Updated 10 June 2021.
Copyright: European Union Public License, version 1.2 (EUPL-1.2).
What is this ?
This article will introduce the three primary types of articles we make, standards of how to write them, and suggestions to increase clarity for the online reader.
Why do we need this ?
While Ubinodes is an international marketing network at its core, another primary objective is to inform and stay informed in the worlds of I.T, Business, International Affairs, and almost everything else. In order to accomplish this, we must consistently write and update our articles to ensure nobody is being misled by outdated information. Furthermore, if a steady stream of articles is maintained, the company can save time on repeating information to potential clients and candidates. We also want to keep our articles succinct, many people tend to leave articles within a few seconds if it’s not answering the questions they have, and there are sections below which will help you do just that.
Contents of this article:
- The Guide.
- The Review.
- The Research.
- Basic layout.
1. The Guide.
The guide is essentially a “how-to” on any topic, ranging from instruction manuals about I.T. to the processes of becoming a future client. The key to making a proper guide is being able to teach someone in as simple a manner as possible. Ideally, the guide should be step-by-step and can be easily understood by anybody, regardless of age, previous tech experience, etc.
Pull from your past experiences and ideas to find a topic, and having a passion for said topic can make the guide easier to write. Before a guide can be written, the proper research needs to be done to be knowledgeable enough about the subject to teach others, as well as a testing phase to be able to provide first-hand experience which will resonate with the reader. This phase can range from an hour of reading a website to several hours of reading and testing in order to find an optimal way to do something.
From here, it is time to create a draft, keeping every step no matter how obvious it is, so nothing simple is missed. It’s recommended to take pictures from parts of the process that were challenging during testing, so that the reader won’t have to face the same challenges later. Another important note is to ask yourself who your audience will be, which can greatly affect which points to talk about.
- Create a summary paragraph to go at the beginning of the article.
- Take the draft, and make sure each point is roughly the same length. If some can be combined, do so.
- Make sure the tone of the instruction is informative and not condescending.
- Test your own guide, or have another node test it to make sure it works correctly.
2. The Review.
The idea of the review is to thoroughly describe the positives and negatives of an application or website from an unbiased perspective. It should always look like a check-list of features, with pros leading into cons. By holding each review to a high standard of quality including a peer-review, we ensure that the information is both factual and relevant.
Much like the guide, the review must first come from a long stage of research, this means time spent learning about, as well as using the application in question, or intensively reading and note-taking on a website. However, what sets the review apart is that you must explore outside the immediate subject matter, researching similar applications and websites to have a base from which you can compare.
In this stage real-time testing commences, the product(s) is used on a real project, among a diverse group of people. The goal is to remove bias where possible, including operating system, different team members, and organization (an ethical hacker tests the product). This period will last a minimum of two weeks, including the testing of similar products to obtain a basis on which to review.
- Each product gets a short paragraph review, talking about all of the features included.
- Use pictures of the product itself and while using it.
- Add a list of pros and cons for each product, this is helpful for readers who prefer to skim.
- The wording of everything is once again based upon your target audience.
- Understand that we are not affiliated with the product, make sure to give credit where it’s due.
3. The Research.
While the research article is probably the most intensive of the three, it is also the most informative. In contrast to the previous two, it is naturally focused on the research stage, which can take a varying amount of time depending on the subject. We make our articles for smartphone readers, therefore the research article should naturally flow from top-to-bottom by depth of knowledge, meaning that the further down a reader scrolls, the more “expert” level of information there is. If done correctly, the research article should be a “catch-all” article on the subject on which its written.
3.1 Tiers of research.
- General Knowledge– Knowledge of the topic alone will suffice, for shorter articles.
- Advanced Knowledge– The writer should display topical and subject knowledge for a medium-length article.
- Expert Knowledge– The writer should display total-subject knowledge, this is likely a specialty article.
As the name states, this is where the majority of your time will be spent. You come up with a topic, and you not only research that topic, but you must research all related topics in order to a have a complete view of the subject. In this case, just knowing the topic isn’t enough, and furthermore, the more you know about a subject, the easier it will be to write candidly about it. For example, if subject-specific terminology is used, you must understand it and be able to explain it in simple terms for the reader. Once again, ask yourself who the reader will be, yet still keep it clear for the uninformed reader.
- Consolidate all of your information.
- Draft a well-flowing article.
- Use pictures to reinforce important points.
- Include all your sources.
