Sometimes I forget that I’m not just a blogger; I’m a follower too. And I realized the other day that according to Bloglovin’, I’m a follower of hundreds of blogs. My feed is crowded with over 1500 new unread posts. But let’s be honest. Do I read every post from every blog? I sure don’t!
You see, I’ve probably followed these blogs because at one point there was a really great post up, and I didn’t want to forget that blogger. Or, I made a connection with that person and want to keep up with them.
Some of us follow tons of blogs because we want to enter giveaways. Some of us do it to network. Some of us “follow-for-follow” (I’m not a fan of that, by the way…).
But what makes a blog something that I want to come back to, day after day, week after week? As a blog reader, what draws me to that online space, as opposed to the millions of others I could peruse instead?
1) Quality over quantity. Not all of my favorite bloggers post everyday. In fact, my friend Jessica at Thread and Bones posts about once a week. The priority for me is that, when I open up a new post I want to know that I’ll find something worth reading. This can mean many things, but to name a few: good writing; thoughtful reflections or observations; beautiful photographs; inspired style; something helpful.
2) A writer who cares. You can tell when a blogger genuinely cares about her audience. It comes through in her voice. She asks questions. She’s open to feedback. She wants to bring content that will actually enrich her readers’ experience. When she writes about something, she does the research. She doesn’t just push products or sell things. You get the point.
3) Purpose and direction. Not everyone has to know exactly where their blog is headed; in fact, I think it’s very difficult. But I love reading blogs that have a sense of why they exist. Whether the blogger wants to publish a book one day; or share vegan recipes; or help women develop healthy habits; or write about her beliefs… I love it when a blog has direction.
4) Inspiration. Who doesn’t love being inspired? I adore blogs that teach me something new. A quality “how-to” post is always welcome. A few photographs from an adventure, or a heartfelt reflection are fantastic to read. I’m also a sucker for prayers, stories, musings, and yummy recipes.
5) Authenticity. There’s a difference between authenticity and transparency, and I don’t think bloggers should “bare all”. But, I want to know who it is behind that blog. And I want that person to be consistent. The great thing about reading blogs (vs. reading a book) is that you’re more likely getting the opportunity to engage with the author. Whatever authenticity means to that person, I hope they’ll be willing to connect with their readers through it.
Are these impossibly high standards? Well, I think they’re high (and I certainly have fallen short), but I don’t think they’re impossible. When it comes to genuinely choosing to follow a blog for what it is, I realize that I’m pretty careful of what I choose.
What about you? Let’s talk as readers, rather than bloggers, for a moment. What types of blogs do you like to read? What posts are not as interesting to you? What do you look for in a blog? I’d love to know!