Blogging should, even at the worst of times, be about having a bit of fun with words. I’m not saying you should be a wordsmith or someone spinning a web of words no one can unravel. Far from it, it’s more about just going back to basics and having fun or being playful. Think of it this way; when you were a kid you only did stuff you enjoyed. Why did all of that change? The message is still the same, to try and enjoy yourself because you’d be surprised to see just how much your writing will improve once you start to experiment with throwing in a little bit of joy in there.
Some will look at it as being frivolous and unnecessary, but some will relish the change in tone. Just as it is in the real world, you can’t please everyone all of the time but you can most certainly at least make sure that you are having a good time while you’re at it. This idea struck me while I was peering in at a class full of kindergarten kids busy with some art classes creating what I would at best (or worst) call modern art. Most of those kids were less busy trying to create a work of perfection and more intent on just having a whale of a time and slathering the walls (and occasionally the paper in front of them) with all sorts of colors while doodling all kinds of unrecognizable shapes.
Amazingly, even at such a tender age, some of them displayed a remarkable capacity for intricacy and quality in their work and looking back I realize that those were the ones that were having the most fun while they were at it. Over time, as I observed this intrepid bunch of kids more and more, I noticed subtle variations and distinct improvements in the way these kids used a brush or even their fingers to paint an image and the more they tried something new, the more evolved their art became over time.
And then it struck with the force of a thousand Elephants stampeding through the Savannah; how is it any different for blogging?
As you pick up and drop styles of writing and experiment, you will stumble upon some that stick and work for you while there will be those you discard and this is true for you and your readers. Your personal experiments could range from satirical styling to sardonic ranting to even using a third person writing style. There are no rules other than those that you impose on yourself, but there is one overriding rule; it has to be impactful for you and your readers, otherwise where’s the fun in trying something new?
Everyone wants to be a successful blogger but not all can do it quite well. It took a lot of hard work to reach the stage where I am now and here I am sharing some of my secrets with you. The list is really long and this article would never end if I start to write them all. I am writing about the ones that I think are most useful. Follow them all and you will surely become a great blogger. Remember that success doesn’t come overnight; it takes a lot of hard work and perseverance.
Write a lot
This is really important because when you write over a period of time, you get to know all the mistakes that you have done in the past. Your writing too gets better after a period of time. You should also put plenty of posts in your blog as you will get more juice from the search engines. If there is plenty of content pouring in, readers will visit your blog more frequently to read your write ups.
This is acknowledged by all successful bloggers. People visit your blog simply because they wish to learn something new. No one reads blogs just for the blabber or fluff. Practice writing over a period of time and develop a skill where in you catch people’s attention with the first line itself. The reader should be left begging for more.
Study the readers and know what they want to read online. Your articles should give what the readers want. I spent lots of time on the Internet studying where people came from, what search terms, what search engines, what sites, etc. I even studied about where the people come from. See what kind of articles people are looking for and write accordingly. Headlines must be really attractive because it is the first thing that the reader notices. It should make the person go through the entire article. Then just tailor the content to suit the research that you have done. Don’t forget to put appropriate images for the posts.
Be consistent and focused
The mantra here is first choose a topic and then stick to it. You should write consistently on the subject that you have chosen. I have observed this amongst big bloggers. They do write off line articles occasionally but eventually it relates to the overall theme. This is a bit hard to achieve but it is not impossible.
Successful bloggers first make a master plan and then stick to it. They are open to constructive criticism or feedback but they always have a vision in their mind. Stick to the plans and don’t get derailed.
Blogging in itself is an art form, and it is often said that life often imitates art. As it is with art, so it is with life; what you get is what you give returned. But the beauty (or banality) of life is that while art itself does not need validation or acceptance, for it is what it is, life is not without its demands. There is a point beyond which you just cannot go solo, social interaction is a must for you to succeed and while you might not be seeking validation in any form at all, you do need to interact at your best with the world. Put your best foot forward and all that.
And so, as it is with mortals, we make mistakes. I too have erred on several occasions, and noticing these errors and learning from them is what is needed when you will inevitably mess things up. Not every art work is a masterpiece and not everyone gets things in their lives right the first time out. Here are a list of the cardinal mistakes I have made and hope you make a mental note of it somewhere in the recesses of your mind so that you too do not follow the same mistake-laden path as I.
I let my URL expire
Mind you, I didn’t let this happen on purpose. It was a lapse which no one wanted to take the blame for, and I most certainly didn’t. When I changed hosts mid-way through the year, I assumed (in my eyes, correctly) that I would get a reminder before the expiry of the contract in question. After all, I get them for my other bills, why not this one? It takes a simple e-mail at the very least. So imagine my surprise when the contract lapsed and I was not aware of this, with both hosting services later playing a game of blame-pong with me in the middle. It was dubbed a case of caveat emptor and I had learnt my lesson. Trust no one (or companies) with an IQ that is room temperature. Get a longer contract if you are truly committed and just pray like hell someone has the common sense to remind you when it’s near expiry.
I got into an online fight
Everyone has an opinion, that’s the beauty of it and the internet, with its conduciveness to anonymity, is the perfect playground for anyone to be bold and come out and say stuff they would never dream of saying in a social setting. You know how it goes. You say something innocuous, someone gets offended, someone calls the other person a derogatory word of some sort and before you know it, wham! World War III is upon us.
