Marilyn from ALotOfLoves wrote a great post called “What Will Make Me Read Your Blog Post” and it honestly made me stop and think about how I post. Sometimes it’s not good enough just to write whatever you want. I had never really put much thought into my posts before, but this opened my eyes.
Here were her bullet points on the blogs she chooses to read:
- Comment on my Blog: Before I read any other blogs, I read and comment on the blogs of those who commented on mine.
- Keep it Short: I do most of my blog reading in short bursts throughout the day crammed in between playing with my kids, calming tantrums and making lunch. I rarely have the patience to slog through a massive manifesto. My patience usually lasts about 500 words, longer than that and I tend to start skim-reading. An occasional lengthy post is fine (after all there are some topics that require length), but if every single post is a novel, I will usually find I don’t have the time.
- Photos are Nice: Including some pictures can really help add some interest. If I am browsing a new-to-me blog, I will often skim the pictures first. If the pictures catch my eye, I’ll stop and read the text. (Note: I’m breaking my own rule here by not posting any pictures. Rules are made to be broken…Except #4)
- Post Something Worth Reading: I’ve recently run across a few blogs where the blogger had a case of writer’s block. They literally posted a series of “I’ve got nothing to say” posts. I would rather that the blogger didn’t publish anything than post that. After the third “nothing to say” post, I deleted them from my reader. Writer’s block sucks and sometimes life isn’t fascinating. Not every post is going to be a winner, but if I’m going to spend my time reading a blog, I would like the writer to at least show they made an attempt at writing something interesting or useful.
- Please Use Paragraphs: I am not a writing expert. I know without a doubt that I make some errors when I write. I’m sure most people would agree that poor grammar, or misspelled words are irritating. They bug me too. But I have to say that the thing that bothers me the most when reading is a total lack of paragraphs. Nothing dulls my mind faster than looking at a vast expanse of text with no breaks in sight. I would rather someone use too many paragraphs than not enough so go ahead and hit that ‘Enter’ key.
There is some really great stuff in there! I mean it. I have a lot of trouble with #2. I tend to be wordy like crazy. But I now keep length in mind when writing, instead of just noticing how much I’ve written at the end. Paragraphs are also a BIG thing for me. If I come to read your blog, I want to be able to see a little bit of ‘white space’ between words. One big wall of text is hard to dive into, and more often than not, I wont bother. Also, I’m a big sucker for 3. I am just as guilty of scrolling through a whole series of blogs to see pictures, and they’ll keep me around faster than a great post.
I wanted to see if I had a few rules of my own to add. Here’s what I came up with:
- Have an “About Me” page. When I go to a blog for the first time, I will read the most recent post, and then click on the “About Me.” If I find myself interested in the author, and have any sort of connection, I will subscribe immediately. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I want to know a bit about ya.
- Don’t OVERWHELM your front page with adds, buttons, links and other mishmash. I have clicked through to countless blogs because of an interesting title or a good recommendation, and not been able to get my brain past the massive onrush of information thrown at me. You may be the best writer in the world, but you’re drowning it in crap. My own blog may be a bit TOO simple, but I try to reflect what I like.
- Blog with some level of consistency. I don’t care if you only write once a month, or if you write every single day of the week. But writing every day for a month, and then nothing for several weeks causes me to wonder, “Who is this again?” when I come across your latest work in my reader.
I would really have to sit and focus to think of more than this. Honestly, I have a hard time with how many blogs I’ve subscribed to already, because I try to comment on everything that I read. The world of blogging is FAR more vast than I had ever imagined, but it’s also filled with a great number of incredible people. I like to spread the love. I want to read what you have to say, and I want you to do the same for me. It’s all good.
What makes you stick with a certain blogger? How do you decide who to keep reading?