Scott Mitchell (founder, 4 guys from rolla) published a post on his blog about writing good blogs. I read the post and follow the suggested links. After reading through a chain of links, I read lots of material on good blogging. Below is the summary of what I read:
How To Achieve Ultimate Blog Success In One Easy Step(http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000983.html)
My theory is that lead generation derives from Google rank and that the best way to increase Google rank is to be like a professional fighter: neither jabs nor haymakers are enough. You must be always jabbing and you must regularly throw haymakers. Blog continuously to keep your hit-rate and link-traffic high and write longer pieces, containing the high-value words associated with your niche, occasionally.
Fear of Writing (http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000516.html)
And that’s exactly why people who are afraid they can’t write should be blogging. It’s like exercise. No matter how out of shape you are, if you exercise a few times a week, you’ll inevitably get fitter. And if you write a small blog entry a few times every week, you’re bound to become a better writer. If you’re not writing because you’re intimidated by writing, well, you’re likely to stay that way forever.
Unless what you’re writing ..
- solves their problem
- provides useful information
- entertains them
- makes them feel like they rule
It’s irrational to expect users to care about it. Every time you write, ask yourself, “so what?” If you can’t answer that question convincingly, reformulate and try again.
Blogging about Blogging (http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000297.html)
- you have to want to write
- you have to believe you have something to say
- you have to have an interesting way of saying it
- you have to be a decent (not great, but decent) writer
- you have to enable blog comments
Rory explains first three of above point in details in his blog post “Why do some blogs succeed?“.
Writing Tips for Non-Writers Who Don’t Want to Work at Writing (http://www.scalzi.com/whatever/004023.html)
0. Speak what you write: If you can’t speak it naturally, rewrite it. Simple.
1. Punctuate, damn you:
2. With sentences, shorter is better than longer:
3. Learn to friggin’ spell: This is particularly the case with basic spelling errors like using “your” when you’re supposed to be using “you’re” or “its” for “it’s” (or in both cases, vice-versa). For every spelling error you make, your apparent IQ drops by 5 points. For every “there, they’re, their” type of mistake you make, your apparent IQ drops by 10 points.
4. Don’t use words you don’t really know:
5. Grammar matters, but not as much
6. Front-load your point: Now, sometimes people write to find out what their point is; I think that’s fine because I do that myself. But most of the time after I’ve figured out my point, I’ll go back and re-write.
7. Try to write well every single time you write: There really is no excuse for writing poorly in one’s blog. You’ll look stupid for the whole world to see, and it will be archived for as long as humanity remembers how to produce electricity.
8. Read people who write well: Don’t just read for entertainment, but also look to see how they do their writing — how they craft sentences, use punctuation, break their prose into paragraphs, and so on.
9. When in doubt, simplify: Ultimately, people write to be understood (excepting Gertrude Stein and Tristan Tzara, who were intentionally being difficult). Most people are, in fact, capable of understanding. Therefore, if you can’t make people understand what you write, most of the time it’s not just because the world is filled with morons, it’s also because you are not being clear. Downshift. People will be happy to know what you’re saying.
10. Speak what you write: If you can’t make your writing understandable to you, you can’t make it understandable to others.
Hints for revising (http://www.testing.com/cgi-bin/blog/2004/11/16)
Read your text aloud. Reading aloud is one way to get some distance, to separate the piece from your memory of writing it.
If a sentence is unclear, split it.
If a paragraph is unclear, split it. Then Write text to head off the problem, then return to adjust the guilty paragraph.
If an idea or procedure is complicated, add an example.
After you change a sentence, leave it aside for a while, then come back and reread at least the whole paragraph that contains it. Then tweak the sentence to make it fit better into its environment.
Can you turn that bullet list into one or more paragraphs? Bullet lists are, on average, easier for writers but harder for readers. They don’t provide transition between two ideas.