Components of High-Quality Blog Posts

Nov 2 2010 by Pamela Dominguez | 30 Comments

Components of High-Quality Blog Posts

Today, almost everyone wants to share his or her thoughts on the web. And with so many easy ways of blogging brought to us by services like Posterous and Tumblr, why not do it, right?

Nevertheless, we shouldn’t go around ranting uncontrollably about random stuff on the web. If we really want to share something interesting with the community of our choice, we should, at the minimum, project professionalism and trustworthiness and emphasize accuracy and quality of the writings we put on the internet.

Whether you’re maintaining a personal blog, starting up a design blog, or managing and updating your company’s official blog, the fundamental tips and strategies discussed in this article will ensure that all of your posts will be professional, high-quality, and awesome to read.

Why Should We Care About the Quality of Blog Posts?

It’s all about empathy. But then again, everything in this world should come down to that.

Design blogs, in particular, are an interminable source of information. This information, however, needs to be reliable and useful for it to really contribute value to the design community.

If we want to get reliable information, we should also worry about providing reliable information.

Considerations for Writing Solid Blog Posts

We can take many considerations into account when we are writing a blog post to share with the online community. The following tips cover essential things to keep in mind for every blog post your write.

Developing Your Idea and Post Title

Generating an idea for your blog post is the way we normally initiate the writing process. First and foremost, your ideas should be original — although we all know this is tougher than it sounds because there is already so much content out there.

When picking a topic to write about, make sure that you have the necessary knowledge and experience to competently write about the topic. This ensures your writing is authentic.

You should also start thinking about a solid title for your idea that encompasses what you will be discussing.

Often, in blog writing, it can even be better to develop the post’s title before writing the post itself. Why is that? There are several reasons why writing a title first is a good idea:

  • It gives you a starting point
  • It gives you a concise idea to work with
  • It gives you ideas for researching keywords
  • It ensures you keep your writing focused because you can regularly check back to it as you write

The post’s title should be inviting. In the mind of the readers, your title should translate to "You need to read me right now!"

Some examples of popular design-related topics include:

Frank Chimero, a celebrated graphic designer/blogger/teacher, has a very interesting way of explaining the way one can develop an idea — you should definitely check his illustration out.

Creating a Powerful Introduction

In order to engage readers from the start, you have to begin with an attractive abstract that succinctly encapsulates the subject of the blog post. This introduction should be short and concise — try keeping it within 3-5 sentences. After reading your introductory paragraph, readers should immediately know what they will be in for.

Think of your introduction as a sales pitch. Let the potential reader know why he or she should read the rest of the post by stimulating their curiosity and outlining the value they will obtain should they read the post.

This introduction can also be useful for developing things such as post excerpts, metadata, descriptions for submitting to social news portals and so forth.

Using Research and Secondary Sources

A blog post should always have sound and accurate information. It’s best to support ideas and arguments with secondary resources, quotes, and research studies. Linking to relevant sources reinforces the things you say in your own blog posts and gives the reader greater context about the items you’re discussing.

Providing Interesting Personal Insights

If you chose the topic yourself, it stands to reason that it is because you have something new and interesting to say about it. Providing your own insights is what differentiates a blog post from a news article or a boring, old academic paper.

Don’t be afraid to let your own voice shine through. Don’t hesitate on using your own style of writing.

Personal insights invite discussion and promote conversations. Your insights also make posts more compelling and can engage people further into the reading experience.

Structuring Your Blog Posts for Readability

An easy-to-read blog post helps people scan through it so that they can decide whether it’s interesting to them or not.

Think about a post that has paragraphs spanning 30-40 lines. The visual appearance of a huge wall of text will be so overwhelming and intimidating that readers will be discouraged to read the post in its entirety.

Structuring Your Article for Readability

Consider the following tips:

  • Keep paragraphs short
  • Have one idea per paragraph
  • Use bulleted lists
  • Use headings to break up your post into logical sections
  • Use bold and emphasis to highlight key terms and concepts
  • Keep your writing clear, avoid ambiguous language

Using Images

Good visual aids go a long way when trying to get your ideas across to readers. If you’re talking about statistics, why not use charts and graphs instead of data tables with a lot of intimidating numbers?

