I’m in a discussion with Lyle Lachmuth about how much writing skill does it take to be a great blogger. His perspective is that

…great writers, powerful Bloggers, are born! Yep! Born to write.

I actually don’t think that’s the case at all. I don’t think great writers necessarily make great bloggers. Nor do I think you need to have great writing skills to be a great blogger.

My opinion is that great bloggers (okay, let’s stop using great right here) good bloggers are people who are good communicators. They’re people who like other people; who want to engage in relationships and enjoy conversation. Good bloggers are stimulated by others as well as stimulate others. And while having really good writing skills may help a good blogger communicate more effectively, it’s not a criteria for successful blogging.

So if not great writing skill, what qualities do we need to be successful bloggers?

I’ll throw in passion. You’ll build more readership when you write from your passion than you will if you craft excellent prose. People are inspired by passion. They’re moved to act and to change.

Passion comes from authenticity, from openness and from caring. So I don’t think you need to be a great write to be a great good blogger.

What do you think it takes to be a great (darn it) good blogger?

Reader Interactions


  1. Gayla McCord says

    I think it depends on the blog topic completely!

    Some blogs will need an awesome story teller to man the controls — while others will need people who are strong organizers or teachers. Some may require compassion or a thick skin.

    I don’t think it takes a great writer at all, unless you’re going to be doing a great writing blog!

    I’ve seen people create incredible blogs with very entertaining story lines out of the fact they have absolutely no command of the English language beyond Hillbilly.

    When I saw her results, I knew then, anyone can be an amazing blogger!

  2. shaz says

    I totally agree with you. I actually really think that just being a great writer does not automatically make someone a good blogger… I find that I am more drawn towards bloggers that interact with their readers, and although I appreciate good writing, I don’t always care to read it just because it’s a good read and nothing else… if you know what I mean. I actually tried to state this on my blog and got into a lot of trouble in the process! 🙂 sorry for the loooooong comment.

  3. shaz says

    here it is… Bloggers Not Responding To Readers

    I was trying to said kinda what you said here but you said it sooo much better! 🙂

  4. Gayla McCord says

    Dawud ~ I’ll track down that blog and get you the link. It’s hysterical and endearing.

    For small businesses to succeed? Absolutely possess the ability to communicate.

    The one lesson I learned early on, and carry with me through every post is to force myself to step back and view my writing as a stranger. What can be done to make it easier for people to read and understand.

    By the way, I think everyone should blog barefoot! I’m very in touch with my own Hillbilly roots as well 🙂

  5. Dawud Miracle says


    Hillbilly, huh? Boy, wouldn’t that be a lot of fun. Love to know the blog.

    I get what you’re saying about needs depending on your blog topic. Certainly makes sense to me.

    What skills do you think are needed for small business bloggers to be successful?


    Me too. I’d much rather read (and interact with) someone who engages me and is honestly interested in building a relationship with me than someone who writes great.

    Where are some of the posts that have gotten you in trouble? Feel free to link from my comments. And if my spam filter catches it, I’ll free it as soon as I know.

    And please, don’t worry about comment length. I’m here for the conversation. And sometimes I need to listen more before I speak.

  6. Adam Kayce : Monk At Work says

    One thing we haven’t even talked about yet is, “What is a “great” writer, anyhow?”

    The trick is, I believe, that we all have this notion in our heads about what a “great” writer is, as if it means to be on par with Hemingway, or Maya Angelou, or Arthur Plotnik.

    I’d say that Dawud’s definition, “good bloggers are people who are good communicators,” could just as easily be:

    good bloggers = good communicators = good writers

    Because what real standard exists, except the one in the mind of the reader?

  7. Mark Silver says

    Ahh… writing. It’s a great topic. A lot depends on context, of course.

    I think there is a subtle distinction between ‘trying’ to be a ‘great’ or ‘good’ writer. That self-consciousness can make you less readable.

    At the same time, if you are going to try to make an impact using the written word, I think it pays to become conscious about it. And to learn.

    In business we learn all kinds of skills. Learning to communicate with clarity and engagement is worth your while.

    As others before me have said: The medium IS the message…

  8. Mark Silver says

    And I goofed, too. “a subtle distinction between what and what, Mark?”

    I mean a subtle distinction between trying to be a good writer on the one hand, or just completely ignoring your bad writing haircut and refusing to learn more about written communication on the other.

    As usual, the middle ground is where the action is. 🙂

  9. Dawud Miracle says


    Thanks. I’ve got family that would call themselves hillbillies so it would be interesting to read.

    Ooh, look at each reader as a stranger. That’s pretty good. It’s made me think, “How can I write for strangers while also writing for those who are long-time readers?” Interesting point and I think highly possible.

