Recently I have been helping a couple of friends set up their first blogs. As well as learning the technical steps to setting up a blog, and creating blog posts using the WordPress interface, we have also talked about how to approach writing an actual blog post.
Now, I have been web designing and blogging for over ten years, and I read blogs all the time, and I suppose I have learned a thing or two. Certainly people seem to think so, as I am frequently asked for help.
But, first let’s qualify this, I am talking specifically here about ‘creative blogging’, e.g, a blog post written by a creative person for creative people. This is a very different type of blogging than that aimed at a technical, or business audience.
To keep it simple and succinct, I have condensed some straight forward tips into bullet points, here goes:
- CREATING A POST
Approach writing your post as if you were telling a friend about your new project, design, photo-shoot or trip etc. Sometimes I ‘vocalise’ what I am going to write, in that I ‘talk it out loud’. This helps me to formulate a ‘narrative’, as you want your post to be chatty and engaging.
HUGE bodies of text are very off-putting and it looks, dull..dull…dull. If you have a lot to write about, then break it up with some images. They can be full size inserted between paragraphs, or laid out like a magazine article and floated to the right or left with the text flowing around them.
Remember, when blogging you are not writing a report or an essay, you are trying to engage people in a relaxed and chatter manner. So, try not to be overly formal. The best advice I can give, is to start reading other design/creative blogs. Very soon you will start to differentiate between the good ones and the bad. Take note of what engages you about them, that includes layout, writing style and images. Then you can apply what you have learnt to your own blog.
Include nice images. A creative blog should be ‘image led’, because interesting and colourful images (though nothing that hurts the eyes) catches people’s attention, particularly creative people. Research has shown that one of the reasons for the success of Pinterest and Instagram is that they are ‘image led’. I have found that the most successful blogs incorporate an even balance of interesting content and good images.
- OTHER PEOPLE’S PICTURES
If you are going to include images from other blogs and magazines, ensure that it is OK to do so. If they have a ‘share’ feature which enables you to link the image to your blog post, then all is good. If not, then contact the blog/magazine and ask if you can post the image BEFORE you do, and then having done so, include a credit and link back to the original source.
When using your own photography, ensure the images are of good quality. That means not using badly lit, grainy and poorly composed photographs. Pay attention to images in blogs and magazines that are popular, and take note of lighting and composition etc.
Lastly, if you want other people to know about you, then engage them on their own blogs. When reading your favourite blogs, leave a comment, which you can link back to your own blog. For one thing, this is good SEO and directs traffic back to your own site, BUT more importantly, it shows a willingness to engage and shows community spirit, plus, blog authors LOVE LOVE LOVE comments on their blogs, and the good ones will take the time reply to your comments.
Good luck, and happy blogging!