Now I know that the moment someone says “This is what makes a blog good” people can get all defensive or go reactionary. I’m no expert, trust me on that. Ask my wife too, she knows the best.
But what I do know is that there are particular practices that can make a blog more effective. Call it “good” perhaps.
I’ve added some commentary as it applies… and I do think that it applies. Extrapolate slightly toward ministry and you’ve got a winner.
Do some thinking over this list and ask yourself the hard questions. It’ll do you some good.
1. Good blogs have a voice. Who wrote this? What is their name? What can I figure out about who they are that they have never overtly told me? What’s their personality like and what do they have to contribute – even when it’s “just” curation. What tics and foibles fascinate make me about this blog and the person who makes it? Most importantly: what obsesses this person?
I have always hoped that this particular blog makes it “obvious” about what I’m passionate about. If it ever gets to the point of failure then I’m going to quit.
2. Good blogs reflect focused obsessions. People start real blogs because they think about something a lot. Maybe even five things. But, their brain so overflows with curiosity about a family of topics that they can’t stop reading and writing about it. They make and consume smart forebrain porn. So: where do this person’s obsessions take them?
Good night! I think about technology all the freaking time. Unhealthy, at times. This often times needs balance.
3. Good blogs are the product of “Attention times Interest.” A blog shows me where someone’s attention tends to go. Then, on some level, they encourage me to follow the evolution of their interest through a day or a year. There’s a story here. Ethical “via” links make it easy for me to follow their specific trail of attention, then join them for a walk made out of words.
If you follow me closely then you should know exactly where I spend my time grazing.
4. Good blog posts are made of paragraphs. Blog posts are written, not defecated. They show some level of craft, thinking, and continuity beyond the word count mandated by the Owner of Your Plantation. If a blog has fixed limits on post minimums and maximums? It’s not a blog: it’s a website that hires writers. Which is fine. But, it’s not really a blog.
I digg it. Or, dig it. Whatever.
5. Good “non-post” blogs have style and curation. Some of the best blogs use unusual formats, employ only photos and video, or utilize the list format to artistic effect. I regret there are not more blogs that see format as the container for creativity – rather than an excuse to write less or link without context more.
I suck at this. Ragamuffinsoul.com does this almost better than anyone. It’s probably because he’s wierd like that.
6. Good blogs are weird. Blogs make fart noises and occasionally vex readers with the degree to which the blogger’s obsession will inevitably diverge from the reader’s. If this isn’t happening every few weeks, the blogger is either bored, half-assing, or taking new medication.
Which, of course, leads me to this… Again, I’m trying to fart more often.
7. Good blogs make you want to start your own blog. At some point, everyone wants to kill the Buddha and make their own obsessions the focus. This is good. It means you care.
This is called discipleship in our circles. I hope that I can “spawn” and lead others do blog about what they love, and if it’s technology… rock on.
8. Good blogs try. I’ve come to believe that creative life in the first-world comes down to those who try just a little bit harder. Then, there’s the other 98%. They’re still eating the free continental breakfast over at FriendFeed. A good blog is written by a blogger who thinks longer, works harder, and obsesses more. Ultimately, a good blogger tries. That’s why “good” is getting rare.
I try a lot. People think this comes naturally but it doesn’t. Sweat is the most common side-effect. Blood, I hope not (yet). Tears, lots of them.
9. Good blogs know when to break their own rules. Duh. I made a list, didn’t I? Yes. I did. Big fan.
I have no rules. Organized chaos. w00t.