Tuesday, October 18, 2011

blogging: the likes and dislikes

So I've been writing this blog now for over two years.  That doesn't seem like much time to me, but the odd thing is I find it hard to imagine the past two years without the blogging, or the community I've discovered around it.

As a result I've decided to write a post entirely about blogging.  I want to know what you readers think about what I am doing here.  Specifically (but not exclusively), my questions are these:

  • What sort of posts do you enjoy reading the most?  Reviews, fashion articles, historical articles, current events in neo-Victoriana, gaming articles, etc.?
  • What sort of posts do you dislike the most?  Rants, personal posts (i.e. me getting all "This is my life, waaaaah!"), etc.?
  • What turns you on to reading this blog?
  • What turns you off to reading this blog?
  • Is there anything you would like to see featured that I don't cover?
  • How often do you want me to update?
  • How would finding advertising on this blog affect your opinion of it (in both positive and negative ways?)
  • Is there anything about the general design of this blog that makes it difficult to navigate or read?  If so, what?
  • Anything else you think I should know to help me better focus the direction of this blog?
As for what I look for in a blog, they are these:

  • Articles on a plethora of varied topics.  The Ultimate Goth Guide does this extremely well.
  • Photos or pictures relevant to your post.  While I will read posts laden with paragraphs, if there are no photos my eyes tend to skim over the page rather than concentrate on what I am reading.  I don't like staring at computer screens for too long, apparently.
  • A simple overall design.  Don't plaster a blog with so many images that it's difficult to load or even more difficult to read.  And categorize your blog posts somehow.  It's still simple, but also organized for those who want to hunt through archives.  Juliet's Lace does this rather well- maybe more so on the extreme side of simple, but I can't fault it.  As a result of this method her blog is easy to read and everything is easy to find.
  • Regular updates.  Despite what blogger Andrew Sullivan told me about blogs not being updated on a daily basis only being "websites" rather than "blogs," I am not convinced that such a goal is realistic for most people.  He gets paid to write his blog, for crying out loud!  No wonder he updates daily!  For me, blogs don't have to be daily- but two or three times a week is much appreciated.  Otherwise I tend to drop following the blog within a few months.  Sophistique Noir does this very well, updating at least two or three times a week.
  • Withholding the urge to constantly rant.  I understand why people rant online.  There's a level of anonymity to an online presence that makes one more bold than they might otherwise be, say things aloud via a computer screen and text that they wouldn't be brave enough or even organized enough to say in person.  And, when you're really upset about something, you often want to share it with someone and discuss it, hoping to find sympathy and understanding.  As a blogger with a niche audience you already have people who may respond to your rants in those favorable ways.  But too many rants and I, as a reader, start to think that you're only trying to use your blog as a soapbox to get those sympathetic comments to boost your own self-esteem.  I've stopped following two blogs because of their tendency to rant rather than post the interesting, informative subculture posts that had me following them in the first place.
  • Bloggers who can gracefully take criticism or differing opinions.  So far, among the small number of blogs I have followed in the two years since I began blogging, I have seen only one blogger that has not been able to handle criticism, negative reaction, or different ideas posted in a comment on a regular basis.  Unless the comments are intentionally malicious or rudely ignorant, losing your temper with someone who may not agree with your take on, oh, I don't know, "How to properly dress a dog for Halloween" doesn't make you as a blogger look open minded (not that I have seen anyone actually post a post like that, but hopefully you all get my point).  Fortunately the majority of bloggers I've run across seem very open-minded so far.
What do you look for in a blog?


  1. As for advertising, it wouldn't influence my opinion of a blog one way or another as long as it didn't interfere with content. As for types of posts, I like anything about alt fashion from a personal perspective. But that's just me, a fashion blogger. ;) As for design, I *love* yours. It's clean and simple, but elegant. It would be a bit easier to read (for those of us with bad eyes) if the background was slightly lighter or the text slightly darker, but it's not a huge issue. Thank you for NOT having white text on a black bg, which never fails to make me dizzy. ;)

    I like pictures! I'm not opposed to reading a fair amount of text if the subject interests me, but I am more likely to become interested if there are pictures, especially near the top.

    I think frequency of posting is a fine line. For those of us who follow a LOT of blogs and want to sincerely participate in the blogs we follow, it's challenging when someone posts multiple times a day. When that happens, I find I have to skip a whole batch of posts, some of which I might have genuinely enjoyed if not overwhelmed.

    Bloggers who respond to comments are another thing I think is important. Maybe most people never do come back to a post to see if the author responded to their comment, but sometimes people do. I love bloggers who respond thoughtfully (even if their responses are brief) to let each person know their comments are acknowledged and appreciated. I fail in that on my blog occasionally, but I do my best! :)

  2. @ Victorian Kitty- You do have a very good point about frequency of posting being a very fine line. I myself try my hardest to not post more than once a day. I was assigned to read Andrew Sullivan's blog The Dish (http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/) in the blogging class that started this very blog, and the fact that he posts about 50 times a day was very aggravating. Even when he was on vacation there was a staff of 9 people posting at least two posts a day for him, making it a headache.

    As for responding to comments, yes, I do think that's important. I really try to do that too, but I have my "fail" moments more often than not with that as well. And reminds me that I'm not always just talking to empty space. :)

    Thank you for your input!

  3. Wow. I'm surprised there aren't more comments here. I'm new around here, but so far you have given me at least 7 brand new things/viewpoints/addictions, and I've only read 4 posts!

    So yeah...what I'm trying to say is keep everything exactly like it is, please. ;)