Blogging can be a scary prospect if you don’t feel like you’re a skilled writer.
Maybe you’re afraid to fail.
You WILL fail at some point.
When you consistently produce content, some of it will do well, but some of it will inevitably be a dud.
Don’t worry – many professionals experience failure on their path to incredible success.
Countless other successful people are living testaments to the fact that massive success typically rises out of a sea of failures.
This is certainly the case with Victor Pride, who failed his 10th grade English class, yet now makes over $10,000 a month with his blog.
Pride’s example also brings up another point.
As James Altucher likes to say, “you don’t need permission.”
You don’t need to have passed your 10th grade English class to become a successful blogger.
You don’t need a college degree to be a successful blogger.
You don’t even need to be a good writer to eventually become a successful blogger.
What is important is that you start today, because success is a journey and the sooner you begin, the sooner you’ll be able to achieve it.
I recommend you get Bluehost web hosting* to start your WordPress blog today.
It’s inexpensive, simple to use, and if you buy through my link, you get 50% off the standard price and can get started for just $3.95 a month!
I also recommend these 10 tips to help you create great content.
1. Use proper spelling and grammar.
Good spelling and grammar are important because they show you care about the quality of your content and audience.
If your writing is littered with spelling and grammar mistakes, you lose your audience’s trust.
This is consistent with data from a poll by Colour Works, which found that 43% of users were turned off by bad spelling and grammar, while 35% found proper grammar appealing.
My friend and business accountability partner, Matt and I are both native English speakers and college graduates, but we make spelling and grammar mistakes all the time!
That’s why we edit each other’s work over and over again.
And even after we do this, we still find grammar and spelling mistakes!
When you run a blog you will need to be persistent and fix these errors.
2. Write long content.
In general, you should make your content as long as it needs to be, and no longer.
But for a more specific guideline, 3000+ word posts tend to be shared most on social media.
And here’s the average length of the top search engine results
In a nutshell, make your content long and thorough (>3,000 words is ideal).
3. Be concise.
This might seem to clash with my last recommendation of writing long content, but it actually doesn’t.
A long blog post full of concise ideas is a high quality post.
You can learn to be concise by only using words, sentences, and paragraphs that are absolutely necessary to make your point.
In other words, cut out the fluff.
A helpful tool to accomplish this goal is the Hemmingway web app, which highlights long sentences, passive voice, and more, helping you write in the concise style of Ernest Hemmingway.
4. Make it skimmable.
The Nielson Norman Research group has found that ~80% of online readers skim content.
This is probably why list posts are some of the most shared content on the web: because lists are skimmable.
So how do you make your content easier to skim?
You can use:
- Bold and italic content
See what I did there?
5. Use lots of images.
Another great way to make your content skimmable is to include lots of high quality images.
Research shows articles with images get 94% more total views.
In other words, adding images to your content basically doubles its views!
These are the sites I use to find stock photos for my posts.
But do you know what’s even better than stock images?
Branded graphics and images.
That’s a fancy way of saying graphics and images you make yourself.
This is evident in the fact that infographics are the most shared content on the web!
When you create content that’s totally original for your site, you can slap your brand name on it, which meansevery time it’s shared, that image references your site and builds your brand.
Plus, original graphics provide even more value to your readers than stock photos that anyone can use.
You don’t need to be a professional designer to create great graphics.
Just check out this graphic I made for free using piktochart.com!
Sure, it’s not the fanciest, but it does convey valuable information in a more creative way than a business stock photo.
6. Use lots of examples.
Why do people skim content on the web?
Because they’re looking for solutions to their problems.
So if you want to solve people’s problems with your blog posts, you need to provide proof.
Examples are a great way to provide proof.
Here’s an example of a statement without proof:
“Bloggers can make a lot of money.”
Here’s another example that conveys the same concept with proof.
“Pat Flynn, Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, and John Lee Dumas all make over $100,000 per month blogging.”
Which statement is more powerful?
Which statement adds more value?
Examples also make your content more memorable because they are bite-sized stories and everyone remembers stories better than dry facts.
7. Have a voice.
Sometimes you can get caught up in the details of creating content and forget that writing is a work of art.
For art to be good, you must put your heart and soul into it.
And as author Justine Musk says, you must be vulnerable with your readers for your writing to be soulful.
When you bare your soul, you will attract true fans who want to support you and eventually, buy what you’re selling.
8. Edit like a hater.
We’ve all run into people that comment on blog posts just to tear down the writer.
For the most part, I encourage you to ignore the trolls and don’t let them get you down.
If someone is a hater, there’s no point in trying to convince them to be a fan, because they’ve likely already made up their mind to be a hater.
Plus, there will always be people who are negative about everything, no matter how awesome your content is.
Remember, your goal as a blogger is to find people who absolutely love your content, not argue with trolls about why they should love your content.
But there is one useful thing about haters!
Thinking like one when editing your content can be really helpful.
You see, when you put a lot of effort into creating content, it’s easy to be biased and think it’s better than it is.
That’s when you need to think like a troll and edit ruthlessly.
Go through each sentence and think, “How would a hater pick this apart?”
Then make the edits necessary to make it bulletproof to the trolls.
As mentioned above, adding examples is a great way to make your content hater-proof.
Another way is to tell yourself to prove it every time you make an assertion, then find the necessary data or information to back it up.
9. Find someone else to proof relentlessly.
Once you think you’ve made your content hater-proof, it’s time to get someone else to edit it.
Another set of eyes on a piece of content can do wonders.
Every time I give an article to Matt to edit, he red-lines the majority of it.
I couldn’t be happier that he does because he is pointing out things that don’t make sense to him.
In other words, Matt helps make my content clearer, which ultimately adds more value to my audience.
But don’t take it from us, take it from four-time New York Times best-selling author Tim Ferriss, who has lawyers edit his content whenever possible.
Ferriss says that lawyers are trained to discover inconsistencies in written documents, and are therefore excellent at finding unclear thought in your writing.
10. Know when to break the rules.
Charles Dickens used run-on sentences, E.E. Cummings often failed to capitalize words, and William Faulkner started sentences with conjunctions. (citation)
These are grammar mistakes according to grammar school, but not to these famous authors.
Modern authors and bloggers also make modern “mistakes,” like Seth Godin, who writes extremely short blog posts without any visuals or citations to back up his claims..
As you become more comfortable producing content, you have greater flexibility to bend (and break) the “rules.”
In general, I recommend experiencing success first before you flirt with breaking the rules.
That said, keep it in mind as a possibility when you want to stand out down the road.
If you follow these rules when writing, I believe you will be stacking the odds of blogging success in your favor.
What other rules should authors for web audiences follow?
I’d love to hear about them in the comments!