First, a word from our sponsor (just kidding–it’s only a message from me): If you haven’t already had an opportunity to check out my new Photo Blog, “Canada and Beyond“, please have a look and let me know what you think. Do you like looking at/reading photo blogs? Would you be interested in a spot as a ‘guest contributor’? I’d love to know. Thanks so much.
And Now, Back to our Scheduled Program:
I’ve been reading a lot of blogs lately; in fact, I’ve been wasting entire days and nights on my computer, browsing and searching for ideas and tips to emulate (a much gentler word, I think, than copy) in my own blogs.
Basically I’ve been searching for ‘best practices’ and ‘reader appeal’, since I would really, really like to write a great blog that appeals to a wide range of readers. Makes sense, right? I imagine that, deep down, all bloggers want the same thing. Otherwise, why bother writing a blog in the first place? Why not just write in a journal?
When I first began my blog in 2009 I jumped into the pool with all my clothes on–boots and everything, without even checking the water depth or temperature first! What a silly idiot I was. (Not like the original idiot, whose blog I follow and chuckle over almost every time I read a new post), but my own modest idiot-self.
My first posts contained quite a few of my favorite recipes that have been passed down to me by my mother, and they also included personal background stories to accompany the recipes–I wanted readers to know why my family ate mom’s pumpkin pie every Christmas morning for breakfast, and why the smell of cinnamon buns fresh from the oven still evokes images of a certain house-keeper we had one summer when mom was recovering from major surgery.
Along with the desire to share mom’s delicious recipes I wanted readers to get to know me by reading my posts. I wanted readers to feel connected to me.
Eventually I began to add other categories to my posts–my warped views of the world we live in, my thoughts and concerns about aging, my overwhelming grief at the death of my husband, my bittersweet joy at my daughter’s engagement. Most (but not all) of my posts contain touches of humor, just because that’s the way I am wired and that’s the way I am inclined to write.
Gradually my blogging world expanded; I now have blogger ‘friends’ that I will most-likely never meet, but I feel that if I ever did have that opportunity we would most likely spend hours in a coffee shop or wine bar and chat as easily as if we’d known each other since kindergarten. (Of course, I could very well be wrong, but unless proven otherwise I’m sticking with that premise–it’s my premise and I can do what I want with it!)
During the past couple of years I’ve learned quite a lot about the art of blogging and about the blogging community. My blog has been fortunate to have been ‘Freshly Pressed’ twice, and that was an awesome thrill! But I still have tons left to absorb and figure out, so that’s why I’ve been scouring web sites and ‘popular’ blogs for help.
What I’ve found during my ‘wasted days and wasted nights’ is that blogs vary immensely–in their depth and scope, in their audience, in the number of comments their posts elicit from readers, in their tone and subject matter. It seems that anything and everything that can be written about is being blogged about. And that’s actually quite wonderful. Something for everyone.
This morning I was considering a topic for my post today, and without actually planning to, ended up writing this. That’s the way I tend to write anyway–I’m never quite sure what I think or what I want to say until I begin, and I am often surprised at how quickly words form on the screen in front of me. Then I edit until I’m fairly certain my words and thoughts will make sense to other people. (Of course, I could very well be wrong, but unless proven otherwise I’m sticking with that premise–it’s my premise and I can do...)
Now for the test questions I mentioned at the beginning of this post (just kidding again, I didn’t mention a test–but here it is all the same). I would truly appreciate your responses to any or all of the questions, because who better to help me in my blogging quest for excellence than my own fellow bloggers! So, thank you in advance. (And no talking to your neighbor during the test.)
- Why do you blog? What do you hope to accomplish?
- What is the ideal length (word count) of a great blog post?
- How often should a blogger post new content–daily, twice a week, weekly?
- What subject matter do your favorite blogs cover?
- Do you like to see relevant or humorous pictures included in blog posts?
- Is one day of the week better than another to post?
- Do you read posts only during weekdays or on weekends, or both?
- How important is spelling and grammar to you when you’re deciding if you enjoy a blog enough to ‘follow’ it? Would errors make you stop reading and move on to another site?
- How often do you comment on blogs? What triggers make you decide to spend the time to comment?
- How much time do you devote to your own blog?
- How much time do you devote to reading other blogs?
- (Optional Question for BONUS Points): How many questions in a blog are too many to answer?
Thanks again for your help, fellow blogger friends. I really appreciate any feedback you have and will compile the answers (or make them up myself if nobody answers at all), and present them in a follow-up post.