Writing for Blogs


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Slides for the first LSE Centre for Learning Technology, Writing for Blogs Workshop on Wednesday 2nd March 2011.

A 90-minute session with discussion and practical writing exercises


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Writing for Blogs

  1. 1. Writing http://www.flickr.com/photos/inju/278659657/ @mattlingard
  2. 2. Focus <ul><li>Words & Writing </li></ul><ul><li>Blog Post Layout </li></ul><ul><li>Post Titles </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasis & Links </li></ul><ul><li>Design </li></ul><ul><li>Site Structure </li></ul><ul><li>Best practice guidelines not hard-and-fast rules </li></ul>
  3. 3. Print vs Web? <ul><li>Groups </li></ul><ul><li>3-mins </li></ul><ul><li>Differences between print and web </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Behaviour </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Key Differences <ul><li>Physical </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shape </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Control </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Navigation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Behaviour </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Users not readers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scan first; sometimes read </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Impatient </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Audience http://www.flickr.com/photos/lopolis/350040529/
  6. 6. EXERCISE <ul><li>Your audience & their purpose </li></ul>
  7. 7. Personas
  8. 8. PICTURE YOUR BLOG <ul><li>What do your readers see first ? </li></ul>
  9. 10. Post Titles <ul><li>Appeal to your audience </li></ul><ul><li>Simple. Specific. Short? </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to understand </li></ul><ul><li>Tell as much of the story as you can </li></ul><ul><li>Entice, don’t tease </li></ul><ul><li>Spend time writing them </li></ul>
  10. 11. Post Titles that work <ul><li>Strong Opinion </li></ul><ul><li>Meet a need, express a benefit </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How-to </li></ul></ul><ul><li>News / Announcements </li></ul><ul><li>Conversational: “You” </li></ul><ul><li>Questions & Statements </li></ul>
  11. 12. EXERCISE <ul><li>Evaluating Post Titles </li></ul>
  12. 13. Post Slugs <ul><li>Remove “fluff” from your web addresses </li></ul>
  13. 14. 1280 x 1024 1024 x 768 1024 x 600
  14. 15. Journalist’s Inverted Pyramid “ Above the fold” Most Academic writing
  15. 16. Post Summaries <ul><li>Always start with a summary </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep it short (1-3 sentences) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Highlight key points </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Purpose </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ideally: Get your reader to the next paragraph! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If not: they have a summary to take away </li></ul></ul>
  16. 17. F-Shaped Reading Pattern http://www.useit.com/alertbox/reading_pattern.html
  17. 18. Scannability <ul><li>Headings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sub-headings </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Short paragraphs </li></ul><ul><li>Lists – numbered or bulleted </li></ul><ul><li>Start with information-carrying words </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First 2 wor ds (or 11-ish characters) count most </li></ul></ul>
  18. 19. Emphasis (in main text) <ul><li>Useful for scanning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But too much is distracting </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Which ones are best? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CAPITALS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bold </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Italic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Underline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Colour </li></ul></ul>
  19. 20. <ul><li>X Click here to view the student video diary </li></ul><ul><li>X View the student video diary here </li></ul><ul><li>View the student video diary </li></ul>Links <ul><li>Add links in the main text </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Supplement your writing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Support your points </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other posts on your blog </li></ul></ul>
  20. 22. Links in Main Text <ul><li>Link with page titles or similar </li></ul><ul><li>Unambiguous </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t make me think! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Longer, descriptive (7-12 words) </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t over link, it’s distracting </li></ul>
  21. 23. Language <ul><li>Use plain language </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid jargon, slang and clichés </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expand acronyms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limit similes, metaphors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limit humour </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Conversational </li></ul><ul><li>Active vs passive voice </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminate redundancy </li></ul><ul><li>Proof read </li></ul>
  22. 24. Active Voice <ul><li>Use active voice , not passive voice </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Start with who; then what </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Passive : Social security taxes must be paid monthly by employers </li></ul><ul><li>Active : Employers must pay social security taxes monthly </li></ul>
  23. 25. Keep it brief <ul><li>Remove redundancy </li></ul><ul><li>Use single words where possible </li></ul><ul><li>Short words, sentences and paragraphs! </li></ul>Setting up your website involves co-operative collaboration between the various members of a team, such as the designer and the commissioner, for example. The method is a simple one. 29 words
  24. 26. Keep it brief <ul><li>Remove redundancy </li></ul><ul><li>Use single words where possible </li></ul><ul><li>Short words, sentences and paragraphs! </li></ul>Creating your website involves collaboration between team members, such as the designer and the commissioner. The method is simple. 19 words
  25. 27. EXERCISE <ul><li>Redundancy & Re-writing Posts </li></ul>
  26. 28. EXERCISE <ul><li>Evaluating blog posts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In pairs comment on what works / what doesn’t </li></ul></ul>