I’ve been writing my blog In the Circle for 18 months now. I thought I’d write a bit about blogging for those who are interested. The irony doesn’t exactly escape me, here I am writing a blog post about blogging!
What is a blog?
A blog is a bit like an online diary, where the blogger makes entries (which are called “posts”) about specific topics. Blogging is nothing new; it has been around since the 90s. Some say it is outdated but I beg to differ. As the author of the blog, you are in control about what you write about. As I have said before, blogging isn’t senseless babble. A blog can and should be informative and educational, whatever the subject matter. A blog should add value by stimulating further thought and discussion about different issues. Remember that while blog posts are short and appear easy to write, this can be deceptive as it is actually harder to draft something that is shorter than longer in length.
Tips for writing a blog
o Try to keep your blog active, by posting at least once a week
o Keep your posts short and punchy so you don’t lose readers’ interest. I try to keep my posts to no longer than a one page Microsoft Word document
o Be prepared to spend a lot of time and effort drafting posts behind the scenes. You may need to research topics before writing about them to come across as authoritative. You may find it helpful like me to progress different pieces in parallel as ideas come to mind. Jot down ideas and thoughts in a written journal or a Word document so you can incorporate them into posts later on
o Don’t be afraid to tackle personal and/or controversial topics. This is what can make a blog interesting to readers. In my own blog, I have covered my struggle with schizophrenia, which I was diagnosed with eight years ago. As I have said in a previous post, hopefully I have gone about covering my condition in a classy way through a series of educational and informative posts, rather than airing my dirty laundry in public
o Don’t forget that you can’t cover everything in one post. You can always do what I do and divide large topics, exploring them in a series of posts
o Make your blog stand out by keeping all of the content original. In saying that, don’t be afraid to quote other people as I have done, to give your post context or ideas/topics to follow on from
o Work on developing a personal voice and sense of style. This may take awhile, so don’t give up if it seems difficult. I was used to writing like a lawyer (my former profession) and it was hard getting used to writing like a blogger
o Cross-refer to previous posts you have written to engage readers more into your world
o Have a guest blogger make an appearance on your blog from time to time. You can read guest posts on my blog here and here
o A blog can be a great and inexpensive marketing tool for businesses. In the Circle grew out of a gardening blog I started when I ran a boutique plant nursery called Anita’s Garden
o Disappointed with readership stats? Don’t be. You need to develop a strong track record of posts. Building up your readership can take time
o Publicise your blog. Put the link to your latest blog posts on your social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. The more you link to your blog, the more visitors you will receive. If they like what they read, they will hopefully bookmark your blog and forward the link to others. This is the best way to build your readership