Why Would I Bookmark Your Blog?

With over 1600 bloggers participating in April’s A to Z Challenge, it would be a superhuman effort to visit all of them – even to load the pages and take a quick glance, let alone read, think, and join in the conversation. I’ve visited a few already, trying to get a feel for the ones I might like to return to, during April.

I don’t know about you, but I balk at lists of things we bloggers must and must not do. Unless your blog represents a large corporation, it’s a personal reflection on you. Your choice of title, theme, and subject matter speaks volumes about your personality, how your mind works, and what interests you. It gives me a pretty good idea of whether we might find things to talk about, which leads to whether I’m likely to blog in your comments or be tempted to skate by with a polite, but spam-like, “good post!” It is not a reflection of your worth as a human being, and first impressions can be misleading. But first impressions are all most of us will have time for, in April – if that.

A few things that will send me running for the hills, mostly in the order I’ll notice them:

  • A really boring title
  • A deliberately offensive title
  • An incomprehensible title that doesn’t pique my curiosity enough to find out what the heck it means
  • A theme that looks like unicorns and pixies threw up on it
  • A theme that looks like an attempt to recreate your glory days on MySpace in the 1990s
  • Anything that blinks, sparkles, falls, or flits gracefully across the screen
  • Garish ads everywhere, especially if they are animated
  • In-context advertising links
  • Hate speech or bigotry
  • Any third party commenting system that requires anything but name and email, or login via Facebook or Google+
  • Registration requirement or CAPTCHA codes
  • Pop-ups, pop-unders, and pop-overs that aren’t made with real buttermilk and bacon

Blogs that have to work a little harder to hold my attention:

  • Religious blogs (scholarly and theological is fine; it’s smarmy, judgmental, and/or hypocritical I can live without)
  • Business blogs
  • MMOWYS (“make money online while you sleep”) or PISSMEOFF (“passive income sucking saps’ entrepreneurial objectives, fraudulent fools”)  blogs, especially those touting today’s killer $47 deal or the latest online money-making schemes or scams
  • Blogging tips blogs, unless they’re really good and different from the fifty bazillion other blogging tips blogs out there
  • Product review blogs (by that, I mean the kind that usually review only one type of product, such as cell phones – those are only really interesting when I’m in the market for one, and right now, I’m not), blogs where it’s about the features of the product and not how the product enables me to do more and have more fun
  • IT/programming/security blogs

I have nothing against any of these blogs (except the ones selling empty promises or acting “holier than thou”) – they just feel too much like work. Between the 9-5, my family, and my own writing, I come online and read blogs purely for entertainment. But if you have one of these sorts of blogs, and feel up to a challenge, leave me a link.

Blogs I love:

  • Humorous blogs
  • Blogs by writers, artists, and photographers
  • Blogs by ordinary people, sharing the extraordinary moments of their lives
  • Thought-provoking blogs that are also entertaining and well written
  • Science and cutting edge technology blogs, particularly those that show how these apply to daily life  or pique curiosity and imagination
  • Nature and travel blogs, if they delve into their subjects in depth
  • Serialized fiction or poetry (IF it captures and holds my attention – and don’t take offense if it doesn’t, since we all have different tastes in literature)
  • Flash fiction

Bloggers I love:

  • Storytellers – no matter what your niche or topic, if you can spin a good yarn, you can capture my attention. If you run a math blog and manage to get me to read a whole post, you’re awesome
  • The ones who stop by and leave a thoughtful comment, an invitation, and a link back to their blog (“breadcrumbs,” to help me find my way there and back) – I have the attention span of a gnat, after a long day at the office
  • The ones who encourage comments and don’t make readers jump through flaming hoops to leave them
  • The ones who have a robust “About Me” page, so I can get to know them better
  • The ones who include contact info (or a “contact me” form) so I can privately let them know if there’s a glaring error or technical problem on the blog

If you’re interested in building or improving a blog, I strongly urge you to work through Darren Rowse’s “31 Days to Building a Better Blog.”

If you think I’d enjoy your blog, next month, drop me a line here – personal invitations always go to the top of that 1600+ list!


Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; Innocents & Demons; and A New Leaf for Lyle. You can find her books on Amazon at http://amazon.com/author/hollyjahangiri. For more information on her children's books, please visit http://jahangiri.us/books.
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6 thoughts on “Why Would I Bookmark Your Blog?”

    1. I agree! My blog used to be white text on a black background. It was better when I made the text bold; until then, it looked gray. But fortunately, I have outspoken friends and readers of all ages who are not afraid to give me constructive criticism in very clear terms. My publisher hated it. Most older readers gave up – long posts were just too much work or discomfort. Young visitors thought it looked cool, but they weren’t really making an effort to read it. It had visual appeal, but readability was non-existent. Ultimately, readable was what I most wanted. So I changed the look, and we were all much happier.

      I also think, beyond contrast, the choice of colors sets a mood. I think black backgrounds tend to be depressing or even a little aggressive, possibly threatening. Not intentionally, but that’s often the effect they have. I hope that my current theme is calm, comfortable, and neutral enough to draw attention to the writing. I like my little bonsai tree. I liked the theme I had before this, too. The background came from a photo of my desk, which I had sanded and refinished, myself. The items on the desk all had personal significance. But it was slow to load, and when it crashed, I redesigned everything. It was time for a change. And change can be good, if there’s a reason for it!
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