Most of us dive into blogging without really carefully working out an organized plan. However, it’s never too late to assess what adjustments can be made in order to become a better blogger. The best place to start is to go back to the beginning.
BLOGGERS ARE COMMUNICATORS
Bloggers are communicators and blogging provides ways to make a difference in this world by:
- connecting to and forming relationships with other bloggers;
- sharing expertise by informing readers about things they do not know;
- inspiring and persuading readers to do something we feel is right;
- exploring ideas, concepts and beliefs;
- entertaining readers;
- sharing personal experiences;
- learning and growing through reader feedback.
WHO ARE YOU?
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. In this day and age, where everyone in the blogosphere is selling something, most of all themselves, therefore, mastering the art of introducing yourself to your readers is essential. Whatever your style, background, personality, profession or purpose, the effort you put into your introduction and brief biography is an opportunity to establish the foundation for a entering relationship with your readers. There are no shortcuts to relationship-building. You need to lay the foundations by being clear about who you are, what you are about and what you hope to achieve through the new relationship.
Who are you? What do you do? What are you talking about? What will you be talking about? What gives you the right to talk about anything? What are you doing here? Why are you doing it here?
Readers do want to be introduced to the blogger whose writing they are reading. The following information can be placed on an About Page:
- a brief biography that answers the question “who are you?”;
- a brief description of what you intend to blog about and why;
- your background and expertise and how it addresses the subject matter in the blog;
- how to contact you.
Sub-pages can also be created for your Comment Policy and Copyright Declaration and Disclaimer.
Blogging is a means of obtaining recognition and validation.
In essence, we blog
- to be heard;
- to receive comments;
- to enter into dialog;
- to form relationships;
- to build a reader community.
THE BETTER BLOGGER
The better blogger considers:
- who their readers are;
- what information is essential;
- how it can be organized and most clearly expressed.
WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE?
When we talk to someone face-to-face, we always know just who we’re talking to. We automatically adjust our speech to be sure we communicate our message. Interestingly, many writers don’t make the same adjustments when they write to different audiences, usually because they don’t take the time to think about who will be reading what they write. But to be sure that we communicate clearly in writing, we need to adjust our message–how we say it and what information we include–by recognizing that different readers can best understand different messages.
Know your audience so that you can tailor your vocabulary and style to their expectations. You may still dazzle them with your insight, and are more likely to do so if they can understand and care about what you’ve written.
Identifying your audience will do more than ensure that you write clearly. It will also help you focus on the reader’s needs. The following questions can help you identify your audience and what you can do to address their wants and needs.
How many kinds of readers do you expect to have? List them.
- What do you know about the writing and reading skills and backgrounds of those people who you expect to become readers?
- What is most important to them?
- What are they least likely to care about?
- What do you want your audience to think, learn, or assume about you?
- What impression do you want your writing or your research to convey?
HOW WILL YOUR READERS INTERACT WITH YOUR SITE?
Beyond understanding the motivations or goals of your audience, you must also understand the basic mechanics of how your users will interact with your site:
- How will the site render on a reader’s browser?
- How will the reader view the site? Visually? With graphics enabled? With a Braille reader? With a screen reader?
- Will the user’s operating system and browser be able to support all of your site’s functionality? Use a validator to check your pages.