By Sharla Rae
Like most of you, I don’t have a lot of time to cruise the web and read blogs. If the blog site is pretty, that’s nice, but I don’t really care. I’m interested in content. I pick subjects that pique my interest and choose many that are recommended by writing friends. I love blogs that make me laugh, but I also look for the latest industry news or handy craft and technical tips.
But . . .
Sometimes I’m disappointed and feel like my time has been wasted.
Allow me to preface my cranky opinions. I am no expert on writing blogs. I’m still learning. In fact some of my first blogs committed the very sins I’m listing here. But since I started blogging at WITS, I’ve learned a lot, mostly by reading other blogs and deciphering
what I liked or disliked about them.
Blogs That Make Me Cranky
- The title is catchy but has nothing to do with the subject of the blog.
- The blogger takes forever to get to the point.
- There is no real point.
- The promised information is buried so deep in convoluted paragraphs that it’s difficult to find.
- The entire blog is an in-your-face self promotion
What Makes A Blog A Joy To Read
- Catchy titles that grab attention and sound bite the tone and content.
- The subject of the blog is clear in the 1st paragraph: We all use lead in paragraphs, but I subscribe to less is better. Get to the point.
- Short paragraphs and when possible, lists: Don’t wanna wade knee deep in verbiage. I tend to scan for info and love easy to spot facts/points in lists.
- When deep paragraphs can’t be avoided (as in research info), the use of special devices like centered subtitles, colored font, and underlining all help highlight the high points. Graphics and pictures liven things up too.
- A little humor can’t hurt but if it’s inappropriate, I think personalizing the blog is great. It helps me relate to the writer, and I’m more likely to leave a comment.
- I like seeing a writer's books & projects, but I’d rather see them at the end of the blog or in a short bio. Blatant promo is boring because the writer gets everything and I get nothing for my time.
I can’t get away with being cranky unless I list a few blogs that all of us here at WITS really like, right?
First, here’s two how-to sites on blogging for all kinds of situations and subjects:
Jenny Hansen’s More Cowbell: She’s got brass and sass and dives into the subject with humor and savvy info.
Writers Unboxed: Industry, craft and everything on writing
Kristen Kathryn Rusch: Amazing writer, and on Thursdays, insightful industry posts
Larry Brooks’ Storyfix: great craft guru
Jane Friedman, of Writers Digest Fame
Kristen Lamb: Deep paragraphs here but phenomenal information so she's well worth it.
Bob Mayer’s Write it Forward: Honest industry news and great writing tips too
My likes may be your dislikes. Tell us what makes you cranky when reading blogs. Also, what are your favorite blogs?