(techniques I learned after 1y of blogging)
Beginner bloggers can find the blogging world a bit daunting in their 1st year. With so much information bloggers need to absorb in the first few months, one can easily end up feeling overwhelmed.
I felt this way 1 year ago, and I must confess it was not a pleasant feeling.
What really helped me at the time was reading other bloggers’ experiences and how they managed their 1st year of blogging. I enjoyed learning about their lows, their highs and what techniques they’ve developed to keep blogging without burning out.
Because I benefited from these confessions, I decided to write my own, hoping that bloggers who might start now will find it useful.
Write good blog posts faster
Writing good blog posts faster is the dream of every aspiring blogger. Every blogger wants to be able to produce excellent pieces of content Google will love instantly.
Before we advance further, I must warn you this is not a comprehensive guide that goes in-depth, explaining every single aspect of blogging.
I couldn’t even talk about this subject (yet) because, after 1 year of working on this website, I must confess I still have so much to learn.
However, I wanted to put together a useful ( I hope) list. Hopefully, you can easily integrate the list into your wider blogging strategy (should you wish to use any of the techniques I used in my 1st year of blogging).
I believe the techniques I used are quite practical and worth sharing with the outside world.
So, without further ado, these are the top techniques I learned in my 1st year of blogging, which helped me write good blog posts faster that rank high on google.
The techniques you can use to write good blog posts faster in your 1st year of blogging
1. Write down your ideas as soon as you’ve had them
If you are one of those people who get their blog post ideas out of the blue, do not waste the chance and write it down asap. You surely do not want to waste what could become a really good blog post.
This approach can sound counterproductive since most bloggers advise researching your topic first, making sure your blog post idea is SEO friendly etc.
However, you can use this technique after you’ve done your research work and SEO analysis. If you ever feel like, right, I could write quite a few solid paragraphs on the blog post idea I researched last night. Start doing it when you are in the mood.
Ideas flow faster when you are in the mood than when you are not, and you need to force yourself to write something.
To make the best of this technique, consider the following:
a. Download the WordPress app to speed up the writing process
Most of you probably have your blogs with WordPress. I found it useful to have the WordPress app installed on my phone in case I need to make little changes to my blog posts and do not have my laptop at hand.
You can also use the WordPress app to write an entire blog post.
Whether you want to make small adjustments or write lengthy paragraphs, if you are good with typing on your phone, I would say the WordPress app is a good way to write good blog posts faster.
b. Carry around a notebook & a pen
If you are a bit of an old school, make sure you carry around a notebook and a pen so that when inspiration strikes you can easily write your ideas down.
There is nothing more frustrating than having an idea about a blog post and not being able to write it down.
Carrying around a notebook is useful and will help you write good blog posts faster. That’s because most of the work has now been down, and you already have the bulk of your blog post written down. From now on, everything that’s left is to make your content reader-friendly and add it to your website.
2. Use dictation instead of typing to write good blog posts faster
Using dictation is a good technique to write good blog posts faster because you remain focused all the way through.
Using the speech to write down your blog posts is so much faster than typing it. At least it is in my case. I find I make more sense this way than when I type a blog post because I do not have time to think too much about it. I just say it. And it miraculously comes out straightforward, without complicating things too much.
I found dictating blog posts instead of typing helps me write good blog posts faster because it keeps me focused and does not let me divagate much.
a. Download a dictation app on your phone
I use the dictation function available in word & google documents on my laptop. However, you can also use the dictation function on your mobile. For this, you need an app. I use one called Write by Voice. You can then transfer everything to a word document for further adjustments and editing.
3. Give yourself short deadlines
A technique I picked up while reading The 4-hour workweek by Timothy Ferriss was to give yourself shorter deadlines to produce a blog post. I will never be the person who writes a blog post and publishes it right away. Chapeau to those who can do it!
However, what I started doing based on Tim’s advice, is to reduce by half the time I would spend on a blog post (without skipping the other steps below). Giving myself shorter deadlines to write a blog post really helps me stay focused. This is also a good way to deal with procrastination.
a. Work on small assignments
If you cannot finish a blog post in one sit, give yourself small tasks to work on each day. For example, plan to finish 1/3 of the blog post on a day or only prepare the headings. This way, you won’t feel overwhelmed with the work you need to do.
4. Take breaks
You might wonder how a break will help you write good blog posts faster?
Everyone says blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. Most bloggers are really enthusiastic at the beginning. Some spend an awful amount of hours working on their blogs.
It can be quite disheartening to work for months and not have any visible results at first. Some bloggers even experience burnout and lose hope.
If a break is what you need to avoid burnout and abandoning blogging for good, then take it. After all, it is better to publish an article even once a month than stop producing content altogether. Any content is better than no content anyway because you can rework it and improve it later.
a. Accept your work is not perfect
Aspiring bloggers get often stuck on how perfect a blog post should be. That’s why some people never get to publish their work. For fear of being judged.
Accept that your work might not be perfect and press the publish button ( at least not in the 1st year). Otherwise, you might never do it.
As you learn about SEO, you can always revisit old articles and redo them. Refreshing older blog posts can sometimes help the old content rank higher (if you know what you do). The guys from Income School call this the Battleship method, where bloggers revise content that’s 1y old to improve its google ranking.
I have done this on this website with some blog posts and could definitely tell the difference. By editing old blog posts, I managed to win some google snippets, increase the time spent on the page and persuade Google to refer readers to my blog posts for new queries.
