How to be a better blogger

If you thought your days of writing finished when you left education, think again, they’re back! However, there’s no teacher brandishing a red pen to worry about.

Your blog should be a the heart of your online marketing efforts, in my opinion, so I’m going to share 10 tips for better blogging to help you present your content in an effective and engaging way.

1. Tone

When it comes to blogging the required tone is less formal than on a website; think of it rather like having a chat with someone over a cup of coffee.

2. Plain English

The blog is not the place to try to impress with your use of language. Remember, your readership will be made up of people from all kinds of backgrounds. If readers find the blog post above their reading level, they won’t engage.

3. Short sentences

This can be more of a challenge than you might think! When you’ve written your blog I suggest you read it back to yourself out loud. We naturally pause for breath when talking, so think of that point as time to include a comma or a full stop.

4. Keep paragraphs short

Writing for the web is different to writing for a magazine, or for those essays we all had to do at school. Generally, people don’t read web pages, they scan them, which brings me to my next tip.

5. Use headings to break up content

Headings are like signals to the reader. User’s may actually engage with your content half way down the page, a particular heading having caught their eye. If a user finds the information under the heading useful, they may well read more or all of the page.

6. Format Headings

I see too many people relying on ‘Bold’ rather than using formatting options for H2, H3 etc. I’m not going to get into the technical aspects of use of Headings, for reasons of length of this blog post. Please use only one H1 per page, followed by any number of H2, H3 etc (usually styled at decreasing font sizes).

7. Check spelling

You have to wield your own red pen here. Most blogging platforms have a built-in spell checker; use it but don’t rely on it totally. You’ll find that Spell-checks often ‘miss’ words which are spelt correctly, but not in the context of the sentence – e.g. My dog has a web nose. (I ran the spell-check and it didn’t pick-up that the word ‘web’ needs to be ‘wet’).

8. External links

If you link to content that’s on another website, make sure you format the link to open in a new window. If you don’t format the link correctly then the site linked to will replace your page, rather than opening up in a new window.

9. Enable comments

Getting people to leave comments is an aspect that people are often concerned about. It’s not easy unless your blog has a large readership, but it’s still a good idea to provide a comments box. However, I recommend you activate any facility to be able to ‘moderate comments’ before they’re published – see your blog ‘settings’.

10. Include a call to action

I’m not talking a “Now you’ve read it, buy a copy” type of call to action. It could just be a call to action that asks people to consider subscribing to your blog by email (obviously you need to be able to facilitate this). It could be a call to action to view what’s on another page, via links such as you’ll see at the bottom of this post. Give the user a reason to explore your content further by providing them with signposts to where you’d like them to go next.

Include sharing buttons

I’ve not listed ‘sharing buttons’ as one of the 10 tips because I think that’s fairly obvious, well I hope it is! You need to give your users every encouragement to vote with their digit, sharing your content out to their networks via the social media sharing button you provide. You have got sharing buttons at the top or bottom of your blog posts, haven’t you?

Over to you

I know there are plenty of other tips which could have made the Top 10. Why not leave a comment with your tip for better blogging, not on my list.

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