Never Underestimate the Power of White Space

Remember what your teacher said about writing paragraphs?

That paragraphs are sentences on the same topic, put together in one block. We only start a new paragraph if we are transitioning to a new topic. Remember that?

Well, when it comes to blog writing you can take that advice and throw it out the window!

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In order to create an effective blog you need to create white space and not have your sentences all jumbled together.

If you’ve never heard of white space (aka blank/negative space), it’s all this empty space around these words and in between these paragraphs.

You might be thinking, “Who cares about space?! What’s the big deal?”

Well, it’s a huge deal.

Why White Space is Important

When you are blogging, your readers likely are not reading everything that you are writing. Sorry to say! Most of us online readers are skimming the page. It’s just what we all do.

Usually we are looking for pieces of information and just want to be able to find the answers and then move on. So in order to help our readers out, we create a lot of white space.

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Easier to Scan With Our Eyes

With white space your eyes have a clear layout which allows the page to be easily and quickly scanned. Not to mention doing this also makes it easier to understand as well, providing a better experience for the reader.

Shows Organization

White space allows to visually show how your blog post is organized. It also helps you keeps your place, in case you look up from the page for a second. You’re able to turn right back to the page and quickly find where you left off.

Think if you had the page all jumbled up. It would be too cluttered to scan and to visually map out.

I like to use headers on each topic so that it’s easier to scan as well. I feel like this leads your eye to the important information that you are seeking.

Appealing to Readers

White space also makes your post more attractive and keeps your readers intrigued and engaged. Too much clutter is a post is no good! It doesn’t lead the eyes to important information and instead of figuring it out, your readers will just hit the back button and find a new website to get the answers.

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If you’re unsure of how to use blank space, then look at the blogs that you enjoy reading and see how organize it. While it sounds easy, there are many different ways you can create this blank space and use headers.

And if you’re still reading this then I guess I did something right in my use of whites pace! Remember that it’s an important tool to use and never underestimate the power of white space!

Accepting Feedback as a Freelance Writer

While I was getting my undergrad degree in English, in all my writing courses we would have numerous peer review days. This was when you would give a draft of your story to another classmate and have them review and edit it.

I dreaded these days.

Not another peer review day!

At first, it’s a really scary feeling to give your piece of writing to someone else to critique. I mean, it’s your baby. It’s something that you’ve created and put your heart into. But feeling scared happens when you actually care and are passionate about your writing. So relate the feeling of being scared into a positive factor.

In my imagination I would think that someone would completely mark up my page and tell me I sucked at writing. But, you know what. That never happened. And it won’t happen to you either.

Instead it would just be a few markups, some grammar errors and some suggestions. In fact, most of the time…the suggestions helped me out and made the paper flow and sound better. As I looked around the room, in the sweet relief that I wasn’t told I was a sucky writer I saw that everyone received some type of mark up in red ink on their draft. I wasn’t the only one.

As I continued with my classes my anxiety about peer review day began to decrease week by week.

Overtime, I began to look forward to the peer reviews. I also learned to take suggestions….as just that. A suggestion. Most of the time I felt the suggestions helped the piece and I used it. Other times, if I didn’t like it, I didn’t use it. I mean, ultimately it’s your creation. So you can do what you want with it.

You do you and make your piece how you want

I feel that all people have the ability to offer you great feedback. But, sometimes you have to look at the source of that feedback before taking it too personally.

For example, I had a business owner tell me not to use so much white space in my blogs.  Which, I hesitantly had to accept and follow. I mean, it was his website and if he didn’t like the white space I could limit it. But, what this business guy didn’t care to understand was how important white space in a blog. So, while he wasn’t a fan of white space, I personally am. For his company’s blogs, I didn’t use white space. But going forward with my other blogs, I used white space.

Again, his suggestion wasn’t the say all end all for all blogs out there. It was just his opinion. And just like all opinion you can decide to take it or leave it.

I also look and think about who is giving the suggestion. I have some people in my life that are amazing writers and have grown into being very successful writers. Due to their experience and success I respect and follow their feedback with a higher regard than someone who doesn’t make a living from writing.

In any industry you should always be learning, growing and listening. Feedback is one of the greatest sources to improve your writing and should always be welcomed with an open mind. Again, while it may feel scary at first, the more you do it the more you will feel comfortable and even enjoy the feedback process.

Bloggers: Write Like You Talk

No one enjoys reading a research paper. Even if it’s the most interesting topic you can imagine, putting it in a research theme type of paper, can quickly become snoozefest. If your blog is too formal it can feel like a monotone robot spewing out information. Which, people in academics seem to love but the rest of us searching online need a little bit more fun and engagement.

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For this reason, when writing a blog it is highly necessary to write as if you are talking.

By keeping this friendly and human tone it shows personality and therefore is engaging. I mean, if you’re still reading this…then I’ve kept you engaged. See? It works!

It also makes you more approachable to your readers. If you’re approachable then people will actually enjoy and look forward to your blog posts. I mean, that’s the goal of writing a blog, right? To connect with other people with similar interest and learn from each other.

