Managing a successful blog isn’t easy. You might be lucky enough to break into the game on a shooting star and leave a burning desire in the reader’s hearts for more. Odds are it’ll take years to establish a concrete following and online presence. This applies whether you are starting your own blog, writing for another publication or becoming a freelance writer.
In a world where over 500 Million Blogs and counting are live; establishing a proper foothold can be difficult. The good news, however, is that there’s a plurality of niche communities and interest groups out there today, revealing plenty of space for you to grow.
However, standing out in a hyper competitive space remain a serious challenge. So how do you do this?
To help your blog spread its wings and take flight, we’ve compiled a collection of 13 tips and tricks to give your writing the running start it needs.
13 Tips For Successful Blog Writing
The truth is the average reader only has an attention span of about 8 seconds when reading online. It’s amazing that you’ve made it this far. These next tips are going to help you write content for a blog that people will actually want to read.
Tips to get your blog up and running
- Be yourself
- Be the reader
- Embrace clarity, content and consistency
- Know your subject
- Find excitement in the mundane
- Follow a structure
- Attention catching headlines
- Use interesting subheaders
- Clarify your Call to Action (CTA)
- Include images
- Get to know SEO
- Don’t be repetitive
- Review your work
1. Be Yourself
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of writing and structuring, it’s essential to know you are your best asset. Your personality, personal experiences and personal voice are what shines through when you are writing.
You can always learn syntax, grammar and vocabulary. But being yourself and letting that inner voice speak to the medium is something that can only be refined through practice. Finding your voice is important and it will come in time.
Make it a priority to speak from a place that’s individualistically yours. Try not to imitate others and use their style as the end goal. Instead, imitating your favourite authors is an exercise that will help you develop your own voice. You’ll start to notice their sentence structure, tone, rhythm, choice of words and you’ll have plenty of observations to integrate into your own writing.
Make sure you express your thoughts and opinions in ways that’s uniquely yours and that speaks to your personality. This takes practice, but over time, it’ll come easier.
2. Think Like The Reader
You’ll be hard-pressed to gain a following if you can’t put yourself in your reader’s shoes and take into consideration their wants and needs.
If you yourself wouldn’t be a reader for your own blog; why should anyone else?
When publishing a new article, try approaching it from an outsider perspective. Is the information dense and hard to read through? Or does your tone engage and resonate with your audience? Is it boring and repeating information that every other site has already written about? If you can’t excite yourself through your own writing, then odds are you won’t be able to excite others as well.
3. Clarity And Consistency
This tip falls a bit more in line with actual production, but if you’re reading this, it’s essential to know. Starting a blog is easy – so easy that there are over 500 million of them online today, as mentioned.
Without continually churning out engaging and interesting content for readers, your blog runs the risk of joining the 95 percent of dilapidated and abandoned blogs.
The scary truth is that your blog will more likely than not end up in a virtual graveyard. Readers are fickle, and unless you have a loyal following from the very get-go, you’ll be competing against other content creators for an audience.
If you’re not consistently publishing easy-to-digest content frequently, then you may find yourself pushed to the wayside. It won’t always be easy to keep producing content in the beginning when the traffic is low. You might go months without more than 100 visits a month, which is normal. But keep plugging that content away, and let statistics work in your favour.
4. Know Your Subject
A blog post can take on many forms, but the one that makes the most sense is the iceberg. The tip of the iceberg, the finished blog post, shows only but a tiny fraction of the work and time that creating a blog requires.
Translating ideas to content is a difficult task to be sure. But the preparation and research required are where the majority of your work will lie.
On average, most people will type 40 words per minute. The average blog takes 3 hours and 28 minutes to create. If we consider a blog post containing anywhere between 750-1400 words, then theoretically, a blogger will spend 20-40 minutes writing.
Of course, this is only a rough estimate. But it goes to show that a majority of the time you spend publishing a blog will go towards the research and production.
