10 Blogging Skills Bloggers Must Improve (Not Just Writing!)

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Chris McDonald
Chris McDonald

Blogging isn’t just about laying down the cash for one of the best blog hosting sites and then logging into your website and brain-dumping your latest insight. It can be, but if you really want to become a successful blogger, there are certain blogging skills needed that all weave together to produce the final, polished result of a successful blog.

When going through the skills below, don’t breeze over them because you feel like you’re already adept in a particular skill. I might just have a tidbit of information that you could add to your skills.

If you’re looking for some recommended places to learn a particular blogging skill, I cover this, too — there are some seriously incredibly blogging tools out there that I highly recommend.

Ready?

Let’s get stuck in.

blogging skills

The best 10 blogging skills to become a successful blogger are:

  • Content writing skills
  • Networking skills
  • Photo editing skills
  • Social networking skills
  • CSS and HTML skills
  • SEO blogging skills
  • Goal setting and tracking
  • Traffic conversion skills
  • Marketing skills
  • Time management skills

Content writing skills

I know what you’re thinking: I can’t write content for toffee!

I was the same! I’d always cringe whenever I tried to write something, but the truth was, I just didn’t know what to write about — my blog writing skills were rock-bottom.

If you’re in this situation, this is where working on your content writing skills can really help.

Want a starter for 10 to help you out?

Just.

Start.

Writing.

I mean it. Zero content is useless content, and remember how you learned languages, science and math at school? You practiced, over and over.

The same applies to blog writing skills. The more you just start writing, the better you’ll get at content creation. While writing, though, keep in mind three things:
Not that kind of EAT you fool!

  1. Expertise
  2. Authority
  3. Trust

These are known as EAT signals and your goal is to build on these things to rank well and build your blog the right way. A lot goes into creating content that works, generates traffic and converts traffic. It’s not just about writing the first thing that enters your head — although that is a good place to start.

Think about relevance, for example. If you’ve set your blog up to be about gardening, there’s no point in writing copy about kayaking. What does that make you an authority of? Gayaking? Exactly…

Your blog writing skills are in there, I know it!

Networking skills

Wherever you go, make connections.

Think about it. Who are you most likely to recommend someone’s service to? Someone you’ve spoken to directly or a stranger?

You don’t need to become BFF’s with them, but talk to them; ask them questions.

People love to talk about themselves, so every blogger should go ahead and ask them how they are and show an interest in what they do; it doesn’t even have to be business-related.

What’s their passion? I challenge you to come away from the next conversation you have with three pieces of information you didn’t know about them.

How to do that? Ask them random questions

This doesn’t even need to be at dinner parties or networking events, although they’re great environments to network in.

Since you’re a blogger now — yes, you are! — reach out to another blogger and strike up a connection. Do you like their blog? Tell them! Don’t lie through your teeth just to get a guest post on their site and a backlink to your blog. They might even have a blog skill that you don’t — learn from them.

By being a truthful and honest blogger, you build authority for your niche, as well as theirs. Network relationships should happen organically; sure, you can force them, but this lacks sincerity.

Photo editing skills

A clear, crisp image can really make a blog post. We’re visually attracted to content much more than seeing a wall of text. I know I often look for a TL;DR snippet rather than wading through text.

A blogger that enhances their photo editing skills can increase the on-page time of their traffic and followers. A good way to do this is to combine an informational image with text, also known as an infographic.

This powerful combination of words and pictures stimulates the brain into information overload — in a good way.

Having said that, in my experience, you need a slight artistic streak in you to really make an image pop. I’m not talking about being the best in the world using Adobe Photoshop, but understanding the basics could really help.

Once you have the basics down of cropping, resizing and layering, you could have an infographic-worthy result that complements your blog really well.

Social networking skills

Social networking blog skillIt’s crazy how the world has shaped, but combining your blog with social networking skills is super powerful for leveling up your blogging skills.

Social networking and blogging is kind of like the chicken and egg scenario. I know plenty of bloggers who’ve had explosive traffic results in their first month because they already had a social network following.

Equally, there are those who’ve taken their following from their blog and exploded their social network.

That’s a skill on its own, converting traffic from one to the other and combining their powers. For most of us, we want our followers on social media to head to our blog rather than the other way around.

