How to Become a Better Blogger 1

Most of us dive into blogging without really carefully working out an organized plan. However, it’s never too late to assess what adjustments can be made in order to become a better blogger. The best place to start is to go back to the beginning.

Bloggers are communicators

Bloggers are communicators and blogging provides ways to make a difference in this world by:

  • connecting to and forming relationships with other bloggers;
  • sharing expertise by informing readers about things they do not know;
  • inspiring and persuading readers to do something we feel is right;
  • exploring ideas, concepts and beliefs;
  • entertaining readers;
  • sharing personal experiences;
  • learning and growing through reader feedback.

Who are you?

handshakeYou never get a second chance to make a first impression. In this day and age, where everyone in the blogosphere is selling something, most of all themselves, therefore, mastering the art of introducing yourself to your readers is essential. Whatever your style, background, personality, profession or purpose,  the effort you put into your introduction and brief biography is an opportunity to establish the foundation for a entering relationship with your readers. There are no shortcuts to relationship-building. You need to lay the foundations by being clear about who you are, what you are about and what you hope to achieve through the new relationship.

Who are you? What do you do? What are you talking about? What will you be talking about? What gives you the right to talk about anything? What are you doing here? Why are you doing it here? — Lorelle VanFossen in Who The Hell Are You?

Readers do want to be introduced to the blogger whose writing they are reading. The following information can be placed on an About Page:

  • a brief biography that answers the question “who are you?”;
  • a brief description of what you intend to blog about and why;
  • your background and expertise and how it addresses the subject matter in the blog;
  • how to contact you.

Sub-pages can also be created for your Comment Policy and Copyright Declaration and Disclaimer.

Why blog?

Blogging is a means of obtaining recognition and validation.
In essence, we blog

  • to be heard;
  • to receive comments;
  • to enter into dialog;
  • to form relationships;
  • to build a reader community.

The Better Blogger

The better blogger considers:

  • who their readers are;
  • what information is essential;
  • how it can be organized and most clearly expressed.

Who is your audience?

friendshands
When we talk to someone face-to-face, we always know just who we’re talking to. We automatically adjust our speech to be sure we communicate our message. Interestingly, many writers don’t make the same adjustments when they write to different audiences, usually because they don’t take the time to think about who will be reading what they write. But to be sure that we communicate clearly in writing, we need to adjust our message–how we say it and what information we include–by recognizing that different readers can best understand different messages.

Know your audience so that you can tailor your vocabulary and style to their expectations. You may still dazzle them with your insight, and are more likely to do so if they can understand and care about what you’ve written. — legbamel at onestepforward

Identifying your audience will do more than ensure that you write clearly. It will also help you focus on the reader’s needs.  The following questions can help you identify your audience and what you can do to address their wants and needs.

  1. How many kinds of readers do you expect to have? List them.
  2. What do you know about the writing and reading skills and backgrounds of those people who you expect to become readers?
  3. What is most important to them?
  4. What are they least likely to care about?
  5. What do you want your audience to think, learn, or assume about you?
  6. What impression do you want your writing or your research to convey?

How will your readers interact with your site?

Beyond understanding the motivations or goals of your audience, you must also understand the basic mechanics of how your users will interact with your site:

  • How will the site render on a reader’s browser?
  • How will the reader view the site? Visually? With graphics enabled? With a Braille reader? With a screen reader?
  • Will the user’s operating system and browser be able to support all of your site’s functionality? Use a validator to check your pages.

Further reading: Adapting to Your Audience, Audience, Identifying Your Audience.

Related posts found in this blog:
Building a blog with readers in mind
How to structure a reader and search engine blog

How to become a Better Blogger 1

  1. How to become a Better Blogger 2 Online Privacy
  2. How to become a Better Blogger 3 Ethics and Links
  3. How to become a Better Blogger 4 Essentials
  4. How to become a Better Blogger 5 Your Online Presence
  5. How to become a Better Blogger 6 Theme Evaluation
  6. How to become a Better Blogger 7 Brand Evolution
  7. How to become a Better Blogger 8 Goal Setting

See also: Few Tips On How To Make A Successful Blog

 

93 thoughts on “How to Become a Better Blogger 1

  1. Pingback: 10 Common Business Plan Mistakes | Small Business BC « one cool site

    • @Aruna
      And a very nice young blog it is too. The coconut chutney look delicious. :) I’m glad you found my posts to be helpful.
      Happy blogging :)

  2. “I think it’s far more difficult to determine who your audience is with a personal blog. Perhaps the best indicators you have are the reading of the blogs of those who visit yours regularly.”

