Tag Archives: writing

Tips on Taking Your Next Blog Post to New Heights

Writing a post for a blog can be a lot of work. But, the fact is…YOU LOVE IT! In fact, you keep coming back time and again to try to craft that perfect masterpiece.

And guess what?

It is possible…

“Is it hard?”

You bet it’s hard. It’s like staring at a wall trying to figure out what the meaning of life is. It’s tough!

But, before we get sucked into a bunch of thoughts on the meaning of life. We are here to do one task.

Learn how to write a post that you can be proud to show your family, friends, or even that strict teacher who gave you a “C” on that writing exam.

While there is a bunch of info online about writing. I wanted to take a look at some things that aren’t widely talked about. Things that may be preventing you from writing your masterpiece.

But first, let’s take a look at some basics. And then we will jump into some of the deeper aspects.

Basics

Time to Learn

Knowledge Gap


Writing about a topic can seem daunting if you don’t have any knowledge on the subject. But, luckily for you there is a ton (a ton!) of resources. Just be sure to cite any sources you use. A few of them include

  • Search Engines (easy to use)
  • Books (a little harder)
  • Newspapers and magazines (I find information here randomly)
  • Wikipedia (easy, but not always the most credible)

There are numerous more resources I could list here, but you get the idea. The fact is that you have to go out and find the information.

I will honest, it sucks. It’s hard reading through material that you aren’t interested in. But, you are trying to find that golden nugget you need to create your masterpiece. It’s time well spent. Otherwise it’s just a good post. We are going for better than good.

Creating an Outline

Outline or Structure


Most of us learned how to create an outline in school. While I personally find them helpful, I have been known to deviate from my outline from time to time.

I will sometimes stray so far from my topic that I write an entire post within a post. Don’t do this! Trust me, it hurts having to go back and delete two hours of work about why I like birds with small wings. Stick to the outline.

It will save you pain unless you enjoy wasting your time or have nothing better to do. Then, by all means, type away.

Topics

A Good Topic


Finding a good topic that people want to read about is important. Don’t do what I did recently. I wrote a post about a cat I once had. It was a nice little post. The problem? No one read it. It got 2 views and I promptly deleted the post.

While you may be able to write an awesome cat post, people don’t come to my blog to read about my cat.

Unless of course you do? In that case, I could probably knock out a 5,000 word essay on cat fur. Interested? I didn’t think so. Find topics your audience wants to read about.

Everybody is different and you have your own specialty. You can still experiment writing about different things, but don’t get discouraged if no one reads it.

I inserted a few cat photos below as a visual reminder to myself to stay away from cat content.

Now that I got a few basics out of the way, we can jump into the deeper section of the blog writing pool. Hope you are ready!

Some Deeper Thoughts on Writing

Not the Time to Sleep

Motivation


Let’s face it. You may not want to put time and energy into a post that few people are going to read. That’s just the way it is. But, maybe…just maybe you need to put the energy into your post to get more readers.

I will admit it’s hard. I struggle myself. The two people who read my cat post seen what happens when I get lazy. It doesn’t work. I wish it did!

But, if you put in the work, people will notice. I love it when I come across a good post unexpectedly. I always start looking for the “like” button. And if the posts is really good, I will follow them. That’s how it works. Amaze people with content and they come back.

I’m Not Perfect

Perfection


You may think you will never be able to create your masterpiece because you believe you are incapable of producing perfection. Guess what? None of us can.

This post is littered with places that I could edit, fine tune, and make better. But, in the end, I took a shot at producing something worth reading.

I remember a couple of weeks ago when I published “Why Your Blog Needs a Small Following“. I thought I had achieved near perfection. I was elated. That was until I hit the publish button. I immediately started noticing misspelled words and incomplete sentences.

I rushed back through trying to correct all the mistakes. It’s funny how our minds can miss so many mistakes. I should do a post on that one day.

Creating Value

Creating Value When You Are Not An Expert


I love talking about value! It’s what your readers want. But, how can you know what is valuable info for your readers? You aren’t an expert.

You may even feel unqualified.

All you really need are some good ideas.

One thing I personally do is thought experiments. What I mean is I look at things from all angles.

Let’s say I wanted to write a post about blog growth. I wouldn’t just start writing about how to grow a blog.

I would probably spend some time trying to figure out how people view their growth on their blog. For example, I may open my post like this:

Let’s say you have 10,000 followers and I have 10.

Who is growing faster?

Hmmm…

You can’t tell!

Why is this?

This is how you can add value. Don’t tell them facts you find online. Think about what they are missing. Find the answers to the hard questions.

This again requires that you spend time and energy trying to find answers (the golden nuggets). You have to do this while trying to avoid falling down countless rabbit holes. But, one trick I learned is to use the simple question “WHY?”

Why should I write this post?

