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Hurdle 10 (Part 2) - Content

Continued from Part 1


Don't underestimate the
importance of a good headline
Post Title

Dare i say it again, less is more. I have experimented with clever, funny or abstract titles in the past, and these can be counter productive for a few reasons. Firstly, don't make life hard for the reader. The title is there as a summary of what the post is about. They are more likely to read an article that has a title that clearly reflects the content. Secondly, a keyword rich title will help your search engine rankings. Thirdly, an attempt at funny or abstract can make you look stupid if its unsuccessful.

Links

Links can be used effectively for directing readers to sources, relevant sites, email addresses or other blogs...amongst other things.

Make sure all your links
are up to date
My top tip is to avoid a link that looks like; http://www.imalazyblogger.com as it is plain to everyone that you have just copied and pasted. A better link looks like this; Clickable descriptive text. It takes a couple of seconds, and looks so much better. Of course there are exceptions, and its down to your good judgement to decide when a website is so identifiable by its web address that it merits linking in that form. One example could be match.com. Notice though, the link is http://www.match.com, but the text is just match.com. Deciding how to present links is down to you, but good link presentation says a lot about the care and attention you have invested in your blog.

Another great tool i have discovered recently is the link shorteners such as bit.ly. Not only are these great for shortening links for twitter, but they display how many times your links are being clicked. If you do this for all your links, you can assess how often your readers are actually clicking them. Be cautious though, some people don't trust these links because its not clear exactly where you will end up...


Spelling, grammar, punctuation and construction

I didn't pay much attention in primary school, and i spent most of secondary school in detention. As a result i missed out on some of the fundamentals such as spelling and grammar. Luckily, i have managed to learn what i had missed, but the legacy lives on no matter how hard i try to avoid it. The key is in the proof reading.

A blog reader is intelligent enough to distinguish between a blogger who has been lazy in their proof reading, and a blogger who hasn't. There are some mistakes i always make...these are the sorts of mistakes that fall through the net when i proof read.

Spelling and Grammar was, apparently, a whole subject at primary school so i wont attempt to tackle it in this blog post...just make sure you realise how important it is.

Other things to avoid...there will always be some people that will do these things regardless because they think that readers will appreciate the individuality, but i promise you they won't. If a blog is difficult to read, they will vote with their feet.
  • Text speak
  • OVER USE OF CAPS
  • Over use of exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Writing like you talk...the great thing about the internet is that is crosses borders. Don't rebuild those borders by adding regional dialect or slang.

Length

As i write this post i am having a dilemma. Is it too long to be published as one post? Don't let post length control what you post, just let it dictate how it is displayed. Options are;
  • Headings
  • Page Break - which is where the reader will have to click "see more" to get the rest of the post
  • Breaking into a series - This is hurdle 11, i have the option of dividing the content topic into 11a, 11b etc
  • Cutting down during proof read - If you think a part of your post is unnecessary, don't be afraid to delete it.


Post Options
  • Reader Comments - I only mention this because i have noticed some bloggers disable this option. Unless you are plagued by spam bots or are posting inflammatory material, i can't see any reason to disable this. 
  • Scheduled posting - This is great if you are going to be away from a computer for a while. Write up a post and schedule it for publishing during your absence. 
I will conclude how i started, these rules are flexible. You will see that i haven't followed some of them in this post, and you should be able to work out why. As with anything, you have to find your own methods...but hopefully this post will have helped.