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Plus, isn’t it more fun to write like you talk? To show your personality while still giving out vital pieces of information? I think so! Comment your thoughts! I would love to hear them!

Done is Better Than Perfect.

Done is better than perfect.

I wrote down this saying on a sticky note and placed it on my keycard for work, which I pull out and see at least 4 times a day. This is a nice reminder that sneaks into my subconscious mind to remind me that sometimes, it’s better to be done and turn in a piece of writing versus constantly revising it.

Sometimes I feel that I can go a little nuts about my writing piece. I’m never 100% satisfied or confident with what I wrote. Even my published pieces, I feel like I could do better. So, when I’m writing I want to constantly re-edit, re-write and re-edit my pieces over and over and over again. In a world of deadlines and time management, feeling this way is not productive.

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Done is better than perfect

Therefore, being done with the piece, is better than it being perfect. Because the truth is…is that it will never be perfect. I think that’s a hard but important lesson for creative writers to learn. It will not be perfect. But you got it to be pretty darn close to it though, right? Right.

While it is important to turn in your best work, you can’t wait keep revising. If you do, than while your busy trying to make it perfect another person is coming up behind you and going to get the spot before you did.

At some point you have just to realize it’s done, submit it and walk away.

Let me know, does this make sense? Is this also how you feel writing or are you able to feel satisfied early on and turn it in?

Tips for Writer’s Block

At some point in all writers’ careers, it’s going to happen. The inevitable writers block. It could last for a few minutes, a few days or even longer.

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I know that sometimes, it can take me a few days to find the right words or the right way to deliver the message I’m trying to convey. I think that’s is sometimes just the creative process. But once I find it, I love it! That’s how I know that while writing can be a struggle, I still get giddy and love the process of finding the right words. So maybe instead of seeing writer’s block as a struggle, just think of it as the process.

One thing that I find helps me overcome writer’s block is my journal writing. This is my own private journal and I allow myself to be completely free when writing it in. Sometimes, I just repeat the same words over and over again. Sometimes, I just describe some object in the room that I’m looking at. Most of the time, I let out all my frustrations or emotions upon my keyboard.

Although, I save the work, I don’t re-read it or edit it. I leave it completely raw. Because that makes me feel like I have more freedom.

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By completing the journal entry it makes me feel like I accomplished a piece of writing and frees up space in my creative process to move forward and tackle more writing challenges.

So, if you ever find yourself in this situation, you may want to give journal writing a try! I know it’s my trick to overcoming the block.

What about you other writers? What do you do to overcome writers block?

Master the Art of Writing With These 5 Tips

When you think of a professional writer you may imagine someone who can always find the right words immediately. Which can be true, but it’s not likely a writer begin that way. Mastering the Art of Writing takes time and discipline. Below are 5 tips that will help you prepare to become a better writer.

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#1 – Write every single day

I know. Sometimes writing is daunting and you’re just not feeling it. But, if you discipline yourself to write every single day, it’ll become a lot easier and you’ll find it’s more enjoyable. Throughout the process you will also find your voice and become better with every day.

#2 – Discover your passion and make it your niche

Your energy and love for a topic shines in your writing. Therefore, you don’t want to be writing anything that you find boring. This will reflect in your writing and your readers will likely find your tone boring as well. Plus, why waste time researching and writing about something you don’t like. So be sure to be passionate about your topics.

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#3 – Always be learning and reading

Even if you have found your niche, do not think that you know it all. There is always something else to learn and to research. You want to be an expert at your field and trends are always changing. So, never assume you know it all. Instead open yourself up to learning and reading as much as possible.

#4 – Keep the rough draft…rough

In other words do not edit the first draft. Make the first draft messy! This is how you can let go and get out everything. It allows you to not have any distractions that may interrupt your creative process. Trying to make it look pretty in the first round, can be detrimental. You can easily forget the things you were going to say, all because you needed to go back a spell a word correctly.

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#5 – Take breaks

Once you have written everything out on the rough draft, step away from it. It’s all there on the paper anyway, so you can take a break. Look at it again with fresh eyes in a few hours or days later. This will make the writing process easier. If you do everything at once, your brain kind of turns into mush, and you’ll likely miss easy grammatical errors. So give yourself and your brain some time to relax and approach the piece at a later time.

It really comes down to figuring out what works for you as a writer. One method or tip may work for one writer and not another. These 5 tips usually help most writers learn how to become more productive and thoughtful in their writing. Hopefully you find them helpful as well.

What is SEO?

SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is a method of creating and organizing your website so that it ranks in the top section of a search result.

Because let’s face it…we don’t tend to scroll down or let alone click onto the second page, when looking for google search results. We typically will click on the top sites that are shown to us.

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Now, typically the first result you see will have the word “ad” under it, meaning that that company paid HUGE bucks in order for their site to be listed first. But, below that you will notice sites that do not have to word “ad”. This means that this site has all the aspects that search engines are looking for and that it organically came up in the top of the search results.

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This means that this website has exactly what the user is looking for and is a reliable and trust worthy site.

How do search engines, such as Google and Yahoo do this? They use an algorithm system, that scans websites for certain qualities. Although they do not make this public knowledge, we do have a few ideas of what they are searching for.

