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10 Blog Tips for Writing a Better Post

Writing TipsI 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…

Written May 16th, 2008 by | 91 Comments | Filed under: *Best Tips, Blog Tips, Blog Tips for Beginners, Featured Tips, Writing Blog Content , , , ,

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There are 91 Comments so far to “10 Blog Tips for Writing a Better Post”

  1. I like number eight.

    I tend to come up with ideas while I’m journaling. At the end of the week I’ll add those ideas to my list of topics I want to cover on the computer.

    At work if I think of something and I can’t get to pen/paper or the computer, I’ve always got my iAudio T2, which records sound.

    I really hate that nagging feeling you get when you had a thought or idea but couldn’t hold onto it long enough to get it down. So you keep running loops in your mind trying to come up with the set of thoughts that made you think of it.

    I’m really glad that posts can be edited once published. Even after several proofreads, I still don’t catch most grammatical mistakes. Reading aloud to myself helps me to catch most of them. I’ll usually write most of a post a week in advance. The distance I gain from a piece, allows me to catch more errors.

    A question on number 6. Can blogs be purely informative? Or, if informing is the goal of the blog, should they at optimal, inform in an entertaining manner?



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  2. “Can blogs be purely informative?”

    Yes absolutely, but on the other hand they don’t have to either. A blog can be about anything you want it to be.

    But if it is going to be informative like mine, then it should have a niche topic and try not to deviate from it.

    When I say “entertain” I don’t mean trying out for a spot at Yuk Yuks. I’m talking about not being boring.

    It’s important that you hold the attention of your audience, and let’s face it in the age of information bloat that’s no easy feat.

    Personally I try to use humour (notice the word “try”). I’m not always successful but it’s one of many ways to keep your audience interested.

    The techniques I mention in steps 1 through 6 will help to keep your posts from boring the heck out of your readers and coming back for more.

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  3. Did my last post on cooking in Costa Rica inspire this? It was a very, very long one, where I threw in many ideas I had in the past. Kinda like, pot-luck post.
    My problem is after I write, I check it/edit it (of course) but I am way too anxious to “publish it”. That final stage is where I can really see how it will all fall out on the webpage.
    Thanks for all the great tips and I will surely remember them for future posts.
    It’s nice to read that I am not alone on all of this.

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  4. You did it right because you broke it up with some nice pics.

    Admittedly I can be too quick with the trigger finger myself. I wrote this post from beginning to end on the same day.

    The funny thing is this post was never intended to become as long as it ended up. That’s the exciting thing about writing. I just start and I never know where it’s going to end. The post takes on a life of it’s own and even I don’t know where it’s going.

    The real inspiration for this post was myself because I’ve made all the mistakes and continue to do so sometimes.

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  5. …this post shows that blog bloke is an essential resource on everyone’s desktop. well done

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  6. Thanks pubescent. Someone has Stumbled this and it is already one of my more popular posts. I hope it helps.


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  7. Do you find when you are writing that you loose track of time? I can get “lost” and when I check the time, it’s HOURS later. This blog thing can be very time consuming! Thanks for the tips. Teri

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  8. I’ll say, but in my case it’s more like days than hours.

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  9. Excellent tips! My trigger finger is very fast, and thank Goddess for editing! Today I went back and added something which I’ve been trying to remember for two posts back. :-) I write fast, and I rely on inspiration to strike…never knowing what is going to appear until it reveals itself. You’re much more organized than I will ever hope to be. I like the tip about the podcast. I’m going to check that link out!

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  10. Some a-lister types will tell you to not revisit or edit your older posts. But when they write only a couple of sentences that’s easy for them to say.

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  11. TextAloud is a fantastic program. I installed it for my dad, who has poor eyesight. The program reads on-screen text fairly decently, the only annoyance being that it reads all the buttons and headings, too. He really wants it to read just the content. NewsAloud is a little trickier to work, but it’s a great little free news reader and worth a look.

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  12. Yes Kathy, it is a good program to have, especially with AT&Ts Natural Voices. It sounds amazing.

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  13. Good site I “Stumbledupon” it today and gave it a stumble for you.. looking forward to seeing what else you have..later

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  14. Nice tips.. keep it flowing.. I saw your site thru google Alert

    Dexter’s last blog post..Twitter and China Earthquake

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    Reply by: Blog Bloke at 10:41 pm said...

    Thanks Dexter

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  15. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLOKE (or happy bir-day as they say here).
    I’ll buy that your still in your 30’s. Also, land in the Everglades is becoming quiet valuable. I’d buy that too!!
    Your macha friend in CR, Teri

    Tica Macha (Teri)’s last blog post..Dolls

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    Reply by: Blog Bloke at 9:48 pm said...

    Thanks Teri.

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  16. Great post there BBloke. I enjoyed your post and maybe I can write better posts. :)
    Curtis’s last blog post..No Crabby Apple here

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    Reply by: Blog Bloke at 9:45 pm said...

    I’m sure you could Curtis.

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  17. That was a great list. Yeah it’s long but I read it all.It’s just that your title is catchy and encourage me to read all the text. :D

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    Reply by: Blog Bloke at 9:46 pm said...

    Glad you liked it Hussein.

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  18. Hey, I submitted this to Mixx today hoping to find more exposure for your excellent posts.

    Kuanyin’s last blog post..Is Social Networking Driving You Crazy?

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    Reply by: Blog Bloke at 9:44 pm said...

    Thanks sweety!

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  19. I think you broke your own rule about having under 500 words,lol. Just kidding it was a great read can’t wait for the updates on this post.

    Darryl’s last blog post..6 Amazing Ways to Make Money Writing Articles

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    Reply by: Blog Bloke at 9:03 am said...

    Thanks for dropping by Darryl. I’ll be sure to keep you posted ;-)

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  20. I always try to plot out my post before I do it and at least jot some key points down, but it never works for me - I just start writing and don’t stop. I suppose this saves time, though.

    Blogging Tips and Tricks’s last blog post..How To Effectively Comment On High PR DoFollow/CommentLuv Blogs For Backlinks

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    Reply by: Blog Bloke at 5:59 am said...

    Sometimes a post will take on a life of its own and end up becoming something completely different than I first envisioned it.

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  21. You are a very smart person!

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  22. I enjoy the read and i understand that when making a long post you have to make your paragraph short if you really want the reader to continue reading thanks for sharing.

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  23. Some good information here. I think a lot of people still get stuck on #1. Shorter paragraphs, subheads, and lists = more scannable content. This will keep your readers with you, even on a long post.

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