The 12 Dos and Don’ts of Writing a Blog
New Tags: blogging, Brian Klems, online editor blog, writing a blog.
Thinking about writing a blog? Been writing a blog for some time now and have yet to establish any
growth (and by “growth” I mean “increased pageviews”)? Over the past 10 years
I’ve refined my blogging skills—that’s right, I started my first blog back in
2001 and it is so embarrassing by today’s standards that I’m almost unwilling to
link to it … almost. Blogs for writers are
everywhere, and there’s often good advice on them about writing a blog. There’s
also plenty of not-so-good advice. It can be frustrating.
Now I currently run three successful blogs: Questions &
Quandaries, The Life of Dad and this online editor blog (which I’ve begun calling The Writer’s
Dig). It’s been a challenge juggling them but, by sticking to these 12 specific
dos and don’ts of writing a blog that I’ve developed over my years of
experience, I’ve been able to establish growth (increased pageviews). I hope
they can help you learn how to
write a good blog too.
When Writing a Blog Do …
Find your focus.
To do this, you must first ask yourself
this question: Who are your target readers? Once that’s settled, you can home in on a niche category
(like this one focuses on writing) and be the expert on it.
Be relatable, be yourself.
What sets bloggers apart from
newspaper article feeds is voice. Your content is what draws them in while your
personality, or your voice in writing, is
what will keep them there. Let your readers get to know you.
Use links within your posts.
Whether you are linking to
other blogs or websites that contain great information or linking to past posts
on your own site, do it whenever you can. This will help not only increase your
clicks but also help with your blog’s search engine rankings.
While readers come to your blog for
information and personality, they also need to be stimulated visually. Not all
posts will lend themselves to an image, but when they do, take advantage of it.
Here’s some advice on finding free online images that you can use.
Respond to blog comments.
This is an opportunity to
connect directly with the people who are reading your work. Not all comments
need a response, but be sure to respond to ones that do. And sometimes it’s
worth just popping on and posting “Thanks for reading my blog.”
Post to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Anywhere Else You
Don’t be afraid to use
social media to tout your posts. Anything that makes it easier for potential
readers to find your blog is a must (and friends and family definitely qualify
as potential readers).
When Writing a Blog Don’t …
Set Unrealistic Goals.
You know your schedule and
abilities better than anyone else, so don’t attempt to post every day if you
can’t. Start out by posting weekly and get in a groove. As you streamline your
process, increase your positing if you can.
Limit your word count.
If you have something to say, say
it. Readers (and search engines) prefer to get meatier pieces (500 words or
more) to make clicking through worth their time. This doesn’t mean you can’t
feature shorter pieces or that you should ramble on just to meet a word count,
but don’t be afraid to break down antiquated perceptions that blogs need to be
short. When the time is right, go long.
Make grammar mistakes.
And, if you do, correct them
immediately. Folks on the Web tend to be more lenient about typos, so don’t
stress about it if you do make a mistake. But correct it as soon as you can.
Remember, if you ever want readers to take you seriously, you have to take
yourself (and your blog) seriously. Give it the professional quality it
It’s generally unwise to air personal
grievances publicly (unless, of course, that’s the theme of your blog). You’ll
go a lot further by being positive, inspirational and supportive to the
community that you’re writing to.
Write long paragraphs.
Long blocks of text are hard for
readers to digest, especially when reading on computers and tablets. Break up
your content into shorter paragraphs, bullet points and lists whenever possible.
Also, if you can, work in some subheads.
Avoid trying new things.
It’s important to let your blog
evolve over time, and the only way this can happen is if you take risks every
once in awhile. Whether it’s adding infographs or personal stories or guest
bloggers, never be afraid to try something new. If you feel it can add something
special to your blog, try it.