Saturday, May 23, 2015

Blog Post Basics

Blog posting is not exactly rocket science, but there are some basic best practices that can help you create content that is engaging and useful for your audience.

Use An Appropriate Title

If in doubt, just use plain language that clearly communicates what your post is about.  If that does not make sense for your blog, then ignore that advice.  Maybe your blog is about Shakespeare's works, so you want every title to be some cute misquote of Shakespeare.  That's fine, do what makes sense for your blog.

Lead Your Post With a Relevant Image

Your post is going to be linked in feeds filled with multimedia content.  If you have an image in your post, it will dramatically increase visibility and avoid your wonderful content from being lost in the noise among the unrelenting tide of cute pet pictures and wacky video hi-jinks.

Images also helps one distinguish and identify articles from one another.  For example - "It's the one with the cat looking at the flower."

Use Jump Breaks

A "jump break" is that thing that tells your blog where to break up your article.  The content before it will be included on the main blog.  I recommend no more than a paragraph or two.  Ideally, those few words give one a sense of what the post is about.

The biggest benefit of this is that it stops your main blog page from becoming one big wall of text, dominated by your most recent post.

Err on the Side of Concise

It is tempting to just keep spitting out every idea you have on a topic and to wax poetic about each one.  But your goal is communication.  If you exhaust your reader with long walls of text, you greatly reduce the chance they will actually get the message of your post and reduce the chance they will want to read future posts.

So, try to stay on track and if you can say something effectively in three sentences as opposed to three paragraphs, then do so.

Don't Wait for Perfection

This is a corollary to being concise.  If you raise too high of a bar for your posts, you may never post. If you want to post on a lengthy topic, don't wait until you can create a novella on it.  Get busy posting coherent bite-size pieces.  It will be easier for you to write and for your audience to consume.

Labels/Tags Can Be Helpful

In your Blogger post creation window, you will see a little widget to the right called "Labels".  If you click on that you can add tags to your pages.  This is handy to facilitate searching within your blog.  For example, if you occasionally post DIY posts, then if you slap a "diy" tag on those posts, you can pull them up with a quick search.

You can then copy the URL for that search and post it or pass it along to someone that just wants to see that information.

The Schedule Feature Is Nice

In your Blogger post creation window, you will see a little widget to the right called "Schedule".  The default is "Automatic" and that means that when you click "Publish" it will immediately post.  You can choose to set a specific date and time, which allows you to create posts in advance and not worry about coming back to post them in the future.

Preview Is Your Friend

No matter how amazing you may be, sometimes we forget a line break or heading here and there.  Click the "Preview" button before you post just to insure things are laid out well.  I know from personal experience that some templates look better with some blank lines inserted and some don't.  Always preview before posting.

Now, go forth and post.

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