!!! warning This information has been replaced in most parts by our Editing Guidelines. This page will be deleted soon.
While helping people to write their first blog post, we have a collected a couple of tips that can be useful for you.
- Release early, release often applies to blog posts too. Once you have a first draft, get feedback quickly by showing it to somebody else. Otherwise you run the risk that you are too much in love with your own content, and it becomes harder for you to include feedback.
- Less is more - Blog posts become too long very quickly. If your initial draft is ~1 page long, that is already plenty. Do not worry, we have helped a bunch of first-time authors before, so we can certainly help you to find a good scope for your topic. The earlier you ask us for help, the better.
- Know your audience - Sounds like a catch-phrase, but it is indeed really important. Who are you writing for? Are you writing for developers, agile coaches, product owners, customers, people interested in a specific topic, etc? Do your readers need any prior knowledge about the topic or not?
- Don’t bury the lead - The lead is the first paragraph of your post. In journalism “burying the lead” means to emphasize the most important part of a story in the very beginning. Here some tips to avoid burying the lead.
- Call-to-action - if you want the readers of your post to do anything, make that call-to-action very explicit! This often happens at the very end of your blog post.
When your content is pretty much done, here a couple of things to do before you publish.
- Squeeze the fat - Read a couple of sentences of your blog post out loud. Try to leave some of the words from those sentences away and see if the sentences still make sense. We often end up putting in “filler words” here and there that don’t transport much meaning. Those can be removed. That is called squeezing the fat. There is also a bunch of good writing advice available online like Using Parts of Speech to Improve Your Writing. However remember that our goal with underthehood is not to make all of us to be professional writers so let’s not overdo it either.
- Image credits - If you have used images that you did not create yourself, double check their license and attribute where they come from at the end of your blog post.
- Reduce the file size of your images - make your blog post load faster by reducing the file size of your images. i.e. crop them to max 815px width (that is the maximum display width on underthehood). Also tools like optipng or svgo are useful to make images smaller.
- Check dark mode - our block has a bright and dark mode, which you can switch at the top right. Hence we need to check at the end if all images look fine in dark mode as well