The purpose of our Writer's Guide is to help you understand the process we use to write and publish articles at Initial Commit. We'll discuss the onboarding process, choosing a topic, submitting an outline, drafting and editing, formatting, structure, and style.
Choosing a Topic
The goal of each article on Initial Commit is to provide the best, most informative value-adding resource on the internet for that topic. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can discuss your goals, provide a specific topic for you, or discuss your proposed topic.
Your First Article
If this is your first article, it should be written and submitted in a Google doc, which you can share with email@example.com. If all goes well, we'll grant you access to our admin portal for future articles, where you can work on and submit your articles directly.
Reading the SEO Outline
For each of our proposed topics, we have an SEO Outline that describes what we're looking for. This will include the "angle" for the article, word count, proposed sections/subtopics, desired keywords, and other useful details. The first task in your process will be to read through the SEO outline to understand what we're looking for.
Writing the Author Outline
The second step is to write and submit your Author Outline. The author outline should specify the section headers you plan to include in your article. It should also include at least 2-3 bullet points describing what will be covered in each section. The more details you include at this point, the better. The outline should also suggest approximately 2 relevant external links to high-authority resources per 1000 words of content. It should also include 2 internal links to Initial Commit blog posts per 1000 words of content. The author outline can be submitted in a Google doc or in our Admin portal if you have access to that. After submission, your outline will be reviewed and we'll let you know if any changes are required before drafting begins.
The structure of the articles starts with a brief introduction. Next comes the meat of the article split into digestible sections that meet the criteria in the SEO outline. Sections headings can often include keyword suggestions from the SEO Outline to help with page ranking on search engines. Body text should also include keywords suggested in the SEO outline. Note that overuse of specific keywords is called "keyword stuffing", so try to use keyword terms where relevant without going overboard. The article concludes with a Summary section that briefly outlines the main points covered in the article.
The style of the posts should be written in fluent English. It should be technical in nature while still be accessible to beginners. The goal of each article is to be the best resource on the Internet on that subject. For a sample, check out this post.
Writing the Draft
The third step is to start working on your Draft:
- The draft should be written in markdown format
- Section headings should be H2 headings, using the ## markdown format. (The H2 headings will be use to auto-generate a table of contents)
- Links should use the standard markdown format: [text to link](https://www.url.com)
- In-line code snippets should be enclosed in single backticks, like: `code goes here`
- Multi-line code blocks should be added in triple backticks while specifying the language, like:
code line 1
code line 2
- When writing the draft, use as many of the recommendations from the SEO Outline as possible
Initial Commit Admin Portal
If you write more than one post for us, we'll create a user for you in the
Initial Commit Admin Portal. This is a custom portal that
will enable you to log in and work on your post outlines and drafts. Keep in mind that the portal
has a 10 minute timeout, so to avoid losing work, you may choose to write your outlines/drafts
outside the portal and copy in the content when you're ready to save it. When you create a new post
in the portal, you'll first choose your post template from a list, and then you'll see the post entry
page which has these fields to fill out:
-Related Post IDs: autopopulated with the value "1"
-"SEO Title" & "Title": set both to the title supplied in the SEO outline
-Description: the meta description that you write as described in the SEO outline
-Categories: For Git posts"git vcs" will be autopopulated, otherwise needs to be set
-Slug: The hyphenated page slug as taken from the SEO outline
-Slug Alias: leave empty
-Image: Same as slug but with ".png" at the end
-Author: Your desired author name, autopopulated
-Create date: Current date in format YYYY-MM-DD, autopopulated to current date
-Last update date: Same as create date
-Hide modal: 0 (just the number zero), autopopulated
-Published: 0, autopopulated
-Featured: 0, autopopulated
-Alt canonical: leave empty
-Sponsor header image: leave empty
-Sponsor header link: leave empty
-Hide sidebar: 0, autopopulated
-Markdown: The outline/post in markdown format, template autopopulated
-Post sponsor name: leave empty
-Post sponsor url: leave empty
-Rec product name: autopopulated
-Rec product url: autopopulated
-Cluster id: autopopulated
If you have an idea for an article, please reach out by email. We are happy to suggest specific article topics that may be of interest.