Tuesday, May 29, 2012

3 Tips for Better Blog Posts

#1: Write good post titles.
I'm much better at writing the body copy of a post than in figuring out what to name it. My instinct is to make a title vague and creative, which has been my go-to method in the past, despite the fact that "How to Blog Better" articles tell you never to do that.

This weekend I realized that these articles were probably right... I mean, do I even know what my previous posts are about, based solely on their titles? And if not, how can I expect a new reader to come in and feel like they know what's going on?

Great question...

Here's a post that I re-titled recently. It was originally called 20 Different Shades of Yellow. Can you guess what it was about? No?

Whatever your guess is, I would bet that you're wrong. It had nothing to do with painting or even about anything yellow. It was actually about how glad I am that I'm a design student instead of a medical student. Clearly evident by the title, right? I think you see my point.

#2: Edit yourself. Then edit yourself again.
I read an excerpt from Stephen King's book "On Writing" awhile back and am reminded of it every time I write a post now. Basically, he says the best writing lesson he ever learned was how to edit himself. Get to the point and leave out all the long and flowery descriptions!

I ramble quite a bit when I write and for the most part I don't edit myself while I'm writing, but I make myself go back and do it afterwards now. This forces me to figure out what I'm trying to say and how to say it most clearly, and also helps make sure other people are going to follow what I wrote without getting bored.

Here's what I wrote originally for this tip, before the editing:
I ran across an excerpt from Stephen King's book "On Writing" awhile back and it has stuck itself in my head pretty deeply. To sum it up, he says that the best thing he ever learned about writing was that he writes better when he removed extraneous words from his writing. That means all those flowery adjectives, long descriptions, and over-explanations. Get to the point! 
I find myself rambling quite a bit when I write, and for the most part I don't edit myself as I write, but when I go back and read what I've written, I try to remind myself of this point and edit myself severely. Generally this forces me to figure out the point of what I'm saying and how to say it most clearly and succinctly. The posts that I haven't done this on generally don't get comments on, and the posts I have generally do, so... it seems to work.
#3: Use "Preview" mode.
Whatever you do, don't just hit "Publish" as soon as you're done writing! Always re-read your posts at least once in a Preview mode.

Similar to how essays always read differently when you print them out, reading over your post in a preview window rather than in your editing window will make you aware of things you might've missed otherwise. I quite often find weird formatting, misspelled words, and awkward sentences in my posts when I check them this way.

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What are your favorite tips for making better blog posts? Share them below and I'll make a list of the best ones in a future post!

6 comments:

  1. I am so bad for not editing. Or. I WAS so bad for not editing. Since I joined the BBN I've found I put a lot more effort into re-reading (in preview mode, you're so right!) my posts and editing them. (My readership was all of six, on a good day. I didn't advertise well...or at all.)

    Great article, thanks so much for posting some tips, tricks and great advice!

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    1. Glad I could help! I'm horrible at advertising as well, but BBN is really helping me get in that mindset! ;)

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  2. Yes on the editing part! I'm JUST NOW getting around to editing my blog posts before I post them, and I like them so much better after I take out all the extra stuff that didn't help my point. Love this!

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  3. Wonderful blog, I love all your pointers. I always go back and edit, re-edit:)

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  4. The preview button is my favourite. All of these tips are fantastic and definitely things I wished I came across in my first few months of blogging.

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  5. Really great tips & I agree with them whole-heatedly. Editing and re-editing is so important. I tend to ramble too, so I make sure I give myself enough time to go back & check it again. :)

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