While it’s relatively easy to set up a blog and start writing on it there are a few basic blogging guidelines that will help enhance your blog, make it easier for your readers to use and keep you on the right side of the law.
Use pictures and videos on your blog. Images help liven up a page of text and videos can explain complex ideas easily. Do make sure you have permission to use the images/videos though – use your own images, source them from free-to-use sites or purchase them from a stock photography site.
Use tags and categories to organise your blog. Create several topic categories for your posts and add additional tags to further define what each post is about to help readers find relevant content.
Break up your blog posts with headings, sub headings, paragraphs, bullet points and numbered lists. A block of plain text can be hard to read; a well formatted post is much more attractive.
Ask for feedback and respond to comments promptly. Finishing your blog post with an open question can encourage readers to leave comments but if you don’t respond they won’t bother in future.
Use plain English. Unless you are writing specifically for a defined market, you want as many people as possible to access your posts, so write in a straightforward style and avoid jargon. If you do need to use jargon include an explanation of its meaning.
Respect your readers. Being controversial is fine, but you never know who will read your blog, so don’t voice any opinions you would not be prepared to say in public.
Update your blog regularly. If you post once in a blue moon you might as well not bother. Give yourself a schedule – once a week, once a month – and stick to it.
Advertise your blog. Include a link on your email signature, in forum posts, on your business card. Comment on other blogs and leave your URL in the info box.
Break any laws. This is especially important if you use a host for your blog such as WordPress.com or Blogger. Make sure you read and understand their terms and conditions so you don’t breach them. Even if you host your own blog you still need to be aware of the risk of breaking defamation laws – so don’t write anything you can’t prove is true, especially about people or companies.
Use other people’s content without their permission. This applies to the written word as well as imagery. By all means draw on other people’s ideas but always use your own words. Always give credit where it’s due, whether it’s by quoting another blog or using a Creative Commons image.
Post rubbish. Make sure you post quality content and you actually believe any opinions you post. Your blog is a reflection of you, so make sure it’s a good one!
Start fights. While controversy can be a good thing, don’t be deliberately shocking just to stir up a reaction. This applies to comments as well as posts – if someone responds negatively to your post, acknowledge their opinion and then let it go.
Be too wordy. Blog posts don’t have to be long – 300-600 words is fine. Don’t use eight words where one would do the job just as well, and don’t search the dictionary for the longest, most obscure words either!
Make personal attacks. Internet forums often have the rule “attack the post, not the poster”, meaning you can disagree with the contents of a thread but don’t make it personal – and the same rule applies to blogs. If you’re writing about a problem you had with a company, keep it objective and report the facts only. Don’t make rude or personal remarks about individuals.
For more help with blogging give the team at HodgesNet a call today on 01793 608777.