For some, the idea to start a blog can come spontaneously, while for others, it’s a longstanding personal wish. 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 skillset to succeed. To help you get started, here’s a rundown of the skills a blogger will need to develop over time in order to create a successful, compelling and ultimately profitable blog.
- Which skills you’ll need to develop your blog
- Which skills would be a useful bonus
- Some tips for a successful approach to blogging
Consider who, what and why
There’s more than one kind of blogger – in fact, bloggers are as different as people themselves can be. As a blogger, thinking in depth about your target group – the ‘who’, the topic of your blog – the ‘what’, and your own ambitions – the ‘why’, will all help you decide what skills you’ll require to be successful.
Working on the following set of basic skills will be of definite advantage to every blogger:
Actually enjoying the writing process is surely the number-one important skill every blogger must have. Being a blogger means to regularly compose articles – and if you wake up in the morning desperate to get to your keyboard, then you have what it takes.
What it actually means to ‘write well’ can vary from person to person, and from subject to subject. For example, the way an author for a financial blog approaches writing is largely incompatible with the way a blogger for a gaming site writes.
It’s important that the reader’s needs are catered for, and that your articles are enjoyable. This doesn’t mean you have to be a world-class author; but it does mean you should always concentrate on using the right language and the correct spelling and grammar.
Do Your Research
Knowing how to do your research is vitally important when it comes to writing about topics outside of your own thoughts and experiences. Being an effective researcher means being able to look at something from all possible angles and constructing convincing and compelling arguments.
If you daydream that starting a blog will make you famous and successful overnight, you’ll be disappointed. Attracting a sizable and engaged audience for your blog will only happen gradually: that means perseverance is key.
You’ll also need discipline: even though it might feel as though there’s no time to write, adding new content regularly is very important for maintaining your blog’s momentum.
Pick The Right Subject
If you’re planning to dedicate a significant amount of time over the coming years to blogging about a specific topic, then make absolutely sure it’s one you’re passionate about. Otherwise, you risk losing interest and will find it increasingly tough to get the work done.
Improve Your Knowledge
You really don’t have to be a leading expert on your chosen topic, but you should definitely not be new to the subject, either. Readers will quickly notice if you don’t know what you’re talking about. Keep up-to-date with your topic and over time, you’ll naturally build up know-how on your subject – and this will make it easier to write about.
You don’t have to love being the centre of attention, but being open to new experiences and relationships in the online community can be extremely helpful. Presenting yourself as open and approachable means you’ll forge new business relationships as well as nurturing a dedicated readership.
Knowing how to treat others is important: being provocative and confrontational is often a counter-productive strategy in the long run.
Make Time In Your Day
After work or school, it’s often difficult to motivate yourself to create content for your blog. So manage your time and set aside the hours to sit down and write at a time when you know you’’ll be alert, fresh and feeling creative. Make writing a habit that’s hard to break: once you start putting off doing your work, it often spells the beginning of the end for a blog.
Don’t forget that you don’t need to be logged in to work on your posts – use commuting downtime in your day to think of new topics and jot down notes for use in your posts later.
Know Yourself… And Others
Even though your experiences and opinions should inform your writing, it’s also important to take on board other peoples’ perspectives and ways of thinking – they might have something constructive to say. Also, be mindful of your moral position both in your writing and in business, and consider the consequences of your actions. Established bloggers attract no end of dubious offers to make money; so always question the motives of others and maintain a clear conscience in your dealings.
While none of the following skills are an absolute necessity, developing expertise in some of the following areas can make your life as a blogger a lot easier:
If you know your way around web technology, then hosting and content management will become much easier and quicker – you’ll save time and money by not having to depend on external sources.
If you know a little about HTML and CSS – the language of formatting and styling web pages – you’ll be able to independently refine and redesign your blog as it develops. Investing a little time learning these skills will mean small changes and optimisations can be made immediately, without the need to pay anyone to do the work.
SEO And Search Optimisation
Google and other search engines are constantly refining and improving their ability to recognise worthwhile content, so you can go far as a blogger by by simply concentrating on the quality of your posts.
Nevertheless, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) still plays a significant role and the value of making subtle alterations to your writing approach to improve your visibility and ranking on the web shouldn’t be underestimated. A poorly optimised blog is a missed opportunity.
Increasing your visitor numbers can be achieved by employing various marketing methods: it’s especially useful to know how to use social media to your advantage, so spend some time looking into ways this can be done and experimenting with various channels.
Being broadly connected will make a huge difference to the success of your blog. Think about effective ways you can reach out to other content providers and potential business partners: learn how to network online and in person.
Images are a powerful tool for a blog writer. For some blogs, such as food blogs, for example, professional photos of the various stages of a recipe have become a necessity. Familiarise yourself with image processing to optimise and enhance the images on your blog, and even learning how to take a decent photograph yourself, are skills that will stand you in good stead.
Learn By Doing
With blogging, every day is an opportunity to learn something new – either about the subject you’re blogging about, or the process of blogging itself. Remember that the more blogging you do, the better at it you’ll become – practice most definitely makes perfect. The best advice we can offer is to dare to try new things – and never to stop practising with the tools you already have access to.