A Few More Thoughts on Blogging

So what’s a good blog? Well, that depends on your tastes. There are, however, some absolutes. Through nearly a year at this, I have learned a good blog worthy of being read is at LEAST the following:

What is blogging?  Some would say it’s the most effective digital signage and an advertiser’s dream. I see it as that, yet so much more. On New Year’s Day of 2007, I wrote a post called “Blogging is a Fad, Good Writing Isn’t.” It’s been nearly a while since that post and I must say the amount I’ve read and learned in the blogosphere is staggering. I had no idea when I started that this hobby would have so much of an allure for me. I’ve read upwards of 500 blogs since then, written 417 posts of my own (and counting) and studied several hundred blogs very closely in this span of months. I’ve learned a lot about what’s out there and how blogging works for me as an ever-morphing trend.

Some tips I could give are common sense and others are borne out of PAIN, sheer PAIN. But whatever doesn’t kill us at blogging only makes us stronger. I think it’s important to retract my statement I made back then because I now think “trend” is a better definition. People are talking to each other through blogging and that is a trend that I hope never fades as a fad always will.

So what’s a good blog? Well, that depends on your tastes. There are, however, some absolutes. Through nearly a year at this, I have learned a good blog worthy of being read is at LEAST the following:

1) Entertaining – the writing or pictures hold your interest and the blog has a reputation for consistently putting out language or other medium that entertains the reader. There is a fine line between trivial and stupid stuff. That’s where your artistic license makes or breaks your blog. Even an online diary as such has it’s parameters and marketing challenges.

2) Regularly updated – The definition of this varies. I say it should be updated 3 times a week minimum. NOTE: Over posting is possible and this is simply a guideline. It’s kind of like when your mother said: “Clean your room and like it.” You can fake liking it just as much as you can fake an entertaining blog post. Keep inspiration and planning more important than frequency of posting, but CLEAN THE ROOM and LIKE IT! If you take my meaning.

3) Full of pictures – This is a recent realization. Blogs without pictures are just usually not as good, although there are exceptions as with anything. I’m not saying it has to be a photoblog, as mine seems to be becoming, every post, but consider that images engage the reader.

4) Consistent with content – As someone who changes his theme frequently, I need to make the distinction about consistency with content and consistency with appearance. Blogs should put out consistently good content that has items 1-3 above in them. When I come across a blog, I want to know it has been consistent if I am going to hang around.

5) Written by an accessible author – One of the best things about blogging is the way we can connect with people we respect. Stars have blogs (Rosie comes to mind) and people more and more are learning that stars can be “touched” through the blog medium and it doesn’t bother them! In fact, some like it! Though blog authors are not “stars” per se, they are perceived as such by most interested readers. Therefore, authors should respond to questions in comments and provide a contact page. Comments are the lifeblood of a good blog. Another way to be accessible and “known” is to read other blogs regularly.

6) Last, decorated with some semblance of personality. There is so much to put on a blog: widgets, plugins, themes, headers, colors . . . good blogs use at least some of these things. This is how we all learn what is out there.

To close: If you blog, don’t blog mediocre, unfeeling posts. Use Twitter if you want to say what you are doing in ordinary language at 08 hundred hours, for example.

Save the blog as “holy” for posts that are entertaining, inspired, with pictures, consistent with quality content, accessible through comments or other contact interface, and decorated with a theme and widget set that reflects YOU. If you are trying to do those 6 things, PLEASE let me know your URI because I for ONE will subscribe to your blog!

Also in doing these things, I think we conscientious bloggers will do our part to save blogging from becoming a fad and keep it the miraculous trend of “people talking to each other” that it has been since the online diarists began the first blogs in the mid 90’s. Blog on and keep the faith!

Author: Damien Riley

I'm a blogger, film critic, & podcaster with an MA in English from California State University, Fullerton. I teach public school, 4th grade as my primary occupation. My views on films and life are usually headstrong and often 'left of center' on movies and life, but I have respect for the other side. I married my high-desert princess (now my queen). We have 3 children.