The second and penultimate part of my mini series about green blogging is about coming up with ideas for blog posts (perhaps the hardest part about blogging!) and blog post writing.
Not interested in blogging? That’s ok! I’ve got some posts in my archives you might like – such as five no-sew clothing DIYs, how to grow your own food cheaply and how to help ladybirds – and I’ll promise a regular post will be up next! ;)
Coming Up With Blog Post Ideas
The thing about blogging is that you have to keep coming up with ideas of what to blog about on a daily basis, and sometimes that can be really hard! Sometimes you feel like you’re full of good ideas, and other times your mind feels completely empty and you’re questioning why you even write a blog in the first place!
To help overcome writer’s block I normally have a brainstorming session every other month, where I sit down away from my computer and have a think about what I would like to blog about. Over a cup of tea I come up with a list of ideas for blog posts and I find it really handy to have this list in the bank, so to speak, whenever writers block strikes (surprisingly often!). For example, this post on things you’ve always wanted to ask a vegetarian was born out of a brainstorming session.
It can also be really useful having a regular series on your blog to help plan out content. For example, I post at least one Your Ethical Style post a month, and a What’s In Season This Month post, so that helps take pressure away from having to keep coming up with new ideas!
Other times inspiration just randomly strikes and I write a post then and there. For example, one day my bus went past a Co-Op Bank, and my mind started to think about ethical banks and a post was born out of that flash of inspiration. Other times I’ll write a post in response to a question a reader has asked me, such as this post on can you recycle envelopes. The moral is be flexible, and you’ll never know where inspiration might strike!
As the blog is a bit of mix between things I’ve researched and things that are going on in my life, then this makes life a bit easier for me, as the posts about things going on in my life happen very organically without much thought, planning or brainstorming. Things like what’s going on our allotment, or things I’ve made recently – these are all easy posts for me to write quite quickly!
Writing Your Blog Post
To be honest, I don’t have any prescriptive tips for writing other than write in your natural voice. As in all parts of life, it’s much easier to be yourself than pretend to be someone you’re not. The other real piece of solid advice I can give you about writing a blog post is to focus on your headline. I’m a fan of writing quite descriptive headlines so that people searching for information in Google, or whatever search engine they are using, can easily find my post. For example, this post on vegan cakes is called “Six Delicious Vegan Cakes” rather than something a bit more vague or abstract so it can easily be searched for.
My writing process varies wildly. Sometimes I’ll have an idea and I can write the post very quickly and other times I’ll write a bit of a post and come back to it again and again over time, writing bits here and there until it’s finished. I normally have a few different draft blog posts on the go. It’s just how I work – you might work differently – that’s ok!
The Mollie Makes Guide to Blogging is full of really good advice on blog post writing if you’re looking for advice on a much more structured approach to blog writing, and the only resource I own on blogging! Sadly it’s out of stock online, but you might be able to find it in your local library or eBay?
Use Images In Your Posts
Perhaps it’s a personal preference, but I’m quite a visual person and when it comes to blogs I like to see text broken up with photos rather than just being presented with a big chunk of text. I’m also not particularly keen on websites with tiny photos on them – so make them a good size. It doesn’t matter what kind of camera you use, or if you just use the camera on your phone – just as long as the photos are large and clear – particularly if you’re taking photos of something you’ve baked/cooked or made!
I’d also add that adding images is also essential if you want to promote your post on social media, particularly Pinterest, or if you want others to share your post on Pinterest, but I’ll cover all of that in the next installment!
How often should I blog?
How often should I blog is such a common question but one that is really hard to answer. In short – whatever works for you.
Some people say to succeed in blogging you should be blogging every day. I think this is nonsense – find a frequency that suits you. Even if you did have the time to blog every single day, 365 days a year, then 365 posts is an awful lot of things to think up to blog about, let alone write. And blogging every day is no good if you’re just churning out rubbish just for the sake of meeting an entirely made up target. It’s better to be known for writing one really good post a week than seven so-so posts a week!
I personally blog roughly twice a week – this fits in with my life and my other jobs and responsibilities. If you want to blog less that this then that’s fine too – there are no rules! As well as writing two posts a week I also take a break occasionally – over Christmas and if I take a summer holiday, and any other time I need to – because a) I’m only human, b) it’s just me writing the blog and c) and no-one’s going to be upset (or probably even notice!) if I take a day or week off. Blog to suit you and your life – but don’t be a slave to it! If you’re not having fun your readers will know. Blogging should be about having fun – I do it as my hobby, not as a job, and you should do it on your own terms – you’re the boss after all!
That’s me for this installment! I know some of you guys found the first post on green blogging useful so I hope this post has matched your expectations! Come back soon for the final post on promoting your blog post and some tips on staying motivated, and then normal service will be well and truly resumed!
ps: missed the first installment about green blogging? It’s all about setting up a blog and getting started – take a look, you might find it useful!