5. Write most of the content yourself
Outsourcing is common among bloggers. The more a website grows, the more authors want to publish. As the only person working on a website, you can only produce so much written content. This is why some blog authors decide to outsource their content after a while.
While I have nothing against outsourcing, I would say that as a beginner blogger is better if you produce most of the content yourself at first. Writing most of your blog posts at first will improve your writing style and help you develop a brand identity.
Like any other skill, you can improve your writing skills if you work regularly on it. No matter what others might say, practice does make you perfect. And by regularly writing new blog posts, you can only get to write good blog posts faster.
A few other things you can consider when producing new blog content are:
a. Do not hit publish right away
I know this might contradict a bit what I said above on short deadlines, but it is always advisable to wait (at least) 1 day before you hit publish.
Reading the blog post a few hours after you wrote it gives you the chance to spot any major inconsistencies. The point is not to fundamentally change the structure of the blog post. But to edit some final things before you publish it.
Yet, make sure you do not get stuck and delay publishing it forever.
b. Use a spelling/grammar checker
If you are not a native English speaker ( like me), but you publish content in English, it is useful to have a spelling/grammar checker software revising your text. They are not 100% accurate, so take whatever suggestions you receive with a pinch of salt. However, I find these tools handy because I tend to overcomplicate things.
I use Grammarly to check most of my content. And have the Yoast SEO plugin installed, which, among other things, also provides a readability score for each blog post. However, there are plenty of other tools out there.
c. Keep it short
Again, if you are not a native English speaker (as I am), it is better if you keep things short. Make sure you pass the message without overcomplicating things. It can be difficult, but going back to my technique, the more your practice, the better you become at it.
One really good piece of advice I received at some point was to have one idea in one sentence. This way, you make sure your sentences are not too long and complicated. So now you know, do not waffle too much and try to have one idea in each sentence you write.
6. Read more books
This might be obvious. But if you are not an English native speaker who wants to produce good quality blog posts, you must read books in English. It is the easiest way to enrich your vocabulary and improve your writing skills.
It is probably advisable to read contemporary books. You definitely don’t want to sound like Jane Austen when talking about the best hikes in the Peak District.
I like to read all kinds of books. Since I have a passion for travelling, I enjoy reading other travellers’ books, but also books about productivity, history, finance and fiction.
Some of the books I read lately are listed below, in case you need some inspiration.
Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari
I recommend this book if you are into politics, philosophy, history and current economic trends. The book is part of a trilogy. I only managed to read 2 out of the 3 books. Sapiens (the second book of the trilogy) is interesting too.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
I’ve always enjoyed reading about other people’s life experiences. Becoming is about hard work, determination and believing in yourself. The book also talks about the love story between Mr and Mrs Obama.
Ten Years a Nomad by Matthew Kepnes
The book narrates the life story of one of the most reputable travel bloggers. Currently, Matt runs multiple travel projects and has become very successful in the travel blog niche, but it was interesting to read about his humble beginnings.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
This is a book a recommend if you like linear stories. It tells the story of a girl who doesn’t stand out with anything. The female character had the same job for years, follows the same routine and doesn’t seem to have any aspirations or long-term goals. What really stands out is the author’s solidarity with her character. The book might be better suited for female readers.
No happy endings by Nora McInerny
This book’s main topic is grief and how people cope with the loss of someone dear. One of Nora’s quotes is that people don’t move on from grief, they move forward. No happy endings might not be your beach book, but it is definitely something worth reading as it deals with human experiences everyone goes through at some point in their lives.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah.
I simply loved this book. I must say it is one of the funniest biography books I’ve ever read. Trevor Noah is widely known as the host of The Daily Show, however, he is also a brilliant stand-up comedian. The book tells the story of him growing up in native South Africa as a mixed-race child. The narrative is easy to follow and has many funny episodes which will make you laugh.
Paula by Isabel Allende.
Isabel Allende is a famous Latin American Female writer. Allende gained international recognition thanks to her big hit The House of the Spirits, or La casa de los espiritus (in Spanish). Paula tells the story of her daughter’s fight with a very particular medical condition. Like almost all of Allende’s novels, Paula contains elements of magic realism, a literary style Allende is known for using in her books.
The Girl with seven names by Hyeonseo Lee
As a female solo traveller, I’m interested in countries like North Korea. This novel tells the story of a North Korean girl who escapes her native country to pursue a better life. The story focuses on Lee’s adventures and how she has to change her name 7 times, hence the title of the book, to finally reach a safe place. This book is a must-read if you’re interested in this part of the world.
I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai.
This is a compelling biographic story of a girl born in Pakistan. As the story unfolds, Malala’s native land becomes unsafe for her and her family. Thus, Malala and her family flee Pakistan to start a new life in the UK. Nowadays, Malala is a student at the University of Oxford and an advocate for girls’ right to education.
These are all pretty easy to read books (for non-native English speakers). Yet, they tell interesting stories and make you feel like you’ve learned something at the end of the day.
Reading books in English will not only help you enrich your vocabulary and improve your command of the language. It will also help you write good blog posts faster.
These are some of the techniques I used during my 1st year of blogging. What other techniques do beginner bloggers use in their 1st year of blogging? Please, let me know in the comments below.
*The pictures used in this blog post have been downloaded from Unsplash