It’s a given that writing does not come naturally for most of us. Some say it is an inborn talent while others believe that it is an acquired skill. Being a professional content writer myself, I see it as a bit of both.
I remember the first piece of content that I drafted many years ago. I still feel a chill of embarrassment running down my spine just thinking about it. But the truth is, it is going to be kind of the same for most people.
The skill of writing improves over time. Writing and communication are very important soft skills that can have a strong impact on your career no matter what profession you take up.
This is the reason why people with substandard skills as an expert in a field get away with really good communication skills. On the other hand, somebody with great technical skills may fail without the latter.
Many people that face this issue usually have English as their second language and are not native English writers. And a sizeable portion of readers perhaps come from countries like India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Srilanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc.
I hail from India and have faced my fair share of problems in this regard. Don’t let your bad writing skills hold you back from blogging.
9 ways to make up for bad writing skills that cost no money at all
- Choosing a passionate niche
Many people start writing blogs aiming to monetize them. That’s not such a bad idea, I mean who doesn’t want to get paid for the work that they put in?
The only problem is if the primary motivation is money.
To start blogging you have to be passionate about something. It can be anything like animals, traveling the world, fashion, carpentry, or anything that interests you. Then the next step is to find the will to write about it.
Believe me, I have tried my luck at writing content on things that I do not like. It’s boring and my life begins to feel miserable. That’s what makes blogging boring. If you do not do what you love you can never stay at it for a long time.
Staying in the game passionately is very important when it comes to blogging just like with any other trade. So choose an area or niche that you love and then the rest becomes much easier for you.
That being said if making money out of your blog is an equally important goal then make sure to plan before you start your project. Because not all content can be monetized successfully.
Monetizing your blog is important for you to support your endeavor, and also for a side income, but a blog needs to start somewhere.
So the first thing to do after you decide on writing about something passionate is to evaluate the scope of monetization for your blog. If there is no scope then find something else to write about that you are interested in and that can be monetized.
For you to get a taste of what idea can be monetized and what not please read these two posts. The first one is a post on a step-by-step method for choosing a blogging niche and the second one is on 25 niche site ideas for an Indian audience.
- Using Grammarly and built-in tools of Google Docs and Microsoft Word.
Once you have decided on a topic that interests you get on with writing it. Do not give me that stare, I know it’s hard for some of us. But there is no easy way out. The idea is to get started with it. Believe me, it’s not going to be a cakewalk at least for most of you.
For beginners choose a platform like Microsft word or Google docs. I use Google Docs as it integrates well with my Google account. I also use an android phone and so Google accounts are kind of the mainstay for me.
Grammarly is a really helpful app that integrates well with Google Docs. Do not worry you do not have to use the paid version. Use the basic one and it should be just fine to get you started.
I regularly use Grammarly for my day-to-day content and I must say it has delivered great results. Sometimes it is hard to spot errors even after giving a read-through of the entire content. But what our eyes miss out on is easily captured by Grammarly.
The app gives light red underlines on words that we might have misspelled. You could correct it either by just clicking on the red line and selecting the suggestion shown by the application or by correcting it yourself.
Here is a screenshot of Grammarly in action:
In the scenario shown in the image, I have misspelled the word “Sometimes”. The red underline on the word signals the mistake. I just have to select the suggested spelling. It’s as simple as that.
In the options that drop down, you can also see an “Add to dictionary” option. This is particularly useful if you are using colloquial terms among your audience regularly. Once you add the word into the dictionary, the next time you ever use the word again in the document there won’t be any more red marks popping up on the page.
Another very useful feature of Grammarly is when the blue line pops up. That’s signaling that the line can be written better. In the example below once, I change the phrase “with the aim of monetizing” to “aiming to monetize” the blue line disappears. More importantly, the sentence becomes more apt.
In the paid version of Grammarly, these suggestions are a part of the package. That being said the free version is not at all a bad version and it also adds a great deal of value for people who already have great writing skills. If you want to have the best chance of making great content I suggest using the paid version of Grammarly.
