We all strive to improve ourselves. In our personal lives and in our business lives it is always a goal to get on to bigger and better things. However when you are a blogger it can really seem like an uphill battle. Everything you do, every update you create, can seem like the same old thing over and over again.
How can you fight against the stream? How can you improve your blog and make better use of your time? Well, here are some tips to make you a better blogger:
Work smarter, not harder
We have all heard the old saying, “work smarter, not harder”. That is good advice, no matter what you are talking about. It is always a good idea to conserve energy where you can so you have some to spare for other parts of life. Just like the idea that you do not want to stay out all night with your friends so you have energy to work the next day, so you also do not want to spend all day every day working your brains out so you never have the time or energy for fun.
Pick the tasks that have to be done every day and make sure they get done. Then organize the rest of the tasks in order of importance. If you get to them today then great, but if not they can wait until tomorrow. That way you do not waste your time with the things that can wait and then have to work longer trying to finish the things that can’t wait.
It is also a good idea to do the hardest things first and get them over with. As a friend of mine says, if the biggest thing kills you at least you won’t be alive to do the rest. If it does not kill you then everything else seems easy in comparison. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
This is a no brainer to many of you, but regular updates are the bread and butter of a successful blog. No one follows a blog that updates twice a week then once a month and then every day. It is just too many changes.
Keep it consistent and update regularly. Every day, three times a week, once a week, whatever works for your blog’s niche. More often is usually better, but do not post so much that you bug your readers or run out of stuff to blog about. If you have more than one topic for your blog then it is okay to post more frequently but try to keep it down to a manageable level that balances audience appeal and your health and mental capabilities!
Keep it short
This is another way to avoid burnout for yourself and your readers. Keep your blog posts short. Around 500 words is usually good but under 2000 is a necessity. No one wants to read pages and pages of text. Yes, I know sometimes you are giving directions or a how to or telling a complex story, but even books are divided into chapters.
Break up long posts into a series of posts. That way you do not overwhelm readers and it looks like you have more content, which is a great way to use your time intelligently! You should also work on keeping your paragraphs on the short side. Do not make a blog post that is one big hunk of text. Break it into smaller pieces for easier reading, even when it falls in the 500 word category.
That way readers will not get distracted and bored and you will look like a better writer. Yes, it is that simple.
Take a break
Like I said, being a better blogger is all about being balanced. Know your limitations and when you need to take a break to be at your best. I have days where I can sit at my desk all day and type like a mad person and get tons done. Other days I can sit there for hours and not write a sentence. There are just times that it pays off to take a break.
Take a walk, go out to lunch, take a jog up the stairs, look at Facebook or watch a television show. Them when you are done come back to work. That way you do not get blocked up and upset and you still have the opportunity to get something done. If you just sit there then your brain will go into revolt and you will waste a whole day. Better thirty minutes wasted then eight hours, right?
Break it up
Beyond just making your blog posts shorter, you should also break up your text into manageable hunks. This is easy to do with headers or bullets. Bullets offer the advantages of a list without having to be quite as descriptive. They also stand out and your reader’s eyes are drawn to them. That can be a great way to highlight important points.
Using headers is also a way to break up the text without using a list. Headers allow readers to know the topic of each section before they read it so that they can have the proper mindset and outlook. Headers are easy to create in all blogging platforms, even manual html. It is best if they are bolded or off center or both to help them stand out and catch reader’s eyes.
Watch for distractions
When you are blogging it is easy to get distracted. Music, phone calls, surfing the net or checking social media, text messages, coworkers and more are all sources of distraction. When you are working it is best to set aside an area as free from distraction as you can get. Try to go for a corner or a room that is off the beaten path.
If you have a door you can shut that is a good idea too. You should also try to limit the noise around you. If you can’t limit it, then drown it out with instrumental music or nature sounds. Music without lyrics is best to blog with so that you do not accidentally start typing the lyrics!
One thing to remember when blogging is that readers like consistency. That does not mean you can’t be creative, but try not to go too far all at once. If you typically blog around 1000 words do not jump to 2000 or drop to 250. If you post a lot of picture do not suddenly go to all text, or vice versa. You should also keep your blog topic the same.
If you want to gradually work your way into a more varied niche then that is fine, but try to do it a little at a time. People will be confused if you suddenly jump from a music blogger to a tech blogger, but if you gradually transition by using stereo equipment and music apps it can be done without losing too many readers. The goal is not to shock and scare away the readers you already have.
Last but not least is my favorite. Edit later. That means when you write just write. Ignore all those red and green squiggles under your misspelled words and comma errors. Yes, they are annoying but if you stop and fix them then you will lose your train of thought. I know that the faster I type the more mistakes I make but the better ideas I have. So, take the time to edit when you are finished and ignore the glaring errors for now. That is why typing on a computer is so great; you can always fix things later with no problems.
These are just a few of the suggestions that have helped me to become a better blogger. Some of them may seem simple and obvious to you, but they can be lifesavers to others. Remember to work smarter, not harder and always take time for a break when you need it. After all, a burnt out blogger is no fun to read and even less fun to be around in real life!
Know Your Guest Author:
Ken Myers is the founder of http://www.longhornleads.com/ & has learned over the years the importance of focusing on what the customer is looking for and literally serving it to them. He doesn’t try to create a need; instead he tries to satisfy the existing demand for information on products and services.