Blogging 101

Example of the Comic Sans font. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These days, everyone has a Facebook page, a blog, a Twitter account; everyone’s a writer. That’s OK. However, if you want people to read your deathless witterings, you need to make it easy for them. There are two parts to this, both vitally important. Unfortunately, even some major bloggers don’t seem to have grasped some basic facts. I name no names, but…

1. Easily understandable text

If you do most of your writing on a tablet or smartphone, don’t post directly from there. Save the post in draft form and reread it on a full size screen before publishing: it will be easier to spot misspellings and typos.

Spelling and grammar are your friends. Remember “it’s” means “it is”; this is the only possessive that doesn’t take an apostrophe in the entire English language, so it’s easy to remember. Always reread your text, using preview, and check for stray apostrophes, wandering commas and other obstacles to readability. Use a spell checker. Reread your text. Read it out loud, as this helps find ambivalent or awkwardly phrased sentences. If you’re not sure how to punctuate a sentence so that it reads fluently, reformulate it so that it does. Then reread your text.  Look out for repeated use of the same word in consecutive sentences, try to vary the vocabulary a little and watch for overly-long sentences. Reread your text.

2. Clear presentation

Keep the layout uncluttered. Don’t try to cram in as many widgets and ad spots as possible: it’s worse than distracting. In decoration aim for elegant simplicity, not a teenager’s bedroom wall. A fixed-width template is probably best, as that way you can control how your blog looks on any size of screen. If you’re self-hosting and/or using a custom template, remember to check that results are satisfactory with most of the major browsers.

The colour scheme should not render the whole thing completely illegible. Stay away from light coloured text on medium to light backgrounds. There should be a reasonable amount of contrast; remember that both books and text-processing applications are mostly black characters on a slightly off-white background. There are good reasons for this. The final text should not be too small for your target audience to read, so check your template for this unforgivable sin as well. Oh, and although it’s fine to use a fancy(ish) font for titles and page headers, use an easy-to-read font for the body. Avoid Comic Sans. Don’t even use it ironically (sarcastically is OK, though).

After applying all the above, your prose should be pleasant to read. Of course, it’s still up to you to make it interesting, in terms both of subject and of style. And reread your text.

Rant over. Don’t let me catch you at it again.

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One response to “Blogging 101

  1. Good points…I like your point about choosing a font.

    I recently blogged this, with some of your tips, and a few others…

Go on, bother me. You know you want to.

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