After browsing through a few blogs the other day, I began to think about what I look for in a blog. I read a wide variety of blogs, but there are certain blogs that I just HAVE to click on if I see new content in my feed reader. I’ve tried to figure out why I’m drawn to them.
This is a purely subjective exercise, as I’m sure others will have different takes on this. However, if you’re new to blogging or are struggling to find your way, I hope this list will help you.
What I’m typically looking for:
- Chronicles interesting experiences. It’s not usually interesting to read about someone’s day at work or what they had for breakfast, but there are bloggers who lead unusual or fascinating lives and have the writing skills to make it shine on a blog. I personally enjoy reading about Jordon Cooper’s experiences working at a Salvation Army. There’s always a story to tell. Example: www.jordoncooper.com
- A unique, passionate, and informed perspective on news, events, or ideas. This is blogging for me in its purest expression, offering up ideas and adding to public discourse. Example: www.swingingfromthevine.com
- Ideas in condensed formats for easy browsing and skimming. Using bold font, bullets, or a solid summary in the beginning helps me figure out if I want to read the whole post. I know you poured your heart out in those 500 words, but I don’t always have the time to read every 500-word post. As a reader, I need help figuring out if this post will be something I want to read. With an overload of information out there, this is essential. Example: www.toddhiestand.com
- Obscure or helpful links. Sometimes you just want to laugh or to watch something interesting. While these blogs may sometimes wow you with a solid, informative post, sometimes it’s fun to visit a blog that offers up helpful information just for the heck of it. Example: www.jesusneedsnewpr.blogspot.com
- Interaction with other blogs, providing summaries and insights. You can’t read every blog, and so it’s important to find a reliable guide to the blogs you want to browse. In addition, far from simply sharing links, these blogs help you sift through and evaluate their finds. These blogs not only elevate the level of discourse, but also help you find blogs doing the same. Example: www.tallskinnykiwi.com
What I’m not looking for:
- Links to news and information everyone already knows about. If I can find this article on my Google news page, why are you linking to it on your blog? Enough said!
- Links to news and information without any helpful commentary or perspective. Many bloggers link to something in the news and then say, “This is important, what do you think?” As a reader I’m not motivated to put my own ideas on the line because the blogger hasn’t taken the first step. In other words, the blogger hasn’t really started a conversation, but rather asked other people to do the work for him/her.
- Long, rambling posts without structure or editing. The ideas may be good, but the author needs to take the time to organize the thoughts better and make them accessible for readers who may not want to sift through the whole post.
- Self-indulgent, life-chronicling posts that are neither unique nor interesting. You blogged about going to breakfast, which is nice and all, but you haven’t offered anything of value like a restaurant recommendation or insights into what you thought about while out for breakfast.
That’s my list of criteria, what is on your list of do’s and don’ts?