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Blog Tip: Be consistent

The following blog tip has been submitted by Jon Gales – the editor of the wonderful MobileTracker blog. Learn more about Jon from this interview we did with him earlier in the year.

You should decide early into your pro blogging what style standards your site will adhear to. It looks sloppy to switch styles between posts. If your site has multiple authors, a written style guide is a must-have.

Examples

  • Do you use the first, second or third person when talking about your site?
  • Are media sources italicized? (e.g. MobileTracker)
  • How to credit sites
  • How to link to sites (e.g. inline or at the end of the post)
  • Image sizes and alignments
  • How quotations are denoted
  • How updates are denoted

By developing a series of standards, your site will appear much more professional without any extra work. After your standards are set, go ahead and slowly work on updating your archives… Visitors from search engines likely still visit older content and will benefit from the consistency.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. eckes says:

    o use the correct author name on your posts

  2. Heat says:

    Eventhough i’m not a pro-blogger, nor planning to be one in the next 2 years, i’m trying my best to achieve a professional look and content of Infinity Graphid Designs, that post gave me a kind of compass in order to get even better…

    Thanks,
    Heat

  3. Cary Miller says:

    Since my blog is fairly new I’ve been thinking about these issues a lot recently. It took me a while to figure out where to put links (chose in-line over the end of the post, hope that doesn’t backfire on me,) but I’m still trying to figure out whether I want to us italics for publications…is that the standard? I seem to remember that from my old English 1A class.

    Good post for those who are just starting out, becasue let’s face it, it would suck to have to go back through ALL of your posts an change them!

  4. Mark Tosczak says:

    I’m not convinced that it makes any difference if your consistent or not in where you put your links in a post, so long as it’s clear to the reader where the link goes and why it’s relevant to your post. Using the title attribute in the link tag can be helpful in that regard; in most browsers it’ll give readers a little pop-up with the title info.

  5. Ray says:

    eckes – Darren obviously advanced posted this on behalf of Jon – ie thats why the author name is different. He said he’d do this for a few posts of those who didn’t want to be added as authors on their own behalf.

    Great tip by the way Jon.

  6. David says:

    Great stuff. I am going to work on these things a little more on my own blog.

    Always love when there is new content on Problogger.

  7. Cary Miller says:

    Mark, I’ve actually been wondering about this…it seems to me that a link that is basically some text in the middle, say, of a paragraph, is probably less likely to take your readers away from your site, than a prominent link at the bottom that says, “Read More at:…”

    My thinking (and of course I may be way off base!) is that once a reader is invested in reading a paragraph, (ie, they’re a few sentences in) they are most likely not going to click a link built right into a sentence, because they want to finish what they are reading. They know they can come back to the link when they finish.

    However, if you place a link literally as the last thing in your post, I would think that human nature would say “alright, where do I go next…Oh, right here on this handy link!)

    The first way, in-line linking, seems like it would be more likely to keep people at your site, because by the time they reach the end of the post, assuming the post is more than just a short re-hash of what’s at the other end of the link, there’s a good chance they won’t even need/want to follow that link anymore, and instead continue around your blog.

    The second way, particularly if your post is just a quick sum-up of something else, seems like it would almost deffinitely draw your reader away, to learn more about the subject.

    Anyway, that’s my theory, but I might be completely full of hot air!

    : )

  8. That’s good thinking Cary, I really like your strategy. I feel that it might be best both to have inline links and then a summary of the links at the bottom of the post, but that is too time-consuming to always be possible.

  9. Mark Tosczak says:

    Cary – That’s pretty good thinking. I often deliberately place the key link at the end of a post when I want to make sure that someone finishes reading what I have to say before they go flitting off to some place else.

    I guess I think that stickiness is overrated. Look at Google — the whole site is designed to send you some place else, but people keep coming back because it does that so well, it’s useful. That’s how I think a good blog is: You’re never going to really capture a majority of a reader’s online attention, so I’d rather keep someone coming back to me because the links (I hope) are good, then worry too much about keeping them on my site for a long time when they’re checking in once a day or whatever..

    That said, I’m not currently trying to make any money off my blog, and if I was I might be more concerned about trying to keep people hanging around. You’ve got a good theory about this — I hadn’t really thought that much about this issue before. I’m in the middle of a redesign of my blog, so I’ll have to add this to the list of things to think about.

  10. colbert says:

    going static on design and style will keep out the confusion from search engines , imho

    I’m trying to do that too…. Following in the footsteps of leaders like Engadget and Gizmodo