Yesterday’s defense of the proposition that “most blogs suck” brought in a comment from a guy named Phil, who asked for tips on reducing site suckage (his Wild Rye blog is not what I would consider sucky, despite his suspicions to the contrary). I never miss a chance to share the fruits of my
addiction knowledge to a fellow blogger, so here goes:
1) Avoid activities which cause a blog to suck: (I’m guilty of all these, mind you, but I try to limit obvious pitfalls.)
- Off-topic ranting. Bushwhacking is fine in the outback, but on a blog you need to stay on the trail.
- Uninformed blather. Stick to what you know; leave the rest to the suckheap of history.
- Bad grammar, spelling. Readers will thank you for taking an extra 10 minutes to clean up your posts before you post.
- Fact errors. Mistakes kill credibility; owning up and begging forgiveness builds it.
- Stale, drab, boring, repetitive posts. Be exciting, be interesting, be original; have a life, in other words.
- Ugly advertising. It’s OK to drum up a little revenue, but give your readers’ eyes a break by folding your ads into your design. Also, be up-front about whether you’re making any money from folks clicking on your links.
- Infrequent updates. Stale posts stink up your homepage. If you find you don’t have time to blog, it’s better to just stop altogether.
2) Pursue avenues of blog excellence
- Be original: Demonstrate that your perspective is not like anybody else’s. We all do the same stuff, but we all experience it differently. Dwell on the difference.
- Tell people how to do stuff. Provided the Web doesn’t already have 17 such guides.
- Be newsy. It helps to have some personal knowledge of what the news means, though wise-ass remarks may suffice if such knowledge is lacking.
- Provide validation. Writing about your experience reassures other people doing the same thing that it’s OK (though blogging about, say, your marijuana plantation or bomb-building hobbies is not advised).
- Link to cool stuff. Seems counter-intuitive, but sending readers away from your blog is one of the best ways to keep them coming back.
- Do sort-downs. Find the treasure among the trash, then tell folks about it.
- Show you’re having fun. People will forgive just about anything if you’re passionate and enthusiastic (within the bounds of decency, of course).
There are more, I suppose, but you’d really have to try hard at sucking if you followed all these guidelines.