Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Your Blog

I read this interesting article in Writers Digest about "10 Ways Writers Lose Blog Traffic and Alienate Readers" by Brian A. Klems. The key points are (you'll need to follow the link and read the article for details):

1. Post too infrequently.
2. Post too often.
3. Turn off comments.
4. Be overly snarky.
5. Choose poor photos.
6. Wax poetic about just anything.
7. Neglect to read other blogs.
8. Refrain from comment.
9. Get carried away.
10. Be self-centered.

It got me thinking about what my blog is about. Well, I guess it's about a lot of things. First, it's about my experiences learning how to do this writing thing (ex: here). There's so much to learn and so much I never considered when I first sat down before my computer, feeling embarrassed and a bit presumptuous that I would dare consider that I could learn to write. It's also about having fun. I might tell a funny experience for a blogfest like I did here. Maybe it's sharing information I gleaned at writing conferences like I did here and here (among other posts).

But I do know as I've found blogs I love to follow that they're the ones that shine with the blogger's personality. I love reading what those bloggers/writers have to say. Sometimes it's because of how much I love someone's blog that I'll be sure to buy that writer's book. Other times, a blog's author might write a genre I don't/won't read, but I love his/her blog.

I really am getting to a point here.

What should blogs be about? A sanitized, politically correct Reader's Digest version of the blogger's thoughts and feelings because some reader or agent might be sensitive? Isn't there as much to be lost as to be won by being too worried? I quit following one of my favorite author's blog because I found the stuff she wrote about boring. I'll bet there are plenty of people who love what she posts about, and I still love her books.
“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”
~Bill Cosby

What do you think?


  1. i think bloggers should write about whatever they want. I mean I started my blog recently and I've been posting pretty frequently.. maybe even too much but I happen to have a lot of time on my hands this week so it probably won't be like that in the future.
    I think a blog can't be a cookie cutter thing.. some things work for some folks and some don't. I was actually reading a man's blog the other day and he was talking about how when he started his blog for fun. he read all kinds of contradictory things about blogging.. and he just wrote what he felt and the loyal followers came over time. :) im hoping thats how it will work for me but I guess we will find out..
    but its definitely an interesting post topic.. i understand the questions.

  2. I loved to post blogs, and I always try and answer everyone I follow. What has me curious is a person will sign on to be a follower then never comment, ok it swells your follower numbers but I'd rather have less and hear from them.

    Interesting topic.

  3. Donna your blog is great which is why I keep coming back to check out what you have posted. So for items one through ten, your covered.

  4. Guess you have to decide who the blog is for - you or others.

  5. Beats me! I'm still unsure about the whole blog thing. Right now I"m just rambling about writing, which I'm pretty sure is brain-bitingly boring to anyone but me. But it's a good accountability method, which rocks.

  6. Ooooh, I love that Bill Cosby quote!

    Don't you love that the first 2 things on the list are opposites? So, what is the CORRECT frequency of posts -- LOL!

    I do think the blog should reflect the blogger's personality. If that personality doesn't gel with yours, you won't read it. And if it does -- then almost anything they post will hold your interest!

    However, no personality at all = not much interesting to read.

  7. I personally love blogs where I feel like I am getting to know the person. Making the little connection.

    Love your blog Donna :)

  8. It's so hard to keep up readership because you really have to pay attention to all your readers and that's not always easy, especially when you follow a lot of blogs! Great advice though!

  9. Your blog is fantastic. :D

    Blogging can be hard for me. I feel like I'm still trying to find a balance of what works, what doesn't, and how in the world to fit it into the other three million things I'm doing. ;) But it's FUN, and I love connecting with other bloggers/readers/writers--I think that's the thing that draws me to blogging: the community and the chance to get to know and support each other.

  10. Donna, I like your blog. I think what turns me off from a blog is if it's the same boring crap all the time. Diversity rocks! Also, it's kinda rude not to visit bloggers that visit you at least some of the time. And personality is a must. You do great! :)

  11. From this reader, you have nothing at all to worry about. I love your blog, and I think you do a great job with the "diversity" factor. I always learn something through your weaving.

    *Poet nods head in agreement*

  12. Donna,
    I love reading your blog. I don't get to do it daily. But it's like a treat for me when there's more than one post.

    I'm still learning about the blogosphere. I have found myself editing content because I know some of my readers are not as "dirty" minded as I am, so I try to make it somewhere in the middle. Maybe I shouldn't censor myself as much and let my personality show through. I read this article through Twitter the other day. It's good to be reminded sometimes so we can take a step back and take stock of why we're doing something.


    PS - added a sub to DFWG forum.

  13. Great ten point list! I view blogging as a way to connect with people, and I think the more we do so, the better a world we create...but I am a perpetual optimist:)

  14. I like blog posts that are real - that give me a glimpse into other people's lives and struggles and successes. Those that make me laugh or cry or look at myself a little closer - sort of like great books! :)

  15. Your blog is a lovely mixture of writing advice, personal experience, and hilarious whimsy. You're accessible and fun to read.

    Kinda like you are in person. :)

  16. Great post! I love Writer's Digest. The Bill Cosby quote is great, too. I think it's always best when someone is true to his or her beliefs and personality and not trying to please anyone or everyone, which seems kind of impossible anyway.

