Did you know that there was a blog recently posted called "Why I Hate Your Blog
?" It's a great read, and I recommend you take some time to read it. Although, if you do, remember to come back here afterwards, because I'm lonely. ;_;
This blog is somewhat of a response to that one. Instead of focusing on what you should avoid, I want to point out five basic principles that can turn even the most mundane blog into something that is at least readable. Hop aboard, kiddies, because I'm riding the bandwagon into Advice Town!
You did your research
I read gaming news on a daily basis, but even I can't stay on top of every story and rumor that floats around the internet. A handy link
fixes that instantly. It lets me - the reader- be on the same page you are, and this saves you the time of needing to summarize the story. I now know that the story you're referring to is something that actually happened, and isn't just a rumor that you heard from a friend of a friend.
If you are making an argument, backing up your points with facts and figures will only strengthen your thesis. Take a look at this blog
, for example. The arguments made at the end of the blog are all well qualified by the research presented beforehand, which increases the odds that readers will actually be persuaded by the end. Even if you don't remember the specific source you want to cite off the top of your head, there are ways for you to relocate it
. This is the internet. Use it.
You kept it concise
If your 9th grade English teacher is to be trusted, a piece of writing is always better if it is longer. The problem is, your 9th grade English teacher is not to be trusted.
is real. There's way too much to read, and my time is valuable. After all the time I spend reading the writing of professionals, I am left with very little time to devote to the writing of an amateur. You can't afford to start general and get more specific. By the time you get to your point, I might already be bored. If you dive right into your argument and focus on it, I'll be hooked early and stick with your blog until the end. As a reader, my reading habits won't change. But you, the writer, can change how you write. If your writing reflects your respect of my time, I could be your next follower/subscriber.
I've seen you around
This is a community of writers. Some are better known than others, and most of us aren't professionals. Even if you are the best writer I've ever seen, it's easy for your blogs to get lost among the sea of new submissions on a daily basis.
Maybe I've seen you leave funny one liner comments on front page news stories. Maybe I've seen you leave thoughtful comments on my own blog. Either way, these things help establish your place in the community, and in turn this makes me more likely to want to read your blog.
Think of it this way. If a good friend of yours asked you to read their piece of writing at the same time that a stranger did, which piece would you be more likely to read? Most people would pick the friend. If I view you as more of a friend than a stranger, then I'll be more eager to give you that comment and thumbs up that I know you're desperate for.
You offer a unique point of view
Jim Sterling is a cool guy. I watch his show
every week and find it very entertaining. If your blog is just a regurgitation of points made on his show, then I've learned nothing new. Even if it was otherwise well written, it feels like a waste because I got nothing new out of it.
To be fair, being original on the internet is hard. Even before the internet, it was a challenge to say something that some philosopher didn't say hundreds of years ago. What perspective can you offer that no one else can? What has been underreported, or what is relevant that has become forgotten for one reason or another? Even if it's your original sense of humor on a hot button topic, that's at least something that I can't get anywhere else. There are thousands upon thousands of writers on the internet, and you need to somehow offer something that no one else can. If what you provide is unique, then my chances of getting bored by your content dwindles exponentially.
You had someone else read it
I have a confession to make. I have an English degree, and I'm terrible with editing my own writing. I can usually catch myself when I make basic typos, but otherwise I can count on at least two or three errors on an average piece of writing. The only way I ever realize these errors exist is because I have someone else read my work and ask me "what is this part even supposed to mean
?" Again, this is coming from someone with an education in writing.
Very few of us have personal editors or the luxury of having someone read over every piece of writing we want to post. However, if you do have someone look over your work, it will undoubtedly come through in your blog. Even a parent or sibling works, although an experienced editor will obviously help. If you never have your mistakes pointed out to you, you're prone to repeat them in the future. Your readers shouldn't have to be your editors. Putting your best foot forward shows us respect, and that respect will be reciprocated.
Then, if I am truly wowed by the content of your blog, I'm much more likely to share it with a friend, saying "man, I love this blog."