Blogging Like A Pro: Introduction To 10-Part Crash Course

Posted in 1WD Features, Blogging, Web Design3 years ago • Written by 12 Comments

If you are involved in the blogging world in any way you will know just how hard it is to find great tools to make your work process easier and more efficient. I’ve been blogging full-time for 2.5 years already and I’ve tried many approaches and tools. Going from a PC to a Mac I needed to find comparable tools and that proved challenging, it was like starting over in some regards. It’s hard to find those nifty little, and useful tools, but once you do, you can enjoy the whole blogging!

Many people do not look for ways to make their work easier and ways to be more productive because they are so used to that old-school way using the default blogging platform panel or using Google Docs. But hey – I say you can save a lot of time and become far more effective if you make use of today’s tools and have a good mindset. It’s not even just about choosing the right desktop blogging editor or choosing which management system to use; writing is an art. I did my homework and noticed a lot of interesting upcoming start ups are offering products that are great for finding information, writing posts,, managing information and reviewing it when you’re done. I am starting to blog seriously again and I invite you to join me on this journey!

At the beginning, I thought I will create one huge article covering all the tools I use and my experiences, but in the end I understood each process in writing is crucial so I’ll dedicate several articles to this topic.

Blogging Like A Pro Series Parts 1-10:

  1. Science Of Writing Process: Getting Ready, Set Up Mood & Avoid Distractions
  2. In Search For Ultimate Blogging Tools: Writing Simplified Now!
  3. How To Find Article Ideas To Write About, Write Sticking Points
  4. Do Your Research: How and where to find content
  5. Blog Post Formatting, make it easy to read and scan, good examples
  6. Power of headlines, Dummy’s guide to copywriting
  7. Add Spice To Post – Get Feedback, Entertain Readers With New Approach
  8. Taking Blogging To The Next Level: Guest Writers & Management & Scheduling, Proofreading
  9. How To Find And Hire The Right People For Your Business
  10. Set Up Your Blog & Make Use Of Fresh Tools To Save Time

Well, now you have an overview about the upcoming pro blogging series. Today I will just explain in more detail what I intend to cover for each of the ten parts. I am looking forward to hear your feedback and suggestions beforehand so that I can provide even better and more valuable information for you! Explain your struggles with blogging and I will do my best to find a solution or just share my experiences with what I have found to work, or not work, as the case may be.

The Writing Process: Getting Ready, Getting into the writing mood and how to avoid distractions

This part will be all about how to start writing in the first place. I cannot stress enough how important your work environment and actual writing workflow is. In this age of information overload there is always something to distract you — maybe you have turned on Skype, use an auto email checker, Facebook, Twitter, news reader – you name it!

Patiently waiting for his Dinner, Ostend Belgium

With so many guest and full time writers working for 1stwebdesigner I have encountered many problems with time management. It’s no surprise, it’s super easy to get distracted. The industry has become very effective in getting your attention in no time. Get smart and effective yourself too!

That’s funny — you were here to learn how to write and here I am telling you now how to get ready to write? Foundations are super important so we will start small and work our way up over the course of this blogging series.

Writing: Where To Write And Start Drafting?

Ok, our work environment is ready, no distractions, our mood is fully optimistic and we want to start! You could hit the ground running right now and you’d get where you wanted to go…eventually. Wouldn’t it be more effective and faster to use a bicycle, bike or car instead? That’s what I’m going to teach you how to do…get where you want to go in less time.

Writing samples: Parker 75

Image by churl via Flickr

It may not sound too exciting and finding the most appropriate way and platform to write is not always easy or fast, but it’s fully worth the effort in the long run to try different ones and find one that you like. It’s not a bad approach to start writing right away using your favorite WYSIWYG blogging platform, Word or Google Docs. It’s not a bad approach, but we want better; instead of a bicycle we would love to be driving a car right?

You’ll get what’s promised – a new, shiny car just like you wanted. Don’t worry, both Windows and Mac users will be satisfied.

  • What are the cons of your current process and tools?
  • Why it’s useful to have a desktop blogging editor
  • Comparing online and offline solutions
  • Innovative writing tools and interesting solutions

Find Article Ideas To Write About and How to Keep Up with the Industry

Step 3 – we’re excited, we have the best writing platform and tools for us to write…what now?
You guessed it, one of the biggest challenges…what to actually write about? In this article I will teach you how to:

  • Be sure your topic is exciting not only for yourself but also for your readers
  • Know what topics are currently trendy and popular
  • Understand how to learn what other people struggle with and how to find a solution for them

I’ve even seen several blogs offering article ideas for people who struggle to find ones! How do you think they get those ideas? Well, of course they have experience and great interaction with their readers and because of this, people share ideas for articles they’d like to see through email, social networks, comments or old fashioned conversation. But what you can do to understand your community in the beginning?

