As a blogger, what should you focus on learning about? What skills do you need to work on?
There are plenty of different skills involved in blogging, but for me at least, there are four really crucial areas that you need to get to grips with if you’re going to succeed.
Miss out on one of these, and chances are, you’re not going to get very far with your blog. Hit all four, though, and you’re in with a good chance of doing really well.
(You might disagree with me on some of these, or you might have a fifth crucial skill to add. Just pop a comment below if so.)
#1: Writing Clear, Engaging Content
Even if you have a video blog or run a podcast, you’ll need to write some text for your blog (e.g. for your About page, and for introductions / show notes).
You definitely don’t need to be the next Shakespeare, but you do need to have a very good control of English (or whatever language you’re blogging in).
Note that English majors don’t get a free pass here! If you’re used to writing in an academic or business context, you probably have some habits to unlearn in order to write clear and engaging blog posts.
DailyWritingTips has a wealth of great advice on every aspect of writing. Pick your weakest area (e.g. grammar) from the categories in the sidebar to get a list of posts that can help you.
#2: Networking and Building Relationships
The entire internet is built on connections (links), so it’s really important that you get to know other bloggers (or podcasters etc) in your niche.
This can seem a little daunting when you’re just starting out, especially if all the blogs you follow are huge A-list ones. One good way around this is to focus on connecting with other people at a similar level to you.
Firepole Marketing has some excellent posts about building connections in a very authentic, non-spammy way. Check out Everything I Know About Building Business Relationships I Learned from My Teddy Bear and How to Get Noticed by Online Influencers (and Boost Your Credibility!) in particular.
#3: Using WordPress Effectively
Although you don’t absolutely have to use WordPress to run a successful blog, the truth is that the vast majority of professional blogs do use it.
WordPress has a wealth of different features that you’ll want to get to grips with. For instance, you’ll probably want to add and change widgets in your sidebar, install and configure new plugins for added functionality, and make little tweaks like enabling threaded comments or switching on extra formatting options.
You definitely don’t need to learn everything before you begin (and I wouldn’t recommend trying)! Instead, try to learn one new thing each week. And any time you want to do something in WordPress and don’t know how, search on Google for a tutorial.
WPBeginner is a fantastic resource for anyone blogging on WordPress. Some of their posts are more techy and targeted at developers using WordPress for the first time, but there’s also plenty of advice for more typical bloggers. I particularly recommend their glossary of common WordPress terms.
#4: Motivation and Self-Discipline
This might seem a slightly odd skill to include, but I think that it can count for more than the above three put together! You can start blogging without being a very good writer, without any connections, and without any technical knowledge … but you can learn all those things along the way.
If you don’t have both motivation and self-discipline, though, your blog is likely to fail (even if you have all the other skills on this list). A blog is a long-term project, not something you finish in an initial rush of enthusiasm.
Motivation is all about feeling keen to blog – excited to sit down at your computer. Perhaps your motivation comes from the love of writing and sharing, or perhaps from your hopes of making a living through your blogging.
Self-discipline is what you use when motivation is temporarily lacking! Perhaps you really aren’t very enthusiastic about writing a blog post or replying to comments, but you sit down and get started anyway. (Often, this will bring your motivation back.)
Michael Hyatt is an excellent blogger and podcaster who covers topics like productivity and self-development. Check out his post How a Shift in Your Vocabulary Can Instantly Change Your Attitude and podcast How to Develop More Discipline for some great tips and encouragement.
So … your turn! Which of these skills are you going to focus on during the next month? And are there any skills you’d add to the list? Pop a comment below.
Wanna learn how to make more money with your website? Check the Online Profits training program!