Like anything else, blogging is about learning as you go along. I once interviewed a man called John Dawes in a local pub of mine. He was sat in the corner with his mates and to anyone not in the know, he just looked like any other guy. But if you looked closer, you realised that the company he was keeping was of the highest order. To his left was a gentleman called Mervyn Davies. To his right was a man called Barry John. In the world of rugby (we're all rugby mad here in Wales), these two names were absolute legends of the game. And when I got speaking to John, I quickly realised that he was more than just any 'other guy'. He was a legend too.
The British and Irish Lions head to New Zealand next year to take on the mighty All Blacks. It's a tour that only comes around once every 16 years and there is only one British and Irish Lions team in history that have beaten the All Blacks in New Zealand - and that team was led by your man John Dawes. You can read the original interview here.
But anyway, back to blogging. What's that got to do with John Dawes?
The one vivid memory I have of that interview was John looking me right in the eye and telling me that the best thing you can do is learn from others, whether it be friend or opposition. It was something that had helped him to succeed and something I've tried to implement in many aspects of my life since. For many years, I wrote my blogs in isolation but by not exposing myself to anyone else's blogs. It wasn't until I went to an awards ceremony to pick up an award that I was exposed to the bigger blogosphere. And that's where I started learning.
So here are my 9 Do's and Don'ts of Blogging
Give your blog post a purpose before you start writing. I'm pretty bad at getting distracted but as I've become more successful and time gets more limited, I find that everything I now do has to have a reason or a purpose. The purpose of this post for instance, is to inform you of the big do's and don'ts but more than that, I'll be hoping that this post will be found by other bloggers I haven't met yet when I post it to Twitter. If we've never met before, hello and feel free to join Bloggers Academy here (it's free!)
Don't try and be anyone else but you. You've got so many skills and life experiences that the rest of us don't have. Trying to talk about something you don't really know about won't cut it with those who are in the know. When I was teaching, I'd deliberately ask kids to write a short story without giving them any topic. Faced with a blank page, invariably, they'd say 'I don't know what to write about Sir'. That's when we'd go back, find out what makes them tick, what their life experiences are, and build things from there. You have your own unique voice - use it.
Use images. People love visuals so use a handful of images to back up your blog post. If you are sharing to social media, be aware that images on some platforms appear differently and may need resizing. There are plenty of free pictures you can use to make your blog post look great - I tend to use FreePik a lot for my blogging but in my professional work, I also look to pay for any use images from Adode Stock.
Add links to your post. This will help with your Google rankings.
Plan your social media usage. I'll be posting this to Facebook, Twitter and sending it to Bloggers Academy members. This links back to Point #1 as by sharing it across social media will help me reach my post's purpose. This was my very first blog post. Due to the nature of the blog, I never shared it with anyone. Eventually I relented and it won an award. Since then, I can refer to myself as an award-winning blogger. If I'd kept that blog to myself, I wouldn't be where I am now.
Don't forget to proof read your work. This is one of my pet hates. God I hate doing it. But there are times when I've not done it, posted it to social media and then wished I'd just spent a couple of minutes checking what I'd written. If you're not too hot on spelling and grammar, use a Spellcheck and always check out stuff on Google. For many years, I got my its and it's totally wrong and I look back now on some of my earlier work and cringe. If there are any errors in this post, that's because I've been lazy and haven't proofed it.
Don't moan about stuff. Unless your blog is one that's been set up to specifically moan about life, don't go on about it in your blog posts. No one enjoys reading it.
Don't forget to paragraph your work. If you're unsure how to paragraph text, you normally start a new paragraph with a change of topic (or time). I've seen blogs that are simply one block of text. That's hard to read!
Don't forget to put yourself in the shoes of your reader. Once you've written your blog post, walk away from it, come back 5 minutes later and try and look at it as if you've never looked at it before. Is it something you'd enjoy reading? If you don't like it, the chances are that not many others will.
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