Oh, the stories I just knew my longtime friend Robyn could tell. She owns Bicycle Tours of Atlanta, and you can imagine she sees all sorts of interesting things while out and about on her tours. The content and images she comes by everyday would make the perfect blog post fodder for her WordPress website.
If only she would blog….
But Robyn had a mental block about writing posts, and we even took the blog off her site. Then all of a sudden last week, to my surprise and delight, she said she is going to start blogging.
So what happened that changed Robyn’s mind? And what can her inspiration teach others (like you?) who have a mental block about blogging?
I wish I could take credit for Robyn’s change of mind, but I can’t.
As she was getting ready to offer a tour of the amazing outdoor art around Atlanta, she was contacted by a magazine editor. Would she write an article about the art and her planned tour?
Robyn dug in. She knew it would be great exposure for Bicycle Tours of Atlanta, and a chance to gather more tidbits for her tour guides and clients.
She really got into interviewing mural artists and getting the back stories about the pieces on her tour. When all was said and done, she wrote a 5,000-word article to be published soon with many amazing photographs.
Writing this led to an epiphany: Robyn discovered she had a lot to say. And people were really interested in what she had to say.
Now, Robyn has not actually written a blog post yet, which brings me to the story of the three frogs.
Three frogs are sitting on a log and one decides to jump in.
Now how many frogs are sitting on the log?
The frog that had decided to jump changed her mind.
Robyn knows I am writing this with great hope that she goes ahead and jumps in. She’s hardly alone.
People have all sorts of reasons to not blog. To assist them and Robyn, I put together the following 17 basic tips. This advice will help you write posts that people will want to read so you can reach as many people as possible.[Tweet “Will Robyn Blog? Tweet @biketoursatl to show your support @judiknight”]
17 inspirational blogging tips
- For easier reading, use body text that is 16px (pixel) to 18px, with plenty of space between lines.
- To improve readability, break your posts into short paragraphs of no more than 3-4 lines each. Don’t worry about keeping to the traditional paragraph rules.
- Use subheadings. This helps readers to scan paragraphs and not be overwhelmed by a wall of words.
- Use images. They break up the text and make your posts more appealing. To ensure they don’t end up bogging down your site when trying to back it up, resize photos before uploading them to your WordPress site.
- When referring to another page on your website or wanting to send someone to a page on another website, create a hyperlink rather than writing out a URL. For example if you wanted to send someone to New Tricks, you would highlight the words New Tricks, press the little chain link in the WYSIWYG editor and type in http://newtricks.com. (Don’t guess on the links. Best to go to the site that you are linking to and copy the URL and then paste it into the link box.) If you need to send someone a link to your website, start with http://. This will the link go to the site on a click. For instance, say no to www.newtricks.com. Say yes to http://newtricks.com
- Present clear calls to action on the pages featuring your posts. People don’t want to guess what you want them to do. Make it easy for them to shop with you, become your client, sign up for your newsletter.
- Avoid making your posts overtly sales-y. When you ask for business at the end of each post, you risk turning people off.
- Use the “read more” tag in your posts, like I have done in this one. This ensures that the articles on the front page of your blog or category archive pages are not too long. Thumbnails that are created this way allow people to scan a number of titles without scrolling too much. You want them to quickly get a good idea of the scope of your content.
- Borrow ethically and give credit. Go ahead and mention someone else’s blog post or article, and link back to the original post. Do not copy their entire post. Copy a paragraph, include a quote and add your own take; any more than that is not cool. Hopefully, you’ll write a post or two that other people will link to.
- Engage through emotion. Make ’em cry, make ’em laugh or kick up some dust. People are more likely to comment when they feel a strong level of emotion.
- Personalize, personalize, personalize. Write in your unique voice, with your distinct slant on a topic. Your readers show up to read what you, not anyone else, are thinking about. Reward your fans with the authentic you.
- Ask questions of your readers. Get them to start commenting.
- Use relevant keyword phrases in the title and the content of the post. Keyword phrases are groups of words that someone searches on to find your articles. Your posts may appear in a Google search result, so they need to have informative descriptions. Add the specific description through the Yoast SEO plugin, otherwise it will pull the first 156 characters of the post which may not be the best representation of the content of the post.
- Don’t stuff keywords into your posts. It is bad form and spammy, and you risk getting dinged by Google.
- Proofread and spell check. These programs won’t identify every mistake, so let it go. Nobody’s perfect.
- Keep good blog post ideas handy. Write your ideas down as you think of things to write about. You may not have time to write This habit will spur you toward your goals. Make a monthly schedule of what you will publish and when.
- Use lists with bullets or numbers. People like them and Google likes them because they are usually keyword rich. Win-win!
Do you have any tips that help you blog better? I’d love you to share them here with us!