Off late I’ve had a few friends reach out and ask me for blogging tips. Whilst I don’t claim to be the most sort after blogger, I have over the last two years of blogging picked up a thing or two. So in this blog, I have decided to share some of the golden nuggets that I’ve learnt. Hence this week I decided to take a little break from travel blogging. The tips in this blog will be a bit marketing focussed as well.
- A blog is personal:
The one thing which I have learnt is that a blog is personal. You are writing an article on something that you’ve experienced or have some thoughts on. If you want a reader to connect with your blog, you have to be your authentic self. Write it in a way you’d talk to someone. That way a reader starts to get to know you as a person. It sets the tone for the rest of your blogs. The beauty of a blog is that you don’t have to be ‘formal’. The whole concept of a blog is so that it is an informal article and you are free to share the information with your thoughts in the manner you wish. Yes, if you are writing a blog on behalf of a company, you are representing the company and that’s when it gets a bit more complex. But if that is something you’d like me to talk about I’m happy to, as I have written blogs for a company as well.
- Content, content, content:
For readers to connect with your blog, it has to be about something they care about. Usually readers are always searching about something that is of importance to them when they are looking for blogs, authors, influencers to follow. This doesn’t mean that you have to try and figure out what that is. But more so figure out what is a topic that you feel you can share the most on. In my case, it is travel. I share travel information from my perspective and my experiences. When readers are searching for information on travelling to a certain destination and they come across my blog, if something has tugged their heart strings, they will reach out.
In other cases, there are also people who wish to blog about their battles. This is not a bad thing. If you’ve struggled with bullying, anxiety and other things, it is often good to blog about your story. It took me a really long time to come out with my bullying story, but I found that writing about it was much easier than talking about it. And that is probably why I struggled most of my life with it as I couldn’t articulate it in conversations with other people just exactly what the battles I was fighting were. But if you do decide to go down this route, make sure you’re empathetic to other people who might be in the same boat as you.
There is no right or wrong length for your blog. I’ve written blogs that’s hardly a couple of paragraphs and I’ve written others that are complete sagas. What I usually do is, I try and write the content first and see if all of the information is relevant. If it is, then great I’ll leave it as is. If not, I’ll try and edit it and see whether I can do multiple blogs with different angles on the same topic, or if it’s just easier to edit it down.
I cannot emphasise enough the importance of using images. You don’t have to be a photographer, but if you’re writing a blog that is text heavy, using images is very good to break the flow a bit. This is a good thing. In this day and age, a visual representation of what you’re talking about is very important. I recommend using relevant images and videos whenever possible. Tip: using videos on your website also leads to your website/blog to rank better in Google search (YouTube is a product of Google).
- Featured image:
I wanted to use this as a separate bullet point, because this often gets missed. A featured image is an image that you use when setting up your blog. It is very important to use this, because when you share your blog link on social media platforms, this image is pulled when the platforms create previews. It is essential, that you give as much thought as possible to this when selecting the image. It has to be captivating so a reader will click into your blog, it has to be relevant.
- Title of the blog:
This is again a very important part of the blog, that often gets missed. Of course, the title of the blog is something that would attract a reader to your blog. But what’s more important is the keyword search. When a reader is searching for something on Google, Google ranks websites depending on the number of keyword matches. This is to put it in the simplest term. Let’s not get adwords involved. So, what I recommend is, thinking of a simple yet powerful title i.e. something that gets the message across. A reader should be able to get a sense of what your blog is about based on your title. When you start the blog, try and use words from the title within the body as much as possible. Don’t just re-use the words out of context, make sure it’s relevant. Just read this blog and see all the places I’ve used ‘blogging tips’.
It’s good practice to use hyperlinks on your website. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is that, if the reader clicks on the links, depending on where the link leads them, the owner of the link will see that your website is reffering traffic to theirs. This is a stretch, but it can lead to business opportunities in the future. If that happens, you have explicitly say things such as “This is a sponsored blog”. The other benefit is that, it shows that you are able to direct readers to the right avenue if they’d like more information. It shows you as an unbiased author. Tip: when hyperlinking a site, ensure it opens on a new tab. That way the reader still is on your blog site and the hyperlink has just opened on a new tab. It works wonders on the average duration spent on your site as well as bounce rate.
This is a topic which has sparked much debate. To build a regular readership, you need to be consistent in more ways than one. Firstly, try and be consistent in terms of posting. If you’ve decided to post once per week on a certain day, stick to it. That way readers know when to expect your next blog. Missing a week, means readers who ultimately were waiting for your blog now have to find some where else to go to source or read a blog on the topic they were wanting your insight on. Sometimes missing a week is inevitable, just ask me I’ve been in this case many a times. The blogging tip here is to prepare ahead. If you know you’re going to miss your blog in the upcoming week tell your audience so. If you miss that, make sure you address it when you start the next blog. Audiences understand that sometimes life gets in the way and it’s best to honour your health, life and other commitments over writing a blog. But you do more harm by not addressing it.
Secondly, and I’m reiterating this, be your authentic self. Be consistent in what you talk about in the way you talk about it. Readers are smart and they are quick to notice ‘gaps’ and know when you’re writing has been influenced. Remember readers are on your blog because they want to hear what you have to say.
- Be explicit:
If you’re just starting out as a blogger, you’re going to need all the shares, likes, retweets and so on. You must be explicit and ask people to ‘share’ or ‘like’. People usually shy away from doing such things unless the blog has resonated with them greatly. By asking people to share your blog, you’re opening up that avenue and are being vulnerable to your readers which is not a bad thing. This diminishes their ‘shyness’ and helps them share. Ask people to comment and ensure that if someone does comment, you respond to it as soon as possible.
- Growing your audience:
I use the term audience loosely here. I don’t just mean readers subscribed to your blog, but also your social media followers. Apart from regularly sharing your content and encouraging engagement, there are a few other things you can do to grow your audience.
Firstly, reach out to bloggers who blog about the same/similar topics as you. See if there is a collaboration opportunity. Whilst, yes this is ultimately a competition because you have to be better than the other blogger, it can be a healthy and friendly competition. By collaborating they get a chance to reach out to your readership and vice versa. Ultimately if the reader likes what they see they’ll follow you. There isn’t a barrier stopping them from doing so. I'm currently running the Guest Blog Post series and if you're interested in knowing more about it or are interested to participate in it, just message me!
Secondly, as I mentioned before about hyperlinks, try and hyperlink other places and tag them in your social media posts. If they like what they see they will re-share and retweet and/or like your post ultimately getting their followers to see your post. This can be quite good as it’s relevant to you as you’ve blogged about it. However, it only mostly works when you’re blogging good things about the other companies.
So with that, if these blogging tips were helpful, please share them. Feel free to leave any questions or tips of your own below.
Until next time,