Saturday, September 6, 2008

What Keeps Me Coming Back to My Favorite Blogs?

In an effort to support fellow bloggers and to give me fodder for my own blog, I'm going to be writing about my favorite reading spots. Look for my first blog review in a week or so.

I spend a great deal of time reading both online and in hard copy. No matter how much I read, there is never enough time to read everything I want to so I'm picky about where and what I read. When it comes to blogs, I look for content, writing quality, layout, organization and user-friendliness. I read a multitude of blogs based on my interests which include poetry, fiction, essays, politics, women studies, all things books and the arts.

Content and a blogger's actual writing ability matters to me. At the risk of sounding snobbish, I don't want to read unedited, mediocre diary entries about breakups, teen angst or how cute grand babies are. I look for an exchange. I gravitate towards blogs where the blogger is clearly making an effort to connect with her/his audience.

Layout is huge for me. I'm a pack-rat and scatterbrain who works hard to keep things organized. As a reader, given my own deficiencies, the last thing I want is more confusion when I'm trying to navigate on a blog. I prefer streamlined, aesthetically pleasing sites. I look for organization that allows me to easily find what I'm looking for on a blogger's site.

I frequent blogs that are updated regularly. Regular depends on the focus of the blog and a clear frequency pattern established by the blogger. User-friendliness is another important element. I worked in publishing at a time when publishers and tech folks were investing a lot time in learning how users use online sources. How many clicks it takes me to access something, how easy it is to return to the home page, and if a site encourages interaction between blogger and reader by
providing regular, fresh content, provides opportunity to give feedback and responds to feedback.

What do you look for in a good blog? Post your comments here and please take time to answer the survey to the right. You can select more than one option.

For some of us, we put as much care into our virtual spaces as we do our homes. Our readers are welcomed visitors we hope will become friends . So if you're one to tidy up and make everything nice for guests, get busy. Never know when I'll show up.


murat11 said...

Susan: The look and organization of a blog are important to me (though sometimes the organization can seem too busy for my tastes), but two things really stand out: the quality of the writing (and the visible personality of the writer) and the willingness to engage in dialogue with commenters. I know the latter issue is difficult for heavily trafficked bloggers, but I tend to stay away from heavily trafficked blogs for that very reason. There's too much treasure out there to get stuck in clogged traffic lanes. Finding and building a small tribe of co-madres and com-padres suits me just fine.

susan said...

Hi murat11,

I've been online for about a decade. Before blogs, message boards were hugely popular and for the members we posted with the expectation of responses. I share because I want to interact. I like how you respond to your readers. I may start actually quoting the original comments to make it easy to follow my responses.

I sometimes feel overwhelmed by layouts. There's just too much on the page. If there are multiple images or multiple blocks of texts, my attention is pulled into too many directions. I prefer the option to see additional information with menu buttons or links. I like choice pieces front and center and if I want more, I can access it easily with links or archives or menus.

Pearl said...

yes, as said, templates that are pleasant, people who reply, interesting content, regular updates...steady intensity helps. If it's placid, kept consistent. If deep thought, keep hammering at that disclosure level so I know what to expect and how to schedule it into my energies.

ThomG said...

Thanks for continuing to stop by The Tension. I am a fan of your work and will be coming by more often. And you're back on my update list.

missalister said...

Hi Susan. Been seeing your name around and around so am about the task of finding out what’s all the hoopla ;-)

This post yanked me down to it because it’s what I’m all about these days—looking for writing that’s a cut or more above, and seeking interaction with those cut-above writers that will advance me and them in ways that are marked at worst, earthshaking at best.

The very first thing I look for is word usage signifying an impressive command of our language, and in a paragraph or two I either leave or stay. If I stay, I’ll cut them all the slack in the world before ditching out if their content consistently leaves my soul impoverished.

The be-all end-all is writing that has flowed down not only from and crafted by the human brain, but from “out there,” call it the ether, call it whatever, it’s just not tethered to the earth or anything inhabiting it. And we all know it when we take the words in and they hit us dead center and we buckle, touched, changed forever.

Personally, I hit that mark rarely and always by surprise, but it’s the mark I’m aiming for nevertheless. Well, come on by my place if you like, and see for yourself. I know I’ll be back here, for sure :-)

susan said...

Hi missalister,
What hoopla? Do I dare ask? lol I aim for the mark, but I've got a way before becoming a marksman. Like you though, I want something that is real. I want to see real work has gone into a piece.

I'll be by. Thanks for taking time to read and comment.

missalister said...

LOL! The hoopla in my head, the whipping of possibilities to a froth in my mind on seeing all those black-eyed susans springing up on SS and SS writers’ sites… Must be something to it… And I’m finding there is :-)

susan said...

You are very kind. My interest was equally piqued when I visited your blog. Expect me to be a regular.