March 10, 2010

Effective Blogging Tips

Posted on March 10, 2010 by Rachael Bunday

Add Commentary: Many of our blog pieces appear to be articles.  Although informative, by posting them sans the author’s thoughts, the known is merely being restated…they’re merely restating something already known. As bloggers, you want to take a stance and either add to the conversation or generate one. Ultimately this will keep readers coming back to your blog and hopefully leave comments.

In blogging, you want to provide as much first-hand information as possible to your readers. By linking to a first-hand source, a news wire or an article–it only strengthens the credibility of your commentary because you’re allowing readers to read the details themselves.

This will keep your blog content fresh and also help keep post length short.

Shorten your paragraphs: Writing for blogs is different then writing for anything else. You don’t want to scare away readers by inundating them with such large loads of text at once. They’ll likely skim the first few sentences at best.

Each paragraph should consist of 2-3 sentences.

Shorten your posts: Just as you want to keep paragraph length pretty short, you want to do the same with your posts in general. When it comes to blogs, people anticipate short entries.

It’s excellent that you have a lot to say, however try to synthesize a bit. Each post should roughly have no more than 10 little paragraphs.

This makes it easier on the eyes and less daunting for readers to read. Sometimes you can use the spacing to your advantage when you want to emphasize a point/idea/quote. I would also use a bit more space between paragraphs, just so it’s clear there’s a break.

Bold text: Wwithin the posts there is little to no use of bold text. In lengthier posts, this is crucial for reader retention.

In blogging, bolded text is most effective when used in any of the following ways:

  • Highlight key ideas: use this sparingly, however if you want a key phrase/word/idea to stand out, bold it!
  • Highlight the thesis: this makes it immediately obvious to readers what the author’s thoughts are on the subject.
  • Pose a question: This is a great way to encourage reader feedback! Since the goal of blogging is to generate a conversation between the author and the readers, posing a question can be extremely effective , it gives them an easy subject to focus on.

Overall textual devices are invaluable tools to help readers get through reading on a computer and get a feel for what you’re writing about. People’s eyes need a break, therefore use little devices such as bolding and spacing to your advantage.

Linking: Anytime you refer to anything/everything that has a website, link to it! This allows your readers to read about something first-hand without you having to explain every little detail.

  • Give links a title, don’t just paste in the direct URLs, it looks sloppy.
  • Paraphrase or only use a snippet of a quote and then link to the rest of the article/quote/story/case…this will minimize long post lengths.
  •  Anytime you refer to a website/network (anything and everything as mentioned above) link to it. This helps with trackbacks, Search Engine Optimization and build credibility among readers.

When linking, bold the name of the company/publication, link to the article.

Whenever you can, attribute where you’re getting info/text from. Because the writing is in 3rd person, it’s obvious that this was from another source. This may disgruntle or confuse readers and somehow affect how they perceive your credibility. Because you only have a reader’s attention for a split-second, little attributions are key.

It’s best to show the readers what you’re talking about with links, it backs-up whatever the author is talking about and ultimately builds your credibility. This allows you to refer to many things and depending on the background knowledge of your readers, they can select which things to click on and find more out.

—>Also, as long as you link throughout your post, a source list at the end of each post is not required. In fact, this deters readers because it looks like an essay.

Esoteric language: Remember, you’re trying to attract potential clients who may not know much about the law. Therefore, they may be easily intimidated by “legal speak.”

Therefore in posts like, “Kansas Agency Denies…” which are incredibly informative–may come across like it’s a post from lawyers for lawyers. Just as mentioned in the bit about adding commentary, you want to generate a conversation and have them returning to your blog.

Or in the article, “Is Massachusetts Showing…”
‘The closest that any statutes come to the promise of a comprehensive environmental statute is the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321-4370(f)’ <———this will confuse and deter the average joe.

Therefore you want to write with language that’s easily understandable.

For a webinar on the Art of Effective Blogging created by Lex Blog, please visit this link

Tags: Blog Writing Tips

Blog Writing Tips

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