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.
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?