Sunday, 28 June 2015

8 Basic Blog Tips

The past 5 years has seen me blogging under various guises and in that time I have read a lot of blogs, varying from the brand new to well established bloggers. 

I have gone from writing to my heart’s content about anything and everything that was on my mind to producing content for other bloggers. 

When I started the sole purpose of my blog was to write for myself, now I write as part of a blogging community. 

Finally, after 4 years I decided to use everything that I observed to try and push my blog forward; something that is never ending and always evolving! 

If you’re new to blogging, been doing it for a few months or even longer there is always something that you need to learn.

Where ever you feel you are placed there seems to be a common drive to improve what and how you are writing; this lead me to writing this post on some of the basics of blogging. 

1. Read Your Posts as if you ARE the Reader

Have you ever actually sat and read what you’ve published? Taken a moment to view you work from a readers’s point of view? 

Quite often this is the biggest and most important thing to do. 

Once you are reading, ask yourself the following: 

1. How easy was it to read what you have written? 

2. Is your blog easy to navigate? 

3. Does it look appealing? 

4. Have you broken your writing up in paragraphs for easy reading?

2. Quality over Quantity

I read, on average, 30 – 60 blog posts a day and one thing that has stood out is the amount that people write.

For me, reading a post that is shorter is far more enjoyable. It is easy to sit at a laptop or computer and ‘just write’. With your mind moving and your fingers typing away it is easy to look up and realise that you have written a post that has over 1,500 words. Your reader might just want to have a peak on their lunch break not sit with a cup of tea and have a serious read!

Have you considered a word count?  Back to point 1 READ your post and then crop it. Then read it again.

I restrict everything that I write and, subsequently, publish to a word count of no more than 850 words. The more you do it the more concise you become.

3. Grammar and Spelling

I am Mr Grammar with other peoples writings though I have to admit that I am, at times, terrible for my own grammar and spelling; despite the fact that I have re-read what I have written a few times. 

It is exceptionally easy to skip over a mistake if you have written it but try and be conscious when proof reading.  Get someone else to read for you if you can.

As a reader it is completely understandable seeing the odd mistake but when you have sat and read 4 or 5 mistakes you can become disheartened in the authors writing.

4. Presentation

I touched on this briefly in my first point but it is something to cover in more detail.

Is your blog easy to read? I struggle reading posts that have bright and vibrant colours, Bright Turquoise background with a Bright tangent Orange font colour might seem like a good idea at the time but trust me it isn't.  There is so much choice but often the best blogs are those that have black text on a white background.

When viewing your blog then ask yourself if it is easy to read or distracting your eye. You want readers to come back not click off after reading the first paragraph because it hurts their eyes.

5. Pictures

Pictures are such a useful tool in your writing as they allow the user to visually engage with what you’re talking about, you break the text up and engage the reader.  But question the quality of them; bad pictures can be as much of a click away as the bright turquoise background.

6. Be consistent

One of the most helpful things I ever read about blogging was make a personal schedule and stick to it. Most bloggers give up in three to six months and most of the ones who ‘make’ it, simply last longer than the others. 

Make consistency your goal, you don't have to post every single day but do make sure you are posting consistently, even if it means you only post on a Monday, do it every Monday.

7. Read

I read a lot of posts a day and in no way am I telling you to read as much as I do but it is beneficial to read what others have written. You pick up styles, tips and can learn a lot from others. Even if you find just one blog that you love!

8. Have fun!

Don’t take blogging too seriously. If you stick to it and work on your writing, you can meet a lot of really cool people and have a great time; this, in truth, is the one lesson that I have to constantly remind myself.

I might have been blogging for 5 years now but I quite happily admit that I am no expert. I am constantly learning new things and trying to improve what I am presenting. However, these above points are ones that I often use every time I sit at the Keyboard.

What would be your helpful tips for writing blog posts?


Ashley Beolens said...

Something I have found useful is to read your writing out loud, that way you can get a much better understanding of if it flows well or not,

Michelle said...

I've been blogging for myself for over 2 years and have decided to push my blog forward this last month or so. One thing for me is to keep it fun. If you are suddenly blogging to get followers/views and rehashing other perceived popular subjects I think it's game over. You need to keep your blog personal to you in my opinion.

CupcakeMumma said...

It'll be 5 years this year for me I'm pleased to say I feel I've got this all down. I am always picking up ideas and tips and of course there are things I know but I don't apply them to my blog because I'm happier that way. I'm always open to an honest review my blog though!! X

Gary Mathews said...

I agree with everything, word count is definitely key! As for promoting and engaging that is a never ending cycle of learning!

Martyn Kitney said...

That's a really good thing to remember. I try my hardest to do that.

Martyn Kitney said...

Thanks for commenting. Keeping it fun is definitely key hence me saying that at the end. It's something that I often have to check myself. Completely agree about keeping it personal.

Martyn Kitney said...

I think that's it Hannah, there's always something to learn and then apply. Especially if you want to start bettering what you're doing. I think, mostly, I have the above covered but it's still something that I remind myself of.

Martyn Kitney said...

