What’s a good blog?

What’s a good blog?

For me personally, it’s very hard to tell. I know it when I see it.

Sudan(?) Monkey riding a rhino
A blogger is a friendly person who is telling me a few things in a way I can trust (Photo credit: George Eastman House)

But what am I looking for?

One thing I know for sure–when I’m browsing a blog, I’m also looking for a good experience. I’m looking for a friendly person who is telling me a few things in a way I can trust, someone who is not talking down to me or making his/her ego come in the way of writing.

I’m trusting this person not necessarily because he is the authority on the subject but because he helps me analyze the authoritarian points of view on the subject from the point of view of a person at my level, on my side.

Do I look for information?

If I need new information, I usually like to go to the source (the book, the author’s web page, the published lists of  organizations etc. )

What I’m looking for in a blog post is new treatment of  old information or some kind of analysis.

Soaring
Discovering things together! (Photo credit: Sam Howzit)

Am I looking for a person? 

Yes!

The blogger’s character as it comes across in the blog influences my choice to read. 

The voice, the tone, the eye (photographs or word-pictures), strange quirks–all make me remember and want to come back. I’m looking for a human being that I can slowly get to know over a period of time and trust.

I’m also looking for versatility. Real people don’t change drastically but they don’t remain the same all the time or only drone on about the same thing over and over again.

If they do, I don’t want to know them.

Who wants to get bored to death?

Do I, the reader,  want to be treated as a human being?

Of course!

I like bloggers who interact with me, not necessarily only by responding to comments or writing comments but by reacting to and acknowledging readers by responding to constructive criticism.

Otherwise, I might as well read a printed book where, preferably, the author has been dead at least a century and been vetoed by a few generations of readers before reaching me. Them I can trust even if they are no longer around to change. (Seriously, I do love reading classics.)

How do I react to an agenda?

There are those in the blogosphere who are here just to express themselves. There are others who find a direction after a while. There are many who are here from the beginning with a purpose.

Selling Oranges at the Local Market Ban Kruat ...
We all have things someone else needs! (Photo credit: Captain Kimo)

They have a book to promote, a class to teach, a website to push or something to sell.

I, for one, fully support such efforts.

No matter what the general public might think, people who write might often need to eat, or pay their bills, feel useful in a practical way or simply want to get paid for their labour or gain recognition like other mortals.

But how direct is too direct?

I like agendas on the sidebars, at the end of the posts or maybe even as complete posts a few times a month.

But if it gets more than that I start thinking of the blog I used to like before as just another commercial.

Then, I run.

How much effort do I want to spend navigating a site?

Not much. This is not my research effort. Nor am I getting paid for reading the blog!

I like a blog that’s very easy to navigate. I’d like that even if I was a fan and I was thinking of a particular blogger’s words day and night.

If a blogger has clustered their posts based on some theme, I love it. If they want to be witty, fine. But if they’re so witty (or abstruse) that they’ve inserted disappearing sidebars or links where I can only see one title at a time, I  click away and they slip my mind.

LITTLE MONSTERS
The little monsters (Photo credit: Daniel Ferenčak)

What feelings do I like on a blog?

Wit is good. Funny is good. Passion, emotion–all good.

But anger (unless artistically put with some distancing) and nastiness spoil my reading experience. This is an absolute put off for me.

What do you like or dislike in a blog?

©bottledworder, 2013. https://bottledworder.wordpress.com
Share to show you care but with attribution only for non-commercial purposes. No derivative works.

108 thoughts on “What’s a good blog?”

  1. Thank you for the helpful advise! A lot of what you said helped me to understand my lil space in Blogsville all the more, and provided good food for thought.

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  2. Great post! Thank you. I really like well written posts, not too long, with beautiful pictures about daily life in different parts of the world. Posts must be original too. I don’t need to know if there is another blogger who likes Chanel or Dior.
    And I find annoying blogs written by braggers who are just promoting their style of living or their jobs. Ciao

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  3. That is one of the most creative names that I have seen. I am thankful that you did read a post on my blog and liked it. I started blogging because of my wife. She told me that it would help me with my Parkinson’s disease. My family has been through so much in the last four years, but we refuse to give up. We have been blessed so much. I am not a writer by any means, I just want to tell our story, and maybe someone who may be going through something similar will realize that their life is not over. Thank you for blogging, and giving advice. I welcome it. Blessing

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  4. Oh well…..Long sentences come naturally to the Slo-Man, possibly due to forced immersion in the classics in his formative years.

