How do you blog successfully in just a few steps

Mastering the craft of writing is beautiful and extremely satisfying, especially when the copy is written from the soul.  It liberates your wildest of emotions by simply putting words on paper.  However, when it comes to writing for people in general, the question, “How do you blog successfully” is asked by many.

One of the best ways to write a dazzling article for your blog is to practice writing.  For many, this might seem like the end of the world.

However, if you intend to make money from your posts, then you need to adapt.  It is then when you can yourself a blogger.

You need to start writing.  The more you write, the easier it becomes.

Writing a great blog post can initially seem like a daunting task, but it isn’t all that difficult.  You just need to keep in mind certain things and follow certain steps.

How do you blog successfully?

  • The first step you need to take is to pick what you’re going to write about.  This involves doing some decent and hard-core research.
  • After that, sit down and think hard about a killer headline for your post.
  • The third step is to just write, and write and write until you are blue in the face.  Do not start to edit at this stage, but carry on writing like there is no tomorrow.  It might seem to you like it’s a load of rubbish, but trust me on this one.
  • Make your layout easy on the eyes, and your readers will thank you for it.  This means that you need to add images and don’t build a wall of words.
  • The final step to keep in mind is that you’ve just written a whole lot of sentences that are not yet ready to be shared with the world.  Before this happens, you need to edit, proofread, polish, edit, proofread and polish some more until your words shine.  You need to carry on repeating this so anybody reading your copy is gripped by your writing skills.

The first step you need to take is to pick what you’re going to write about 

This involves doing some decent and hard-core research.

If you don’t check out your facts properly, you’ll look like an amateur.  This will also put people off from coming over to your site to read more of your posts.

Doing your research is quite a laborious job.  If you want your article to gleam, and you want to sound like you know what you’re on about, then this first step is essential for the success of your blog.  If your blog is going to be your business, then this is essential for your business too.

Personally, when I start to write an article, I first root around to see what I can write about.  Once I have a rough idea what my post will be about, I start to think about how to expand it into a long post.  When I say a long post, I don’t mean one of ten thousand words.  More like in the vicinity of between one to two thousand words.

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You can very well write a much longer one if you so wish.  It all depends on what niche you’re in.  If your competition is tough, then you’d need to write a longer and much better article than your rivals.  This is how you stand out from the crowd.

The days of writing a three hundred word article have been long dead and buried.

With Google’s new algorithms, a post is expected to be at least a thousand words long to rank.

A good approach is to find similar articles to your proposed project and obtain general points from them to develop.

Whatever you do, DO NOT spin any articles.

This is very unprofessional, not to mention that Google thinks it sucks, and you’ll get done for it.

In any case, nobody likes to have their work plagiarized, and you will not be Mr Popular for long.

From start to finish, an article could easily take me a few days before I’m happy with it.

Bear in mind that quality always supersedes quantity.

It’s not just a question of adding more words to an article, even if the topic has been researched thoroughly.

One word of advice (although you can live without it, or can you?)

The choice of the article you decide to write about is something which tickles your own fancy.

To word that slightly differently, you do need to genuinely enjoy writing your article.  Otherwise, your readers will feel ‘your vibes’ by the way you write it.  If you find it drags and is boring, then so will your readers.

Also, it would be a hell of a shame if you plan to write a three-thousand-word article, either for your own blog, or as a guest post, and find that you have run dry of words after the first five hundred.  That wouldn’t happen if you plan out your strategy properly by creating an outline and working on it from there.

In the event that you are asked to write a post about something which you are not too amused about, then, I suggest you try extra hard to get your creative juices running as much as you can, and write it in a way that it also amuses you (and the readers as well).

Remember, your audience can easily read between the lines.  They are clever enough to sense if your writing ‘eagerness’ is there, or not.

Don’t just write and think about about totting up the word-count as it doesn’t work.

It wouldn’t be such a bad idea if you were to write an outline of your article.  Just to give you an idea of how to go about it.  This approach will also keep you focused so you won’t go off-track during the writing process.

Probing and exploring your blog post facts

Let me be blunt about this.

I have never set foot into outer-space, and yet, if need be, I can write volumes upon volumes about this subject as it fascinates me.  What I’m trying to say here is that you don’t have to have actually lived through an experience to be able to write like you’ve been there, and done it.

However, it is crucial, to dig up all the information and facts about the topic of your choice.

This is where research plays a leading role in your work.

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If you happen to just ‘invent‘ this fact, and that fact, then your article will fall through.  With a single comment from somebody who knows what they’re on about, challenging your conclusions or theories, you can kiss your credibility and authority, ‘Bye Bye’.

Luckily for many who bother to search, there are countless sites which offer authentic facts and figures.  You can find about anything you care to put pen to paper about.  Wikipedia comes to mind.  I have quoted from this many times before and will carry on doing so in the future.

However, there are other sites where you can check out your facts, and some of these are even more reliable than Wikipedia.

