If you run a successful blog today, then there’s a good chance that you had a good English teacher at school. Clearly, you have an interest in writing and a gift for it if you are writing for an audience online, and often this is a result of having a good teacher at school.

I know I had a great English teacher growing up (Mr. Day, who was also hilarious), just as I had a good psychology teacher which is probably why I ended up studying it at Uni.

Great though your English teacher probably was though, I’m going to tell you now that it’s time to discard much of what they taught you. Not everything of course, and you should certainly try to maintain that love for the language that they taught you, but you definitely shouldn’t be writing your blog posts the way you wrote those articles. Read on to find out why…

Strict Rules

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The first thing to realize is that not all of the strict rules of English will necessarily apply in the same way when you’re writing. Some of them will of course – you don’t want your grammar and spelling to completely fly out of the window – but things like ‘no commas before and’ and other little rules can be abandoned.

The point is that you’re not writing to get good grades anymore, you’re writing to entertain and to engage. This means that you should be trying to write largely the way people talk, so if you would naturally pause before and, you’ll only improve your article by putting the comma in there.

In fact, you’ll find when you start writing for the web and for magazines, that there are lots of different viewpoints on many of the ‘rules’ of grammar anyway. This means that there is no such thing as ‘right and wrong’ necessarily – as long as you are consistent with the rules that you do apply. Make some ‘editorial rules’ and then just make sure to stick to those in every article.

What Works for the Web…

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It’s also important to recognize that the writing that works for the web isn’t always the same as the writing that works for an essay. Here your goals are going to be very different, so rather than trying to show off how well you can write technically, you are trying to convey information and ideas in a way that is engaging and immediately eye-catching.

A long introduction, for instance, might be great from a structure point of view, but it could also risk alienating your readers and putting them off reading the whole thing. People online are often in a hurry. Your goal then is to quickly make your point – no matter if that means occasionally defying convention. This is business after all.

Once upon a time, in fact, you would have written articles while constantly repeating particular key phrases and words. This is no longer the case today, but it does go to show that blog writing has different goals and rules to essay writing. It’s time to re-learn and find your style.

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