How to Effectively write a design article
In one of my previous articles, we discussed about ‘How to become a kickass blogger‘. In that, I shared some of the points which I thought was really helpful for those of you who are new to blogging about design.
Well, considering the amount of design blogs that are existent on the web, one needs to understand that – the usual way of writing any design article would not work anymore. When i say, the “usual way”, i mean articles such as roundups, resources and others. Not that they aren’t interesting to read, but are made boring by the huge number of similar articles we read everyday on other design related blogs.
If you just take a look around, there are many articles on night photography, slow shutter photography and such related concepts on the blogosphere. But, most of them have the same content, a small introduction and a bunch of photographs. Well, this might be really interesting to read and look at … but only if you are reading such an article for the first time. If you encounter a similar article again, you are bound to ignore it. So, what do you need to do to make sure your article is effectively written and unique when compared to the others. I have shared a few of my tips on what I believe is the best way to write an article.
1) Do sufficient Research
One of the most important aspect behind writing an efficient design article is the research done behind it. Once you’ve decided the idea/concept of what you want to write about, do sufficient research on it. Not only will this help you understand the concept better but also will make your further search and writing the article easier. More importantly, this will make your article very constructive and succinct in its approach. Such form of articles with a comprehensive approach is always appreciative and gains a lot of popularity among the readers.
The moment an idea strikes you, search for articles relating to it. Take a brief look at some of the articles which has already covered pretty much of what you had in mind. Avoid using the same images/content as much as possible. See where you can improve on the existing content and note down the flaws and points not mentioned in those articles. If you think there is nothing you can do, think of a different idea :)
2) Choose a Perfect and a catchy Title
At this point, it is safe to assume that you have carefully thought about what you are going to write. So, the question is : How do you aptly present it? The answer is : Give a perfect title. Search Engines always look at the title tag for search results. So, my advice to you is : Think of the perfect title that best suites your article. It must be concise and to the point. More importantly, it must contain the keywords which invariably gives an idea to the reader, what the article is all about.
Here is a link to an article from Cats Who Blog : How to write a great blog post title
If you are using the All in one SEO plugin, fill up the title, description and keyword tag which is present at the bottom of your wordpress post editor. This will allow you to play with your title tag and add a more relevant title apart from the one you use in the post editor. This makes it easier for the search engines to index and give proper results
3) Give a clear introduction
As I said, always remember to research on the articles you write about. Take a look at some informative websites about the ‘science’ behind your idea. Assuming, you want to write an article about ‘Awesome slow shutter photography‘, what you need to do is; search for relevant information on what ‘Slow shutter photography’ is all about.
Wikipedia is the best place when it comes to learning about stuff. Just read the information about the concept in Wikipedia and other such websites and understand the science behind it. Try to compile it in your own words and get it into a comprehensible format so that even those who have no idea about what ‘Slow shutter photography’ is, will learn it in an instant. This will allow your readers to understand the rest of the article more clearly than they would have had if you hadn’t given the introduction. Take a look at this article i wrote on VEXEL ART. You will get a clear idea of what I’m talking about. Also, Remember : Do not overdo it.
4) Give a glimpse of the result
If you are writing tutorials on Photoshop, Illustrator and similar tools, I strongly recommend you to add a cropped picture of what the final outcome of the tutorial might look like. This will offer a glimpse of the result. As a matter of fact, when a webpage loads, the images appear in a sequential order, so your readers will first see how the result might look like and immediately know how difficult the tutorial might be, depending upon their skillset.
5) Keep your article short and sweet
By ‘short’, i don’t mean, a few lines or a few photographs but restrict your articles to the best possible fit. Try to collect the best of the resources and then post them. Writing articles such as ‘100 awesome 3D tutorials on Photoshop‘ may sound really ‘awesome’ but it is not an efficient way to roundup resources. Restrict your links to around 30 tutorials or so, provided you have collected the best 30 of them. This can only happen if you have done a thorough research on all the sites. Doing otherwise, will not only confuse your readers, but sometimes they get frustrated on which tutorials to go through.
