Becoming a better blogger is all about stretching yourself. Whether you’re a newbie blogger, future blogger, or an early adopter of the platform, we’ve all dreamt one day of being the blogging authority in our niche industry.
Perhaps you’ve even established a few stretching projects to keep you on track like:
- Activating Google Analytics
- Holding a Webinar to Grow Your List
- Launching A Group Coaching Intensive
- Starting a Facebook Group
- Hosting a Virtual Summit
- Creating a Tripwire Offer
- Creating a Collaborative Blog Post
On WordPress alone, roughly 70,000,000 new blog posts are written every month — something like 2,750,000 posts every day. One projection stated that 31,700,000 people in the United States alone will be active bloggers in 2020.
I’m certain that you — as well as those 31,700,000 Americans and countless millions more bloggers around the world — have a diverse range of goals: making money, storytelling, advocating for change, inspiring others, or all of the above.
These were the precise reasons why I started blogging. However, I needed to learn how to write a successful blog post, craft cool visuals, charts and images, create a powerful blog alliance, build a brand, create digital products and definitely to earn passive income.
Whatever better means for you, in this post, I share 7 of the steps I took to becoming a better blogger, which truly made a difference for me and my family. Whether you’re ready to graduate from freelancer to entrepreneur, create products that sell like crazy, or quit your job and move to paradise, here’s how to become a better blogger in seven steps.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.
Step 1: Finding Your Blogging Niche
Finding your blogging niche is perhaps the first critical step in the evolution of becoming a better blogger. This is especially important if the blogging is being done for the purpose of financial compensation. Ideally, a blog owner should select a blog subject about which they are passionate and knowledgeable.
What do you want to write about? Food? That’s too big. Break it down further. Meat? Still too expansive. Butchering meat? Cooking meat? Curing meat? Ok, cooking it. Cool.
All the meats? Or just kosher or halal? Or just red meat? For audiences in Asia or North America or Africa? Do you see what we mean? Look for the niches that excite you that aren’t well-covered elsewhere.
Isolating Your Interests
One of the first considerations for a newbie blogger is their personal interests. It facilitates idea generation for new blog posts. Your success will likely be attributable to the fact that blog visitors can sense your passion for the subject matter. Your blog readers will be more engaged and more likely to appreciate the knowledgeable posts which are detailed and enlightening.
Gauging the Competition
Once a blogger has selected one or more subjects they’re considering for a blog, it is time to begin evaluating the competition. If you’re serious about becoming a better blogger, then you MUST read other great writers inside and outside your industry but notice the gaps.
It’s one of the most fundamental blog writing tips you need to remember and put into action.
Look at the comments and questions their readers share and focus on the ones that aren’t answered well. Can you answer those? Observe who’s asking those interesting questions? Where do they hang out, and what else do they care about?
Step 2: Up-level Content Marketing with Mind Mapping
Mind Mapping Sequence
Okay, so you’ve got a profitable niche and a weekly commitment for a year featuring 52 prompts and blogs to write. Yay… your editorial calendar has a list of the topics you’re excited about.
Now what’s the game plan?
Are your future posts simply random thoughts, or will there be a plot line that weaves them together? Could you organize them monthly, seasonally, around holidays?
Is there a mind mapping sequence in which your stories could be told?
Grab a pad of post-it-notes, one for each idea, and arrange them around themes, cycles, or patterns. Next, map out the arcs that connect them or the dots you need to connect to reach the goal you have in mind. Then sketch out a calendar — in pencil. Reserve the right to change your mind as you learn.
Blog Post Outline
Now before you write that epic blog post… make another map — an outline.
- Craft the hook that will make your readers care? Write it down.
- What are the key takeaways? Write those down?
- What steps do you need to take to get the reader from the hook to the takeaways?
- Put them down with dots in front of them.
- When you think of a killer title — five, six, seven, eight words — write it down (in pencil).
- Now start connecting the dots. But not until you’ve drawn the map.
Even for shorter pieces in the 500-word range, an outline still remains an excellent idea. It helps you be precise, concise, eliminates ambiguity, and hit all the goals your piece of writing needs to.
