Writing for Bloggers

As requested, here’s a blog post version of my writing guide for bloggers, which is also available as a PDF.

Writing for Bloggers –

A Quick Guide on Style, Substance and Strategy

This is a short guide that wants to encourage you to blog, and to blog well. The most important thing to remember is that blogging is about conversing – discussing the things that interest you. When you blog, you join in the online discussions that are happening all around us.

Blogging is about sharing your ideas and thoughts, and it’s about contributing. Blogging is not about poetry, great literature or polished prose.

So join in the conversation, and don’t be afraid of getting things wrong. It’s better to stumble your way through blogging, learning by doing, than to spend hours agonising over every blog post.

Why bother?

Before we look at how you can blog well, and enjoy it, let’s consider why you’re doing this. Think about which of the following apply to you:

  1. To promote your business
  2. To reflect on your personal development
  3. To announce your news
  4. To share discoveries
  5. Because your boss says you have to
  6. To stake out your corner of the web
  7. To improve your website’s Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  8. To get recognition for your work
  9. To connect more personally to your customers
  10. To provide a platform for customer feedback

Conversational communications

Blogging is very different from traditional media (like newspapers or TV) because the web allows everyone to become the producers and commentators of every item of news. Your blog should acknowledge the conversations already taking place around you.

How can you hold a conversation on the web?

  • Invite comment from your readers
  • Respond to commentators’ opinions
  • Freely link to relevant blog posts
  • Comment on other bloggers’ posts

What to write?

An empty blog can be intimidating – and as uninspiring as a blank page or white screen. Before you start blogging, it can be difficult to decide what subjects to cover. You may be wondering:

  • What is permissible?
  • What will be interesting?
  • How will I come up with ideas?

Deciding what’s right to write about

Your understanding of the ‘subject’ of your blog will probably change over time. As you write more blog posts, you’ll learn which things work and which things don’t. To start with, stick to what you know, or what you feel most comfortable writing about.

A note on subjects you know and subjects you don’t know:

You don’t have to be the world’s foremost authority on a subject in order to write about it. Blogging is about discovery and development as much as it’s about sharing ideas or knowledge. If you’re not certain about a particular topic or subject area, say so. Your readers will appreciate your honesty.

Where do ideas come from?

The hardest time to find ideas for blog posts is at the start. That’s because you’ve said nothing at all, and everything remains to be said. Once you start blogging, ideas flow as though a dam has burst – one idea leads to another, readers suggest new posts, comments beg to be answered, the Blogosphere* draws you inwards, onwards!

To begin with, try brainstorming ideas with a friend or colleague. Look at other blogs for inspiration. Try a list – something like ‘The Top 10 Tricks for…” Turn a list into a series – so rather than giving away ten ideas in one blog post, create ten blog posts – publishing one a week for the next ten weeks.

Why not write about…

  • A book you’ve read
  • A problem you’ve solved
  • A question you can’t answer
  • Something that inspires you
  • What motivates you
  • A recent project
  • A favourite client


How often will you blog? It’s a good idea to set a target. If you’re starting out, aim for one post per week, as a minimum. Twice a week is better.

Once you have a list of blog post titles or rough ideas for posts, outline a schedule for posting. Decide which post you’ll publish on which day. Mark the posts on a calendar. Tell your readers when you will be posting, and don’t let them down!

Writing for your blog

Luckily, the way we communicate has moved on from the lessons we learned in school. Here are some old-school rules you can forget about:

  • Split infinitives. What is a split infinitive? It doesn’t matter.
  • Contractions. Words like: can’t, don’t, shouldn’t. Feel free to use contractions, especially if they make your writing sound more conversational.
  • Repeating words. If you’re writing about computer networks (for example), it’s okay to repeat the words ‘computer networks’.

What’s the point?

The best way to start writing a blog post is by defining your purpose. Answer the questions:

  • What am I trying to say?
  • Who am I writing this for?
  • What do I want to achieve?

