I’ve recently come to a bit of a conclusion. It may or may not be correct, but I’m going to share my theory with you all anyway and see whereabouts it lands on the close-to-home barometer.
Here’s the thing; a lot of blogs are pretty bad. There’s no getting away from that fact, sorry. Before I go any further, I know that mine is more than likely hovering around this definition of bad too, but I’m OK with that, for now.
Yes, before you start, I know this all very much depends on what your definition of ‘bad’ actually is. However, for the purposes of this post, it’s worth diving into what makes a blog or website live or die. There are definitely steps that can be taken to ensure a blog or website doesn’t fall victim to the blog killer. Let’s jump in and find out how.
So, what is the blog killer?
There are lots of different interpretations of what makes a particular blog totally fantastic or just completely flat. It may be the writing style, it may be the choice of subject matter, it may be its level of popularity (or lack of). It might even be the visual layout of a blog. Some of the most well-subscribed and followed blogs out there are, in my opinion, absolutely exhausting to read.
Let’s think about that. This is not a withering examination of the efforts made by blog writers to create content. Far from it. I’m the first to admit that those of us who commit our thoughts to the everlasting typewriter of the web are brave indeed. For no internet offering can ever truly be deleted – your writing will live on in the caches of Google for as long as it takes for the internet to evolve into those robots from Skynet.
Which is precisely why the writing we share is so important, even if we don’t think about it on a day-to-day basis. Good writing is written for readers. When we think about who will read our work in the days, months, years and Skynet generations to come, it becomes more important to try and create something of quality. Something you actually want to share. Something you genuinely think others will find useful and be able to actually get something from. I’d rather write nothing at all than write something that’s not worth reading.
What makes one blog live longer than another?
What is the true blog killer? In my opinion, there’s only one real culprit. Forced content.
I’m talking about the posts that are written purely for the sake of getting something, anything out there. The ones that are written because of the schedule we give to ourselves in the quest to feel more productive. The ones that are written out of habit, and with nothing of any real value to add.
That’s what I believe can turn a blog from a powerhouse of information to a damp squib of nothing at all.
It’s not hard to see how this can happen though. I’ve fallen foul of this trap myself of late, thinking that I have to put out at least three posts a week. Or giving myself a hard time for not being on top of my writing strategy, for example.
It’s a false goal though; quantity rarely equals quality, and never has that saying been truer than in the world of creative writing and blogging.
The blog killer thrives on self-doubt
As digital creatives, we have to work hard to try and resist the pressures that we often feel within the sphere of ‘content creation’. Social media often makes people question their own writing work – am I doing enough? Should I be creating more often? Have I made enough effort with my content? It’s exhausting.
The most important thing about this whole endeavour is that the work you put out there is something you actually want to represent yourself. It’ll live in the digital age for a lot longer than we will, so we need to make sure it’s not complete and utter drivel.
So with that said, I’m going to make a promise to myself that the things I aim to create here will only be the posts I genuinely want to write. Things that I want to represent me in times to come. I’m under no illusions about how fine of a balancing act this will be. The trick isn’t so much about creating the right kind of content in the first place. More so that revisiting and repurposing will become crucial to progression, and that’s something to really think about as a next step.
So there you have it, a promise to you, dear reader, that I’ll try not to succumb to the blog killer. And if that means I only post something once in a blue moon, then so be it. But at least we’ll both know that what I do put out will be something I believe is worth reading.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on what keeps blogs and websites fresh and interesting. Do you have any feelings about layouts and UX? Is it solely a matter of the content produced that brings you back to a particular blog? Whatever your stance, I’d love to hear from you on it. Leave me a comment below or feel free to catch up with me over on Twitter or Instagram.