    It can be. However on my first and very well attended blog (the one I now consider my personal blog) I discovered it by simply blogging my thoughts. They were a mixture of the topic being childfree in a society that expects you to have children, and things that I was interested in generally. I’ve always been a rather anal stats junkie and since I wasn’t getting many comments at first I checked my stats to see which posts people were reading the most often and I found there was a community of people who seemed really interested in hearing my thoughts on being childfree. So I decided to niche it… I announced on my blog that I’d be blogging less on “general stuff” like fashion, news pieces, movies, funnies etc and instead blog entirely on that one issue (and related news). Several things happened. My readership increased I felt really focused which enhanced my blogging and I felt energized every time I blogged. Being childfree is still a controversial topic still and I also felt I was bringing something new to the conversation and I wasn’t afraid to be (even more) controversial. I have the same passion when I blog as I did two years ago… when many have given.
    In September I started my business blog (this one) and though it’s a little harder to niche it, I have started with a few interlated topics – related to what I do,what I enjoy and where I have discovered there’s a need, namely Copywriting and Social Media Marketing for businesses. And again the stats are revealing and I will be following their direction. I am fortunate I have the experience of writing my first and personal blog (I keep them separate) because It gives me some expectation of what to expect and I learned so much and met wonderful friends – including TimeThief. Interesting, because I said I would never blog ;)

    So you can start off wide, just to get started… and then narrow it down. But you do need to narrow it down. The narrower your niche, the more success you will have.

  3. I’m so glad to hear that you are working your way through the How to Become a Better Blogger series and finding value in doing so. Best wishes to you for better blogging.

  4. how the hell do you know so much (i am glad that u do)? this series of becoming a better blogger is really great. and i’m learning a lot. i’m a new blogger u know. okay, best of luck to u and your readers….

    peace

  5. Wow, this is very helpful since I’m a new blogger and most of the time don’t know what should I do with my blog. Thanks for writing! I’ll try to do as you wrote.

  6. Pingback: How to Become a Better Blogger 5: Your Online Presence « one cool site: wordpress blogging tips

  7. Hello, I’m a newbie and I actually blogged on whether there has been any winning formula for a blog that will attract more people to read and glad I stumble on your site. The tips are real good. I thought I did enough homework but everyday you learn new things. Need to cut down on my rambling than and keep them short and sweet. Now I need to get other people to visit my site…. Ciao.

  8. @mistrust
    Welcome. I’m so glad you clicked through from Teck’s blog. Some bloggers are clicking through form this blog to his as well. I’m also glad that you found my advice worthy of acting on. Best wishes. :)

  9. @Bobbie of TheRightBlue
    “My point is that if you have a well-conceived vision and plan for your blog content, and it seems to be drawing regular readers (regardless of whether they are the ones you imagined would like your blog) — don’t fix what ain’t broke!”

    Well said. Thanks for reading and commenting to. I appreciate your support. Happy blogging. :)

  10. @johnnypeepers
    “… I wanted to be respected as an authority on drug abuse, punk rock, and the intricacies of mastering the pan flute.”
    Thanks for taking the time to comment. It sounds to me like you have very clear goals and I hope you achieve them. Best wishes for better blogging.

  11. @legbamel
    You’re welcome. I benefit from reading your blog. The advice you provide helps me be a better writer. Like you, I sometimes get caught up in fretting about validation.

  12. @mountainsage
    I believe it’s possible to tell your readers who you are, why your are blogging and what your blog is about without violating your privacy. I further believe that if you do take the time to introduce yourself and your blog to readers that you will establish the foundation to build a relationship with your readers.

