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Bloggers and Social Media Junkies: 5 Tips to Improve Your Writing

Today’s Ask Dr. Diane:  What are some things I can do to improve my blogging and writing skills?

The Internet has turned lot of people into writers.  Bloggers and social media junkies may have great ideas to share but may lack some writing skills that could help improve the message they want to convey.  I know I make a lot of mistakes when I write.  I try not to, but when you blog as much as I do, it is inevitable.  I never intended to be a writer.  However, I found that I liked sharing information, so writing became a means to an end.  When I write my books, I use a professional editor.  Not all of us can be editing experts. It could be very expensive and inconvenient to have to use an editor for every blog and social media posting.  However, there are some simple things that can help to improve writing skills. 

1.  Don’t End Sentences in Prepositions. The problem is that many people have no idea what a preposition is.  Susan Thurman, author of The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need, claims there is a trick to helping recognize a preposition.  “Look at the last eight letters of the word preposition; they spell position.  A preposition sometimes tells the position of something:  in, out, under, over, above and so forth.”  My seventh grade teacher suggested we think about a box.  For example:  in the box, over the box, and so forth. The following are the most common prepositions according to Thurman.  Try to avoid ending a sentence with any of these words:

  • About
  • Above
  • Across
  • After
  • Against
  • Along
  • Among
  • Around
  • At
  • Before
  • Behind
  • Below
  • Beneath
  • Beside
  • Between
  • Beyond
  • But
  • By
  • Concerning
  • Despite
  • Down
  • During
  • Except
  • For
  • From
  • In
  • Inside
  • Into
  • Like
  • Of
  • Off
  • On
  • Onto
  • Out
  • Outside
  • Over
  • Past
  • Since
  • Through
  • Throughout
  • To
  • Toward
  • Under
  • Underneath
  • Until
  • Up
  • Upon
  • With
  • Within
  • Without

2.   Learn to Spell without Spell Check. If you rely too much on a spell checker, you may find that words you meant to write are replaced with words that have entirely different meanings.  I can’t count how many times that a student has sent me a note saying to “please excuse the incontinence”.   It is best if you take the time to learn to spell correctly so that you don’t have to rely on a device that may change your intended meaning. The following are fifty of the most commonly misspelled words according to author Gary Provost of 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing:

  • Acceptable
  • Apology
  • Appetite
  • Architect
  • Assassinate
  • Autumn
  • Calendar
  • Changeable
  • Conscious
  • Correspondence
  • Criticism
  • Deceive
  • Discernible
  • Embarrass
  • Eminent
  • Existence
  • Fascinate
  • Grateful
  • Hygiene
  • Imaginable
  • Immediately
  • Irrelevant
  • Jewelry
  • Judgment
  • Lovable
  • Miscellaneous
  • Mischievous
  • Mortgage
  • Necessarily
  • Occasionally
  • Occurrence
  • Omission
  • Orchestra
  • Potatoes
  • Professor
  • Pseudonym
  • Quarrelsome
  • Religious
  • Reservoir
  • Rhythmic
  • Scissors
  • Syllable
  • Tragedy
  • Umbrella
  • Vanilla
  • Vengeance
  • Weird
  • Wholesome
  • Youthful
  • Zealot

3.  Vary your sentence length.  Some of my students like to write in either really long run-on sentences or overly short monotonous sentences.  Try to vary your sentence length.  Notice how the first sentence in this paragraph was longer and more complex.  That was followed by a shorter more succinct sentence.  It makes your writing easier to read if you vary the sentence length and mix it up a bit. 

4.  Ask yourself some questions once you have finished your draft.  Does the initial paragraph let the reader know what your paper, blog or article is going to contain?  Do you have needless repetition of ideas?  Is your tone and tense consistent?  Does one paragraph advance to the next in a smooth fashion?  Does each of your paragraphs contain a topic sentence that conveys the thought you have developed throughout that paragraph? 

