Blogs – Best Practices

What this space is for

  • For the blogger:
    • Self-publication of personal work (writing, video, music, visual art, etc.) or professional work (business-run blogs)
    • Pursuit of topics of personal interests in a space that invites feedback and promotes interaction with a diverse community
    • Communicating with pre-identified community (family, friends, special interest peers)
  • For the reader:
    • Access to alternative views outside of mainstream media
    • Access to like-minded thinkers
    • Access to niche reporting on specific topics

Key terminology

  • Blog: a website that is run/written informally by an individual or a small group, often to discuss or express personal opinions or points of interest
  • Vlog: a blog in which posts are primarily in video format

Tips to get started

  • Read a few blogs and identify what styles do and don’t work for you.
  • Set goals: why are you starting your own blog, what will and won’t you post about, and how regularly will you contribute? For ideas, see Duke’s Social Media & Blog guidelines under ‘Resources’ below
  • Choose the best tool to fit your goals and abilities: WordPress or Blogger (by Google) are good starter options.
  • Use a conversational voice. A blog is a personal pursuit so you don’t have to sound too formal; you should show your human side. Identify your personal goals and determine what image you want to have.
  • Use a subscription option so that readers know when you’ve added new material.
  • Offer a comment option – people like to interact in blog spaces, and communicating with your readers can enrich your experience.
  • Post an ‘About’ page or section telling readers know who you are, why you’re blogging, and what standards you hold yourself to on the blog platform.
  • Include a disclaimer. Read more about this here.

Best practices

  • Write from a place of curiosity and respect, avoid aggressive language and be careful with use of cynical or sarcastic language. Even if you’re blog is personal, professional partners (employers, colleagues) can still find your material.
  • Publish regularly, and at times of the day/week/month that are likely to be convenient for your readers to log on and check out your work.
  • Respond to comments efficiently – commentators won’t follow a blog where the writer doesn’t seem to care about his/her readership.
  • Re-read your work before publishing to check (maybe a few times) for typos, run-ons, or redundant statements. Errors signify low quality work, and by association, a low quality blogger.
  • Self-edit for concise, meaningful messages. Regardless of your audience or the personal quality of your content, readers want to read something that adds value to their day, and they do best with clear, concise messages that are easy to connect to and digest. Get to the point, don’t make too many points, avoid run-on sentences, and reach for the active voice.
  • Don’t blog to blog – if you’re not into it, stop doing it.
  • Use the most important words in your titles—and keep titles short.
  • Use links – link your posts to previous posts, to other bloggers (especially if promoting peer bloggers), and any media you may be writing about.
  • Cite your sources. This rule always, always applies, even in personal spaces.


For the beginner

Duke Student Affairs Social Media  & Blog guidelines

WordPress How-To

Google Blogger How-To