Friday, May 21, 2010

'How to Make Your Blog Stand Out:' Trite Title, Good Advice

"How to Make Your Blog Stand Out"
Mars Dorian, via Dragon Blogger (May 6, 2010)

"With a million new blogs emerging every single month, competition gets tighter and tighter. Great content can now be found all over the web, no matter how small the niche.

"And when creating good content is all you care about, you might want to rethink your situation. If 120 blogs have the same awesome content as you, why should I read yours?

"Because you have a voice that no one else has.

"Ask yourself – what's different about you?

"If you need more than 5 seconds to answer that question – you're already deep in crap. The ship's moving, but downwards...."

There's a five-point list of what you should do to get - and keep - that "voice that no one else has." This isn't a how-to-write post: what you'll get is a short discussion of the sorts of thing that add up to "voice:"
  • Have a kick-ass logo!
  • Go a little extreme
  • Find your unique voice and strengthen it
    • There's a little how-2 here
  • Use your personal trademarks – CONSISTENTLY!
  • Always put your own spin on things.
I can go along with the advice in this post, although this bit seemed iffy:

"...If you like the color pink, consider using it all over your blog. If you're foul-mouthed, foul it up! Whatever you have, go a little extreme with it. It's fun and makes you stand out from the digital crowd...."

That sounds like what Polonius said: "to thine own self be true." There's something to it. A blog is - or should be - a very personal thing. If it looks like you don't care about making it look and 'sound' like you: I think it's reasonable to expect first-time visitors to decide they don't care, either, and not come back.

Off on a Tangent

One point in that paragraph didn't quite sit right with me: "If you're foul-mouthed, foul it up!" It fits with the rest of the 'use your unique voice' thing, but my experience has been that [expletive]s who [expletive] up their [expletive] with [expletive] tend to use the same naughty terms, over and over.

For or five decades back, it was kinda now and kinda wow to use dirty words in public. Now, I think the bloom has gone off that particular rose.

But what do I know? I'm an [expletive] who was born during the Truman administration.

Seriously? Unless your tendency to be "foul mouthed" is a little imaginative - I'd think twice about 'fouling it up.' There's a lot of [expletive] out there already, so [expletive] alone won't make you stand out.

On the other hand, I'm behind another remark, under that 'find your own voice' heading: "no censoring or wishy-washy-ing allowed!" I'm not being inconsistent. In context, that "no censoring" advice means saying what you have to say, using your own style, without watering it down to sound like something a jittery editor would be comfortable with. (Just be sure it really is your style, not the same [expletive] everybody else uses.)

I'm a recovering English teacher, by the way, and have read enough papers to tell when a blogger is trying - painfully, laboriously - to be 'intelligent' or 'sophisticated.' It isn't just a matter of using big words. Complexly convoluted sentence structure, too-formal grammar, third person plural where you know it's just one person writing - that sort of thing.

I'm on the same page as Mars Dorian with this: DON'T DO IT.

Don't avoid using big words, either: unless that's the way you normally express yourself. I've got a hypertrophied vocabulary, myself, and I'm not afraid to use it. Maybe I should be. That's another topic.

Back to That Post, More or Less

"How to Make Your Blog Stand Out" is now one of the very few posts I've printed out. It's not that the ideas are new or unique: it's the style. More to the point, it's because "Stand Out" fits on a single printed page, has a good content-to-fluff ratio, and addresses a concern I have about my own blogs.

You might find it useful, too.
A tip of the hat to dragonblogger, on Twitter, for the heads-up on this post.


Dragonblogger said...

The only big words I really use often are in my random twitter poem where I get some doozies.

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...


:D . Thanks for the comment.

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