Thanks Gary. I agree, I think once you've found your voice and your covering the basics then there's loads that opens up. Including engaging etc.

Random Musings said...

Fab tips, I tend to write quite long posts when the topic is something I am particularly passionate about but I have some shorter ones too. I kind of feel like I'm somehow cheating my readers if I only do short posts. I may have to re-think that one!
The worst blogs I have found in terms of hurting my eyes are lime green text on a black background. I see it every time I blink for ages after too!
Thanks for hosting #blogstorm
Debbie said...

As above, I also read my posts out loud and it really does help! Thanks for the tips, I might implement a word count as I think some of my posts are a bit too long! #blogstorm

Laura @ Life with Baby Kicks said...

It's funny isn't it as some of my best post are on the longer side but they are list form which I think affords you some extra grace. Love the idea of reading aloud!

Thanks for being my fellow #blogstormmer :)

Becster said...

Good tips here! Breaking text into paragraphs is one of my main problems I think. Also I've noticed that when I do put in breaks in Wordpress they don't necessarily appear in the actual post which is annoying!!

Martyn Kitney said...

Thanks for commenting. I think deep emotive posts can be long because you're expressing your emotions. But other than that I worry people get bored.
I'm the same when it comes to design and reading.

Martyn Kitney said...

Thanks for commenting. I think reading out loud is great for everyone when checking what they've written.

Martyn Kitney said...

Definitely agree that there are posts where you can get around it. Lists included.

Martyn Kitney said...

Yeah I know that problem. Blogger sometimes takes out the breaks that ive put in. But on the whole I tend to break things up to create a better flow for the readers.

Unknown said...

Fab post Martyn, it doesn't matter if you're a newbie or a pro, sometimes it's good to get back to basics & remind yourself :) #blogstorm

Martyn Kitney said...

Thanks Toni! I definitely agree. I often remind myself of these things.

Unknown said...

Lovely post. It seems there's always something new to learn. I've found using an SEO plugin helps me monitor some of the points you've mentioned, like readability.

Unknown said...

Fab tips. I find it helps to break things up with bold, bullets etc to direct the reader as writing for the web isn't quite like writing for anywhere else. The font thing is crucial. The greatest content is useless if you can't read it! #blogstorm

Julie S said...

I really like the tip about reading your blog post from your reader's perspective. Great list!

Jenny said...

Great tips! I'm learning lots of new things, I definitely need to re-read what I write more often. I find it hard though, I get bored reading things I've already written! :) x

Unknown said...

I agree with all of them! Although I think I do write long posts sometimes. I always click away if the grammar is poor, particularly punctuation. Incorrect punctuation makes a post very difficult to read.

Unknown said...

Great advice! I can especially relate to keeping it short and sweet! I love reading blogs and want to cram in as many as I can in the allowed time I give myself a day to do so! Thanks for hosting #blogstorm. Great idea for a linky!

Cassie said...

Great tips! I have an issue with keeping it short! I have even broken up posts into two parts because I just don't want to leave out the details. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I'd endorse all of these, but if anyone is going to focus on any single tip I would focus on the first one. Being able to read your own writing as if you are the reader is a real skill. Does your blog look presentable and professional with a design that's easy on the eye? Does your title and headline draw the reader in? How about photos? Is your flowing prose really telling a story effectively or does a reader see it as waffle? Being able to see our writing through someone else's eyes is a huge step to improving our own writing - and who doesn't want that?

As I've said elsewhere, word count is not the enemy of a blogger. A 500-word post is not necessarily better or even more concise than a 1,500-word one. But if you can write a 700-word draft and edit it down to 500 words without losing the essence of your message, then you have done your reader a huge service. A good blogger absolutely needs to be able to write well. But the ability to edit well turns good bloggers into better ones.

Sorry, getting all preachy again ... :-)

MummyandMonkeys said...

Great tips. I always read and re read my posts. I also really agree with the length of the post. I find myself loosing interest in really long ones. #blogstorm

Unknown said...

These are great tips, thank you.
I try to let a post 'sit' finished but unpublished overnight if possible, but definitely so I've the got time to come back to it refreshed in order to reread and EDIT. When I was blogging to nobody I wrote such fantastically loooong essays but just recently have 'gone public' and now naturally limit my word count into something readable. Saying that though my last post was a tad on the long side!
I struggle with appearance of my blog. I know how I want it to look, I just don't know how to get it looking like that...frustrating. Taking heart from it being simple at the moment!
A v useful post and thank you also for hosting #blogstorm
Lucy at occupation:(m)other

Adventures of a Novice Mum said...

Oh the grammar point. I read over and over and over again, and sometimes still spot one or two mistakes after publishing .... SO ANNOYING! It's definitely easier to see other people's mistakes than your own. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO TELL ME IF YOU EVER SPOT ONE IN MY POST!

And i really need to work on the consistency!

Thanks for sharing. #Blogstorm

Unknown said...

Great advice. I definitely waffle! Need to work on that in real life as well as blog though ;-) x MMT

Tasha - mummy&moose said...

Thanks very much for the advice! Just starting out and your blog is great.