Four Extraordinary Blog Writing Tips From An Ordinary Blogger

I don’t have a doctorate in blogging studies.

I’ve only been doing this for two years and some change. But I read dynamic viral blogs with huge e-followings. And I also read many thought-provoking blogs with not so huge e-followings.

I learn from everyone. None of this is groundbreaking info, just tools I picked up after a couple of years of poor trading. As a service to the awesome folks in my loyal e-circle here are my four top tips for succesful blog writing:

Write about what you love

Everyone is an expert on something….Oh, you don’t think you are? Let me ask:

What do you day dream about when you’re at work/church/school?

Now go write about it.

Food? Family? Crossfit? Relationships? Mini schnauzers? The “Walking Dead”? A TV show may seem like a trite topic to consistently blog about. But there are literally thousands of WD crazies who’d love to find an e-community that shares their passion.

The world doesn’t need less passionate writers. Half hearted writers produce half-hearted readers and no real following. Might as well be etching your posts on the floor of the Pacific.

No topic no passion is too narrow. It’s the world-wide web for Mary’s sake, someone out there shares your love.

Shorter is better

For blogging this may be the most important advice I can give. I’ve learned it the hard way.

This isn’t writing a thesis or some academic journal. If your word count reaches higher than 1,000 words you need to break the post up into a series. I try to keep my posts around 600 words (this one is 575). First time Internet visitors will scan before they engage. Intimidate them with length and you’ll lose them forever.

If readers want a longterm commitment they’ll pick up a book. They don’t, that’s why they’re at your blog. This “shorter” principle also goes with sentence length and paragraph length. Our collective attention spans are shorter than ever, so you better believe your audience reflects that.

Find your own unique voice

No one here is John Donne or John Piper or Jon Acuff. People know where to find their work. They want to read something from your unique perspective not some parroted regurgitation.

Talk about your quirks, your family, your fears, your triumphs. Be a real person not a ghost writer.

You have a specific God-given voice no one else in the world has. People aren’t reading your blog to hear the echo of someone else. They want to sit down and have coffee with you. They wouldn’t be there if they didn’t. Be conversational and use words to engage not impress.

Aesthetics Matter

This isn’t a book with static text pages. It is a comprehensive social experience. Make it simple and attractive. Make it clean and user-friendly. You may boast the literary skills of GK Chesterton, but if a reader gets a migraine from your theme forget about a following.

As a new self-hoster I am trying to get better at this. I may have contracted plug-in diarrhea with my new-found freedom so expect some scale backs here in the near future.

One or two photos may illustrate nicely. But bolding, italics, and especially headings (H2!) will make your main idea pop.

There it is. Top secret blogging tips from a non doctorate blogger. Free of charge to you my dear readers (and fellow bloggers).

What tips do you have for first time bloggers?

Bryan Daniels

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Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

34 thoughts on “Four Extraordinary Blog Writing Tips From An Ordinary Blogger”

  1. Bryan, thanks for the tips. I like the one about keeping it short and writing from my heart. Sometimes I get frustrated for not having a lot of visits, but what I think I should do is simply write what I sincerely believe and have passion for, not to try to obtain a huge audience. Keep up blogging!

    1. Bryan, you are certainly achieving all four in your blog posts. I love the new look and enjoy the punch you pack into shorter posts. I’m trying to do the same. I believe the one thing I would advise new bloggers to do, besides all the great things you suggest, is to pick one point or one idea to write about in a single post. My posts used to run 5-600 to 1000 words. Now I try to write about one thing and keep my posts to 3-to-400 words tops. I don’t know what the impact is on views, but it’s helped me write more focused. Thanks for the tips. Great blog.

  2. My advice to beginning bloggers is to keep writing. After a dozen posts you can’t expect to have a “following.” It has to begin as something you enjoy doing and in time a following will emerge. On any given day the most read posts on my blog for that day are ones I wrote 2 or 3 years ago, not yesterday.

    Link to other blogs or news articles you find interesting. I have blogs that are nothing but links, but the things you enjoy reading others probably will too. The blogroll is a lost and dying art, but I used to encourage developing a healthy blogroll in addition to providing links to specific posts, interviews, videos, etc.

