I’ve been blogging for some time on my website. At this point, I’m up over 600 posts. That number seems to be on the rise now that I’m finishing up the #100DaysToOffload challenge and thinking more about what I want to write.
I should also indicate that I’m still trying to figure out what, why, and how to write and share on this website. What that means is that I started expanding my use of blogging as an academic while in grad school. I’ve continued while teaching, researching, and conducting service in the field.
I’m honestly making it up as I go along. I look at the work of colleagues and friends online and think about what could, or should I do with this space. And then…I go do it. I wish there was some master plan…but…nope, it’s just me.
As I continue to blog, I realize that I don’t know how to write a blog post. To address this problem, I’m going to challenge myself using some guidance from Lydia Kitts and her design studio, Turnquist House.
Parts of a Share-Worthy Post
Anaejionu identifies the parts of an effective blog post:
- An eye-catching image
- Title that stands out but is not too vague
- Introductory paragraph that quickly explains the problem, or shares a story
- Headings to guide the reader
- Bulleted lists or numbered points to chunk content
- Links to other content
- Images in the text
- Call to action
- Finish with a takeaway (idea or action)
Focus On Process
Regina closes with a plan of action to make this a reality.
To break down the process of writing informative blog posts that grow our blog traffic into seven steps:
- Plan it – Figure out what you want to say and organize your content. Conduct research as needed.
- Create it – Expand the outline provided above and write your post.
- Edit it – Read and re-read your post. Read what you wrote…not what is in your head. Your brain will naturally try to fill in the blanks in your writing/logic. Don’t let it.
- Prettify it – Make it look good. Attractive main graphic. Consistent dividers and formatting strategies.
- Publish it – Send it…but first think about the timing of how and when you launch it.
- Promote it – Be a good web citizen and use digital social spaces to make your content sticky.
- Permanent it – Make your website easy for new readers to find and read content after it is no longer brand new.
While you’re on the topic, I recommend checking out these 11 tips on reflective blogging from Gwyneth Jones. The graphic design and style on Jones’s website are strong. There is great feedback on how to remain authentic and focused as you post content online.
What resonates the most with me about Gwyneth’s list is the focus on transparency and having no excuses. Many times I’ve spent hours working on a post and then someone will come back with a two-word retort on social media. /nm
I also will keep in mind the first point about beginning when you’re ready. I’m always urging colleagues and students to keep up their own digital spaces and write themselves into being. But, as Jones points out…begin when you think you’re ready.
Making It Happen
I’ll close as I began this post.
I’m still making up most of this. Any expertise that I have in digital spaces is the result of building and breaking things online.
When I write for my blog or newsletter, I have a specific audience in mind. Sometimes as I write I wonder if I’m just writing for myself.
Please note that as an academic, there are many in my field that roll their eyes and have called me a mindless blogger /ij. There’s even more outside of my field that think that scholars should just shut up and not blog.
Nevertheless, I’m leaning in to the blogging a bit more. I’ll think more about this format and work to embed it in my posts to see how it feels.
I recommend visiting the original post by Regina as it includes much more detail…and a great graphic for the template.