How To Write Good Articles

I am neither an expert nor a guru. But still I suppose I have improved by writing articles for the past two years. I still remember my first article, there were so many mistakes. Remember one thing: “Mistakes are the key to success.” Here I will point out a few things which I follow while writing articles. Please feel free to add your own points to this article. I hope you will like this.

Background

Last week one of my friends asked this question: "How do you write good articles?" I am dedicating this article to him. I hope he will like this.

How to write a good article?

First of all let me ask you a question, what is a good article? Based on my concerns, a good article is one which covers the needed points or solutions about a problem/scenario/technology ect. The important fact is when someone reads your article, they must be clear about what you have written, or else your article quality may fail. You are always welcome to include some external links if you think that will enhance your article's contents. Now we will list the points. The most important thing is, you must search for an article with the same content as you plan to have in your article, and if you find any, you should start writing your article only if you have something more relevant to say. You can also explain how your article is different from the others and why someone should read yours. These points can also be included in the Introduction, which we list as our first point, below.

Please see this article in my blog here

Point 1: Introduction

An introduction is very important when you write an article. A good introduction can make the reader want to read further. Trust me, it is very useful too. In this part you can describe what exactly you are going to say/do in the rest of the article. It must be brief. And please never use any code blocks in your introduction, that is never meant to be there. This is the part which lets your readers understand where/what exactly you are indending to do.

Introduction - Where exactly you are making your readers go

Introduction - Where exactly you are making your readers go
Image Courtesy: squarespace

Point 2: Background

In this part, you can explain what made you write this article. You can explain the problems you faced here, or when you had this problem. This should be brief too, here you can also include source code. Please do remember that this is just the background, so it is not advisable to include full source code and explain it here.

Point 3: What are you going to do?

Here you can explain the things which you are going to do in this article. You can list them for better readability. You can explain these points one by one. You can also add some code snippets. But whenever you add any code, please try to explain even if it is basic. That will help some beginners to understand things more easily. You may feel that this basic explanation is not necessary as you have so much experience and you may be good at it. But what about the beginners? I always believe they are the real beneficiaries of your articles. We must concentrate on both kinds of users; i.e., beginners and experienced.

What you are going to do
Image Courtesy: introvertadvantages

Point 4: How are you going to do it?

This can be the continuation of point three. This is where you can explain the possible ways that you can fix your problem, or the possible ways to achieve the same tasks. Any tasks can be achieved in different ways right? So when you write any article, you must think from all perspectives.

How to do


This will make your article rich in content. And this is where you must concentrate more on the coding part. When you write code in your article, it must be formatted well. If you use WordPress as a CMS (Content Management System) for your blog, you can go for any syntax highlighter plugins, or you can customize your own. If you post the article in any of the social communities, please use their formatting options.

If you have any images which explain the workflow for any tasks, it is always advisable to include those. An image is more understandable than reading the content, but always limit yourself to not include more than 10 images per article. When you include the images, please try to convert them to a particular size (example: width: 650 PX), this will make your article look good. But no worries if you have a low resolution image, and if you think enlarging that will cause any clarity issues, you can always use the same without conversion.

One thing you must remember is that you can always include all the things you have tried and what the output was that you got from it. If you do so, your reader will see that if he or she does that, they will get the same output. So it is not only about the the scenario which works fine, but also about the errors/problems.

Point 5: Always include output

An output is the outcome of what we tried, right? So what if you don't include that? Isn’t that bad? You can include the output as an image or any content. It can be any result set too.

Output Image

Output Image
Image Courtesy: dreamstime

Point 6: Include source code as a downloadable format

Please add source code as a downloadable format whenever possible. This will definitely help your reader, so that he/she doesn’t need to worry about the initial set up. We all are a community, guys, and we love helping each other. Am I right?

Point 7: Format the entire content

There are so many things you must concentrate on when it comes to formatting. I am listing a few of them here.

  • Use the same font for the entire article
  • Use bold for the headings
  • Highlight the lines, if it is very important (Example: Notes)
  • Use code formatter when you write codes
  • Resize and align images properly
  • Make sure that that headings start with a capital letter (CamelCasing)
Point 8: Give credit

This is very important. Whenever you take something from any site, please try to give credit to the content owner by providing the links/name. For example, if you are taking an image from any site, you can include the site name just below the image. Trust me, this will make you genuine. And in the end, it is all about being genuine right?

Point 9: Write a conclusion

The conclusion is the last part of your article; you can summarize the things you have written here. And also if you want, you can always ask some questions to your readers so that the bond between you and your readers will be in multibind format (Yes, like we have in Angular JS. LOL). You can always ask for feedback; feedback is something that we all are looking for. Each and every piece of feedback is valuable whether it is negative or positive. If you get any negative feedback, be happy and try to improve on the things that are being suggested.

In a speech in South Africa in 1890 Mahatma Gandhi said this:

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption of our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider of our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to do so.”

The quotes are taken from Service-Ability

In our case it is our readers. Isn’t it?

Point 10: Keep the history of your article

This point is optional, but you can always include this too. This is where you can keep a history of your article. You can include the dates, the caption of each versions and something about future updates.

Point 11: Impact of communities

This point completely depends on you. If you want you can always join some online technical communities like C# Corner, Asp.Net, CodeProject etc. I always recommend that you join these communities, because that is where you can learn a lot and improve yourself to a great level. Most of the communities have some moderators who have so much experience in content moderating. They will moderate your article content and improve it in all possible ways. So whenever there is an edit done by a moderator, you can put a note on it and try not to make the same mistakes when you write your next article. "Experience makes a man perfect," doesn’t it?

Another important fact about the communities is, you will get an infinite number of visitors, and so an infinitite amount of feedback, thus an increase in growth.

Growth

Growth
Image Courtesy: rafichowdhury

I may not be following all of these points in my articles, but I will definitely try to follow this in my next articles. Cheers!

Conclusion

Did I miss anything that you may think is needed? Did you find this post useful? I hope you liked this article. Please share with me your valuable suggestions and feedback.

Your turn. What do you think?

A blog isn’t a blog without comments, but do try to stay on topic. If you have a question unrelated to this post, you’re better off posting it on C# Corner, Code Project, Stack Overflow, Asp.Net Forum instead of commenting here. Tweet or email me a link to your question there and I’ll definitely try to help if I can.