I’ll share just a few ideas right now with you:

  • Use social networks as Twitter and search for questions people are having there. If there are problems people need solutions for or questions they need answered you can be sure that they’ve looked on forums and search engines for just those things. Do you have an almost unfair advantage by being able to find out what problems and questions people in your community need solved? You bet!
  • Stay open minded and engaged, always be looking for new article ideas as you’re reading news, talking with people, or communicating online.
  • Read the top blogs in your niche, stay up to date with the news each day, follow people who break stories and know their industry!

Do Your Research: How and where to find content to work with

Let’s say you have your article idea already, but you really don’t know how many people have written about it, which blogs have written about it or how long ago they wrote about it? If a similar topic has already been covered maybe you can take a different angle then previous writers have. You’ll find out and realize almost every topic has been written about already, but you need to make use of it, understand what’s been done before and how you can differentiate yourself and stand out.

You need to do your research. Now.

Human Blood Under Magnifier

Again this article won’t be just about doing research to help you write articles, it will also help you to do your market research. You have a new startup idea? How do you find your competitors or similar companies? You want to be sure your idea hasn’t been done before and you don’t want to repeat the same mistakes other companies may have, right?

Learn how to research your market, no matter if it’s for an article or  a startup, everybody need to do their research. Here I will cover how to make use of search engines effectively, a typical Google search or Delicious bookmark search won’t always be enough. Sometimes you’ll want to dig really deep. I’ll cover innovative search engines and effective ways to bookmark and save information so that you can find it easily when you need it.

Blog Post Writing, Formatting: Make it Easy to Read and Scan

I may have mentioned before that it’s really important to write an article outline before writing the article. Do your research and write down the main points you will cover in article. It will make the writing process much easier later on and help you keep your articles more organized.

ilovetypography

As you write down your main points, you can work on good formatting! People are suffering from information overload so you have to fight for their attention, the best way to get it is to make your content easy to scan. Writing content that gets peoples attention is really an art which is hard to master, but with the right foundations, which I will give you here, you’ll be better informed than most  bloggers. Work to get that attention:

  • make use of good and related images
  • use bullet points
  • headings
  • interlink your content
  • enrich content with good typography and clear content structure.

You’ll also learn about good resources to learn typography and be able to analyze good examples that I’ve found!

Power of Headlines: The Dummy’s Guide to Copy Writing

I will explain the importance of headlines right now – most people won’t even read your article if it doesn’t catch their attention! Sounds scary right? The one line of text that makes up your headline can often be more important than content you worked on for several hours!

This section will be one of the most important as it will help you get both your content read and get your content indexed for search engines.

Writing for search engines or readers?

How to make the right decision? Both of them are important and naturally a reader is much more important than a search engine! However, search engines bring in the most traffic for almost every website, even for 1WD it brings more than 70% of all our traffic!

Ok, before you get too confused to give the right answer, I’ll give it to you – you don’t have to choose! You can write for both your readers and search engines at the same time…but it’s not always easy of course! That’s the reason I dedicated a whole article to this topic. Remember it’s not only the first headline that is important, all other sub headlines in an article are as important as the first!

And that’s where we’ll start the dummy’s guide to copywriting!

Add Spice To Post – Get Feedback, Entertain Readers With New Approach

Your article is finally ready to be published, you may be wondering what now? Is it finished and ready to be shown to the world? Well, yes, it is. But, and there is always a but – you’ve wrote an interesting article now how do you get feedback or a conversation going? That’s what separates a great article from a good article, the conversation that it starts. Of course it depends what you wrote about. In my experience, and from what I’ve seen, the articles that get the most attention and comments are the ones that have at least one of the following things:

  • Breaking story – news sites are getting huge attention just by being the first to announce some news
  • Controversial opinion – write an opinion piece about something popular. If you’re going to do this though, write a smart article, do your research and back up your opinion. If you write controversial articles just to get attention, you lose credibility.
  • New tools or sites no one knows about – this is new, it’s kind of related to breaking stories, but it’s all about just finding new and good solution for problem in your niche. People will be happy if offer fresh solutions to old problems rather than just writing a list of tools that other people have tried. A lot of useful new apps and websites are launching each day.
  • Basically it’s all about providing value – put enough energy and efforts into your article research and you’ll be rewarded. You’ll get what you paid for!
  • At the end I will also talk about unique and innovative social tools you can add to your blog to get extra attention,and more opportunities to interact with your readers. I was surprised how many I found, I bet you’ll notice 1WD using some of them in the very near future!
  • One extra tip – add question at the end of article to get more feedback! People want to be heard and if you invite them to share their opinion, they will!