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This includes having relevant links and references. Images that are labeled correctly. Reliable content. Easy navigation. And numerous sources of your keywords scattered in, typically in a regularly updated blog.

Creating a website using thoughtful practices of SEO will improve your sites rankings. This not only increases your rankings in the search results but also means you have a useful site for your customers.

Blog Like a Pro with the Help of These 5 Tips

Blogging is a fun and creative way to share your voice and connect with more people. But if your blog is not set up correctly, readers might be missing out on what you have to say.

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Online readers move fast and are quick to move from page to page. In order to hold your readers attention it’s crucial to follow these 5 blogging tips below.

Write original content. You’re not going to go far if you’re copying and pasting blog posts from other sites. If you are not being your authentic self, readers will pick up on it quickly and dismiss your site.

Be factual. You don’t want to give out misleading or false information. While research may be time consuming, it’ll be worth it in the end. Be as accurate as possible to gain your readers trust and they will come back for more.

Short sentences. All of us, are typically only skimming the page when reading online. For this reason, it’s important to create short sentences. This allows your readers to move their eyes faster onto to page and internalize the information. Keep your blog between 300 – 500 words. If you have to many words, the reader will lose interest and move on.

White space. Creating white space between your paragraphs, allows the readers eyes to easily navigate through the page. Seeing a bunch of words all smooched together looks time consuming and hard to read. But having white space directs the eyes to keep moving down to read further.

Share the knowledge. Your readers are online looking for answers to questions. Share what you know and give it away for free. If you don’t have the answers, your readers will find another site that does. So don’t hide the material, give out the answers.

These are your basic tips to follow when blogging. I also like to bold certain words because I feel it stands out for someone skimming.

Hopefully you made it to end of this post and are reading this. If you are then my tips worked!

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How Often Should You Update Your Companies Blog?

The more quality blogs you have the better. And the key takeaway here is quality.

According to Hubspot, companies who produce 16 or more blog posts a month has 4 times the traffic than websites with a lower amount of monthly blogs. If this number is hard to hit without sacrificing the quality of your blogs don’t feel too overwhelmed. Just remember the more blogs you have the better. So over time get your company to the point where you can hit 16 or more a month.

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Typically, you will have regular readers, who are looking forward to reading new blogs. For this reason, the very minimum should be at least once a week in order to keep them satisfied and interested.

You will want to build up more consistency in your blogs and make sure what you are posting is new and fresh.

This includes news updates. Seeing as your expert in the field, you want to be on top of the latest trending news. For example, if your company sells healthcare related items, then it may be a good idea to stay up on the latest medical news. That way if something occurs that is in your niche, you can jump on it and write a new blog about the topic.

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You also want to check out how often your competition is blogging. This allows you to get a better idea of how you can improve and add to your own blog.

Overall, by consistently posting it will help build up your brand loyalty. Having a blog creates organic traffic to your website. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was a long term successful company.

Building up your blog takes time but if you hire an informed and good blog writer you’ll see your traffic increase quicker.

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Why Businesses Need a Blog

Today, it’s crucial for your business website to have an exceptional blog. Producing fresh and relevant content amounts to building a greater online presence, establishing brand awareness, gaining more customers and so much more.

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#1 – Ensures online visibility – by using keywords in your blog search engines will rate your site higher in the search rankings. This means if you’re a company selling hiking gear in Colorado the more times you have the words “hiking”, “gear” and “Colorado” as keywords listed into your entire website, the search engine will pull up your listing higher when a user searches for those words. This ultimately means you’ll rank higher and gain more visibility than a competitor who does not have those words in their blog.

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Although, the overuse of the keyword and an un-natural sounding blog can do huge damage.

If you’re trying too hard and sound unnatural, your online readers will easily pick up on this. Therefore you may come across as unreliable. This overuse is also picked up by the search engines, like Google. If Google detects that you are overusing the keywords, they will actually mark you lower on the rankings because they may feel your site is a scam.

That’s why hiring a great blog writer is important. It’s a delicate art of balancing the keywords without overusing it that skillful blog content writers are successful at.

#2 – Show who your company is – creating a blog means that you have complete control of what you want to say, how you want it to look and the online atmosphere you want. This allows customers to know your company’s personality. If your customer’s like what your brand is and what you stand for, they are more likely to trust and purchase from you vs a competitor they may disagree with their practices or not know anything about.

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For example, Starbucks is known to treat their employee’s with respect and offer amazing benefits. For this reason customers are willing to spend more money on coffee, versus a competitor because they feel that their money is going to a greater cause. This is a part of Starbucks personality and therefore people feel good about themselves when making the choice to spend money there.

#3 – Social Media Sharing – If a reader finds your blog interesting they are likely to share it on their social media platforms. This exposes your site to more users who may not be aware that you exist. This is why having a relevant and fresh material is also important. The more shares your blog post is able to generate the better. This allows your business to grow the best way possible and that’s with referrals.

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These are just a few main reasons for a business to have a blog. Do not underestimate the power of having a good blog writer and what it will do for your business.