(Psst… If you’re a blogger, there’s a free downloadable blogging guide at the bottom of this post and it’s LEGIT! I get questions every single day about blogging- how to start one, how to grow, and how to turn a hobby into a full-time job. So I figured it was about time I wrote some of my best blogging advice for any of y’all wanting a little direction.)
Have you ever stayed up all night until 5 a.m. reading a really really good book? I mean, one of those stories when you get so sucked in that the minute it’s all over you think, “What am I even supposed to do with my life now?” (Or ya know… Netflix marathons. Potato – potahto. Haha!)
That’s kind of how I feel when I get sucked into a really good blog. You know?! Thistlewood Farms, Young House Love, Live Love DIY, those were the ones that I was bonkers for when I first discovered that blogging even existed. They made me laugh and cry and made me feel a part of a big journey. And you know what? Those are the kinds of blogs that tend to be the most successful, that end up becoming a business. Because they’re engaging.
There are hundreds of thousands of blogs out there with beautiful photography and genius projects, inventive style and that “magazine quality.” But a blog that speaks to the depths of your soul, those are the ones that grab people right by the heartstrings, and you know they’ll always go back for more.
But the thing is it’s not as easy as it looks to write that kind of blog. (And I’m definitely not saying I’m anywhere close to one of those super engaging rockstar bloggers, but I’ve figured out a lot of great tricks for spicing up blog writing along the way that has been so helpful for my blog’s growth.)
The best part of it though is anyone can tell their unique story, whether you’re a blogger or not, and if you think about it, it’s those incredible, gut-wrenching or laugh-until-you-cry stories that go viral on social media, that rally people, that make big things happen in the world. That’s powerful. And what’s even more powerful? It’s already right. inside. of you.
A while back, I wrote a post called The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Blog because I know there are those kindred spirits out there who crave to create, to fill people up with optimism, and change the world in their own little way. Nearly two years later, I still get emails from some of you who tell me you started your own thriving blog because of that one post. Wow.
After setting up a domain and nailing down a design and officially launching that new blog baby though, there’s this one little thing that’s probably the hardest of all- finding your voice in all of the noise.
So here are some of my favorite tips to help you write a blog that is genuinely and uniquely you, that is engaging, and will reward you creatively, spiritually, financially, mentally, and just about every “ally” you can think of.
It’s not something I mention often (because talking money just makes me squeamish), but this blog is my bonafide full-time job. It has replaced and increased my former teaching salary 2-3 times over. I thank God for the opportunity to do what I love every. single. day. And I know that if I can do it, anyone can.
How to Write an Engaging Blog: (A couple of affiliate links are provided below for convenience.)
- Find your angle.
Decide right in the beginning what you want your blog’s focus to be. “Home decor” or “crafting” or “fashion” or “homemaking” isn’t really specific enough.
When I first started blogging all I knew was I wanted to document our first house and all of the projects that went into it. Over time, I figured out that my focus wasn’t just “decorating and DIY”. It was modern farmhouse, budget-conscious solutions, and a little faith and family thrown in.
If you look around, I bet you you’ll be able to nail down 3-4 descriptive phrases for every kind of blog out there. That’s what makes them unique! Because people visit those blogs knowing they can depend on those bloggers for those specific solutions they need.
2. Write like you talk.
If you write your blog like those formal essays you had to churn out in college, stop it! Right now. We’re just drinking coffee and having a chat. We’re chill. If you’re formal, you’re guarded, and you’re probably hard to get to know.
Throw in your humor. If you have a dialect, embrace it. (I physically cannot write a post without “y’all” in it because that’s just how I talk.) Don’t be such a stickler for proper grammar. That pains me to say coming from a former English teacher, but I promise using words like “kinda” and “gonna” isn’t faux pas. It just makes you a conversational human being.
3. Make references.
Did you just watch a movie that blew your mind or a song you’ve been jamming out to lately? Mention it. Connect current events that are happening in the world or in your own life right now to what you’re writing about. Get emotional. Write about your struggles, about your triumphs. That’s how you find “your people”. That’s how people will identify with you. That’s how your audience suddenly becomes just a big group of your friends.
Sometimes it’s not only about “painting kitchen cabinets”. Sometimes it’s about “a chaotic week’s worth of eating out in the midst of a wrecked kitchen that made you appreciate humble family dinner nights around your kitchen table”. THAT is a story worth telling, as long as it comes from your heart.
4. Connect stories and old posts.
Chances are likely that when someone visits your blog, they’re visiting for the first time. So link within your post to other project tutorials you’ve done in the past or stories you’ve already told. They’ll get to know you better that way, and you’ll be able to help them even more with related resources they came searching for.
5. Solve problems for people.
If people reading your blog don’t find some kind of worth for themselves, they’re less likely to become a long time reader. It’s fun to tell your own stories, but the biggest purpose of just about every post should always be to help others in some way. Pretty sweet, right? To have a job devoted to helping others?
Love your readers, love them as your brothers and sisters, and they’ll love you right back. (What’s that saying? “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”)
6. Ask questions.
Some of my favorite posts are ones when I have to ask questions or ask for opinions. (Usually because I struggle sometimes with making decorating decisions.) So get readers involved.
Ask for help when decision-making for future projects. Provide opportunities for them to share their own experiences. That’s how great ideas happen. And a lot of times, your readers will teach you more than you’ll teach them. That’s pretty amazing.
More than anything though, be true to who you are. Be fearlessly, wonderfully, and uniquely you. Because you have something profound to say, something that can change the world in its own way, and it all starts by pressing that “publish” button.
If you’ve thought about starting a blog or you’ve started one but feel kind of stuck, my incredibly talented friend and author Abby Lawson of Just a Girl and Her Blog is the QUEEN of blogging advice. I owe so much of my own success with blogging to her because of her ebook and course Building a Framework: The Ultimate Blogging Handbook. Next week (March 7th), she’ll be relaunching it with a ton of fresh, updated material geared specifically toward helping new bloggers.
So to celebrate that, she just released a free blogging guide for “5 Types of Content That Will Boost Your Blog Traffic”. It’s gooooood stuff. Just click here to get the guide.
If you want to start your own blog, you can find my beginner’s guide post here.
And if you’re curious about any of the photography equipment, apps, plugins, and resources I use, you can check them all out over on my Blogging Resources page.
Do you have a blog?! I’d love to know about it in the comments to check it out! Or do you have any favorites that you read all the time? The more, the merrier.