Hands in the air - in concert

I will also cover tools like this, Apture for example is to keep readers glued to your site!

Taking Blogging To The Next Level: Guest Writers & Management & Scheduling, Proofreading

If you’re working alone and don’t ever dream about expanding, you can skip this article. If you are thinking about getting help and are open to guest writers you’ll need to work out some kind of management system – maybe at the beginning Skype and email communication may be a good solution, but it really isn’t. Skype can be a distraction, and not everyone has a reliable internet connection so sometimes even if you want to chat, you can’t. Emails rapidly become too clustered and important information and ideas disappear amongst the many email threads.

I want to offer better solutions to keep your team organized. Solutions and tools that I am using daily to take care of article scheduling, writing, and other aspects of 1WD. Growing a blogging business is not easy. It requires a lot of time management, multitasking and organization to take care of everything. This article will be for bloggers who want to grow, but don’t really know how. I’ve learned a lot of hard lessons along the way and have struggled with my time management a lot. I’ll share my experiences and show my current solutions which seem to be working, at least for now.

How To Find And Hire The Right People For Your Business

This is a really tough topic, because it can really make or break your business. I will focus on different hiring solutions including:

  • Making use of social networks to hire
  • Finding people from your reader base ( if you own a blog)
  • Traditional job boards (which ones to choose based on your preferences)
  • Innovative, interesting projects to find help

This is just the tip of the iceberg in regards to what I will cover in this article. This article will be equally useful to both employers and potential employees! Maybe you are not searching for a job in the right place, or you don’t make good use of your already established contacts or simply don’t notice job offers on sites you love already! For example 1WD is also searching for smart and dedicated people to write for us, why don’t you join the team? Many people just don’t believe in themselves in the first place, but if you aim high, you always will get something better than you expected!

Smileys - 1

And now back to hiring process – I’ll help you determine what you really need for your business – freelancer, part timer or full timer! Every one of these choices has pros and cons, let’s find out what they are so you can understand what you need for your business!

Set Up Your Blog and Make Use of Fresh Tools to Save Time

Ah, this is classic – but I wanted to write this basic foundation article to show and explain how to get started! I did this article only because I think the way you should start is changing. WordPress isn’t always the best choice and there are many great new tools to make use of when you get started. This startup boom is changing the way we do things..then why not do them better right from beginning?

I won’t go deep into explaining how to set up your blog, instead I will show what new services and tools you should be aware and make use of. For example, did you know about Jetpack, a WordPress plugin bundle giving you easy installation for the most common features you might need for a fresh WordPress blog?
Basically this article will be a little goldmine for everybody – I want to make you think, and show how you can do things, differently from now on. I like how the blogging world is slowly changing and I want to show you a bit of it.

Conclusion

the 200th mark; [PRINT EXCHANGE / GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED]

What do you think about this upcoming series? I would love to hear your feedback before I write these articles so I can understand better your needs and wants! Let me know! I am very open to, and would appreciate, any and all feedback! Are you ready to become a pro blogger?

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Dainis is 25 years young man, who struggled for 3 years while studying in design academy and working for local design agency, because of ignorant teachers and agency boss. He couldn't believe this is all life could offer to him! And then he discovered true Internet possibilities, he was lucky to find his passion early in life and take advantage of this beautiful Information (Internet) Age! Now he is committed to help others succeed, to help others take charge of their life and follow their passion! His goal is to open Your eyes and help unveil Your true potential!

12 Comments Best Comments First
  • Adrian

    Thursday, April 7th, 2011 12:12

    1

    Thanks for tips, good to read for newbie bloggers.

    0
  • Vladimir

    Friday, April 8th, 2011 22:35

    5

    Dainis,
    It’s pretty good idea to create the course. For me personally, it is very important to read this kind of articles.
    It seems many people should have a huge interest to read it. You are constantly producing a decent amount good stuff.
    To make everything even better I suggest that you make semantic kind of refactoring of the main menu for “1stwebdesigner” site. I intentionally don’t want to point now what it should be done with this regard. Let your team or your readers to think about it :) Keep in mind you have plenty of space for improvements in area of the menu content.

    0
  • Vladislavs Judins

    Friday, April 8th, 2011 10:11

    4

    Nice article, love to read blog tips and try to use them :)

    0
  • Keevitaja

    Thursday, April 7th, 2011 17:12

    2

    Hello!
    I think most important thing in blogging is to know what people want. Blogger needs to know human psychology what triggers the emotion “i have to read this” after reading the headline.

