So you have got a blog,maybe with a custom domain ? Good for you.
But does your blog look like a deserted parking lot? Or an empty store? I know the feeling.I have been there.
Writing is a tough job. However you needn’t be a professionally trained writer to be able to hold your reader’s attention, which is what all writers basically aim at. Also,considering how blogs are the most efficient and hassle-free ways to communicate meaningfully online you might want to implement these tips and make your voice better heard.
So, strap in and pay attention. I am going to give you the real deal.
1. Write short posts. Alternatively, have small paragraphs
Ever so often I go to a blog and immediately get the hell out of there. You have done that too. Know why?
It’s not always the content. It’s not even weird colors, though that is also a very big factor. I am bored to death reading posts where the blogger seemed to have forgotten that they have invented something called the paragraph.
People, this is very important,in the make-or-break category: use short paragraphs on blogs. Don’t write blocks of text that are like 10 lines long. Repeat after me- on the Internet attention spans are very, very, very short.
2. Use numbered lists and bullet points as white space elements
Online, there are no space constraints that print imposes. So use liberal amounts of empty space. It provides a welcome break which makes your readers grateful. Seriously.
So use those bullets and lists,chum.
Lists and bullet points have the added advantage of letting people grasp the basics of what you are saying. Too often people skim because they don’t have the time to drill deep into paragraphs. You don’t want to lose those skimmers.
Though if you write posts with bullets where each bullet is like 5 lines wrong you are obviously missing the point.
3. Good headlines will save your butt, and your article
Quick poll. Which headline would make you read the accompanying article?
Sexism in business is still alive
The issue is the same here but the first once jumps out, grabs your attention and forces you to click on it. You would want to read about a cross dresser’s coming out story the same way you would want to see a monkey riding a scooter.
It’s basic human curiosity.
Of course you are a newbie and you won’t be able to craft headlines like these guys/gals do. But try injecting enigma, mystery, anticipation and shocking elements into your headline.
It won’t come immediately but you know what they say about practice and perfection.
4. Carry out a conversation
When you sit down to blog, imagine an imaginary conversation on the topic with your friend. Now transcribe that, edit it, format and bam. Good blogging starts from there.
Blogs are very different from newspaper articles which sound like a one sided broadcast. But many new and even older bloggers fall into the trap of adopting the style of print pieces.
However print and blog is like apples and oranges,chalk and cheese. Readers expect something different when they read a blog and will jump ship if you are writing like a newspaper article.
Unless, of course, you are writing a newspaper article. Then listen to your editor.
Which brings me to the last point.
5. Grab the editing scissors
This is where the wheat gets separated from the chaff and brilliant bloggers and writers are differentiated from the hoi polloi. They edit, the others don’t.
Editing is a vital piece of the writing process. Hitting publish after finishing up the post is a sure sign of telling everybody that you don’t care about your readers.
How will they know? Well, how many times you have read a post where “there” stood for “their”? Or “your” when a “you’re” would have done the job.And then there’s the classic “its” vs. “it’s”. All these scream sloppy editing.
Read the article at least twice. Slowly. Better still, read it loud until it sounds natural. Don’t depend on your spellchecker; it won’t flag bread when you meant beard.
There are plenty of resources online that will teach you good writing. Most of them are also free. I won’t overwhelm you with a huge list.However there is one that I will strongly recommend-Copyblogger.
If you are a beginner or even an expert and want to improve your writing go read Copyblogger. Follow the tips in the resources and the blog posts. Trust me, you will kick ass.
This list above barely scratches the surface when it comes to best writing practices. So go ahead and share some your favorite tips and good writing strategies in the comments below.
Flickr image courtesy jsmjr