Blogging is a wonderful creative bubble that can even become one’s profession. If you think that there are too many blogs in existence already, and that you probably can’t stand out, think again. I’m gonna let you in on my progress as a new blogger and tell you how you can get started with a bang by taking care of few essential points in the beginning.
Last month I wrote about blogging and how it’s making a big return this year. The industry is going through a maturing phase right now, with rules and regulations being honed while followers and consumers become more selective on which kinds of blogs they prefer to follow.
I’ve been blogging semi-professionally for almost a year now, and before that I blogged as a hobby for 8 years. Within the past year I’ve built my first ever website from scratch, started following statistics, made enormous efforts to get my page’s SEO into proper condition and even managed to secure some collaborations within months from starting. For someone who got into the game and learned to use Google Analytics only a year ago, I’d say I’ve done quite well so far.
So, I should be able to give some insight onto what it actually takes to run a professional blog that isn’t just a hobby on your spare time. I’m planning on doing a series of posts in the future to cover all the steps, from choosing a name to picking and building a layout for your blog, but today I wanted to share my thoughts, and some useful links on creating killer blog posts.
Like we know, many people who haven’t blogged ever in their lives can easily make the mistake of thinking that it doesn’t take much to write about your everyday life and add a few photos here and there. But oh dear, aren’t they wrong. Random writing is completely okay, and I actually encourage it, but to gain and keep followers, and perhaps even get paid to post, takes a lot of work and effort.
Let’s not forget that this is one of the most competed industries in existence at the moment, so in order to publish that winning blog post, it has to tick couple essential boxes. Let’s go through the most important aspects to remember:
A Fresh Take
Whatever subject you’re writing about, you’re not going to be the only one. Fashion, beauty and travel are among the most popular blog categories, and those are exactly the categories that a lot of us like to write about, right?
So, it’s inevitable that there will be plenty of posts covering the exact same subject that you are writing about right now. In fact, the last time I opened my Bloglovin’ feed, there were altogether 3 posts by different bloggers, queued one after the other, promoting the exact same perfume.
That’s why it’s especially important to always have a fresh take on things. The aforementioned link has some great and very valid points, but I could just give you a few points to pin down and think about in regards to this subject;
your fresh take is the thing that makes you unique as a person. It may be as simple a thing as your writing style or your personality. Or sometimes it comes from the idea or the argument behind your blog post.
In regards to those 3 blog posts on the same subject, I was interested to see how differently the bloggers managed to execute. The challenge with these 3 was that they were all promoted posts, and the brand in question had apparently had quite a lot of control over the content.
One of the bloggers had taken a more poetic take on the post and revealed what that particular product means to her in her everyday life and how she uses it. At the end of the post she also covered the product’s information.
The other 2 concentrated on explaining the product’s features thoroughly, and even covered the brand’s history and vision. So, they were a bit more technical-oriented. But the first one was a perfect example of how you can let your personality shine, even on branded posts, and thus give your posts a unique note.
A Snappy Title
In order to get people to click on your posts and spend the time to read it, you definitely need a snappy title to draw them in. The important things to take into account when planning a title for a blog post are:
- make sure it isn’t too long
- make sure it isn’t too short
- point out that you’re providing an answer to a question (‘How to…’, ‘Why I…)
- use attention-capturing and flashy words
- don’t give up all the information straight up, leave questions unanswered.
There are plenty of headline analyzing tools online that you can use to check the quality of your headline. Headlines are one of the main aspects that Google analyzes when determining the quality of your blog so the title really is an important factor to consider.
Think about what kinds of titles and headlines you yourself tend to click and try to incorporate the same structure to your headlines, then see how it affects your follower statistics.
Good Quality Photos
No matter how great you are at writing, and however brilliant your posts might be text-wise, you need to break it up with photos to make the reading experience more pleasant. A long slab of text with no break is just the thing to make people’s attention wander, ending up with lose of interest.
Going through my old blogs I cringe because the photos are quite awful quality-wise. They are full of memories and meaning to me, but for someone who was not part of my life when I lived in London, those photos probably don’t seem that interesting. And let’s be honest, those blogs just look completely unprofessional.
Good quality photos don’t need to mean that you need a professional camera that will break your bank. These days phones have cameras that can easily rival with professional cameras in quality.
But the photos in their original state aren’t good enough anymore. You need to bring your photos to the next level so editing them is a must. For Mac users I can recommend this post for tips on how to edit photos properly: https://setapp.com/how-to/how-to-edit-photos-on-mac
The fact is, you’re far more likely to get people to share your posts if they’ve got lots of good images on them.
There is an abundance of photo editing tools for both, desktops and mobile devices to choose from. In lack of a proper laptop I use Snapseed and VSCO on my phone to edit my photos. I’d like to take a course on photo editing as soon as I find myself a laptop to work with.
Proper Spelling and Grammar
Now, I am (probably unhealthily) obsessed with grammar and spelling. I can’t stand it if a blog post is teeming with spelling mistakes, and good grammar just makes text easier to read overall.
In the long run I think this is a very important ingredient. Not just because good grammar and spelling make reading your text easier, but it also makes you seem like a more trustworthy content creator. Your readers trust the information that you’re providing because it’s given in a professional manner.
My advice is three words; proofread, proofread, proofread.
I read each of my posts at least 3 times before publishing them, and attempt my utmost to find and fix each and every spelling mistake and unclear sentence. This is all for your benefit, my darling reader. Because I know how hard and uninteresting it is to read text where half the time you’re trying to guess what the person is in fact trying to say.
If proofreading sounds closer to a curse word than salvation to you, check out this quick guide on how to edit and proofread your texts. Or just write your text on a Word file, choose the right language and make the tool do the checking for you. That still leaves you the part of checking the sentence structure, though.
A Call To Arms
We’re almost ready! You’ve got the text, you’ve come up with a brilliant headline for it and you’ve proofread the text and added amazing imagery on it. There’s only one thing left to do!
Social media is, of course, the best platform to showcase and market your blog and the specific posts, on which you put so much time and effort. So, remember to shout out about it; ask your readers to subscribe to your newsletter or to leave a comment on what they think about the subject.
In addition, ask them to follow you on social media and share your posts. That’s a brilliant way to boost your following quickly as well.
Now you’ve got everything you need to know to create those winning blog posts so, time to get cracking!
As last advice I’d recommend never to try and be someone you’re not, never try to write like someone else does, because you are unique just as you are, and that’s exactly what’s going to make your readers love you and your content. Let’s keep it real, lovelies ♥
I’d love to know if there are some specific areas in writing a blog post that you’re particularly strict about? Perhaps the same way I’m strict about my grammar and spelling. Also, please let me know if there are some things that I left out here that writing a winning blog post requires in your opinion. xx