    0
    • Dainis Graveris

      Thursday, April 7th, 2011 18:32

      3

      Definitely agreed, it is playing with human emotions, desires, fear. But it only start with headline, blogging is a hard art to master.

      0
  • Renato Alves

    Monday, April 11th, 2011 02:14

    6

    I’m very excited for these articles series. I think is gonna be one the best series since I’ve started following 1WD. Looking forward to it.

    0
    • Dainis Graveris

      Monday, April 11th, 2011 09:06

      8

      Wow, thank you! We’ll about that in the end of these article series, I have a lot great information and tools to share!

      0
  • Arno

    Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 12:26

    12

    Are those rest of the articles behind of some pay wall or haven’t you updated this series a while?

    0
  • Ashish

    Monday, September 12th, 2011 10:33

    11

    Hi Dainis,
    I am just about to start a blog for interior design and was looking at tips to start and sustain, when I found you. Thank you for a very informative article. I look forward to reading the whole series. Keep it up!

    0
  • Ck

    Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 23:07

    10

    Good articale, i learned new things. I recently started à blog so this come as callen. Only i have one qeustion that can be answerd here. Can you use à blog also for selling stuff like home made jewerly or bags?

    0
  • Vik

    Monday, April 11th, 2011 03:38

    9

    Good post and tips. The one other tip I would add is that when you are blogging, try to write in a conversational tone. For many people that have a website, the other parts of the site are usually very professional in how they are written. So, the blog can be a place where you can let someone know more about you and your personality with the way your write. I’ve found that using a conversational writing style works well

    0
    • Dainis Graveris

      Monday, April 11th, 2011 09:04

      7

      Good tip,Vik! Thanks! It depends from the blog and company though – if you’re writing alone on blog, it becomes much different when there are 10-15 writers. Still it’s good to have a bit of personal tone, but not too much!

      0
  • Arno

    Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 12:26

    12

    Are those rest of the articles behind of some pay wall or haven’t you updated this series a while?

    0
  • Ashish

    Monday, September 12th, 2011 10:33

    11

    Hi Dainis,
    I am just about to start a blog for interior design and was looking at tips to start and sustain, when I found you. Thank you for a very informative article. I look forward to reading the whole series. Keep it up!

    0
  • Ck

    Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 23:07

    10

    Good articale, i learned new things. I recently started à blog so this come as callen. Only i have one qeustion that can be answerd here. Can you use à blog also for selling stuff like home made jewerly or bags?

    0
  • Vik

    Monday, April 11th, 2011 03:38

    9

    Good post and tips. The one other tip I would add is that when you are blogging, try to write in a conversational tone. For many people that have a website, the other parts of the site are usually very professional in how they are written. So, the blog can be a place where you can let someone know more about you and your personality with the way your write. I’ve found that using a conversational writing style works well

    0
    • Dainis Graveris

      Monday, April 11th, 2011 09:04

      7

      Good tip,Vik! Thanks! It depends from the blog and company though – if you’re writing alone on blog, it becomes much different when there are 10-15 writers. Still it’s good to have a bit of personal tone, but not too much!

      0
  • Renato Alves

    Monday, April 11th, 2011 02:14

    6

    I’m very excited for these articles series. I think is gonna be one the best series since I’ve started following 1WD. Looking forward to it.

    0
    • Dainis Graveris

      Monday, April 11th, 2011 09:06

      8

      Wow, thank you! We’ll about that in the end of these article series, I have a lot great information and tools to share!

      0
  • Vladimir

    Friday, April 8th, 2011 22:35

    5

    Dainis,
    It’s pretty good idea to create the course. For me personally, it is very important to read this kind of articles.
    It seems many people should have a huge interest to read it. You are constantly producing a decent amount good stuff.
    To make everything even better I suggest that you make semantic kind of refactoring of the main menu for “1stwebdesigner” site. I intentionally don’t want to point now what it should be done with this regard. Let your team or your readers to think about it :) Keep in mind you have plenty of space for improvements in area of the menu content.

    0
  • Vladislavs Judins

    Friday, April 8th, 2011 10:11

    4

    Nice article, love to read blog tips and try to use them :)

    0
  • Keevitaja

    Thursday, April 7th, 2011 17:12

    2

    Hello!
    I think most important thing in blogging is to know what people want. Blogger needs to know human psychology what triggers the emotion “i have to read this” after reading the headline.

    0
    • Dainis Graveris

      Thursday, April 7th, 2011 18:32

      3

      Definitely agreed, it is playing with human emotions, desires, fear. But it only start with headline, blogging is a hard art to master.

      0
  • Adrian

    Thursday, April 7th, 2011 12:12

    1

    Thanks for tips, good to read for newbie bloggers.

    0

Comments are closed.

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