- Background on how blogging differs from other writing
- Characteristics of well-written blog posts
Effective writing for the internet differs from “good” writing in other contexts. Compared to formal essays or research papers, writing for the web is more conversational and accessible for a broad audience. Writing for the web also makes use of hyperlinks and multimedia to fully communicate ideas and contextualize the writing.
Blogging is a type of web writing that developed in the 1990s from the tradition of keeping a journal. The word “blog” is a shortened form of “web log,” which was coined in 1997. A blog makes use of dated entries to create an ongoing narrative, compared to other websites that show content without any chronology. Blogging was originally personal writing, but the form now includes corporate blogs, news blogs, niche interest blogs and many other types.
In Say Everything, a book about the history of blogging, author Scott Rosenberg writes:
“Blogging, the first form of social media to be widely adopted beyond the world of technology enthusiasts, gave us a template for all the other forms that would follow. Through its lens, people could see the Web for the first time as something they were collectively building. It gave a multitude of formerly private people a public voice.”
Writing Blog Posts
Although each blog writer develops his or her own style, well-written blog posts share a number of characteristics that make posts easily readable and interesting.
Characteristics of well-written blog posts:
- Engaging and easy to read for a broad audience
- Short, direct, complete, and conversational sentences
- Short paragraphs (no more than 4 or 5 sentences)
- Express opinions or show personality
- Written in the first-person (i.e., “I think”)
- Link to other websites to connect ideas and provide context
- Include images and embedded media (such as videos)
- Thoughtful headlines, captions and organizational categories
- Free of typos, errors and unprofessional language
Web writing is often still done in a text document and then copied to a web publishing platform. It’s a good practice to note multimedia elements in your text as you write to make sure you remember to add links, images and other media when relevant.
Have a few questions about grammar rules? Not sure whether your ideas are coming through clearly? Free walk-in and online tutoring is available to all WSU students through the Writing Center. Tutors can help with broad issues like spelling and grammar questions, and they can also offer advice on a written draft if you bring the assignment criteria. See the walk-in hours and other information at the Writing Center website.