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How to write a good blog post


At GDS we write blog posts to talk about our work. We encourage everyone who works here to write them. It’s part of our drive to make things open.

But not everyone feels comfortable writing blog posts. Or feels confident that they are able to write one well.

GDS has published guidance telling people why they should blog. And guidance on the correct spelling and grammar to use. But there wasn’t much advice on how to write a good, engaging blog post.

So our team put some tips together to share with the rest of GDS (and you).

Here they are:

  1. the blog’s purpose needs to be clear to the reader – this could be in the top line: ‘I’m xxx and I want to tell you about xxx’
  2. keep it short and to the point – one blog post is about one thing
  3. sum up your blog in one sentence – if you can’t do this, there’s probably too much going on
  4. if there are many different things to talk about, write more blog posts
  5. write in clear, but not dull language
  6. be lively and creative and funny – blog like there aren’t any rules.
  7. don’t be overly technical – assume your audience knows nothing about what you’re writing about
  8. ask someone who knows nothing about the subject to read it, to see if they understand it
  9. know your reader - use enough detail to make the blog worthwhile, but not so much that it becomes overwhelming
  10. 'show the thing' - either by being descriptive or using lots of good imagery and/or graphics
  11. images and subheadings are a great way to break up the text and keep your reader engaged
  12. write a first draft, then close that tab and forget about it for a day or so – then have another look
  13. read it out loud, things that sound weird will jump out at you immediately
  14. share your early drafts with colleagues and ask for their thoughts – trust what they say, even if they say: ‘That carefully crafted analogy/joke/argument doesn’t work’ (it’s ok to include jokes)

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