Remember your reader

Be nice to your reader. Think about them as you write. It’s them that you are writing for:

  • After writing a blog post, leave it overnight, then review it again. You’re more likely to spot mistakes or problems with your posts after taking a break.
  • Use sub-headings to break up the text. Remember that reading on screen can be hard on the eyes. Sub-headings help people to scan your posts – great for readers in a hurry!
  • Use a spell-checker.
  • Ask a friend or colleague to read your blog posts before you publish them. Ask them to check that your posts make sense.

The Internet: nothing to fear

Some people worry about the reaction their blog posts will receive. You shouldn’t worry. As long as you write informative, useful blog posts in a friendly, considerate way, you will receive friendly, polite responses from your readers.


Hyperlinks, or links – the clickable text that leads you from one website to another – are one of the things that makes the web such a special place. You can use links to provide evidence for your claims, or support for your argument, or additional resources for your readers. Use links in your writing wherever they might be useful.

Writing makes you a better writer

I hope this brief guide has given you a few pointers to get writing. With any kind of writing, the only way to learn and improve is to write.

Imagine that you have a writing muscle. You might not have exercised this muscle recently, but all you need to do is start writing. So start writing, and flex your writing muscles!

Key Points:

  • Blogging is conversational – write as you would speak, and be open to comments from your readers
  • Schedule your blog posts in a calendar and blog regularly
  • It’s okay to split infinitives, use contractions and repeat words
  • Use short sentences and headings to make your writing easier to read on screen
  • Ask someone to read your posts before you publish them, and use a spell-checker
  • Regular writing practice will improve your writing skills
  • Don’t be afraid of making mistakes – become a better blogger by blogging!

Thanks to the following for their input: (who responded to my request for readers on Twitter)

Writing for Bloggers – A Quick Guide on Style, Substance and Strategy

So here it is – my second guide to writing for the web.

Writing for Bloggers – A Quick Guide on Style, Substance and Strategy

This guide focuses on blogging, and things bloggers can do to improve their writing. It’s a very short guide, intended to cover the basics and remove obstacles in the paths of new bloggers.

If you would like the white label version to give your clients, email me and I’ll send you a copy. Please distribute freely – I want to encourage people to blog.

Thanks to the following for their input: (who responded to my request for readers on Twitter)

Writing for the Web – a Mini Guide

As promised, and previously discussed, I’ve been busy working on a couple of writing guides. Here’s the first:

Writing for the Web – A Quick Guide on What to Write and How to Write it

Now this guide isn’t for everyone: it’s for new writers, people who aren’t social-media-savvy, people who want or need to write for their own website, but who need a bit of guidance. I really wanted to create this guide because so many people are realising the value of adding content to websites, but not everyone understands how to write for the web.

Web developers – save your sites!

So, if you’re a web developer who regularly dreads the arrival of your client’s DIY copy, why not grease the wheels of good fortune by giving clients a little direction? This guide should prevent people making basic mistakes and improve your chances of getting copy that doesn’t detract from the website you’ve lovingly crafted.

If you’d like to give this guide to your clients, I can even offer you a white-label version that you can brand as your own.


Thanks to Premasagar Rose of Dharmafly, Brighton’s finest ethical web developers and social media instigators, and Emma Nicol of Door 22 Creative (a Graphic Design agency) – who took my Word document and worked some crafty design magic on it. Thanks!


Coming soon is Writing for Bloggers – a similarly short guide that aims to remove obstacles from the paths of virgin bloggers.

Feed Your Imagination – Writing Tip #5


Your imagination will not feed itself.

If you want to write, you’ll need ideas to fuel your writing.

If you fill your brain with lots of interesting stuff, interesting stuff will come spilling out.

Consider your inputs as imagination fuel. What kind of things are you exposed to? Do you have a life filled with routine? If you’ve had the same job for a long time, take the same route to work, have the same old friends, re-read favourite books, only read a static selection of magazines and only ever watch the same shows on TV, you’re not giving yourself much chance of having a great idea.

Expand your circle of influences. Change things in your life. Do something you don’t normally do. Accept an invitation that you wouldn’t normally. Be adventurous. Watch a film that doesn’t naturally appeal to you.

New experiences, outside of your usual range, can trigger new thoughts.

The more you put into your brain, the more you can expect to get out.

(Picture courtesy of Sekator)

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