Have you ever wondered what makes for a great blog? What's the secret? What makes you visit them over and over again?
Let me guess: It's in the content!
Fun, helpful, striking content always attracts visitors and gets shared. And now you want to create your own blog, a great one just like all the ones you've seen.
It always feels amazing in the beginning. You're filled with hope starting a new thing.
But wait a minute… Sure you've read lots about blogging, but you've never actually done it before. And the first time is always the hardest.
I'm not trying to scare you. On the contrary, I'd like to forewarn you about the obstacles that, I myself faced, when I started blogging. There's no doubt that your individual experience is precious and essential. But if there's a chance to learn about blogging traps and avoid them, why don't you take it?
Here's 5 quick tips I've learned from my blogging experience and those blogs I read daily.
1. Focus on your goal and audience
Don't start writing content until you've decided what you're going to write about. The first thing to define is the focus of your blog: food, sports, fashion, lifestyle, education, business, or anything else you find interesting.
Do you already know who is your ideal reader? Define at the very beginning who might be interested in your blog. Try to be as precise as possible. Write as if you're writing for only one person.
Write down everything about your ideal reader: age, gender, country, education, spheres of interest, and so on. Based on this, you'll create blog topics and choose a writing tone.
And one more thing to pay attention to: You can write great content only if you're interested in it. Find something in the middle between what you're passionate about and what your target audience will probably like.
2. Organize your work
Here you should define how you're going to post. And remember, you should keep all your ideas, notes, drafts, and other blog stuff in good order and in one place. Choose an organizer or planner, or store everything you work on in Google Docs.
Create a posting schedule so you are aware when you should start the research for each post and understand how to work blogging into your daily routine. If blogging isn't the only thing you do, even one post a week will be quite good.
Readers should understand that every Monday, for example, they know they can come to your blog and see a superb post. It should be a habit both for you and your audience.
3. Post different content
Got some fantastic ideas on what to write about on your blog? Great! Include them in your content plan.
If you feel you're at a loss and nothing worthwhile is in your head, then it's time for research. Looking through other blogs that you're fond of brings you fresh ideas and helps to form a range of relevant topics. Also, you can analyze materials on these blogs and see what types of posts have more likes and shares. Just find some examples to look up to.
For the record, do you know what content attracts more visitors?
The first type: humorous and entertaining. Everyone, no matter their age or social status, likes some funny content from time to time. The pace of life is intense and people prefer reading (or better yet, watching) something entertaining.
Second: helpful. Who doesn't love life hacks? Thanks to them we receive free knowledge and learn how to make life easier. It's fantastic that somebody else figured out how to spend less time on daily activities and use ordinary things in alternative and creative ways, isn't it?
Third: story. Well, you must be good at storytelling to create something engaging. Write about your own experience or the experiences of other people. Write something unique and individual, let your readers live the lives of other people. It always works and it's always exciting. Everyone likes telling stories and listening to them.
And there are also a few criteria for the content you write. It should be varied, catchy, and original. Keep the following in mind:
- Choose different types of posts for your blog (I'll provide you with types of posts below).
- Besides text posts, visualization is important too. Create more visual content; it's always attractive, especially if it's of high quality. Post infographics and illustrations. Even though you're not a graphic designer, use magic websites such as Canva or infogr.am (also try visually and easelly).
- On the Internet, plagiarism and copying are common, which is something you should always remember. Even if you care about writing original content, somebody else might steal your work. To check and see that nobody has stolen your unique content, use the Unplag plagiarism checker, and keep your eyes open!
Here's a list of blog post types you can choose from:
- Interviews – Ask influencers or other interesting personalities some questions.
- Tutorials – Explain to your readers how to do something. It can be either text or a video guide.
- News – Tell what happened recently and what's trending now.
- Research – Present your personal research on a topic and explain what your research shows.
- Presentations – Prepare a slideshow on a topic.
- Lists – Recommend helpful tools, methods, exercises, tips, and so on. Arrange them all as a list. You can also provide your readers with to-do lists.
- Reviews – Review a product or tool, show how it functions, and what advantages and disadvantages it has. Express your own opinion on the product.
- Infographics – Provide your audience with visualized data.
- Memes – Let some funny memes reside on your blog. They always attract people.
- Opinion posts – Share your views on certain issues.
- Case studies – Describe a certain case and what can be learned from it.
- Podcasts – Tell or show something interesting in your podcast and let other people download it.
- Stories – Tell an inspiring story from your personal experience or somebody else's.
- Fiction – Post a short story or any other piece of writing. It's a great type of content, of course, if your blog is focused on literature.
- Guest posts – Interact with other bloggers, exchange experiences, and let them publish some great guest posts on your blog.
- Contests – Involve your readers in an absorbing contest and give a prize to the winner.
4. Write, write, write
Before you create a good post, you'll have to write several drafts. Some of them are going to be bad. Don't be afraid to write bad drafts. It's workflow and there's nothing to worry about. Just work a lot, and write daily (at least note some ideas). Think of what's going to be in your next post.
A skill that bloggers should master is writing powerful headlines. Firstly, you have to read other blogs, analyze titles, and choose those that personally attract you. Try to figure out what exactly attracts you to these titles. Secondly, read materials on writing strong titles. For example, I enjoyed a headline guide provided by Henneke Duistermaat, an experienced copywriter and marketer.
Also don't forget that all sources you use for your web content should be credible. It's rule number one for everyone who writes: fact-check, give proofs, and rely only on trustable sources. For your part, don't forget to give credit to those authors whose materials you use. Be an honest blogger, not a copycat.
And the last thing here. Thoroughly check everything you write. Don't publish your post the minute you've finished it. Take some time away from it and then come back again to the draft. Make it as perfect as possible. And here's what I advise as well: hire a proofreader. It doesn't matter if you're a great writer, everyone makes typos and mistakes, and a proofreader is a kind of test reader. Proofreaders take a fresh look at the text and suggest improvements.
5. Interact with your audience
Do you think after you've published a post that you're done? You're not. The most interesting parts come after publishing. Just tell them what to do: comment, check another blog post, share their experience or suggest solutions to the problem.
If your content is targeted in a proper way and topics you've chosen are interesting for your ideal readers, they'll gladly comment on them. But sometimes even high-quality and original posts have few likes and shares. And no comments. You need to mend this. Provoke discussions, use calls-to-action and interact with your readers in any other possible way you can to get the discussion going.
Bloggers tend to make the following mistake: They receive a huge number of comments, but they answer none. Allow time for monitoring comments and providing your audience with responses. Be ready to receive hater comments. It's an indispensible part of blogging – there always will be a person who dislikes or disagrees with what other people say. You need to develop a special attitude for such situations and take haters with a grain of salt.
Guest Author: Rose Scott is a literature teacher who believes in the power of words and technologies. Since writing means a lot to her, Rose is interested in grasping the rudiments of blogging. She finds her inspiration on rainy days and pep talks with smart people. Follow her on Twitter: @roserose_sc
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