So use tools that help you improve your learning curve. Grammarly is a choice in the right direction.
The free version of Grammarly focuses on spelling, grammar, and punctuation. While the paid one provides a lot more features like :
- Plagiarism detection
- Word choice
- Formality level
- Additional advanced corrections
- Inclusive language
- Asking friends and family to proofread:
This part may not be something that everybody is comfortable with. Most of us do not like to put our work out in front of family or friends for fear of being embarrassed. That’s pretty normal.
But this is a great way to go about especially if these people have great literary prowess. Let’s admit it we all have that friend or family member that we share everything with, someone to confide in. Approaching him/her can be a great morale boost and constructive as far as writing is concerned.
You know what they say, two heads are better than one. With every consultation, you are going to learn something new so don’t back out of this one.
- Vocabulary: Keeping it simple!
Remember, from the very beginning that you are writing a blog to address an audience. In almost every single case the audience is going to be normal people who do not have those fancy degrees or experience that make them sophisticated.
The average guy does not understand hard-to-crack words and which is why you have got to keep it really simple. The more people who understand what you write the more time they are going to spend on the blog.
You are not writing to give them a vocabulary lesson. Instead, you are going to help resolve their issues or make them understand a situation, or share with them something informative. That’s the reason why you have to keep it simple.
Simple, easy-to-understand, and informative blog posts have always ranked higher in Google search results. If you don’t believe me check out the top-ranking posts for any keyword by doing a simple search on Google.
Moreover, you are trying to improve your writing skills so it might be a good idea to start small and get the basics right. This way you can learn how to use simple words both entertainingly and engagingly, something even the best writers in the world find challenging.
- An eye out for usage!
Writing is an art and your style of writing is bound to have an impact on your audience. When I started blogging, my style was simply hideous and I can say that today only because I have years of experience under my belt now.
Creating quality drafts will take time but you don’t have to worry about it when you start blogging. Because there is no way to improve it until you start giving writing a shot.
Adding usages in your content does not necessarily mean using hard-to-understand words but rather using simple proverbs and following a style. This style does away with repetition and does not give sentences a monotonous feeling.
For example, you do not want to start every line with the same phrase or choice of words. Imagine using the words “it also helps” continuously in consecutive lines. It is going to look very bland and not so entertaining to read.
You would be better off if you mix it up a bit and use phrases like “Furthermore”, “Moreover”, “Another option would be to”, etc. This way the reader is not going to spot any obvious patterns that would make the content look rather bland.
Sticking to a content pattern like having an into, the meat of the content, and a conclusion. All this adds to its appeal. You also need to be careful about transitioning from one form of content to the other. A seamless transition will add to the beauty of the draft.
Using stereotype words or phrases in context can give your audience something good to crunch on. Do be warned, a lot depends on your target audience as well. Different audiences will perceive the usage of words differently and hence you need to be extra careful.
- Using a thesaurus or a synonyms dictionary
I would like to believe that all writers are in a continuous state of learning. Having an idea about thesaurus helps in adding a lot of value to one’s content. Using synonyms helps you prevent repeating the same words over again and again.
Synonyms are words or a group of words that have a similar meaning. For example, the phrase “fall back” can be replaced with “retreat”, “withdraw”, “recede”, “pull back” and “move away” among others.
All of this will further the quality of your content and help you in becoming a better blogger.
Just google for thesaurus and keep one open whenever you start writing a piece of article or when you are reviewing your work.
- Content reconnaissance
As mentioned earlier, the first thing about writing content is choosing a topic you love. It does not stop here. You will also need to keep yourself updated with content in your niche.
Not knowing what is happening in your space is a recipe for disaster. Content reconnaissance is not something illegal. You are just trying to move through lots of material that can keep you updated with some of the latest developments in your field.
This is particularly important for tech blogs like this one, recipe blogs, and fashion & lifestyle blogs among others. The reason is that your writing has to have a style that is relevant in today’s world. The fields mentioned earlier, all keep changing rapidly, and keeping updated is hence very important.