- Read over multiple times to make sure nothing important was missed.
4. Basic Layout.
The world of information seeking as we know it has shifted online to computers and smartphones, and Ubinodes will shift its formatting accordingly. This is why we develop all of our articles as though it was being read on a smartphone, and studies show that people tend to scan when reading online. For our new and recurring readers, we like to keep the layout constant so that the reader knows where they can expect to find certain information from each article. Here are some of the standards you can find in any of our articles:
- Dated – The date of the last update is always at the top, showing how fresh the article is.
- Copyright information – To let people know under which conditions they can reproduce, reuse, copy, share, our articles.
- Contextualizing phrases/paragraphs – Easy phrases that give specific information (ex. What is this?, Why do we need this?). These should answer the initial question the reader came to the article for.
- TL;DR – Short paragraph for on-the-go readers to understand the contents of the article, generally for longer articles. This should summarize the whole article in the fastest reading time.
- Contents of the article – All relevant information in well-flowing, paragraph form, ordered from top-to-bottom. Trim all non-essential information where possible.
- Screenshots – We put screenshots in their own paragraph (Ex. “5. Screenshots”), this way, the reading rhythm of the online reader isn’t broken by picture. Simply put a reference after the sentence for which you want an accompanying screenshot, that way the reader will be able to look at them for reference.
- Checklists – Format with bullet points as they are easy to read, refer to notes when necessary for further clarification.
- Notes – For the interested reader, these hold in-depth information not shown in the paragraphs, as we want to get straight to the point. Make sure all are referenced properly so they are easy to find.
- Sources – Giving credit to all outside information used as well as links to the origin.
- Punctuation – Put periods at the end of titles, and leave a space between a question mark; to catch attention.
- Author’s influence – We don’t influence other peoples’ opinions with our articles, let readers come to their own conclusions with our factual information which we provide.
To expand further on the idea of optimizing phone-reading, here are some suggestions to increase clarity and ease-of-reading of your articles, all of which are constant throughout our articles.
- Article headings are H1, sub-headers are H2, etc.
- Within headings, titles of small sections should be bolded.
- All headers should be written as “01, 02, etc.” for consistency.
- Only the first word in headers should have a capital letter unless it is the name of a person, product, or some other specific name.
- Ex- “1. Punctual meetings” instead of “01. Punctual Meetings”.
- Header numbers are always followed by a period, and sub-headers only have periods in between numbers.
- Ex- “1. Table of contents” (Header), and “03.2 Types of technology” (Sub-header).
- Periods at the end of all headers are for readers to read through easily.
- Lists can be bulleted or numbered, add periods after each point of information.
- Pictures, block quotes, and any other add-in should be aligned in the center.
- Links can be created using WordPress, always make sure to credit outside resources.
- Links going outside of the Ubinodes website should open in a new tab.
- Add tags to your article before posting to easily locate it.
5.2 General tips.
- If you can cut 10 lines without removing the idea, the lines were unnecessary.
- Never put question marks in the title, articles are for answering questions.
- Place a verb in the title to reinforce it.
- Always choose the thinner of two words.
- Review the article from your phone before publishing.
- Keep the same flow throughout the article.
- Look at already-posted articles to compare formatting.
This section contains some tips specific to WordPress.
- Featured images are 700×420. You can use Photofiltre for that: http://photofiltre.free.fr/frames_en.htm
- Once you’ve published an article or made an update, make a post about it so that people can follow the activity on the website: https://ubinodes.org/blog/
- Once you’ve made a post, make a tweet on Ubinodes’s timeline using your account.
- Always write an excerpt otherwise by default WP will use the first lines which in our articles are never descriptive.
While written works are generally subjective to the creator, standardization can increase clarity of all articles, as a reader will understand the flow on an article-to-article basis. By separating our articles into three formats, we can ensure that all manners of subjects and teachings can be shared. Formatting and writing suggestions are included to make the articles more accessible to the reader, but we keep them general in order to maintain individual creativity.
- Creating a guide: https://www.bath.ac.uk/guides/creating-a-guide
- More on a how-to: https://www.writersdigest.com/write-better-nonfiction/write-a-how-to-article-in-6-easy-steps
- How people read online: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/how-people-read-online
- Writing a review article: https://www.wikihow.com/Write-an-Article-Review
- More on article creation: https://www.monash.edu/rlo/graduate-research-writing/publish-your-research/write-an-article