People blog for a variety of reasons. Some find it good exercise, others aspire to be an award-winning author one day, and still others just need something to fill their free time. Whichever your reasons might be, having a blog is a wonderful way to express your opinion on a situation or for a cause without having to kowtow to a publication’s rules and guidelines.
After a while though, the passion fizzles out. You make half-hearted apologies on your latest blog update, to no one in particular, because you start asking yourself, what is the point of writing if there is no one reading anyways. It’s a fairly common phenomenon, and if you are already at the verge of quitting, don’t. Try to make these changes instead.
The point of this post is to help you understand what you need to put thought into when writing for an audience. If you are writing for yourself (like an online journal to be read only by your descendents), you probably don’t need the tips you find here.
Truth of the matter is people in general don’t really care about your thoughts. That’s harsh, I know. But this probably explains a lot about why your blog has a much lower readership count than you would expect.
The good news is there are things you can do to rectify this situation, but they all require you to make changes to the way you write. If you are not willing to do that, stop reading now and check out this other post instead.
A Blog Isn’t Just About You
Blogs often start with personal thoughts and therefore are filled with personal details – which is fine, since the first group of readers are probably the people the writer knows: friends, family, coworkers, the association you are a part of, the students you teach (if you are a teacher), your stalker(s), etc.
But if you want to write for a larger audience, say 100,000 strong, you need to put some thought into writing things that other people can relate to.
In writing any piece, it’s easy to write about things that you yourself can relate to, identify with and be passionate about. Now all you need to do is translate that into something your audience can relate to, identify with and be passionate about.
And of course, that is a very difficult thing to do (hey, starting a blog is easy, keeping it going is the hard part), because how in the world are we supposed to figure out what our readers are thinking?
That is a fair question but not a difficult one to answer: try using your common sense and put yourself in your readers shoes. Do people care about what you had for your three meals? Do they want to know what you wore to work today? Do you think your readers need to know how you spend your weekends so they know how to spend theirs? Not really, right?
But you can turn that into something they would care about. Instead of telling people what you had for breakfast, share your recipe (if it is homemade, that’s even better), and instructions on how to make it.
Rather than write about what you wore, write about how you got this beautiful clothing from your favorite online shops, review the material and share any promotional discounts you may have, or how to get them.
As for blogging about your weekend, review the places you went to. There is value in personal experiences e.g. whether local attractions are stroller- or wheelchair- friendly, or you can review a newly opened shopping mall (parking, facilities, amenities etc).
Give your readers something they can take away after they read one of your posts, and as the readership pool changes, you will get a steady stream of people interested in what you have to share.
It’s important that whatever you have to write leaves an impact on your readers. The easiest impact to aim for is humor. Doesn’t mean it is easy, I’m just saying it’s the easiest by comparison. Even if it means spraying corny jokes all over your piece, believe me, that’s fine for certain portions of the reading public.
Sometimes a technical piece jives well with certain audiences and you can use jargon or make inside jokes that you are sure your targeted audience can follow and understand.
However, don’t let the humor be the center of attention. If you have a point to deliver in your post, make sure you do, if not in a funny way, at least in a nice way. And whatever you do, don’t annoy your readers.
Don’t Be Creative with Punctuation
Yeah, don’t. It would be nice for all bloggers to have some respect for punctuation. For example, there are blogs that use ellipsis (…) in place of commas and full stops (or periods). There are also bloggers who don’t break their writing into paragraphs, and my personal favorite is the group who like to write content then align their writings center.
Look, the three dots have their own function so unless you have a trailing thought or you intentionally omit certain words from your writing, please stop giving your grammar teacher more heartache.
Secondly, whilst longform is a style you can conform to, I can confirm that people prefer to have their reading material in smaller, more digestible forms. Plus, do you really want people to leave a TL;dr comment in your comment section?
And lastly, have you ever read paragraphs aligned center? It’s hard to pick up where you last left off because we don’t know where to put our eyes next. This is not "flaunting creative license", this is mental torture.
So is alternating the upper and lower cases in the same word or sentence, making your write up as colorful as an artist’s palette or not giving thought to color contrast.
If you want to ramble, get it off your system on a piece of paper. Then if you still feel like this is a thought worth pursuing on your blog, organize your thoughts, remember the readers, play it cool and give them reason to follow through the whole post without wondering if there is a point to the post and of course, stay true to your readers’ punctuation needs.
Having a blog about your personal thoughts and opinions is like giving a TV interview. People are going to see and hear, and in the case of a blog, read about your opinions. And they will have their string of opinions to throw back at you. Other times, they will ask for favors.
This is unavoidable.
But when this happens, when people make it clear that they want your help in doing something – reviewing their service, announcing a new line of products, point your readers in the direction of their giveaways and contests – that means that you have done it.
People now do read (and possibly love) your writings on your blog.