- Reading a lot more content
Generally reading through a lot of content every single day will help make you a better writer. This is nothing new. But tasking this into a regimented process may never help most of us. Because you do not want it to be boring or monotonous. You want it to come naturally.
So the best way to get over this problem is by reading what you love. This way you never get bored or unhappy while reading.
- Reviewing your content periodically
This part is very interesting as it is embarrassing. You will be going through your past posts and content after an interval. Believe me, every writer goes through this phase and it is kind of hard.
This is when you realize that some of the things you have written had no form or structure and possibly even contained errors. This is very normal and you need not feel bad about it.
Reviewing opens up a lot of opportunities for you to correct your mistakes and you should feel happy about it. You could always republish your blog posts after making the necessary edits.
This is also a very crude way to measure how far you have come from your humble beginnings as a writer.
If you have some money to shell out then you could go for the following:
- Paid copy-editing:
Many content writers particularly freelance writers take up proofreading and copyediting gigs on the side while having a full-time day job. Some writers are involved in full-time freelancing jobs as well.
Copyediting is usually done by highly skilled content writers with a lot of experience in the field. They are experts at detecting errors and beautifying the original work.
Copyeditors also make sure that your sentences transition well and deliver the right message.
If you are starting out, getting a professional copy editor to review your work is going to help you a lot. You will gradually pick up a lot of things as you progress with someone experienced. It is almost like having your own private tutor.
Usually, fact-checking is not part of copyediting but adding this to the task list of copyeditors usually results in a higher price tag. That’s because fact-checking consumes a lot of time, especially sifting through tons of material.
Let’s look at what falls under the gambit of copy-editing:
- Names of individuals, places, and businesses.
- The dates point to historical events.
- Official titles and other honorifics.
- Instructions for carrying out a task or operation.
- Identities, contact details, and addresses.
- Any form of verifiable data, events, or facts.
- Using the full version of Grammarly:
I have already gone through some of the benefits of using the paid version of Grammarly. The product is one of the best given its price point. It is going to be a very cost-effective tool for any budding blogger.
Indispensible is what I would call it. The tool is a very good proofreading software on the cloud and it integrates well with your browser and most other apps. It’s something that I would gladly recommend to anyone.
Even if you are an experienced writer it is not uncommon for you to miss a couple of spots. Accidents do happen but that’s surely going to have an impact on your work and career. That’s why Grammarly is a versatile tool for everyone no matter where you stand.
- Hiring a freelance writer:
I am pretty sure that the thought of hiring a freelance writer must have crossed your mind at one point or the other. The biggest downside here is not having much room for learning.
The idea of hiring somebody to do your writing for you may not work out for all of us. But it has its pros and cons.
When someone else is going to do the work for you, you are going to pay them for their services. But believe me, nobody understands your business or blog better than you do.
I am not saying that content produced by experienced writers is bad. It’s just that you have to be careful about selecting passionate writers. They have to eat and breathe the task just like you do only then will you get quality work.
You could easily hire experienced content writers from Upwork. There are thousands of good freelancers out there who charge anywhere between $35 and $100 an hour.
You can also find freelancers locally on sites like:
These are all platforms to find good writers. You could also do a manual hunt yourself on sites like Linkedin. The hardest part for any firm or business in the internet marketing domain is finding great writers. For example, writers from India do not charge much but you have to test them out first before handing them over a gig.
Check out my article on country-wise freelance writer rates. There are a couple of pros and cons of selecting writers from each region. You will have to decide based on your analysis and a lot of it is gut feeling.
As you might have noticed, I have not talked much about monetization in this post. That is because there is a lot to consider before monetizing your blog and it is beyond the scope of this article. But if you really want to know here are two posts that can help you with monetizing your blog.
1. a step-by-step method for choosing a blogging niche
2. 25 niche site ideas for an Indian audience.
I know it’s been a long article but thanks guys for making it this far. I hope you enjoyed it. If you found this post helpful and informative go ahead and bookmark it for future reference.