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The one thing that will make me follow your blog

I hardly ever follow blogs.

Oh, I READ blogs, obviously: mostly by clicking links as they pop up on Twitter, or hitting up the Bloglovin’ ‘Explore’ page, and seeing what it has to show me today. (Which is normally exactly the same thing it had to show me yesterday, now I come to think of it. Why do I keep doing this?) I find a lot of cool stuff that way, but, real talk (Did I just say “real talk”? Who even am I?), it’s normally the kind of “cool” (Does anyone even SAY “cool” any more?) that makes me go,  “Oh, cool!”… and then move on.

What I DON’T often find is the kind of cool stuff that makes me think, “Now that I’ve found this blog, I must never let it go: here, let me just carve its URL into this handy piece of rock, so I might remember it forever.” Or, alternatively, to follow it on Bloglovin’, which, despite its insistence on showing me the same “popular” blogs so often that I wouldn’t actually NEED to follow them, even if I wanted to, is still my preferred method of blog followin’.

What DOES make me want to follow a new blog I’ve just discovered, though? I’m glad you asked, because I just so happen to have written an entire post on that very subject. For those of you who like your advice concise, though, I’ve managed to sum it up in just three words: so the one thing that’s guaranteed to make me want to follow your blog to the ends of the earth on Bloglovin’ is…

the one thing guaranteed to make me follow your blogA great story

You’ll notice that I’m NOT saying “great writing” here. That’s not because I don’t think writing is important, obviously: far from it, in fact. If I click through to your blog, and it’s littered with spelling errors, or written entirely in lower case (Sorry: I know I’m going to offend someone by saying that, but it’s a pet peeve: if you write all in lower-case, I imagine you saying the words in a baby voice. Which is really off-putting, because can you imagine a baby writing a blog? Exactly.), I’ll never get to know what your story is, because I’ll have hit the “back” button long ago.

So, writing is important, but your story is different from your writing: your story is who you are, what you’ve learned, and I’ve obviously been watching too much American TV, because I’m also going to say “the journey you’re on”. Now let me just take a second to unclench my hands, because writing the word “journey” in that context makes me cringe a little, but it’s the best way I can describe it. I follow your blog, because I’m interested in your journey: it’s as simple as that.

It IS simple, too. Your journey doesn’t have to be an exciting one: you don’t have to be going through some major life event, or travelling to (literal or figurative) far-off lands. In fact, you might not even know where you’re headed yet, but that’s OK – as long as you let me follow along, and find out as we go. Obviously good writing plays into this, because a good writer can make even the smallest “journey” (Why can’t I seem to stop saying it now?!) captivating, but what I’m mostly trying to say here is that I rarely follow bloggers who don’t have a story – even a very ordinary one – to tell.

pencils and pens in a jarI rarely, for instance, follow blogs that are just filled with product reviews, because there’s no need to: I only read product reviews if I’m thinking of buying the product being reviewed, and I find the reviews through Google when I need them. I do, however, follow bloggers who mostly do product reviews, but who also tell me a little bit of their story in the process, because that way I feel like I’m getting product recommendations from someone I “know” – and who I’ll still want to hear from even if they stop writing reviews. No story? No follow. Or probably not, anyway……

It’s the same with fashion bloggers: for the most part, I tend not to follow the ones who ONLY post photos, without any text to accompany them: or – and I’m just going to say it – who only post a few lines of that always-upbeat fashion-blogger-speak that has an exclamation point at the end of every sentence, and always says something like, “Hello lovelies! I’m so excited to share these photos with you today! I’m obsessed with this dress! I’m so grateful for autumn! I’m #SOBLESSED!” Seriously, I feel like there must be some kind of “fashion blog” generator out there that allows you to type the words “dress” and “autumn”, select the level of over-excitement you want to convey (On a scale of 1- “autumn”, probably), and get a ready-made 3-line blog post. Yes, I’m aware of how bitchy that sounds. If I’m the only one who’s ever thought it, though, I will eat my hat. And I don’t even LIKE eating hats.

