Writing Blog Posts

Last Thursday, I completed an overview of using WordPress to write blog posts by comparing the visual and text areas. There are a lot of details I haven’t covered over this sequence and so if you have questions, leave a comment. Today’s post is about blog content.

At the beginning of this sequence I suggested there are at least three approaches to blogging; the diary, library and noticeboard.  You can combine these approaches. Using categories, you can set up pages in your navigation that each focus on one of these approaches. So you might have a noticeboard for events and take down posts when events expire and an information page where you can archive permanent information. I shall go into more detail about archiving information next time.

I found this post recently which identifies four steps to writing a blog post. Below, I shall explore the implications of these four steps for my three approaches to writing blogs. This will illustrate something of diverse approaches to blog writing.

A Plan

Individual blog posts should always be planned but the article does not consider planning sequences of posts. Perhaps a diary needs least planning as it is a response to what is happening. This is not to say though that there is no framework for a diary blog. The most successful diaries have a theme and not an aimless series of events. Some people start a blog because they know the story they want to tell. Others may find a theme emerges.

The library approach demands a clear plan for linked sequences of posts. This presents its own difficulties. Whilst it may help the writer to develop ideas and themes, it can be difficult for the reader to follow, if only because posts are usually presented in reverse order of publishing. I shall look at ways of presenting posts next time.

External events shape both noticeboards an diaries. Their posts are likely to be temporary and aim to inform their readers of events. Events might be meetings but could be a range of things readers need to know. Whilst a blog for an organisation might inform its members of its events, other noticeboards might feature events around a particular theme. So, people sign up because they are interested and find information about their interest.

Permanent or Temporary?

Blog posts are designed to be temporary. When you delete a blog post, it normally has little impact on your website, unless you have links to it.

The big advantage for a diary is you can archive it and use various methods to foreground the best material. Diaries allow you to experiment and find your voice. Once you have found it there are ways to organise your posts that you can bring your best writing to your site visitors’ attention .

Libraries are designed to be long-lasting. There is no reason blog posts cannot be long-term, substantial resources on your website.

Noticeboards need to be kept up-to-date, old posts removed or archived and new posts added in good time so readers can act upon them.

Your Audience

This is an enormous topic and I have addressed your audience elsewhere. All three types of blog are likely to attract an audience if they have a clear theme. A diary called “Living with Diabetes” might be an entertaining account of how the writer struggles with giving up sugar and losing weight. It would not necessarily provide serious information. A library about diabetes might be a series about advice for people who are newly diagnosed. A noticeboard might be for a local group of diabetes sufferers and give them information about local events they might find helpful.

All three approaches might appeal to the same audience. A site might therefore feature all three approaches or specialise on one perhaps because other sites handle the other approaches.

Search Engines

The main things to remember about search engines is (1)they aim to find the best answers to questions asked by searchers, (2) the rules change regularly.

Whatever approach you use the best advice is write about one topic per post and be clear, especially in the title about what the post is about.

You may have landing pages on your site for visitors who are searching for sites about your topic. The “long-tail” referred to in the four-steps blog post refers to the answers to a specific question a specific post might contain. If one in five of your posts attracts a visitor once during its lifetime and your blog has a lot of posts, it could attract similar traffic to your landing pages.

However search engines are only part of a strategy to drive traffic to your blog. So, a noticeboard for example may be primarily for members or subscribers to your email lists. Library and diary blogs may be intended for visitors found online and you can use social media and other networking tools as well as search engines to point people to your blog.

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About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.

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Making Blog Posts Accessible - November 20, 2014 Reply

[…] Thursday I made some observations about writing blog posts. I looked at the differences between using blog posts as a diary, library or noticeboard. Today I […]

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