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Why Being a Better Writer Affects the Performance of your Blog

Better Writer Blog PerformanceAmrit Hallan from Content Blog writes today about how improving your writing can improve the performance of your blog – Image by The Trial.

Why are writers banned and persecuted in undemocratic countries? Because the written word is stronger than the entire governments and the ruthless forces they wield upon their masses. Effective writing can awaken civilizations and trigger unprecedented upheavals. If you’re not using writing as a potent tool for the success of your blog you are missing a big opportunity.

Although people do many things with their blogs like posting pictures and videos, they mostly write on their blogs. Writing is the primary mode of articulation when it comes to blogging; everything happens through writing if you publish written content on your blog. Since the promotion of your blog is as important as the regular updates here too the strength of you writing ability plays a crucial part — we will come to that later on.

By being a “better writer” I don’t mean that you have to give Stephen King, Salman Rushdie and Garcia a run for their money. It also doesn’t mean having good presentation but no substance. Relevance is a factor that is quintessential to the success of your blog but how you present the relevant topic also matters a lot.

You simply need to know how to convey your message compellingly and convincingly. This involves a certain comfort level with the words and the language you use. The comfort level helps you write fast especially when you have to write multiple blog posts or when you have to interact on various forums and comment sections. If you spend hours writing/editing/proofreading just one blog post it is going to be a very laborious task and soon you will run out of steam unless the passion is indefatigable.

Writing is a skill that can be acquired without even having formal training — most best-seller authors never received formal training in writing. I myself have a math background but earn my living writing for others (hope to do it solely for myself in the near future).

How you can learn to write well would be a topic for another blog post, but here I’m briefly discussing the benefits of this quality.

Writing well gives you a unique personality as a blogger

According to Technorati there are million of blogs on the Internet. Among them there are thousands, maybe, that are read by people and not just by the bots. Sometimes you can find scores of blogs dealing with the same subject. For instance, you can find a horde of blogs telling you how to become a better blogger. How do you differentiate one blog from another if they are all trying to make you a better blogger? Consistency is one thing, of course, but the other thing is the writing style. No pyrotechnic words, no surrealistic references; just simple and useful thoughts collated effectively.

Darren, for example, directly talks to his readers and addresses their day-to-day, blogging-related problems, while sticking to the most dominant theme of his blog: how to earn money off your blog. I have noticed that he writes quite well; I don’t know if he has gradually developed the skill or it was inherently there in him. Another blogger whose writing style I admire is Leo of Zen Habits. Talking of Leo, just consider how much writing he does; I am sure he doesn’t have to struggle with the appropriate words and expressions while churning out, maybe, more than 50 blog posts every month for his own blog and for other blogs.

The ability to write well saves you lots of time and consequently makes you more productive as a blogger

This is made amply clear with Leo’s example. He is comfortable writing so he can write so much. Let me reiterate here again that when I talk about writing well I don’t mean an ability to create great literary works; writing well involves talking in the language of your readers so that they find your writing engaging, easy to read and extremely useful. When you know how to write well you don’t have to waste your time trying to write, you can simply focus on the central message and the right words and expressions manifest on their own.

Writing well keeps your readers coming to your blog again and again

Haven’t you often subscribed to a blogger’s RSS feeds simply because you love the way he or she writes? When you write well, when you write in a manner that your readers can relate to, they want to read you whenever they get a chance. When you’re known for writing well your blog posts attract more traffic because your readers don’t want to miss your latest update.

This reminds me, when I used to design websites I generated lots of traffic for my web designing website by writing web designing and web programming tutorials for other website. There was one thing that distinguished my tutorials from other tutorials covering the same topics: an underlying sense of humor. Even the most intricate programming issues I explained in a funny, entertaining manner. I started getting professional writing assignments due to this very quality of my writing. It just came to my mind recently that somewhere while writing content professionally I lost that touch. That used to be my “voice”. I haven’t succeeded yet, but I’m trying to get it back while writing blog posts.

Writing well helps you promote your blog

In the end it all boils down to how well and how fast you can write when it comes to leaving comments on other blogs, writing guest blog posts, generating linkbait content for your blog and interacting on online forums. All these efforts require lots of time and this is the main reason why many bloggers fail to utilize the techniques to promote their blogs. The ability to write well minimizes the time you need to generate content for external sources. When people find your writing engaging they immediately click your link to see what more you have written on your own blog.

