When starting a blog, most people want to attract traffic. They hope that people beyond their close circles of family and friends will read and respond to the content they share. Whether you’re publishing a lighthearted craft blog or a more serious legal journal, grammar plays a significant role in creating a connection with your audience.
More Than Just Words On A Page
Research consistently suggests that people with superior grammar skills outperform everyone else. In the business sector, for example, the Harvard Business Review published a survey of social media profiles conducted by Grammarly. The results determined that increased grammar mistakes in those profiles correlated with fewer promotions and inferior job titles.
You might ask, “What does this mean to you?” After all, starting a blog website doesn’t translate to the corporate environment. However, a blog represents its author’s public face.
When you publish blog posts with rampant grammatical errors, you communicate to your audience that either you never bothered to learn the rules or that you don’t care enough to fix your mistakes.
Learn The Rules…
The Internet provides a treasure trove of resources for the beginning blogger, from dictionaries and thesauri to primers released by educational institutions. Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL), for example, breaks down common grammar issues with great clarity.
Use these resources to correct grammatical mistakes in your material. Read your posts out loud before you publish them and note any false notes in the prose. If something sounds wrong to your ear, it probably contains a mistake.
…But Don’t Be Afraid to Break Them
A healthy grasp of grammar rules not only allows you to publish professional-quality articles and essays, but it also gives you license to break the rules in appropriate circumstances. While blogs shouldn’t read like a junior high school student’s diary, neither should they sound like graduate-level theses.
Conversational writing pulls readers into your stories and helps them connect with you, the author. It creates an engaging tone that sounds more like a human than a robot.
For example, your English teacher probably taught you never to end a sentence with a preposition. Instead of writing, “Jennifer displayed the wit she is known for,” conventional grammatical wisdom requires you to rewrite the sentence as, “Jennifer displayed the wit for which she is known.”
While the second sentence conforms to grammatical norms by eliminating that pesky preposition at the end of the first sentence, it sounds stilted.
If prepositions at the end of sentences bother you, consider revising your work to find new ways to communicate the same ideas. For example, instead of the second sentence, you could write, “Jennifer displayed her characteristic wit.” In this case, you’re using an adjective in place of the preposition to communicate the same idea.
A Personal Decision
The level of grammatical correctness that you want to display on your blog depends on your personality, style, tone, and subject matter. A motherhood blogger, for example, can get away with more grammar foibles than an engineering blogger.
You’ll also want to identify your writing weaknesses. Maybe you overuse certain words or confuse homonyms. Perhaps you split your infinitives or leave dangling modifiers.
Research reveals that writing in “text speak” can reduce grammatical fluency, according to the Seattle Times. If you struggle with grammar, focus on using appropriate sentence structure any time you write something down, whether you’re shooting a text or email to a friend or penning a dissertation.
Good grammar remains important to anyone who starts a blog. If you’re ready to get the ball rolling, sign up for a risk-free trial with BlogPress and put those grammatical skills to the test.