How to Start an ABA Blog

Photo by Avi Richards on Unsplash

Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D

bSci21Media, LLC

Angela Cathey, M.A.

ENSO Group

As we recently mentioned in our article, “How to talk ABA to the rest of the world.” behavior analysts are trained really well to speak technically.  We do a great job at speaking to other behavior analysts and furthering the science.  The main vehicle for that type of work is peer-reviewed journals.  Today, however, we are talking about a vehicle for disseminating the field to the world, which requires a different way of speaking to a different audience.

Dissemination is the realm of media and entertainment, not academic publications.  One form of media publication is the blog.  If you have a behavior analytic voice that you want heard, we want to provide you with a few simple tips to start your own ABA blog.  The tips below are an extension of our earlier article “How to build an ABA website in 3 steps.”  For this article, we assume you have already created a website using self-hosted WordPress, by following the three steps in our previous article.

Select a WordPress theme with a blog feature.

As we mentioned previously, a website theme is analogous to the frame of a house.  The theme gives your site a basic structure within which certain parameters may be modified.  One such parameter is the blog.  If you want an ABA blog, the first thing you need to do is to select a theme with a blog feature. Many, if not most WordPress themes come with a blog feature that you can turn on and off in the “Appearance” section of the WordPress environment.  However, certain themes, like the many “magazine” or “news” style themes, of which bSci21.org is an example, have article production as their central feature.

Create a post.

Posts, in WordPress, are blog posts or articles, and WordPress makes it easy to start a new post.  Simply select “Posts” in the left hand column of your dashboard, or select “+New” at the top of your screen, and click “Post.”  You will then arrive at the “Add New Post” page.

From here you can go two directions to write your post.  First, you can write directly into WordPress itself.  The main advantage of writing directly into WordPress is that you save a step or two in pasting content from an external Word or Pages document, which often requires additional formatting after the fact.  The second option is to write your article in a Word or Pages document.  The latter option is particularly useful if you want to send your content to another writer or editor and utilize tracked changes.  However, you then have to copy and paste the content into WordPress, and often have to do a bit of reformatting work.  Note that any pictures to go in the body of the article should be uploaded as individual files through the “Add Media” button in WordPress.

For help with generating content, see the earlier bSci21 article “Four Prolific Writing Tips from B.F. Skinner.”

Find a featured image for the post.

Featured images are the prominent images you see on social media when articles are published.  The images are meant to make your article more interesting and aesthetically appealing to the public.  Typically, you want to choose an image that is thematically related to the topic of your post.  Generally speaking, pictures of people are considered a best practice, as people and the emotions they express are more relatable than inanimate objects.

When selecting a featured image, you want to make sure that you have appropriate commercial-use permissions to use the image on your site, especially if you are publishing the article as a company.  Luckily, the Internet is replete with repositories of commercial-use images for free.  Two that we recommend, and frequently use, are unsplash.com and pixabay.com.  Unsplash is noted for its high quality images, while pixabay tends to have a greater variety of images.  Try both and see which works better for your needs. After selecting an image for your article, you should find a “Featured Image” button near the lower right corner of your “Add New Post” page.

Preview and publish your post.

After writing the content, and uploading the featured image, you will want to make sure your post is presentable to the public before publishing.  WordPress has a nice feature that allows you to preview your post before publication.  The preview button should be located on the right-hand side of your “Add New Post” screen.  Previewing your post is highly recommended before releasing to the public.  After years of writing blogs, we are consistently surprised at unexpected formatting errors that would have easily been missed had we not first previewed the post.

After previewing your post, make any necessary formatting adjustments and publish. One way to publish is to click the “Publish” button on the right side of your screen to release the article immediately.  Another way to publish is to schedule your article to release at a specific time in the future.  WordPress allows you to select the specific day and time to release an article, depending on the habits and time zone distribution of your audience.

And those are the basics for publishing an article on WordPress!  For additional help in setting up your ABA blog or website, check out our web design services and reach out to us with any questions.

Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is the President and Founder of bSci21Media, LLC, which owns the top behavior analytic media outlet in the world, bSci21.org.  bSci21Media aims to disseminate behavior analysis to the world and to support ABA companies around the globe through the Behavioral Science in the 21st Century blog and its subsidiaries, bSciEntrepreneurial, bSciWebDesign, bSciWriting, and the ABA Outside the Box CEU series.  Dr. Ward received his PhD in behavior analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno under Dr. Ramona Houmanfar.  He has served as a Guest Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and as an Editorial Board member of Behavior and Social Issues.  Dr. Ward has also provided ABA services to children and adults with various developmental disabilities in day centers, in-home, residential, and school settings, and previously served as Faculty Director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas.  Dr. Ward is passionate about disseminating behavior analysis to the world and growing the field through entrepreneurship. Todd can be reached at todd.ward@bsci21.org

Angela Cathey, M.A. is a writer, consultant, entrepreneur, and Owner, Director, and Team/Leadership Development Consultant of Enso Group. Her background is in processes of change and intervention development. She has trained with experts in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP), cognitive-behavioral exposure-based treatments, and Relational Frame Theory (RFT). Her interests are in process, innovation, and development of solutions for sustainable large-scale change. She has published in numerous academic journals on process, measurement, and intervention development. Enso-driven analytics systems are used to inform leadership and team building interventions, culture design, and research in the behavioral sciences. Angela can be reached at a.cathey@ensogroup.us. Stay up-to-date with Enso Group at ensogroup.us and LinkedIn.

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