(I’m now thinking that if there ISN’T a fashion-blog generator already, someone should definitely make that happen. We could call it “Hello, lovelies!” BRB, just off to trademark that…)

Where was I? Oh yeah: I don’t normally follow those blogs, because they don’t give me any sense of the person writing them, or – wait for it – their journey. I mean, they’re basically just like catalogues, aren’t they? Beautiful ones, granted, but still just catalogues, and I might flip through a catalogue if one drops through the door, but I’m not sitting there waiting for it to arrive, or wondering how I can subscribe to it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not turning my nose up at catalogues, or blogs-that-are-like-catalogues: I enjoy flicking through them as much as the next person. “Flicking through them” is all you can really do, though, isn’t it? You pick them up while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, or when you’re in the mood to maybe buy something, but no matter how great the photos are, or how many things you buy from them, you don’t really feel a “connection” to them: so I MIGHT follow bloggers who have amazing outfits, but no story to go with them, but I’ll probably unfollow them again a few weeks later, when I realise I’m not actually opening their posts.

Of course, that’s just me: everyone gets different things from blogs, and I know the “no text” style is one that works really well for some people. Not every blogger wants to share their lives with the internet, after all, and not every reader wants to hear about it: some readers DO just want to look at the photos, and that’s as valid a reason to follow a blog as any other. As for me, though, I need a little bit more than that: I want to know your story, and if you’re willing to share even a little bit of it, I’ll be willing to overlook almost everything else.

Tell me, though: what makes YOU want to actually follow a blog, as opposed to just dipping in and out of it every now and then? 

What do you think?

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21 Comments
  • Anna Nuttall
    May 15, 2016

    Hi Amber, I agree with this as it’s important to actually enjoy the writing of the said person (in this case you, Amber), or otherwise you would just click off. I think a lot people just look at the picture and then just click off without reading the text. xx

  • Steph
    May 15, 2016

    Ha, you are definitely not the only person to have thought that about fashion blogs! The thing that usually draws me to someone’s blog is a gorgeous photo, normally from Pinterest or Bloglovin’, but what makes me want to stick around is definitely the ‘voice’ of the blogger. There has to be more to read than just ‘Here’s me in another dress. I like this dress. It’s a good dress. Do you like the dress?’, otherwise I feel like there wasn’t much point clicking through, I’d just follow them on Instagram or something if the photo is the only good bit. I like a bit of variety too – my favourite blogs are I guess what they’d call ‘lifestyle’ blogs, because they make me feel more like I’m reading a ‘real’ person – a few outfit posts, sometimes reviews, sometimes just stories or anecdotes – I do visit some of those ‘polished’ style blogs but only occasionally if I like a particular outfit, the blogs I read religiously like yours are those where I’m genuinely interested in what the blogger has to say! I guess it’s the same as watching a TV show or film really, you have to buy into the characters and care about what happens to them if you’re going to tune in again!

  • Sarah Rooftops
    May 15, 2016

    Definitely this – I want to feel a connection to the blogger. Though I DO love the fashion blog generator idea…

  • Stephanie
    May 15, 2016

    You put into words why I follow a blog- I like a connection, that they are a real person. And I become bored with fashion blogs that have little critique or anlysis about the actual fashion.

  • Jaynie
    May 15, 2016

    I would say this is true for me for about 80% of the blogs I follow (yours included), not including things like tumblr where its no real “effort” to actually keep up with someone’s textless pretty pics. I do also like some variety. I probably wouldn’t follow another blog with a similar subject to this one even if the author was just as personable, because that spot is already taken :).

    The other 20%? Food blogs. Story is all well and good but a weirdly large number of food bloggers take it right to the extreme and provide you with a complete chronological autobiography of every time they’ve ever eaten pears and hundreds of pictures of pears artfully arranged on their counter and a disclaimer that even their husband who normally only eats rare steaks seared fresh off the cow even liked this pear crumble and then you finally get to the recipe and its three ingredients and two steps. I think if you’re writing something that’s at least partly instructional, it’s a good idea to get to the point quickly and weave the personal stuff in (in moderation) rather than making people scroll and scroll and scroll…

    • Amber
      May 15, 2016

      Yeah, I definitely agree with that! One of the reasons I hardly ever watch videos is that I’m normally watching them to get some specific information (hair or makeup tutorials, normally), and I hate it when the person waffles on for 20 minutes about why they decided to make this video, and where they bought their hairbrush, and why they chose this hairbrush over another one, and how, exactly they use the brush – I’m just like, “GET OOOONNNN WITH IT!”

  • Lindsey Elyse
    May 15, 2016

    Most fashion blogs just drive me crazy! Sure they can have beautiful pictures, but if there’s no background then I just instantly don’t feel any connection. There is a fashion blog I follow that I think you would love if you do like stories – her blog is themayden.com and she always has these deep writings connected to her fashion posts. That’s usually what I look for rather than “Hey I put this outfit on and here’s my face” posts!