Taking the time to properly structure your blog post outline will help in your quest of becoming a better blogger. It will help to keep you on track and completing the necessary tasks to get to where you want to go. It will also encourage you to keep going through a difficult time.
Step 3: Become a Collector of Ideas
Laser-focused on becoming a better blogger, many successful bloggers incorporate the art of storytelling in their blogging strategy. However, someone committed to telling stories needs to be a constant and intentional collector of stories.
How do you achieve this?
Remember that, as important as your words are, they’re not the only words on your subject of choice. Continue to read blogs in your industry for ideas. Notice the patterns, and especially the gaps. Better yet, read articles on completely unrelated topics and notice connections to what you care about that no one else has seen.
When you buzz over an idea, write it down. Collect ideas for when the time comes to strategize content and start writing.
To be interesting, you need to be interested. Maybe you’re an expert on making printables, freebies, and opt-ins. Great, but what do you know about creating printables with PowerPoint? Stretch outside your comfort zone. Listen to random podcasts, take online classes, or choose a book from the library by the luck of the draw.
Additionally, friends or family members who are interested in the same subject as you may already regularly read other blogs relevant to your interest. Asking them for recommendations is worthwhile because they likely know your tastes and expectations well and can probably steer you in the right direction.
Below are 7 more easy ways to help you find new and interesting content ideas for your blog:
- See what keywords are popular.
- Interview experts, industry & community leaders or your coworkers.
- Write a blog post from your customer’s questions.
- Talk about current events or try newsjacking.
- Use blog post headline generators.
- Look for new ways to explain ideas.
- Create content from the questions competitors are being asked.
Therefore, continue to keep a finger on your industry’s pulse. Jot down your ideas…stay interested.
Step 4: Become A Writing Machine
Writing blogs is not like writing essays, letters, or even sales copy. Yet, reading both inside and outside your own niche will help you to learn the rhythms of blog writing. It’s true, one of the most effective ways of becoming a better blogger is to read.
Consequently, when it comes to writing, realize that the time you put in is a reflection of what you will get back.
Right now, you’re probably cramming in writing whenever you can find the time. Heck, you probably think that’s normal.
I’m not being harsh, but it’s totally normal among content creators who hold onto the myth of the starving writer. Serious writers work on a schedule. They write at the same time, for the same length of time, every day.
For 1,000 words, you need perhaps a minimum of two hours. Three is safer.
You also need to find those three hours at the same time every day. Weekdays, weekends, holidays – you’re writing.
And don’t forget that you’re a storyteller, so think of your introduction like a prologue. Your opening paragraph is where a reader will either press the gas pedal and keep reading or pump the brakes before taking the next exit.
You’ve worked hard to create content plus build website traffic and you want to keep it moving along. If you can get your audience to read one more sentence enough times, then eventually, they’ll have read your whole post.
Prepare Your Readers for the Journey
But how do you get someone to keep reading? Think of your headings as signposts, which give your reader a heads-up as to what’s coming. Why? Because readers are scanners. Yet, you must be crystal-clear so, write like you talk, figuratively not literally! Be natural, avoid clichés, and be certain to add value.
Here are a few rules of the road for this part of your journey.
- Whenever possible, use shorter sentences and paragraphs.
- If you can, use fewer words.
- Eliminate passive voice whenever you can.
What does that mean? (If you’re completely unsure, then refreshing some basic writing and grammar skills is important.) Here’s an example. Don’t say “All graphic designs were created by Alexander” if you can say “Alexander created all graphic designs.”
Don’t settle for your first draft. Let it rest a bit, then give it another go. It’ll be better the second time around. Don’t be your own proofreader and editor. But make sure your blogs are proofread and edited. Don’t skip that step. You don’t want to be that person who publishes blogs with spelling mistakes and plagiarized material.
Finally, don’t confuse rhythm for formula. Understand the rhythms of online writing and audiences — things like short sentences, condensed paragraphs, catchy headlines, smart bullet points, and effective calls to action — but don’t feel like you need to conform to a tired formula.
Can you present your material in a way that surprises and intrigues your reader without being so eccentric as to be unapproachable?
