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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Blogging, a Tutorial: Vol. 2

This is the second week in a series of blogging tutorials. Last week, I covered the 3 questions every blogger needs to ask themselves. This week is the 5 rules for writing a good blog post. Have a question or want to submit your own tips? Email me!



If I'm being honest, writing that "perfect post" rarely happens. Maybe I've had a bad week and just didn't want to put forth much effort. Maybe I was distracted and couldn't find the right thing to say. Or maybe, just maybe, no matter how proud of something I am, the reader (you) just couldn't relate.

Sound familiar?

Putting together that "perfect post" can seem daunting. But, luckily for you (and for future me), I've thought long & hard about it, and have come up with five rules for writing a good post. (I'll leave "perfect" for another time ♥ )

Rule #1: Plan
I'm a scheduler. When I first started blogging, I created (and kept!) an intense schedule (we're talking 16 posts a week, all planned & coordinated ahead) .... I've mellowed a bit over the years, but learned a valuable lesson from my early days of over-posting.

Planning is good, and helps you succeed by keeping you organized & focused. And it allows for time to be made to perfect your posts. Good posts take time, and you won't have that time unless you plan for it.

Keeping a calendar of scheduled posts is invaluable. I sit down at the beginning of each month & map out where I'm going. I don't always follow it completely, but having the initial calendar as a guide helps me to keep my head above water and greatly diminishes stress, which in turn increases my motivation and creativity.  

Pro tip: always keep a notebook handy. You never know when ideas will strike!

Rule #2: Say Something
My husband's biggest criticism of some of my posts is that I'm too vague & don't say anything. I argue that the "blog world" doesn't allow for specifics, particulars, and life lessons. But then I realize every blog that I love always has something to say.

And I want to be a blogger who strives to matter, to be meaningful. Because otherwise, I feel like I'm wasting my time and my readers' time.

Want a specific example? Stay away from the "sorry I haven't blogged in so long! My life is just so chaotic right now!" posts.... Instead say "hey world, this is what I've been up to lately. Here's some pictures and things I've learned from my time away from my blog."

Rule #3: Make it pretty
I have stopped reading blogs that are ugly. Does that make me a bad person? Maybe. But instead of losing sleep over it, I've instead learned great, wonderful things from other blogs that took the time to make themselves beautiful. When the sea is as big as the blog one is, there's always another fish blog. Being an aesthetically pleasing fish blog is something to strive for. First impressions are extremely important.

How do you make things pretty? I'll defer to the prettiest blog around to answer that. A Beautiful Mess has so many wonderful blog tips. Those girls know what they're doing.

Rule #4: Organize
Notice how I have an introduction, a build up, a very cohesive 1, 2, 3 list that is set apart by subheadings and formatting? That's on purpose. Because there's a lot of words in between those headings, and if it was all jumbled together, we'd never make it through.

Keeping posts organized is not only pleasing to the eye (rule 3) but practical. It helps the writer stay focused on the message, and reader informed of what's going on. Some of my favorite posts I've ever read are stream-of-conscious, journal-like entries. But none of my favorite blogs are made up entirely of those types of posts. Because they're exhausting and way too chaotic to continually read.

Use formatting. Take the time to organize your thoughts. Be purposeful. I promise, the outcome will speak for itself.

Rule #5: Make it enjoyable
Make posts enjoyable by staying true to yourself, staying genuine, and thinking "would I enjoy reading this?" as you write it. If you wouldn't read your own blog posts, why would you expect anyone else to?

Watch grammar and spelling. Don't use obnoxious fonts or colors. Keep flashing and moving objects to a minimum (if you could have only seen my MySpace page back in the day....). Stay optimistic and move forward. Blogs are ultimately entertainment. And entertainment needs to make readers want to come back for more.

Most importantly, you - as the writer - need to enjoy yourself. When I stop enjoying writing, my entire blog suffers of mediocrity. And that's when I take breaks, re-vamp, re-energize and re-focus. Because if I'm not enjoying this, why am I doing it?

Thanks for reading! Have any more tips to add? Let me know in the comments ♥

8 comments:

  1. I'm loving these tips. Thank you for sharing!

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  2. Good tips! I'm totally a scheduler too! And I found that the less words and the more pics, people are interested more lol.

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  3. I love this! I have a planner for everything but blogging.

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  4. What a great post! I am somewhat new to the blogging world, so it's always helpful to find tips from others on how to write and organize posts. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. These are fantastic tips!! Thanks for sharing!

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