Welcome to Part 3 of A Witch’s Guide to Magickal Blogging, post three in a four part series meant to help you take the steps you need to in order to start writing your magickal blog. This post will cover tips and tricks for taking your magickal blog to the next level, taken from my decade-long blogging journey. Part 1 and Part 2 can be found here.
Magickal Blogging Tips and Tricks
You can read about riding a bike, but the only way to really learn how to ride one is to actually get on a bike a pedal. Blogging is much the same way; you can theorize about it all day long, but you won’t know what you’re doing until after you’ve already started doing it. Once the basics are in place and you’ve started your blog, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty and go over some helpful hints, tips, and tricks.
Consistency: Consistency in what and how you write is huge, and this can only happen over time. The idea of consistency will trickle down to every part of your blog from your writing style and post structure, to use of categories and tags, to you posting schedule, to when and how you write. This this is rhythm that you hit as a blogger that can only happen over time.
Categories & Tags: These may seem silly, but nothing lets me know that a blog is a hot mess like a list of 500 tags. You may think the purpose of tags are to get you search results, but that is not the case: the purpose of tags is the help your reader navigate your website. When you think about tags in this way, the way you use them will change. Categories are for posts and is set while you are writing.
Drafts Posts: I have a technique that really works for me, which is having a ton of draft posts. I’ll get an idea for an article, a list, or a spell, and I will start the post and save the draft. Sometimes it has all of 100 words in it, but it’s saved. Then, during the 75% of writing sessions where I’m not inspired, I’ll open one of the incomplete drafts, re-read it quickly, and start adding to it. I’m actually adding this draft posts idea to a post that was in drafts because I woke up and had no idea what to write. This method works super well for me, and maybe it will work well for you too. Regardless, experiment until you find a system that works.
Idea Log: Also called a Brain Dump, this is the place where you keep all of the ideas for posts or features. I currently have a draft blog post with 45 post ideas in it, including three ideas for blog series. Not all of these will be completed, in fact, most of them will probably never be written, but the idea log is super helpful to have. First, it gets the ideas out of your head so they aren’t rattling around in your memory anymore. Second, it gives you a huge list of things to write about that you can refer to any time you’re stuck for writing ideas. My advice for the idea log is to put new/fresh ideas at the top, and to never delete anything off of the list, just let it drift to the bottom.
Illustrations: One thing that readers expect is good looking images on your website. Some people have found success by posting really poor quality photos, but I wouldn’t make the assumptions that this is universal. For example, I can take good photos, but I hate doing it. To compensate I use a stock image website, of which there are many, so that my posts can still have nice images on them. My website is heavily text dependant, so it works. Illustrations are just there for oomph; my blog is all about the words. When choosing how to illustrate a website, think of what the focus of the site will be, and work in images accordingly. Remember to always attribute and credit artists for their work. Also, borrow images sparingly since many artists do not want their work used to promote someone else’s site. Doing that cheesy thing where you post someone’s photo on Instagram, write under it, then include a ton of blank space before writing “photo by Someone Else” is a dick move. Don’t do it.
Posting Calendar: I actually have a separate, full post planned that explains how I use an editorial calendar for my blog, so I promise that will be up soon. Before determining your posting calendar, test out a few configurations to see what works best for you. Do you want to post once a week? Every day? If your posts are very short, every day is great, but if you’re quite me talker (me) then a few posts a week is more than enough. I actually don’t post enough short blog entries, honestly. It’s much better to have a balance of longform and short, digestible posts. I’m chatty, what can I say?
Proofreading: My advice on proofreading is to not do it until the end. Isn’t that what proofreading is? you ask. Well, yes, but can you resist the temptation to go over the first 100 words of a post again and again until you have 100 perfect words but nothing else? Write your article out as it comes to you, then proofread later, either once it’s done, or if you are opening a draft from a previous day/week. That way you won’t trip yourself up with your own nitpicking.
Read to Write: In order to write well you need to read, as much as possible. You may not be a natural born writer, but writing is like a muscle, you have to exercise it. Part of that exercise comes from writing, and the other part comes from reading. I’m not talking about reading online, either, books are the way to go. That’s because books likely have an editor or someone else contributing to the writing process, and that will make them better examples. I also encourage new bloggers (and seasoned ones) to subscribe to blogs about blogging. As time passes you may get stuck in your ways and get a little stale; keeping up with current ideas on blogging keeps your skills fresh.
Regular Features: Having regular features might feel like a huge commitment, but I choose to see them as built-in writing inspiration. If I sit down to write and I feel absolutely zero inspiration to write a fancy article, I will plug in the next month’s date into my Cosmic Concerns post or start drafting the next Moon Magick post instead. That way I can still walk away knowing that I wrote that day, which to me, is one of the makings of the elusive ‘good day’ we all aspire to.
Sources: Coming from a teaching and academic background I may care more about sources that most people do, but I feel strongly about them. When I’m reading a witchcraft website and they give you a bunch of information, so much that there’s no way it all came from their head, and then give no credit to the source, I get skeptical. Witches are independant learnings who are likely teaching themselves; crediting sources lets readers know that you are a legitimate source of information who looked things up rather than made them up.
Writing Schedule: A writing schedule is completely different than a posting calendar. When I write posts and when I publish them have almost no relation to one another. Why? Because I write during the holidays and in wee hours of the morning when no one is online. This is why social media basically doesn’t work for me: when I can post is when everyone else is not online. In part this is because I’m a teacher, so my time off every year is winter and summer breaks, aka when everyone is busy with their families. I can write one or even two dozen posts during a productive winter break, but if I published them all right away, no one would read them. However, that’s not a problem because I schedule all of my posts, and no posts are published as soon as they’re finished. Find a time to write that works for you, be it 6 AM, or during a two week vacation, once you get into a routine, it helps the writing flow better, and you don’t have to publish it right away.
Thank you for reading Part 3 of A Witch’s Guide to Magickal blogging, I hope you found it helpful. The fourth and final installment goes into managing an editorial calendar, which is one of the keys to keeping your blogging momentum going. Blessed be, friends!
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