How to write a visualization blog for the China Data Lab


  • need to be a real person and their voice, conveying attitude, personality, and character
  • be prepared to talk about your research in laymen’s terms—don’t assume the reader is as familiar with this these topics as you are
  • should link to a bio*
    • bio should list all past blogs
    • *Note: you list a bio on one blog post, but not on the other. Just be consistent so that the reader sees the same layout for your blogs.



  • they are what sells the content – (think why would should anyone read this?)
  • sets clear expectations for your readers – what they will discover
  • make your title pop (a wow factor)
  • keep it short and approximately 8-12 words
    • ideally under 70 characters so it doesn’t get cut off in search engine results
  • can pose a question or state a fact


Length and Structure

  • shorter is better (online readers tend to have short attention spans)
  • write in “pyramid style,” put the most important content at the top (see two examples below for further detail)








  • use the opening sentence (known-as the lead) to grab the attention of the reader…this sentence should take you the most effort to create
  • try to keep an average length of 300-600 words
  • if a posts is long (over a 1,000 words), break into subheaders for the reader
  • keep paragraphs short (easy to scan)
  • write short sentences (easy to read)
  • hyperlink to details without delving too much (such as papers or data)
  • if highly technical, give background for the average reader



  • find a strong image to set the stage for your blog post
  • source your items
  • Note: creating interactive graphics and maps are key for your posts, but think about a photo in the beginning to catch the reader’s eye.
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