How to Blog Part 8: Publish Your Next Post

The art of blogging is closely related to the art of writing.

There are many forms, formats, and types of writing. Blog writing is no different.

A well-formed blog post can have many forms, from a few words and a reference link to a fully-formed essay.

One of the first things you need to know about writing for the web, and blogging specifically, is that now is not the time to be cute. Clever, yes, but cute not.

Don’t waste the visitor’s time with clever titles that have nothing to do with what the post is about.

Tantalizing images and photography don’t contribute or reflect the purpose of the content. They may actually interfere with the visitor’s experience and expectations.

Make your publishing decisions carefully and judiciously to benefit the visitor and reader.

Sift your content through your site’s goals to stay on topic and focused.

Here are some things you need to know about the format of a well-formed blog post.

  • Write a post title that describes what the article is about.
  • Include properly formed links as words, not link dumps (the whole link in the post content like http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2006/04/10/what-do-you-do-when-someone-steals-your-content/) as they are ugly and hard to read.
  • If you reference a post post, link to it.
  • Write short paragraphs, usually one point per paragraph.
  • Use emoticons (smilies) rarely and carefully. ;-)
  • Use bold for emphasis rarely and carefully.
  • Use italics for book, magazine, and movie titles – and air quotes (don’t use “quote marks” for air quotes as those are for dialog).
  • Never combine bold and italic. All caps is screaming. Bold and italic are hysterical screaming. Mix in bold, italic, and all caps and we call the police.
  • When adding photographs and images, choose to place them to the right, left, or center so the text will wrap around them.
  • If the article is long, separate it with headings such as <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, and <h4>, ranging from largest to smallest in size, like subtitles and section titles in a report. Doesn’t make sense? In WordPress, choose heading formats from the second line of the toolbar (click Kitchen Sink, the furthest right button).
  • Spell check and check punctuation. The grammar police are always lurking ready to strike.
  • Choose one or more appropriate categories for the post.
  • Add tags with words people would search for to find this post.

Lastly, let your writing reflect your personality, the you that you wish to share with the world.

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3 comments on “How to Blog Part 8: Publish Your Next Post”

  1. [...] How to Blog Part 8: Publish Your Next Post [...]

  2. “Don’t waste the visitor’s time with clever titles that have nothing to do with what the post is about.”

    Does it mean you only expect clear title, not creative ones? Fancy or ‘clever’ titles can be intriguing sometimes. If I look at it from the perspective of a site’s purpose, I would expect a funny writer or a poet or a creative writer to be a bit more abstract, in their poem or prose. Some communities have an inner circle, and they would use ‘clever’ title and it would be understood as an in-jokes, not to others. This approach means that the cleverness is an art form, it’s on purpose, and it has an target audience.

    I do agree with you that an information based site should keep the title clear.

    Today I was struggling with my post title. I first used: Did I wander lonely as a cloud? or The journey of a wandering cloud, or From a wandering cloud to the west. In the end, I kept it to Seeing the World Through my Names. My decision was based on your no-clever-title ‘doctrine’. My new title was clear-cut, a bit boring, but new visitors will feel comfortable.

    What is your view of this?

    • Creative titles can be fun, but if they work against you, misleading visitors, or not attracting the right audience, such titles are ineffective for everyone.

      I actually find the choice you made in the title more powerful and poetic than the early ideas.

      Sometimes we put too much thought behind what we are doing. It’s a simple title, yet it means so much. You’re on the right track. You are putting the title decision in the perspective of the reader rather than just for cuteness.


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