Drew asked me for some tips on how to write a good blog for an upcoming presentation he’s making. I thought I’d share my thoughts with you too and see if there is anything else that you think I’ve missed.

Off the top of my head here’s what I came up with – I’m sure I could do more (since this is what I do for a living) but this is a snapshot list.

  • I think a huge part is to have a healthy dose of humility. I find I get
    more comments on posts that admit I screw up than I do on the ones where
    I’m happy with what I’ve done.
  • Web design best practices should be followed:
    • Use plain language but not lazy language – grammar still matters.
      It’s a fine line between being cute and looking stupid and uneducated
    • No bouncing smilies or graphics (my personal bugaboo)
    • Shorter posts with lots of white space unless you’re giving
      instructions.
    • If you are giving instructions, make sure they are correct!
    • Put your email somewhere so I know how to contact you. If
      you are afraid of spammers, put it with spaces or the word dot so they can’t
      grab it. ie. stashaholic at gmail dot com instead of
      the usual format
    • Use
      clear categories and navigation not cutsey names
    • Search functionality – if your template doesn’t include one, get one
      from an external source
    • If using Blogger, make sure it is set to accept comments from
      everyone not just blogger members
    • If you move your site, make sure your links are working. It’s
      a pain in the ass but you need to do it. If you delete pictures from flickr
      (or wherever), go through your posts and update the links.
    • If providing patterns, make a pdf so it is printable (use
      primopdf – it’s free)
    • People forget about accessibility. Many colour-blind and visually
      impaired people read blogs. Alt-tags and carefully choosing colours for
      your CSS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_blindness#Prevalence)
    • Have integrity – don’t steal people’s pictures from their sites
      and post the pattern on your own – link to them instead (it’s happened to
      me)
    • Use the spell checker!
  • Make it easy to subscribe to a RSS feed or an email feed – don’t make me jump through hoops
  • Not every comment needs a comment back. Comment on someone’s comment when you have something relevant to add – not just “thanks!” Differing opinions on this one abound though. It’s just my personal style.

I personally have started blogging less but ending up with better posts. If I don’t have anything to say, I don’t have a post just for the sake of having one. My readership has
stayed about the same and my stress level has dropped enormously.

 

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