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Writing for the Web - blog style tips.

Some basic tips to improve the readability of your blog entries.
14 years ago, January 22nd 2008 No: 1 Msg: #25835  
B Posts: 5,195
Writing for the web is a little different than for any other medium; other entertainment is a click or twitch away, staring at a screen is just harder than paper and scrolling is an active rather than passive task.

Tip 1 - use white space

It's much easier to read text online when the paragraphs are short and there is plenty of white space - so use those carriage returns. Examples: the BBC news website has a blank line after every sentence in it's articles. Edmund Hillary Article

A double blank line can be used to indicate where a conventional paragraph would have ended.

Tip 2 - use headings, italics, bolds and other formatting

It was easy to find this second tip right? I used bold to format the heading. The eye moves through the text and uses white space and text variations as anchor points. This becomes crucial when scrolling where unless it's done carefully positions in the text can be lost.

Bold and italics can be used to add emphasis on a particular word or phrase.

Tip 3 - use Capital Letters and punctuation - and try to get your grammar right

You're writing for a varied and vast audience, your blog entries maybe read by professionals - some bloggers have obtained work on the strength of their journals. In my case during the course of writing my blogs over the last five years - I've improved my grammar and punctuation in order to stop my Dad from sending a list of corrections - do your best and try to improve where you can. (Please don't send all the mistakes in my blogs to me after this pompous forum post though! I know there are mistakes)

Tip 4 - use complete words m8!

Unlike SMS messaging there is no character limit on the number of words or letters in a blog entry.

Tip 5 - spelling - and spell checks

I'll apologise in advance for the idiosyncrasies of the English language - it's not consistent, it's not phonetic, it's full of confusing sub-rules - "i before e except after c where the sound you want is eee" - what idiot would design a language with this kind of thing? - that's the problem the language was not designed - it evolved along with it's people and culture.

I'll apologise a second time - travelblog.org doesn't yet include a spell-checker. It's been on the To Do List for so long. I hope to rectify this soon.

Your options are (currently)
• write a blog entry in a word processor - spell-check, copy and paste;
• use Firefox and install the dictionary plugin - (Internet Explorer is sooo bad - this is something that should have been added 8 years ago)
• just make a best effort and put in a disclaimer.

Tip 6 - and this is controversial - write shorter blog entries - but more of them

There will be some debate on this - I've read some 8,000 word blog entries and they have been amazing - I've also got a little way in to some and found that I'm lost. There is no entry limit and no photo limit - you can write as much or as little as you want and include as much or as little as you want.

Blog entries of 1,000 to 3,000 words with about 40 photos seem to hit that sweet spot. If your blog is going to get significantly longer than this - two blog entries?

Feed back, discussions and additional tips as ever are welcome - hope this helps!
Reply to this

14 years ago, January 22nd 2008 No: 2 Msg: #25836  
Ali, I would add that I've taken to using online word processors such as google docs (http://docs.google.com). It can be used from any Internet cafe, no matter how terrible the computers! All you do then is copy and paste from google docs to travelblog. Reply to this

14 years ago, January 22nd 2008 No: 3 Msg: #25844  
I know this doesn't necessarily have to do with the writing of a blog entry, but it does have to do with marketing/ensuring that your blog gets read. I would take some time to arrange your photos so that your best four are the first for in the entry. That way, when people see your shortened entry, they will be interested and wish to look at more of your entry. I have found some bloggers have great pictures but will, in some cases, hide them 25 pictures into the entry. Always put your best first so that people will know to look further. Reply to this

14 years ago, January 23rd 2008 No: 4 Msg: #25890  
B Posts: 5,195
Good point Mike - in that regard - 10 Tips for increasing visitors to your blog Reply to this

14 years ago, January 24th 2008 No: 5 Msg: #25938  
Ali, I really appreciate the blog site you offer, and while I haven't traveled nearly as much as you, it does allow me to keep in touch with family and friends, without having to write to them as a group. I also appreciate the ease in using this site~~both for me, and for the readers.

Having said that, though, I have trouble doing the formatting codes. I have tried to put them on, and I want to put them on, and I can't put them on. I don't knw what the codes mean behind the headings, bold text, etc. What do I not understand?????

Vicki Reply to this

14 years ago, January 24th 2008 No: 6 Msg: #25942  
B Posts: 5,195
On pretty much every page where there is a form for entering text - look to the right there is a list of the codes that travelblog uses to format...

It's a kind of psuedo html - simplified html - that wont break webpages and excuses the site from supporting the all the html codes that could interfere or break the pages that you see.

The basic structure is: [a code]your text[/a code] - with the text between the tags receiving the formatting.

The simplest are:

Bold: [b]text[/b]
Italic: [i]text[/i]
Heading: [h2]heading[/h2]

Also [quote] is commonly used.