  10. Doug Karr says

    Great writing does help, but I read a ton of blogs that have terrible writing. For some, English is a second language. The primary purpose of those blogs is usually not explanatory posts, though. They may be software usage, development, analysis, illustration, search engine optimization, etc.

    It never hurts, but it really is dependent on the quality of your subject matter, not your writing skills.

  11. Dawud Miracle says


    Yeah, exactly. To me, a good writer begins as a good communicator. And ideally we’re striving to communicate with our readers the best way we can.

    Personally, I don’t care too much about great writing. I’m more interested in great conversation. Thanks for being a part of it.


    I knew this one would be right up your alley. Great points.

    From a blogging standpoint, I think of it as a conversation. So I try to write just as we were speaking to each other. So, to me, in this setting of the blog, I think it’s important to be clear in thought – then let that clarity be spoken/written on my posts and comments.


    Yes! Yes! and Yes! From what I’ve experienced, rich conversation comes from rich life experience. So great point.

  12. Dawud Miracle says


    Exactly. If you’re writing about software, development, seo, etc – it’s still, likely, about passion. Developers are often quite passionate about their projects. This is just another example where passion trumps writing skill.

  13. Dawud Miracle says


    Writing is important, don’t get my wrong. After all, writing is the mechanism for communicating on our blogs.

    What I want to convey is that passion, clarity of blog goals, and authenticity will usually create more readership than great prose. Blogs are about relationships; they’re about conversation. Write how you’d speak, as though you’re truly having a conversation with one of your readers. Which means, mistakes and imperfection are fine.

  14. Armen says

    I’m not ignorant of its importance either. Infact, I have bookmarked large articles that are supposed to help with grammar and sentance structure; it is important, very important. I just wish I had either listened, or been taught properly at school. I say the latter because from my experience, it would appear that many people suffer from a lack literary ability.

    It’s sad really.

  15. Armen says

    Do not feel alone. I’m British, and it’s the same there. I’m living in Australia, and it’s the same here. 🙁

  16. Mark Silver says

    I feel for you- I just happened to have spent many, many years as a writer- working in journalism, on a magazine, and now in my business I write nearly every day, and so I’ve had a chance to polish my skills.

    And I only learned grammar and language structure when I studied French- I never really took it in with my English language classes in the US.

    If you want some great writing resources that will painlessly, and even enjoyably, improve your writing, check these out:

    Eats, Shoots, and Leaves, The Zero-Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, by Lynne Truss.

    An amusing, easy-to-follow book on punctuation and structure.

    Daphne Gray-Grant runs a site called Publicationcoach.com, and her weekly Power Writing newsletter is short, to the point, and always helpful. Recommended HIGHLY.

    Feel free to let me know if these resources helped!

  17. Dawud Miracle says


    Well that goes to the general state of our education system. I can say that if you were educated in the States, you likely left high school – and even college – lacking some fundamental life skills. Writing being one. Just the state of things in the “most powerful nation in the world.”

  18. Mark Silver says

    Experiences with Daphne? I just love her writing. And I love how she takes what might seem like complicated bits about writing, and breaks it down into something simple and usable.

    Something she wrote recently spoke about not trying to write for long chunks of time- instead try writing for 15 or 20 minutes at a time, and coming back to it later.

    She’s also talked about how to use verbs powerfully, and the impact they have. And etc, etc, etc. I think if you sign up for her ezine, you won’t be sorry.

  19. Dawud Miracle says


    Amazing that as a human race we’ve never had so many mediums for communication yet we probably as poor at it as any time in history. If you ever want an interesting read, find a book about the American Civil War that highlights letters written from the infintry men who were farmers, tradesmen and the like. It’s incredible the vast usage of English to express themselves. They are much more descript – and with much fewer words then our best scholars today.


    Great resources. I’ve heard Daphne’s pretty good at what she does. Care to share any of your experiences with her?

  20. Adam Kayce : Monk At Work says

    I think she does have archives; but if she doesn’t, I’ve got a boatload of her ezines still, and I could forward them to you.

    Mark’s right; they’re juicy. 😀

  21. Andy says

    It’s all about the enthusiasm for me.

    Look at John Chow, for instance. If I were to critique his writing, I’d say its mediocre, at best (sorry). Spelling mistakes, bad grammar, the works. But his enthusiasm for the message he is trying to get across beams out of every word.

  22. Dawud Miracle says


    Interesting point. I know John Chow has a huge readership on his blog. And he definitely writes with passion. What’s interesting is that his readers still enjoy his posts even with the mistakes he leaves. Goes to show you what’s important – at least to his readers.

    The key, it seems, is to know what your readers want.

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