Far different from book or other formal writing, writing for a blog requires its own specific set of skills. And once you’ve got them down pat, you’ll be able to produce sparkling, original, copy that will keep your readers coming back for more. There are tons of books and sites devoted to writing great content, but unless you’re someone who really struggles with writing a complete sentence, it really boils to some basic principles. And even if you already know all this, it’s always a good idea to get a reminder and re-evaluate your writing to make sure you’re not falling back into bad habits.
Here are the seven most essential things that every blogger needs to know:
1. Keep it short – Learn the skill of brevity. Your readers will love you for it. It can take time to develop the art of saying more in fewer words, but it’s worth it. Keep sentences short, paragraphs tight, and articles at a reasonable length. Make your point, repeat it, then leave it. Short, succinct sentences look appealing to a reader when they scan your page. This means they will keep the window open and take a look at what you have to say.
2. Bite-sized nuggets – Break your content into nice, digestible pieces. As a general rule of thumb, paragraphs written for the web shouldn’t be longer than four of five sentences. Ever heard of the popular web abbreviation “TLDR”? This stands for “too long, didn’t read.” Readers scan web pages, rather than reading them carefully, such as they would a book or newspaper. Make your content look short and readable and you will stand a better chance of keeping your reader’s attention.
3. Subheadings – Put the most important points, keyword and phrases in bold subheadings. This helps to catch the eye of readers skimming over your page. Subheadings are where people “land” on a website. Each subheading should introduce a kind of “mini article.” Take advantage of subheadings to make readers stay on your page for longer.
4. Leave them wanting – The number one trick to making a profit from web writing is to leave readers wanting just a little bit more. Introduce the problem, offer some solutions, but don’t completely solve it. That is what your next link, next post, or targeted ads are for. Learning the skill of leaving the problem a little bit open is the best skill you can develop.
5. Offer something original – Why should readers choose your blog over someone else’s? Offer them something original, and they’ll make that choice. Figure out how you can tap into a niche and how you will be able to offer a unique angle. If you are an expert in a field, use that to your advantage. Any topic that you are passionate about is a good place to start. This way you can deliver readers heartfelt, knowledgeable advice that doesn’t just repeat what someone else is saying.
6. Watch your adverbs and adjectives – Any writing teacher will tell you that you need to eliminate your writing of adverbs and adjectives. Blog writing is no exception! There is a place for them, but most of the time they tell the reader nothing. They are empty words which don’t say anything, yet they do take up plenty of space. Consider the sentence, “This product is really rather quite good.” What does that mean? If you mean good, then that’s what you should write. Keep your writing simple, active, and powerful.
7. Use a professional yet casual tone – There is a careful balance that needs to be struck. Write informally, but don’t litter your blog posts with careless grammar mistakes, messy formatting or text speak. Not only does this look ugly, readers will wonder why they should trust you to tell them anything. Want to be an authority on a topic? Keep your readers coming back? Write in a professional tone that gives them a good impression.
Follow these tips, and you’ll take your blog to the next level. Or at least be on your way to keeping your content clean and readable. Do you have other tips and tricks for great writing? Be sure to share with us in the comments!