Many people worry about blogging / writing in English when it’s not their native language. Perfectionism, in this case, is not really useful – and we’ll find out why in today’s article.
English is not my native language. The same goes for many bloggers out there. But this isn’t a problem and it should definitely not prevent you from blogging / writing or launching a successful blog in English.
Guess what? This doesn’t have to be a problem and prevent you from launching a successful, profitable blog!
Blogging for English-language readers
When I started blogging many years ago (I’m doing this since 2008!) I was always frustrated because I wasn’t a native English speaker. In my native language, I can produce awesome copy.
Funny, smart, witty. I have a great style and I can juggle words like… well… only a native speaker can.
But when it comes to writing in English… things are not as good. I am not a master of the grammar. I don’t know as many words as I would like. Expressions to make the content more engaging, idioms… I can’t use them as I would like to.
Sometimes, I feel that the content I write in English is dull. Uninteresting. Boring. No matter how much I try.
And usually I am right.
But you know what? That is not really a problem!
Despite all this, I still earn a living from writing articles in English, for English-language audiences.
And this proves one important lesson:
You don’t need to be a native English speaker to have a large audience and have them read your articles!
You don’t need to be a native English speaker to make money blogging in English. You don’t need many bells and whistles to produce high quality content – or at least content that your audience finds useful.
The main rule in journalism is that you have to be concise. Precise and to the point. This is what makes great journalists, not the ability to charm you with their writing!
Of course, being able to tell stories and juggle with words like a mini J.K. Rowling does help a ton and having a voice, a style or an approach different to what everybody else offers is an advantage.
But it’s not needed if you want to be successful as a non-native English speaker.
It does sound kind of cliché right now, but it is true: if I can do it, you can do it as well!
Here are some other important things that matter when you are blogging in English, if it’s not your native language:
Blogging in General: Idea over spelling
You will find out that most audiences are looking for that bright idea and not for the crusty crunch covering useless words.
The idea matters the most and your readers are ready to get past some misspelled words, some poor grammar and less than stellar phrasing if the article as a whole is useful to them and serves a purpose.
What does “useful” mean?
Well, it depends. Your articles can keep your visitors in front of the screen if you answer their questions.
If you offer them a valuable guide. If you share a helpful experience. If you tell a story they can relate to. You tell them what they expect to hear.
The “idea” doesn’t have to be something that nobody has ever seen before. Your article must answer your readers’ needs. You have to deliver exactly what you’re saying you will.
Blogging is more than words
This is another potential major advantage that bloggers have: you don’t have to stick to words only. Especially now when it is so easy to take photos and record your own videos!
Blogging in its modern form is not all about words and phrasing and producing text that is ready to win literary awards.
No, blogging is also about images. Video content. Experiences. Soul. Usefulness.
That’s a great advantage that few other jobs offer. You can increase the value of an article by adding high quality images.
Remember the saying that an image is worth 1,000 words? Well, that image says the same thing, no matter what your native language is (or what the native language of your reader is!)
Not all English language readers are natives either
Even though I am not a native English speaker, I almost exclusively consume content in English. It’s most likely your own situation, since you’re reading this article.
This means that, even though at least a part of an English language blog post’s readers will indeed by native speakers who will be able to at least frown upon poor grammar and a less than stellar delivery, many won’t.
Actually, I can say that I read in the past some articles written by some extremely talented people who used long, impressive words and expressions and phrasing that was nothing short of mind blowing.
It was also very difficult to follow and all those fancy words… well, I didn’t really understand them all.
So I stopped reading that amazing content.
Great content, when it comes to blogging – in whatever language you’re doing it – is content that is easy to understand. And you don’t need to be flawless in English in order to deliver such content.
Always improve your writing style when blogging
My rule is that I always have to strive to get better. To improve my style, to write better content. To learn new things and especially new words.
For starters, do what I did: check out which are the most common mistakes or errors when writing in English.
Just google it and find as many examples as possible. Or check out this article to spot some of the biggest errors you can make and tick them off your box.
In my case, one of the mistakes I made most often was using “it’s” instead of “its”. I am no longer doing that, and I stopped after learning what each of those words actually mean. Sometimes, fixing your spelling or grammar is extremely easy!
The if clause, for example, is a nightmare for me and probably for everybody who’s not a native English speaker (and probably many who are).
It’s OK – I try to stay away from it as much as possible, but if not, I’m ready to do some butchering and maybe have one person complain about my error. It happens, but most of the time people just ignore it as long as they can understand what I’m saying.
Take advantage of modern technology to improve your blogging
Nowadays, you have a huge advantage that you should definitely use when blogging, especially if you’re not entirely satisfied with your English language writing.
That advantage is Artificial Intelligence. You have free tools like ChatGPT, Google’s Bard or Microsoft Bing (to name just a few of the many available) that you can use to help improve your writing.
While I would never recommend anyone – at least not for now – to rely exclusively on AI-produced articles and content, I would recommend it to those who want to double check their grammar and spelling.
A quick prompt can have the AI writers correct your article and make it sound better (or at least be 100% error free) in English. See the changes that it made, learn from those mistakes, right the wrongs and you’re already on a path to great success.
And accept that you can make mistakes – and that it’s OK to do so – in an ever-changing environment.
Globalization means that things are changing. People are becoming multilingual and this means that words, grammar, spelling change.
This is not necessarily a good or bad thing, but it’s something that happens. And most people know to take it with stride and move on.
Do you know what makes a non-native English blogger a guaranteed failure?
Not giving it a try. Not giving it their best. Not learning and trying to improve.
You didn’t pay too much attention to your English classes in high school? You learned it all by yourself and you’re still not able to produce high quality content?
That’s not a problem: you can get better and you don’t have to be perfect! Trust me – I am not and I am making a living producing content in the English language.
So don’t be afraid – just do it. Read a lot of content in English. Try to learn from that content. Get better. Practice. Write a lot. Then re-write.
But, most important: don’t worry! Your readers – the true readers, the ones that are genuinely interested in the content you’re producing, the ones who really want to find out the answer/guide/tips or whatever you are writing about will be very forgiving and will be able to get past minor (or even major) errors as long as you deliver high quality content!
Sure, I’m not saying that you should just quit your job and start blogging. That might not be a great idea even if you are a native English speaker. But do try it and don’t let this minor thing prevent you from achieving true greatness.
It’s doable. There are people who write worse than I do who earn a better living from blogging in English. There are people who write much better than I do who earn close to nothing, although they’re blogging for a long time.
As long as you are smart about it, you can do it. Guaranteed.
Get all the technicalities right – from a fast theme (like Trellis if you’re making some money or GeneratePress if you’re just starting), get great hosting, do proper keyword research and you’re almost guaranteed success.
Yes, it’s possible to be a successful English-language blogger even if English is not your native language.
While very poor English language skills will most likely hurt your chances a lot, there are still options that you have to improve your copy for free… and keep learning and get better from there, in order to be able to produce that acceptable content easier.
Make sure to always offer your reader what they want from the query / article you’re producing, be honest and confident, and you will see that it’s almost guaranteed that they will ignore the minor problems and still read your content.
And not just read it, but enjoy it!