Big ideas about the web.

Three tips for successful blogging

I’ll limit my lecture to three simple tips, things I think are important beside the obvious (and too often neglected) “Have something interesting to say,” and also, “Know what you’re talking about.”

They might fall under the category of blogging advice, but these tips can be applied to any kind of verbal content, including personal blogs. However, I’m directing this post specifically to people who write content for their own or someone else’s business website.

First, don’t hurry

If your content is time-sensitive, give yourself enough time to write, edit, proofread, and sit on it for a few hours—even a full day, if possible. Don’t hurry also means plan in advance. Knowing your subject is pointless if you can’t deliver it the right way.

Side tip for the night writers: wait until morning to publish your content. This goes for blog posts as well as newsletters. Writing something in the middle of the night because you’re inspired (and because you had no time during the day) can often lead to unwanted mistakes. As stoic as it may seem to be up late working, no one thinks you should be doing that. The night is (mostly) for sleeping.

So if you do happen to be the type to stay up and write web content, let it sit there until the morning, at least. Read it again after breakfast—not over breakfast—and if everything is okay, and you don’t sound to yourself like a sleepy lunatic, go ahead and click that publish button.

Second, proofread

Yes, the web is supposed to be all free of rules and formality. That is, if you’re completely blind to the needs of content. Just because you’re writing on the web it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use proper spelling, grammar, punctuation and (yes!) capitalization.

I often tell my clients that a single person who notices when your content is poorly written will hurt you more than ten people who don’t have a clue. Because those who don’t have a clue don’t care whether you’re doing it right or wrong. But those who do notice and do care will notice only if your content is a mess. And they will be able to make the difference between a typo and an error.

(Yes, typos and oversights are allowed, within a reason.)

Third, if you don’t know any better, find someone who does

Let’s be frank. Not everyone is a natural-born writer. Maybe you have the right ideas, but when it’s time to put them to paper or pixels they just don’t come out right. So, find someone who can help you with it.

I’m sure everyone has a trusted friend who knows his way around grammar and such, so that’s the person to ask. However, when it’s your business that’s at stake, I highly recommend finding someone who does the job professionally. Someone who really knows what he’s doing, who understands your communication goals (and your business goals) and who’s able to make your content sound like you. You can still put your name in the byline or sign that newsletter with your name, if that’s what worries you.