Why should my followers read it?

Why is this important?

Why..

Etc.

This always helps me find out where I am trying to go. It’s not a perfect solution, but I think that’s it helpful. I use it to get started.

The important thing to remember is that you are trying to find answers to some questions. You don’t need to become an expert. Narrow your focus down to a single thought and then expand out.

Look for something that is rarely discussed and tell the world your thoughts on it.

You are Awesome

Comparing Yourself to Others


I know, I know. We all do it. We think if only we were as good as them. They create content that flows so seamless.

I’m not good enough…

This kind of thinking never helps.

One trick I use is I compare myself to myself. For example

“Am I better than I was last week?”

If so, then I know I’m heading in the right direction. It’s hard to do when you come across some of these awesome posts. I read one the other day that made me cry.

I thought “Wow” this guy is good. But, I can’t let that stop me from trying. I use it as motivation to keep trying to improve and become better.

Wrapping it Up

Final Thoughts


Before you run off to create your masterpiece, I would like to take a second to follow-up on some interactions I have had recently with fellow bloggers.

I sometimes hear people say they are not good writers or that they don’t know to write.

Do not overthink writing your post!

Don’t try to write an academic article about butterflies unless that is your specialty. Instead, take your own personal view on butterflies and just write like you are talking to a friend.

People can relate to you if you are writing in your nature voice.

I’m sure you talk to people everyday in life?

Just be yourself. I’m writing naturally right now. You don’t see any big-hard-to-pronounce words, do you? And I still have your interest.

If I want to talk about tomatoes, I’m not going to try to sound like a botanist. I would probably just start writing about how I like ketchup, and if ketchup taste like tomatoes.

Just be natural.

That’s all I have for now.

Thanks for your time. I made every attempt not to waste a second of it. Good luck…

Why Your Blog Needs a Small Following

Have you ever wondered if all this effort is worth it? You work all day at your regular job, come home, and write until 2am. Hit the publish button and…

3 people read your post.

Ahhhhhhhh!!

Or…

Maybe you recieve a lot of views but nobody ever comes back.

Am I crazy?” You ask yourself…

“Why am I doing this?”

There are countless people online that will tell you that they can help grow your traffic and your site can be a success.

They will give you countless tips such as hopping on social media and promoting your site.

But…

I’m personally tired of reading about a man or woman who grew a website to 100,000 views/month in 8 months.

This kind of info seems to permeate every site I read these days. This is not the real world. They talk about how they made $50,000 last month and how their system can work for you.

Sure, there are plenty of people who can do that. But, most of you don’t have years of experience to lean on. You aren’t experts on SEO, CSS, and all the other blogging abbreviations.

You just type your thoughts onto the screen and hope that people will find you and read what you wrote.

Or, maybe you have a solid understanding. But, you are not an expert.

If you are an expert, you can stop reading now and go create a blogging empire.

As for the rest of us, I will continue…

It would be nice if there was a roadmap that you could follow.

The truth is you may spend months writing on your blog or website and have little to show for it.

So, what is the answer? Do you just continue to construct posts day after day hoping that people will find you?

You want to be heard, dang it!! (G rated version)

But, it seems few people are listening.

Here is a thought…

You are exactly where you need to be.

This may be hard to hear. Maybe you don’t want to hear it. But, you may not be quite ready for the big show. There are numerous reasons. None of them are things that you can’t change. Let’s take a look at a few.

Writing Skills

Writing is like most other things in life. It takes time to get better. You must develop as a writer and find your voice.

But…

“I am an excellent writer!” you say.

Let’s inspect deeper…

Various Other Aspects

  • What about your SEO?
  • Is your site easy to navigate?
  • Are you posting regularly?

These are some foundation things you may want to look at. I examined a bunch of blogs that had over 1,000 followers. I noticed that most of them posted consistently. They also had easy to navigate sites.

Most of these things just take time to learn. You should take the time to look at it if you want to be successful.

Structure and Content

  • Have you researched what people are interested in reading?
  • Is there a better way to structure your content?

These are important too. Try to take the time to see if your content is something people are interested in reading. Check out some blogs or social media and see what people are talking about.

Also, make sure it’s structured in a way that it is easy for people to read. Most of us learned in school that you need an outline for a paper. It’s no different when writing online.

These are just a few pointers. There are many more. I am not an expert. I’m still learning. But, I will try to go into more dept in a later post.

So, the next question is…

What is the rush?

Why are you thinking about things like driving traffic from social media to your blog if it is sub par?

Maybe you need a small following right now while you hone in your skills.

Take this opportunity to work on your instabilities. Do it while your traffic is low. As you get better, hopefully your traffic will increase.

If it doesn’t and you have everything laid out perfectly. Then, it may be time to drive some traffic to your site.

