Essential Dos & Don’ts of Blogging for Writers

by Edie Melson  @EdieMelson

I love to blog, and I try to share my love of blogging when I
teach at writing conferences.
I also know that many of you aren’t such fans. Many of you
try to love blogging because it’s a good way to connect with your readers and
build an online presence. Others, don’t even try to love it, but do it out of
necessity. The rest are like me, and enjoy the process as well as the
connections it brings.
No matter where you are with blogging, it’s important to do
it well. Whether you blog twice a month on a group blog, or daily on your own
site, there are some essential dos and don’ts of blogging that I’d like to
share with you today.

The Dos of Blogging
  • Do Keep a Schedule:
    I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it until the day I die. If you
    expect your readers to come back regularly, you must be dependable. How often
    would you visit a business if you never knew whether or not it would be open?
    If you don’t have a new post up when you say you will, it’s like you’re not open
    for business.
  • Do Include Social
    Media Links in Your Sidebar:
    Don’t miss out on valuable connections on
    other networks just because you’ve forgotten to add social media links to your
    blog.
  • Do Answer Comments:
    If someone is nice enough to make the effort to join the conversation, I feel
    it’s the LEAST I can do to answer them. I’m not one hundred percent on this,
    but I do try.
  • Do Use Proper
    Formatting & Images:
    This means utilize bold headings, bullet points,
    and images to illustrate your posts. Proper formatting will break up the text
    and make your blog easier to be read. Make your post scannable. This proves
    your post’s value and makes it more likely to be read.

The Don’ts of
Blogging
  • Don’t Make Your Post
    too Long:
    The ideal post length is between 500-700 words. Any longer and
    it’s much less likely to be read. Yes, there are exceptions. But those
    exceptions are just that, and many of you that think you’re the exception
    aren’t. It’s a hard truth, but shorter posts will up the engagement and readership
    of 98% of the blogs out there.
  • Don’t Make Your Blog
    Hard to Read:
    Make sure the font you use is a sans-serif font, like the one
    used here, which is VERDANA. As opposed to a serif font, like this one: Times
    New Roman. Also make sure your font is large enough to be easily read. Finally,
    be careful which colors you choose for your blog.
  • Don’t Use Vague
    Titles for Your Posts:
    Your audience will judge your post on the
    expectations you set in the title you choose. Also, social media is often a
    world without context. Use this question when choosing a title: If someone were to only read the title,
    would they know what the post was about?
    If the answer’s no, then choose
    another title.
  • Don’t Clutter Your
    Blog’s Sidebar:
    The sidebar of your blog should be organized in the order
    of importance. If the most important thing to you is having people sign up for
    updates for your blog, then email and RSS signups should be at the top of your
    sidebar. If it’s hard for people to find your sign up or your social media
    links, you’re missing out on building your online audience.

These are my suggestions for the essential dos and don’ts of
blogging. I’d love to hear what you’d add to the list. Be sure to share your
comments in the section below.

Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. Her blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains ChristianWriters Conference and the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy. She’s also the Military Family Blogger at Guideposts. Com, Social Media Director for SouthernWriters Magazine and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook. Don’t miss her new book from Worthy Inspired, WHILE MY SOLDIER SERVES.