Well, inadvertently this has turned out to be a longer post than I had initially planned (sticking to plans is something I really have to work on). If Darren lets me (or if he takes a vacation again), one day I would like to write a post here discussing how you can become a better writer without having to put in a gargantuan effort.

Amrit Hallan blogs at Content Blog. He writes about blogging, content trends and online copywriting.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Ari Herzog says:

    Very good advice, Amrit. I agree wholeheartedly which is partially why my blog’s URL is ariwriter.com, a play on my first name and an inate skill and 10+ years of published clips.

    I’d like to take issue with one thing you wrote:

    By being a “better writer” I don’t mean that you have to give Stephen King, Salman Rushdie and Garcia a run for their money.

    This is true, but it can’t hurt (based on your motivations) to follow their advice. King, for instance, wrote a NY Times bestseller in 2000 titled, “On Writing,” where he speaks to his writing craft and provides tips and advice for others.

  2. Lipton says:

    Great post… I’m trying harder to be a ‘better’ writer in terms of technique… I have my own style when it comes to my readers :)

    Between getting better at writing, networking and marketing.. ughs I dunno when my boss will catch on to what I’m doing 85% of the time at work lol

  3. Chris Marshall says:

    Good writing makes a blog unique, but does the market value uniqueness, really? Or is this just wishful thinking?

  4. Shanel Yang says:

    I, for one, have always appreciated less-than-beautiful writing, especially when such books have become bestsellers because they always gave me the hope that I might become one, too.

    It seems to me that as long as the ideas are compelling, the writing can be less so. Even Kurt Vonnegut thought his writing per se was subpar, but that his ideas were nonetheless worth writing about; and the world is indebted to him for it.

    But, of course, great ideas plus great writing — well, that’s just a slice of heaven, isn’t it?

    Thanks for the great post, Amrit!

  5. Sara says:

    I’d also add that the level of personal satisfaction you experience can skyrocket when you write a piece you feel great about. You know, the kind you can’t wait to post? Not only do readers tend to enjoy those more, but even if no one notices that post, you feel better about blogging in general.

    And I’d definitely agree that it extends to commenting. For me, it was finding my comfort zone in commenting. While I used to struggle to find something to say, I’ve grown comfortable with the medium and leave faster and better comments than before.

  6. I feel good written articles are what separates good blogs from spam blogs. It’s so much easier to just jump on a “hot topic” even when you know it won’t be useful by next week. I try and go for content that has shelf life not youtube hype.

  7. RebelZen says:

    Well written and thought out articles are what makes myself come back to blogs more then once and add them to my RSS subscriptions.

  8. Amrit Hallan says:

    Thanks for all the responses till now :-). I’d like to stress here that “Being a better writer” doesn’t mean having a great writing style (again, that helps a lot), but it means an ability to articulate your ideas in your own unique way. Once you develop that unique voice, writing regularly becomes a lot easier.

    Jeremy, regarding the “hot topics”: on one of my blogs I’ve occasionally started covering hot topics (the latest buzz); it hasn’t exactly skyrocketed my traffic but traffic has certainly increased.

  9. blogging says:

    Well done Amrit!

    I used to take creative-writing classes years back and in my experience it’s possible to improve one’s writing skills given some practice, however, a measure of talent is most helpful…

  10. I agree that a well written blog is necessary if it is to climb to the very top.

  11. NCN says:

    It might help if we define ‘being a better writer’…
    Sure, we want to focus on grammar and punctuation, but we also want to include bits and pieces of our own (unique?) personalities. I think it’s super-important to pick a ‘style’ – stick with it – and focus on those topics which our readers want to read about, when they visit our sites. Personally, I like a good mix of information and personality. In fact, I don’t consider a blog a ‘blog’ unless I feel that I can understand (a bit) about it’s author. That’s what makes blogging so unique. It combines the two – information and personality – and makes for a unique reader experience.

  12. Jess says:

    Good post.
    I completely agree. If a post is not well written I am most likely to never return, At the same time a well written post can make the even most mundane topic more interesting.

    As for Stephen King…c’mon… I think we can truly give him a run for his money…I for one find his writing average- somewhere along the likes of of Dan Brown..Great imagination, great ideas, but not the greatest writers –
    Charles Dickens or Albert Camus are another story….

    But then again…(contradicting myself here) .aren’t these writers (Stephen King and Dan Brown) just proof that it doesn’t take fabulous writing ability to sell a book…or likewise a blog….just a great idea perhaps??

    jess

  13. Gary says:

    Good writing is good. Duh.

    I can’t believe there was anything to say on this subject beyond the title.

