to leave comments and even come back later in the day to continue the fight than the people who simply enjoy your stuff. Answer these commenters only to clarify something that you’ve missed in the post and was raised by them, and add links to point out to other sources and/or acknowledge you’ll be correcting the main blog post as a response to their particular remark.
Ask the commenters to contribute
At the end of your post invite your readers to contribute with their opinions and experiences in the comment section. This way you’ll not only avoid the negative and unhelping comments, but you’ll also engage the readers in your topics, motivate them to be constructive with their observations, and in most cases all these new links, directions and ideas you’ll get will guide you to new and interesting subjects you can write about in your next blog posts.
Look for topics in your past
At the beginning start with a list of all the interesting things from your past, topics you know something about and interesting historical tidbits you want to share and are related to your niche. As you write for your blog you’ll soon develop a sense, an ability to notice interesting things in your surroundings – items sold in a store, other people’s conversations – and you’ll learn how to briefly describe them so they’ll be interesting for your readers also. New blog posts ideas are everywhere around you – you just have to learn how to find them.
Credit where it is due
Always cite your sources. If your blog post was inspired by some topic or specific post you’ve seen somewhere else link to that source. This also applies to pictures, videos and other media you might be using on your blog. Be careful about the sources you’ll use and always double check them Googling that particular topic with the word “hoax” attached so you can be certain you won’t base your story on bogus info that will make you look like a sucker for buying it in front of your audience.
Don’t blog about what’s already been blogged
Your readers won’t be satisfied and will react if you are writing about same things you’ve previously blogged about. If you aren’t the only one writing for your blog it becomes even more necessary to first search through your own website for your next planned topic to make sure it wasn’t covered before. You can also search Google for the content on your blog using its site: syntax – for example site:www.yourblog.com “your blog name” will list your posts from that website with your name included.
Your blog should be scannable
One thing most bloggers forget about is to make their blogs ‘scannable’. Reading from a computer screen can be tiring, and most Internet users don’t have the patience to go through an entire blog post if they don’t instantly realize that it’s exactly what they are looking for. In order to test this feature of your blog, ask a friend (who has never visited it) to go through your last post for 15 seconds and then ask them what it was about. This is a great way for you to understand how real readers interact with your blog. In order to make your blog more readable, you should pay attention to inserting lists, headings, and relevant pictures. Pay a lot of attention to the formatting and don’t bury your points – your blogs should always get straight to the point!
Find your own blogging rhythm
If you want to achieve success with your blog, you shouldn’t only focus on attracting new readers – you need to keep them coming back for more. The only way to do that is to provide interesting content on a regular basis. Find your own blogging rhythm and stay consistent to it! Your readers will appreciate a regular schedule of posting content; that way they will know what to expect from you and they will visit your blog more frequently. If you start writing daily, but then start posting once in a week, your regular readers will start reacting against that change. However, you should never publish something just because you want to complete a daily post. Your content should always be something that makes you proud.
Write what your readers are interested about
When you notice that you have a regular base of users who keep coming back to your blog, you need to pay attention to their feedback. Find out what they would like to read about and make sure to satisfy their requirements. Your content needs to be extremely useful for your readers, so you should think about their needs and wants. The best way to become a great blogger is to choose topics that can solve some of your readers’ problems. Find out what problems your readers have and try to provide practical tips on solving them. The more practical and implementable your blog posts are, the more useful you will be for the online community. This can only mean one thing: increased popularity of your blog!
Showcase what you know
This is a common problem for many bloggers: they have an in-depth knowledge on a certain topic, but they are selfish about it and don’t want to share everything they know. If you have a secret associated to your blog’s niche, then you are missing the whole point of blogging, which should be contributing to the community with your knowledge and experience. Don’t hold back the good stuff because you want to be the only one who knows it. You will be unpleasantly surprised when you read about it on someone else’s blog, and you won’t forgive yourself for not writing it first. Let’s face it: knowledge is an open source nowadays and there isn’t an idea that is exclusive only to you. Share everything you have, and you will soon notice how that unique content is attracting more and more readers every day.
Develop content that’s worth referencing
If you want to develop a popular blog, you should create content that is worthy enough to be cited by reputable blogs or websites. Think about all those blog posts that have left you with fascination and interest in further research – that’s what you should be aiming for. Make your posts well-researched, make sure to stay away from contradictions, and infuse each blog post with your own personality and opinion. That is the best recipe to make your content ‘citable’ on the web. Whenever you start writing a blog post, make sure to answer this question to yourself: “Would my readers email this to their friends?” As soon as you start implementing this strategy in your writing, you will notice how your content is changing and becoming more useful. If you are not sure about a certain blog post, then you should advance it by getting more examples, finding more relevant sources, and making it more interesting until you can truly imagine people emailing it to their friends with enthusiasm.