Your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and TikTok accounts can be taken away from you, but your blog is yours. You also have more flexibility and freedom with your blog — no character limits a la Twitter, and no link restrictions a la Insta.

A social networking strategy can really help with your time-management, and will also mean that your followers know when you might post.

The public love knowing that they’ll wake up to a new blog post from their favorite blogger — perfect breakfast reading. All they need to do is log in to their chosen social network of choice as soon as they wake up — be honest, I know you do it, too — and they’ll be on your blog post in seconds.

CSS and HTML skills

Many of us bloggers look to outsource any form of web development all too quickly, in my opinion.

There’s definitely a mental barrier and the sheer thought of seeing the CSS and HTML acronyms.

Want to know how to break this barrier?

Here’s how…

WordPress. It’s an extremely user-friendly all-in-one backend that allows you to use basic coding principles to make your blog look super shiny.

I bet you’ve even used HTML coding before without knowing it. Making a word bold uses HTML just as you use Ctrl+B on your keyboard:

<b>bold</b>

There you go, you’ve just learned some free HTML coding!

Developing your knowledge around CSS and HTML can be really helpful when you’re in a pinch and need to fix something on your site.

It’s also useful when you’re just starting your blogging journey and have zero budget to outsource your content and blogging to an expert. This is exactly how I started my blogging journey, and there’s no reason why you begin blogging this way too.

SEO blogging skills

Blogger SEOThe world of SEO is massively complicated and overwhelming.

But only if you let it be that way.

Stripping all of the Google algorithm technicalities out of the way, making your blog SEO-friendly comes down to the principles I’ve already mentioned — EAT:

  • Expertise
  • Authority
  • Trust

This was part of Google’s Medic update, and actually, I’m surprised this hasn’t always applied.

Think about why someone will come to your blog. Because you’re at the top of the search engine results pages — SERPs. Why are you at the top page one? Because the search engine deems your page to directly answer the search query.

That’s the expertise part of the equation — you’re there to establish yourself as an expert on what you’re blogging about. Tie this in with your content and use direct language. You’re a bandaid for the searcher’s problem.

While doing this, go wild and in-depth on the subject. Don’t necessarily create a 10,000-word blog post; instead, break a subject into different areas and guide your reader through the journey. 2,000 to 3,000-word posts are enough for most of us.

Don’t leave a stone unturned. By covering all related topics to a post you’re writing, you’ll establish yourself as an authority.

Don’t force it, though. The key is to blog about something you’re already interested in. Anything else will mean you lose interest quickly, and if you lose interest, so will your audience.

In time, and as long as you provide value-added information, you’ll develop trust. You want your blog to be the #1 resource that people come to for the information they need. When they do so, they need to be able to trust that what you are blogging about is trustworthy.

Here is where you can build on that trust by linking to another authority site on a related subject.

When you make a factual statement or claim, don’t just leave it hanging. Point the reader to the original source, and make darn sure that the site is a recognized authority, too. I’m talking .gov and .edu sites rather than a random commercial site that’s just spouting made-up information.

You could also include experts in the field you’re blogging about. For example, if you’re blogging about essay writing skills, did you know this kind of thing can be outsourced to EssayPro?

By being honest and sincere, you’ll develop your following and the SEO will happen as you get to know your audience and understand what information they’re searching for.

Goal setting and tracking for a blogger

I’ve been through the mill when it comes to goal setting. Many times I’ve sat down to do something and it’s fizzled out.

Why is this?

Simple — there was no end goal. I didn’t have a defined purpose.

I knew what I wanted to do, but the intention wasn’t clear without a goal.

Don’t let this be you. By expanding your goal-setting skills, you’ll become more productive when it actually comes down to work.

Think about how nice it would be to wake up, do your morning routine and to just sit down at start work. No messing around working out what to do next, just work.

This is possible because you already have a goal established — for 10 years, 5 years, 3 years, the current year, month, week and day. I find that writing down one goal for the next day pays back dividends in productivity.

A knock-on effect of this is that I get more blogging work done, and I enjoy it more, too. Why? Because I know it’s taking me closer to my ultimate goal.

It’s no use just having a goal, though. You need to track your performance as you go. So, if your goal this year is to have 100,000 views for 3 consecutive months, have a chart somewhere on your wall in your office space that tracks this.

