3. Top 10 blog post tips
The tips below should help you write a blog post that is engaging, attractive, accessible to non-specialists and easy to find!
1. Cover the key points. The blog post format lends itself to short summaries and reflections, rather than exhaustive accounts. The intellectual disability stigma blog posts should be 600-800 words, or possibly shorter.
Consider what would you want to highlight to attract a reader’s attention and demonstrate why the topic is relevant? Express your key message early on and make sure what follows closely relates to this. Are there any controversial aspects that might interest the (lay) reader?
2. Write for a non-specialist audience. Blog readers may range from researchers from different disciplines, advocates and self-advocates. Imagine you are writing for a friend or a relative who is not a specialist in the area – avoid jargon, spell out acronyms and try to demonstrate why the subject matter is relevant to the general public. Feel free to draw on your own knowledge of a subject to enhance your piece.
3. Make it personal. Everybody’s idea of what is interesting is different. Consider what it is about the subject matter that stands out for you. Feel free also to link the subject matter to interesting things you’ve read.
4. Make your headline work. Your headline should use keywords or even a list-format (“Five reasons why…”), so that readers know at a glance the area covered, and search engines can find them more easily. Your headline can also include a short phrase or quote that is attention-grabbing.
For example: “Seven important findings from a cross cultural examination of intellectual disability stigma.” or “My personal journey: ‘There are people who see me as disabled first and as a person second’”
Headlines shouldn’t be longer than the examples above. Many people find it easier to write the headline after they’ve written the blog post, as the key element to highlight is often clearer after you’ve got your thoughts down.
5. Draw readers in with your first line. Usually, only your first paragraph will be visible on the blog homepage, so your opening should entice readers to click through to the full post. Classic ways to grab attention are to start with:
> A controversial comment
> A statistic
> A question
> It is estimated that in England in 2011, 1.2 million people have an intellectual disability.
> What do the funding cuts mean for public and media portrayals of people with (intellectual) disabilities?
6. Make your text scannable. People find it harder to read online than to read print publications, so they tend to scan online text, rather than read it closely. You can make your post easy to scan and digest by using:
> Short paragraphs: one or two main ideas should be grouped together in a paragraph, no more. It might look strange in your Word document, but it will work well online.
> Subheadings for different sections. These should be short and punchy.
> Use bullet points, wherever appropriate, for lists.
> Use short, direct quotes: these can break up the text and help bring the discussion to life (but please ensure where the quote comes from: who and where you came across it).
7. Make your post ‘findable’. As well as an informative headline, relevant links will help your blog post be better indexed by search engines. Links have the added benefit of allowing readers to delve more deeply into a topic.
Points to consider:
> Link text needs to be descriptive and self-explanatory (avoid “click here”) to support quick navigation and accessibility. For example:
“To learn more about the work we do, visit the organisation’s website”
8. Final checks to make:
> Spellcheck your posts.
> Ask someone else to read it – not just for grammar and spelling, but to see if there’s anything unclear or ambiguous.
9. Use engaging photos or images. These are good when trying to add context to a blog post or to emphasise a point. They are also a good way to break up text. Remember that photos/images may be quite small in the blog post, so it is important that the photo is clear. If an image is from an external source, please ensure that you have the rights to use it.
10. Learn from others. There are plenty of excellent blogs that you can learn from – why not sign up to a couple in your area of interest to get some good ideas?
Some blogs we like:
The articles below provide some more guidance on best practice.
> Top 10 Blog Writing Tips: Write a Blog You’d Want to Read: http://website101.com/social-media/how-write-blog-writing/#.V_e0_o-And
> Writing blog content: make it scannable: http://www.problogger.net/writing-blog-content-make-it-scannable/
> Writing for the web: http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/digital-education/2011/05/17/writing-for-the-web/