    Brevity will have to be learnt, it seems, if I have to have people like Gwen as readers.. 😦

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  5. I enjoy much of what you do in a blog. I appreciate brevity, and a feeling that the blogger is human. I like a good learning experience, without feeling like I’m being preached to. It’s nice to know what you look for in a blog, and I’m flattered that you’re one of my followers. Thanks for another great post.

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  6. I think brevity with a point, information, and/or humor are the things I look for in a blog. I’ve stopped following those with an agenda and those who rant. Good post.

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  7. Apart from everything that’s been said (with which I agree) I follow blogs that are on WordPress, because they turn up as emails. The only other blog I follow regularly is one whose owner posts once a day, because I know whenever I go there, I will see a new post.

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  8. Great post! I’m always interested in reading what makes someone want to read or revisit a blog. (Mainly because I want to do a mental check to make sure I’m not in the ‘put off’ category :))

    I like the comment above about the number of posts – multiple posts in a day frustrate me, too. I most prefer to read blogs that post between 1 and 4 posts a week. This way, if I can’t get to emails for a few days, I’m not that far behind.

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  9. Your blog is always good value and gives the reader plenty to think about. And the people who connect with you are also intriguing and interesting, Which makes reading your blog and your comments a labour of time and love, and well worth it !!!

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  10. Reblogged this on Ry24's Weblog and commented:
    for all bloggers out there. i’ve read it and think it’s quite true and need to be read also…

    Setiap orang punya alasan tertentu menjadi blogger tentunya. Dan tak ada yang salah kok untuk setiap alasan itu. Ada baiknya kita baca ini dan siapa tahu akan menjadi blogger lebih baik.

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        1. Ryan, I’m so flattered that you found my blog and commented as well, and even indulged me (after I requested) in a translation from English to Indonesian! 🙂 I love languages…

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          1. Wow.. I thought that if i’m using Indonesian will be confusing, that’s why i used English.

            I’m surprised when you asked me to write it in Indonesian.

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  11. I like your posts 🙂 I remember your post about the day after Thanksgiving just like a friend telling it. Only if I say it out loud Bottledworder does sound like a peculiar first name. I also like the anonymity of the blog world. You keep writing and I will keep reading!

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  12. I absolutely loved this blog post. It made me understand and affirm so much about blogging. As a newbie-I am working on finding my niche. I love love to LAUGH and so I want to convey that about myself at times when appropriate,but there are so many serious issues I enjoy blogging about. You made my day with this one!

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  13. I prefer blogs that don’t take an age to load: happy to spend time reading a long post, but not sitting waiting for it to appear. I’m happy without pictures (they seem to make loading longer) as long as the word-pictures work well. I don’t want marketing thrust at me. And I like to hear the voice of the writer in the post.

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  14. I’m pretty new to all of this and I’m still feeling my way through it but I’ve found a few blogs that I tend to go back to more often than others (this one being top of the list). I think it’s the personality of the writer that sneaks through on me. I feel I know this person just through the way they write and the attitudes and emotions they display in their words. I’m still trying different things with my blog…yes, it’s to promote my book but I don’t want that to be the only thing. I know I get tired of it and I imagine others will too. I still want to keep the title out there but I also want to try and get more of myself up there…I’m more than the book. I love photography and collectibles, a lot of things and I’m trying to put more of this out there. Above all though I like blogs that are fresh and perhaps a little unexpected…spice of life and all that!
    Mike

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  15. Reblogged this on Just A Thought and commented:
    So I read this post: What’s a good blog? by Bottledworder recently.

    I thought about it a bit, and decided that I like many of the same things. However, I am a super visual person, and a little superficial at times, so I really really like posts that have pictures in them. The more photography (the more original photography) the better for me. The pictures catch my attention, and the writting has to hold it- it a post isn’t well written, the blogger will lose me pretty quickly.

    I am aware, of course, that this post itself is one that probably wouldn’t hold my attention- there aren’t any pictures and the writting is hurried, brief and lacking in that special poetic flair. It is a nice thought excercise, though, and that has some merit on its own.