    This is another example of the “common sense in the form of an article” type posts which are becoming more and more common on blogs about blogging.

    I think that the subject of this article can be used as an assumed presmise (good is good). It would be far more useful to acutally give hints for how to be a better writer, rather than repeat the same, obvious thing in different ways.

  14. An obvious follow up to this article would be some better writing tips. Although maybe Copyblogger has that area covered.

  15. I really value the quality of writing on my site and put a lot of time into it. Sometimes I wonder if there is a balance in that quality of writing matters to a point, beyond which most readers don’t really care. I think it’s like in any expressive field. There will always be people who succeed without focusing on quality and people who focus on quality and aren’t necessarily rewarded for it. But those who value it will still do it for its own sake and for the satisfaction it brings them.

  16. china blue says:

    This is absolutely spot-on. At a blogger’s meeting in London a few days ago, we were discussing SEO techniques, and got on to the subject of single-suject blogs versus those, like mine, which are more of a miscellany. No matter what the subject matter is, the one thing that keeps people coming back is the individual voice of the blogger.

    I’ve treated my blog as an extension – and even an exploration – of a part of my personality that doesn’t usually get much of an airing. Developing that voice has been, and still is, instrumental in attracting and keeping readers.

  17. Lenin Nair says:

    It’s wonderful to find this post here. Particularly since I am a writer myself (freelancer at constant content) and I educate on creative writing. Since I have also got a blog (gaining momentum these days) I am impressed by anything related to writing.

    Good points made there. I would suggest certain other aspects I recently found out.

    One: when your writing tends to be long, you should highlight your major points with bolding or underlining. That will attract attention to specific regions of your post.

    Two: Your writing needn’t be overly complex (we as bloggers do not try to be Dickenses or Kings) we should be as straight as possible, giving plain, simple, comprehensible content.

    Three: I hate plagiarism, and always research thoroughly before posting. So always do proper reserch and post. Have great content and tips for your readers, and you will be read.

    About blogging, since blogs need a lot of writing, it is important that you not make errors in terms of grammar and punctuation. If all these things are ok, your blogging should be just fine.

    Thanks Amrit and Darren, for this post.

    Lenin

  18. As usual, a great post with some great tips.
    I must say practice brings perfect, blogging and writing used to a hard task, but now it’s like a second nature

    Tanny
    Home Business Ideas

  19. Kathy says:

    Blogs are great communication tools. Unfortunately, not every business owner is a great writer. That’s why I beg my clients who are “writing challenged” to hire a professional writer for their blogs. A well written blog is a great marketing asset and quite honestly, it’s no place to hone your writing skills if you’re wanting to promote your business.

  20. kraft says:

    Very interesting post!

  21. I have a book “web copy that sells” which says studies have been done regarding whether or not pictures on a website are effective, and primarily people on the internet are focused on the words of the site, more than any other medium. You can fluff up your site, but the copy is what people are ultimately drawn to.

  22. Todd Andrews says:

    The best tip I ever got – If you can say something in less words…do it.

  23. Sean Mott says:

    I would agree with Todd, in each blog entry I try to get across the subject of that entry in an efficient manner. There is a fine though, been being to brief, but don’t need to write a novel for each blog entry.

    Thank you for a very interesting post!

  24. Amrit Hallan says:

    Hello everybody.

    Thanks for so much positive feedback so far. Jess, I too prefer Charles Dickens and Albert Camus over Stephen King but I also feel that for every mainstream writer there is a market/readership. Having said that, people reading on the Internet are not always looking for “literary” writing. They are looking for content that is presented lucidly, and as Todd mentioned, concisely, and that is highly useful in one way or another.

  25. Ari Herzog says:

    Chris Marshall: I’m unsure what you mean by the market, but on uniqueness, wouldn’t you check out a purple cow standing in a field of white cows if only to determine if it was tie-dyed or natural?

    Sara: My latest post on the new world of blogging and how the future is catching up to the past very quick, is testimony to your belief of personal satisfaction and euphoria associated with great writing. If you haven’t seen it, does this piece equate passion in your heart and want you to keep reading?

    Gary: Do you want tips to be a better writer or a better blogger? Thankfully, the line between the two is very thin but it’s still a question for you to answer they sometimes have different motivations and outcomes.

    You may want to consider following the formula, T+P4=B.

    Jess: It’s hard to write about the esoteric for a lay audience, indeed.

