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Writing Style to Keep in Mind for Blog Posts -- Be Clearer Than Usual, State Main Point Up Front

by Tom Johnson on Jun 11, 2007 •
categories: blogging technical-writing

Darren RowseI came across a good article on writing style for blog posts. Pro blogger Darren Rowse says,

The average person only comprehends 60% of what they read. ....

To ensure your reader ‘gets' what you're saying you need to make it clear by using some of the following techniques.

- Use simple language. Avoid technical jargon.

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- Don't introduce too many ideas in one post. You can always add another post later.

- Start your entry with your main point in the first paragraph. Better still, incorporate it in your title. (This can also bring more traffic through search engine referrals)

You have to be extremely clear in your blog posts, without requiring readers to figure out your point. This seems rather obvious, but it's something I was debating about with Shannon. She likes to "show rather than tell," and often lets her readers discover the meaning that they want from her posts.

This is a carryover from creative writing, and it can be more rewarding in some situations and contexts. In fact, I really enjoy reading her witty posts. But I read blogs by scanning down lists of 150+ blogs aggregated in my feedreader. I love it when headlines are descriptive and first paragraphs hint at the topic. Unfortunately this is only true about 20% of the time.

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer / API doc specialist based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation if you're looking for more info about that. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me. Finally, note that the opinions I express on my blog are my own points of view, not that of my employer.