If the topic is a little foreign to you, dive into its nuances. Get a feel for what the subject truly means and get to know all its dirty little secrets.
It helps if there’s passion involved, but we’re not always lucky to write about what we love. If your assignment is the future of the paper clip industry, then make paper clips your best friend.
5. Find Excitement In The Mundane
There’s no such thing as a ‘boring topic’. If you personally find it mundane, that doesn’t necessitate boring and mundane writing. It all goes back to putting yourself in your reader’s shoes – if you don’t bring energy to the table, your audience will feel it and disregard your post.
If you’re not sure where to begin, try starting with telling a story. Listing facts about a subject that’s already not too exciting can serve to further bore your reader.
Whether we’re consciously aware of it or not, we love listening and telling stories. Leverage this in your writing by telling a narrative instead of telling the facts.
Another good way to transform a boring subject into an engaging one is to find one thing that’s unique and interesting about your topic and stretching it through the piece.
Being able to evoke feelings of excitement and interest in a subject that you don’t find engaging is what separates the good writers from the bad.
6. Follow A Structure
When you’re just starting out your blogging career, it can be difficult to publish even 1 or 2 articles a week, let alone 1 or 2 like top content creators do.
Learning how to write and learning how to write fast are entirely different subjects. Both are something that will come naturally to you through sufficient practice and time. In the meantime, there’s no shame in following a writing structure to get you started.
As with any creative process; what works best for others may not work best for you. Chances are you won’t be sourcing relevant photos for your blog post if you haven’t even started researching the topic yet. Everyone’s creative process is different, but here’s a basic one to help you get the ball rolling.
- Find and research topic
- Understand your audience
- Write an outline
- Write a rough draft
- Edit 1: Revise the rough draft, adding in pictures and graphics
- Edit 2: Proofread and final revisions
Once you’ve gotten used to this formula, it’s time to branch out and make it uniquely your own.
7. Attention Catching Headlines
Whether we like it or not, we live in a world of clickbait articles. The articles themselves aren’t outlandish, but their headlines make them irresistible. You could be finishing an article and see a related post that evokes fear about things that you’re not doing.
“10 things you should do to retire early,” “Top 5 foods to avoid for a healthier heart” and “10 places you have to visit before you turn 30” share common themes.
Each of the above headlines:
- Sparks emotion
- Entices using numbers
- Finds a unique proposition
- Makes an extravagant promise
Jeff Goin’s title formula of having a number with an adjective, a keyword and a promise, is a good stepping stone into eventually designing your own. Having a great blog post is useless if your readers aren’t inclined to click on it and actually read it. Master the art of snappy headlines and you will master your audience.
The above title from the parenting blog, Babycenter, incites fear around making misteps with your children. The solution? The title is subliminally telling you to read their blog for all the answers – that is if you don’t want to make a ‘deadly’ mistake!
As for the number, people continue to be attracted to list posts because of the allure of quick tips that readers can implement straightaway.
8. Use Subheaders
As much hard work and time you may have invested in writing a quality piece, a large portion of readers only skim the headers and read a couple of sentences from each section. What does this mean for your writing? It means that your subheaders have to be short, sweet and have the ability to summarize its contents for the majority of readers who only skim.
You don’t need to go on overkill and make a break every 3 sentences, but you’ll be forfeiting a lot of readers if your blog looks like a wall of never-ending words.
Break the paragraphs into subsections, and cap your paragraphs at 3 to 4 sentences. You’ll be a lot more successful in capturing and keeping your reader’s attention.
9. Clarify Your Call to Action (CTA)
Whether you’re selling merchandise, info packages, or writing an informative article, you want to gain the reader for life. This is where Call to Actions (CTAs) come into play. Every “sign up here,” “subscribe now for 10% off” or “buy now for free shipping” you see on online websites are all examples of CTAs.