Also, when you are writing a tutorial, try to keeping steps as detailed as possible. Do not skip a few of them, just to show that your tutorial is advanced in approach. You must always target beginners and this will help you get a bigger community following. Not only, will your readers appreciate for explaining it in neatly, most of them who are good at Photoshop/Illustrator commend you work for being so detailed.
Here is a recent article by Graphic Design Blender – Graphic Web Design Essentials – Attention to Detail
Read this nice article on : Should i write short or long posts
6) Illustrate with lots of pictures
Don’t write articles which has around 10 to 20 lines of text continuously. This will definitely bore your readers. No matter how important your article is, you tend to lose your reader’s attention half way through. So, for every bold statement you make, add a picture. Make sure the picture is relevant to the content/topic you are writing about. The picture itself must give an idea about what the next few lines of text will mean. Also, make sure you don’t over do it. Sometimes, too many pictures masks the actual content and will force the reader not to read anymore.
7) Be Honest
When you are writing an article on reviews, tutorials and such stuff, do not exaggerate a lot. Always write what you felt about the article. Explain what you liked and disliked. Be as honest as possible. Not only will the reader be very impressed by your opinions, but the article will reflect you personality as well. Keep in mind that what you say, will affect your readers, either in a positive way or a negative way.
8 ) Do not make grammatical mistakes.
I stress upon this a lot. Always check and recheck what you’ve written and search for any possible mistakes/flaws in the article. Especially, when you make grammatical mistakes, it annoys some professional readers a lot and confuses a lot of beginners. This will get a lot of bad impression on your articles. Remember to keep your English as concise and crisp as possible.
9) The End is just the beginning
Just before you end the article, give a small epilogue on how you felt about writing it. Also, provide relevant links where your readers can visit for more information and resources on the subject. This will not only give an impression that you’ve written a structured article, but the websites whose links you provided will surely drop by and appreciate your work. This is also a way to ‘Bookmark’ what you’ve searched and letting others know, how hard you’ve worked on the article.
Also, ask a nifty question at the end of the article. This motivates the readers to give opinions and suggestions on what they know and understood from your article. Questions like “So, what do you think?” or “Which was your personal best out of the lot?” will enable a constructive discussion platform and the readers are bound to comment on it. This may not help every time but it doesn’t hurt to try :)
Read this article on : How to close the Backdoor of your blog
10) Be a Self Critic
This is the most important point for a designer in his life. Never be completely satisfied with what you’ve done. There is always a scope for improvement. Ask yourself this question: “If I were the reader, would I find this article, tutorial useful?” If not, change it. If you’re not happy with an article, don’t publish it. Maybe you should do more research on it, inject personality into your article or make a point and explain it well.
Jot down the ways in which you can improve the article. Read it again and again until you feel that it is worth publishing it, then you can go ahead and publish it. As the saying goes, “If you want to catch a thief, you got to think like a thief“.
11) Get a second opinion
The best way to make sure your article is good enough to be published without a hassle is to contact a few of your friends and let them know what you are writing about. Try to note down what they like/dislike about the article and the entire idea per se. Ask for a few valuable suggestions about the article and maybe you can add a few of their points and make the article better. If you are publishing any tutorial, let your friends take a look at the image and maybe their suggestions will help you in improving your result. It has certainly helped me in writing interesting tutorials.
12) Make it memorable
Always write in the manner in which most of the valuable points in the article, gets registered in the readers’ mind. This will motivate them to share it with their friends and they will always look into this article for important points and resources.
Posts like ‘950 Photoshop tutorials to keep your skillset up to date‘ is a real crowd puller as it is evident that you’ve put a lot of effort into collecting those links. So, the readers are bound to bookmark it and use it in the near future whenever they need to. Earlier, I said to keep your article short and sweet. Well, the above link is certainly an exception as it encompasses a universe of tutorials, which is more resourceful than being not short :)
Great, we come to the end of this post. As i said, the end is just the beginning. Let me know what you think about this article. If you think there are some unacceptable points in it, please feel free to comment and share it with us. If you liked the article and think it is worth reading, please share it with everyone. A healthy discussion is always a great way to involve ourselves in the community and share our thoughts. Good Luck!!
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