There are quite a few factors which collectively contribute to making a blogger and their blog successful. Most people would agree that producing a blog post that’s well-written and easy to read is one of those key factors, so in today’s post we’re going to look at how to do that.
When I say they should be well-written, I mean they should have short sentences and contain paragraphs. They should be free from spelling and grammatical errors. Its ok to use less formal language, but be aware that some colloquialisms and slang may not translate from one culture to another so try to keep your language universally appropriate.
Abbreviations and acronyms
Depending on what you’re writing about, you may be tempted to use acronyms, but will they be understood by everyone? For example, I suspect that we all know that BBC = British Broadcasting Corporation or at least understand what the BBC is, but if I were writing an article about the world of work, many people, including many in the UK, wouldn’t know what the CIPD is (Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development).
While a blog can be quite informal in tone, I would advise against using lots of, or any textese in your blog.
When writing, even if you’re primarily writing for yourself, you should think about your reader. You want to make reading your blog as easy as possible. You want to keep them on your site, reading your post rather than moving on to another site and blogger. When I’m writing, particularly something like this, I imagine I’m talking directly to you (a single person), and I more or less write what I’d say.
Spellcheck and proofreading
Finally, from a writing point of view, if you’re not confident in your spelling, use a spell checker (many bloggers seem to be making use of Grammarly). However, do not assume it will be 100% accurate. It is important that you still proofread your work as, if you mistype a word (hit for hot, for example), your spellchecker will not pick this up. Additionally, be aware of the differences in language, spelling and expression across the world – American English can be different from British English, for example. You should be proofreading your work to identify mistakes and to ensure you are happy with what you’ve written, as well as how well it flows (is it logical and does it make sense).
Sometimes people can be very good with big, fancy words. However, when we aren’t used to writing, this can cause us problems. Don’t feel you need to use certain words to fit in. Its better to work with simple language (easy words and short sentences) because you will have more impact.
There are a few things to consider with regard to structure which I discuss below.
Is it all one big solid screen of text – all in one paragraph? That will put many people off reading. Your work needs to be pleasing to the eye. Make use of headings to indicate what different sections are about – as I have done with this post. Also make good use of paragraphs and sentences.
Paragraphs in blogs tend to be quite short – but by the same token, they should be more than single sentences. Each paragraph should deal with a single topic. I also want to tell you about sentence structure – so that will be a new paragraph.
As I said above, ideally sentences should be short. As a student, I was advised to keep my sentences to about 25 words. All these years later, its a rule I still stick to. If we go beyond that we tend to have too many ideas together which gets confusing. Think about a time you’ve been tired and you’re trying to read something. It can be difficult to concentrate and we get confused. The same can happen with sentences which are too long, with too many clauses. A clause is a bit of text between commas. If a sentence is really long, with lots of commas, rather than full stops, it can become confusing as you try to make sense of everything.
Structure also affects how well your work flows. Does it make sense and is it in a logical order. Most times I write a plan of what I want to put into a post so that the running order makes sense (and as I’m writing this I’m asking if I’ve got it in the right place or should I move it). Its the same as when you’re reading a book, you don’t want to be half way through and the author puts in a note saying “oops, I forgot to write the introduction, so here it is now”. You needed that at the beginning to help contextualise everything, and the author needs to go back to the beginning and add it in there. From my experience of writing, this happens all the time (well it does to me). I take a note of whatever idea has occurred to me so I can put it in the right place. Its why we edit and proofread. I’d suggest, before you start writing, that you think about all the things you want to say and get them in an order that makes sense to you.
Have an Introduction and Conclusion to your post, so they pull everthing together – its the equivalent of wrapping your work up with a nice big bow – unless, of course, you want to print it off and use a real bow.
Presentation on screen
If you want people to read your work you also need to ensure it looks good on the screen (make sure it works on all devices – PC, tablet, mobile).
Be yourself – relax and enjoy writing. Its your blog and the other bloggers want to meet the real you. Good luck.
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