Let’s get one thing clear; if you don’t have a blog section on your website (not including elsewhere), get one set up now.
If you have already done this, then the next step is to make it a useful resource for your audience, and that is a continuous challenge.
So, how do you get better at blogging? How can you improve your blog writing skills and know that you are going in the right direction?
1. Think About Who It's For Before Starting
This should be at the start of any form of content creation, and that includes blogging.
Who is it for?
If your blog is a personal journal for yourself only, and perhaps it’s blocked from Google, then it doesn’t really matter what you are writing about and how you are doing it.
Because it’s for you and you like it that way.
But, if you are writing for your audience, and you have an avatar in mind, of that single person consuming your content, the rules are slightly different.
Because in this case, you want to make sure that you are writing for them, not for you. And this is a common mistake that many people (myself included) do when they blog.
For example, is the blog post:
Or maybe all of the above and beyond?
2. Write Down Your Ideas All the Time
Do you have lots of ideas in your head?
Write them down.
Are you unsure whether they are good ideas or not?
Dammit, write them down anyway.
I use Trello to plan out my content and I have a special board where I just braindump my ideas, even if I haven’t done any research around it.
Then over time, I refine it.
Sometimes, I delete it. Other times, I tweak it to make it better.
And of course, there are times where I just go for it and create that content if I feel that it is useful for my audience.
If you are struggling to think of ideas, learn how you can use Google for content ideation and you will never struggle for ideas again.
Or you can use a simple Google search trick below:
The great thing about using the above tips is the fact that people are searching for it, so you can attract organic traffic to the post if the quality matches what your audience are looking for.
3. Commit To Being Consistent
Perhaps the most popular reason why anyone gives up on a task or is not getting better at it, is because of a lack of consistency.
People talk about not having the time to be consistent.
That's valid if you have responsibilities, like your family and kids.
But if you are spending your evenings and weekends catching up on Game of Thrones, then clearly your priority lies on the sofa and not on getting better at blogging.
Like any habit, being consistent is crucial.
Even half an hour a day can make a difference. Heck, even writing 10 minutes a day can make a difference.
But, if you really don’t think that you have a spare 10 minutes each day, then it’s time for you to ask yourself where is your time currently being spent.
“Time is a created thing. To say 'I don't have time,' is like saying, 'I don't want to.” ― Lao Tzu
4. Practice Does Make Perfect
If you want to be good at something, you can try it out and just have fun with it.
But, if you want to raise the level, or you want to be the best at it, then you have no other option but to practice, practice and practice.
Like anything, the first time you do something, it may not be very good. But that’s OK, because there is always a first time for everything.
I can guarantee you that your favourite actors, musicians, writers, artists, fashion stylists, bloggers, etc. started off terribly.
Take a look at one of the earlier videos created by your favourite or well-known YouTuber to see what I mean.
But they persisted, kept going and kept practicing.
You don’t just have to practice writing on your own website and your own blog. You’ve got the whole of the internet to practice writing on.
5. Don’t Just Write On Your Own Blog
There are so many places where you can just start writing aside from your own website.
My personal preference is always to have your own website with your own domain. That way, you can control your online space and not be dependent on 3rd party platforms.
But there's no harm in using other platforms to help you with your content as well as connecting with more people.
Here are just a few examples:
- Quora - this Q&A site is a good place to answer questions in great detail, and help provide high-quality answers to a question that you specialise in. You can also have your own blog on Quora.
- LinkedIn Pulse - similar to Quora, you can have your own “blog” on LinkedIn too, which means that anybody who sees your profile can read your posts too.
- Facebook Notes - this little-known feature on Facebook acts like a simple word-processing software directly on your account, as you can format your texts, add images, hyperlink texts, etc.
- Medium - the highly-popular online publishing platform makes it very easy for you to create your own blog post in an attractive way, as well as getting inspiration from other writers on the same platform.
6. Have A Purpose
I have one question for you:
What is the big picture? What is your bigger message? What is the purpose of your blog?
If you know what your purpose is, this will help fine-tune your blog and show that you know exactly what you are trying to do and say.
Anytime you are thinking about creating a specific piece of content, go back to the answer of your ‘why?’ and think about whether it meets your own purpose.
This is also a message shared by Simon Sinek, who is known for talking about leaders and their “Why?”.
This came as a result of his highly popular TED talk (which I urge you to watch), and his excellent best-selling book, ‘Start With Why?’.
