This post is by Alden Tan.
I’ve been blogging for about a year and a half now and it actually took me that long to come this far. I’ve done over 50 guest posts, have 4,000 subscribers and even managed to earn a bit of affiliate commissions, all on my own.
Impressive? Nah. I’ve made a ton of mistakes. And failed countless times.
If you want more numbers, check this out: I effectively wasted my first 8 months of blogging. I was totally lost.
It’s not that I’m a bad writer. I actually consider myself good and even back in high school, my teachers and friends commended on how good my writing was.
But I was extremely stubborn.
Like most newbies online, I thought starting a blog was the easy way out of an average life; the answer to making lots of money. All you have to do, is write. Right?
Good Writing Isn’t Good Enough
Leave behind whatever you learned in high school or college.
This is blogging, and the blogosphere has a certain standard we need to adhere to if we want to:
- Add major value
- Create a direct response
Of course, you may have heard this before.
Now, this isn’t a typical guide on writing well for blogging, but I’m going to provide some essential tips that can help make a difference in your writing and your blog’s future.
Trap #1: Thinking a Picture or Video is Enough
This is where new bloggers post a single picture or YouTube video and call it a post.
Nope, it doesn’t work that way. Sure, the picture is probably super attractive and the video might have millions of views, but it doesn’t mean they’re going to equally convert into readers for you. It wouldn’t even make any form of impact.
Solution: Offer a unique insight. Bring up something that most people may have missed out on.
Share with your readers your personal experience and how it relates to the picture or video. Then, take it a step further and craft a strong message to inspire and create a lasting impact on your readers.
Trap #2: News Reporter Syndrome
What do I mean by this? It means writing posts that are merely describing something or giving a commentary about some issue.
And then leaving it as that.
Blogging is way more than just writing about something. Even the most flowery adjectives and awesome analogies can only get you so far.
You’ve got to go beyond.
Solution: First off, think externally. Think of what your readers and potential audience are looking for.
Find out what they need help in, then write to solve that problem. Alleviate their pain.
Write epic shit, and then give guided steps that are instant and actionable.
Remember, you’re a blogger out to leave an impact and help people. You’re not back in school writing to be graded on the use of your language.
See how I’m not just stopping at naming about the traps? This is how I add value and literally allow you to have a takeaway.
Trap #3: The “Since the Pros Are Doing It, It Must Be Right” Mentality
Tim Ferriss writes about a variety of stuff, right? He writes about business, marketing and even teaches breakdancing.
It must be okay to write about many different topics then! Hell, you don’t even have to waste your time writing so much since Seth Godin only writes short posts daily.
Nah. Here’s the blunt truth: They can do that. You, as a newbie, can’t.
Solution: Start off with a narrowed topic, niche and focus. You should also define your audience early and decide who you want to write for.
Then write about that, for them only.
It may sound paradoxical, but you’ll grow a lot faster this way. You’ll have more focus and people will take notice of you faster.
“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” – Bill Cosby
It is only when you’ve mastered your topic and become recognized as an expert that you can broaden your focus and cater to different crowds. By then, you’d have also built an audience who will be eager to listen to what you have to say, delivered bite-sized or epic-sized.
Trap #4: Writing Too Much and Then Too Little
Ahh yes, the evergreen newbie problem of how often they should write.
I was a major victim of this.
I thought more meant better. I once blogged everyday for a couple of weeks. I thought it would produce good results, but it didn’t at all.
After that I wrote too little because other bloggers said not to write so much.
Solution: Only create your best work and keep doing it.
I’m not going to teach you how to schedule your posts or balance the amount you should write.
I believe you should always push yourself to come up with new and great ideas. You have to keep pushing yourself to constantly practice writing.
Do your best work ONLY. When you’ve given your best, you’ll know it, and then you’ll be inspired to write an appropriate amount for your blog and your audience.
There is no excuse for hard work and taking action.
This is how you grow quickly as a blogger. You may be a newbie, but don’t let that label judge you on your degree of awesomeness.
Go Forth and Write, It Isn’t Really That Hard
Maybe I came down hard on the many things newbie writers do, but it really isn’t that hard.
Follow the solutions I gave above and write out the best content you can when you feel inspired.
Avoid the traps. You’ll not only grow, but also develop your own style. Pretty soon you’d be the one teaching others how to write.
What were some of your biggest mistakes when you started writing online? Let us know in the comments below this post.