  13. In the new world of cyberspace, beneath which the icy juggernauts of economic power shuttle and re-form reality, how will blogging, that most unfortunate word, serve to open a communication gateway that has previously been hijacked, locked, barred or in other ways made insubstantial. In what ways are we truly free in the constructed edifices of information superhighways. And what is shuttling beneath Web 2? an interesting question. Do you have an answer?
    Regards
    Kate McNamara

  14. Pingback: How to Become a Better Blogger 2: Online Privacy « one cool site: wordpress blogging tips

  15. Great suggestions! I’ve implemented a few already, but I’ll be back soon to read more. Thanks!

    By the way, I came here via teckline’s page.

  16. Excellent piece — informative, well organized and well presented. I will pass along the link.

    The audience factor has been the biggest surprise for me. I have several niche blogs, and I did have a certain target audience in mind when I began each. Interestingly, the readership has turned out to be much broader than I had imagined. When I discovered that, I considered broadening the content, as well as altering the ‘voice’ in which I wrote. But then it occurred to me that the readers outside what I thought of as my original target group must have liked what they were reading or they would not have returned. As a result, I have ‘stayed the course’ instead of altering the content. My point is that if you have a well-conceived vision and plan for your blog content, and it seems to be drawing regular readers (regardless of whether they are the ones you imagined would like your blog) — don’t fix what ain’t broke!

    Bobbie

    P.S. I like your new theme, too. I read your comment above about validation problems. Phooey on that if it works overall.

  17. Great advice – much appreciated. I was finally convinced to start my own blog after following Marilyn Manson’s journal for some time. I really admired his devil-may-care approach to life and writing. When I finally got the nerve up to do my own blog, I wanted to be respected as an authority on drug abuse, punk rock, and the intricacies of mastering the pan flute.

  18. I just started to develop weblog and came across this very useful writing. Thank you, pls keep it up.

  19. Thanks so much for the link and the kind words. I’m looking forward to reading the second installment. I tend to be so focused on the “blah blah blah” that I forget things like validating my code and checking how my work appears in other browsers. These are excellent reminders.

  20. Excellent tips, thanks so much for the advice! I’m fairly new to the blog scene, so it’s always helpful to hear from those who are more experienced.

  21. Thanks very much for your post. Because of my paranoia from message boards I haven’t really paid enough attention to letting my blog viewers know who I am.

    I’ll rectify that!

  22. @ummumar
    Thanks so much for the compliment. I hope you gain even more help from the upcoming posts in the series. Happy blogging. :)

  23. @lizzie tanners
    Hello there. I do agree that we all can improve our blogging and I’m committed to finding out the ways we can do that and sharing them with my readers. Thanks for reading my post and for commenting too. I hope you will stay tuned for the upcoming posts in the series.

  24. @Clara54
    Bloggers are communicators and blogging provides at least four ways to make a difference in this world by:

    * informing readers about things they do not know;
    * inspiring and persuading readers to do something we feel is right;
    * or by entertaining them.

    Many bloggers have “personal” blogs that cover a wide range of issues such as yours does. Although your blog does cover a very broad range of subjects and commentary on them, it’s important to take note that the three ways to make a difference with your blogging are not mutually exclusive. In fact, skilled writers use all three approaches in their posts.

    Thanks for reading my post and for commenting. I hope you will derive some useful information from the series as it unfolds.

  25. Hi there,
    I wanted to add my 2 cents. I’m a woman over 50. I live and write from life experiences. I’m also versed in entertainment/political/opinion, soo, my blog reflects what’s going on in my world… My hope is to inspire, entertain and invoke conversation…My focus is to make the world a little wiser/brighter and less stoic.

  26. @cooper
    Statistical information about our readers, comments they leave, what they blog about and how they respond to comments on their own blogs are all ways we get to know who our readers are. That’s a springbord for diving into find more information and to gain an understanding of why they read our blogs.

