Whether it’s your bread and butter, a side project, or something you do for fun, creating a blog and maintaining it demands some kind of commitment from you. Bloggers have a responsibility toward their readership to hone their skills and their knowledge so they can provide good information and good insight.
So how do you become a better blogger?
Know Your Stuff
Your readers look to you for what you know or what you’ve experienced. So if your blog is about European travel, have you indeed traveled to Europe? If you review books in your blog, then you should have read each book that you’ve reviewed at least once. You might say, “Well, duh! Obviously!” Well, yes it is obvious. It’s so basic that you really should have it covered, but you’d be surprised how often this is overlooked, intentionally or unintentionally. Anyway, the point is, do try to achieve a certain level of expertise in your blog’s subject matter, and do your due diligence and keep yourself updated on new developments.
Sharpen your Writing Skills
We don’t mean that you should become some sort of grammar snob, nobody likes that either, but let’s face it, blogging is about using words to communicate ideas. In fact, language is a building block of thought. So you’ve got to have those blocks down pat if you want to build anything. Grammar isn’t about following arbitrary rules, rather, it is about effective and efficient communication. Besides, you owe it to your readers to communicate well. Wouldn’t you want them to have a good experience in your blog? Nothing causes a headache quite like reading incoherent gibberish.
So brush up the grammar and composition lessons from your school days. Keep a copy of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style handy. Build your vocabulary so that your use of words is correct and precise.
Practice. Tweeting would teach you valuable editing skills and help you appreciate economy in the use of words. Keeping a journal won’t just help you develop your skills as a writer, it’s good for you as a person to immortalize certain memories and verbalize thoughts and feelings.
Cultivate Your Curiosity
You can’t write if you have nothing to write about. Keep learning. When you stop learning, you stagnate. No matter how much you know, there’s always more to it.
And don’t just limit yourself to your own field. Take an interest in other things and develop new passions, and you’ll find it amazing how one hobby or interest enriches another.
Sign up for workshops — whether they be for writing, pottery, or wine tasting. Procure books. Attend talks. Take copious notes and make it a practice to revisit them after some time; detaching yourself for a while allows the new knowledge to marinate in the mind, which gives rise to new insights.
Have Your Own Voice
As a blogger, you wouldn’t want to simply regurgitate what you see and hear or read about. Put your own spin on it when you write. Share your reflections and reactions; have a point of view, an opinion. Think of yourself as a newspaper columnist rather than a beat reporter.
Your blog is an extension of yourself. It reflects who you are and what you stand for. So put something of yourself in it, so when your readers come, they find you.