It needs to be visually accessible — don’t have a spreadsheet neatly filed away; actually have it on display at all times. This will drive you forward to help you reach your goal.

Traffic conversion skills

If you’re looking to monetize your blog in any form, whether through ad revenue, affiliate marketing, selling a physical product or en e-book, you need to know how to convert traffic.

There are many ways to do this, and many a blogger takes this too far by bombarding the reader with upsells and sales jargon that, frankly, but viewers off.

People like free stuff. So, give them something for free in exchange for their name and email address. This could be a free e-book or a top 10 list of something that’s related to your niche and blog. Not only will this satisfy their need for more relevant information, but you’re also satisfying an emotional trigger.

Emotional triggers can be pivotal for your blog’s success, and this comes from knowing your audience and exactly what they’re looking for and then incorporating this into your blogging. Google’s webmaster tools help with this, and you can see exactly which search terms your traffic is using to get to your pages.

By building yourself as an authority by having content relative to these search terms, you’ll start to build trust — remember “EAT” from above?

Know what your followers want and the fruits of your labor will eventually grow. Interact with your followers to enhance this. Ask them questions on your social media outlets and encourage viewers to leave a comment on a blog post.

Ever heard of the phrase, the fortune is in the follow-up? It’s a major cliché, but it’s true. When a follower replies to your social media question or leaves a comment on your blog post, REPLY!

Don’t leave them hanging without a response — this will come across as if you don’t care. Engage with your followers to convert traffic, and build that brand loyalty.

Marketing skills for bloggers

Remember that when you’re developing your blog, you’re marketing YOU.

I love Simon Sinek’s quote:

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People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

This rings true in the blogging sphere something chronic. If someone trust’s your viewpoint on something, they’re more likely going to keep following you and make purchases based on your recommendations.

But, when they make that purchasing decision, it’s not because of your sales pitch, it’s because of who you are as a person.

So many of the skills I’ve already mentioned encompass marketing:

  • Content creation
  • SEO
  • Converting traffic
  • Social networking

They’re all marketing techniques, so whenever you’re doing any of these, remember that you’re establishing yourself as a brand through your blog.

I know more than a  blogger or two like to have an alter-ego to stay out of the limelight, and that’s understandable. But, by combining social media marketing with blogging, massive results can happen.

Think about reaching out to your contacts on social media, for example. Share their content, offer to guest post or do a collaboration. The worst that can happen is that you’ll get a no.

Don’t be afraid to DM someone, no matter how big in the industry or niche they are. They do reply, and tomorrow, it could be you that they reply to.

Every no that you get is one step closer to a yes. Just remember that all your public actions reflect on you and your brand; you’re always marketing yourself.

Time management skills

Stop being busy by being busy.

I know you do it, don’t lie to yourself! Heck, I used to be really bad at it.

We crazy humans seem to create work for the sake of it; and, in my experience, we do so to put off the things we find hard. I’ve done it writing this post!

Even so, we know the serotonin-high that stems from achievement.

A pivotal blogger skill to develop to increase achievement levels is time management, and a killer of time-management is to-do lists.

They just shouldn’t exist. Ditch that to-do list immediately.

Instead, have a notepad and pen next to your workspace or on you at all times. My challenge for you is to only have one thing on it to achieve the next day.

Have your task for the next day written the night before, so when you get up the next day, you know exactly what you need to achieve.

It’s only one thing, but it needs to be the most pivotal task that needs doing, no matter how hard or easy.

I’ll give you a clue — that task should be tough since it’s those tough things that we put off. Sure, doing lots of easy tasks can build momentum, but they ruin your time management.

To ensure those menial things get done, slice your day up into segments, and do not multitask. Sorry, ladies!

Have a slot for doing the laundry, scrolling through social media, playing a video game and watching Netflix series, or whatever other delay tactic you use.

Greg McKeown, in his book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, says:

The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years.

Your only priority is that one thing you wrote down on your to-do list. Nothing else matters until that task is complete.

No Netflix on at the same time, no Facebook or Instagram feed scrolling, just a single and relentless focus on that one priority.

Doing this will greatly enhance your overall blogging skills.

Blogging skills guide: where to learn

If you hadn’t noticed already, I’ve given you piles of free tips and information to enhance your blogging skills.

But I’m not stopping there.