Spend this time preparing for when your traffic spikes. You want to take advantage of this situation. Work on pursuing the next level.

How much would you regret if you weren’t ready. You suddenly get 10,000 visitors and you have nothing to write because you haven’t researched. Or, none of your visitors can navigate your site to find articles.

Take this time to prepare and practice. Your time is coming and you want to be ready.

So, how can you prepare?

Content

Well laid out and polished content is king. You want to make sure you are working to get better. I noticed that the all the bigger blogs have excellent content.

I am not going to lie and tell you I have this all figured out. I’m learning right along side you. But, I understand when I visit a site, I want great quality.

Can you remember a time when someone was genuinely interested in you? When someone clicks on your blog or site, this is your chance to show them who you are and what you are about.

Don’t just throw some words on the page. Take some time to think about what your reader would love to learn about you. Make it entertaining.

Your reader’s time is valuable. Don’t waste it! Don’t let them open your About page and it has nothing about you on there (I’m guilty of this).

Short Post

Have you ever read a post that you were very interested in and it ended up only being 300 words. Such a let-down. You wanted more! But, the author just quit writing for whatever reason.

I’m not saying all your posts need to be long. But, if it’s something you know people are interested in. Give them something to read.

Hitting Publish Button too Quickly.

So, you finally created a post that you know people will love. Wait! Don’t hit publish. We are all so excited to get our words onto the internet.

Take a few hours or a day to think about your content. Are you leaving any questions unanswered?

That is how I wrote this post. I typed it out and then stepped back for a day and thought about it. I added a few things and rewrote it. Next, I thought about it some more.

I kept refining the material. Making it better. I didn’t publish my first draft. I crafted and polished it. I didn’t publish my second or third draft either.

You may be reading this and telling yourself this guy’s writing sucks! That is ok because I know that this is my best. I gave it everything I had. I didn’t take any shortcuts.

If you write poetry, write the best poetry you can write.

If you write about your life, make it interesting and fun.

If recipes are your niche, get creative and make me want more.

If you like writing short stories make them amazing.

When I post something, I want people to be excited to read it. I want my readers to know that I spent time considering what they want. Mostly, I want people to know that I value their time.

How do I do this?

I try to lay out the best posts that I can possibly write every time.

My site may not have the best theme. The structure of my posts may not be perfect. My content may pale in comparison to the best bloggers.

But, I gave it my all. I gave my 48 followers the best that I could write.

Maybe you should do the same.

Good luck out there…

The 3 Critics That Will Make Your Blog Awesome

I can still feel the pain of my first critic. Her name was Emily. She stabbed me in the hand with a pencil. We were 5. She thought the way I played wasn’t fun. I cried…


The consensus among most online polls is that the majority of bloggers will quit writing after a few months.

Why is that? Is it the critics?

The answer is yes and I can explain why…

We have all been there. The voices of our critics scream out from the page as we read them.

It hurts. You wish you were better. You thought you were. But, no you aren’t. Someone has seen your weakness and just made it known to the world. Oh no!

Don’t fret. Let’s take a look at these voices and see how we can handle them.

The Three Critics

Constructive Critic

People with constructive criticism will often advise you on techniques that you can use to improve your website. They may also suggest ways you can improve your content.

This makes you better in obvious ways. You can fix the flaws in your logic. When they highlight something you missed, you can go back and change it.

This interaction makes your work better and it aids in your ability to succeed.

The Destructive Critic

This is the one that most people are scared of. The destructive critic will try to destroy what you are doing by attacking it.

They announce that you don’t know what you are talking about. Their mission is to break your will. They want to see you fail.

This is actually a good thing. It will bring out your true followers. More on that in a minute.

The Inner Critic

That’s you. You think to yourself “I’m not good enough”.

This inner dialogue is what truly determines whether you make it or not. It doesn’t matter if you layout is horrible and you suck at writing content.

It’s what you do about it that determines what happens to your site.

Managing the Critics

How do you respond to these voices? The normal reaction is to hide. To give up. But, don’t give up yet. There is hope!

Handling Constructive Criticism

Not changing something from constructive criticism can be detrimental to your blog or website.

If the problem is how your site is organized, then change it. If your writing needs improvement, start looking at ways to make it better.

Grab a thesaurus, dictionary, and some examples of great writing and see what you are doing wrong.

Whatever the case, it needs to be fixed. If you ignore these comments, it could spell doom for your site.

Coping with the Troublesome Critics

The destructive criticism is tough. They will probably provide valid reasons why they disagree with your content.

It’s best to step back and look at what they are complaining about.

  • Are they trying to help?
  • Do they have a valid point?
  • What is their motivation?

If it’s something that needs to be changed, then change it! But, be careful not to lose sight of your true self. Don’t change something that you believe to be true.

The best way I handle destructive criticism is to get a second and third opinion.

