OJR has some great tips on how one can be a better blogger or online writer. Excerpts:
The shorter, the better: Readers appreciate writers who do not waste their time. Simple, direct language communicates your thoughts more efficiently than your bloated demonstration of all that stuff the rest of us slept through in English class.
Easy to read: No block of text more than five lines on the screen.
Great bloggers speak with informed, personal authority through an honest, lively voice. Their posts often engage readers in a productive conversation through comments posted to the blog.
To write a great blog, write about what you know – your passion, well researched and reported. Employ the skills of a news columnist, crafting a personal, first-person voice that readers will find engaging, comfortable and honest. When you don’t know something, do not be afraid to admit it. Great bloggers see their posts as the first comment in a conversation, rather than the final word on that particular topic.
Attribute sources: If you don’t tell your readers where you got your information, many of them will assume that you are just making it up. You aren’t, are you? Attribution brings you credibility, because readers know that you’ve got nothing to hide if they want to check you out.
Contextual hyperlinking: Online narratives should allow readers to “branch off” and click through to other, more detailed, supporting content, depending upon a reader’s level of interest. Almost all journalism refers to other sources, but online, a writer has the ability to link readers directly to those supporting sources. Note the URLs of those sources when reporting, and work those into your piece with contextual hyperlinks.
Try to link those URLs to the relevant proper names, keywords and phrases, rather than to the URLs themselves written out, or worse, the over-used “click here.”
Credit: OJR.org [Under Creative Commons]