    I’m an advocate of learning about what works for both me and for my readers. I want to pick and choose from the possibilities, which include directly applying the methods I think will be effective, adjusting them to suit or innovating. I hope you will be coming along for the ride. :P

  27. @adventchild
    There are vast numbers of bloggers who know more than I do. That is why it’s important to read what other bloggers have to say. Everyone must begin at the beginning but, if we take the time to consider where we are going, we can chart a better course and adjust it as we go. ;)

  28. Admittedly I’ve never been able to categorize my readers. I follow a somewhat different pattern with my personal blog, though on looking over some of the stuff I realize that a good number of my readers are not bloggers and that I’ve been blogging long enough to have started when it was easier just to blog with no rules. I do understand now it is necessary and helpful, with so many blogs started daily then abandoned within a short period of time, because expectations og new bloggers are often a little skewed.

  29. @SBA
    You said: “Ironically my readers are mostly bloggers, something I did not expect and it has caused me to unconsciously shift the tone/content, and possibly turn away the very non-bloggers I wanted! Your post and blog will help me sort this out! Thanks.”

    Pardon me for smiling but it’s not surprising to me to hear that the majority of your readers are bloggers and that you have adapted to that reality. This series is actually also aimed at accommodating those business bloggers who have experienced what you have.

    Please stay tuned for the upcoming installments in the series. In the second article in this series, which I’m trying to make the time to finish right now, I will include some suggestions for ways and means that can be used to determine who your readers are, why they read your blog and how you can make improvements. In the third article, I will be addressing the fact that the blogger and their regular readers do become co-creators of the ever evolving blog’s brand. In addition, it will include four guidelines for ethical blogging.

  30. @Ganesh
    Thanks for reading my post and for commenting on it. I hope your find that your implementation results in a better connection between you and your blog readers.

  31. @yhetz03
    Thanks so much for your compliments. I appreciate them very much as it’s always good news when I hear that what I write has been helpful.

    At the top of my sidebar you will find that you can subscribe via feedburner to receive my blog posts in summary form in email from feedburner. I am choosing to use the summary setting only because experience has proven that when I change the setting to full posts the posts are scraped up in their entirety and placed in splogs. :(

  32. @compulsivewriter
    Thanks for reading my blog post and for commenting on it. I hope you will stay tuned for the next installment in the series. It will contain some suggestions on anonymous blogging and privacy issues, as well as, some suggestions for ways and means for determining, who your readers are and why they read your blog.

  33. @Teck
    You’re welcome. I like the way our posts frequently overlap and I’m pleased to link to them when they do. Happy blogging and what the heck! here’s a cyber HUG for you. :)

  34. @Robert
    I’m really honored that you find my post to be worthy of stumbling and digging. I have found your posts on language and grammar to be helpful and as my series develops I will be linking to those that contain practical advice about being a better writer. Here’s a cyber hug for you too [HUG]. :)

  35. Not much to add — your post is “clear and brief”! It’s also thought provoking and has an implied call to action. I’ve struggled with the aspect that readers want to know “who are you” since my blog started as an experimental extension of my corporate website. On a corporate level, it’s “we” not “I”. Ironically my readers are mostly bloggers, something I did not expect and it has caused me to unconsciously shift the tone/content, and possibly turn away the very non-bloggers I wanted! Your post and blog will help me sort this out! Thanks.

  36. @Doc Nicole Sundene
    I’me glad to hear that you love the new theme. IMO it was the best choice and I’ll save my nit picky complaints about the markup validation for another time.

    Your visioning process is an excellent tool to use to appreciate how your readers will experience the articles you write. I always find them to be extremely informative, properly referenced, logically developed, clearly written, and friendly in tone.

    You have said: “Thinking about the needs of the reader is key, briefly responding to all emails is also very important and I hope I never get too busy to be able to answer people’s questions and be a useful reference.”

    I think this goal is one that all responsible bloggers ought to keep in the forefront of their mind. If and when our posts give rise to readers questions then we ought to be prepared to answer them fully and in a timely fashion.

    Thanks for all the support and encouragement you have given me. I appreciate it so much that I’m sending you a cyber HUG. :)

  37. @Majik
    I’m glad to hear you appreciated what your read in the first installment in the series. Please stay tuned for installment number 2, which is, as they say, on the drawing board.

