Congratulations! You’re one of the chosen few who can now call themselves a UXbyDesign contributor. But you may be wondering, how exactly should I go about writing my first post? And how can I promote myself and my work? The following guidelines will help you navigate through the interface and understand what information to enter, and the general protocol involved:
- Log in
Using the provided username and password, log into the WordPress content management system.
- Add a Post
From the left hand-navigation, click on “Posts” which will take you to the posts page. From there you can add a post using the “Add a Post” button at the top of the page.
- Write a headline
Use something descriptive and direct, but not too long. Remember, you want people to immediately get an idea of what your post is about. Cryptic can be fun, but it doesn’t necessarily translate to people reading your post.
- Write your body
The large text box is where you will write your post, and this has the tools of any basic word processor; giving you the ability to format text, add images, insert links, etc. Don’t change the type style for the main body, the blog already has a standard style defined. Try to keep your post between 600-1200 words (you can see the word count at the bottom of this text box).
- Use Sub Headings
You may want to use sub headings to break your post into “sections”. This is particularly useful if it’s a long post, as it defines themes/ideas throughout and lets the user quickly scan through the content to get an idea of what is being covered. If you are going to use sub headings, make sure you format them with the “heading 3” format style. The styles drop-down menu is found in the toolbar.
- Consider Lists
Depending on your post, it might make sense to format it as a list. You can do this using the list buttons in the toolbar, with the option to either have bullets or numbers. Users have been shown to respond very favorably to this format, as it presents a very consumable way to read a post.
- Insert Links
You can insert a link using the chain icon button. This allows you to insert the destination URL. Remember to always check “opens in new window”.
- Insert Images
Images are a great way to break up your copy and help support your story. When inserting images into your post there are quite few considerations. Firstly, make sure you have the permissions/rights to do so. If you do, upload the images rather than inserting the source URL of the images. Play with layout options and sizes to help create an easy-to-read post. You can insert an image by clicking on the “Add Media” button.
- Assign Tags
You Tags are essentially keywords that reflect what your post is about. These are referenced by the blog as a whole, and will help make your blog post discoverable. Be as relevant, specific and descriptive as possible, but don’t “over-tag”. Think of using a maximum of 7-10 tags.
- Assign a Category
Choose the most relevant category that describes your post. E.g. Advice, News, Reviews, etc. Just choose one here.
- Check your Spelling and Grammar
Click on the little “ABC Check Mark” button in your tool bar. This will highlight and suggest spelling and grammatical corrections, if needed.
- Save your Post
You can come back at a later time and continue your writing. Do this by clicking on “Save Draft”, near the top right of the page.
- Preview your Post
You can see how you post is shaping up, and how it will look once published by using the “Preview” button at the top right of your page. This is a good way to proofread and ensure the layout is working nicely.
- Submit for Review
Once you feel like you have completed your post, click on the “Submit for Review” button. Email the admin to let them know you’re ready for the post to be reviewed. The Admin will review your post and make any edits if any spelling or grammatical errors are found. They may also make tiny adjustments to the heading to ensure it’s optimized for both search engines and users. The Admin will notify you of any changes and ask you to make one more pass to make sure you are happy with the changes. If everything is OK, the Admin publishes the post to the production environment, where the general public can read and comment on it.
Other things to consider
- Be Original and Authentic
This is important for a number of reasons. Do NOT plagiarize, and do NOT write a duplicate post you may have already written for your own blog, or another third party publication. To be brief, make sure your post is exclusive to UXbyDesign.
- Find images
To find free images, consider searching the Creative Commons which includes Flickr’s database. You can also purchase micro stock images via services like iStockPhoto.
- Optimize for SEO
There are some fields at the bottom of your post that are used to guide SEO optimization. Start by defining a target “Focus keyword”, which can be a short phrase if desired. An analysis will be performed on the page, using this information, and necessary adjustments can be made to optimize the post according to this focus keyword. This can be a pretty complex process, so don’t feel like you have to spend too much time here. Think of it as more of a quick check, rather than a required step.
- Promote and Share
While we will promote your post, it is also asked that you do the same to maximize its exposure. You can do this via Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbledUpon, Reddit, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, industry forums, groups, etc. The more you promote your post, the more you will grow your authority, thought leadership and credibility. We also encourage that guest bloggers show each other support by promoting each other’s posts.
- Encourage Discussion
When promoting your post, remember to do it in a way that encourages feedback and discussion. The more users comment on your post, the more it draws in other users to join the conversation. An active conversation engages users and will often compel them to join the conversation themselves. It’s also important that as the author, you respond to questions and thank users for their feedback. In short, become part of the conversation, rather than a passive onlooker. We also ask that guest bloggers join in and initiate discussions on each others’ posts.
- Optimize your Byline
Pay special attention to the “Fanciest Author” section in your profile. This manages your byline, which and will be placed below each of your published posts. Make sure you complete this as thoroughly as possible. Be sure to add your Google+ account because this lets Google know you’re the author of the post. You will also need to go to your Google+ Account and add the post URLs to the Contributor Links section (inside the About section). In doing this, your photo will appear next to the post in Google’s search results, and this will help build your personal brand and authority.
- Change your password
If we provided you with a password when your account was created, be sure to change it immediately.
There are certainly more advanced things you can do with the tools provided, but we hope this gives you a fairly comprehensive outline of how to get started and write your first blog post.