Monthly Archives: June 2014

Preparing a Blog Post

You’re probably wondering why I’m doing a post on blog posting, but I figured this could be a good guide for beginners and oldies alike as there are many different ways to make blog posts looking their best.

Each post can have its own identifiers and styles, this is just my own personal preference.

When blogging you should think about some very important things: word count, if you want to use headlines, bullet points, color, etc. Each of these entities make a blog post look unique and different and can help make them stand out from the rest.

I often use bullet points in my own posts because…

  • They look sleek.
  • They keep everything organized.
  • It looks pleasing to the eye because it breaks up chunks of paragraphs.

You also have to know when to use bullet points or numbers because if you’re constantly using them in sequence you should have a logical reason for doing so. It may confuse your reader if you include too many bullets or numbers in a single post.

Which brings me to word count. Word count for blog posts is a personal preference that’s entirely up to you, but as a rule of thumb you want to keep blog posts short and to the point because it’s been proven time and again through studies and statistics that the longer the blog post is, the better results you get in search engines, but the attention span of the average reader is about the equivalent of a goldfish. Ouch. But it’s true: the longer the post, the less likely you are to have someone read all the information, but the shorter the post the more likely you are to have missed something.

In reality, though, it’s entirely up to you. Whether you write 200 words or 2,000, word count for a post is entirely up to you as long as you get your point across.

Headlines

Headings are great ways to separate important sections of your ┬áblog post for easy searching for your reader and even for you! If you use headings, make sure you choose a style that’s appropriate for your post and be consistent throughout. If you use different types of headings throughout your post it can confuse the reader into thinking one section is way more important than another.

Using color in your posts is entirely up to you. Some templates that you can choose for your blog give you automatic color swatches to choose from for your posts while others may just give you the traditional black and white, but if you do choose a color, be sure to use ones that people can read that aren’t going to blind them.

Also, don’t make a rainbow out of your words. It’s distracting and annoying, so be sure that when you do use color that it’s deliberate and serves a purpose.

Underlining in blog posts is usually to signify that there’s a link in that area. Sometimes if you do underline a word, though, it might confuse the reader into thinking there’s a link – don’t worry, though, as it won’t be clickable. Keep any type of formatting to either bold or italics so that when you do link something that there is no confusion.

Finally, when you format a post, be sure to keep it either all to the left or all to the right. As a general rule of thumb you want to keep your paragraphs all aligned to the left as that’s how the majority of the world reads (left to right), but if you are using it for a specific purpose, aligning your paragraphs to the right are entirely okay.

When preparing a blog post, there are many things to consider, but it’s always entirely up to you on how you utilize the tools given to you and how efficiently you use them. Be sure to do some research ahead of time if you’re a new blogger – it may help you in the long run!

Advertisements

Seek, Ask, Tell

If you’re considering writing as a career or as an extra side job to your daily grind, you have a few things to consider before you set off into your new adventure:

  1. Who do you want to write for? (This can be viewed in terms of both audience and publishing company.)
  2. What do you want to write about?
  3. How often do you plan on writing?
  4. Are you expecting to make a career out of it and what is the market like out there for writers?

These are just a few questions to consider when you’re about to start writing. Starting a blog, such as this one, is an easy task because it’s free, you can write about whatever you want, and you don’t have to really worry about making money off of it, unless you want to.

So what if you are considering writing as a career option? What should you start to look at when you’re in your beginning planning stages? I’m going to break down each section to help you better understand what to look for, though I do want to put the disclaimer here that I am an amateur and that these are explicitly my opinions based on classes and other research.

Seek

Who do you want to write for? There are many large publishing companies out there, such as Random House, Penguin, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, and more. But there are also smaller publishing companies, including magazines, that are just itching to get their hands on new material such as Jersey Devil Press, Orion, as well as local newpapers looking for stories from outside sources. Yes, some of these companies may not be able to compensate you for your work, but you’re still able to get yourself out there and build your portfolio.

So what are you looking to write? Are you currently working on your first novel consisting over over 50,000 words with chapters and a very active plot? Or are you looking at writing a poetic prose piece that barely fits a full page and can easily be posted online? These are a few questions to think about when looking for companies to publish your work to.

Also, don’t forget that many companies don’t take previously published work, so make sure it’s original!

Ask

There are probably many questions that you have about the publishing industry and how to get yourself out there, and you can easily look up many places that will give you advice on how to publish and where to go. Knowing the information ahead of time can help you to look better to a potential client as well as advancing your own know-how of a given situation.

One of the ways to do this is to ask those smaller publishing companies what they are specifically looking for, but not before you look at their submission guidelines page for further information (example from damselfly press). Always check around the publishing company’s website before asking questions because there might be a FAQs page or a submissions guideline page.

You can also ask other writers in forums about how they got their start, who they wrote for, what they wrote about, etc. It’s a great way to connect with other people who have the same passion and potentially learn something along the way, as well.

Tell

This is probably the easiest step of all: tell someone of what you’re doing! You never know if it could lead to someone who knows an editor of a magazine or knows someone who is looking for pieces of writing in your area of expertise. Networking is a great way to get know what’s out there, who’s looking, and grab some potential clients if you’re able to.

You don’t have to tell the whole world, though, and you don’t have to say anything about your idea.┬áLet it be something precious to you and take care of it so you can potentially sell it or get it out there someday.

There are many ways in which you can approach publishing and writing, you just need to know where to start. Look at trends for what’s in now, what kinds of characters and stories people are reading, and what kinds of markets are growing and expanding. You’d be surprised with what you can find, just remember the risks and the potential of being rejected, but don’t let it get you down. Keep trying and you may find that you succeed.

 

Have you published anything outside of WordPress? If so, what were your methods and what/where did you get published? Let me know in the comments!