Your website is set up. It’s taking shape nicely. In fact, hopefully you’re here to tell me it’s awesome after yesterday’s challenge.
(If you just sighed because you’re pretty doubtful that it qualifies as awesome, or you’ve got questions, check back here.)
So now let’s talk about you.
What makes you YOU? Are you Southern or Northern? Snarky or Sweet? Are you chatty and conversational or more of a lecturer? Are you a highly opinionated windbag or a laid-back diplomat? There’s no right answer.
Your unique voice is the one thing that will set you apart in the very crowded internet sea of voices. The way you communicate about your niche will be the reason that people keep coming back to your site.
So how do you translate you and your personality into your blog and your social media platforms? Because, believe you me, they better be one and the same.How to infuse your personality into your blog #betteryourblog #write31daysClick To Tweet
Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know that’s just a big buzzword right now that is used across a bazillion blogs and in Christian circles. But the principle is sound.
Any time you try to be something you are not, people are going to be able to see through it. So if you are Southern and snarky and slightly impulsive (that’s me, in case you didn’t know) just run with it. Let it shine through on the pages of your blog. Unless your blog is aimed at college professors who are doing their thesis on some obscure topic, you don’t need to use the biggest words or present your material in MLA format.
People engage better in a conversation than they do a lecture. In a conversation you listen and answer. You give and take. You don’t worry about proper sentence structure-unless you’re having a conversation with your high school AP Lit teacher. (Wow, I must be intimidated by English teachers!) You just talk. And that’s what people are going to be more willing to read.
If you took a one hour class about essential oils, bought the starter kit and now you’re crazy in love with their products and want to tell the world, go for it. If you have cooked paleo food for your family for two years and want to share your recipes, please do. (This girl is tired of eggs and broccoli!)
Unless you actually are an expert with plenty of education to back that up, don’t proclaim that you are one. First of all…that can get you in big trouble-as in shutting down your blog and sending you a subpoena kind of trouble. Especially if it’s got to do with anything that is monitored by the FDA. Secondly, I’d rather know your personal experiences than get “the spiel.”
Do you love what you write about? The answer should be yes. YES! Write about what you love and you’ll find the words come quickly and you’re happy about hitting publish. If you don’t love it, don’t write about it. The days when you write for the sake of writing or run a sponsored post just because it means $50 in the bank, you’ll feel like you sold your soul to get a few page views or make a buck. It’s not worth it.
Break a Rule or Two
Yep. You read that right. Just be careful about which ones. In this case I’m talking about grammar rules.
Right now I’m teaching my son the skill of writing. We’re learning about sentence structure, choosing the best words over the boring words, commas and quotations, etc. These are all rules that you should obey 100% of the time when you are writing an essay or a research paper. But when you’re blogging…that’s another story.
Finding the fine balance between which rules to keep and which to ditch is of fundamental importance, though. Otherwise you’ll drive your readers batty. When it comes to commas and spelling and run-on sentences, those are generally rules that shouldn’t be broken.
A few of my favorite rules to break include having a few “words” that might not be found in the dictionary but your readers recognize as uniquely you. And starting sentences with the word “and.” And occasionally an incomplete sentence. You could also try using ALL CAPS for EMPHASIS. As well as the ever popular Oh.My.Stars!
Create Breathing Room
Have you ever been in a conversation with a person that just won’t stop talking and you never get a word in edgewise? It’s the worst, right? You try to put a little space between you and them, but every time you back up an inch they scooch forward two. Your writing can have this same effect. And do you know what happens when people feel that way on the internet? They click the little “x” and bounce off your site.
How do you keep this from happening? How do you create breathing room in your writing? Just say no to the text wall. People will start skimming and you will lose them if they see super long paragraphs. If they see two in a row, they’re likely to click away. We are bombarded with information on a screen constantly and if it’s not in short, easy chunks, we’ll leave. And please don’t tell me you haven’t done exactly that.
As I’ve already mentioned…blogs are not research papers. Your paragraphs do not need to be 5 to 9 sentences long. Any time you complete a thought, start a new paragraph. Much like in conversations, this creates a pause…breathing room.
A few tips:
- Keep your paragraphs short. Three to five lines is best.
- Use headers, block quotes, and numbered or bullet lists.
- Add a high quality graphic into the body of the text.
- Add a prefab tweet using a plugin like “Click to Tweet.”
Go back and read the last 5 blog posts you’ve written and proof them. How can you add more of YOU into them? Are you turning people away because you didn’t provide them with breathing space?