  26. Tim says:

    I have always been a strong believer in writing for people and not for search engines. I find that people enjoy it and return and this in the long run makes your blog more productive. Blogs that give no indication as to the personality of the writer are not going to last the test of time and your never going to see any real income from it.

    I spend a lot ofhours writing and picking new things to write about, always with quality in mind.

    Completely agree with the advice given here.

  27. Syed Balkhi says:

    Well said Darren. I have always been for simplicity in the writing and adding personality to it. My grammer is poor, but my readership is growing daily and one thing I give credit to is the way I write the content.

  28. Amen.

  29. Rebecca says:

    In January 2008, I was very fortunate to find a blogging opportunity with a travel company. Recently, I was involved in the development of our new website. I wrote 99% of the content for it and continue to write the posts. The writing experience and exposure helped me with obtaining other writing opportunities. Even the traffic to my blog has increased!

    I will continue to improve my writing skills. Practice makes perfect! Rebecca

  30. I couldn’t agree more with your comments. And it’s not just about writing well, but writing in a way that conveys your personality. As a professional writer, I can write in a variety of styles. When I get into “journalism mode”, I write concise, well-written pieces that are “just the facts”. These posts are well read, but don’t generate a lot of comments.

    However, when I add a bit of myself into the post, that’s when I’ve gotten some real traction. I get comments, links from other sites and much higher traffic.

    Thanks for the great post.

  31. Hendry Lee says:

    I’m sold! Now tell me how to improve my writing. This is something I’ve been struggling with for years.

    I’m all excited. Is there going to be a sequel to this? :)

  32. Hendry Lee says:

    Btw, zenhabits is .net not .com :)

  33. Ari Herzog,

    A good writer cannot be spotted like a purple cow in the field of Holsteins. To recognize them, you have to go in and actually read the thing.

    Moreover: people stare at the purple cow, but they milk the normal one!

  34. Ben Moreno says:

    I am not sure how well of a writer I am. I am developing it overtime in my blog, but I wish I could write as well as Scam.

    He primarily only writes on Myspace blog and I have been tellnig him to build a real blog.

    You are an excellent writer and I am curious to know what you think about his writing. You can check out his blog on myspace.

    http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&friendID=31675599

  35. Joey Daoud says:

    Good writing is good, but you run the risk of setting such high expectations that you don’t write at all, out of fear of not meeting a great standard.

    Art and Fear had an interesting example of quality vs. quantity. Two student classes made pots. One class made one ‘perfect’ pot for the semester, focusing on quality. The other focused on quantity, making as many pots as they could. At the end of the semester, the quantity group’s pots were judged superior.

  36. John Pash says:

    The photo that you’ve chosen for this post is very appropriate to my writing style. It has more to do with deleting(erasing) than it does writing!

    But then again…doesn’t every genius say that perfection is in not what is there, but in what has been taken away? Or something like that.

  37. Nic says:

    I so agree with this. I have over the past 2-3 years been linked into a group on yahoo 360, who are basically writing ‘Mommy/trying for a baby’ blogs….it was very hard to remain engaged with the litany of ‘then we did this, then we did that, junior cut his xx tooth, what a cutie, he weighs….’ yaaaaaaawwwwwn. Tell meabout the exploding nappy! Tell me how tired you are! Tell me what thoughts go through your head when you wake up for the 8th time in a night cos the binky has fallen out!
    Someone said my blog was ‘very detailed’ I guess not writing ‘I went to the shops. I bought groceries and then drove home’ but discussed how annoying the checkout person was instead.

  38. INconstantIN says:

    This is a great post, I must say. However, I somehow felt the diminished role that videos and pictures got here. Let’s not forget that sometimes expressing yourself through other means than words is by far harder.

  39. I enjoyed reading this article. Thanks!

  40. Interesting post…not being a native speaker of English, I do find myself stuck sometimes as I try to correct stories that are submitted on my blog before posting them. In my own language (French) I would be able to do so with no problem at all. I also find myself scraping for words or expressions I used to know, but I now live in Spain, so thinking in three different languages on an everyday basis is screwing me up…Are there perhaps any good online courses in writting???
    Great posts…

  41. Trixie says:

    All the things that you wrote are true, for me as new blog writer I don’t have a formal study I just write everything on my mind and what I want to tell to my reader. My blog is not that popular and hoping that soon it will be. I appreciate all the tips you posted in here it is really helpful for a beginner like me.
    http://fresh-web-content.com

  42. Because your site is full of well written post’s, I just come back fro more and more. The quality of writing and usefull information I get from your site is just great. Thanks!