When you’re having a conversation with someone, you might have wondered ‘I know quite a bit about this, I should probably write about it’. This is how a lot of people start blogging. Many of us want to start a blog but we don’t know where or how to start. The rest of us are just procrastinators. This post is for both the groups hoping that this not only clears the ‘how’, ‘what’ and ‘where’, but also gives you a little motivation to start writing.
For the new bloggers, if you’re confused about where to start and what to write, here’s some insight.
1. Wheel around your expertise
It’s always better to write about what you know best, be it fashion, marketing, food, etc. This has so many advantages , viz. gives you more ideas to pen down. Your curiosity to learn more about the topic allows you to discover finer details that will be of value to others who read your post. Your article will also reflect your interest in the form of interesting, well-structured and well-thought content.
2. Stick to limited topics
I often come across blogs that have everything from “top cars of 2016” to “What does your sun sign say about you?”- That’s a bit of a stretch according to me. The idea of writing a blog is to promote yourself, your expertise or your business and writing about literally everything isn’t going to get you there. The best way to do this is to dive deeper into your area of expertise and write more about it. Break down broader topics into parts, create a structure and start writing. This method also gives all your posts continuity and they stay linked in some way.
3. Concentrate on tutorials
If you’re great with make-up, then create tutorials on it on a regular basis. Say, you decide to deviate from making tutorials into recent red carpet looks of celebrities, it is going to give you exposure, there’s no denying it, but eventually your traffic is going to die out. News and trends have a limited interest period but how-tos are in for the long haul. If you create a tutorial, chances are that the same post will be read even after a year or two, maybe even more! However, I do not recommend sticking to only tutorials. Mix it up a bit but keep your focus on how-tos.
That pretty much covers the ‘What’ part of the question. Moving on to the ‘how’- How to write a blog? This is a big one and plays a significant role in deciding if people read your posts.
4. Keep it simple
Although we’d like to thesaurus the crap out of sentences to make us look smart, that’s not a very smart move. People shouldn’t have to read a sentence over and over again to understand what the writer is trying to say. We all like short and simple sentences in simple language telling us what we want to know. Use an explanatory first person voice where you break down all the concepts in a way that’s easily understandable to any reader.
5. Highlight key points
Let’s face it, most of us skim through text more often that we’d like to admit. To grab attention of people whose attention span is that of a goldfish, it takes more than just good content. A technique that I personally have found useful is using sub-headings , putting key phrases and points in bold/italics or a different size. This makes your point stand out and catches the reader’s attention.
6. Outbound Linking
Although a lot of people feel that linking your post to another article reduces retention of the reader on your page, it is, in fact, an excellent strategy to improve your search engine ranking. Outbound linking gives search engines a clear idea about the relevance of your article and increases the credibility of your site. When you link another author’s work to yours, they are notified of it and this can lead to greater visibility and more chances of getting your article linked by some other author. You may even get guest author requests or a prospective lead for your business through this; you never know! The ultimate goal of this practice is to improve your blog’s SEO.
7. Internal Linking
Linking your latest articles with similar posts you’ve published in the past is a great way to get readers to go back to those old posts and read them. You can start with something along the lines of “in my previous post, I had mentioned about…” or ” In my post about (topic)..” and insert the link to that post. This way, you can maintain traffic (and search engine rankings- because they hugely depend on the activity on a certain page) to not just your new posts, but also the old ‘forgotten’ ones.
That was the ‘how’. The next question is sustenance and success of the blog- what can be done to achieve this?
- Befriend social networking platforms– With over 2 billion active social media users that is, 2/3rd of the world’s online population, there’s no need to emphasize on the importance of being present on social networking sites such as Facebook. Social media is a pervasive tool and can reap incredible results if used well. The question is how do you use it? I’m going to write a detailed post exclusively on this but here’s a brief: Share your posts on these platforms regularly, follow other bloggers and firms that deal with your niche and lastly, get people to follow you- scream out your name so your work is seen; but not too loud to an extent where it comes out as spam which is, well.. annoying. Online platforms hold a plethora of opportunities for you to be heard at minimum cost, sometimes even free, so leverage it to your advantage.
- Improve shareability- Regardless of how brilliant your content is, if people don’t have easy access to is, it’s unavailing. If you’ve noticed, most posts have a share option-through mail, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. The more number of options you give them, the more are the chances of people sharing your posts and visiting your blog. Increasing the shareability of your article can greatly help in providing you much needed visibility and traffic so don’t forget to add this to your check-list!
- Include a comments section– A majority of people are quite scared of this one- comments section below every post. I wouldn’t say this fear is uncalled for, but the advantages definitely do outweigh its disadvantages. This section allows for debate which can spark new ideas, improve your blogging skills, and help you learn new techniques. The learning curve is high when you allow your posts to receive feedback. Positive feedback boosts your morale and negative ones can turn out to be constructive. There are can also be an instance where a person who leaves a comment can turn out to be a prospective lead in the future.
- Blog frequently– People are information thirsty; they’re constantly looking to know and discover more. Think about how many times a day you look up some information online. Say your main focus is content marketing and you know a really good content marketing blog, you’d go back to the same blog for more content. If there isn’t regular activity or updates on it, chances are that you’ll switch to another site/blog that regularly publishes valuable content. This is one of the reasons why you need to make sure to publish posts on a regular basis. I suggest creating a schedule where you post at regular intervals depending on how often you write.
The other reason to blog frequently is search engines: Search engines (ingenious Google) keeps a track of how often you blog, how many visits your blog receives and all the activity within it. This factors up to your ranking and credibility on searches.
So that’s one more reason to kill that procrastination and get writing on your next article!