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Saturday 8 March 2014

Successful blogging workshop

Corfe Castle, Dorset
Corfe Castle, Dorset
On Friday 28 February, I ran a blogging workshop in the village hall in Corfe Castle in Dorset as part of the Purbeck Literary Festival. Sadly, I could not appreciate the majestic surroundings very well as it was pouring with rain, but this did not dampen the enthusiasm of the workshop participants, who all came eager to learn about the mysterious world of blogging.

Poster advertising Purbeck Literary Festival

So what did we cover? Here is a brief summary of some of the issues we looked at.

What is a blog?

A blog is a web journal or series of posts on a theme, usually presented with the most recent entry first. It generally has the option for people to comment about what you have written. A blog can be about anything. It might be the record of your adventures in parenting, a series of book reviews or, like mine, articles about a niche subject like Regency history.

What is a successful blog?

To determine whether your blog is successful, you need to know why you are blogging. It might be to promote your business or book, to share your expertise and build your online reputation or simply to air your views to the world.

To achieve any of these aims, you need readers. But you might also be looking to see additional traffic to your website and an increase in sales. Or you might be more interested in the number of readers who interact with your posts rather than just scanning what you have written. Or perhaps your aim is for your posts to rank on the first page of results when someone searches for something you’ve written about. Only when you know what you are trying to achieve will you be able to judge whether or not you are successful.

Six tips for successful blogging

1. Blog regularly. It is better to blog once a fortnight and keep it up rather than trying to blog every day and giving up after a few weeks.
2. Use pictures. Try to include at least one good quality picture in every blog post.
3. Keep the line length short. Don’t be tempted to make your blog the width of the screen. It is much easier to read text if the column width is narrower. About 70 or 80 characters is reckoned to be the ideal length.
4. Keep your paragraphs short. Again, it is much easier to read text on a screen if it broken up into small chunks with white space in between.
5. Promote your blog with social media. Use Twitter, Google+, Facebook etc to link to your blog posts.
6. Always keep a back-up copy of your blog. You never know when your account might be hacked or your blogging platform might let you down.

If you have a blogging tip to share, please leave a comment.

Photographs © Andrew Knowles -


  1. This sounds like a successful post. It's freeing to realize that my blog doesn't have to meet others' standards.
    How do you balance the networking with the writing? What if you also have a day job?

    1. That's a leading question! My advice would be to decide what you have realistically got time for and try to stick to it eg a 400 word blog post every fortnight.

      Again with social media, decide how much time you can give to it, and stick to it (though I am preaching to myself here as I tend to spend too long on Twitter!) But make sure you do network. There is no point writing a blog if no one reads it and so you need to tell people about it when you post.

      Most of us have multiple commitments and it is always a struggle to balance writing with work and family. If you are serious about writing, you need to carve time out of your week to write. Watch less TV, sleep less...

  2. Guest bloggers are a way to increase your readership, with their fans, and their readership with yours...

    1. Not something I've tried, but I am sure you are right.