The great thing about destructive criticism is that it will solidify your true followers. Your true followers will support you and defend you when a critic attacks.

This helps you build a stronger backing behind your name and your brand. These are the followers you want. The ones who defend your work. They are the ones who read your material and love it.

If someone critiques you, and you lose followers, they weren’t people you wanted to keep around anyway.

You want people who believe in your work and support you.

Thank you destructive criticism!

Dealing With Your Inner Voice

This voice is loud and never stops. It tells you that you will never make it. It proclaims that you aren’t good enough.

Well, guess what? We are all human! We all have limitations. It’s not that someone is better than you, they just have a better understanding than you.

So, how can you fix that?

Study. Read. Learn. Grow. Don’t give up! Become more valuable to your readers.

Someone right now is learning to be better. They are studying to make themselves better.

They are looking at Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and a thousand other ways to improve their site. They are visiting blogs that are successful and learning.

Don’t think you are the only one struggling. We all struggle. We all fail. Getting back up is hard. Changing what we do is hard.

Facing that monster feels terrifying inside, but do it. One little step at a time. Don’t just try to be a success today. Try to be a success everyday.

Use the voices of your critics to become better. Take a hard look at those voices. Dissect them. They are gifts to launch you to the next level. Use them to your advantage.

Remember forward thinking…

If you write a blog like you have 500,000 followers, then one day you will.

If someone has criticized you and you handled it beautifully, I would love to hear about it.

Thanks for reading.

P.s. The cat picture appears in a lot of my posts. I realize it. It a silence tribute to someone.

Give the World the Gift of Your Writing : A Few Tips That May Help

Have you ever written a post or article that seemed to write itself? You had a clear vision of your objective and the writing just flowed out. What causes this and how can we channel it into future posts?

I think a good place to start is understanding how our mind works. Our writing flows when two things occur.

  • We know what we are writing about
  • We know the questions our reader wants answered

Can you remember how it felt to effortlessly write a post? As you wrote your post or article, did you know what questions your reader had?

Yes, you probably did and you were happy to provide all of the answers. Is this some strange insight that randomly occurs or can we recreate it?

Let’s look at a couple of examples.

Let’s say you are a cat person. You love cats. You could talk about cats all day. Could you write a post about cats? Yes, I’m sure you could.

But…

What if a cat forum or cat blog ask you to write a guest post for their site about cats?

Would this be harder?

Would you take more time and think about your post?

The second example would be harder, but it is where your good writing lies. You would take extra time to research before writing because you would want to show your best qualities as a guest on their site.

You would think about what your audience wants and you would find the answers to those questions.

You don’t want to just write about things you love, you want to reach deep down and connect with the people who are interested in your topic.

How to Start

First, you will need a topic.

Topics are all around you right now. You just may not see them. I will give you a few examples.

  • Do you use Facebook? Why? Does it help with your blog?
  • Should I paint the walls in my house? Why?
  • Do you use paper to write? Why?

The list goes on and on…

Once you have a few topics in your mind, I would take out multiple sheets of paper and put them on your desk or wherever you like to write.

I like to write a different topic on each piece of paper. Then, I jump back and forth writing about each topic. One topic will naturally start to rise to the surface.

Research is Easier Than you Think

This is where you want to start your research. Before you run off at the thought of research, remember that research doesn’t always mean reading through material. Research could mean thinking about things in your mind.

How so? I’m glad you ask.

Let’s say I want to write a post about lemons. I have my topic. But, I want to write my personal experience with lemons, not a research paper. If I spent a couple of hours thinking about lemons, do you think I would come up with some personal examples where lemons affected my day?

I don’t personally have any lemon stories, but a person who is passionate about lemons will probably have lots of memories and thoughts about lemons.

Once you have done your research, it’s time to start writing.

Writing

Pay very close attention to the questions you ask yourself when you’re writing about your topic.

What are things you want to know about your topic?

These are good places to start because your reader will probably have the same questions.

Don’t think about page views or how you can sound smart!

Be authentic and genuine. Let people connect with you. Just let your thoughts flow onto the page.

Don’t worry about how many followers you have or if anyone will read your posts. Just stay connected to your topic and write for that audience.

If you take the time to research your topic and think about what your audience wants to know, then your writing should be fairly easy. Just start writing. Connect dots as you move along and let the writing flow.

My Last Thoughts

I think that it’s human nature to drive ourselves crazy about things we wish we had. Take a minute to step back and enjoy this moment. You have a chance to share your ideas with the world! Don’t worry about things you cannot change. Just write in the moment.

If you feel this post could help someone, feel free to share it with them.

Thanks for your time…

P.S. As a reward for reading the entire length of this post, I will give you a rare insight into my writing. This post took approximately 6 hours to write (and lots of thinking).