  38. @Mak Ossa
    I do agree that not everyone is crazy about attracting readership when they start blogging and that after a readership has been built then it’s time for assessment and adjustment. This, is in fact, why I am writing this series.

    You have said: “I only wish there is a way on individual wordpress blog that can help indicate exactly what readers want so that bloggers can improve on that.”

    In the second article in this series, which I’m trying to make the time to finish right now, I will include some suggestions for ways and means that can be used to determine who your readers are, why they read your blog and how you can make improvements. So, please stay tuned for the next installment.

  39. @Blake
    I do agree that remaining focused is important to achieving success in your blogging, regardless of how you define success. However, I also observe that many bloggers are confused about what to focus on, as well as, how to assign priorities. I’m hoping that this series of articles will prove to be helpful to bloggers, who have blogged for sometime and who are now ready to assess their effectiveness and to implement changes aimed towards becoming a better blogger.

  40. @soulmerlin
    Greeting Henry. I think there is a great deal of merit in just blogging for a time and then pausing and assessing what’s going on before implementing a structured approach to blogging. I also think that even when one does implement a structured approach, it’s important to remain vigilant while retaining some flexibility as well.

    In the third article in this series I will be addressing the fact that the blogger and their regular readers do become co-creators of the ever evolving blog’s brand. It’s important that the blogger keeps a handle at all times on directing this branding process, because if they don’t, the blog will soon lose it’s feel and appeal to the blogger and readers, and the motivation for creating new posts or for reading them will dissipate.

    Please take note of my comments made in reply to others above, as there you will find a sneak peek at which topics will be addressed in the second article in the series.

  41. @OBA
    I’m glad to hear you think the points I made are awesome and I really appreciate that support I’m getting from both the wordpress.com community and form the Blog Catalog community too.

    I hope you will benefit from the following articles in the series so please stay tuned. As soon as I can make the time, I will be completing and publishing part 2. It will contain some suggestions on anonymous blogging and privacy issues, as well as, some suggestions for ways and means for determining, who your readers are and why they read your blog.

  42. @Ian in Hamburg
    Thanks for the blog compliment. Like Jennifer you have a personal blog. However, although yours does cover a very broad range of subjects and commentary on them, it’s important to take note that the three ways to make a difference with your blogging are not mutually exclusive. In fact, skilled writers use all three approaches in their posts.

    Another way that your blog differs from Jennifer’s is that she is writing on “personal development and growth”. In other words, she writes with the purpose of sharing self discoveries made through her internal and conscious exploration of past events and relationships.

    Please understand that I’m not in any way suggesting that you force your blog to “fit” into any niche. What will be of the utmost importance to your blog will be the skilled use of key words and the correct selection of anchor text for links. If done well than these will bring your blog traffic.

    You have also mentioned that you cannot determine who my audience is supposed to be or who comprises your blog readership at present. In the second article in this series, which I’m trying to make the time to finish right now, I will include some suggestions for ways and means that can be used to determine who your readers are and why they read your blog. So, stay tuned. :)

  43. Pingback: Niche Product Marketing: How to Elude your Competition « The Ultimate Online Business Blog

  44. I was so impressed by this magnificently crafted reminders to bloggers who don’t exactly know what they are doing. I admit I’m one of those bloggers, and I would like to extend my warmest gratitude to the author of this post for giving us an insights and a pointers on how to effectively make a well established blogs. Rest assured those reminders will be applied in my next post. Good luck and more power!

  45. I was so impressed by this magnificently crafted reminders for the bloggers who don’t exactly know what they are doing. I admit I’m one of those, and I would like to extend my gratitude to the author of this post. It made me change a lot in the way I write from the beginning ’til the end. Rest assured I will do the same in my next post. More power!

  46. I find these tips are really useful, hope I can bring joy to readers.
    Have a nice day, best wishes from coolingstar9

  47. Applause! Your post can help all of us to get better organized, less scattered.

  48. Wonderful post. Important things to consider before you start or before it’s too late. This is all about efficiency and effectivness. L love it. On my way now to stumble and digg.

