10 Blog Tips for Writing a Better Post
I don’t know about you but I spend only about 1/4 of my time writing the first draft and the rest of my time fleshing the post out and editing. I wish I could write well the first time around and if any of you can then I’m secretly jealous (please don’t tell anyone).
But the fact is I just can’t. I am constantly finding spelling, grammatical or formatting mistakes, coming up with more ideas and filling in the holes to make the post sound more conversational.
The more that I read, the more ideas keep coming to add to it. It can really be frustrating at times not being able to turn off the creative juices and say enough is enough.
It’s only until I can completely read through a post from beginning to end without editing before I know it’s done. And for reasons that I’m not certain, once I hit the publish button the post looks completely different when it’s up on the blog and I can see things that I missed. Weird! (Maybe it’s because I know my butt is on the line when it’s up on the net).
Sometimes I can wake up in the middle of the night dreaming about a post and I have to add something to it or make a minor change. Every word has to be perfect and it can really drive me crazy (which explains a lot don’t you think ;-).
But through it all I’ve come to understand there are a few blog tips that I think are important for us all to consider.
Writing Tips for Your Consideration:
1. When writing make use of shorter paragraphs. Internet viewers have lots of information they want to filter, so they will quickly scan a document to see if there is something interesting worth reading.
Long paragraphs look tedious to the eye and are a complete turn-off. Generally, a reader’s eye will only scan the first and last sentence in a paragraph. The rest of the stuff in between is considered fluff, and a reader will ignore it unless there is something that has caught their eye to read more.
So keep your paragraphs short if you want everything to be read.
2. Longer posts should make use of headings/headlines, font color and size, images, lists, bullets, bold or italics to break up the monotony of the document and to make it more comprehensible and interesting to read.
It is also a useful technique for separating the more important information that you want the reader to be sure to read.
3. It also helps from a SERPs perspective. You can read more about it at the WebMaster World Forum.
4. Make the post sound conversational. Writing should read as if the author is talking directly to you and not stilted. There are a lot of tricks to accomplish this, but what works best for me is just reading the post out loud (which has my wife shaking her head because she thinks I’m talking to myself, which I am so to speak :).
Here’s another trick for your consideration. You can also purchase software that will read the text for you. One that I’m familiar with is called TextAloud MP3. Whatever software you choose, just be sure that the voice sounds natural or it will defeat it’s purpose.
Don’t want to pay for software? Then here’s one more for you. Try this free service that will make a podcast out of your posts. You can use it in individual posts, or burn it as a podcast through Feedburner like I do. Then just click on the “play now” button and sit back and listen to your post as others would hear it. It opens up a whole new prespective. Cool!
5. Don’t let your posts be too long or too short. Only certain a-listers can get away with writing short posts. But for the rest of us mortals keeping a post to an acceptable size is preferable.
This is a subjective decision and I don’t subscribe to adhering to a rigid format like others do (such as 500 words or less) because it all depends on the type of post (such as tutorials like this that can be long due to the nature of the beast).
So if your posts are getting a little long then consider dividing it into two or more posts just like the TV soaps do… e.g. “stay tuned for tomorrow’s exciting conclusion”.
6. Writing with a certain panache and personality will also go a long way to captivating your audience. You will have to find your own style which comes with practice, but like I said in another post — “write to entertain, not drain”. I think that says it all (don’t you think).
7. There’s another matter that’s very important and I myself am guilty of. Go easy on the trigger finger. I know we all get excited and want to see our creation up on the net, but sometimes it’s best to resist that temptation and let the post simmer on your desktop like a nice pot roast. Let it age a little and take a look again later with fresh eyes before you hit the publish button. It can only improve with time.
8. And another thing (does it ever end). Be sure to keep a dictionary and thesaurus handy. There’s nothing more perturbing irritating than reading the same word over and over and over again (did I just repeat myself).
What I use is an older version of Google Deskbar residing in my windows taskbar. It has search options for definitions, synonyms and wikipedia at my beckoned command. It is a useful, convenient and necessary tool for good writing.
How I Write a Post:
9. I will usually start off by writing in point form. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, here is an example:
- write a post today about writing a great post
- I’m a dummy and can’t write very well the first time around
- etc., etc.
This is how I used to take notes in the classroom when I was a student. One of the benefits of writing like this is it allows me to get my ideas down very quickly.
By not worrying about things like capitalisation, punctuation, grammar or spelling it frees me to write in a stream of consciousness format.
That way I can get all of my ideas down because when you get to my age that Alzheimer’s thing comes into play. When I get ideas they usually they come in droves, so if I don’t write it down quickly — poof, it’s gone.
Point form allows me to write my ideas down fast.
10. Another method that I use is I try to keep a notepad, or (even better) a digital recorder on hand when I’m out of the house to recall my ideas.
A digital recorder combined with voice recognition software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking saves me time from having to write twice.
11. Did I say 10 tips? Ok, I lied. After getting my main points down, now begins the task of fleshing the post out. This is where the above 8 tips will come into play (so please read again).
Above all, please resist the temptation to search Google for what someone else has written. Try to be original, and especially do not plagiarize. Remember, SCMP (Search, Copy, Massage and Paste) is bad, bad, bad.
12. Of course, a great post will go unread if it doesn’t have a catchy title to go along with it. But that’s another subject in itself and something I will discuss in more detail later (because this post is already getting a little long in the tooth ;-).
Do you have any more ideas or time savers for writing a great post? Then I’m all ears!
Damn! I just thought of something…