All About Blogging: Ten Tips To Be a Better Writer


Owned, Ottawa, Sep­tem­ber 2011

How hard can writ­ing be? You just have to type what you’re think­ing, right?

Well, it doesn’t quite work like that, even if your spon­ta­neous thoughts and obser­va­tions can be a good start­ing point.

When you’re writ­ing for an audi­ence, a few basic tips apply.

Write with pas­sion — Pre­sum­ably, you are blog­ging because you have some­thing to share: your life, your pas­sion, a story or a skill. If you are pas­sion­ate about it, it will show. Don’t force your­self to write about some­thing you are not com­fort­able with or not inter­ested in because read­ers will feel it. Blog­ging shouldn’t be a chore. This is not school, you don’t have to write a min­i­mum num­ber of words on a set topic. For instance, I can’t do book reviews for the life of me. I spent my high school years dis­sect­ing Vic­tor Hugo’s Cas­ti­ga­tions (the title of the col­lec­tion of poems says it all, trust me!) and while I’m still an avid reader, I turned down book review offers because it’s just not my thing. No one will enjoy read­ing a tedious review!

Build some con­text — Blogs cre­ate their own lit­tle uni­verse, with occa­sional men­tions of fam­ily mem­bers or par­tic­u­lar life events. If your blog is mostly for friends and fam­ily, that’s fine because they know you. But if you want to build a big­ger read­er­ship, you want to make sure peo­ple know what you are talk­ing about. This is why About Me and About this Blog pages, where you present your uni­verse, are impor­tant. Don’t hes­i­tate to link to pre­vi­ous related arti­cles to add con­text and infor­ma­tion. Finally, go easy on pri­vate jokes only two or three peo­ple can under­stand, oth­er­wise it feels like you are inten­tion­ally snub­bing your readers.

Stop that con­stant navel-gazing — Some peo­ple live amaz­ing lives and can write about them­selves with­out bor­ing the audi­ence to death. But 99% of us are just reg­u­lar folks are frankly, a detailed account of your life isn’t very inter­est­ing unless you are an excep­tion­ally good writer. I know Justin Beiber “wrote” his auto­bi­og­ra­phy at the ten­der age of 13 but most of us aren’t quite ready for that yet.

Don’t take your­self too seri­ously — Relax, it’s just a blog! Some read­ers will dis­agree with you, some will troll you, some will ignore your efforts to have the best blog ever… who cares? Don’t take your­self too seri­ously and accept that you are one blog­ger out of mil­lions. Have fun and please, don’t start drag­ging read­ers into your blog­ging drama.

Use spell-check — On the prac­ti­cal side of writ­ing, I really encour­age you to use spell-check. Every­body makes typos, but when they pile up, arti­cles can be a real pain to deci­pher. I tend to write my posts in Word, which catches most gram­mat­i­cal errors and typos, and I’ve seen a huge improve­ment com­pared to when I used to write directly in the Word­Press text editor.

Use online tools — There are tons of free online tools to improve your writ­ing. For instance, non-native Eng­lish speak­ers will find Wor­dRef­er­ence very use­ful (and if you have a ques­tion, their forum is awe­some!). I also use Syn­onyms, Visu­words (an online visual dic­tio­nary) and Wikipedia (for place names, his­tor­i­cal events etc.).

Typog­ra­phy mat­ters — Arrang­ing text and select­ing fonts isn’t only aes­thetic, it has func­tional goals. For instance, it’s hard to read a mes­sage when there are no caps after a period, or where there are a lot of dupli­cate white­space. Some plu­g­ins such as WP Typog­ra­phy offer intel­li­gent char­ac­ter replace­ment and styling for amper­sands, quotes, acronyms etc. The font fam­ily you choose also affect read­ers’ expe­ri­ence: Courier or hand­writ­ing fonts may feel “funky” and orig­i­nal but they are hard to read and shouldn’t be used for long text.

… And so do edit­ing and review­ing — Ide­ally, every­one needs another set of eyes to catch gram­mat­i­cal and spelling mis­takes. Most of us don’t have a lux­ury of a ded­i­cated proof­reader at home, but you can always set your text aside for a while and proof it again with fresh eyes. You’d be sur­prised to see the num­ber of typos and mis­takes you will catch!

Limit the length of your arti­cles — I per­son­ally believe that arti­cles under 200 words will be bet­ter on plat­forms such as Twit­ter or Face­book, and arti­cle over 1,000 are just too long to keep read­ers’ atten­tion (to give you an idea, most press releases are around 500 words). I’m the type of per­son who likes to write a lot but I learn to check the word count and to do some seri­ous edit­ing if I was close to my self-imposed 600–700 words limit.

Don’t for­get that writ­ing is sub­jec­tive — In maths, 1+1=2 (or so I’ve been told). But writ­ing isn’t an exact sci­ence. Two per­sons can relate the same event very dif­fer­ently. Yes, gram­mar mat­ters but there is no per­fect way to write. Develop your voice and be proud of your achievements!


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Don’t take your­self too seri­ously…” That’s a great tip and one I try to fol­low. Every once in a while, though, I do get a bit per­sonal and seri­ous. For that, I blame my sym­pa­thetic and sup­port­ive readers!

  2. Great advice, I really like the one about don’t take your­self too seri­ously as well, as I find those blogs are annoy­ing to read and I don’t usu­ally go back to them. I also like your tip about writ­ing with pas­sion, it’s what makes great writ­ing stand out.

  3. Love your advice, as usual, but I can’t stop think­ing how far my blog is from being a good blog. At the same time, I don’t mind not hav­ing a great blog as I don’t feel like writ­ing as I did in jour­nal­ism classes and over-think my copy. Plus I’m not that good of a writer in French.

    I guess I just like doing what I do and I’m thank­ful that it brings me some readers :)

    • I like your blog! I don’t see any­thing wrong with it. I guess it shows advice don’t always apply. We all have an goal we aim for but any­thing in between works too!

  4. Some­times I read my archives and cringe when I see a typo or gram­mat­i­cal error. I’m pretty anal about stuff like that! I’m for­ever revis­ing posts within the first day or so after posting.

    • I try not to make edits after I pub­lish the post oth­er­wise I know it will never end! But I’d love to take the time to review some of my older posts, my Eng­lish has got­ten much bet­ter now and I’m sure I left some mis­takes I wouldn’t make now.

  5. Pingback: Carnival of Storytelling – September 22, October 18, 2011 | Be the Story

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