The Verblio Writer’s Guide is a set of guidelines and tips that we recommend you use when you’re writing posts for our customers. This isn’t intended to be a style guide, since the styles of posts will differ from one customer to the next, depending on their preferences. This is simply a quick rundown of helpful tips you can use when you’re writing posts for Verblio customers.
1. Don’t Double Tap That Space Bar After a Period
Single space only, please. In the clacking days of the Royal typewriter the letter I had the same width as the letter W. Back then, double spacing after a period was easier on the eyes. Nowadays, variable pitched fonts take up the spacing slack, so you don’t have to.
The habits we form tend to stick around long after their usefulness has ended. It’s human nature. For those of us who were writing back in the day of the double space, it takes a conscious effort to form a new habit. Stick with it and it’ll become second nature to press the space bar only once.
2. Give Readers Lots of White Space
Lay off the big blocks of text. You’re not writing Stephen King horror scenes narrated by a dog. Take it easy on the poor reader. While Purdue OWL says that writers should be wary of paragraphs that only have two or three sentences, bloggers might not want to give a hoot for that advice.
Most blog posts are going to have short paragraphs. According to this writer’s guide, big blocks of text are not easy to read online and should be avoided whenever possible.
3. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread!
As any writer’s guide would tell you, always proofread your work before you hit the “send” button. Be strict with yourself on this one, and remember that your brain won’t always catch what your fingers left out.
We’ve found that it’s helpful to read your post out loud to catch those small omissions and typos.
Our software helps you catch some typos, but it flags a lot of stuff that isn’t actually a problem and misses important mistakes. It’s just a suggestion tool, and shouldn’t be a substitute for a thorough proofreading.
There is a variety of proofreading styles or methodologies that you can use. More experienced writers usually develop their own proofreading strategies, and we have no desire to monkey with yours if you’ve got them.
For the rest of us, the key is to do whatever it takes to read what we wrote instead of what we meant.
- Some writers read backward one sentence at a time.
- Others use click-and-scroll to read a highlighted portion of text in isolation. Be careful with this one, as that’s also how you move a chunk of text.
- Some writers read their writing very slowly.
4. Be Natural
If you use keywords just to make sure they’re used a bunch of times, you are doing something called “keyword stuffing.” Search engines recognize that and penalize a post because of it. It’s not a good idea.
On the other hand, some clients specifically request that a keyword is used a certain amount of times. At that point, it’s up to you. You can do the edits, or you can contact us to talk to the customer.
The same can be said for linking multiple times to the same page on the customer’s site. This is also considered stuffing and it has a negative impact on search engine ranking.
In short, use keywords and links naturally whenever possible. You’re writing a blog, not an SEO masterpiece. Let the quality of your writing overcome your desire to attract the web crawler. If you write it, the web crawler will come. Remember that successful SEO relies more on good writing rather than all that URL linkage and metadata gobbledygook.
5. Learn How Verblio Works With its Linking, URL Formatting, and Keywords
You link the web page URL behind the keywords and the contact us information. See those little chain icon thingies at the top right of the bar on the text window? They will get you out of a jam if the system rejects your work due to linking problems. Don’t let naked URLs just hang there.
Importantly, remember that you can (and should!) alter the keyword to fit the context of your sentence. You should alter the capitalization of a keyword if it shouldn’t be capitalized in the sentence you’re writing, and you can change a few words around to make the keyword grammatically correct.
So, if the keyword that you’ve chosen is “Great Coffee Shop and/or Coffee,” you would change that in your post to say something like, “Everyone in Seattle knows where to find a great coffee shop and coffee.”
6. Ignore Grammar Technicalities, and Just Write Clearly
Winston Churchill is said to have told his editor, “This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.” So if it sounds OK to end a sentence with a preposition, for example, lay off the weird phraseology and go for clarity. The same goes for who and whom and using semicolons to avoid small run-on sentences.
If it sounds right when you read it out loud, you’re probably fine.
7. Target Your Audience
Who is Flesch-Kincaid, and why should you care? Unless you’re writing a graduate dissertation in which long, dense, and ponderous writing is the expectation, you need to forget those guys and remember your audience.
When writing for Verblio, this writer’s guide insists that you think about your client and the client’s audience. Some customers will need you to write below an eighth-grade level and produce some bubblegum for the mind. Others will want you to go for at least grade 12 and flavor your work with technical jargon. You need to figure which is which and write accordingly.
Do this by checking out the customer’s blog, and clicking on the “purchased” and “rejected” tabs in the customer’s account, to see what the customer prefers.
In the end, good writing is effective because it is clear, approachable, and communicates what the writer intended. That’s all we really ask of our writers, because it’s what most clients really want.
Learn More About the Verblio Writer’s Guide
If you have any questions about using the platform, be sure to check out the Help Pages and The Writers’ Forum. We update the help pages regularly, and the forum is a friendly place to get advice from other Verblio writers and admins. Have a specific question that isn’t covered anywhere else? Email us at [email protected], and we’ll be happy to help you with the writer’s guide.