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  16. I agree, I like people. I love those who interact with me and I try and write about things that I think will interest them. Sometimes I’m sad, sometimes I’m happy life is full of twists and turns. What I’ve found most people like is my honesty. I’ve made some amazing friends along the years.

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  17. Something I really like in blogs is if the author asks questions at the bottom of the post for you to answer in the comments. I feel like it compels me more to write a response if the topic is something that is enjoyable, but not necessarily controversial right off the bat. That’s one of the things I enjoy most about blogging is discussion and conversation, and one of the things I don’t see a lot of on my blog, sadly. I feel like I should use more photos in mine, because I like reading ones that have images. I also dislike too much self-promotion. Most great blogs I like put out great content on a regular basis, on controversial matters, humorous, sarcastic, and deeply thought and even sad. It’s amazing how many great writers encountered on WordPress. 🙂

    Thanks for coming by my blog yesterday and liking it. I’m glad that it led me to your blog! 🙂

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  18. You’ve covered all of my wants in a blog. I like to hear what people have to say. I’m not concerned about a critique unless it is mean-spirited. We all have flaws in posting. I have been known to over-do with comma’s. BUT … they are so cute. ~~~~ : – )
    I like variety, too. I never feel the same way on any given day. During my first day’s of blogging, I was concerned that I didn’t have a pattern or that I was writing a little bit about everything. I happen to like a lot of things. I can’t stick to a specific all the time. I suppose it has to do with the moon. Okay .. so I don’t have to have a reason for my style but this seemed like a pretty good one to use. Yes … I am a moon child: born in July. Have you seen the moon the same way each night. AAAhhhh … something ot think about. ~~~~ : – )
    Thanks for this post and platform.

    Like

  19. One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about my first year of blogging is the relationships I’ve made with people who read my blog and whose blogs I read. At this point in my life, I don’t have as much time to read other blogs as I would like but when I do, I like many of the things you mentioned. Since I’m part of a group that writes a 100-word story once a week in response to a photo, I obviously also enjoy reading writing of various kinds. I also love photography.

    If I read a blog about personal things, I don’t mind if that person is having a difficult time but if a blog (or even just emails) are too down all the time, while I feel bad for that person, I don’t want to wallow with them all the time. My husband started his blog when diagnosed with cancer and has really helped a number of other cancer sufferers that way. But he’s done it through a combination of writing about the difficult moments, empathizing with others and sharing humor, a good combination.

    janet

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  20. Hi – I agree with your taste in good blogs out there. I like reading blogs that are light with a sort of depth underlining, funny and warm, with occasional wit and irony– that can send a message in a sort of subtle way. Overall, I like when a writer is someone I can relate to even if it is only 1 small aspect that comes thru in their writing But what also pulls me is smart but at the same time humility and not a “know-it-all” way of coming across- a blogger who acknowledges his or her ongoing human struggles- then I take their tips and anecdotes and translate it in some way to my own work and life. I may not be able to pull off all those things in my own blog (lol), but I still am drawn to that in others’ writing.

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  21. I my likes are pretty much what you have expressed. My biggest irritation is people who click the like button by going through the reader, mouse button clearly clicking away madly, yet they have not bothered to look at the post which they have ‘liked’. I would far rather have less ‘likes’ and more sincere readers. Their motive is to get you to look at their page but why on earth should I bother? These cases are very easy to pick up when moments after posting there are ‘likes’ yet looking at views there are none.

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  22. That sounds just like my thoughts. Easy to read, easy to navigate, and a good, determined person behind the wheel driving the blog. I like it when the bloggers are humble and appreciative, not narcissistic and vain because I feel like that takes away from the experience.

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  23. Thanks for sharing your insights – very interesting. I tend to look at a lot of things but will only read about 400 words and then I leave the page. Unless the topic speaks to me in a really compelling fashion that I am extremely excited about it, I hit the wall around 400 words – but a good layout with white space and compelling photos can bring me along further. And amusing and witty writing will hook me every time. .

