Monday, March 18, 2013

Rules for Casual Bloggers

Your way

"Good Heavens, Man! You didn't write that, did you?"
I'm still waiting for someone to put that in my comments and start a furor over something I wrote. That comment may never happen…
I always thought that "Blog" was some shorthand for "Binary Log." It is not. It is short for "Web log." The web knows everything…

There are some rules for writing blog posts. If you do a web search for writing blogs you get thousands of hits. When I started my blog I had no idea what I was doing. Maybe I still don't.
Most of the web sites for doing blogs are aimed at people who want a lot of traffic to their site. That makes sense if you consider that a lot of blogs are designed to be income-producing in some fashion. I didn't find a lot of information for casual bloggers.
I'm certainly a casual blogger.
So I'll write what I think are some "rules" and we'll see how it goes.
1. There are no rules. Hey, write what you want - it's your blog.
2. Focus. Have a point. Don't just dribble thoughts onto the page and expect them to be coherent. Or babble on - it's your blog.
3. As in most writing rules, keep your audience in mind. If you are your only audience, go ahead and write about that strange navel lint you found. If your audience includes your family, then bear that in mind and don't write something that will hurt people's feelings. That might happen anyway, but don't be intentional about it. Unless you want to - it's your blog.
4. Short is good. Liz told me that most blog posts shouldn't be more than about three hundred words. I break that rule almost every time. Apparently people will spend less than two minutes on your blog post and they won't read it - they'll scan it! You might think of that while you write. Lists are good for people who scan.
...even if unrelated
5. Pictures are good. What I have discovered is that a picture always enhances any blog post, so I try to put a picture in each one, even if the picture is barely related to the post. Google helps me immensely on this with their Google images, but I try to choose images that are public domain. Don't ask me how I do this.
6. A great title is good. I fail at that one quite often! Grab them with the title, then with the first sentence. Make the post immediately appealing to your audience - even if the audience is simply one person.
7. Proper formatting is good. Formatting matters. When I first started I asked Darling if she read my posts. She almost cried. The font was too small and too hard for her to read and the formatting was poor. Choose a good font and stick with it (I prefer Bookman Old Style). Put some spacing in (I usually do six points after each paragraph). Normally I write my posts in Word and then copy/paste into Blogger. The formatting is simply better for me that way. I add the pictures after I put the text in.

I'm just a casual blogger and those are the basic rules I follow. If you are a casual blogger, maybe these rules will help you too. Or not. The bottom line is it's your blog. Have a good time with it.

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