Below, I’ve included a top-tier resource for each of the blogging skills I’ve listed above. If you’re fond of the likes of Robert Kiyosaki, Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy, you know that their business stance is that you should outsource anything that isn’t your expertise or worth your time.

When deciding on whether to outsource, have an hourly rate in your head. For example, if you wouldn’t do any work for less than $30 an hour, and one of the hourly equivalents of the below is $20, it should be outsourced.

Sure, some of the blogging skills tools I recommend might come across as expensive, but they’re high-quality experts in their chosen fields. Plus, you’re freeing up your time to spend on developing your blog and financial freedom.

To me, that’s something money can’t buy.

Enhancing your marketing skills

Wealthy Affiliate is one of those incredible tools that holds your hand through the affiliate marketing journey from the very beginning.

Its core focus is on how to use affiliate marketing to monetize your blog — something that millions of us aim to do, but too many fail at.

You can utilize the WA resources no matter if you’re starting your blog from scratch or are already well along on the journey. Its features include:

  • In-depth affiliate marketing training
  • Mentorship programs
  • Keyword research
  • Search engine optimization
  • Competition analysis
  • Customizable websites
  • Hosting

How and where to learn SEO blogging skills

SEO is hard for so many of us, especially with Google changing its algorithms as soon as we’ve all changed our sites based on the previous update.

I think we can overthink SEO too much, though.

If you’re new to blogging, I recommend you start by writing from the heart and mind and by understanding your niche, without optimizing for SEO.

By doing this, your content will appear more natural. So many newbie blogs pay for SEO services without thinking about the content and end up overstuffing their posts with keywords, to the point where the content doesn’t read naturally.

If you’re serious about your blogging journey and really want to outrank your competitors, Page Optimizer Pro (use code STARTBLOG for free credits) is the place to do it. It’s the most insightful tool I’ve ever come across when it comes to SEO. You can specify the keywords you want to rank for, and it’ll give you detailed guidance on things like:

  • Keyword density
  • Headings to use
  • Optimal word count
  • Page structure
  • EAT signals (mentioned earlier)

And so much more…

You can also use it to enhance your own SEO knowledge as you go with its video tutorials and visual tool (which tracks the changes you make) and seeing how they change your ranking. The POP blog is also full of free knowledge on SEO — well worth a read, and you don’t need to break the bank with an on-page SEO course.

With POP, you don’t need all the answers, you just follow the recommendations!

Improving CSS and HTML Skills

Unless you’re already a coding expert, I’d definitely look to outsource your HTML blogging skills as soon as possible.

The only caveat here is to learn the very basics yourself, first. Doing so will definitely help you visualize how you want your blog and articles to look. This extends into knowing how to use WordPress, as well as its themes and plug-ins. It can be tricky at first, but by taking baby steps, you could find yourself with your own WordPress blog up and running within a week.

Who knows, you may find a passion for coding, which is a skill that can take you down all kinds of avenues, especially with your blog. Team Treehouse has a free trial offer for 7 days, which can give you an insight into coding to see if it’s something for you.

Where and how to improve blog writing skills

You can improve your blog writing skills and content creation by using these basics:

  • Write about something you’re passionate about
  • Don’t overthink it — just start writing about something
  • Make journaling a habit
  • Don’t just copy what everyone else is doing
  • Take 5 minutes and then reread through your work
  • Stick to a writing standard — Associated Press; Chicago Manual of Style, as examples
  • Always proofread your work
  • Use Grammarly as a back-up, not as an authority
  • Get a trusted friend to read your work before publishing

If you really lack blog writing skills, outsource the heck out of it. You don’t have to be a good writer to get an article with great content on your site, but you do need to come up with the ideas behind them.

Where to improve business networking skills

Networking events have become huge and are a great way to meet other bloggers, chat and discuss the industry or niche you’re in. You can also pick up free tips and advice from those who are already successful and have a lifestyle that you dream of.

Even more importantly, networking can bring lifelong business and personal relationships that can greatly rich your life. Try to always take up the opportunity to network if you can.

Networking can be hard for the introverted among us. Udemy offers a business networking course that’s pretty affordable, and it could be a good step to know how to get yourself out there.

Ideas to improve image and photo editing skills

I first learned by playing around and learning for myself. Hands-on experience is such an awesome way to learn. The most popular image and photo editing software options are:

They both come with extensive help areas and tutorials on how things can be done. You can also check out YouTube tutorials on how some of the basic features work.