Using Images

Use diagrams or sketches to show workflows and hierarchies. Use representative photos to illustrate or reinforce ideas.

Design bloggers have it easy on the subject of images. As designers, we can quickly create our own custom visuals to complement our blog posts.

Using Quotes

Quotes from notable individuals can reinforce your arguments and can be a valuable supporting element to your blog posts.

Let’s face it: every popular topic out there has probably been covered. We can use appropriate quotes to support our ideas.

As a best practice, lengthy quoted material should have a special format. In HTML, there is the <blockquote> element that is specifically for citing long blocks of text from another source.

Quoted content should quote the author verbatim as well as attribute the source properly.

Here is an example of <blockquote> formatting (quote from Maria Malidaki):

Technology, and especially information technology, evolves rapidly. People have come to terms with the constant, big and fast changes that fall upon the hardware and software we use.

Citing Related Resources

It is important to give the reader other sources of information so that they may continue their research on the topic covered by your blog post. This will also reflect your commitment to providing complete and useful content to your readers.

These related resources can include references you’ve used, books that cover the topic well, other relevant posts within your blog, and blog posts from other sites.

Quality Control

After you write a post, you shouldn’t just publish it immediately. You should appropriate some time for proofreading, editing and making sure you have the topic cinched to the best of your abilities.

All the efforts you have applied to writing your blog post might be lost on the reader if it is poorly written and peppered with spelling mistakes.

Further Reading

Here are some great resources for you to check out:

Conclusion

If many of the things I’ve talked about in this article are new to you, then it may sound like there’s a lot more to blogging than you had originally anticipated. But maintaining a great blog that ensures your blogging efforts will have good results will intrinsically involve a bit more work than run-of-the-mill blogging.

Anything of value takes time to create.

Related Content

About the Author

Pamela Dominguez is a 24-year-old interaction and interface designer located in the city of Monterrey, México. Currently working full-time for a user experience consultancy, she also runs a daily-updated personal blog. You can contact her through Twitter and view her LinkedIn profile.

30 Comments

benedetta.s

November 2nd, 2010

Really interesting post! I found it very useful, thanks!

Daniel Ireson

November 2nd, 2010

Good post and I totally agree with the readability section. When a blog post looks visual appealing before you even read something, somehow, i dont know – it just seems better if you know what i mean. I like Nettuts+ site for layout and visual heirchacy especially!

kumbi

November 2nd, 2010

like a lot of things, planning has a much to do with allowing a blog post’s message to be truly effective and i like the way that’s come across in this article!

some of the ideas in this post [readability, data visualisation, writing style and length..] can also be applied to regular web copy as well.

i’m also a big fan of using hyperlinks in the context of an idea/sentence ;)

Michiel

November 2nd, 2010

Some tips are common sense, but also some are really useful. Will definitely try to remember those (and bookmark this post)!

And it gave me a nice idea for an improvement on a project I’m currently working on. Thank you for sharing!

David H

November 2nd, 2010

A very nice, comprehensive resource for a beginning blogger. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

Sankar Datti

November 2nd, 2010

Great article Pamela. Thanks for it. I always thought to write an article like you explained, but never written like that. Today your article given a bit inspiration to me. Let me have a try. Hope this time I will succeed.

Thanks
Sankar Datti

Homero

November 2nd, 2010

Great article!! All persons must take these suggestions when starting a new blog.

Thomas McGee

November 2nd, 2010

Very good article. I especially liked your emphasis upon quality control. I actually write regularly for WinePress of Words and we take this very serious as it is a blog for writers. Even better than just taking some time to look over an article, is hiring a professional editor. This really makes all the difference!

James

November 2nd, 2010

These tips are certainly common sense, but that is a quality that is unfortunately quite rare! So thank you, and if you’ll forgive me for also pointing out the obvious, blogging is writing, so I’d suggest that the tips on good clear concise prose style in George Orwell’s famous essay “Politics and the English Language” are another good starting point for thinking about your posts.

Usi

November 2nd, 2010

you are absolutely right that choosing a title or topic is of great importance, and if the title is interesting one should definitely read what it contains?

secondly you talked about the design, I am visitor to six rivision since some days and I feel that it has very simple and clear design, the most interesting thing I really like is that it loads much faster then other sites, and believe me sixrevisions is the fastest loading site on my internet.

thanks for all your Good posts.

