This was asked on one of the forums I read today and I thought, yes, of course.
And then I started to think about it some more. I DO read blogs every morning, but they all tend to have a few things in common which I think are important things to consider for anyone considering starting a blog or who already has one.
First, they’re consistent. Most of the blogs I read post at least once a day Monday through Friday. (And I really wish they’d post every day of the week because I work every day of the week.)
Second, they’re engaging. It isn’t enough to just post something every day. You have to post something that is of interest to your audience and do so consistently.
I have a few blogs I used to read more regularly and then they just lost me over time because what they chose to discuss wasn’t of any interest to me. (I don’t like cats, for example, so anyone who gets too heavy-handed with the cat pics or cat stories tends to go on the back burner.)
I also ignore the comments sections (which I know is a travesty for at least one of the blogs I follow, but there’s only so much time in a day), so I don’t care about whether a blogger has a robust following or not or if others have witty or interesting things to say in response to the original post.
(And I have a certain over-developed sensitivity to blog followers who post not out of a genuine desire to engage in conversation but rather to be seen by that person’s blog followers.)
What matters to me is that the blogger I’m reading is saying something that informs me, makes me think, or entertains me, and that they do so often enough that I remember them.
(Hm. Useful qualities in writing fiction or non-fiction as well…)
Going back to the consistency issue. It doesn’t matter if you blog every Monday or every other Monday or every first Monday as long as you’re on some sort of schedule and I can decipher what it is. Since I never subscribe to blogs (the paranoid tendencies run deep), I’ve found that even a great blog that isn’t updated regularly and consistently loses me. If I check back four or five times and don’t see any new content, I stop looking.
So who do I follow regularly right now? This lists tends to shift a bit over time, but here’s the current version:
Check every morning without fail:
Seth Godin (blogs daily and often makes me think about something in a new way although I’m not 100% in agreement with some of his ideas)
The Passive Voice (just recently started reading daily, posts more than once a day. Has some biases and does pick up stuff I’ve already seen elsewhere, but good for the ones I wouldn’t stumble across otherwise)
Janet Reid (posts Monday through Friday and one weekend wrap-up post. Answers lots of questions about agenting and publication with a hard-nosed practicality that I like.)
Dean Wesley Smith (posts every day as part of his writing in public series. Sometimes there isn’t much to see, but I like his topics of the night. They make me consider different aspects of writing and publishing and test my assumptions or beliefs sometimes.)
Hayden Trenholm’s 10 Minutes of Words (Thanks to him for providing this link a while back so I could figure out where he’s blogging these days. Lots of interesting posts about politics and life and Canada. I have a decent handful bookmarked to share at some point. I like the posts because they’re often thought-provoking and somewhat in line with my own experience around regulation and government.)
Check on Wednesdays (and if she goes back to it, I’ll check on Sundays, too)
Patricia C. Wrede (I’ve been reading her since I found her blog probably four years ago. Nice, well-balanced view on writing techniques and issues that allows for each person having their own approach and still fresh enough content that I continue to learn from her)
Check on Thursdays
Kristine Kathryn Rusch (I like to read her business posts which she aims to do once a week on Thursdays. I like that she has strong opinions and isn’t afraid to state them. And it’s nice to hear some of the real-life experience of someone who has been writing for a long period of time and has had a variety of roles in the writing community over that time.)
There are other blogs I read, too. You know from my prior posts that I like me some Chuck Wendig. I wander by his blog regularly, but about a fourth of his posts aren’t my thing. I don’t really go in for writing contests or people’s promo of their new releases. (I don’t know why, it’s just the way I am.)
I have nineteen others currently bookmarked and tend to wander into a couple others routinely via Facebook mentions or the random Google search for what they’re up to, but that’s the core for the moment.
It changes over time, though. About half of those weren’t on the list six months ago and others that were have dropped off.
I’m sure others have different websites that they find routinely interesting or engaging, but I’d bet that for most people those two qualities, consistency and engagement, are part of what gets someone on their list.
And now I’m off to write because I’m headed to a conference this weekend and I need to get all my writing for the week done in the next three days. Yikes!