I usually don’t share too much about myself on this blog, simply because it is, in part, an online portfolio of my writing. I want it to be casual, but not too casual, and I don’t ever intend to use it like a diary. Despite my efforts to keep this blog at least semi-formal, however, I never really saw it as anything other than a platform that I could use to improve my writing. Then, a few weeks ago, I had some very good news that made me look at my blog in a different way.
That’s right: I got a job (well, it’s actually more of an internship, but you get the idea). As proof of my writing skills, my employers (a digital marketing company) asked for a link to my blog, where they could review my writing. Well, something clearly worked because, a few days later, they had offered me the job. I therefore thought it would be good to share some of the little things that I do to keep my blog looking semi-professional.
#1 – Don’t use your blog as a diary!
I know that a lot of bloggers like to be really personal when they are writing online. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with this; if you’re happy to talk about a particular mental health problem or a difficult time that you’ve been going through, then well done – that shows a lot of courage! If you want your blog to ever be viewed by potential employers, however, it’s a good idea not to share too much.
Personally, I like to share small things, such as the fact that I have now finished my second year at university. This relates to my blogging habits and I don’t have any particular problem with sharing this piece of information, but I’m unlikely to mention the fact that I could have a cold. This distancing just keeps your blog a little more professional, which can help when promoting your writing ability.
#2 – Write on a range of topics, in a range of styles.
This point might not relate to everyone, but it certainly does to me, as my internship involves content writing. This means that I need to be able to adapt my writing style for different audiences. One way to do this is simply to talk about a range of subjects.
When I first started this blog, it was strictly for my creative writing. As I started posting more regularly, however, I branched into book reviews, author spotlights, poem analyses, and various other literary subjects that help me to practice a range of writing styles and techniques. This means that, if a potential employer looked at my blog, they would be able to see that I am not confined to one particular way of writing.
#3 – Think about the overall presentation of your blog.
Appearance is key to a good blog, regardless of whether you ever plan on showing it to potential employers. Put simply, it needs to look good. This doesn’t just mean having pretty images beside your posts (although that is always a good idea). Here are a few questions that you can ask yourself about the overall presentation of your blog:
- Is my site easy to navigate? – This is particularly important for those of you with a static homepage. It really is shocking how many blogs I visit where I just don’t know how to access its main content.
- Will my site load quickly? – If your blog takes hours to load each page, no one is going to want to read it, and, in the case of employers, it looks as though you haven’t put much effort into your blog’s maintenance. To fix this issue, consider how many widgets you have on each page, and remove any large background images (particularly those that have moving animations!).
- Am I using the best layout? – There are a few templates for blogs on WordPress that play to a particular blog’s strength. For example, there are those which target food blogs, which will probably have small amounts of text and a lot of pictures. There are also those which would be good for photographers, with even more space to display your pictures. So, remember to choose a good layout!
#4 – Remember that your blog is online.
This last point may be the most important in this list. It’s all very well to use WordPress or another blogging platform to keep a portfolio of your work, but it’s important to remember that this is an online portfolio. If you don’t engage in the online community, then you might as well be printing off your work and keeping it in a folder under your bed. Put simply, you need to talk to people. Find likeminded bloggers who are posting similar things to you, and you will soon find that you are learning from them, just as they will be learning from you. Reply to comments, read and comment on other people’s work, and remember to stay positive. Even if your blog doesn’t help you to get a job, it can still be a lot of fun!