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  24. What I want is someone who is multifaceted. Morose is okay. Sad is okay. Happy is okay. Euphoria. Humor. On and on. But to be sparkly or sad all the time is draining to the writer and the reader. Journal entries, fiction of all kinds, and sarcasm are a must for me.

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  25. IMHO, more than once a day is too much. There are bloggers who feel compelled to share every thought they have, but I’m not really interested in reading that someone’s cat has fleas or he’s tried a new kind of tea (unless, of course, the blog is about cats or tea!). Post once a day at the most, and keep it on the theme of your blog. A little variety a nice once in a while, but if I can’t figure out what a blog is about after looking at several posts, I may not follow it. I try to post twice a week with information that’s relevant to writing and editing.

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    1. What about folks who like writing (like me) and whose writing may be triggered by almost anything. I mean the Slo-Man and I share (amongst other things such as a mind and brain) a blog and the blog carries all kinds of things on it, from poetry to political expression, recipes (for the first time today) to personal reflection. And through all of it, I remain true to who I am.

      So why should a blog necessarily have a theme?

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  26. Great topic, and good points to think about. I guess you would call me a “returning blogger” because I blogged for a while then let it sit, and recently picked it back up — partly for marketing reasons, and partly because it’s fun. WordPress seems to be doing a lot more to promote interaction that it did when I first blogged, which is a big help, but wow, there are so many blogs out there! Feeling a little overwhelmed and realizing I am going to have to honestly sort them out. I appreciate people who put together thoughtfully written posts, either with humor or great tips, etc. I tend to get put off by careless writing and too much negativity and ranting.

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  27. I’m actually still new to blogging, so I’ve just been wandering and seeing what catches my eye. I’ve been getting drawn to pictures and poems lately due to not having much time to read long posts. I think I’ve been rather tunnel-visioned in searching out other authors who are trying to get published, but I’m trying to branch out. Mostly, I’m looking for funny and positive blogs.

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      1. I’m not sure. Maybe reading a sad blog gives a person a sense of empathy with another human being? Humans are social creatures, but many jobs require you stay in a box or be emotionally isolated. A sad blog can give a person a feeling of connection because they feel sad for another human being.

        The emotion of sadness is rather interesting because it is a negative emotion, but it has a great power to bring people together.

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    1. I don’t think anyone else mentioned length of posts, aside from you, but I’ll chime in on that point. I struggle myself with “wordiness” but I have to confess when I see a post in my reader that’s a few thousand words long, I’m just not clicking on it. I’m much more likely to read a post that’s a couple of hundred words, and I always try to keep my own posts under 500 words.

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      1. I think it’s a matter of time. I gravitate toward the shorter posts most times because I’m writing a novel while I’m on my computer or tangling with a three-year-old. If I have the time, I manage to read a long post and I really try to when I know somebody has taken the time to read my posts. It also depends on the level of grip that the post has on me. A long post that draws me in within the small section I see on my reader will take me away from my writing while a long post that doesn’t will get passed over. I will admit to guilt of having a few thousand words long posts because many of my posts are sections of my first novel, so they are rather long.

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        1. I think it has to do with my expectation of what it means to blog and be a blogger. I personally believe that it’s not a format that’s well suited to long treatises and frankly few writers here (myself included) have the ability to hold attention for long.

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      2. I also prefer shorter blog posts, no more than once a day. (Although I manage my subscriptions so they all dump into my email at 10:30-ish each evening.) Bottledworder is the only blog I read regularly that contains posts more than 500 words long, I think. I’ll read long pieces as articles online, and usually read a couple books a week, but most posts that are longer–especially from frequent bloggers–aren’t longer because they have more to say. They just needed to edit.
        Also, the personality of the author needs to come through as approachable.
        And funny is always good. (Unless the language is vulgar.)

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          1. Thanks! I had to make one for a workshop I’m participating in. I used the Digibody tools (I realized later you did, too!), but then imported the image to Microsoft Paint so I could make it look more like me.

            I like the Andy Warhol thing you’ve got going on now.

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      3. I guess brevity IS the soul of wit. I’m new to this too, struggling more with the brevity! Interesting to read that 500 words is a good length for the audience, which is really what it should/could be about, rather self indulgently posting nearly 1,500 words like I just realised I’ve been doing. My posts are mainly narrative driven, so perhaps I should split these longer stories up into Chapters. Thanks for the helpful blog and insightful comments!

