We've all heard about the bloggers who were so witty, so poignant, so spot on that they soon found themselves surrounded by serenading agents. Likely story? Well, I just read about her in the latest Writer's Digest. And we've all visited blogs that vibrated with luminous life, where we couldn't help but leave a comment in hopes that some of the joy and verve might rub off. Or where we've laughed or cried or nodded in agreement. Where we've murmured an "Amen."
And then we've all skimmed blogs that totally sucked. For lack of a better word.
What do we find so distasteful? I did the research so you didn't have to. Okay, you probably already know what you don't like, but here's what a lot of others don't like:
- rambling, wandering, yapping with no point
- a title that has nothing to do with the post
- shameless self-promotion
- long blocks of paragraphs with no breaks
- overuse of font color, size, emoticons, etc
Some of the posts I perused actually contradicted themselves or others, but this was the general consensus in the highly scientific, double-blind, and triple-sanitized study that I conducted late last night. In my laboratory. Hidden in a secret compound. Deep below the earth.
But I digress. The point is not to pen pointless and irritating blog posts. The point is to inform, amuse, titillate, even enter the dialogue, if you will. So how?
- Review blogs you are drawn to and look at the posts that have garnered the most conversation. (Disregard contests or giveaways; unless, of course, you're just looking for numbers.) What do they have in common?
- Check your language: is it clear, lyrical, full of imagery, or sweetly succinct? does your voice shine through? or are you clunking along like a automaton?
- Check your content: regardless of your style, make sure you have a point, then stick to it. Flesh it out, add examples, but don't spew out streams of unconnected vomit.
- Add white space: I could expound, but Lady Glamis did such a delightful job here.
- Use format buttons effectively: help our eyes move through your post by using bullets or bold, numbers or pictures.
Blogging is a lot like writing. Oh, wait. It is writing. But you know what I mean. Points 1-4 apply directly to the novelist. Or the poet. They need no explanation. Point 5 is simply knowing how to use the tools of the trade, whether that is dialogue or spell check.
So, what have I forgotten? Any pet peeves? Glorious bursts of insight? Do share!