After reading blogs for awhile, I’ve come to see some patterns in the ways postings in text-based blogs are formatted. As I see it, there are seven basic formats for blog postings. Each serves a different purpose for bloggers and their readers.
The format of a blog posting, if chosen consciously and carefully, enhance communication particularly the delivery of certain types of content. Consequently, some formats work best for commentary or explanation, others for alerts and references, etc.
Here are the seven basic blog posting formats:
Keep in mind that these types represent points along a spectrum. A specific posting might blend aspects of two or more formats.
Why should bloggers understand and care about posting format?…
Bloggers who clearly understand posting formats and consider them consciously are more likely to choose the best format for each posting they publish one that suits the content as well as the audience and the blogger’s own resources.
Before you start blogging, it helps to envision what your final posting will look like. Remember: your ultimate goal is communication, so it helps to publish in ways that effectively support communication. For text-based blogs, selecting the right format for each posting is a big part of achieving that goal.
Most blogs offer a mix of posting formats. That’s fine even desirable. With a few exceptions, most blogs that I’ve seen which offer only a single format of posting end up feeling rather monotonous. Format variety enhances most blogs. John Battelle’s Searchblog does an excellent job of mixing posting formats (mostly link blurbs and short articles, with the occasional long article thrown in).
If you’re not sure which posting formats your readers prefer, ask them! It’s easy to conduct a simple reader survey with a free tool like SurveyMonkey. Of course, you also have to consider the time and energy you have available to post to your blog. If your readers say they want long articles from you daily, and you have about a half hour a day at most to blog, obviously you’ll have to find another option. (Maybe a weekly long article, supplemented with daily link blurbs or brief remarks.)
Selecting a posting format is always a tradeoff. As this series describes, each format has unique advantages and disadvantages.
NEXT: The link-only posting…