    Take Care!

  • Trudy
    May 16, 2016

    You just summed up the exact reasons why I will follow (or not follow) a blog. Your blog is the longest I have ever followed a blog, just because you always have a story to tell, and you tell it well 🙂 I also like Bloglovin’ for following blogs, because even if I can’t check the blog every day, I still have all updated feed waiting until I have time to catch up.

  • Sagan
    May 16, 2016

    YES I totally agree. I rarely *follow* blogs, but I have a running list of perhaps a dozen blogs that I continue to come back to and read again and again, because of that story aspect. It’s nice to get to know other bloggers!

  • Dana
    May 16, 2016

    I agree–I don’t follow blogs with only pictures and where you can buy what they’re wearing. I don’t have anything against affiliates, but…just photos bores me! I mean, I read Vogue and Bazaar cover to cover! And in blogs, I’m interested in fashion and others’ lives…but I can’t stand the ones where the blogger has an absolutely perfect life with a perfect husband and travels to perfect destinations with perfect hair. That said, I’m off to find some sassy, fun, real bloggers!

  • lorena
    May 16, 2016

    For me its pictures and short, concise content.

  • Julia
    May 16, 2016

    When I read your posts, its like you’re having a conversation. It’s one to one, not one to many. Perhaps its something people could try maybe before they post. Read it out loud, does it sound like you are talking to your reader or at them or beyond them?

    • Amber
      May 19, 2016

      Thanks for saying that, and I think reading it aloud is great advice – I see a lot of newer bloggers who seem to be trying to mimic the way magazines sound or something, and it ends up sounding quite stilted and like you’re talking AT people rather than TO them!

  • Lisa I.
    May 19, 2016

    I check your blog regularly, and I have for almost a decade. The draw for me is your sense of humor and your writing style. It makes me laugh. The initial posts that led me to your blog were the ones your wrote from Rubin’s perspective as a “Wulf.” Another favorite post you wrote was on sleep talking. It still makes me laugh to remember it and the comments.that followed!

    • Amber
      May 19, 2016

      Aww, I used to really enjoy writing those posts too – glad you liked them 🙂

  • Andrea Thomas
    May 22, 2016

    I totally agree with you Amber. What drew me to follow your blog was a definite and immediate feel that I was listening to a friend talking..a friend who happened to have similar taste in clothes and shoes to me, but mainly just a funny and random friend.

  • Bonita Vear
    May 25, 2016

    Stories! Always the stories! And beautiful photography…. 😀 I love the art of storytelling, it’s why I blog, but definitely the main reason I’ll follow someone else’s blog. Secondly,I’ll follow if I can get to know them. Oh, now that sounds weird ~ but it’s true. It’s the stories that lets me know their “voice” and it’s that connection which keeps me coming back to see what else they are up too. Ah, yeah… Now I sound a crazy lady with all my internet blogger friends! Haha! 🙂 ❤

    xox,
    bonita of Lavender & Twill

  • Laetitia P.
    May 28, 2016

    I love this post, because it sums up the exact reason why I’ve started following certain blogs! I can barely stay interested in blogs which just have posts with photos and no text, especially since I already use Instagram for that kind of thing! I love looking at outfits posts, but what really draws me into a blog is when they also have content pieces or a little story behind the outfit, even if it’s just what they were thinking when they wore it 🙂

  • Sophie
    June 15, 2016

    I would love to follow more blogs but I can’t find the time between exams/school and writing my own blog!
    Its so time consuming but addictive! The younger audience that I am aiming for all seem to watch YouTubers more than read blogs lately – its like they are too lazy to actually read anything. All the work I put into writing a post and no one comments, if it wasn’t for the stats I would think there was no one out there!

  • Fashion and Frappes
    July 5, 2016

    Agreed on the fashion blogs! What also annoys me about most fashion blogs is that the post and the photo have nothing to do with each other – its looks so random! When I am reading an outfit post, I want to know why you chose it, what were you thinking, general rambling about your dress, not about some random event with pictures of the dress between that narration. I feel cheated! I like knowing the thought process behind it.

  • Anna
    December 29, 2016

    I totally agree–I don’t usually read fashion blogs on a regular basis, but I’ve been reading your blog for almost a decade now because I enjoy reading your posts, and you always have a story to tell. Your writing feels genuine and conversational, and I really enjoy that.

    Also, I’m now sort of tempted to write a fashion blogger generator program.

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