16 Jun 2014

8 ways to be a better blogger

News | ANA Official Post | springli

So you want to write a blog for the American Numismatic Association? Writing for the internet isn't quite like writing a paper for school or an article for a magazine. Below are eight tips to get you started.

Plan before you write: Take five minutes before you start writing to plan your blog post. Jot down briefly what you want to write about. A quick, short sentence or bulleted list will work well.  

Use your own words: Don't plagiarize. If you plan on doing some research for your blog post (which you should) and you find a cool fact, don't pass it off as your work. Give credit where it is due. (ie. John Smith writes in his book, Collecting World Coins, that coin collecting is the coolest hobby ever.)

Keep it short: Try to keep your posts between 300 and 500 words. If a post is too long you risk boring your readers. However, don't feel like this word count is set in stone. If you need to go a bit longer to make sure you thoroughly cover your topic, do it. Just don't go overboard and write a book.

Some good ways to keep your writing short 

  • Stick to your topic. Don't pick a subject that is too broad to cover in 500 words. Instead of American paper money write about the $2 bill.
  • If you can say something in five words instead of 10, pick the shorter one.
  • Scannability:  Readers tend to scan blog posts rather than read them straight through. There are a few things you can add to make them stop and read what you have written.
  • Lists: A numbered or bulleted list is easy to read and a great format for a blog post.
  • Bolded words: A bolded phrase screams, "This is important, read me!" Be careful bolding words. If you bold too much it will lose its punch.
  • Links: If you find a neat website with more information on your topic, like how to write a scannable post, link to it in your post. That way you don't have to write about everything on your subject.
  • Pictures: People love to look at pictures, so try and find one that relates to your topic. Be sure to credit your source.


(See? You looked, didn't you?)
Get noticed: Top your blog post with a short, catchy headline. Not "The life and times of Roman Emperors and their coins," instead use "Roman currency and Julius Caesar."

Read what you just wrote: Once you finish writing your blog post take a minute to look over it. Read it out loud. It can be easier to find mistakes and awkward phrases when you hear the words you have written.

Spelling and grammarPoor spelling and grammar deter readers and make you look less knowledgeable. Read through what you wrote one more time and check your spelling and grammar.

Have fun: Don't forget that writing a blog should be fun. Pick a topic you enjoy and have fun. We can't wait to read your posts!



Level 6

Nice to read a blog on writing tips. Very helpful & informative.

Good article! Here's a tip for your future blogs. If you say you have 8 points, be sure to number them. It looks like to me that you may have had more than 8 points. Also, if you're going to bold most of your points, I'd recommend making all of them bold.


Level 6

Nice well written blog on writing blogs. We should all read this before posting. Thanks!!


Level 7

You know I'm glad I read this today because there have been some plagiarism going on lately. You will know them I don't leave a reply. When I write a blog and someone doesn't understand it I know it's not me. I have to send a message explaining it then I read a blog word for word from a book and it sounds like it was written by a PhD. By the way I don't know everyone so it doesn't mean I'm talking about you if there no comment. They know who they are and I won't play into it. Great blog. Everyone needs to read it.


Level 5

Great tips and i will try to use some of these tips


Level 7

Hi! I agree with the writing of a blog. There are time's when one is written, that name's must be left out. For all is not true in everything a person doe's so to use that person's name would be wrong. He or she deserves their privacy. It's also important to make sure you know the rules of the ANA after all it's there name on your blog. So read them like I did and you have nothing to worry about. The main thing is you will enjoy the hobby more and make new friend's and most of all learn!


Level 5

Agreed. Grammar is important, but staying on topic, keeping it brief, and having a cool title are often neglected (I am not exempt from this!). Awesome tips!


Level 5

Great tips, Lauren! (I joost wush I wuz a goode speelur like yew arrrrrrr!) Yep, plagiarism is a crime folks, so cite your sources carefully. Give ALL proper credit to where it is due - our knowledge is predicated on the research and experiences of those who've come before us. Like Sir Isaac Newton said,'If I've been able to see further than others, it's because I was standing on the shoulders of giants!' ...so how many future numismatists will you inspire someday? Depends on how you spend today!

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