What if you want to blog in English, but English is not your first language?
Should that stop you from blogging? I don’t think so.
At the same time, I am not encouraging you to publish half cooked blog posts with lots of grammar and spelling mistakes.
The point is – the fact that English is not your first language should not stop you from blogging. Not at all.
In fact, you should work on improving your skills rather than hold back on blogging. Let’s see how in this post.
Improve your language
This may sound too straightforward, easy piece of advice. But there’s a lot depth to it.
I am not giving you this advice as a generalised statement.
But let’s get precise.
When you start blogging in English, knowing that English is not your first language, how much effort do you actually put into improving your language skill?
You could use various tools to improve your copywriting. That would help for sure.
In fact I am going to share some of those tools for you later in this post.
But the most basic thing would be to improve your language in the first place.
If you do that, over the time, you can become very good at it.
If you just use tools and not improve your language skill, you have to be relying upon the tools till the end of the time.
I am not against using tools; but I don’t recommend totally relying on tools to make your blog posts sound great in English.
So how can you improve your English language skill? Precisely, how can you do that as a blogger so it would help with your blogging?
#1 Keep it simple
For one, don’t make your blog posts too complicated. Use short sentences. And write to the point.
In fact, your readers would actually only love such simple blog posts written in straightforward language, rather than complicated posts filled with jargons.
You don’t have to “exhibit” your English skill by using complicated vocabulary.
Remember, just as English is not your first language, it could be the same with (many of) your readers.
So make it easy for yourself and for your readers too.
However you don’t have to restrict yourself from using a variety of (not overly complicated) vocabulary in the long run.
#2 Think English
One of the most common mistakes made by most bloggers is to think in their native language and then try to write it down in English.
This won’t work well most of the time.
If you try to key in your blog post by translating it from your head, that would be a tedious task as well.
So you have to first think the whole sentence in English and then type it in.
A word by word translation of a sentence from your native language to English will not be the correct form of a sentence in English.
Plus it takes a lot of time thus slowing down your writing.
#3 Get your blog posts proof read by a professional
OK. I just said don’t rely on tools. But this one is not a tool. This is not outsourcing either.
You can actually learn a lot by allowing some professional to proof read and correct your blog post.
Let them openly correct your blog post and state the mistakes/improvement in a file.
You can use this information to improve on your language skills over the time.
This can be expensive depending upon how you choose those professionals.
You can choose a professional from your locality – if you know any.
There could be some agencies who does this as main business. Contacting them would help you get a quote.
The fee usually depends upon the word count.
Or if you personally know someone with good to great English knowledge and if you are confident that he/she can proofread your work, you can ask for help.
Otherwise you can go to online portals like Upwork.
Just sign up and browse the categories. Under “Writers and Translators” you will see a “Proofreaders” category.
Click on it and you will be presented with the profile of available freelancers, their expertise and rates so you can pick any one to outsource your proofreading.
#4 Speak to yourself in English
I cannot stress this enough. In order to improve your English knowledge and skill, you have to develop your speaking skill first.
This is particularly relevant because we are talking about improving your English for the sake of blogging.
And with blogging, you will be writing a lot in a conversational tone – as if you are talking to your ideal customer.
Speaking to yourself in English not only improves your English skill, but also helps with setting your blogging tone.
#5 Get in the context with vocabulary
Rather than learning single words, familiarize yourself with vocabularies in sentences.
This way it is much easier for you to remember it next time when you can it.
If you learn a new vocabulary, associate it with a sentence – preferably a sentence much related to your industry that you use for blogging.
For instance, say you have learned this new word today: Scrap.
Form a sentence using it immediately, in context with your everyday blog writing.
If you are a blogger who blogs about “blogging tips” you could form this sentence: When a blog post is outdated, you can update it rather than scrapping it from your blog.
If you blog on automobiles, you could form this sentence: How to choose the best company to scrap your old car?
If you blog on travel, you could form this sentence: 12 Ideas to scrap your travel the memorable way!
The last two of the above examples are actually blog post ideas rather than mere sentences.
You get the idea.
#6 Use Yoast readability
Yoast SEO is hands down the best free plugin I have been using over the years.
There are many paid plugins for sure but I am pretty sure that Yoast covers a lot, being free.
One of the coolest features of Yoast that I like very much is its assessment of your content’s readability – how easy it is for your readers to read your content.
If you make it too complicated, or if your content has too many long sentences, you can use this feature to make your content easily readable.
To be very honest, I use Yoast’s readability feature more than the SEO feature.
I always make sure the post I am about to publish gets a “Good” green readability score.
Consistent use of this tool trains you to write simple, plain and straightforward blog posts.
Over the time you will really get good at this so the Yoast readability only ends up pointing out very few mistakes with your writing.
Relevant reading: How to install and set up the Yoast SEO plugin properly
#7 Read a lot in English
This is a no-brainer. In order to develop the vocabulary, sentence formation and general language knowledge you have to read a lot.
Now when I say reading, you should not restrict yourself to any kind of genre. You should be open about choosing something to read.
Remember, you are reading to improve your language knowledge. So choose variety.
You could go for anything from literature, history to modern magazine and blog reading.
If you go for variety you can easily build up on your vocabulary and grammar, and also improve your writing style.
You don’t have to be too strict in your grammar – I am not saying you can write incorrect sentences, but you can loosen up a bit to match the taste of online readers.
Also you have to choose a style so your readers are not bored – in order to get good at that you need to read a lot of variety.
Don’t just restrict yourself to reading books or blogs only in your niche. Go wide and go deep as well.
#8 Practice a LOT of writing
I mean it. The more you do, the better you get at it. That’s writing.
I’ve experienced this myself. In fact, I must give a lot of credit to my everyday writing habit towards making my writing a lot improved.
When you get in the habit of “Write everyday no matter what” things get a lot easier.
It is just like exercising. On day 1 your motivation is down the hill. And then you feel the muscle pain.
But if you stop for the pain, when you start again it all starts once again. So you don’t stop.
And when you carry on for a few days, your muscle pain goes away, your motivation picks up and you don’t want to stop anymore.
After a few days and weeks, exercising becomes your second nature.
You do not think about having to stay motivated or having to do those extra sit ups anymore.
Writing works the same way.
Once the momentum picks up, you don’t have to worry about getting hit by motivation or have to wait for the right time to appear to do your writing.
You just do it.
In order to develop this habit, a site like 750words.com will help to stay in the game. It works so simple.
You just have to login and keep on writing everyday. Keep yourself accountable. That’s it.
#9 Use Grammarly
Finally, Grammarly is a great tool that will not only help you to write better but will also train you to do so.
While you can use Grammarly to correct the English mistakes in your writing, you can also use it to learn English while you are at it.
Just like Yeast SEO’s readability feature, using Grammarly’s suggestions will help you improve your language skills over the time.
When it asks you to replace “you’re” with “your” a few times, you will come to know where you should use “you’re” and where to use “your”.
The point is not to mindlessly replace Grammarly’s suggestions, but to carefully see and learn from those suggestions so you can improve.
Over to you
Is English your first language? If not, do you blog in English? How does it go?
How do you improve your English skills and how do you satisfy your readers with your content?
Do share your opinion in the comments below.