We are all busy.
Let's clear that up right now.
I am not going to waste words talking about how loaded with "stuff" I am.
That being said, I love to read blogs. I do.
I don't always have the time to comment... or even click through from my reader, but I tend to have blogs open on my computer all day long to read here and there as I have time in between wiping butts and feeding babies and putting together yet another train track.
And let's face it, sometimes life gets so busy we just do a "mark all as read" move and start from scratch.
Except that I never really do that.
I mean, I do it to MOST of my reader, but there are some blogs, that no matter HOW late to the party I am, I will read every.single. word.
What is it about those blogs that keeps me from just skipping some posts in an effort to catch up? Why am I so drawn to those particular spaces?
As I was trying to clean up my reader the other day, these questions were jumping around in my mind. Why can't I just clear?
What do all these bloggers have in common that makes them so irresistible to me (and it seems others too)?
And of course I started wondering about my own writing and space. Am I an irresistible blogger?
So of course, for my own curious mind (and to share with you), I started looking at the blogs I HAVE to read. What is it about them?
First I'll tell you what it is not.
It's not the blog design.
I know. I KNOW. Every conference you go to, every "group" blogging tip site you go to, every blog tip post you read will tell you how important the look and feel of your blog is.
And I agree that the way a blog looks is important.
To a point.
But I will tell you what: There is at least one blog that I MUST read (ok, there are really like 3) that simply have"bad" setups/designs. The sidebars are a mess or there is just too much going on or it's hard to find information... basically they do a LOT of the big design "no no's".
And yet I still read.
I've narrowed it down to two reasons... one being a bigger deal-sealer than the other.
- The writing itself.
- The interaction of the blogger.
The writing is the thing.
I mean, interacting with the blogger once I have become hooked by the words is definitely the cherry on top, but the writing has to be good. It's not just about the person behind the blog.
(Because let's face it. We all know people who are AWESOME and yet on their blog? meh.)
So ok. Fabulous writing. What is that?
After perusing the "MUST NEVER MISS" bloggers in my reader, I have gathered these as their common characteristics:
- They are fantastic storytellers. It doesn't matter if they are telling me that they installed a new door knob on their bathroom door, the way they tell that story makes me want to know that story.
- Every word they use is necessary. I don't mind reading a 1000+ word post if every single word in the post furthers the story/point of the post. When I start skimming? That means your words aren't all necessary. And if you do that too many times, whole posts become not necessary to me.
- They are real. Or at least they write so well I am convinced they are real. And by "real" I mean honest and true and someone I would like to know. Or even someone I feel like I already know.
- They are easy to understand. This doesn't mean vocabulary, because I have a LARGE vocabulary. This means they can put words together to form meaningful sentences. And then put those sentences together in ways that make meaningful groups -- sometimes called paragraphs. Basically? I don't get lost. In a bad way.
- I get lost... in a good way. All of my must reads suck me in to the point where I am consumed by their story or their point for at least the time I am on their blogs. I want to comment. I want to add to the conversation. I want to BE part of this... this... THING they are creating.
I also mentioned the interaction part.
It just so happens that all my MUST READs happen to be people who respond to comments (at least occasionally) or who email me or tweet with me or facebook with me or even some text with me.
Now, this isn't a deal breaker. I do have a couple MUST READs who don't know I exist. But mostly, if you draw me in with your blow-my-mind talent? You can be sure to keep me around by remembering I am a person, not just another stat number in your analytics or a comment number in your belt.
You get the idea.
So write good stuff and then interact.
Because if you have a gloriously beautiful blog, but write just to have content, and it's not real and from the heart but just there to fill the blog day to day?
Well, you know as well as I do a turd in a pretty dress is still a turd.
Don't be a turd in a pretty dress.
*fyi: no good things come from googling "turd in a pretty dress" -- especially not a "pinnable" image. you're welcome for that piece of info.
Katie Sluiter resides in West Michigan with her husband and two sons. She is a high school teacher and freelance writer and who should probably be grading papers or changing diapers but is more likely blogging, tweeting, or just overusing social media in general. She chronicles all this on her blog, Sluiter Nation.
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