by Ian W. Parker on July 16, 2008
I can’t recall exactly how I first came across Jo Beaufoix’s blog, but ever since I landed on it, it has been on my site list here. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that she is a writer, or perhaps it is her ability to portray life through her writing, but Jo has a knack for making her audience laugh.
Jo Beaufoix’s blog is the most popular outbound link here at Indigo Spot. That may be purely because of the curiosity factor. I mean, after all, it is a unique name that sticks out in a line-up, but when competing with links to sites such as 43 Folders, Daring Fireball, Upstart Blogger, and Zen Habits, it is impressive that even my meager traffic hits that link the most. And by the most, I mean four times as much as the second most popular link, which is Put Things Off (an awesome site in its own right, written by Nick Cernis).
What’s So Great About It?
Being a personal blog, Jo Beaufoix has the luxury of being about everything and anything and even nothing much at all depending on the writer’s mood. Lucky for us, her mood is often witty. If she hadn’t been on the ball, I would have never found the wikiHow article on How to Be Comfortable Showering in Front of People. Sure, the article is funny on its own. Some people may even find it practical. I prefer Jo’s perspective on the subject.
She writes about it in Wiki-how does it again. I don’t want to ruin the article by quoting the good bits, so here’s a sample to get you started, after which you should really click that link above and read it… and then bookmark her site and subscribe to the RSS feed.
Where was I? Oh, right.
Ok. Anyone want to comment here? About the bit about showering in front of others being natural?
Let’s do a quick survey shall we?
So How Does Any of This Make Her a Better Blogger?
I am so glad you asked. The web is full of sites that tell us how to write effective blog posts, the effects of writing well on blog performance, how to get more subscribers, and what to write about to garner more readers, but while these are all excellent articles on proven techniques, there is something more to the formula. I propose that the following traits make for a blog that has stickiness and that is just plain better than the rest.
- Quality Writing — Above all things, bloggers are writers. the web site is simply the medium of communication. Blogs should strive to provide excellent written content. How do you become a better writer?
- Write more.
- Write even more.
- Write even more than that.
- Write when you don’t want to.
- Write when you do.
- Write when you have something to say.
- Write when you don’t.
- Write every day.
- Keep writing.
- Real Stories — Life is far more interesting than anything we can imagine. Fiction writers may have come up with some outlandish concepts, but our daily lives sow the seeds of imagination, so keep it real and tell your readers a story. Use excerpts from your life to illustrate your points. People love to hear a good story. It’s even better of the readers can relate to you.
- Compelling Content — This is difficult as the Internet is a huge audience, and you can’t please all of the people all of the time. However, you don’t have to pull a Henry Ford either (“Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black”). Keep the content interesting and the readers will come.
- Open Communication — There are some bloggers who prefer not to have comments enabled on their sites. Even so, they are careful to respond courteously and regularly to other forms of communication such as e-mail. If you do host comments, it is in your best interest to respond to readers comments and try to address all of them. This builds community and makes readers feel at home. I consider this a form of gratitude and appreciation to those who deem your site interesting enough to spend their time on.
- Regular Updates — Not to harp on it, but if you aren’t writing on your blog, then there is nothing to read. If there is nothing to read, then there is no reason for people to visit. At times it may seem like nobody stops by and that you are writing for no good reason. Hopefully your reason for writing isn’t validation from the World Wide Web, because while it may feel good to get “Dugg”, it isn’t a reason for being. This trait goes along with “Quality Writing”. If you are writing regularly, then you are improving two things at once. People will visit on their own time. Just make sure there’s something worthwhile for them to see when they do arrive.
Why Should I Care?
A talented professor I know wrote,
Things are interesting only when they are of concern for us.
My guess is that if you have read this far, then you probably do care. About what, exactly, is anyone’s guess. No matter. There is a more important question to answer.
What do you think makes a “better” blog/blogger?