After reviewing the article 12 Steps to Launch a Successful Blog there are few “best practices” I believe bloggers should have to follow when creating a blog to ensure that appropriate form, function and substance are accomplished. In regards to the form and style of the website there are a few things to keep in mind. According to Chelidonis (2011) there are few steps that have to be considered, “[When designing a blog a blogger must consider] the blog’s name, a professional blog theme, and a professionally designed logo” (Chelidonis, 2011). Without keeping in mind these important design elements a reader of your blog could get lost in the message you are trying to portray. You want make sure your blog is designed around your subject matter you are discussing.
The second thing you need to look at when considering your blog is the function of your blog. In order for your blog to perform well you have to be able to consider your web host to make sure they are reliable to host your content and you have to consider the amount of plugins and social media widgets you have on your blog. According to Chelidonis (2011) “Avoid stuffing your blog with as many plugins as possible because they will eventually make your blog hard to navigate and make readers lose focus” (Chelidonis, 2011).
When considering the function of your blog you want to make sure that your links and additional plug-ins on your blog are pertinent to your topic. While social media tools do in fact draw the reader in to learning more about your topic, you do not want tons of social media tools on your blog to draw your audience away from your message you are trying to depict to your readers.
The third thing you need to consider when creating a blog is the substance of the blog. This includes the content of your blog, the source information within your blog, regularly interacting with posting in your blog and getting new content ideas (Chelidonis, 2011). You want to make sure you are spending the time to research the content of your blog and you are regularly interacting with your readers. According to Chelidonis (2011), “Blog as often as you possible can but try to have a post at least 3 times a week, do not expect to build a successful blog if you have just post once a week, blogs need content and lots of it” (Chelidonis, 2011). In my opinion if you want to consider your self a frequent blogger you need to be able to work for it. You have to show your readers that you are care about the subject you are writing about and you are considering the “best blogging practices” to make your readers want to read your blog on a weekly basis.
In the article DM Best Practices: Writing for the Web (2013) it discusses the importance of formatting when creating your blog. The article states, “Reading long paragraphs on a screen hurts the eyes, it is laborious and time consuming in a medium known for speed…catch your readers’ attention in the first few words, start with the conclusion, follow with the details and [concentrate] on one idea per paragraph” (“Writing for the Web, 2013). In addition to keeping the form, function and substance in mind bloggers need to focus on the format of their blog posts. If it does not grab the attention of the reader and the blog has paragraphs upon paragraphs of text the reader could get bored. As long as a blogger keeps the above things in mind when creating a blog they should be successful in launching a successful blog for their readers.
World Wide Funding Blog
The website I have chosen to analyze on Best Practices for this week’s blog is World Wide Funding Blog for the United States. I have chosen to analyze this blog, as I believe the World Wide Funding Association is extremely powerful and it is one organization that I have donated to previously.
When looking at the form of the blog the blog certainly catches your eye. The blog has a catchy logo on the side of the screen, which many viewers can associate with the mission of the organization as this logo is being displayed in many other forms of media such as television commercials.
The blog is also extremely easy to navigate. At the top of the screen you are able to view information about the organization, which species they support, about the organization and how to get involved with the organization. By having easy navigation around the site this makes this easier on the reader.
The function of the blog proves to be easy for the reader. In addition to the main menu options that are shown at the top of the screen, the user is able to share the blog information with friends and family by using the social media tools at the bottom of the screen. I enjoyed viewing this website because all of the social media pictures, links and content were pertinent to the mission of the organization.
The substance of the blog pertains to the mission of the organization. According the WWF funding About Us page:
“[The World Wide Funding organization is the] world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by 1.1 million members in the United States and close to 5 million globally. WWF’s unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature” (About Us, 2015).
All of the written blog posts pertain to conserving our environment through nature and our societies actions. I was impressed to find that each of the blog posts mixed text with the appropriate amount of media to the subject of the blog post.
Does my blog meet best practices?
When looking at my blog there is definitely some work that needs to be done. When reviewing my blog against the 12 Best Practices the form and function definitely stick out to me as areas I need to work on.
When starting this course I decided that putting tulips as my header pictures would look “pretty” and draw my audience in to my blog. In reality “tulips” have nothing to do with the substance of this blog. Since this course is all about design and substance to the readability of my audience, I should have chosen a better logo and picture that was related towards my main topic which is Knowledge in New Media. If I had chosen something aimed towards journalism and best media practices it would have aligned more with my readers.
The second thing that I think could have been improved in the content of my blog is the media to text balance ratio as well as the media plug-ins on my blog. Up until last week I really did not use a lot of media or pictures in my blog. The only form of web widgets I included was a calendar to view previous blog posts. It was mostly all text and formatted for print reading. According to the article, DM Best Practices: Writing for the Web (2013), “If the content was written for print, chances are it’s not appropriately formatted to your website” (“Writing for the Web,” 2013). If I were to continue on with this blog after this course I would be focusing on the layout and overall mission of the site to something I was interested in writing about.
The one area where I think I have a good grasp is the overall substance of my posts. I have provided links to all of my sources in my blogs and I view this to be highly important when being a credible and honest blogger.
I personally wish there was a Code of Conduct out there for new bloggers like myself. Before taking this course I was not familiar with journalist ethics and I have learned that you really need to dig deeper to gather the evidence of your story before publishing it. As indicated in the article Food Code of Ethics Burton and Greenstein (2009) state, “People who write comments and publish their opinions should be aware that they are accountable for their actions” (Burton and Greenstein, 2009). Whether someone is writing about food, politics journal articles etc. it is important to have guidelines to be an ethical, credible and honest writer.
About Us. (2015). Retrieved June 15, 2015, from https://www.worldwildlife.org/blogs
Burton, B., & Greenstein, L. (2009, April). Food Blog Code of Ethics. Retrieved June 8, 2015, from https://foodethics.wordpress.com/
Chelidonis, I. (2011). 12 Steps to Launch a Successful Blog. Retrieved June 9, 2015, from http://www.dailyblogtips.com/steps-to-successful-blog/
Fakhraie, F. (2013, June 18). Best Practices Resources for Your Social Media. Retrieved June 15, 2015, from https://www.brassmedia.com/best-practices-resources-for-your-social-media/
Writing for the Web. (2013). Dot Marketing Best Practices, 1-15. doi:10.4324/9780203845257