Everyone can blog. Some may naturally have a bit more sense of language, style, and structure than others, but no one has to stop that from writing a blog. However, it helps to pay attention to a number of things, so that your message comes across best. That is why I am giving 11 writing tips for bloggers who have a lot to say but do not yet know-how.
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1 – Write (approximately) as you speak
This is the most important writing tip for a blog that I can give you: write as you talk. A lot of people tend to suddenly use totally different words when they put their opinion or knowledge on paper.
The written text must be decent. Wrong. The text must be understandable. Therefore use common words and common sentences.
Avoid too woolly and old-fashioned words like on, at all times, thus and now. Our Language has a nice list of alternatives for old-fashioned language use.
It does not mean that you have to write without care. Attention to language rules and structure is important.
2 – Put yourself in the ignorant reader
A second mistake that is often made by beginning bloggers is that the reader must guess too much what is meant in the blog. For example, a solution to an issue is provided without first explaining what that issue is and why it is so problematic.
Or technical terms are used that only insiders understand (jargon). Imagine being in the ignorant reader and constantly wondering if you are clear enough. Because colleagues might understand you, but you often also want your blog to be read by more people. Potential customers for example.
What helps is to have someone else read your blog before you publish it. Unclear connections or exaggerated jargon will then be found out more quickly.
It also helps to distance yourself from your text by doing something else. A walk, folding the laundry, playing loud music, having lunch. When you come back to your text, you read it with a fresh look and you will see more quickly whether the connections are logical. You can now also remove possible typing and language errors faster.
3 – Short is good, but not dogma
It is in almost every writing advice: write concisely. It is good to be aware of this and indeed to delete superfluous information. But don’t make it a dogma. An additional clarification or repetition can sometimes help the reader to understand your text. Plus: long texts can work very well.
4 – Alternate short and long sentences
The same applies to whether or not to use long sentences in your blog. Many language purists are horrified and think that every long sentence should be chopped to pieces because it would make it easier to read. Like the previous sentence for example.
My advice is: as long as the sentence is still legible (and that is the previous sentence as far as I am concerned) it is not necessary. And too many short sentences make a text not really readable. Then it becomes such a reading book for kindergarten. Prefer to alternate a bit. Then you get a nice rhythm.
5 – Do not always use the same word
Twice the same word one after the other comes across as somewhat woody. In the second case, try to think of a synonym or refer to it in a different way. Example:
Salmon is very healthy because of the omega-3 fats that are present in the salmon. But not every salmon is healthy. Salmon in the supermarket, in particular, is not very healthy. This is because this salmon is often farmed.
What is striking is that the words ‘salmon’ and ‘healthy’ are often used in these sentences. That makes the text a bit boring and stiff. Instead, replace it with another word or a reference word.
Salmon is very healthy due to the omega 3 fats it contains. But that does not apply to every salmon. Especially the one in the supermarket is not very healthy. This is because these fish are often farmed.
If salmon is a keyword that you would like to be found on in Google, then it may, of course, be advisable to mention the word more often than usual. But don’t exaggerate (and certainly don’t spam ). You don’t only write for Google! In fact: Google also likes synonyms
6 – Be careful with exclamation points!
Now I do it myself: two sentences in a row with exclamation marks. That is indeed not possible. An exclamation mark is a sign that you must use very sparingly. After all, you want to emphasize something extra, and the more you do it, the less powerful it becomes. Moreover, it sounds a bit loud. It is allowed, but limit yourself to no more than two exclamation points in one blog. And that is actually too much.
7 – Avoid language errors
This speaks for itself, but it cannot be emphasized enough. A blog with language errors is less likely to be taken seriously by your readers and therefore by your (potential) customers. Now not everyone will see the language error but count on bumping enough people into the head. It’s like going to a customer meeting in a suit with a coffee stain.
While it is so easy to prevent. Avoiding spelling errors is not a problem anyway, because every word processor usually removes them immediately. If in doubt, just search for the word. Also on Wikipedia, you have a nice list with common spelling mistakes.
The grammatical distinction between words like ‘happened’ and ‘happens’ is more difficult. For that, you just have to understand the language rules.
8 – Provide a catchy title
A title is the first thing a reader sees and decides whether he wants to read or not. So you can have written such a nice blog, if there is no good headline there is a chance that they will never read further. Therefore, provide a catchy title. A few tips:
- Be as specific as possible
- Use lists of numbers
- Make an attractive promise
- Use words as easy, fast or simple
- Titles that start with how what and why always do well.
- Rather ask a question than ask
- Don’t make the title too long
- Stimulate with a bold statement
9 – Make a clear (and short!) Introduction
At least as important as a catchy title is a catchy introduction. Because if your introduction is not attractive or clear, the reader will drop out. So make it clear at the start of your blog what it is about. Do not first describe an anecdote that is too long, because then most readers will be gone. Within the first five sentences, you must mention what the core of your blog is. That nice anecdote can always be done later.
10 – Use a well-arranged structure
A clear structure makes a text more readable. A few points of interest:
- Divide your text into paragraphs
- Use summaries
- Put blank lines between the paragraphs and the summaries
- Put an extra (catchy) header above some paragraphs
11 – Conclude well
A blog that ends abruptly leaves the reader a bit embarrassed. Always try to finish with a nice closing sentence that clearly shows that the blog has ended. This can be in the form of a
- Summary sentence
- Repetition of the core message
- Final conclusion
- No more writing tips for your blog needed
Linguists can give many more tips on how you can improve your style. With these eleven writing tips in hand, you also write a very good blog.