Having read articles on effective blogging by Daren Rowse, Ilias Chelidonis and DM Best Practices, the following are what I consider some of the best practices:
- Ensure a title that is catchy and relevant to its content, like a newspaper headline
- Employ journalistic style writing that answers the questions who, what, when, and where in the introduction and the details of how and why in the body
- Try to make the content scannable and easily retrievable
- Use google analytics to track the performance of the web
- Write short paragraphs and stay away from long sentences, as this style is preferable to web readers
- The design of the blog is important and should be user friendly, not cluttered
- Use headlines and headings
- Avoid verbosity
- Create content that informs, entertains, inspires and or interacts
- Blog passionately
- Be honest and fair
The blog that I have chosen to analyse is Trinidad Carnival Diary, written by an anonymous Trinidadian blogger whose nom de plume is Saucy Trini. She focuses her content on Trinidad carnival 365 days a year, and 366 in a leap year. http://www.trinidadcarnivaldiary.com/
The content of this blog informs readers about all things carnival from parties, band launches to playing carnival; entertains with witty anecdotes of carnival experiences and inspires readers to join the revelry on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. The title of the blog is relevant to its content and catchy. In addition, there are many pictures, short paragraphs and links to other interesting articles, so it is reader friendly.
In one blog post, ‘Drunk Drivers Safe Feters’, the blogger praises and recommends a safe and reliable taxi service for party goers who plan to drink alcohol. However, she writes, “In full disclosure I would like to say that I have met and know of the Founder of Drunk Drivers prior to the start of this business venture” (Saucy Trini (2), 2015). This certainly adds to her credibility. There are also links on the page to Facebook and Instagram, widgets and opportunities for readers to interact. I find this blog very engaging. The writer knows her audience, who are fellow carnival lovers, and she caters to their needs.
There are certainly many elements in my own blog that I can enhance. At present, it is very basic. The title ‘Trini Voice in a Global Village’ is very broad and does not necessarily target a niche market. I also need to include more Trini examples and references in my writing so that it is relevant to the title. The blog comprises of assignments for class. I need to write shorter paragraphs, include multimedia and provide links to social media. In short, my blog is more like academic short papers posted to a blog, so it is not as engaging as it could be for web readers. It would also improve greatly if I were to adopt the journalistic inverted pyramid style of writing.
I think the strengths of my blog are that it is grammatically sound and I make every effort to research my topics well.
As a novice blogger, I would certainly read an official Blogger’s Code of Conduct and I would find it useful. I always find guidelines helpful when embarking on any new undertaking. Having said that, I think that there are certain life hacks that run true regardless of what you are doing and for me the basis of it all is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The spirit of this is encapsulated in the standards of the Food Blog Code of Ethics (Greenstein & Burton, 2011) and the SPJ Code of Ethics (2014): Do no harm, seek the truth and be accountable.
Chelidonis, I. . 12 Steps to Launch a Successful Blog. Retrieved from http://www.dailyblogtips.com/steps-to-successful-blog/
D M Best Practices. Writing for the web. Retrieved from http://www.uakron.edu/webteam/docs/dm_webwriting.pdf
Greenstein, L and Burton, B. 2011, August 28. Food Blog Code of Ethics 2.0. Retrieved from https://foodethics.wordpress.com/
Rowse, D. 2014 March 5. Beginner Week: My 43 DOs and 25 DON’Ts of Blogging. Retrieved from http://www.problogger.net/archives/2014/03/05/beginner-week-my-43-dos-and-25-donts-of-blogging/
Saucy Trini. 2015. Trinidad Carnival Diary. Retrieved from http://www.trinidadcarnivaldiary.com/
Saucy Trini (2). 2015 January 6. Drunk Drivers, Safe Feters. Retrieved from http://www.trinidadcarnivaldiary.com/?p=10133
Society of Professional Journalists. 2014, September 6. SPJ Code of Ethics. Retrieved from http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp