Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Your turn to speak out: what makes a GREAT blog?

But first, thanks so much to all of you who voted on the Bastard Husband: A Love Story book cover. As you can see, the black cover won by a margin of more than 2 to 1. I heard some valid points to build the case for the red cover, especially the fact that the title is dark enough and the black only makes it, well… what’s darker than black? I tried a compromise, putting the funky heart with the arrow on a red background, but it didn’t work.

So the black cover it is. Today the manuscript and cover files are being sent to a local printer who’ll make up a prototype (an extra step, but the boyfriend has connections), and then if it looks good, I’ll send the files to PrintMedia and Lightning Source. This is becoming a reality!


Last week I started a discussion thread on the blog writers' forum on www.shewrites.com. I’m surprised the questions I threw out didn’t spark a little more activity because I think they’re pretty fundamental to blogging. Now I’m thinking that maybe blog readers are the ones I really want to hear from, so I’ll pose my questions to you as well.

With the millions of blogs out there in the blogosphere, we all face the challenge of making sure our own stands above the crowd. Readers have only so much time--we have to make it worth the effort to keep coming back. So I’m wondering…

1. What are the characteristics of the blogs you find yourself going back to again and again? What types of bloggers make you eagerly await their next posts?

2. And on the other hand, what are the characteristics of the blogs you land on once and know you’ll never return to
Please take a moment to comment on this. Your input will be very helpful to those of us who really want to create a positive reading experience. And I love, love, LOVE hearing from long-time lurkers who’ve come out of the shadows! (You know who you are.) If you’re too shy to comment, you can make your thoughts known by sending me an email to the address on the comment page.

I haven’t forgotten that I have two more awards to accept and pass on. Right now, however, I’m running late and I must hit the shower and make my way to the gray cubicle. I’ll be back later to take care of the awards, but in the meantime, I look forward to getting your input.

Lay it on me, readers!

8:45 p.m.

Okay, I’m back. I’m so digging your perspective on what makes a great blog—keep the comments coming!

I have two awards I’d like to acknowledge and pass on to other (more) deserving bloggers. Crazy-ass Peach Tart in Georgia (where else?) recently sent me a MAJOR award, which is for anyone who likes to laugh and who spreads humor throughout the blogging world we all travel in. Thank you, Peach Tart, you sick, twisted Southern belle, you! I’m going to pass this on to someone even more sick and twisted, FERTILE. Not a mommy blog. No, people; I said sick and twisted. I love this demented New Yorker because she’s too freakin’ cool to care about a goddamn award.

And the Best Blog award recently bestowed on me by my newfound friend and fellow nut job Slacker Chick recently gave me a Best Blog award, which I’m going to pass on to Suzanne Palmerie, who writes an absolutely beautiful blog called Tales of Extraordinary Ordinariness. Suzanne is an incredibly talented writer who’s currently seeking representation. Her blog isn’t just for writers, though. I know a blog is good when I find myself slowing down to savor every word. Congrats, Suzanne, and thank you, Slacker Chick!


Julie said...

For me, what makes a great blog is something that makes me laugh. If has to hold my attention, and give me something to relate to. If I click on a blog and it's so overcrowded with ads and crap, I just skip it. It needs to be easy to read, easy to navigate, and make me want to come back for more.

I get very annoyed at blogs with music and the comment verification things. (Nothing personal!) LOL

Tara said...

The blogs I regularly read do one or more of the following things for me:
1. make me laugh
2. let me pretend I'm somewhere else for a minute (calling Hurricane Mikey, I need a Vegas fix! You better be having a good vacation!)
3. remind me that my life isn't nearly as f'd up as some others, but I can totally relate to them and their situations.

Sometimes just hearing that someone else is going through the same crap I am or sharing a laugh over a stupid picture are all I need to put a smile on my face for the day.

Things I don't like in a blog? Well, I guess ones with a ton of ads all over and ones that people start, then never update, but leave open like someday they may come back to it. I appreciate that people don't have time to update all the time. I know I don't, but leave a message saying you're not going to update for awhile or something.

slacker-chick said...

I also tend to go back to the funny blogs - the snarkier and un-P.C.-er the better (I get enough of politics and what's wrong with the world on TV).

As far as design, I prefer uncluttered, easy to read blogs (like yours!) without a lot of dohickeys, flashing thingys, and curly-q's.

mzbehavin said...

If it makes me laugh, cry , or think..... I'll go back for a second look...... if it does it again.... ( Consistency, would be the word, I guess..)

then they are stuck with me...

I do not care to hear/ read

about politics, or what color underwear Brittany Spears wore to the Emmys... or if she wore underwear.......

This is why God invented CNN and "People: magazine.....

Good luck with the book, and let us know when it's ready!

Hurricane Mikey said...

I prefer blogs that have well-written, thoughtful, and interesting content--updated on a regular basis.

Can't stand 'mommy-blogs', or any type of blog that too busy visually. And I hate hate hate websites that have un-turnoffable audio. (Steve Wynn, I'm lookin' at YOU!)

There are hundreds of thousands of blogs out there, unfortunately, most of them suck.

PS--Tara, thanks for the shoutout. I'm not having much of a vacation, but I'm getting a helluva lot of reading done.

ModernMom said...

One of my blog turn offs. The run on post. I think most of us follow a lot of blogs...if a post goes on and on and on...I don't have the time.
I like short and sweet and to the point.

The Peach Tart said...

I love smart, funny, witty, thought provoking, real blogs. I hate music and I hate stories that run on and on.

Anonymous said...

I like a mixed bag... not all cows all the time. Not all flowers all the time. Yes, I have music and Yes it can be shut off, but am considering just getting rid of it entirely. Very little or no ads.... love links to other bloggers sites as that is how I have found some of my favorite reads. I stay away from Mommy blogs... SNORING! Can't say that my blog is one of the best, but I work at it daily. Simple layout is a must... no doo hickeys and cutsie stuff. Detest word verification and am considering not visiting those blogs anymore that have it.... :-) Just saying...

The Blue Ridge Gal

Other Mikey's Julie said...

Consistently well written, funny, easy to relate to while still being different enough to be interesting.

I really tire of negative, hate spewing blogs and blogs that are too heavy or dark.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

LOVE the feedback--keep it coming!

I'm surprised that some of you find the word verification annoying. I'm even more surprised that it's something that never bothers me--and I'm annoyed by everything!

Jazzy Cazy said...

I'm not so bothered by ads as I read everthing in Google Reader (unless I comment in which case I just visit the post and comment).

Like Modern Mom I like short posts, waffle on too long and you've lost me. As corny as it sounds I like people who keep it real and also blogs which make me laugh are great too. I also really like stream of conciousness writing where you really feel like you're listening to the person's thoughts.

Hope this helps!

Lisa Gioia-Acres said...

I like relatable blogs, perhaps that's why many of the ones I follow are about the middle-aging experience :-)!

Actually, I'm pretty new to writing and reading blogs so my input may not be that deep.

I like quick reads, especially if I'm visitng lots of blogs. I won't read anything dark, mean, or preachy. I enjoy getting to know people I may never meet in person by reading their blogs. Since I mute every TV commercial, I most likely will not patronize ad-ridden blogs. Most of all, I like them funny. Your blog style is how I want to write when I grow up!

Suzanne said...

I like a consistent blog. I want to be able to read something new at least three times a week.

I don't like a lazy blog. Those that put up a picture and say: "How does this make you feel?" Better to simply not post, or say I LOVE THIS PICTURE. That is honester (should be a word.)

I like to be surprised. I LOVE a good story.

I love your blog. I think it is perfect.

Anonymous said...

I like a blog where even a bastard can submit. I like a blog that attracts my mind, to destroy the void of my own life. And anything that talks about Levon Helm.

Anonymous said...

There should be 2 hearts on the cover of your book.

Hurricane Mikey said...

BTW, as far as that 'major award' goes, I have that very same leg-lamp from The Christmas Story on my nightstand.

Chicks dig it.

Linda and her Twaddle said...

I like a sense of honesty in a blog. Humour is good. Quirky and different. Posts cannot be too long. Updates need to be regular - once a week is fine.

Too many adverts are off putting as they slow the page down. Not anything political or religious - but that is just me.

Suzanne said...

How did I not see this award!

VEGAS!!!!!! I am so touched. Really.

Thanks. I will put it proudly on my site. You are too kind.


Renee's Book said...

Hi, Linda Lou. I was at the Henderson Writer's conference with you and took your blog workshop. I've had a blog for two months, and haven't had any readers yet. I've read the comments of what makes a good blog and found them interesting.

I'm surprised at so many blogs, but I do think a blog should be helpful and/or funny--hopefully, both.

Blogger said...

I like your blog, so helpful, funny and have many tips. that keeps me coming for more.

This topic and comments are so helpful too. Now I am going back to my blog and take out some clutter :)