Improve Your Writing Skills: 12 Ways to Be a Better Blogger
1. Go Back to the Basics
You need to go back to the very beginning. I am not speaking of enrolling in a writing program here, what it simply means is, go back and look at the simple basics of grammar and spelling. Get resources that will help you know how to phrase your tenses in the right way. This helps you have sentences that are structurally correct and also ensures that your ideas are clearly and correctly expressed.
2. Learn and Perfect Many Different Mini-Skills
There are many writing skills but some of them are more subtle than others. For you to be a good writer, you will need to have as many skills as possible. For instance, you can learn how to add questions to your content, which makes you more conversational. You can learn how to add soundbites into your content and leave them lingering in your readers` minds. Come up with ways to make the transition from one sentence or paragraph to another smooth and allow your readers to glide through your content with ease. It is not enough to learn the skills only. If you want to get better at something, spend more time doing it and writing is no different. You will need to write on a regular basis so as to hone your skills.
3. Edit Your Work
You need to go through your content thoroughly after you’re done writing. Check your work for grammatical errors, syntax errors, errors in sentence structure and plagiarism. You need to sharpen your editorial prowess, become your own critic and be as hard on yourself as you can possibly be. Go through your content and analyse everything you’ve written. If you do not trust yourself enough, you can pay to have your work edited by a professional editor. It would pay, however, to eventually learn to how to proofread on your own because that way you can even end up being that editor who is being paid by others. Do not be afraid to rewrite your content since it will only make you get better eventually.
4. Do Your Research – Enrich Your Content
There are probably a few thousand bloggers out there who are writing about the same niche that you are, so if you want to put your blog on the map, you will need to do enough research to ensure that your content is up to date and dependable. It would be sad for you to have impeccable writing skills but have little or no content for your blog.
You need to get your facts right since nothing makes a writer lose credibility as fast as having confused or jumbled up information. Look for the finer details of your target topic; information that will reveal more specific tips. Do not only make your readers get hooked to your content, make it memorable for them. You can also borrow authority by throwing in a few expert quotes here and there. It can take you a long way.
As much as you write for people to read, you will be required to take your time to read other people`s content, and not necessarily blogs alone. Extend the scope of your reading and look for materials outside your area of expertise. Pay attention to how sentences have been structured, how the words have been chosen and the flow of the content you are reading. This will help you gain more skill as you might come across techniques you may borrow. It also makes you appreciate different writing techniques, which makes you easily identify well-written pieces. You’ll also be able to identify mistakes that you can easily avoid in your own content. Embrace serendipity since your inspiration can come from sources you least expect it to.
6. Avoiding Repetition
If you can help it, reduce or remove repetition from your content. Find ways to express your ideas without using the same technique over and over again. You should juggle between a variety of patterns, skills, and word combinations to ensure that your content does not become flat. Repetition makes the idea too simplified and does not appeal to the reader. If you are a regular writer and you have several different pieces, it would do you good not to repeat the same exact skills in each of the pieces. This does not leave room for excitement for your reader and they might give up on reading your work altogether. Remember the whole point of having a blog is to keep readers coming back for more.
7. Being Unique
You don’t need to use the same skills and language that everyone else uses. It is important to know yourself as an individual blogger and find out your skill set and major on that. Use sentence structures, word choices and phrases that define you as a writer. Refuse to settle for what the status quo dictates. Strive to be as original as possible and this will make your work different from that of others in your field.
This also requires that you believe in your content and yourself. Do not be afraid to write exactly what you think and not just say the things everyone is saying without adding your opinion. In any case, the information will be the same in many cases but what makes the difference is opinions. This, however, does not mean that you should wage an all-out war on issues you do not like just because you are voicing your opinion. Find a way to let your feelings known without the aim of intentionally hurting anyone. Be smart.
Simplicity is a craft that should be perfected. Note that simple does not mean dumb. Simple means understandable. You do not need to use heavy vocabulary and wordy phrases to make your point. Making your words too complicated will make your readers either take a longer time to understand your work. You could lose them all together, so do not make your readers work so hard to understand you. Use words and vocabulary that will be understood by virtually all your readers. On the other hand, do not beat around the bush too much when trying to explain a certain point. Using too many words will also lose the readers at some point. If marks were to be dished out for bloggers, they would go to those who keep it simple, so be as straightforward and clear as possible.
9. Write As You Talk: Conversation Mode
The content of your blog should be written using words that normal people use when having normal conversations. Don’t lecture. Write your content in a way that is engaging your reader. Asking questions is the most obvious way of engaging your reader but you can try other skills. You can throw in a joke here and there to keep your reader alert; you can also throw in images that will wake your readers up. You can use sensory words that evoke your readers’ senses of taste, touch or even smell.
If you are not writing an academic essay, break the formal writing rules once in a while. After all, even your speech does not always fall within the lines of formal rules, right? Plus, you are not looking for any marks for your content, it’s not school. Keep your readers alert. Talk to them.
10. Study the Masters
You will always have people better than you and you’ll always be better than other people at any given time. At the same time, we are not born with those unique writing skills, we learn them, nurture them and watch them grow into maturity.
Look for writers who have mastered the art and read their work. That is a good place to start your learning process. Study covers of magazines and learn how to use headlines that will grab the attention of just about anyone. Read through their content and learn how they introduce their work, which just makes you want to read the whole piece even though you have no idea what the niche is all about. Read expert reviews and learn how to use catchy words and phrases.
The whole point here is to borrow ideas from how they ply their trade. Remember, though, the line between borrowing ideas and plagiarism can be thin, so be careful how you borrow an idea. It will also help you create or identify your own style.
11. Watch the Timing of Your Posts
There has to be time and effort put into something for it to be a success, but on the other hand, taking up too much time can be more hazardous than beneficial.
First off, you need to understand what kind of a blog you are writing. For instance, if your blog is a gossip blog, you might need to post more frequently than a medical blog. For some blogs, if you do not post on a daily basis, you lose a large mass of audiences, while for others posting on a daily basis destroys social proof.
Your blog is dependent on social proof since it is evidence that your blog is worth reading. If you have an idea for your blog, take your time, do your research, write it down and take your time editing it and proofreading the content. Ensure however that you understand the importance of working with deadlines and editorial calendars. This will help you publish content in time and in some cases save you the embarrassment of publishing content that is way beyond its time.
You do not want to take too long to before posting a blog also since your reader might eventually forget you exist. After publishing a blog, do not get down immediately to starting another one if you can help it. Promote the blog, as much as you can and get reader feedback. Analyse the comments since it will help you make corrections where necessary, and it will also help you identify your stronger areas through the eyes of others and you can work on them.
12. Using Outlines
You need a solid plan of what you are writing about before you do. After all, you would not want to build a house without blueprints, right? That would potentially result in disaster, as it would for your content.
It is advisable that you make an outline of your content before writing it down. This will help you know which point should come before which, it helps you know the point to eliminate or emphasise on and it also helps you remember points that were forgotten. Having an outline also guides you in the flow of writing your blog, guiding your transition from one point to another. This ensures that your article is coherent. An outline also helps you stay on track just in case you start getting lost mid-way through. You may also be rushing to beat deadlines. Having an outline will help you gather your thoughts quickly, meaning you will be able to write your content fast enough.
Learning and perfecting writing skills is not hard. All that is required of a writer is commitment to the cause, practise and time. The more you write, the better get in terms of skill and subtle little tricks here and there. Identify what you can do with easy then perfect on that. These are just a few ways you can get better at writing but the list is virtually endless. As long as you are willing to learn, you will definitely get better.