There are many posts featuring blogging advice out there, so what makes this one so special? It just happens to be my blog post featuring blogging advice.
At the end of the day, blogging advice is what it says on the tin: “advice”. You can take it or leave it. You can agree fully with one person, or you can pick and mix, or create your own formula entirely. It doesn’t matter. As long as you enjoy what you do, that’s what does matter, and readers will respect you for your enthusiasm and great personality (yes, you have one, don’t you dare disagree with me).
But it’s nice to have a starting point, no? There are lots of general posts about how to blog and why to blog, my post is more about the finer points of writing good blog content. This is how I blog.
1. The Dreaded Blank Page
Yep. It gets us all. That blank page of doom signalling the lack of a blog post ready to go when we’d really like it to show us otherwise. But it doesn’t have to be scary.
If you have an idea, start scribbling. Just draft out your ideas first and work on the rest later. You can do this in Word or some other editor, or in the blog itself, it’s entirely up to you, but don’t publish yet. I am occasionally naughty and break this rule when I’m in a hurry, but more times than not I’ll just throw some ideas on the page which are barely legible and then go over them until I have something resembling a blog post.
The alternative is wanting to get a post out but feeling you have nothing to say. That’s okay. It may well be the case. It probably isn’t.
Now, beating this block all depends on the kind of blogger you are. Personally, if I’m not sure on what to write, I’ll go over what I’ve been up to in my games since I last blogged, I’ll go through my screenshots folder to see if any of my recent screenies could back up a little anecdote, I’ll check my reader (excellent tools for following multiple blogs if you haven’t come across them yet, Feedly and Bloglovin are two very popular ones) for inspiration amongst other bloggers and gaming news sites, I’ll let my thoughts drift. Anything. And then I’ll just start writing and see where my words go. If it still doesn’t work for me I just walk away and come back to it later because there’s nothing worse than forced content.
Don’t let that blank page defeat you.
2. You Can Be Your Own Editor
Now, I’m not suggesting that if you don’t edit your posts, you’re a bad blogger, but it is worth giving your posts a once over to make sure they are readable before pressing that ‘publish’ button. Even the best of us can word things poorly, make a grammar/spelling slip, or maybe just think of a better way to put something across when we see a post as a whole, and it is much better to catch these things before publishing.
Proofreading your posts doesn’t have to be daunting. You can use that ‘save draft’ button and preview your post then read through it like any other blog post – this is how I do it, by the way – or you can use a word processor, or any method that works for you. The latter is probably preferable as blog platforms have a tendency to eat posts during a crash or disconnect. I have found it possible to recover them but for a newbie to blogging, it might not be worth risking the heartache.
The key is to read through your post as a whole once or twice just to edit out the flaws that catch your eye. It doesn’t have to be perfect but that little extra polish can make all the difference.
3. Pretty Like A Star!
It’s very, very rare that a blogger has been able to pull off being long winded. It’s quite all right to write however much or little as you want to, but think about how much you’re able to read on a screen. After how many words do you tend to switch off and skim read? And please bear in mind that even if it doesn’t bother you personally, there are people who struggle with screen reading.
You can make it easier for your readers. All you need is a pritt stick and some glitter and a little papier mâché.. I joke! But I’m not far off. Utilise sub-headers. See what I’m doing in this post? I’m writing a lot but I’m breaking it up with sub-headers and I’m also making a list post of sorts. Both of these are techniques to make a longer blog post easier to read by breaking them up into more manageable chunks. This gives people a breather during a longer post and directs their attention to where the content changes, however subtly, thus keeping their attention on your words.
My personal favourite way to break up a wall of text is the use of pictures! Don’t overdo it else your page will load too slowly, which is yet another way to put people off sticking around. You can put things behind a cut (there’s usually a ‘read more’ tag you can use for this) if necessary but just use your images to enhance your words, and use your words to enhance the images. If you can balance the two well, you’ve nailed it.
4. DON’T GET STRESSED
Seriously, guys. Don’t do it. I don’t think I’ve ever managed to put so much pressure on myself in my gaming blogging adventures that I just burnt out, but I certainly have in my book blogging and it is not worth it.
Just take it easy. Blogging is supposed to be a fun little hobby and there’s only so much time you can put aside for it in a day, so enjoy the time you get. Enjoy what you write about and don’t panic if you don’t have anything to post for a little while, interact with people who you will come to call friends through comments and social media. Just enjoy the ride. It’s your blog, do things whichever way you find easiest and most fun. People flock for you, after all.
And whatever you do, don’t take on more than you can handle. There are so many exciting features in the gaming community as well as blogs. There’s Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and other social media, you can stream and create vlogs (video blogs), there are podcasts and forums, and not forgetting getting out there and following everybody else doing these things. You can imagine how much time all of this would take away from you. It’s okay to dabble but find the things that you most enjoy and stick with them. You can’t do everything.
5. Write The Blog You Would Want To Read
This is the most important thing you can ever do when writing anything. Think about what you enjoy reading, the things that interest you the most, and consider your strengths and weaknesses. It may take you a fair while to discover your blogging style, but it will come to you and the only way it will do that is if you try things.
Some of these things will work for you. Others won’t. But you’ll have a lot of fun exploring what works and what doesn’t.
Some people prefer a casual, conversational style of writing, some prefer to write posts that read more like articles, others don’t like writing so much and would rather post pictures, some like to write poetry and fan fiction.. there’s so much you can do with your blog! Just go for it and enjoy yourself and write for you.