Thursday, June 24, 2010

Looks Matter in the Blogging World

I read a great post today by Elana Johnson, Author, in which she shares tips about what makes her not just read a blog, but READ a blog. At the top of the list was length, her preference being no more than 300-500 words.

After that was plenty of white space, meaning short paragraphs. Long paragraphs get read, not READ. Hear, hear. The last thing she mentioned was video and why she doesn't typically use them. Or watch them.

The comments, and there were 65 before mine, were helpful, too.

A few other things people mentioned having a hard time with were:
  • Light words on a dark background. 
  • Pictures that take a long time to load.
  • Backgrounds that take a long time to load.
  • Having to search for a buried Followers button.
  • Posts about things other than writing, blogging or getting published.
  • Blogfests, Blog chains, contests.
I probably left some things out, so please go by Elana's blog and read the post (which is short) and the comments (which take longer but are well worth the time).

The more blogs I read, the more I discover that my blog isn't working for me. Based on the above, I have made a few adjustments. We'll see if it has the desired effect of attracting more readers, followers and commenters.

How did you come up with the look of your blog? Does it represent you and what you are bringing to the world? Or did you, like me, just throw something up there, hoping that it would stick?


Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Elana does a great job on putting up short meaningful posts. I have a hard time with really long posts. The only time mine get long is when I do an interview...

Nice post, Olivia!

Writer Junkie said...

That's crazy about light words on a dark background, because black words on a white background tend to hurt my eyes after a bit. But I've always know I was an odd one! LOL


Guess I might need to redo my blog again. *big sigh* I hate dealing with the new blog designer...

VR Barkowski said...

I prefer dark lettering on a light background although it doesn't have to be black on white. And I agree posts should be kept under 300 words. I used to post solely on writing. Now I try to post on a variety of topics so the blog's not so um...boring? I wish I were like Elana and could come up with a fascinating writing-related topic everyday. Don't know how she does it!

Today I did a photoessay and I'm sure the page takes forever to load, but it was a special event post, so I'm not going to feel too guilty. :)

angelarene said...

Hey Ho Olivia!! I like what you've done with the place...and as long as you keep your blog so that your wonderful voice shines through, I wouldn't care if you put flying pigs in the background!! You rock...Have a great weekend!!!

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

Sharon, thanks! My posts many times get long, guess I need to work on getting my point across in fewer words.

Susie, I don't like the new designer either and ended up going back to the old style. It's much easier to work with and allows pretty much the same info.

There's lots of blogs out there with light on dark, some I have a hard time with, others not so much. I think the trick is to have enough contrast between the two colors that the words pop and having the font large enough to be readable. Maybe?

I'll check your current design and let you know what I think, K?

V.R., I loved your photoessay and I agree with you. How DO you write about writing all the time and keep it from getting bor-ing? BTW, I finally got a new laptop and the picture load time is minimal. With my old pc it takes forever.

Slushy, awwwww. My face is the color of my new blog background (which I chose to be in keeping my Romance genre, does it work?). I'm blushing 'cause you're so kind. THANK YOU!! I might have to try the flying pigs, though, that sounds fun. :D

I'll be around to your house, soon, I've been out of town collecting birthday presents (!!!) :) and visiting friends and relatives. So far my weekend HAS been great and I'll be writing all day tomorrow. You have a great one, too!

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

That should've been plural, house-es! Be by later tonight!

Writer Junkie said...

I hope you get this. I won't post it on today's post. It just doesn't seem right. You have an award on my blog. :-|

Jessica Bell said...

I think most of those things are very subjective and you should take it all with a grain of salt.

There's no reason why we should just write about writing blogging and publishing. To be honest I get BORED when that's ALL people write about because I want to get to know bloggers on a deeper level.

Ugh. Anyway, people and their 'rules' bother me ;o) PS: I still love Elana despite her pet peeves! hehe

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

AA, I've pondered this more since reading and posting about it and I must say, I agree with you. Definitely subjective.

I tend to not read blogs where the posts are always really short, there's just not enough substance to sink my teeth in to. Elana has somehow managed to keep hers just long enough and still be interesting when writing about writing.

As you can see, I haven't much changed my writing style here. I did change my template for ease of loading. I know several people with older pc's who were having a problem. But life goes on. And I am moved to write about life and what moves me. I'm glad to know that others feel the same way.

Thank you for weighing in! Olivia

Arlee Bird said...

Hear! Hear! Of course sometimes I don't hear so well-- or make that listen.

I've been re-evaluating my blogging activity in order to increase interest. I want to streamline without sacrificing depth and content. I don't want to be trite or repetitious.

I'll have to read Elena's piece. I agree with some of those points you cited.

Tossing It Out

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