5.  Work on expanding your vocabulary.  Rather than learning overly complicated words to express what you want to say, try varying the way that you say things by using a thesaurus.  If you are talking about a house, perhaps refer to that house as a dwelling or a building in the next sentence.  If you find that you are using the same word over and over, check out some alternatives words in a thesaurus to add dimension to your writing.

I know I am guilty of making some of these mistakes.  Through practice, we can all improve our skills. 

WordPress To Introduce New Stats Features For Authors

 

Many blogs on WordPress are large enough that they have several authors writing for them.  Wouldn’t it be nice to see which author is bringing in the most views?  Well now you can. 

According to TimesoftheInternet.com, “Now, WordPress is introducing a stats feature which will allow the admin to see which posts are profitable and which authors are bringing in the most profit. This way, they can ask their authors to change their styles to bring in more profit for the site. This is one feature that is very useful for WordPress blog admins. They can easily manage their top authors from their dashboard and make necessary changes.This feature should be available very soon, probably in the next beta release of WordPress.  So if you’re running a WordPress blog, you could make good use of this feature which will help you manage your site authors.”

Do You Need To Control Your Social Media and Build Brand Awareness?

There are many platforms out there that can help you manage all of your social media.  I personally like to use Posterous at times to share content due to their Share on Posterous toolbar option.  I think that Posterous is one of the easier ways to share things but you are still limited to the places where Posterous connects.  Check out my posterous site by clicking here

I know Facebook can present a bit of a challenge about when and how often to post.  I don’t want everyone of my blogs to post on Facebook and overwhelm my contacts.  I tend to treat Facebook as a separate entity because of that and only post specific things there. 

I also use some of the other social management sites like SocialOomph and Hootesuite.  I know a lot of people still go to each one of their social media sites to post separately which takes up a lot of their time.

I think the following article by Dana Kohlbeck on Postcrescent.com does a nice job explaining some of the platforms available that can help you manage a lot of your social media areas in one location.

Image via shoutmeloud.com

If you’re looking to maximize both time and reach within social media platforms, look to applications such as HooteSuite or SocialOomph. These tools allow you to update multiple accounts like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn from one platform, as well as pre-schedule messages for consistency and strategic time release.

According to a recent business.com study, 81 percent of marketers use social media to build brand awareness. What better way to spread the brand message than to customize your social media platforms to reflect that brand?

To read entire article, click here:  postcrescent.com

How to Make Your Facebook Content Top News

I utilize Facebook pages to connect with people about my books and writing, so I am always interested in finding out more about what makes a Facebook page become successful.  I ran across this very interesting article by Emily Molitor with Smartblogs.com . . . Here is an excerpt from that article.  To read the full article click here.

Emily Molitor

How to make your Facebook content “Top News”

One of the main aims of companies using Facebook for business is generating awareness, as Jay Baer pointed out in his Facebook Success Summit session on Tuesday afternoon. The top way to do this, Baer says, is to win the News Feed. It seems simple: If you get someone to “like” your company’s Facebook page, then they receive the content you send out, right?

Not exactly, Baer said.

Click on this link to read the rest of the article: smartblogs.com

Are You Using Wooeb’s Interactive Search Engine Platform?

If you haven’t heard of Wooeb.com yet, you need to check out their site.  Wooeb is an interactive search engine platform.  Rather than having to wait for search engines to pick up your information, they put it all together in one place. 

They did a nice job with with creating ads and banners.  This is an example of an ad they can create for you on their site.  You can also click on it to find out more about my book:  How to Reinvent Your Career.

They also offer press releases that you can incorporate on your wooeb site.  To see my site, go to: http://wooeb.com/drdianehamilton

Check out an article about the Top 5 Reasons Wooeb Boosts Your Online Presence by clicking here.  In that article they list the following benefits of using Wooeb:

1.  Everything is in one place

2.  You own your URL

3.  It is accessible to everyone

4.  Wooeb indexes search engines

5.  Messages boards are included to discuss topics with others