This is a sample blog post for use as a guide when writing your Research Articles for the Digital Media & Multimedia Design course. Here, I will lay out the general rules and guidelines you need to make sure that your articles will receive a full grade. If you are trying to figure out how to actually use WordPress then you should start with some WordPress Essential Training videos.
Don’t limit your word count, but don’t be skimpy either.
All articles should be between 400-600 words, but don’t let that stop you if you have more to talk about. If you have something to say, say it. Readers (and search engines) prefer to get meatier pieces to make clicking through worth their time. This doesn’t mean you can’t feature shorter pieces or that you should ramble on just to meet a word count, but don’t be afraid to break down antiquated perceptions that blogs need to be short. When the time is right, go long.
There is a word counter in the bottom right of your WordPress writing window. Keep an eye on that if you want to know where you are in your article…
Don’t be negative. Ever.
Firstly, these articles are PUBLIC. Not only should these articles be professional and polite, but it’s always a bad idea to talk about personal grievances publicly. Your future employers or clients will be able to find and read these articles, so you’ll go a lot further by being positive, inspirational and supportive to the community that you’re writing to. Secondly, the Instructor, Advisers and Directors at McFatter all can read these articles. Keep all articles appropriate.
Grammar mistakes count.
Not only will articles be graded down for grammatical errors, but it makes you seem much less employable in our field. Good writing is a cornerstone to communication, and at the end of the day that is what we designers do… we communicate ideas, information or messaging through the use of visual art, good typography and yes, the ability to write intelligent sentences. This website will represent your portfolio, and it deserves to have a professional quality.
Include a good Featured Image.
Use sites like Unsplash to use high quality free images for your blogs. Again, the professional touch to your websites matter… a LOT. If you can, always use your own imagery instead of stock stuff, but don’t hesitate to use royalty free images to your benefit. If you do use another artists freebies… you absolutely MUST give them credit with a link (or a fancy Credit Badge if the site you use offers it). Put the image credit at the top of your blog, just like this one. If you want to get some idea where to get images like this, I wrote another article about it titled GREAT SITES FOR ROYALTY FREE PHOTOS. where I list a bunch of good resources that is worth a look.
Have links to important stuff.
Whether you are linking to other blogs or websites that contain great information or linking to past posts on your own site, do it whenever you can. This will help not only increase your clicks but also help with your blog’s search engine rankings. You should always link out to any sources you use, and be sure to embed the link inside the writing like the link above, don’t do a stack of links at the end.
Also, be sure to check the “Open Link in New Tab” option when linking out, you don’t want your visitors to completely leave your site… right?
Categories, Tags, Titles… these all matter.
Your website will eventually have TONS of articles and blogs. Things like Categories and Tags can help organize your content for your readers, who may only be interested in certain topics and don’t want to slog through hundreds of articles to find the four or five that have to do with Photoshop or Animation. Every article for this class needs at LEAST one category and a few specific tags. Use this as a standard for all articles and blogs in the future. Also, be sure to un-check the UNCATEGORIEZED category. That just doesn’t make sense.
Do NOT copy other sites. Ever. Just don’t do it. Nope, not even then.
Not only will copy/pasting content from other sites warrant you a ZERO on the article, but eventually your site will be down-ranked from Google, hurting your chances of showing up in the search engine when people search for you or your portfolio.