Here are the guidelines we use at Digital Innovators to try and ensure we get some consistency in our blog posts.
Categories and Tags
All posts should be categorised and tagged. For the difference between the two take a look at this article. Broadly speaking you will put a post in a single category but it will have multiple tags. Categories are pre-defined so do not add new ones without first discussing with the team. You can add your own tags as appropriate (though check if one exists already). We write categories all in lower case e.g. ‘news’, ‘events’. Tags are capitalised and if multi-word separated by a space, not a hyphen and certainly words should not be concatenated e.g. use ‘Solihull College’ and not ‘solihull-college’ or ‘solihullcollege’.
Post titles should be written in sentence case following usual rules four capitalising real nouns and acronyms). e.g. ‘This is a post about the DVLA‘ and ‘Digital Innovators capture Innovator of the Year award‘. Notice we do not include a full-stop at the end of the title but would include a question mark if relevant.
On our blog page (actually called ‘News’ in the top menu) we publish a summary of the blog and expect people to click on the image at the top (which is why you must include a ‘Featured Image’, see below). By convention that summary is the title of the blog post which must be copied into the ‘excerpt’ box in the ‘Settings’ panel on the right when you are creating or editing your post. Failure to do this means WordPress selects its own excerpt which upsets the layout in the blog summary screen.
Use of Images
Use whatever images you think are relevant. Please be aware of copyright of images however. There are plenty of free image libraries (e.g. unsplash.com). It’s good practice to acknowledge the artist when using their image.
You must include a featured image in a post as this is picked up by WordPress as the way of clicking through to get more detail when just showing a blog summary (like we do on the Home page).
Images (and videos) are stored in the Media library on WordPress. Whilst this has a fairly large amount of storage space (13GB) its not infinite so please don’t upload huge images (which also take longer to load). If you get an image which is more than 1MB you can reduce it using various programs (e.g. Preview on a Mac).
Please spell check and grammar check your posts before publishing. If you are unsure then check the ‘review’ box prior to publishing and one of us will check it over for you. Remember what you write reflects very much on Digital Innovators as a company so should be as professional as possible.
Finally, it goes without saying that the content of all posts should not contain any racist or sexist language or be offensive in any way. Writing things that are controversial is okay (as long as it is backed up by facts or clearly identified as being your own opinion) but should definitely not go against any of Digital Innovators company polices and guidelines.
Blogs work best if they have regular and informative content and add value rather than just repeating what someone else has written. We therefore want to have a regular schedule for publishing posts. Generally speaking don’t just hit the ‘publish now’ button but schedule the post at a future point in time. It would be good if we could maintain a schedule of publishing something every 2-3 days. Again, if you are unsure about when to publish seek advice.
Linking to Other Content
If you reference other websites or blog posts add a URL to that site. Don’t paste the URL in directly but add it as a link on the appropriate words. For example this article describes 23 unwritten rules for blogging. I could have chosen either ‘this article’ or ’23 unwritten rules for blogging’ as the words I used to link to the article. If you are linking to a site that is not at digital innovators.co.uk the ensure you open the page in a new tab so people don’t lose our website.
If you reference to an article that does not have a URL then include the author and date (and publisher if appropriate) either in brackets after your mention or at the end of your post. For example one of my favourite blogging books is Freedom is Blogging in Your Underwear (Hugh MacLeod, Penguin, 2012).