Step 5: Blog Intentionally
The road to blogging fame and wealth is paved with many false starts, abandoned domain names, and unpublished blog posts. Don’t add to that stockpile.
Keeping a blog up to date is hard work, yet one of the most important aspects of blogging. Why is this so important?
Because…faithful blog visitors expect new postings on a regular basis. Alright, not all visitors expect to see a new post as often as once a day but most blog readers expect the content on the blog to be updated regularly.
At least on a weekly basis.
Develop a Posting Schedule
Bloggers who allot a specific block of time each day to keyword researching, writing, and publishing blogs are more likely to have an updated blog than bloggers who accomplish tasks when they find time to do so.
Decide what time of day you’ll work, for how long, and where. Then keep that commitment to your standard operating procedures. Remember, what doesn’t get scheduled doesn’t get completed!
Leverage Handy Scheduling Tools
Firstly, it is not enough considering what to post, but also when to post it. You can schedule blog posts or site pages to automatically publish themselves at any time in the future. This is an excellent feature for bloggers who want to publish new posts regularly but are unable to dedicate time each day to writing blog posts.
Secondly, the big idea for social media is that you need to cater to each platform differently. Therefore, blasting out to every medium the same way could possibly make you look like a robot spammer. Rather, personalize each post using these social media scheduling tools.
Outsource Your Blog
To get more done, perhaps you might consider distributing tasks to virtual staff. You can outsource projects such as blog design, technical issues with your blog, uploading of blog posts, submission to directories to get back-links, and search engine optimization.
Busy bloggers may also want to consider hiring guest bloggers or freelance writers to assist them in keeping a blog up to date. An added bonus would be providing readers with a little variety. However, be careful because some readers may not be interested in reading blogs published by a guest blogger.
The simplest and most straight forward method to determine this would be to poll your readers about the use of guest bloggers. This can be done by asking readers to comment on the issue and tabulating the comments received.
Another method to gauge reader reaction is to introduce a guest blogger and compare the traffic the guest blogger receives to the traffic the blog owner receives.
Step 6: Optimize Your Blog Posts For SEO
I nearly used the headline “pimp your blog” for this section. Whew, that was a close call. Nevertheless, if you’re creating content to promote your services, physical products, or digital offerings, clearly you want a return on investment for the time and effort exchanged.
Accordingly, you should not be publishing online content — blog or otherwise — without some understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
WordPress is one of the most powerful blogging platforms for getting ranked in search engines – if configured correctly. Regrettably, out of the box WordPress is actually quite poorly configured.
Here are some of the SEO best practices to implement for your WordPress blog.
Use Keyword-Rich Permalinks
By default, WordPress uses a numeric system for creating permalinks. Your posts will be labeled myblogname.com/?=24 for example.
Rather, it’s better for both your search rankings and the human eye to actually have something that’s understandable and has your targeted keywords in it. For example, myblogname.com/best-blogging-tools/.
Maximize Internal Linking
Internal linking connects your content and gives Google an idea of the structure of your website in order to rank this content in the search results. Particularly, it involves linking related articles to one another within posts on similar topics. This will pass relevant link juice between your own blog pages, as well as highlight other pages your readership might be interested in.
Additionally, ensure you have well-named blog categories and place each blog post into the specific category they belong in. That will make it easy for search engines to determine what each category is about and see that you offer a lot of relevant content in that category.
Leverage Caching to Increase Speed
One often overlooked SEO factor is page load times. Search engines place quite a high importance on load times. Therefore, if your website loads fast then your site gets quite a few points for that.
Now, to decrease your load times, install WP Rocket, a premium cache plugin for WordPress. WordPress experts acknowledge it as the most powerful caching tool. Loaded with its wide range of options and automatic optimization features, it can be easily used by experienced WordPress users as well as beginners.
Tag Your Images
Whether or not you perform SEO for your business, optimizing your website’s image alt text is strategic to creating a better user experience for your visitors, notwithstanding how they first found you.
So, tag the alt tags in all your non-navigational images. In other words, images that are actually part of your blog posts should always be tagged.
