Full Stack Web Developer

Blogging 101 – Advancing Past Novice

For first-time bloggers looking to smooth the rough edges of their blog, here are five elements to consider.

"Jump Breaks", a.k.a. "Read More"

Blogs typically have a page showing the ten most recent blog posts. Each of these are truncated to perhaps 50 or 100 words.

By default, a blog will blindly cut each of these posts at a certain point. This could be in the middle of a sentence. Sometimes, the first lines of data from a table will be included.

You, as the author of the blog post, often have a way of specifying when to cut the blog post.

Fixing This

WordPress: press the More button on the top rail of the WYSIWYG editor. Power users can type <!--more-->.

Other blogs: you will need to check the documentation. Some blogs may lack this feature.

Additional Jump Break Tip

Avoid starting a blog post with a table or a list. This element will appear on the recent posts page, with little context. Some blog platforms may even merge all the items into a single string of text.

Instead, spend a paragraph or two explaining the importance of the table/list. Include a jump break next, and then display the table or list.

The Blog Post's URL

Each blog post will have a unique URL. Different blogging platforms use different methods for generating these URLs. More powerful/professional blogging software will let you define the URL.

Having a well-defined URL is a little extra that isn't noticed until it looks wrong.

Example URLs


Bad: this is an example of WordPress post's ID as a URL. This happens when you save or publish a blog post without providing a title.


Okay: another example of a WordPress-generated URL. Notice how the words look haphazard. The original title might be Five Blogging Tips to Make Your Website Better.


Bad: using the entire title as a URL can be unweildly.

With URLs, having a consistent pattern is a subtle indicator of talent. Have you ever read a book with margins that didn't line up with the page?


Good: using an short and informative title. Just like the headline of a newspaper.

If you should later write another article about blogging tips, there's nothing wrong using /five-more-blogging-tips/ as a URL.

Just as when making a unique title for a blog post, making a unique URL for a blog post should be just as simple.

How to Change URLs

WordPress: click on the URL directly beneath the post's title, make the change, and press the nearby Save button.

Other blogs: some blog platforms may not allow you to change it. Check the documentation.

Leading Images

Blogs can let you upload a featured image, or otherwise allow you to add an image to the top of the page.

Returning to the idea of being consistent, you should decide whether you can (or will) add a photo to the top of every blog post, and whether you can use a consistently-sized image. If either of these are outside your current skillset, then you should hold off.

Intermittent Images

Using leader images inconsistently will be noticed by returning visitors. By not regularly providing an image, it can negatively be perceived as "too busy to find an image".

Myself, I don't use leader images, in part because it would take additional time to find an image for each article written.

Inconsistently-sized Images

Inconsistently-sized images will also be noticed by returning visitors. While you aren't a photo editor, awkwardly-sized images will remind the reader of exactly that. By using consistently sized images, the reader won't realize it. (Another case of "only notices if it's wrong".)

Ideally, when you start blogging, consider these points:

  • Decide on the image size you want for all of your images.
  • Consider a size with simple dimensions: 250x200, 240x180, etc.
    • Sometimes, the blog software will force this for you.
  • Learn how to use your computer's photo editor to crop or resize images.
    • Photoshop isn't necessary. Windows Paint can crop and scale.
    • There's a chance that your blog software can even crop and scale images.
  • Be sure all of the photos you're using are fair-use. You will need to do additional research on your own about this.
  • Prepare yourself to do this for every blog post from now on.

Publishing Date

Being consistent makes a return here.

A blog with twenty posts distributed over twenty week will appear consistent, and will more likely be bookmarked by visitors.

A blog with twenty posts written at random over ten weeks will look like a passion project, a blog that may eventually dry up, so not as useful to bookmark.

Good content for either of these blogs will play more of a role than consistency. Consistency is the extra 20%.

Automated Consistency

Most blog software will allow you to set a "publish date".

This feature allows you to write when you're inspired, which will result in a better blog post than one forced by a deadline.

Spellcheck and Proofread

While this is obvious, it still needs mentioning.

Any typo, or glaring grammar error, will distract a reader and ding your credibility.

Most blog software uses the browser's built-in spell-checker.

For a more powerful spell-checker, use Microsoft Word or Libre Writer. These also can catch grammar errors.

Writing is easy...

Writing a blog post is easy. Put words on a page, press a button.

Writing a good blog—well-received by the reader, professional, and perhaps a little witty— is not so easy.

In Closing

Applying these techniques are defensive measures: good content will add credibility, while these easily correctable (sic.) mistakes mentioned here will reduce credibility.

  • Jump Breaks — better entice reader to continue reading
  • URLs — aestetically match the title
  • Images — optional; decide if it's worth the effort
  • Publish Dates — the promise of consistency will bring readers back
  • Spelling/Grammar — "English, do you speak it?"