You don’t have to enroll in a course to learn how to edit images or photos, but they’re definitely a good idea. PHLearn has a wide range of visual courses you can check out online, both paid and free. I know many who’ve signed up for its online subscription to get unlimited access to their professional image editing courses.

There are also a ton of different options you can take a look at on our post about logo design software which range in prices (including free option).

A further benefit to learning about design skills is that you can also start to make creatives like infographics for your own site which are great for attracting links from other sites.

Lastly I would start browsing Pinterest to see what else is being shared in your niche so you have an idea of what works!

How to develop social media networking skills

As a blogger, investing in social media networking skills is one of the most prosperous investments you’ll make. One thing I always do is follow and mirror what others that are successful are doing.

I’m not talking about copying their content or posts; in particular, what hashtags are they using and is there a style that I like?

Consider hashtags as the SEO of social networking. They tell the platform and visitors what your posts are about, so individuals’ feeds can be tailored to their liking.

Something I find super helpful with learning how to social network properly is by scheduling posts. I’ve wasted so much time on Facebook and Insta, it isn’t funny. But, by knowing exactly when I’m posting on social media, I free up so much more time to get on with my blogging and the rest of my life.

Now I understand we don’t all have time for this, particularly in the “mid-stages” of growing a blog or website. In these situations I recommend 99DollarSocial who will have your back. But if you prefer to do it in house then arguably the best social media scheduling platform out there is Hootsuite. By linking all your social media accounts to Hootsuite, you can manage them all in one place, without having to manually log in to each one.

The best thing about Hootsuite, though, is that you can set up posts well in advance, again, freeing up your time to be more productive elsewhere. There’s always a 30-day free trial on offer, so you have nothing to lose.

If you want to completely outsource your social media management, you should check out Kimberley Banner. Kim’s a social media genius! The best way to get in touch with her is through her Instagram profile.

How to improve goal-setting and tracking skills

My number one resource for goal setting is Brian Tracy, who will change your mind about whether goal-setting is one of the required blogging skills or not.

I’ve read so many books and listened to dozens of podcasts, and while they do all follow the same route, I haven’t gravitated to anyone as much as I have to Tracy.

I particularly love his book Eat That Frog, which has sold millions of copies worldwide. The premise is that if the first thing you did each day was to eat a frog, the rest of the day would be easier/better than that. Obviously, you’re not going to go and eat a frog, but the idea is that you get the hardest task done first, which sets you up to have a much more productive day going forward.

At the time of writing this post, Tracy has a simple-to-use and handy goal-setting guide that walks you through setting your goals and achieving them, for free. Even if you didn’t want to subscribe to their awesome mentoring program, this free tool is incredibly useful.

Learning how bloggers convert traffic

I could send you off to Neil Patel’s site to learn most of the top blogging skills needed. Patel really does know his stuff, and what better way to learn on how to convert your blog’s traffic than by checking out this post.

One thing I love about his style is that it offers so much value for nothing. His site is teeming with value-added content that will greatly enhance your ability to convert traffic.

Where to learn about time management skills

I love Coursera for its huge range of online flexible courses. It has one called Work Smarter, Not Harder that has received rave reviews, and you can complete it 100% online in your own time.

There are thousands and thousands of self-development books on time management — too many to recommend, and I know many of my followers love to learn more visually. Such a course is a perfect way to do this, and will greatly increase your ability to be more productive with your blog and to improve your blogging skills.

How a blogger’s skills can be developed: key takeaways

I’m sure many of you already have great aptitudes for many of the blogging skills I’ve talked about here. I really feel like there’s something here for anyone to take home, even if it’s a new book or a quick tip that you can take away and implement right away.

Tools such as Page Optimizer Pro and affiliate marketing training such as the Wealthy Affiliate program are so in-depth that they offer huge amounts of value, and are well worth investing your time in if you want to develop the skills needed to succeed (and what’s more you can get started for free!)

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the information and opportunities to grow your skills, pick one and focus on that alone. Once you feel you’ve nailed that one, move onto another of the skills needed for your progress.

Massive and controlled action in the long-term game is a great way to achieve success.

Are you using any of the tools I’ve mentioned? Come and tell me which ones and how you’ve found them. As always, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you — I love hearing from you guys!

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