NBI: Blog posting
The Newbie Blogger Initiative is in full swing this month, so I thought I would provide a few suggestions and advice on writing blog posts. As I cannot claim to be a particularly successful blogger (no fame and glory), this is also a mix of things that I do as well as things that I do not do – at least not regularly.
- Schedule your blog writing, not your blog posting
Unless you write for a living, chances are that you may not be able to write blog posts at a regular, frequent interval and provide good content. Better then to schedule times for when you sit down and write blog posts. If you do not allocate time in advance, chances are you might not write anything – “no time right now”.
Once you are happy with a blog post, then you can publish it.
It may take 1 session, 2 sessions, 5 sessions – eventually you will have written something you are happy with.
- Avoid walls of text
Make it easy for your reader to read your text – people will generally read it through a browser on a computer, or perhaps a tablet or a mobile phone. Reasonably small paragraphs with some space in between will help.
New readers might also just decide to ignore your post, too much effort to figure out if it is worthwhile to read for them.
- In the first paragraph, write a summary and introduction to what your blog post is about
This is a technique that is used in newspaper articles, to capture interested readers and/or get part of the message across for those that are simply browsing.
A lot of people will be reading blogs through an RSS/ATOM reader or stumble upon blog posts through search engines. Without something to draw their interest, they might just consider skipping it if they are not a regular reader.
- Use a spell checker
Bad spelling and grammar can diminish the general experience of your post. This is in particular something to have in mind if you do not write in your native language. Not that native speakers are immune to bad spelling and grammar, but we who post blogs in other languages than our own may still be at a slight disadvantage here.
Regardless of what language you write in, chances are that you may be blind to the mistakes you make because your mind sees what you intended and not what you have written.
- When you have written your blog post, go back and update the first introduction/summary paragraph
If you have used the previous suggestion with a summary in the beginning, go back and rewrite it when you are done with your blog post. Chances are that what you ended up writing is not entirely what you initially thought you would write. Plus you might have thought of a much better way to describe it at this point.
- When you have finished writing the blog post, do not click Publish immediately
If you are like me you have ended up spending more time writing the post than you have planned for, it is late in the evening/night or you have to rush to do something else. Not a good time to publish it, especially if you are forcing or squeezing out the last parts. Chances are that you have forgotten something you wanted to include, some phrases will look weird, you have made spelling mistakes etc. In most cases it does not have to be published right now.
Relax a little bit, perhaps do something else and then read the post again.
If you are still happy with it, then publish it.
Personally I have been consistently bad at scheduling my blog writing time – the few times I have done that it has worked out well, I think. I am a bit too quick to publish something I have written also, especially after a (too) long writing session. For me, most of the hits I get on the blog come from search engines, but I have no idea how often or how many of these may continue to read what I write beyond what initially got them here.