7. Care About What You Write
Let’s face it; if you don’t care about the topic that you are writing about, then your readers will quickly know.
And if the audience gets a hint that you are not passionate about the topic, don’t expect them to read your stuff or even come back to you.
On the other hand, if your passion, energy and enthusiasm comes through, you can really catch the attention of your audience.
They will be moved.
They will feel excited.
They will be desperate to read more.
And part of that passion about a topic is learning about your opinions on the matter.
8. Be Opinionated
Unless you are some kind of an inventor, researcher or you love to experiment, it is almost impossible to come up with something original.
There are only so many ways you can write a post about boiling an egg, planting roses in your garden, fixing an oil leak or even writing about the latest news.
But what is definitely unique and nobody can copy is your own personality and opinions. Your perspective on a story is yours only because nobody can be you.
It might sound like a scary thought, but in a world where there is too much information online, where it’s difficult to stand out, having an opinion is the best way to be distinct.
So don’t be afraid to share your opinions. You will gain more respect and trust that way instead of copying someone else’s opinion.
9. Learn From Other Writers
I am a huge believer in surrounding yourself with people who are smarter than you.
It’s one of the best ways to learn and improve your own skills.
The same applies to learning about how to write blog posts and other forms of content: be around creative and knowledgeable creators.
And this can be anything from the big-name influencers to a local business.
You don’t have to physically be around them (because that would be a bit creepy).
Just being a part of their network, their community, reading their books and articles, following them on social media, can play a part in subconsciously improving your knowledge.
10. Speak Instead Of Writing
Have you ever wondered whether you are a better speaker than a writer?
Now I’m not talking about being a public speaker at a conference, rather I’m mainly focusing on your ability to get your point across verbally instead of written.
And thanks to technology, you can
You have several options:
- Start your own podcast and get it transcribed so that you have both the audio and written format available to publish.
- Use Artificial Intelligence or software to dictate your voice into words automatically e.g. use Google Doc’s own ‘Voice Typing’ feature or Windows 10, where you can speak into a microphone and it will type it out for you.
- There are a number of web-based tools and iOS/Android apps which will also allow you to record your voice and it will transcribe it for you too.
It is not perfect as you will definitely need to do some manual editing after you have completed it. But if dictating your voice saves you time and allows you to convey your thoughts better, voice recognition tools might be a good option for you.
11. Record Video Instead Of Writing
Why not combine it with video too?
If you have thought about doing videos or you enjoy the process of creating them, you can do the same thing as the voice-typing option above.
Record yourself on video talking about a topic, organise transcriptions in the same way, and there you have it - you’ve got a video and transcriptions, which can be used as a blog post AND as captions too.
12. Ask For Critiques
This one should probably come with a warning sign, like don’t ask your family unless they have some credibility within the industry or they have some link to your audience.
It sounds harsh, but if you run a dog grooming business, you wouldn’t ask someone who hates dogs to help you with your blog post.
If you do get feedback, regardless of how useful or not it is, you don’t always have to follow it up.
You can embrace it and respect it, but ultimately, it’s down to you whether it will help or not.
13. Get An Editor To Help You
Again, make sure you get the right person to help you with this, as it’s not just about checking for spelling and grammar, but various other factors like the tone of the content, is it understandable, easy to read, etc.
Of course, you can always get a professional editor who will automatically do all of that and beyond.
This is obviously not going to be free, and in some cases, it’s not cheap either.
But in many cases, it’s worth it in the long-run.
14. Take A Writing Course
This one might be an ambitious one but it’s still worth considering if you really want to raise the bar of your blogging.
Find a course, be it online or offline, that you believe can help you with your blogging.
I wouldn’t say it’s an essential one, but bear in mind one thing:
Learning how to write but not practicing what you have learnt is the same as not learning how to write.
So if you are not aiming to practice what you have learnt, you may as well not bother with learning at all.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t always follow my own advice when I should.
This post is not just my way of sharing my knowledge to you, but it’s also another way for me to keep myself accountable.
Because I do need that sometimes.
I will never claim that I’ve got everything perfect, nor will I admit that I follow everything mentioned above. And you don’t need to either.
I suggest you try to find out what works for you.
And at the very least, I suggest you to be consistent, practice a lot, learn from others and be creative.
I’d love to hear what ways you practice your blog writing. Comment below and share your tips!