organizing a blog post:

It may be helpful to outline your post beforehand using these guidelines, or free-write first and then check back in when you’re done  to make sure it meets these suggestions.

All online or blog writing follows the Associated Press Style Guide. Not unlike MLA, this guide informs the writer about how specific elements of a piece should be formatted.

For example, when introducing an author’s work, it should be written: Title of Book (Publisher & Year of Publication)

Ex: In his novel, A Lesson Before Dying (Vintage 1993), Gaines explores…

Please refer to this guide for how to write dates, locations, book and author citations, etc. when formatting your post. You do not need to commit this to memory, as all bloggers and journalists usually keep a copy handy, but it’s a good thing to be familiar with when writing for the web or a journalistic publication.


  • Grab the reader’s attention with a striking statement,  a story, a fact or a statistic. This is your lede, or “hook” sentence.

  • Don’t withhold information; your first graph should clearly introduce your theme or subject (in this case, A Lesson Before Dying and how you will relate to it, or possibly what questions you’ll be exploring in the post)

  • This paragraph should also include the who, what, when, where and why of the piece. A good “nut” or thesis sentence is a great way to do this.


  • Give your reader some background on your subject; why is it important? Why should your reader care?

  • Explore your topic or theme with anecdotes, observations, definitions and speculations, and quotes from the book

  • This section is the central part of your piece; talk about Gaines’ reading, the story, your experience reading the book, etc. It should be clear to your reader by this point why you chose to talk about this specific subject or theme in your piece.


  • End your post with: a telling image, material or questions for further thought, or a statement about the implication of your topic. You can also bring the post full circle and refer back to the beginning.

tips for images:

Photo Credit: Jerry Bauer, State Library of Louisiana

Photo Credit: Jerry Bauer, State Library of Louisiana

Use images which are visually appealing and relevant. If you take a picture at the Gaines reading, please feel free to include this (in the form of a .jpeg or .png attachment). If the picture is from the internet, you should include the original source (the website, or source and name of the photographer).

If you cannot locate the name of the photographer and/or original source, then be sure to cite as much information as you can, such as the source from which you have selected the image. For example: Time Magazine, May 2003.

examples of blogs:

Each blog post has an accompanying annotation to help point out its useful features. After reading each one, consider what you like or dislike about the writing, setup, or arrangement of the piece. You can apply similar strategies or designs to your own blog post.

“Boundary Stone Scavenger Hunt” by Barbara A. Noe

For “Boundary Stone Scavenger Hunt,” note the placement of the photographs-- at the start and in the middle, embedded into the words. The language is informal, just like the author is speaking to us. There is a clear arc to the story-- the quest for the stones, the background, the journey, and then the very happy conclusion.

“The Tao of Second Chances” by Heather Greenwood Davis

Although “The Tao of Second Chances” only uses one photograph at the beginning, it is fittingly gray and rainy. Also, while there are some longer paragraphs in the post, Davis also uses several shorter, or one-lined paragraphs to visually break up the piece for readers, as well as add variation in her writing. She tells a story, but also reflects about her own views on a place as well as the idea of how others give up on vacation or travel spots just because of one bad experience. Also note her short bio at the bottom.

“Forty Years Ago Today” by Amy Quan Barry

Barry doesn’t use any photographs for her reflective and contemplative piece. Instead, she tells a story that weaves Vietnam’s history, her personal history, and her present travels together. Her paragraphs are much longer in length to facilitate this storytelling, and her story does have a solid arc with a strong conclusion.

"In the Gulou Days" by Alec Ash

Ash’s piece starts with a strong introduction-- the idea of nostalgia in China being hard to keep up with is intriguing, partially because we’re not sure how it relates to the story yet. The body paragraphs integrate Ash’s personal history in that town, elaborates on how quickly things change, and even integrates quotes. His language is more formal and poetic than previous posts, and to reflect his style he only uses a black and white photograph at the top of his post. He also chooses to end the piece using an important quote.

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