Before I was a mom and a blogger—heck, before I was even a sewer—I was a publishing professional. I’ve worked on print publications and the websites of national magazines in both editorial and production capacities. By following some basic lessons from my experiences, you can add a little polish to your posts.
1. Sleep on it. I’m amazed by those people who can bang out a blog post and send it live right away. Try sleeping on it or at least walking away from your computer for a few hours. When you gain some distance from your writing and read it with fresh eyes, you may see ways to improve what you’ve written or how you’ve written it.
2. Pretend you’re a new visitor. Read your posts through the eyes of someone who is new to your site and your projects. Even your regular readers won’t remember every post you’ve ever written; they may not even remember last week’s post. Help readers by providing some context.
For example, earlier this year, I took a Curves Class. I felt ridiculous repeating in every related post that I was taking a Curves Class and that it was offered by Stitched in Color and that it was challenging to me, blah blah blah. But I get hundreds of page views through link parties each week. Many of those visitors have likely never been to my blog before. Without that exposition, I could lose those readers.
3. Link up to your other posts. This is a fabulous way to accomplish point #2. For example: Are you presenting a finished quilt? Then link to the WIP posts for the same project. Doing so could deepen a reader’s relationship with your blog or could provide information—pattern details, fabric lines, etc.—that you spelled out earlier.
|I can’t bear a post without pictures, so here’s a pretty project from|
the Curves Class I mention in point #2! Notice how I link up to the
post about that project? Yup, I’m taking my own advice from point #3.
4. Proofread your post before it’s live. I wish I could dig up the study I found ages ago about this point, but ridding your content of simple typos gives it—and you—more credibility.
5. Brush up on your sixth-grade grammar. The basic grammar mistakes I see in quilting blogs include issues with contractions, pronouns, and run-on sentences. For some basic rules on the grammar front, see the sidebar.
6. Ask a friend to review your post. It’s hard to proofread your own writing; you’re too close to it to read objectively, so consider asking for help. I used to be paid to proofread manuscripts, and I still miss things in my own writing. (It’s worth mentioning that I asked my sister to proofread my new posts and she wasn’t interested. Punk!)
7. Proofread your post after it’s live. Yes, proofread again because weird things happen—especially when they involve technology.
|Here’s another gratuitous picture for you. This post originally|
contained a misplaced quotation mark. I fixed the error after the post
went live and a few dozen people had read it (arg!). This was
an important quotation mark, people! Misplacing it changed the
meaning of the sentence!
8. Click on everything once your post is live. Broken or incorrect links are annoying. Check every one once your post is live. And if you add another link after the page initially posts, check that new link, too. Refer to point #7: Weird things happen—especially when they involve technology.
9. Occasionally review your top-level pages. I’m amazed at how many prominent sites have top-level pages riddled with errors. I’m sure it’s an issue of resources (and the fact that there are just 24 hours in each day), but those pages are important, too. Take a minute to check right now … Is your copyright current? If you have a list of links to other blogs or link parties, do all those links work?
One day I checked the search function I had added from Blogger to my right-hand navigation. No matter what I typed in, the results it gave me were my bio page. I asked a friend to check it out, and she encountered the same problem. I immediately took the search box down.
10. ??? I can’t think of a tenth tip, can you? If you think like a publishing professional, what advice do you have for new bloggers? Share your thoughts in a comment below.
A special thanks to Kim (Leland Ave Studios) for her feedback on this post.
Linking up to Tips and Tutorials Tuesday ...