Ryan

November 2nd, 2010

Fantastic post, definitely going to use some of these suggestions. Thanks!

Jacob Gube

November 2nd, 2010

@Usi: Not right now though because the Facebook “Like” button is acting up and slowing down the post load times. I’m working on it though — trying to convert the JS to async so that the page loads while Facebook’s button gets served.

If you think the site’s fast now, wait until I get the long-promised redesign pushed out — it’s super optimized. This current design’s front-end design is not very optimized, I must admit.

Thomas McGee

November 2nd, 2010

I’ve actually run into the same issue with the Facebook “like” button, but also with the twitter equivalent as well. Do you know of any patches or fixes to help with this? I can’t say my JS knowledge is quite up to tackling this one on my own.

ddeja

November 2nd, 2010

Hmm, interestin stuff.

However as an continuation to this post i would realy like to read about, how to promote your unique and quality content? Any tips on that one?

Even the best content will be worth nothing if nobody will read it.

Or mabey the post was already written?

Cheers.

Brad

November 2nd, 2010

This is a great post. The section about using images was interesting to me bc I think this is why infographics have been so popular throughout the internet.

Jacob Gube

November 2nd, 2010

@Thomas McGee: Once I fix it, I’ll post it somewhere. The idea I had was to rewrite the JS to be asynchronous, like Google Analytics, so that you can download other stuff while the Facebook “Like” button renders.

@ddeja: It hasn’t been written, though that’s an interesting idea. I may write that one up myself.

Blue Fire Media

November 2nd, 2010

Every bit of this post is excellent advice. The title and intro are needed to keep the reader captivated. Also very important to keep paragraphs short to make it easier to read.

Thomas McGee

November 2nd, 2010

@Jacob Gube: Sounds good, I look forward to it!

Gabriele Maidecchi

November 2nd, 2010

I agree with you, things should be done in a consistent way, not in a chaotic one. It’s very important to provide a professional image through your blog, even if it’s a very personal one, it’s a form of respect towards your readers.

I personally write my posts title for last, but it’s just a personal practice.

Overall I think your tips are very valuable, especially the readability ones. Sadly, many people mess the old “content is king” motto for an excuse to slack in design and readability practices.

Blogger Guy

November 2nd, 2010

Great post, there are so many posts on this subject that just reuse the same top 10 but you have some good insights..

Edwin Sandoval

November 3rd, 2010

Greetings from Chihuhua, Mexico. You are a good writer, I think same as you about the title definition is the start point to create a good article, but I would like to add that the ability of auto critic our work is a task very important in the way of become a better blogger.

Jan Kazemier

November 3rd, 2010

Great article with some usefull tips, however, you should add that one should _NEVER_ use a Pie Chart. Pie Charts are known to be very unintuitive and misread by most people. People are very bad in estimating the size of a non-uniform part of a pie.

Amit

November 3rd, 2010

You write the article very clean. It is easy to understand. Hats off.

Kane

November 4th, 2010

Thank you! I just started blogging myself and have been trolling around for tips. I quite like the ‘Further Reading’ section. It’s not something new to me but your post shows its effectiveness :-)

Chris Huff

November 4th, 2010

Great article covering many helpful tips for blogging. I’ll pass this along to my wife, who is starting a blog soon. Although she may just pass it back to me because I’m her editor.

Freddy Rodriguez

November 4th, 2010

This is a great post Pamela. No matter what industry or niche you’re in…writing quality blog posts is a must if you want to have type of readership. Thanks for sharing!

Luke

November 11th, 2010

“Good visual aids go a long way when trying to get your ideas across to readers.”

The stamp in the graphic, is going to produce a back-to-front title.

Rachelle Messey

December 1st, 2010

woh I am thankful to find this website through google.

Jim Whitaker

January 22nd, 2011

Not only is this information well written and through out it is informative and easy to read and to comprehend. I look forward to more of her articles.

David

July 4th, 2011

Great post – the layout is so important! It is more important then the content? No way – content is king!

Leave a Comment

Subscribe to the comments on this article.