These tips are just a set of suggestions not a list of rules - so if it's easier to ignore formatting - because of time - then just go for the white space one 😉 Reply to this

14 years ago, January 24th 2008 No: 7 Msg: #26001  
B Posts: 62
Good post and topic. I'll suggest something more about the writing aspect of travel blogs.

I actually picked up Lonely Planet's book on travel writing a while back and I'm slowly progressing through it. One thing mentioned in the book, which I've found does entice me to read certain blog entries and people's entries, is when the entry is more story-like with details and anecdotes instead of resembling a diary entry; eg- I did this, then this, then this. They emphasize that good travel writing doesn't necessarily have to go in sequential order. Especially good blogs seem to be able to tie in many aspects of travelling but still have some element of emotion behind them. Granted, I'm sure people use this site for various reasons, but those interesting in improving their writing might want to pick the book or a similar one up.

😊 Reply to this

12 years ago, October 10th 2009 No: 8 Msg: #88947  
1 posts moved to this new topic: Just wrote my first entry Reply to this

12 years ago, October 11th 2009 No: 9 Msg: #89000  
B Posts: 847
Ali, these are very good tips. I have always been so conscious about my spelling, crossing my t's and dotting my i's, placing commas and periods to end my "ramblings". I can pick up a lot more tips here..........Thanks. Reply to this

12 years ago, January 30th 2010 No: 10 Msg: #101754  
B Posts: 3

Hi Ali,

Just joined the site a few days ago and I'm loving it. If I may add to the spell checking, I find myself using an email "compose" page to check my spelling. Just cut and paste, check and re- cut and paste back. It doesn't do a whole lot for grammar check, but at least I know the words are spelled correct.

Plus I like the tip on the 1000 - 3000 length. I have the gift of gab, so I need help cutting down the word count, this will give me a target to aim for.

Thanks! Reply to this

12 years ago, March 31st 2010 No: 11 Msg: #107675  
Hi Alim
Thank you for all your so needed suggestions. I have stared my blog yesterday. I love it! Can you tell me how others can read what I am writing on my blog?
Thank you
Kind regards.
Be happy. Be safe. Take care
Reply to this

12 years ago, April 2nd 2010 No: 12 Msg: #107833  
Hello Idalina 😊

Can you tell me how others can read what I am writing on my blog?

If your blog is of public status and is published, it should be visible on your profile page.

To check if your blog is Public: Control Panel, Blog Entries, Text beside the relevant blog. There is a drop down menu in there near the top right which allows you to select Public or Private. Make sure Public is selected.

To Check if your blog is published: Control Panel, Blog Entries. Does it say Published in red on the blog you want everybody to be able to see?

Reply to this

10 years ago, July 3rd 2011 No: 13 Msg: #139607  
Hi All I am really a bit silly but am still not sure on formatting my page even after all the great suggestions above eg my links to outside sites do not hyperlink automatically even though I prefixed them as per the formatting suggestion. Can I cut n paste direct? This how they appear in my blog.......
Can I make them nice n blue and clickable? Reply to this

10 years ago, July 3rd 2011 No: 14 Msg: #139618  
Hello Suzanne 😊

Just copy the following code into yoru blog, to get a blue clickable link to the site.


Mel Reply to this

10 years ago, July 3rd 2011 No: 15 Msg: #139619  
In response to: Msg #25835

Tip 7 - Use the FaceBook share and like buttons
You can use them on your own blogs, as well as the blogs of others. My blog viewings have more than doubled, since I started using them. That social networking is impressively successful.
[Edited: 2011 Jul 03 19:26 - Mell:49612 ]
Reply to this

10 years ago, July 3rd 2011 No: 16 Msg: #139621  
Hi Mell
Thanks so much will do this from now on. I see it all makes sense.
Suz Reply to this

10 years ago, July 21st 2011 No: 17 Msg: #140660  
1 posts moved to this new topic: Countdown Timers Reply to this

10 years ago, August 21st 2011 No: 18 Msg: #142139  
I have found some success sharing on facebook.
I will say that overall my older blogs are not getting as many views since we went to V3.
My Dubai blog routinely got 65 or 70 views each month. Now I average about 20-25.

I assume it changed the way the search engines locate these things. I'm not computer savvy enough to understand completely. Reply to this

10 years ago, September 20th 2011 No: 19 Msg: #143591  

In response to: Msg #25835

Is it possible to design the blog yourself.
Different colours or pictures as a background? to make it a more personal experience reading another persons blog? Reply to this

10 years ago, September 20th 2011 No: 20 Msg: #143592  
Hello DanishDynamite 😊

No, this is not possible. You can't set the TravelBlog pages to your preferences, but you can decide on the words and photos you put in your blogs, which will already make them uniquely yours.

Mel Reply to this

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