Blogging is frequently derided as a hack’s sport: a dumping ground for navel-gazing anecdotes that contribute little but clutter to the digital landscape. However, like any other art form, the quality of the blog is as dependent on the writer’s dedication to the craft as his or her chosen subject matter. Distinguishing your blog from the average WordPress blurb comes down to understanding the five different ways to “write outside the box.”
Structure may sound simple. After all, what do you need aside from an intro, a middle, and an end? The truth is that the structure of each blog post must be fashioned to clearly communicate an idea to the reader. Many blog posts start strong but get lost in the middle. Some introduce too many new ideas without supporting them, while others fail to persuade the reader of the blog’s point in the concluding paragraph. When writing your blog posts, do yourself a favor and try to sum up the point of the entire post in a sentence. If you find you have too much say, you have not structured your blog post effectively.
Why say something in 1,000 words that you could say in 500? Research has shown that people will wait an average of 4 seconds for a web page to load before they lose interest and click on to the next site. With that kind of attention span, your blog post has to be captivating from the first word all the way through to the last. Be concise; say what you mean in the most efficient manner possible. Don’t get drunk on your own prose style. If you can trim a sentence but still retain the meaning, your readers will thank you.
Average blogs read like train announcements: flat, repetitive, and with no attempt to engage those who are unlucky enough to encounter them. Before posting your blog, try reading it aloud. Do the sentences flow together naturally, or do you struggle for breath? Are you using the same words over and over again? Do your sentences sound sonorous, or forced? The best writing is also the most beautiful, and will please the ear as much as the mind.
4. Topic Choice
The number of blogs dedicated to celebrities or cute pet facial expressions far outstrips the number of blogs detailing the experiences of an electrical engineer. Writers are best when they can focus on their genuine thoughts and feelings, especially in relationship to an unusual career, hobby, or train of thought. Don’t write about what someone else thinks is interesting; write about what excites you personally.
Finding your writing ‘voice’ is the most difficult and ultimately rewarding exercise you will ever undertake. Much like adolescence, there’s no easy way through; finding your voice simply takes time and experience. Those who write every day will gradually discover they favor certain phrases and syntax, and find other constructions pompous or overwrought. Never try to ‘sound’ like another writer: your voice is your own. The best writers ultimately transcribe their personalities onto the page: read anything by Mark Twain, and the man seems to suddenly inhabit the room.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: Whatever you do, don’t stop blogging. Consistency is 99% of a blog’s success.