Author: Mihaela Lica
A blog is a web document. When you write it you have to think about your audience and understand their needs. On the other hand you should think what you want to achieve with a certain blog and write accordingly. Here are a few guidelines that will help you improve your writing style.
Blog does mean Web log and many bloggers do use this online tool to create virtual diaries. While such bloggers blog for pleasure, other bloggers blog for business. There’s enough potential in a blog, as long as it has a professional style and valuable information. Here’s what writers might achieve with a good blog:
• Public recognition: are you an expert in your field? Let people know it and provide unique, qualified information. Soon you will be listed on different sites as a “guru”.
• Targeted traffic: no one just happens to “land” on a blog page. Web surfers search for information. The tags you used to describe your blogs are the baits that will determine a surfer to click on a certain link, visit your blog and (probably) read your content.
• Earn extra income: through blog advertisements, AdSense and more.
Blog Writing Styles
I have seen many ways of writing and many styles. Obviously there are many ways to write blogs, but I’ll list here three:
• Just write and don’t care about grammar or typing, after all it’s your blog and “if they don’t like it they shouldn’t be reading it”. (You’re right, I am being sarcastic!)
• Just write but do pay attention at least at the spelling – no one will kill you if you have minor grammar errors when you are not a native speaker.
• Write professionally, and that’s exactly what this article is all about!
Blog Writing Standards
Maybe I have a wrong tile: “How to Write Blogs”. Perhaps “How to Write Business Blogs” would be a better headline. But I don’t want to limit the topic. After all, although not all blogs are created equal, professional writing has some clear standards.
These standards start with a rule: plain English. Yes, you’ve got that right. Plain English is good English. It helps delivering your message clearly and concisely. And this is the writing style needed on the Web. Surfers want to get the information without too much effort. Reading essays online is problematical. Have you noticed how tired your eyes get after reading the long paragraphs of an article?
You need to write in a readable and clear writing style. Even the offline media journalists practise this style. Novelists argue sometimes that newspapers and magazines have a poor, simplistic style. Wrong! They have a plain style, to make it easier for the readers to understand and absorb the information.
It is important for a blog to be written in a clear, plain style, or the visitors will surf away.
Standards for Styles
If you want to start a polemic the best approach is a “teasing” approach. Do it carefully and try to avoid narrow sarcasm. Joke if you must, but never be offensive. After all, we owe respect to our readers. That’s if we want them to respect us.
If you plan to educate don’t tease. Don’t joke. Avoid narrow sarcasm. Be concise and direct, as your readers don’t have time for riddles and if you bore them too much with gibberish talk, they’ll surf away. This is the standard for business writing too.
Notice how I wrote this article: I used short phrases and one point per paragraph. This means writing concise and direct.
Help your visitors “scan” your content (they’ll do it anyway), as you want them to. Take a look in your newspaper. What do you see? Titles, subtitles and summaries. Now all you need to do is mirror the style of your newspaper. Let’s start with the titles.
There are three styles of titles: informational (business style), teasing (polemic style) and cute (entertainment style).
• How to Write Blogs – Informational
• To Blog or Not to Blog? – Teasing
• Blog-a-boo! – Cute
Each style has another purpose. As this is an instructional article – more a tutorial – I chose the informational title. Short titles have a higher impact than long titles, especially when they summarize in a few words the entire content, providing a clue on the purpose of the article.
Newspapers use the inverted pyramid style to deliver the information. So should you. Why? The first paragraph of your article will convince the surfer to go on reading. So start with the conclusion and give details as your article goes on. My introduction explains clear my purpose. If you wouldn’t be interested in learning how to improve your writing skills, you’d be long surfing on other Web pages!
Additional Writing Tips
As you’ve probably noticed I used some lists in this article. This is a good technique: it helps readers remain focused. Usually you should keep each line of a list short, unless you need to provide a brief explanation on a certain topic.
Use bold words for emphasis, but don’t over-do-it! The same goes for italicizing or underlining words. Use easy to read fonts and legible colors. (No yellow or other light colors on white and avoid dark backgrounds in general!) Instead of Conclusion
This article was checked for accessibility and readability using StyleWriter and scored “excellent” for each of the following: style index, average sentence and passive index.
About the Author:
Mihaela Lica is a professional journalist, with more than 10 years experience in the field, four as TV journalist. Since 2002 she works as an online public relations and media consultant, making all possible efforts to promote quality web content. Read her SEO and web development blog if look for more interesting articles.