In my defence, I was not the aggressor. No, honestly, I wasn’t. It’s just that you cannot expect a human being to be a docile cow. Your views, while inoffensive, will rub someone the wrong way in some remote corner of the globe. And the internet is perfect for getting your otherwise inoffensive opinion to that special someone waiting for you at the other end of a computer.
I attempted to write a post on grammar
The vast, electronic seas of the internet are awash with people with more time on their hands than can be measured by any system man has devised and god forbid you try to correct someone’s grammar. Only do so if your own grounding in grammar is rock solid, like mine. At least I thought mine was, until I wrote a post on typos with two typos. No biggie, right? Wrong! All the grammar Nazis came crawling out of the woodwork with their jibes and taunts, pointing out the delicious irony of it all (I suspect they would have found my salty tears delicious too). It was a free for all, and the comments thread even had a few internet memes and cats laughing at me. Humbled, I offered up an apology, but it had another typo present in it. It was a dark day with no hope in it, and I hope you experience nothing like it.
I ticked off a fellow blogger
Meet the internet. It’s a wonderful place to sound off and generally piss people off more than you might normally and just as it is normally in life, someone’s ego and big mouth cheeses you off so much you wish you could shove a keyboard down their pie hole. I know I did. It’s at times like that you should rein in that anger and channel it in other productive ways. Neighbour’s got a pesky dog that doesn’t stop barking? No problem, dust off that shotgun. Kids meet a new bully at school? No problem, fire the bully in question so badly that he’s a whimpering, simpering pile of snot and tears. Just do not, under any circumstances get into an online fight. Want reasons why you shouldn’t? Look two points up, you reader with a goldfish’s memory, you. No, I refuse to fight with you on why I feel you’re a Goldfish while you say you’re not.
Be a quitter…not.
It’s an irresistible urge…you just get a feeling to leave it all altogether and walk away from your site. Here’s a piece of advice. Don’t do that. Instead, just keep at it one word at a time, piecing together posts you might feel a bit cumbersome and bothersome. The thing is once you’ve stopped contributing to a blog it is as good as dead in the water, it needs constant food for thought to keep it happy and kicking at all times. At a later point, if you feel that you want to blog again (as you inevitably will, it’s a vicious cycle) you will have to start all over again from scratch and it will be a painful process re-acquiring your readership and building a blog up again. Keep things interesting, or as interesting as you can, and keep at it.
Man is a social animal, and he hunts people down while craving constant communication. Talk to your readers, or at least the ones who pop in every now and again to say hi or even lambast you. It’s critical you establish a connection or a rapport with your readers because they are the life-blood of your blog whether you like it or not (no, it’s not your witty jokes. No one visits you for that. In fact, they’re not even that witty). Talk, poke, tweet, chirp, warble or do whatever else it is you want to…just don’t lose that connect no matter what.
Do not post jokes
Never ever post jokes online. At least the kind that I do, anyhow. You’re not meant to be the second coming of Benny Hill. If you are like me, you are meant to write about effective story-telling and how to get better at it, or how to get published and stuff like that. Taking things in a jocular vein comes nowhere into the picture, even if you feel so strait-jacketed on some days that you just absolutely have to joke and make a mockery of things. Doing things like I do and giving a fake name to the telemarketer or shopping assistant is only funny at a personal level. Don’t try and work your humorous charms online, it can be the very antithesis of all that you want.
I wish you don’t make the mistakes I did and that these help you, and that somehow your blogging learning curve is reduced exponentially because of me in some small way because everyone, everywhere has something to learn. And what better way to disseminate information than through a blog? It’s got all the thrill of public speaking and none of the sweaty palms it induces. Or maybe it just does that to me, I don’t know.
Many bloggers simply launch a blog and start scribbling their experience into it, and expect it to be a huge success. However, this is not how it works. If you want your blog to be a big success, you shouldn’t forget the most important element of your blog: your audience. The more subscribers you have, the more popular your blog is. In order to get more subscribers, you will have to do things they like. Here are few tips you must use to make your blog successful.
Give Your Opinion
Instead of writing very specific, informative article, give your opinion about it. People like to read blogs because they aren’t written by companies selling their products, but by an average individual with many things in common to them. Tell people what you think about the topic, and ask for suggestions.
If your aim is to educate your readers as much as you can, provide useful resources in your post. Provide links to web pages that has more information on the topic. This will bring the visitor time and again on your blog to search for information and additional resources.
If you can explain something in 400 words, don’t unnecessarily make it a 1,000 word article. People forget long post easily because they hardly read it. However, shorter points with proper sub-headings are more effective and attractive. Provide knowledge quickly at the speed of sound to your readers.
Write Attractive Headlines
If headlines are attractive, people will certainly look into the content of the post. However, this wouldn’t work if you don’t have relevant content inside. So, write a brilliant post, and use whatever you have to develop an attractive headline.
Have Convenient Format
Instead of letting people search for information from bunch of words and sentences, arrange them in proper manner. Don’t write essay-type posts, but posts with many headings, sub-headings, and bullet points, where finding relevant information would be easy.
People subscribe to your blog because they like your writing style. If you are inconsistent in your style by providing information in random way, they will unsubscribe in seconds. Create your own style and be consistent.
Jot down most-searched keywords in your niche and use them in all your posts. Put them in sub-headings, headings, headlines, and in the body. However, make sure it looks natural and don’t over use them.
Every time you edit the article, you improve its quality significantly. Before you click on ‘submit’, re-read your content and remove unnecessary information. Check for grammar and spelling mistakes.