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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

How to Write the Perfect Blog Post

Surprisingly few of my friends have an ongoing blog. Sure there are the social tools like Facebook, but there are remarkably few who bother to write anything at all. Sad really, as blogging has little input costs apart from time and its not for a lack of connectivity in Zimbabwe. Maybe they feel that they have nothing to share (generally not true of people) or they don’t know how. Getting started is simple, sustaining your writing and getting noticed on the web are two different things.

There are multiple views on how to write the perfect post-are you aiming for grammatical prowess, recognition, number of hits or giving the right information? The first thing to realise is that you can’t reach or please everyone at once. My advice would be to target a niche, a specific audience and write too them.

Decide on a title. Search engines like simple headings that include the key words that people will search for, e.g.’write’, ‘blog’ ‘post’ will target a population hoping to improve their blogging skills. Fun titles work as well, and can be attractive to people who pick up the keywords from your text. E.g ‘The Price tag of Death’ is morbid but possibly enticing. Take your pick.

Then write. I mean it that simply-write. Put what you want to say on the screen. Don’t worry about punctuation (yet), just have fun. Enjoy it. Don’t try force it out, just flow. That’s why I recommend you write about something you enjoy, that ignites you. Punctuation can be checked later. Web punctuation is not essential, but just makes things better to read.

Writing is a process and can be developed. If you are planning on doing it for any length of time invest in it a bit. Use new words once in a while. I often type up in word before copying the text to Blogger, and use the thesaurus function to change a few expressions here and there. Study other blogs, Blogs of Note is a good place to start. See what they do that makes them stand out or be significant, then plagiarise. Then take it a step futher and improvise, maybe you’ll start the next trend on the web.

A couple of guidelines about the text.
1. Include links. Blogs are network tools, use them.
2. Do not name drop unless you are specifically blogging about that person, it makes it irritating for those of us looking for specific information. So do not refer to blonde bimbo/icons or recently dead Australian actors unless you are blogging about them. That said accidents do happen, I once included, unintentionally, two names at separate places in a post which when combined added up to the name of an adult film actor who happened to be in the news. My ‘referring links’ tool on my Statcounter picked up the anomaly, and after a little judicious investigation I got a bit of a shock, ah well, we learn. No I’m not telling you which one, you can work it out for yourself one day. That aside if you are writing about the bookkeeping practices of Hampstead Heath you will be forgiven by people looking for articles on Mr. Ledg...r.
3. Photos, videos, anything. Break up the blankness once in a while with something different, preferable relevant, but hey it all helps.

At the end of the day have fun. Search for and find that internal satisfaction that comes from posting something you are proud of. Length is irrelevant, just say what you want to say and enjoy it.

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