5 Things Readers Wish Bloggers Knew

wifi, coffee, donuts: A bloggers paradise

If you want to have a devoted readership, these 5 ideas will eliminate some common mistakes bloggers make. That means more readership, and more reader loyalty.

1. Be original. Even if you get sparked to write because of someone else, put your own creative twist on it.

2. Use good images. In a recent static that just came to me… more than 90% of regular internet users are visual people. The other 10% squint. A good image attracts attention, and makes your post more memorable. [Double points if it’s funny.]

NOTE: Be ethical. Always use your own photography, or ask permission and credit your photo sources. Link to the original image. Photos belong to the creator, not to you. Swiping them for your uses is what we called stealing.

3. Remember, you’re probably not that interesting. Rarely do people enjoy a personal journal type blog, unless you’re Lady Gaga, David Hasselhoff,Lance Armstrong, Snooki, or someone who is both famous and intriguing–No one cares that you made Mac and cheese, went shopping, took a nap, ate something, or some other stupid thing that chronicles your life. No. One. Cares.

(If that’s all you have to post about, read an interesting book, and blog about it, or skip the postings until you become infamous.)

4. Know when to post. Don’t write and post when you’re tired, quite ill, hungry, or up late because of insomnia. These posts you may live to regret. They won’t be your best work, and if you write during these circumstances often your posts will get very annoying.

5. Don’t linger. If possible keep your word count to 200-500 words. A reader should be able to get through your post in 3-7 minutes. Blogging is a different writing medium than books, or magazines. Don’t get confused and believe that even with good content you can get readers to stay for more than 3-7 minutes on one post. It just doesn’t work that way, my friend.

Sometimes I break this “rule,” but I know my blog suffers for it.

What things bug you about blogs?

Any questions?

UPDATE: In the comments, I post a reply to a reader who defends “swiping images”. Find out what is legal to take from the web, by clicking the Comments button. Thanks for reading and participating!


6 responses to “5 Things Readers Wish Bloggers Knew

  1. apologies such as, “I’m sorry I’ve neglected my poor little blog…” That sends me straight to the LOL Cat site.

  2. undergroundchurch

    I’m guilty! You have convicted me, and I shall reform my ways.
    Point 1. Nevermore shall I start my blog with, “Once upon a time”. – so not original.
    Point 2. I will not take pictures of myself… good imagery is more important than my vanity.
    Point 3… refer to my response on point 2.
    Point 4. It’s 10 PM and I get up in 6 hours… I am breaking this one as I type, but I just can’t help myself!
    Point 5. This is a toughy. Have you read my posts? (probably not because they are too long!) For me to accomplish this I will need to create all my posts on my iPhone. After about 250 words, my finger falls off my hand forcing me to stop.

    Thank you thank you thank you!

    • Well put. Admitting our problems is the first step to wellness. (So they say… sounds a lot like blah blah blah to me…)

      For point 1. You’re right “once upon a time” is trite. If only you could pass this finding on to the rest of the writing world, we’d all be in a better place. For point 5. …while I think your idea is, well, interesting, of course,…however, I would break long posts into a series. But, go with your gut.

      And no, I have never read an entire post of yours. I’ve been too busy taking pictures of myself in odd and embarrassing situations, which also breaks my own Point 2 “rule” (idea).

  3. Pingback: 5 Things Readers Wish Bloggers Knew (via Life As Prayer (and laughter a la carte)) « Ramblings of a Madman

  4. I like your sense of humor and I think the points you made are generally good. But I have to be honest, you’re going way, WAY, over the top by suggesting that anyone with a free blog who posts a photo picked up on the web is stealing. If that’s the case, then you’re staling weather you cite the source or not. Did you call them on the phone or get written permission to use “their” image?

    If someone is getting paid for their blog or website then yes, they can’t use an image without permission. But there is such a thing as fair use, and there’s also such a thing as J-walking. There is so much cyber junk all over the place, and it is now “common law” that if you’re not making money off something, whatever people choose to put online is fair game. We do not have to neurotically, obsessively cite every stained glass window and photo of bellybutton lint we pick up off a Google Image search.

    • Thanks for your opinion and response.

      To dial into my point more:
      Creative Common status is one for fair use, but if an image or video is not explicitly cited this way (“CC” For instance, one can find these types of images on Flikr), it has “all rights reserved”. Just because swiping is common and easy (what you seem to call “common law”) does not mean it is ethical or legal.

      Take the FBI warning we’ve all seen on DVDs; it works the same way. Those materials are for private use. One is not allowed to copy, distribute, sell, or publicly use the material. There was a case nearby where a school was showing videos to students in this typical way. A School. A disgruntled student reported them, and the FBI came and took all their things (videos taped from tv, DVDs that were not purely listed as for educational use, etc) and told them that even as a school, they could use show these things only temporarily-30 days. They, like many people, were infringing on copyright laws. They weren’t making money doing it either. The same thing goes for music. If you make a DVD copy of songs for a friend, it’s stealing the songs, because they are not paid for. It’s called pirating, whether it’s for images, music, or movies. Do people do it all the time? Oh yes.

      I mention all this, not because I expect you or others will do the right thing, but as a warning that those who do are liable for theft, and could be sued for damages by the creator, production company, etc., or even fined by a governing authority, if ones chooses to play fast and loose with copyright law. It’s in our best interest as writers, creators, and even as regular citizens, to respect property rights and engage in the highest ethical practice in every case possible.

      In a case like youtube, and other webscites like failblog, one uploads the video or photos for sharing and distribution. But if you’ve ever submitted to those cites, you will be asked to agree that you have the rights to upload it. The legal info is all there to read (usually in the terms and conditions section).

      Thanks for writing, TheChurchinSmyrna, so I can clarify what I said.

      I am guessing that you may have a belief in God, so I want to mention something else you bring to mind:
      I don’t, and can’t agree with your premise on -why- we ought to do what we do (in this case: take or not take). You contend a purely pragmatic stance. It is a consequence driven ethic. That is secular, and because of this, an inferior worldview and rationale for our actions. It is flawed because we never know the full repercussions of our consequence-based choices. (We cannot know the true consequences.) The ill-effects, or unethical fallout is not comprehensible; therefore, it makes a poor foundation for our choices.

      Secular/Godless reasons for behavior are so mingled in our cultural fabric and common mentality, that we often don’t realize that pragmatics are an illegitimate reason for decision making. (I cover this more in a previous post called “How do we decide things”. To read it click here.) Oh, because you’ve shown your confusion, I should mention that I wrote it. It’s original writing, so that means I own the copyright and all rights are reserved (by me, the author), just *in case* you feel like doing a quick cut and paste for your purposes…even if you won’t be making $. : )

      Our standard for what we think, say, and do is founded on a perfect and holy God, whose nature and character is the basis for all goodness.

      Best Wishes.