What skills does a blogger need?
To some the idea to start a blog can come spontaneously, while to others it is a longstanding personal wish. But is it really all that easy to get started and what skills should a blogger bring to the table to follow through and succeed?
Does it take any specific skill at all?
While some simply jump in at the deep end and start blogging, others spend a lot of time thinking about whether they possess the necessary skill set to succeed.
First and foremost, it has to be said that there is more than one kind of blogger. Bloggers are as different as people themselves can be.
Moreover, the topic of the blog, the target group and your own ambitions are a decisive factor for what skills will be helpful and needed to be successful.
There are a couple of skills that are of definite advantage to every blogger and at least a few of these are helpful when you wish to persevere and succeed.
Enjoying to write
Enjoying to write must be the number one important skill to have for every blogger. Being a blogger means to regularly compose articles and it ought not to be a struggle. If you wake up in the morning and you cannot wait to beat away at your keyboard, you have what it takes.
To write well
This one is a bit more difficult, because what it actually means to “write well” can be very different. The way an author for a financial blog approaches writing, is probably incompatible with the way a blogger for a gaming site writes. It is important that the reader’s experience is painless and that your articles are enjoyable. Good vocabulary, spelling and grammar are of course always a good idea, but there is no need for you to be the perfect author.
Knowing how to do your research becomes important, when you write about topics other than your own thoughts and experiences. That means being able to look at something from all possible angles and putting together arguments.
Discipline and perseverance
If you are one of those that think starting a blog will make you famous and successful over night, then brace yourself for disappointment. Usually a blog will only slowly and over time attract a bigger readership. That means perseverance is key.
Another important aspect is work discipline: even though there might not always be time to write, adding new content regularly is very important.
If you are planning to dedicate a large portion of your next years to blogging about a specific topic, it should be one that you are passionate about. Otherwise you will quickly lose interest and never get the work done.
While you really don’t have to be a leading expert on your chosen topic, you should definitely not be new to the subject either. A reader will quickly notice if you don’t know what you are talking about. And over time, you will always learn more and accumulate a certain know-how on your topic.
You don’t have to love being the centre of attention, but being open to new experiences is certainly helpful. This way, you will quickly get in touch with new people and can nurture your readership. Knowing how to treat others is important: being provocative and confronting will only keep the reader’s interest for so long.
Time and self-management
After work or school, it’s often difficult to find the time for writing. It is important to manage your time and set aside the hours to sit down and write. Once you start postponing the work, it is often the beginning of the end of a blog.
Even though your experience and opinion should make part of your writing process, it is also important not to be blind to other people’s way of thinking. They might have something constructive to say. Considering the consequences of one’s own actions is also useful. You will encounter a lot of dubious offers to make money. On the long run it is worth your while to always question your own actions.
Skills that might be nice to have
While it is not a bare necessity, there are other skills that can make the life of a blogger a lot easier.
If you know your way around technology, hosting and content management will become much easier and you can save time and money not depending on external sources.
If you know a little about HTML and CSS development, you’ll always be independently capable to design and redesign your blog according to your needs. Small changes and optimisations can be made immediately and without paying anybody for the work.
Since Google is always best at recognizing good content, you can go far by simply concentrating on quality. Nevertheless, search engine optimisation still plays a significant role and it shouldn’t be underestimated. A poorly optimised blog is a missed opportunity.
If you are looking to increase your visitor numbers, marketing is a task to take serious. It is especially useful to know how to use the social media to your advantage.
Being broadly connected will make a huge difference on your blog. And even further down the road it will be useful for you to know how to network.
A picture is worth a thousand words, as the saying goes. While I won’t entirely vouch for that concept, I think it is true that images are a useful tool for a blog writer. For some blogs, for example on food blogs, photographs are even essential. Knowing a little bit about image processing and/ or are being a decent photographer can come in handy for your blog.
Learning by doing
These skills are not to be taken as an absolute criterion, but it is of course useful to already know your way around a few of these things.
With blogging, every day is also an opportunity to learn something new. This way you will likely acquire and improve another few of these over time.
The best advice is to dare and try new things and never to stop practicing with the tools you have access to. This won’t only improve you as a blogger, but also beyond that.