Install a Sitemap Plug-In
A sitemap can help make your website as search-engine-friendly as possible. Sure, search engines can find it without a sitemap, but by decreasing the computing power it takes for a spider to crawl your site, you’ll win a few extra points in the search engine’s eyes.
Sitemaps are important for SEO because Google ranks web PAGES not just websites. The web is filled with endless resources, tutorials, and tools for helping you get found online. There’s no downside of having a sitemap; hence, we highly recommend them.
Whether you’re running a personal blog or you’re a SEO professional managing a website for a client, Yoast SEO is a powerful tool that can automatically set up and maintain a sitemap for WordPress.
By following these simple SEO tips, you can encourage higher rankings in SERPS, increased web traffic, and higher customer conversion rates.
Step 7: Come Out of the Closet
Stop being afraid. You’ve got this!
The best way to capture the attention of an audience is to produce quality content over and over again. Content that helps get your readers where they want to be. To accomplish this, first you’ve got to put yourself out there if you’re interested in running a wildly popular blog.
If you are serious about becoming a better blogger, here are a few more key points to consider:
- Create a clear brand identity.
- Be consistent with your tone and schedule.
- Share helpful advice frequently.
- Go deep by focusing on one social media channel.
- Engage your audience.
- Give away as much as possible.
- Be authentic and transparent.
- Outreach, network, conversate and build relationships.
- Personalize and improve your user experience.
- Celebrate your difference.
If your blog is just intended to be an online version of talking to yourself in the dark and hoping no one overhears you, then don’t give a moment’s thought to building an email list of 100,000+ subscribers.
If you want to keep your content a complete secret, then don’t offer free content that your readers may value. And if you’d rather people pretend you didn’t exist, then don’t invite comments neither engage in conversation or answer readers’ questions.
Don’t reach out to people in your niche and related niches that you respect. Avoid getting to know them and don’t share information about yourself.
Because you might accidentally become known as someone with stuff worth reading.
It doesn’t matter what subjects you write about on your blog; these seven steps will help you develop your blogging plan and propel you forward to finding your “sweet spot” in the blogosphere.
I’m cheering for you and will now briefly share a few bonus tips:
- Appearance does matter. So, get rid of your site’s outdated look. Don’t burden your compelling content with a dusty and dated style or website design.
- Give readers the opportunity to subscribe to your blog. This allows your readership to have instant notification of your latest posts without having to periodically check your site for new content.
- Use social media to broaden the reach of your blog posts. Learn how to effectively promote your blog content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media sites to create connections with potential and current customers thus grabbing even more web exposure.
Conclusion: Becoming A Better Blogger
Becoming a better blogger is truly all about stretching yourself, getting out of your comfort zone, and pushing the limits. I decided to jump into the Stretch Yourself Challenge to create the desired circumstances for myself and those who matter most.
Owing to the challenge, I narrowed down my blogging niche, up-leveled my content marketing, became a better collector of ideas, and now write more frequently. The challenge encouraged me to blog more intentionally, which also incorporated optimizing my posts for SEO.
I felt more confident coming out of the shadows in pursuit of purpose. So, I encourage you to always focus on your content, realize that SEO really matters, be concise, grab your reader’s attention with fresh ideas, speak with authority, and update your website’s theme when necessary.
Good buddy, we’ve come to the end of our post. Are you ready to start a blog, or to become a better blogger? Sure, it’s easy to say. However, if you truly mean it, these seven steps will help you to be heard above the noise.
Question: What steps have you taken to become a better blogger? Share with us in the comments below.
Further Reading: 20 Tips to Become a Better Blog Writer
You just read another of Ricardo’s exciting blog posts: the hub for aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners seeking freedom and success.
If you’d like to read more articles just like this one tap here to join the tribe.
And a small favor: If you liked this post, would you please share it?
Every “single” social share helps. But here’s the truth to my madness…
This blog is my home base – my platform – to make a positive difference in the lives of all those it allows me to reach. For that to happen, I need your help. Thanks in advance for your support and any further courtesies extended herein!
You may consider the following suggestions:
– Pin it!
– Share it to your favorite blog + biz Facebook group
– Tweet it!
I’ve made it very easy and quick for you to execute this request. The share buttons are situated below.