A clear and engaging CTA can be the difference between leading your reader down a rabbit hole of relevant articles and them leaving after the first click.
Take software company, HubSpot, who took the opportunity on their blog article about ‘Landing pages’ to insert a large CTA inviting users to insert their name.
CTAs are fantastic for adding value to the reader. Everybody is looking to enhance their life and as writers, that’s ultimately what we’re looking to offer.
10. Include Images
Blogs aren’t academic papers – they’re meant to be fun. Following the same train of thought as utilizing interesting subheaders, no reader wants to be confronted with a huge wall of dense text. For a medium that’s meant to ultimately entertain its readers, the worst thing you can do is to have it read like an essay.
Including pictures and images allows you to further structure your content into bite-sized pieces that your reader can more easily digest.
You don’t need to pay for expensive stock photos – websites such as Unsplash offer free high-quality images. You’ll be surprised at what adding just one photo can do to the overall feeling and readability of your post.
11. Get Familiar With SEO
SEO, otherwise known as Search Engine Optimization, is the lifeblood of blogs, websites and online business everywhere. SEO is a complex subject, but in essence, it’s the format, layout, and words used in your blog post which allows it to be processed and indexed by search engines.
It will help your website to rank higher up on Google’s search results. You want to make your article as attractive as possible for search engines like Google for many reasons.
To optimize your article, you want search engines to know what your article’s topic is. If Google doesn’t know what you’re talking about, then it has no idea where or how to categorize your blog.
A plugin like Yoast can do all the work for you. Once you’ve finished writing, go over the material and see what needs to be optimized in order for your piece to be SEO friendly.
The blurb you see on a search engine under the website’s name and URL, a good meta description is also very important. It describes what the reader is looking for without giving too much info away.
Yes, people may find your article by advertising on Facebook or through sheer luck. But to gain consistent viewership, you need to rank on search engines. It means catering your writing to specific search terms. If you own a travel blog, good luck ranking on the first page for keywords such as “best travel blog.”
Instead, try to find a niche that you are knowledgeable and not dominated. An idea that comes to mind would be, “What to pack for a week-long stay in the Bahamas?”
12. Don’t Be Repetitive
It’s easy to get a little preachy or repetitive when trying to explain an idea. Instead of writing the same thing over and over again, make the fact apparent and concise once or twice max. As mentioned previously, clarity is your best friend.
Not only should you refrain from being repetitive, but find your “pet” words and phrases and limit their use.
As writers, we all have our personal voice and nuanced expressions, and repeatedly using them multiple times in multiple blogs, let alone the same post, can get tiring fast.
Employ the use of a thesaurus to keep your vocabulary fresh and review your piece before you publish to ensure that your favourite idioms and phrases are used sparingly.
13. Review Your Work
Editing is almost as important as writing. Your wording, syntax and grammar need to be reviewed by an objective, third party before you can submit it online for the world to see.
Reviewing your own work is possible, but if you’re both jury and executioner, you’re bound to run into some problems later down the road.
Ask a friend for their help or do it yourself by reading your post backwards, looking for mistakes and fixing them as they come up. Alternatively, you can also follow a checklist to make sure your blog post checks off all the relevant parameters before releasing it into the wild.
Key Takeaways For Writing A Successful Blog
These tips are by no means the be all end all of successful blog writing, but by consistently incorporating these tips into your writing, you may find your writing gaining increasingly more and more traction.
- Be yourself. Find your unique voice and refine it until it’s strong and engaging
- Follow a structure. Until you progress far enough with your writing to come up with a structure on the spot, it’s best to stick with what’s tried and true.
- Engage your audience. If it’s boring to you, it’s boring to your readers.
- Keep it short and sweet. You’re writing a blog post, not a novella. Keep it short and sweet to keep your readership’s attention.
- Don’t be hard on yourself. We all have to walk before we can run. If your blog isn’t kicking off as fast or as far as you’d like – be patient and keep trying.