Using Abbreviations May Hurt Your Blog

Filed as Features on February 1, 2008 10:27 am

I spent a day with acronyms recently. SIGH. I was surrounded by geek bloggers and, while I spoke their language, midway through the meeting my head was hurting from translating all those initials.

WP, UTW, PHP, MySQL, CSS, HTML, SEO, META, VAR, RSS, W3C, DTD, XML, GPL, PNG, JPG, GIF, AOL, MT, BB, SK2, K2, OS, MS, IE…the next day, I spent with educators, who used acronyms I’d never heard before, combining letters into alphabet soup as I struggled to catch up with all the impossible combinations. When I ran full-tilt into an acronym with 8 letters, I called it quits. My brain was on abbreviation overload.

Did you know there is an entire site dedicated to helping you define these letters? Acronym Finder. If you are serious about acronyms, also see Acronym Search and Acronym Database.

I started thinking about how many ways we use acronyms in our blog writing. In the beginning of the Internet, acronyms became a way of communicating, which we still use today with online chats and even in our blogs such as LOL (Laugh Out Loud) and smileys or emoticons to represent moods :D in our communications. My favorite was HFWPOH, translated to “Hit Forehead With Palm of Hand”, a great “duh” moment revealed.

In the early days of web page writing and coding, acronyms were supposed to be wrapped in the <acronym> tag with definition. A dotted line would appear under the tagged letters and the hovering mouse would turn into a question mark, such as HTML. The tip balloon would then reveal the spelled out meaning of the abbreviation. This definitely helped us understand some of the alphabet soup terms if we didn’t recognize them.

<acronym title="cascading style sheets">CSS</acronym>

Some acronyms have become ubiquitous, found everywhere you go so even the layperson knows SEO, HTML and CSS. If they don’t, they’ve been living under a virtual rock.

The key, though, is not just knowing and using the acronyms, but whether or not the using the acronyms in your blog posts helps or hinders your blog.

SEO Meets Alphabet Soup

The key to being found on the web is using the words people search for when they go looking for your blog’s information.

Are searchers using acronyms or whole terms to search for your content?

When you are looking for help on search engine optimization, the odds are that you will use SEO because the term has become so commonplace. But if you are looking for a WordPress Plugin, do you use WP Plugin or WordPress Plugin?

Historically, I’ve found that beginners, people new to the technology, tend to use the full words. They look for WordPress and search engine optimization. They aren’t comfortable yet with the abbreviations. Intermediate to advanced users tend to rely upon the acronyms as they use them in their daily lives.

So who does your blog serve?

On , I clearly serve the beginners to intermediate level WordPress and blogging fans. Thus, I spell out all of the acronyms, often in combination with their acronym such as search engine optimization (SEO). Those who write advanced coding and hacks attract those who already learned the letters they need to know.

I probably need to go back to including the acronym tag in my blog posts to ensure everyone knows what I’m writing about, and it will give me coverage for the acronym and the full definition term. What about you?

Keep the searchers in mind as you write on your blog. How are they likely to be searching for the information you have on your blog? Are you helping or hindering your ability to get found by the alphabet soup on your blog?

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  1. By Jeffro2pt0 posted on February 1, 2008 at 5:29 am
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    I end up getting a headache when I hear a bunch of acronyms I know, only to find out they have a different meaning. Nice find!

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  2. By darran posted on February 1, 2008 at 9:01 am
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    i do use abbreviations on my blog by using the abbr tag.

    though it may not be a universal abbreviation, if they need to reference, they can always hover over it to find out the full spelt out form.

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  3. By Meg from The Bargain Queens & All About Appearances posted on February 1, 2008 at 10:18 am
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    I try to keep acronyms and abbreviations to a minimum on all the blogs I have and/or write for.

    In the case of The Bargain Queens, the abbreviation I use most is L.B.D., “Little Black Dress”. However, I know that even a lot of women don’t know the abbreviation, so I try to define it early on in the post. Regardless, I also try to make it into a link to a recent post on little black dresses (and hope it sends a few curious visitors that way).

    Another great help that a lot of people don’t know about is using the ABBR and ACRONYM tags in HTML with a TITLE attribute. (See HightDots Abbreviations)

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  4. By Sue posted on February 1, 2008 at 11:57 am
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    Just so you know, the abbr tag doesn’t work in IE6. The acronym tag does, however, so even though it’s technically not correct, you should use acronym, at least until IE6 completely disappears. And there are a lot of people still using it, because they can’t update (wrong OS) or just won’t.

    BTW, proper usage would be to write out the full phrase the first time, with the abbreviation in parentheses, then go ahead and abbreviate to your heart’s content afterward.

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  5. By wedding dress factory posted on August 7, 2009 at 10:36 am
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    yes,thank your tips.

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  6. By evening dress wholesale posted on August 14, 2009 at 2:12 pm
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    Historically, I’ve found that beginners, people new to the technology, tend to use the full words. They look for WordPress and search engine optimization. They aren’t comfortable yet with the abbreviations. Intermediate to advanced users tend to rely upon the acronyms as they use them in their daily lives.

    Reply

  7. By shanghai massage posted on September 29, 2009 at 2:41 pm
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    very good. im very happy do you hayyp.

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  8. By Anna Begum posted on October 5, 2010 at 6:38 pm
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    search engine optimization is a tedious if not lengthy process ,,’

    Reply

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