The most succinct advice I’ve come across on what it is that makes a good blog comes from Evan Williams, one of the founders of Twitter: ‘To me, the blog concept is about three things: Frequency, Brevity, and Personality.’
The quote comes from a 2001 interview, and is cited in the excellent introduction to blogging by Robin Houghton, ‘Blogging for Creatives’ (The Ilex Press, 2012). Houghton’s intro is everything it should be: colourful, practical, non-geeky, full of real-world tips and advice, and readable. I particularly like the examples of blog pages that are liberally scattered throughout the book, giving you an immediate sense of the wide range of possibilities – different styles and approaches, from restrained and minimalist to outrageous and funky, and different themes and topics, from cupcakes to travel. Headings include choosing a blogging platform (Blogger, WordPress, and Tumblr), creating a blog that is eye-catching, creating great content, promoting your blog, and making money from it.
Of course, there are a million guides and guidelines out there, but it would be hard to beat the three words from Evan Williams. Is there anything you would change, about them?
I thought of adding, ‘Interest’ – but Personality must be interesting, in some way, otherwise who would care about it? Likewise, I thought of adding ‘Content,’ but that could also come under Personality: if the Personality that comes through is vapid, banal, uninformed, uninteresting, has nothing to say, then it’s not really Personality, is it?
Frequency? How often is enough? While many guides recommend you post at least once a week, if not daily, there is something to be said for posting when you have something to say, and not just because you feel you have to say something. So Frequency, perhaps, means ‘often enough, for what you have to say.’
Brevity? Well, as long as it takes, I guess, and no longer.
So Frequency, Brevity and Personality stand, in my view, as the three requisites of a good blog. Or, in less succinct but possibly more useful terms:
- blog often enough, for what you have to say, and who you are saying it to
- keep your posts brief, but as long as (and no longer than) necessary
- a good blog is the creation of a person, not an algorithm or formula
What do YOU look for, in a good blog?