  49. Wow great new layout here! I love it. This is an excellent post. I have learned to envision all the different friends and family members that read my stuff and imagine how it will read for them. Thinking about the needs of the reader is key, briefly responding to all emails is also very important and I hope I never get too busy to be able to answer people’s questions and be a useful reference.

  50. Great post! There are quite a few interesting points you’ve made, I will have to refer back to them a couple of times, just so I can become a better blogger!

  51. Hi TT: That is a terrific post. You raise some questions and insights. I would like to point out that not everyone is crazy about attracting readership when they start blogging. But when readers start coming then you know it is time for adjustment. That is what I experienced. I blog for the fun of it. It’s amusing and therapeutic way to express my thoughts, but some people find them interesting enough to read daily. I only wish there is a way on individual wordpress blog that can help indicate exactly what readers want so that bloggers can improve on that.

  52. i think no matter, you are a blogger or whatever, you need to be totally involved to do it well. while working i try to completely focus on my work, i think thats the key to succes.

  53. Hi Timethief – This is really interesting. I try and write my three blogs in different ways, in order to attract different readerships, but I really appreciate your structured approach.

    henry

  54. Most of us dive into blogging without really carefully working out an organized plan.

    Hahaha
    That would be me LOL Guess I should change my evil ways.

    TT has awesome tips and some of them really hit home

  55. Pingback: Helpful site to start blogging « Welcome to Brownidegirl74’s Blog

  56. Hi tt – your site is looking great now – like jennifer said, very readable.

    Unfortunately, I can’t make my blog fit any slot – I like to inform, I like to persuade via opinions, and I like to entertain – mixing them up according to how I feel at any time of the day or night. Nor can I determine who my audience is supposed to be. It’s a mish-mash, or as one reader said, like a magazine – lots of different articles, all interesting. (I liked that.) :-)

    Still leaves me with that square peg – round hole feeling though.

  57. @Nita
    You are such a fine writer that I’m humbled by your praise. Thanks so much for the kind words.

    Among the goals I have set are ensuring that my titles clearly state what the contents of the post are. I’m also striving for clarity and brevity while covering two bases in each post. The first is to provide basic information for beginners and the second is to include external links to authoritative articles for more advanced bloggers.

    I know what you mean about visiting Lorelle’s site. There’s such a wealth of information there that I frequently get caught up in browsing multiple articles and lose track of the topic I was researching there in the first place. lol :P

    This post is the first in a series I’m just beginning to develop. Provided that I have the time to complete it I will be publishing the second post in the series on Sunday.

    Best wishes for happy blogging to you.

  58. I read Lorelle too and though she is very knowledgeable one can never get enough information from just one post of hers, one has to keep clicking on and at times one forgets what one has come there for! I do respect her a lot, but in your case, I get what I want by reading the title of your post and the expectations are met.

  59. TT, just wanted to let you know that I am enjoying reading your posts a lot!! I love the way you present information.

  60. @jrrivera
    I’m glad you’re already on track and that you enjoyed the article. It’s the first part of a series I will be publishing. Thanks for commenting and best wishes. :)

  61. @Jennifer
    I’m glad to hear you like the theme. I wasn’t really pleased by the limited number of full screen themes to choose from and felt that this one was the best choice. I wanted a theme that was easy on the eyes so that readers were focused on content and I wanted the navigation to be convenient.

    It’s quite easy to determine who your audience is when you have a niche blog like mine. Most readers come here looking for a way to address a specific subject in a problem solving way.

    I think it’s far more difficult to determine who your audience is with a personal blog. Perhaps the best indicators you have are the reading of the blogs of those who visit yours regularly.

    I’m a faithful reader of your blog because you write straight from your heart.

  62. Excellent recommendations to build a solid foundation. I enjoyed the article and practice many of these techniques. Keep up the good work.

  63. Good reminders, timethief — to actually think about your audience and present things accordingly. Not sure if this is one of my strong points …

    I love the way one cool site is looking, too. Very readable and user-friendly. Proof, again, that you know what you are talking about.

  64. Hello again TT, I forgot to mention I added the link to the bottom of
    the post and I stumbled this article… :)

  65. Pingback: Few Tips On How To Make A Successful Blog « Teck~Line

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