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  28. Great post, and filled with all the reasons why I follow you! As a blogger, I’ve been trying to meet all the criteria you listed. I try to put myself in the place of the reader–so I don’t blog 3 times a day, I don’t blog about every thought that crosses my mind, and I try to educate, entertain, and connect in some way in my posts. Sometimes I want to share stuff that I just don’t think is appropriate for an entire blog post, so I share it on my Facebook page instead, and I think that keeps both places more interesting for readers who follow both.

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  29. I like photo blogs. With all the blogs I’m following, the different projects going on, things at home, work etc, etc, there’s not much time to read a lot of blogs. So I mostly follow photography blogs.

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  30. Great post…especially for someone like me who has no direction with his blog. I love reading humorous blogs or pieces cause I can’t write humor. If you met me in person you would say I am funny. I can never get that across in writing like I see others with that ability. I like to think I am diverse in my interest in reading blogs. I would say I just love creativity whether in word, pictures or art. Now I just have to figure out how to make my blog a good blog for others to read. That’s the hard part. Though I always write for myself. I never consider whether people will like it or not. Maybe thats a fault. I don’t know. 🙂

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  31. Yours is one of my favorite blogs to follow and this is why! Again, very informative, offering advice in a most friendly way. Very helpful as I am always looking to provide the best experience possible for my reader and who better to hear how I can do so from one of them. Thanks so much for sharing :’)

    ~ O

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  32. I know i do this somethings, but i dislike when a person posts multiple posts in the same day. I have done two, max three in a day, because I so often dont have the time to write and when i do i write multiple entries. Or it’s all entries for a blog challenge. But, i have people i follow that post seemingly unrelated entries 5 or 6 at a time. Then dont post for two days and come back with another 5 or 6 entries. I don’t like my reader to feel cluttered. I feel like my other blogs i follow get lost in that kind of posting spree. I actually followed someone who would post 3 or 4 posts DAILY. I ended up un-following because I was having trouble scrolling through her entries and sometimes someone’s else post got sandwiched between hers and I would miss it. There is a feature in the dashboard to assign a time when to publish article, it doesn’t have to be immediately.

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    1. Yes. I know I’ve been overwhelmed too–especially blogs that have multiple authors and post many times a day.

      I wonder what other readers feel–what’s a good number of posts per day/ week?

      Like

      1. I’ve been told to aim for twice a week for SEO and to keep yourself in the mind of readers. I am struggling to do one a week! But I tend to do longer posts. I don’t know how anybody manages three or four a day, unless they’re short, but that would be too much for me as a reader. Once or twice a week is good for me as a reader, too, but I’m following people who do more thorough posts like this one. 🙂

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  33. What I like in a blog is seeing the point of view of regular people with their own hobbies and interests. I like to see people’s passions, even if their own ideas and analysis aren’t as in depth or as fleshed out, as say, something I could get out of a book or scholarly journal.

    What I don’t like about blogs (or I should say the blogging community in general) are those bloggers who engage in shallow networking. What I mean by this are people that spam inboxes and click the “like” button on everything without any contributions of their own. The whole “follow my blog and I’ll follow yours” can be irritating, but it’s only a minor gripe. As long as bloggers are contributing interesting and creative work, I’m happy.

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  34. What a great post….and so true. I love blogs that are laced with humor, but always have some underlying messages. I am really drawn to people with my sense of humor. Oddly enough, I feel compelled to write my blog in an entirely different voice. I guess it’s the best of both worlds that I get to write from the heart and have a few good laughs along the way.

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  35. I think you covered it pretty well in terms of what I like as well. I don’t like anger that isn’t circumspect (must have some basic premise other than a rant). I want to know the blogger’s perspective and what they do with that perspective. I want to know where they are coming from and that they are comfortable enough in they’re own shoes to be authentic. Well-written post.

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        1. I know. That’s why I was thinking that maybe SEO is less imp for “people” blogs than informational blogs and hence “people” blogs can afford to be more creative with their titles etc.?

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          1. I ignore all that SEO stuff – as you pointed out, some blogs aren’t intended as a marketing device and while I enjoy having readers, I think it would impact my writing and inhibit creativity.

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