  17. I agree with you, Donna. I'm not a fan of too much correctness in writing because sometimes, I feel the personality of the writer can be lost. I suppose first and foremost, blogging should be fun. I started my blog because I needed a place where I could 'talk' to myself, and if others wanted to listen, well that's wonderful. I'm also possessive about my followers and I try to read as many of their blogs as I can. I just think of my Blogettes as friends I would never have met.

  18. Thanks for the valuable post, Donna.
    I kept meaning to get back to your blog and comment since you've been good at visiting mine. Sorry. We have had our lives turned upside down this summer with a funeral, surgery, and job hunting. I think I've failed on #7 and maybe some others. Here's hoping for a rebound soon.

  19. You guys are so kind. This post wasn't me fishing for complements, so I apologize if it came across like that. *blushes*

  20. I think this sort of thing is such a dilemma. When I look at my blog, I realize it's kind of all over the place - stories about my house, my dog, my job, writing, my friends, my family - and that might be a turnoff for a lot of readers.

    But if I stuck to only one thing - my writing goals, for example - I don't think I'd have as many interesting things to say. Sometimes you're just more fired up to write about your latest driving catastrophe, and I think you should always write the thing you're excited about. So yes, I've blogged for two years and only recently 100 followers in the last few months. Oh well, at least I enjoy my blog.

  21. I frequent blogs within our community. How do blogs become a part of our community, you ask? They act neighborly. They leave us comments, attend our block parties, and bring us bowls of black cherry Jell-O!

    ...I may be getting a bit off topic here.

    The blogs I stick around are the ones written by those who infuse their personality into a variety of topics and have fun.

    P.S. I love your blog, Donna. :)

  22. Post too infrequently... not participating in my blog in return… their blog loads very—very slowly.

  23. i read that too
    and i like your take on it =)

  24. I hate when I self-edit in my blogs. I mean, filter, yes. But I don't like when I feel myself dialing back on something because I'm trying to create a certain perception. So I pretty much don't do it. I hope!

  25. I don't expect blogs to be consistent, some posts are more interesting than others and I dip in and out as the mood takes me. it doesn't take much effort to read the title of a post and move on if it doesn't grab you. And the next post might be fascinating.


  26. I like to write about whatever it is that's on my mind at the time. No particular theme, just what's in my head. I like that quote. Trying to please everyone would be exhausting.

  27. I know what you mean...the blogs that capture me the most, are the ones that let me into their lives and personality. And that is what I try to do with mine...I hope I am informative of course...but really I want people to feel they have connected to me in some way or feel that try know me. I write about my writing journey and I definitely don't want that to be an isolated dry, experience for m readers.

  28. Good heavens! I can't believe I read that those ten things and I'm not guilty of any of them (or so I think--am I?). Great post, Donna. I think it's important to be yourself, but as a brand (you) it's a little trickier than that. I tend to avoid politics/religion in my posts because, well, that's not what my blog is about. I have other channels for that. The important thing is to be insightful, observant of the world about you, and write about it. :)

    And have give-a-ways. We love that!

  29. So many rules, so little time. When it comes to writing there seem to be more conflicting policies and expectations than not, and unfortunately it applies to the blogging world as well.

    Writer's Digest always has such great articles, don't you think? I pretty much agree with this list--though I'm probably guilty of breaking at least a few of these rules.

    I can tell you what personally draws me to a blog; two things: flaws and interaction.

    Flaws?? you may ask. Yes, that's right. I'm not looking for perfection, there are other places I can go for that. What I'm looking for is a real person, saying it like it is. Just be authentic. You could be discussing quantitative theories for all I care. If your personality shines through, I won't quit reading and oftentimes I'll come back for more--which leads into my next point--

    Interaction. Blogging can't be a one way street. Well, I suppose it could, but it might get awfully boring after a while. If someone takes the time to read my post and leave a comment, I'm drawn to their blog. I automatically want to know more about them. Can't help myself.

    Great post, Donna, thanks!

  30. I've wondered about this. I also wonder how they know.

  31. Awesome quote.

    It's interesting to think about. Something that's so great about blogging is getting to know so many other writers. I just went to a conference, and I bumped into people I wouldn't have known if it weren't for blogging. Also, the blogging helps me stay in touch with cool people I've met. So I don't know the right or wrong way, but I'm having fun trying to figure it out. :)

  32. I like blogs where I learn something and learn about someone.

  33. I think that list covers it pretty well. I like to read the blogs that stand out as unique. A lot of blogs post the same information, but they all don't do it in an interesting way. Engage me with style, unmatched content that is useful, or personality that I can't resist and I'm there as much as I can be. If it's a chore to visit a blog I might not be there as much if at all.

    Tossing It Out

  34. I agree with your list! I'm guilty of two things lately--not posting enough and my posts have primarily consisted of book reviews in the past months. I'm fixing that now. The other is not visiting other blogs, which took a backseat to the rest of my life for a long while. Am remedying that now. :)

  35. Hey, I jumped for joy, well, at least sat up in my seat, when I saw you were a fan of star trek. woo-hoo! WriteonCon's agent chat showed a consensus that the only thing a blog shouldn't do is complain and be negative. I have no idea where my own blog is going to go until I sit down to type, so I agree with all the diversity and personality comments. My personality comes out through my fingertips better than my mouth. My fingers can edit out the negative stuff better, thank goodness.


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