As good as this is for doing research, I have realized that I can go one step further, and find factual websites to use as an extremely reliable source of information.

After that, sit down and think hard about a killer headline for your post

I can’t stress the importance of writing a good…no…KILLER headline for your post.

The reason for this is quite simple…

It’s because this is what your potential reader will see before they click on to read what you’ve written.

Without a killer headline, you might as well have gone fishing for a day, or two, or for how long the article took you to finish.  You’d have wasted your time, which isn’t nice, especially since you probably sweated blood researching it, writing it, and polishing it before you hit the PUBLISH button.

Sadly, many are those who write genius posts, but these remain unread by the masses.  As much as you enjoy your family and close friends going to have a look, you really want thousands to flow to your website.

So how do you get these thousands to come and look?

By writing your killer headlines.

For a more in-detail look at this subject, I wrote a whole post about writing killer headlines, which I’m pretty sure you will refer to it the next time you write an article.

The third step is to just write, and write and write. 

Do not start to edit at this stage, but carry on writing like there is no tomorrow.  It might seem to you like it’s a load of rubbish, but trust me on this one

Every writer has his or her style of writing, so don’t take this personal.

If what is good for you works, then, by all means, carry on doing it.  Nobody is going to come over and scratch your article for not having written it in a certain way.

While there are people who just sit down and write a whole post, others do it in sections.  I tend to favor the latter.

I’d love to just sit down for hours, totally stationary apart from my eyes and fingers, and finish an article, or at least write the first draft before I get off my chair.

It doesn’t work like that for me.

When writing, I do enjoy relaxing music, but only listen to the instrumental kind.  I found this to be better than music having lyrics as I’ll end up listening to the lyrics and lose my focus on my writing.

However, if the copy is giving me a headache, then I’d want total peace and quiet around.  Nothing at all to interfere with my train of thoughts.  I would even close my bedroom door and remain in pitch black, apart from the silvery glow on my face radiating from my monitor.

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I never said that it’s easy.

Luckily enough, I have been doing this for a number of years, and it does leave its mark.  Over the years, it has become easier for me to start writing about anything.  Of course, this is once I’ve done the necessary research on the particular topic beforehand.

For many, actually composing the first few words is the most difficult stage in the whole process.

Don’t be disturbed by that if you are one of them.

Just write away, then once you’ve finished the first draft, you can even write the first few sentences by moving words around.  You could have written a sentence five paragraphs down which would make a great first sentence, so just change things over.

With the use of a word processor, changing whole chunks of text around to choose a suitable introduction has never been easier.

Make your layout easy on the eyes, and your readers will thank you for it 

This means that you need to add images and don’t build a wall of words.

A wall of words is a very long paragraph of sentences joined to each other.  Believe me, when I’m faced with something similar in a post, I tend to frown at it and hit ‘back’ on the browser.

It’s a shame to write in this format, as even though you’ve managed to get traffic to your site, and captured readers through your killer headline, they’ll only be put off by the body of the text.

Write your sentences as short as you can

This makes them so much easier to read, which will suit your readers as it makes it easier for them to go through your content.

The same rule applies to the length of the paragraphs

A paragraph with a sentence or two, sometimes even three, is so much better than one with ten or fifteen sentences.  It will just be too long, resembling the infamous wall of words, and it’s one of the best ways to lose out on readers.

Use images in your posts, as these give your readers a break before reading some more of your good stuff.  Images make your pages look less intimidating, and pleasant to flow through.

Some have quoted that there should be an image every three hundred words or so.  That really depends on the kind of writing you are doing, and on your audience.  However, your readers didn’t go to your site to read pages of a book.  They came to be enlightened, amused and informed at the same time.

Images breathe life into your posts, and images enhance your blog considerably.

If you are worried about where to obtain images from, there are countless sites for you to get free pictures and images for your website.

By the use of images, your blog will stand out so much better.  It goes without saying that the images have to be relevant to what your article is about.  There is not much point in writing about cats while all the images on your blog are of dogs.

I know, I know, this is far-fetched, but you get my drift.

I love the use of images as they really do speak a thousand words 

These help to make your reader understand better the message you’re trying to convey in an easy-to-follow way.

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The final step to keep in mind is that you’ve just written a whole lot of sentences that are not yet ready to be shown to the world. 

Before this happens, you need to edit, proofread, polish, edit, proofread and polish some more until your words shine so brightly, they nearly blind you.

You need to carry on doing this so your readers are gripped by your writing skills.

I can’t say this is the most important point of all, as all the points mentioned are equally important.

Having said that, this last stage of the process is dealing with the final touches before your post goes public.

Your post needs to be as near perfect as you can get it to be.

What good is inserting images, writing killer headlines, formatting the layout, carrying out hours of research, when your copy is riddled with mistakes from start to finish?

Yes, you’ve guessed it…

Your post will suck!

I’ll give you an example of a carpenter working on a wooden table.

The carpenter has to measure four equal lengths for the legs.  Every fraction of an inch is crucial when cutting these out.  This talented person could even design a pattern on each and every one of them, which has to be identical to all four parts.

