In a digitalised culture that increasingly relies on online technologies, establishing your presence as a writer in the blogging world is absolutely crucial.
Blogging gives you the opportunity to showcase glimpses of your writing to readers from all around the world, yet more than that, it opens up a channel for you to connect with other writers.
(For more detailed insights into the benefits of blogging, click here)
But there’s such a vast variety and quantity of blogs out there, and as a new blogger, it can be quite challenging for you to generate readers, even if the quality of your writing is superb.
So how do you actually alert readers and other bloggers of your blog? How do you join in the conversations and interactions occurring in the blogosphere? And how can you use blogging as a way to nurture your writing and strengthen your voice?
While there are a whole range of blogging platforms including Tumblr, Penzu and Blogger, WordPress is by far the most popular and is also most widely used by writers. Here are 10 effective tips to get you started on WordPress blogging today...
1. ENGAGING TITLE AND TAGLINE
Your title and tagline are the two things most visitors will first notice, and they work hand-in-hand with your theme to give your readers context and help them decide whether to take a look around or not. In saying this, it’s essential that you carefully consider both elements.
Use your tagline as a means to expand on your title (which should only be a few words long), but make sure to keep it short and concise. Keep it original too.
Try listing adjectives that describe your personality, and play around with the words until you can tweak them into a name that’s catchy but uniquely ‘you’. Puns always work well. Start with certain common phrases, songs, and literary titles, and then mix the words up. Or use your own name in a clever way.” - She’s a Maineiac, blogger
2. CUSTOMISING YOUR BLOG
The layout, style and colours of your blog all contribute to a reader’s first impressions of your blog. For instance, cooler colours like blue and green may be most suitable if you aiming to create a refreshing look, but if you’re going for a fierier appearance, an autumn colour scheme may be more appropriate.
Remember that the colours and design you pick for your blog should be a reflection of the kind of writer you are.
Choosing and customising your theme are therefore imperative steps to take. Readers are always looking for blogs that have something different to offer, so personalising your blog to encapsulate an essence of you and your writing will definitely trigger audience interest and invite readers to explore more of your blog.
3. FOCUSING ON YOUR AUDIENCE
Figure out who your audience is, and write with one specific type of reader in mind. This helps to focus and improve the direction of your thoughts.
Remember to also add tags like ‘fiction’ or ‘essays’ or ‘food for thought’ to your blog posts. Be judicious about which tags you choose to use, as it’s very possible that other bloggers with similar interests will find your article via a ‘tag’ search.
When you write for one reader, your blog instantly becomes more engaging, personal, and persuasive. You’ll get more comments and shares, which will help you generate ideas for new blog posts.” - Henneke, blogger.
4. PERFECTING YOUR ‘ABOUT’ PAGE
Create an intriguing ‘About’ page that provides readers with an overall idea of what to expect in your blog. Who are you? Why are you here? What is your blog about?
This is potentially the single most important page you will create, because it’s where most visitors will head to first when they stumble upon your blog. Often, your ‘About’ page becomes the core element that defines you and your blog.
Michael Pick gives advice on how to a most worthwhile and interest-inducing kind of ‘About’ page, “Avoid making a shopping list of ‘I’m from blah blah blah’, ‘I love dogs’, ‘My best friend Winnie thinks it’s cute when I blow my nose trumpet’… Connect the dots and share your story.”
Without an ‘About’ page, you’re nobody. It’s not only one of the first places new visitors will head if they like what you’re serving up on your blog, it’s also your calling card.” - Michael Pick, independent writer, designer & content producer.
5. CONNECTING TO YOUR SOCIAL NETWORKS
Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are useful portals through which you can access a whole pool of readers who are just waiting to find your blog.
Use those networks as an extension of your blog, from which you further grow your readership.
The advantage of this is that it increases brand awareness and brand authenticity, and also gives you the opportunity to more personally connect and interact with readers who may have questions they want to ask or thoughts they want to share with you.
6. FOLLOWING BLOGS
Remember that while it’s important to write in your blog regularly, it’s equally important to frequently pay visits to other blogs. Be an active participant in the blogosphere.
As Chief Semicolon Advocate at WordPress.com, Michelle Weber says:
Publishing posts is only half of blogging — engaging with the community is the other. Considering what other bloggers write will inspire you and sharpen your thoughts.”
Forming relationships with other bloggers from all around the world will thoroughly enrich your writing experience, and further immerse you into the blogging community. However, such relationships are only possible when bloggers reach out to other bloggers.
By following tags and blogs, you increase your chances of finding writers who you can connect with, and who explore similar topics to you but approach those topics in a vastly different manner – a manner you may have never considered before.
When you read other blogs, you are essentially gathering experience and opening your eyes to the infinite other possibilities out there. Experimenting with such possibilities is key to finding, fostering and reinforcing your voice as a writer.
Commenting on blogs, especially on posts that are relatable, interesting and thought-provoking, is also an essential aspect of engaging with the blogging community. Be inspired by the ideas of other bloggers.
Share your own ideas – agree or disagree (a little controversy is always good!) with the blogger – in the comments section. Start a discussion.
Avoid making unoriginal remarks like ‘Great post’. If your comment is stimulating, then it’s likely that the blogger and his/her readers will find their way to your blog in anticipation of reading more of your writing.
8. JOINING BLOGGING UNIVERSITY
Here, you’ll not only be able complete assignments that will cultivate your blogging skills, but you’ll also have the opportunity to interact with co-bloggers in a special Commons Room – this is where you ask for feedback and give thoughtful feedback in return.
9. GUEST BLOGGING
Guest blogging for popular blogs or websites is another effective way to increase blog traffic and enlarge the platform on which you showcase your work. Readers of the popular blog who enjoy reading the post you’ve contributed will most likely head over to your blog to delve into more of your writing.
Guest blogging helps you know what others think about your writing and it also ensures you take the right steps to make sure your writing improves.” - Bamidele, blogger.
10. RESPONDING TO BLOG EVENTS
Prompts and challenges posted by The Daily Post or other blog events found here are accessed by numerous other bloggers, so by responding to these events, you don’t just create another route through which other writers can discover your blog; you also make it easier for yourself to join in a conversation with bloggers who have responded to the same prompts as you.
Better still, create your own feature posts – for instance, Short Story Sunday or Motivational Monday. This not only helps you to stay on schedule, but also provides your readers with something to look forward to every week.
In addition, bloggers who enjoy your feature posts and find them clever and ingenious may even decide to have their own Short Story Sunday’s or Motivational Monday’s, and subsequently link back to you, which will in turn alert their readers of your blog.
* * *
So what are you waiting for? Head over to WordPress, and get started on blogging today. Let your writing be read by a worldwide audience. Let your voice be heard everywhere.