What are you looking for in a blog — Carolyn R. Wilker

The May topic on my newsletter, FineTuned, focused on starting a blog. There I advised writers to begin a blog only if they are serious about continuing it. It takes a lot of content, and some effort to keep it going. And it’s best to have topics broad enough to address week after week and month after month. Such as this Inscribe professional blog on writing. There are so many aspects to writing that it would take a long time before you run out of subject material.

Sheila Wray Gregoire, author, speaker and blogger, suggested in her online course, How to Build an Online Community, that potential bloggers find out what people are talking about and write about that. Jeff Goins, author and blogger, wrote earlier this month that not everyone needs a blog, but he offers a course for those who want to pursue it. Blogger and photographer Leanne Cole, of Australia, asked some good questions of readers that she asks her readers to consider. She gave me permission to share those questions with you here:

What do you like to see on other people’s blogs? 

 What information do you go looking for when you visit a blog?  

What do people do that you don’t like?  

What advice would you give someone who was just starting a blog?

What do you like to see on other people’s blogs? Visual people like Leanne appreciate photographs. She found me online a few years ago, probably when I posted photos of my own. I especially enjoyed At Home With Books for Saturday Snapshots posts when people from around the world responded with their photographs, especially when bloggers also included location and special historical aspects. Some were just funny and entertaining. It was armchair travel at its best. 

Make sure you have permission to post that photo online if it isn’t yours, as well as permission of people in the photograph before posting online. Better to ask first than have someone upset with you.

The Big Chute Marine Railway, at White's Falls Road, Lock 44

The Big Chute Marine Railway, at White’s Falls Road, Lock 44

What information do you go looking for when you visit a blog? A photograph needs a location. Leanne says that noting the city as well as country might help a reader who wants to go and see that place. An embedded link about the location or place is helpful. A blog on gardening might teach about using native plants or drought-tolerant plants. A blog on social media will help a new person starting out in business. 

What do people do that you don’t like? One thing that drives me crazy is seeing only an avatar when I go back to see who liked my post, and there’s nothing else there, except a name. Nothing about the person or what they care about. It is nearly impossible to connect with those people in any way.

I’ll add a question here: What do people do that you like? I like the opportunity to make a connection with a fellow blogger who comes to my blog and to know where in the world they come from. If a person who writes poetry and loves photography comes to my blog, we have something to talk about or like. On Leanne’s blog, I often like particular photographs and I may comment on certain ones that hold particular appeal. It’s also a place to learn more about photography.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting a blog? What is your expertise? Make your topic broad enough so you have enough to write about. And write what you’re passionate about in a way that invites your readers into the discussion. If you’re going to write a blog, be yourself. 

I invite your thoughts on blogging. What do you notice? What do you like? Post your thoughts at this site and for Leanne at her blog.

carolyn-wilkerCarolyn R. Wilker writes, edits and tells stories in Ontario, Canada. Her book, Once Upon a Sandbox, is a narrative in prose and poetry about life on a family farm in the 50s and 60s.

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  1. Loretta Bouillon says:

    What are your thoughts on other people writing posts for your blog? For example, I have a blog about living with (and raising) my teens. I have written and posted my thoughts on a topic such as “dating” and then I asked about 6 teens to write a post about their thoughts. I will comment or add a post in between sometimes but I do feel like I am cheating a bit. I have to say…it has been fun though!

    1. Carolyn Wilker says:

      Hello Loretta,

      Sorry, I did not see your comment until now.

      This blog focuses on the craft of writing rather than the business of living. If you could write in a way that helps writers learn about aspects of their writing that will make them better at it., we can consider it.

      Carolyn Wilker

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