He has to cut out joints and holes so the parts will fit in together perfectly.  Proper measurements of the size of the table top, depending on how many people are planned to sit around it, need to be taken.  Other factors fall into the equation, like if this is to be a rounded table, a square, or a rectangular one.

Once all the pieces have been cut and put together, the carpenter needs to use suitable glue for the joints, and sand down any rough areas before this goes to be stained and varnished.

It is a long process which can take days or even weeks to finish.

Your blog will be as good as the finish you apply to it

Now, imagine that everything is done to perfection, but the staining or the varnishing process is a disaster.

What would be the reaction of who sees this ‘finished’ table?

No importance is given to the length of the legs, to their fabulous design, to the height and size of the top, to the glue that’s used, or how everything fits in perfectly.

What is noticed immediately would be the awful ‘finish’.

The moral of the story here is that if your blog was to be compared to the table, you’ll end up with the same negative result the table received.

The finished product is (not the most important thing, as I’ve already stated, since all the other points are equally important) what the end user will eventually see and evaluate.

Don’t give up on your writing abilities  

Try to attain a writing style which will be unique to you.  Your style and your format make your writing stand out from the crowd, which is awesome in every sense of the word.

Watching your grammar is an ace up your sleeve which you should put to good use.  This also includes sentence structure and all that goes with it.

Writing a good article, with all the trimmings, is far from easy, but with practice, you will get the hang of it.

Once you’re done with the first draft, what I do is let it simmer for a few days, then I go back to it.

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You’ll probably be shocked at all the mistakes you’ll find.  Not only grammatical and punctuation mistakes, but also that some sentences don’t make a great deal of sense.

Changing sentences, or even whole paragraphs around will usually do the trick.  This is for the purpose of making your article flow smoothly.

Do not worry if you need to chop out a whole paragraph or two, especially if you’ve repeated yourself (or if it is just the odd word which is used too frequently).

I have to confess that I too use, quite unconsciously, certain words or phrases over and over again.  When going through the copy, I tend to root out and change as many of these as I possibly can, at times, with great difficulty.  It will cost you in quantity (of words), but it will greatly improve your quality, which is the bottom line when editing a copy.

So, chop, chop and chop even more all that which is not needed, or if your copy sounds fluffy.

You don’t need to write fluff for a brilliant blog post

You need to write a good tight copy.  One that will hit your reader in the face, hard enough to leave a great impression and prompt action to be taken.  This could be leaving a comment, sharing your post, or even actually purchasing something from your site.

One of the best ways I’ve found to edit an article I’ve written is to read it out loud, or have somebody read it out to me (which is even better), and doing so in a different setting to where you’ve actually written it.

If you have nobody close at hand to read it out loud for you, then don’t worry so much.  You can always use your computer to ‘read’ it for you using a ‘Text to Speech’ program.  You might hate the voice, but don’t dwell too much about that.  What you should be concentrating on is how the copy flows, and to locate any flaws in your writing.

Say I’ve written a piece of content in my office.  The best way is to print it out and go either to a different room or even to a different building altogether to start editing it.  You will honestly be surprised at what an immense difference this makes.

Proofreading your copy is an essential process that no true blue blogger can shy away from.  Bad copy puts you in a bad light, and you can’t afford this, especially if you’re just starting your blogging career.

Experienced and established bloggers have their own editors and proofreaders to help them out.  They even have a team of writers doing all the hard work for them, but don’t worry about that.

Your time will come 

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You need to take one step at a time, and always in the right direction.

Even if you go through your copy a million times, you might always find something which niggles at you.  Nothing is perfect, just as nothing is written in stone either.   At one point, you’ll have to just leave it be, and hit the PUBLISH button.

I do appreciate the fact that you are very touchy about your writing, and so you should be, but you have to understand that at one stage or another, you’ll need to put your guns down and move on.

Things can always be improved upon, granted, but you can go back to it in a few months’ time.  Either to update it or to polish it even further.  By that time, you will look at your post with a different pair of eyes that will help immensely your editing process.

If you continue to scrutinize your work, you will never have anything published, and your blog will be empty and remain empty.

Before long, you’ll end up being so brilliant at it, you’ll even manage to impress yourself!

 

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2 thoughts on “How do you blog successfully in just a few steps

  1. Great article, James.
    Your tips are priceless…and so on the money. You need to be happy while you write, remember your target audience, catch their attention, keep them while they read, and show them some pics. I think I said it all in a nutshell, but you simply chose the ‘long explanation’ which you did wonderfully!
    Thanks for sharing and all the best.
    Michelle

    • Hi there, Michelle.

      Your comments are too kind, thank you.
      Writing is a wonderful way of expressing yourself, and your feelings, to others. I enjoy writing, which I think in the world of blogging is one major asset, so I think I’m quite lucky there.
      Thank you for taking the time to read my scribbling, Michelle, and all the very best to you too.
      James

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