‘I believe myself that a good writer doesn’t really need to be told anything except to keep at it’ – Chinua Achebe
Improving your blog writing skills isn’t something that will happen overnight. In order to attract readers and retain your audience, you will need to work on your technique. As a blogger, you will never get to a point where your writing is consistently impeccable. There will always be something new to learn (even for the most experienced bloggers).
Bloggers are writers. The similarities between the two are endless:
We both edit, proof read and format our content and then embark on what seems like a never ending journey to promote it. Unlike writers, not all bloggers have the support of an agency (due to the size of their following and many other factors). Every blogger should think of themselves as a writer. Writing is something that has always come naturally to me. I started writing when I was 10 years old and always took pride in my little stories and poems. As a child, my favourite authors were Roald Dahl, Jacqueline Wilson and R.L Stine, so my imagination was always destined to be vivid.
When you create, and ultimately launch an online platform: whether it’s a blog, website or podcast etc, you have to hone your writing skills. It’s a must. On a positive note, this is 100% achievable! There’s no concept or hidden secret as far as improving your writing skills is concerned. In this post, aimed specifically at bloggers, I’m going to share some tips that you may find useful. These are little things you can do to ensure your content stands out for the right reasons:
Proof read – When you write a post, don’t edit it straight away. Once you’ve finished a post, you’d probably have spent a few hours prior wracking your brain for ideas and searching for the perfect pictures or GIFs. You will definitely miss out on one or two words or a few grammatical errors. Give yourself some time to recuperate and then check the post. Use spell checker, re-read it as much as you feel is necessary and make sure what you have written about is relevant to the topic. It is easy to go off on a tangent so don’t be afraid to remove anything you feel isn’t needed.
Don’t blog about every idea you have – You may be telling yourself ‘what the hell is she talking about?’ but hear me out. Some bloggers struggle to find ideas while others can pre-plan ten posts in a day. If you fall into the latter, then this is for you. Think about the idea you have. Have you written about it before? If so, then how did your readers respond? Relevancy and purpose should be at the forefront of any blog. Give your readers what they want while honouring your niche(s) at the same time. Alternatively, you could look into guest posting if you have an idea that may not be the right fit for your blog. Someone else may be happy to use your content.
Grammar, grammar and more grammar – Grammar is definitely something bloggers throw under the bus and this shouldn’t be happening. For the sake of SEO (at least), always pay an extra bit of attention to your use of words. If you know grammar isn’t a strength of yours, use Microsoft Word or a tool like Grammarly, which does all the work for you to ensure your posts are clear, mistake free and effective.
Read, read and then read some more – Read anything and everything! Reading will help you to improve your language when you don’t realise you are even doing it! It doesn’t matter how old you are, we all experience an element of fascination when we learn a new word or phrase. Reading will also help minimise the much dreaded ‘writers block’ because you will instantly be exposed to different styles, voices, forms and genres of writing. This exposure will help make you a better writer.
Plan your posts – Once you’ve decided what you want to write about, start to have an idea of what you want to say. Have a strategy in place: you may decide to spend a few hours thinking about the structure of your post or you may use a search engine of your choice to see what the popular search terms are in relation to your topic. Something else you may want to pay attention to when planning your post is your use of headings – to learn how to use headings properly on your blog, click here.
Quality over quantity – This is still up for debate because many bloggers and brands have a 1000+ word rule for content. Personally, I don’t believe blog posts should exceed 700 words. I type very quickly so my posts will always exceed 700 words. You can take more from a 500 word post than you can from one with 1000+ words. Different experts say different things but don’t put yourself in a position where you start to ramble in order to increase your word count. Every blogger’s content should have a purpose. Once you’ve made your point, just keep it moving. If word count is something you are unsure about, then do some research or ask your readers what they think of your posts.
Write for yourself first – One day, write about something you are passionate about. Just write. It doesn’t need to be perfect and it doesn’t matter what you use, just let the words to flow. Once you’ve finished, you can evaluate your work. Ask someone you trust to give you some pointers. This is a good exercise, especially if you are a beginner. Here are some prompts if you are looking for ideas.
Take a class – If you would like to start a blog and you just don’t know where to begin, taking a writing course may be something you’d like to explore. Writing courses provide you with a sense of focus: you will be able to set aside time to work on your craft. You will also have the support of more experienced writers as well as the opportunity to explore different themes. When you start out on your blogging journey, you will be thinking about the type of writer you want to be. Remember that you don’t have to figure it out straight away – you can explore a number of niches and stick to a specific one when you are ready.
“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. – Sylvia Plath
How do you feel about your writing skills? Would you like to improve them? If not, then what advice would you give to bloggers who want to be better writers?
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