Thanks to Lifestyle Prayers for the inspirational push to write this post.
To show respect for my readers, I believe that every post I publish should reflect my best efforts. With that in mind, I’ve pulled together a list of ten guidelines by which I write and lay out my posts – based not only upon my experience as a freelance writer and blogger, but also upon my observation of blogs I enjoy.
I hope you’ll be able to glean something here, and I look forward to reading any ideas you may have to contribute in the comments below.
1. Be authentic. Yes, the adage “be yourself,” trite as it may sound, is also true. I find that my posts are fairly simple to create when I write in my own voice, about topics that matter to me. I don’t write about something just because it’s a hot topic in social media, and I never imitate an uber-successful blogger’s tone or style for the sake of garnering followers.
2. Be (reasonably) concise. While writing in your own voice often draws others in, rambling can drive them away. I often cut one third of my first draft by slashing redundancies, unnecessary examples, pointless venting, excess adjectives and adverbs, and anything else that does not support my main idea.
3. Be grammatically correct. Most bloggers use software with spell check and grammar check and should take advantage of those features. I have been spared many embarrassing errors by correcting words and phrases highlighted by Microsoft Word as being misspelled or grammatically incorrect.
4. Use clear titles. Far more important than clever word play in a title is clarity, though a good title can be both clear and clever. I try to create each post’s title using words that communicate my topic while still offering a bit of intrigue.
5. Use white space. It’s difficult for me to digest another’s post written in one massive paragraph. In contrast, I enjoy posts broken into paragraphs of a few sentences (or one sentence, when used for emphasis) each, with double spacing between paragraphs. That white space provides a visual and mental break before leading to the writer’s next thought.
6. Use photo/art sources. Pixabay is a simple-to-use online resource for free art; this web site requests attribution, but does not require it. I generally use one photograph per post; however, the more text, the more photos I incorporate. The idea is to break up the text with art that will draw the reader in and illustrate the main point.
7. Invite input and respond to it. I am genuinely interested in others’ thoughts, and I request comments. I want to know what resonates with readers, whether or not they support my view. When I receive a detailed comment, I respond with one of my own.
8. Read and comment upon others’ blogs. WordPress is a community filled with people from all walks of life. Why not take advantage of their knowledge and experience? As often as I can, I set aside time to read and like others’ posts, and I comment upon those that grab my attention.
9. Create a recognizable brand and consistent theme. My brand and theme are tied to growth and creativity in every area of life, particularly my Christian life. Because I’m an amateur gardener, I chose a peony flower as my logo. Using canva.com (another free web site), I created a banner with my blog’s theme, “Because home wasn’t built in a day,” layered across a photo I took of daisies from my garden. This banner appears at the end of every post. Other flower photographs from that session appear in a rotating basis across the top of my blog.
10. Speak the truth in love. My goal is to honor Christ with every aspect of my life, including blogging. In both posts and comments, I attempt to write the truth from a Biblical world view, but always with a loving attitude.