Saturday, 15 January 2011

Five Steps to an Effective Blog Post

Salad Nicoise

Before I start, I guess I should warn you: I am not a very practical person. I blog because I love blogging. I blog about TEFL because teaching English is another thing I love. It is as simple as that.

So, this is what I have to say about how to write an effective blog post:

1. Choose a topic you are passionate about. You don't have to have all the answers. I would say that blogging works even better if you don't have all the answers when you start. A lot of bloggers will say that blogging helps them think and it is true. And you can always rely on your readers to provide some of the answers for you.

Don't think about what "your readers" might want to read. You are not running a restaurant, you are writing a blog. Besides, you don't know who "your readers" are. Sure, there are a couple of regulars, people who love all your dishes, sweet or savoury, hot or cold. But most people will land on your page either by accident (by clicking on somebody's blogroll or simply the Next Blog button) or because they Googled the topic.

Don't worry about whether someone else has already written about it, because each blogger looks at the topic through their own lense. And each blogger has their own unique style. For example, right now a lot of us are writing about Five Steps to an Effective Blog Post because we are all taking part in the Teacher Challenge. But I bet that each post is going to be different.

2. Choose an effective title. A lot of bloggers will tell you that a title should be informative. A good example of an informative title is the one you have at the top of this post. And it is great because everyone immediately knows what this post is about. But I am impractical, remember. If I had to choose between an informative title and an effective one, I would go for the effective one.

Still, it is not all impractical. Remember those people who landed on your page because they clicked the Next Blog button? They are only going to stay on your page for a couple of seconds... unless something stops them. An effective title could do the job.

However, don't mislead your readers. Don't promise the answers if all you have got are just a couple of questions. Me, I usually come up with the title before I start writing. I have an idea about what I am going to put into a blog and immediately after that I have an idea for the title. Sometimes I change it after I have written the post, but not often.

3. Use interesting images. No, I am not joking. Images are important in the digital world. They are easy to obtain (just make sure they have a Creative Commons licence and that you credit the original author) and they add so much to your blog. They make the blog look more beautiful, but it is not just that. Images are very powerful in their own right, they speak to our subconscious. Not only will they keep your new readers in your blog longer, but they might actually help you write.

Photo of Chocolate Cake

4. Be who you are. Your readers (your regular readers as well as new ones) will relate better to your writing if they get to know the real you. I use humour a lot here (I usually laugh at myself), but my readers claim that there is a certain melancholy in my blog. Never mind, that's me. You might create a lot of things on the internet, but nothing you create can represent the real you the way your blog will. Your blog is you.

5. Don't give all the answers. Leave something for your readers. You want comments, right? I have tried different things, from asking questions to giving my readers assignments, but nothing has worked quite so well as leaving the post slightly unfinished. Remember what I said at the beginning, about how it was OK not to have all the answers when you started a post? Well, it is quite OK not to have the answers by the time you have finished the post. Sometimes the real art is to ask the right questions.

Generated by: Tag Generator


Elaine said...

Natasa, I will definitely be adding your blog to my RSS feed. I love humor and think most of us take ourselves too seriously.

I am also participating in the Teacher Challenge, and you are right. We all have a different way of saying the same thing.

Eric Roth said...

Good tips that I often overlook and should always remember. Thanks for the quick primer.

It behooves even "impractical" English teachers to consider the desire for beautiful images and concise posts.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Natasa. You have covered some pertinent points for bloggers and encouraged us to blog just for ourselves. I loved your photos. They made me quite hungry!
I agree about choosing topics you are passionate about. Many blogs posts are found via search engines and that title has to keep them there. Thanks for sharing.

Janet Bianchini said...

Lovely post Natasa, and really enjoyed reading the fab tips. You always write with great honesty and that's what I love about your blog.
I'll be following you on your blogging challenge journey and look forward to your feedback. Best of luck!

Theresa Allen said...

Hello Natasa,
I wanted to let you know that I used your blog in my Challenge #3 page. I really love the way you describe yourself in 4 persons! So true! Keep blogging!

Natasa said...

Elaine, thank you and welcome. I will definitely visit your blog. I tend to be a perfectionist, that's why I laugh at myself (it helps me get the right perspective of the world and my place in it).

Natasa said...

Eric, thank you for visiting my blog. I am glad if you have found this post useful. As for the second part of your comment - we are often told what we 'should' do to be good teachers and good bloggers. I read it all and then just go back to being who I am. It works most of the time.

Natasa said...

Welcome back, Anne. I am still hanging in, though I might skip a challenge or two. I am multitasking right now and I need a bit more sleep if I am going to last for the whole challenge:)
It is useful to be practical from time to time, though. I have a Google alert on my name and yesterday it sent me the link to this post. I believe the secret is in the title. Maybe I should really reconsider my titles. I mean, what does "Myna and the Sleeping Dragon" mean to Google?

Natasa said...

Janet, it is always good to see you here. You are my blogging buddy and my friend, in every sense of the word.

Natasa said...

Theresa, thank you so much. I am honoured. I am on my way there right now. Yes, being four (five, six, seven...) persons at the same time is how it feels to be a blogger. Some people keep separate blogs for different topics, but I find that writing this one blog is giving me quite enough to do.
Hope to see you more during the Challenge.

Nancy C said...

Thank you for the comment you left for me on my blog.

I love the look of your blog - the colors that you have chosen work really well and I, of course, love the photos.

It has been fun exploring other people's blogs and seeing their style. Everyone has been unique.

I'll be sure to check back to see what you are writing about!

Good work.

Natasa said...

Hi Nancy. I am really glad you like the way my blog looks. You are right - every blogger is unique.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...