    For authors, you need to read 10 books (or 20) for every one that you write. I read copious amounts of everything, and then when I can no longer stand it share my own thoughts.

    I don’t know if it’s advice, but you in time you make blog friends. Regardless of how many views or readers you attract, just like in real life you will make a few real friends. I have friends scattered around the world that I have never met in real life, or even spoken to. I had a good friend in real life introduce me to blogging, and then picked up a few more along the way. It helps to remember that internet traffic has human beings on the other end – and that is worthwhile advice. “Hits” on your traffic stats – those are people. Do unto them as you would have done unto you.

    Okay, I’m going to go write a “Do unto others” post now. Thanks for sharing Chief!

  3. Great post, Bryan!

    I agree, brevity is its’ own reward. I need to condense a little more, and I think a conscious effort to keep the posts less than 1,000 words can only result in more elegant writing.

    Less is usually more, not only in blogging, but in most creative efforts.

    We all of us need to keep writing. It needs to be a daily regimen, as with any craft.

    Hyper-linking a word in a post which brings up an earlier post is something I have found takes readers back in the queue, and this will take them to older posts around the linked post. It requires less effort than scanning the sidebar for ‘previous’ posts or ‘top’ posts and naturally increases total hits, making your visits to the ‘stats’ page a bit more gratifying.

    One last thing I would note, is that if you visit any forums, select your single favorite forum, where you are known and have a daily presence, and use the hyper-linked word in any given post to bring up a blog post which relates to or illustrates the point you are making. Even forums which disdain self-promotion of personal blogs will not ‘flag’ such an entry it the linked post constructively furthers the discussion.

    I’ve gotten some good daily hit numbers through this technique, and it also has increased visits to the ‘about me’ page.

    A daily presence in one forum on a subject you hold dear has the additional benefit of….keeping you writing!

    So much for brevity…..Peace to you and yours, Bryan!

  4. Great job with this. I like the part about not being a ghost writer. I am just starting a new blog and I am glad I read that advice. I am going to make sure I put myself in my writing because, now that I think about it, that’s what I love about the things I read by other people.

  5. My advice: Just get started, but then go with the flow. There’s no wrong way or right way to blog – maybe better and worst, but not wrong or right. My blog is quite different today than it was when I started. Over the years, I’ve narrowed my focus and include a lot more pictures. Keeping it short is the hardest thing to do, but really important. After a few years, if you’re still doing it, you’ll know you were right to start, but you’ll probably be doing it for a completely different set of reasons.

  6. Suggestion 1: — Edit! Edit! Edit! Proofread! Proofread! Proofread! It is not helpful to lots of readers to wade through a long blocks of grammatical and spelling errors. Make your stuff as clean and as presentable so ALL readers can understand what you write about.

    Suggestion 2: — Keep it simple. You may have three degrees in astrophysics or physical education or public administration. But I guarantee your readers don’t. If you only want to write for astrophysicists or government executives, writing in the hoity toity vernacular they understand is appropriate. But if you’re trying to attract average joe readers like me, I’ll probably click away from you faster than you can say benthopheustophyte.

  7. I’m so glad that I’ve stumbled across your blog. In mining the googlesphere to find blogging tips, I’ve come across way too many “expert bloggers” who first introduce themselves as “Executives of this…” or that. Your blog is a refreshing change.

    I’m Australian, and have been blogging for several months now (about midlife unemployment). I began the blog, after discovering how difficult it was to get back into the workforce, following a brief hiatus due to illness (not serious). From being thrown this “lemon” I’ve made lemonade with a blog: 50 Shades of Unemployment.
    Thanks Again. Cheers, Carmen

    1. Awesome story, thanks for sharing. Good luck to you and your continued job search. Feel free to come back around or subscribe, I recently finished a weeklong blogging series and I frequently write about that topic!

  8. I loved this post! The whole thing about word count really helped. For some reason, I always feel like I am writing a research paper for college or a manuscript for a sermon, and I end up writing about 4-5 pages worth of material. I’m a Student Pastor on sabbatical, so I guess I have a lot to say..Which is not always a good thing.

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