First and foremost, the harshness in the title of this post is directed towards myself.
I’ve discovered some issues with my blog during my attempt at making it better, and to not become burned out so quickly. I discovered that it is hard to get honest opinions about your writing, and/or subject matter –especially when you don’t ask anyone.
As any blogger begins a blog, the laborious climb to readership is over a treacherous mountain of self-doubt. We all have it, know it, and wrestle with it. The same goes for me, and so I have put my own feelings aside and with hopefully objective eyes, I have attempted self-evaluation. The goal is to get better and ultimately… to gain more readers.
Next, I asked the person I trust most to tell me what she doesn’t like about my blog. My lovely wife reaffirmed my own discoveries.
Without further ado, here are the 10 things I need to do to write a better post. Hopefully, you are not doing what I am doing, and if you are, maybe this post will help.
1. No angry RANTs!
Sometimes I let my millions of thoughts on one subject escape through my fingers and into my posts. This ultimately muddies any point I am trying to make, and makes a post more controversial than it needs to be.
People don’t like rants unless they 100% agree. So, why narrow the reading audience?
(Example of what not to do… Parents of Millennials: Please Tell Us How You Screwed Up!)
2. Don’t write insanely long posts!
There are multiple schools of thought on how long a blog post should be. Most say approximately 600 words is best. People are lacking the attention span in today’s info-now-world, and want their information and entertainment in quick snippets. Yet, most posts that go viral are over 2,000 words. I shouldn’t worry about going viral, because it is unlikely to happen unless I gain a MUCH larger reading audience. So, I need to shorten my posts and my lack of ranting will help this. Concise is the goal.
(Example of what not to do… Method of Mayhem: Robbing Sunshine (Short Story))
3. Stay positive!
This is a tough thing for me, because I see so much hypocrisy and evil in the world, and it drives me nuts. Yet, no one wants to take 3-5 minutes out of their day and hear about all that is wrong with people, politics, and the world in general. People naturally want to be lifted up, encouraged, or learn something new. If you are going to depress people with a dark subject, then it’s best to have the ending be a positive and upbeat message.
(Example of a positive from a negative… Finding Love Again)
4. Write better titles!
I am not sure if I do this or not, but I feel like writing the title is the absolutely hardest part of writing a blog post –besides actually finding the time to sit and write. The title is the entire reason that someone clicks on a post and reads it. So, I need to think about the posts that I click on, and use that information to help write better titles. I’ve discovered that you cannot be vague. You have to ask a question, or sum up the entire reason of the post without revealing the punch. It needs to tease and please. It needs to invite people into a secret, a solution, or a reward for reading.
(Example… Mistakes I made in My First Marriage- Part One is pretty self-explanatory, right?)
5. Ask for comments, shares, likes, etc.
It feels shameful to do this, but people want to get involved, if and only if, you have written something that has spoken to them. People’s involvement is what keeps them coming back, aka “following” you. The more likes a post has, the more enticed a new reader is to click on it. I mean, how can 146 people be wrong? Throw the self-doubt away and ask for the support you need.
(Example… Amazed and Altered (letters to my daughter) had 40 comments and 15 likes, which garnered more views than normal, which is still very few compared to popular blogs)
6. Make sure you have pictures, tags, link-backs, videos, media, etc.
This also makes a blog more enticing. Links to previous blogs you have posted is how a reader gets to know you, your style, and what you write about. If you write a killer piece and have link-backs, you’ll notice a large disparity between “visitors” and “views”. People like pictures because they tell more of the story.
Examples of link-backs, pictures, media, tags, etc… LOVE (Letters to My Daughter) #atozchallenge)
7. Write consistently.
In April, I had just started to grow my blog… finally. I am astonished at the blog’s with thousands of followers, and maybe one day that will be me. Yet, on day one of a new blog, you start at zero. I leveled out at about 80 followers after 2-3 months. Than I had an explosion of over 100 new followers, but I committed the cardinal blogging sin… I stopped blogging. I stopped for 5 months actually. I killed all my momentum and now have to start over. So, never stop, and never give up.
8. Participate in blog challenges, and join groups, and be involved and supportive.
Your blog has little growth if your personal social media friends are your only followers. Other bloggers is what grows your blog the most. Doing a blog challenge, like “A to Z Challenge” will spread your potential readership to so many other people. These are people like you. They are supportive, and understanding of the grind and struggles with blogging. You can make some great friends, and learn so much about the human condition by being involved in groups like these.
(Some great groups to join: 16 Facebook Groups for Writers You Don’t Want to Miss)
9. Have a niche.
I still don’t like the idea of this, and clearly my blog lacks a consistent subject matter, which may be the biggest reason my blog lacks a strong following. I have to much to say about too many things. Yet, the biggest and best blogs are focused on one subject primarily. It might be best to have only one post a week on your random thoughts, and the rest dedicated to your “Niche”. I’ll give it a whorl –after I find a niche that is…
10. Write with passion and honesty.
I feel like I have a strong hold on this one –yeah only 9 other things I need to correct, left to go! Your passion and honest is what attracts people to your blog. People want to feel something when they read. Even boring subjects are interesting if the writer’s passion comes through in their words. People can tell when you are writing dishonestly, and will never be a continual reader. Honesty is hard because you have to reveal unpleasant truths about yourself, but people respect your journey and become fans.
I hope these tips help, but I have to go. I’ve got to start working on each of these, because I want to get better.
I appreciate that you, whoever you are, has read this.
Leave a comment if you agree or disagree with any of my 1-10.
Or leave a comment if you feel I left something out. Also, post a link to your blog in the comments, so I can give you a follow and read some of your posts.
Let’s help each other grow! Much love and respect to all of you and happy blogging!