We were thinking: we were blogging here for quite a while now. So this #EncourageAYoungWriterDay, we decide to pay it forward and give some blogging tips for all you young writers out there.
One of the best exercises for writing is starting your own blog. Creating a space where you can speak out your mind or write about things you’re most interested in can help you practice and be better in your craft.
However, blogging can be a daunting task especially if you’re just starting. All this information about getting your post noticed or ranking in the search results with the use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques make you want to take a step back a bit. It’s too technical for a start, and we totally understand that.
Here, we have a few tips for you to start out. Forget about SEO and keywords first. Let’s start with simple blogging tips and habits that can help you improve and build on a niche through writing.
Sign Up, Create, Design
First things first: sign up for a blog website or content management site (like WordPress) to hold all the content for your blog. Think of a creative blog name. Something that is so “you” but also catchy and memorable. Or it could be as simple as your name. If you can’t afford to buy your own domain, then use the free one for the meantime. However, it would be nice to think a bit in the future and carry a name on forever.
You can add a bit of design. If you can’t design it for yourself, use the provided free themes (honestly, they look slick and cool, too). Make it easy on the eyes and not too distracting. Remember, the focus here is on your words and not on the design around it. Keep it simple yet a design that would show your personality. It’s a mix and balance of both.
Think of a Niche
Writing about random stuff is actually okay. You don’t have to go into specifics or be an expert of something right away. However, while you’re at the beginning of your writing journey, you can think ahead of what topics would you love to write about.
It could be something you’re really interested in or passionate about. Or it could be your profession or college major… a hobby… or a cause that you’ve been fighting for. The important thing is that it is something you can imagine writing about almost any day – or something you feel strongly about.
But if you can’t think of any just yet, that’s okay. Along the way, you will discover some interests that you’ll soon be passionate about.
For now, write and discover what your interests are if you haven’t had any. But if you do, slowly introduce your niche – one post at a time – in your blog.
Know Who You’re Writing For
This is one thing that beginners easily disregard; so never make that same mistake.
Know who you think would read your blog – who you’d like to read your blog. It is in knowing who you’re writing for that you can easily ease in and out through ideas and possible niche if you like. This could also help with how you write since it would be like talking to them through your writing.
Scout for Ideas
An audience can help you out with writing ideas. Listen to them. Know what they talk about, what interests them, so you can draw them to your blog. Having a specific audience and listening to them is one of the best ways to scout for ideas. From there, you can handpick those that you think would fit your blog’s personality – or, even, yours.
Another great way to scout for ideas is to read similar blogs. Follow a blogger who you think you can peg your own with. Get some ideas on what they write about and how they write it. Just remember to not get too engrossed to their work to the point that you tend to copy them. That would be a huge letdown.
Just gather ideas but think of something that you could add to what was already written. You can even reach out to the blogger and exchange backlinks of your blog posts.
The important thing is you come up with something fresh to what’s already been served up.
Write for Yourself; Then, Others
One tip we could give to new writers out there is to, first, write for yourself. Do this for the first ten posts or even more. Write for your own satisfaction. Do not think too much of impressing others. Think of your audience as someone you can talk to, but not someone you could impress.
You can write for others when you’re already happy and confident about writing for yourself. It is when you have gained the trust and confidence within you that you can show that same confidence when you write for others.
Do a Writing Exercise
Challenge yourself to a writing exercise every once in a while. You could write it for your blog entries or you can keep it in a journal somewhere. Look for any writing exercises online (for example 30-day blog challenge) and try to do it until the end. Or look for writing triggers and do a quick write-up every day.
Constant writing helps you develop your own writing style and voice. You build that consistency in the way you write.
Categorize your Posts Accordingly
Whether you chose a specific niche or you want to just write about anything, make sure you categorize your posts accordingly.
Categorization will help your readers find a post that they would love to go back to. This also makes it easy for readers to read through articles of the same categories or topics.
This helps you, too! It makes it easy for you to track which categories have more readers. You can also think of ideas in the long run on how to drag your readers to other categories that they might have missed out.
In the end, it’s a win-win situation.
Stay True and Keep it Real
Along the way, you might feel like experimenting with your writing style – and that is okay. You might find better writing inspirations and try to adapt to their writing style – and that is still okay. However, what’s not okay is when you reach that point when you’re totally disconnected to who you really are. Worse, your readers will notice this.
Changing your writing style from time to time is actually a good practice. But try to check on your voice… on your views. Are they still how you “speak” to your audience? Does your writing still reflect the values you fought for or uphold?
Say, you’re writing about the best local desserts in town. Then, you slowly feature other products from outside of town or totally commercialized ones; the total opposite of your initial premise. While this may be a welcomed improvement from your avid reader (especially those who loves desserts), but it might just set off those who loved your views on the local end.
Try something new once in a while but always go back to your roots. Just be true, be real, and be you.
Create a writing practice and stick to it. It doesn’t matter if you write daily, weekly, or monthly. What matters is you’re consistent.
If you can only write one blog per week, then go ahead. Nobody will judge you. But stick to it. Make sure you really have a post every week. And if something came up and you weren’t able to write for that week, well, that’s okay. Make sure to make up for it. Just don’t skip out on the writing schedule too often or you’ll find losing readers one by one.
Interact with the Audience
Keep the comment section open. If you want to install a third party extension, that would be better. As much as possible, avoid making it too open that people can just anonymously post a comment.
Check on the comments once in a while and make sure to reply to them as soon as you can.
You can also gather some ideas from your readers’ comments and make sure to give them credit after. They would love the shoutout, for sure!
Getting used to writing blogs is a long shot. Practice, practice, practice – they all said. And that’s very much true.
Once you get the hang of it, you can explore other writing practices like doing keyword research, SEO, and even venturing out into monetizing your blog. You can also set up a Facebook page in the future once you feel like you’re gaining more and more readers with each blog.
Another big step you can do is finally investing in having your own domain. This makes your blog seem more legit, official; it makes you appear more professional and more of an expert on your chosen niche.
But for now, dear young writer, we encourage you to finally take that step (if you haven’t yet), keep on writing, and keep on learning. Because, who knows? Your blog might be the next big thing.
A future book, perhaps? Remember: nothing is impossible.