As I mentioned in my habits-building post, I dedicate a few hours every week to blog writing. Doing this only further proved to me that writing is hard, and even though I was surprised by it many times, I still tend to underestimate it. There’s always something important about writing that I didn’t think about enough.

Two examples of things that are important but not immediately obvious are the blog structure and the blog type.

Blogs have vastly different structures it turns out. I thought all you needed was the title, the introduction, the body, and the conclusion, so I relied on that knowledge as I wrote my previous few posts. Also, you see the subtitles everywhere, so my posts must have them too? It started becoming obvious that this doesn’t hold even for my own blog: for example, I do not need a conclusion in a post that is in itself a conclusion on a particular topic. It can be there, but it feels redundant.

There are also many different types of blogs. When I started this blog, I knew that I wanted to talk about my observations and opinions about my career, so I didn’t really think about the type of my blog. But I realized that some of my blog posts are pure observations, whereas some are more guidelines backed by observations. These two require different approaches, and one can get philosophical, whereas the other has a much more direct language with instructions.

This prompted me to dig a little deeper into the technicalities of blog posts and how people that I believe write well use titles and subtitles and if the type of topic changes some aspects. Perhaps different topics work better with different structures?

One interesting thing I noticed immediately is that Boz and Paul Graham do not use subtitles. Their posts are only paragraphs, and they are (often) short and very focused on their observations on one particular topic. Same for Joel Spolsky, but he adds some pictures here and there. Some of their posts also even offer advice, but the advice is not formed under different subtitles or under bullet lists, which is what I did in my blogs and is something that is commonly used for that purpose. And this structure doesn’t affect the readability at all!

Mark Rabkin, for example, has a much different structure in some of his blog posts. The posts are all advice, and they have a comprehensive step-by-step guide with a lot of pictures, bullet points and subtitles, and a quote or a video added for good measure. Will Larson has subtitles, bullet points, and a few pictures here and there.

Another popular blog type is a technical tutorial, which differs from the essay/business/self-help types mentioned above. Their structure is obviously different: they have much longer texts, many pictures and videos, and many subtitles and bullet points. All of this is expected from a tutorial, and it makes them better.

My conclusion is that, as with any other writing, it all boils down to clarity. Arguably, different types of blogs require different structures to provide the needed clarity, but that doesn’t have to be the case - a crafty writer can probably make different structures work with different text. In my case, I will try to continue observing how other people structure their blogs, and I’ll try not to force anything. For example, this is my first blog post without any subtitles, and I don’t think it made the text worse!