There’s no one set formula to a successful blog, but here are some solid guidelines to keep in mind:
Keep it short: While not a hard-and-fast rule, blogs are generally a quick-consumption medium. Readers expect to find content in small bites, not full-course meals. Try and keep things short and brief, and redirect readers elsewhere (a scholarly paper, another part of the Dal website) if they want more information.
Keep it focused: Blogs work best as a niche medium. Don’t try and be everything to everyone: pick an audience and deliver content that entices that audience to keep reading. Or, choose a subject and stick with it.
Keep it engaging: Take advantage of the multimedia options available with the WordPress platform to enhance your blog’s appeal. Use video, photo and user comments as a way to turn your blog into a more engaging and exciting destination for readers.
Keep it public: While blogs.dal.ca can offer private blogs restricted to particular communities, most are publicly available to everyone. Simple guideline: say anything on your blog that you wouldn’t say with a megaphone out in the Studley quad, and treat content with courtesy. It’s also a good idea to keep the jargon and technical terminology to a minimum – you never quite know who might be interested in your department’s activities.
Keep it going: If you want to keep readers coming back, you’ve got to keep giving them content. Aim to have at least one new post up a week – that may sound like a timesink, but it can only talking 15-20 minutes to write a solid blog post.
Keep it real: If you’re just copying and pasting content from elsewhere on your website, you’re not really taking advantage of what blogging can do. Don’t be afraid to provide a different voice than you’re used to. Likewise, the medium is not overly kind to ‘ghostwriting’ or having someone else write your content for you – many companies have gotten into trouble when it turned out that a blog was being written by someone other than its purported author.