his year, I have the honour of being on the judging panel for the Thirty Plus Blog Awards, which meant that, a couple of weeks ago, I had the unenviable task of sifting through dozens of blogs, and then ranking them: YIKES.
I say it was an “unenviable” task: that’s only because the standard was so high that it was really, really hard for me to decide which blogs I liked best out of all of the entrants. In order to actually get the job done, though, I obviously had to come up with some kind of rankling criteria, which made me think about just what it is that makes a blog good. I think the answer to this one will probably depend on who you ask, because different people look for different things in a blog. For what it’s worth, though, here’s MY answer…
– 01 –
I suspect it’s probably bad form to put appearance first, but I’m something of a design junkie, and while a bad blog design won’t stop me reading your blog if the content is great, a good one will make me much more likely to actually read that content in the first place. (And yes: I also occasionally judge books by their covers: my bad.
– 02 –
If the overall look of the blog has lured me in, it’s the photography that will get me hooked: assuming it’s good, that is. If it’s a fashion blog, then great photography (and awesome outfits, obviously) might be all I really need: I’ve written before about how I much prefer blogs which have some kind of “story” behind them, and that’s true – for the most part. When it comes to fashion blogs, though, there are a few I follow purely because I love the blogger’s style (and, well, want to try to copy it, if I can…), so clear, bright photos will sometimes make up for a multitude of other “sins”.
– 03 –
As I’m a writer myself, you’d probably expect good writing to be first on the list, but as I said above, if the design and photography is bad, I sometimes won’t stick around for long enough to even get to the writing. (And if the design involves light text on dark background, or teeny-tiny fonts, then I can guarantee I won’t.) Once I DO start to read the content on the site, though, poor writing is a deal-breaker for me, and will have me instantly hitting the “back” button. Note, however, that what I’m looking for here is simply decent writing: I mean, if the person is an AMAZING writer, then so much the better, but everyone makes mistakes, and I’m not going to be put off by the occasional typo or whatever – especially if it’s obvious that English isn’t the blogger’s first language. If the text is absolutely littered with mistakes, though, then I’m probably not going to take the time to read it: I think there are a lot of bloggers out there who think writing doesn’t matter any more, because it’s all about images and video these days, but they couldn’t be more wrong. There are still plenty of people who’re looking for something to read, rather than something to watch, so if you don’t pay attention to things like spelling and grammar, you’re missing out on potential followers.
– 04 –
SOMETHING I CAN’T FIND ANYWHERE ELSE
This one is a little hard to explain, but as I scroll through the homepage of a new (to me) blog, I’m normally looking for something that really jumps out of me: something that’s a little bit different from the usual outfit posts or beauty product reviews (not that there’s anything wrong with those posts, of course!). There are TONS of blogs publishing that kind of content, after all, so what REALLY makes a blog stand out to me is the kind of post that offers something different from the usual run of content. That “something” is normally a more personal post, which really lets me feel like I’ve gotten to “know” the blogger a little. I wrote about this here, but for me it really is the number one thing that makes a blog “good”: it’s hard to define, but it’s one of those ‘I’ll know it when I see it’ kind of things, I guess!
Like I said, there are so many things that go into creating a successful blog, and everyone will have a different answer to the question. So, what’s yours?