be an irresistable blogger

We are all busy.

Let’s clear that up right now.

I am not going to waste words talking about how loaded with “stuff” I am.

You know.

That being said, I love to read blogs.  I do.

I don’t always have the time to comment…or even click through from my reader, but I tend to have blogs open on my computer all day long to read here and there as I have time in between wiping butts and feeding babies and putting together yet another train track.

And let’s face it, sometimes life gets so busy we just do a “mark all as read” move and start from scratch.

Except that I never really do that.

I mean, I do it to MOST of my reader, but there are some blogs, that no matter HOW late to the party I am, I will read every.single. word.

What is it about those blogs that keeps me from just skipping some posts in an effort to catch up?  Why am I so drawn to those particular spaces?

As I was trying to clean up my reader the other day, these questions were jumping around in my mind.  Why can’t I just clear?

What do all these bloggers have in common that makes them so irresistible to me (and it seems others too)?

And of course I started wondering about my own writing and space.  Am I an irresistible blogger?

So of course, for my own curious mind (and to share with you), I started looking at the blogs I HAVE to read.  What is it about them?

First I’ll tell you what it is not.

It’s not the blog design.

I know.  I KNOW. Every conference you go to, every “group” blogging tip site you go to, every blog tip post you read will tell you how important the look and feel of your blog is.

And I agree that the way a blog looks is important.

To a point.

But I will tell you what: There is at least one blog that I MUST read (ok, there are really like 3) that simply have”bad” setups/designs.  The sidebars are a mess or there is just too much going on or it’s hard to find information…basically they do a LOT of the big design “no no’s”.

And yet I still read.

Every post.

I’ve narrowed it down to two reasons…one being a bigger deal-sealer than the other.

1. The writing itself.

2. The interaction of the blogger.

The writing is the thing.

I mean, interacting with the blogger once I have become hooked by the words is definitely the cherry on top, but the writing has to be good.  It’s not just about the person behind the blog.

(Because let’s face it.  We all know people who are AWESOME and yet on their blog?  meh.)

So ok.  Fabulous writing.  What is that?

After perusing the “MUST NEVER MISS” bloggers in my reader, I have gathered these as their common characteristics:

  1. They are fantastic storytellers.  It doesn’t matter if they are telling me that they installed a new door knob on their bathroom door, the way they tell that story makes me want to know that story.
  2. Every word they use is necessary. I don’t mind reading a 1000+ word post if every single word in the post furthers the story/point of the post.  When I start skimming? That means your words aren’t all necessary.  And if you do that too many times, whole posts become not necessary to me.
  3. They are real. Or at least they write so well I am convinced they are real.  And by “real” I mean honest and true and someone I would like to know.  Or even someone I feel like I already know.
  4. They are easy to understand. This doesn’t mean vocabulary, because I have a LARGE vocabulary. This means they can put words together to form meaningful sentences.  And then put those sentences together in ways that make meaningful groups–sometimes called paragraphs.  Basically?  I don’t get lost.  In a bad way.
  5. I get lost…in a good way. All of my must reads suck me in to the point where I am consumed by their story or their point for at least the time I am on their blogs.  I want to comment.  I want to add to the conversation.  I want to BE part of this…this…THING they are creating.

I also mentioned the interaction part.

It just so happens that all my MUST READs happen to be people who respond to comments (at least occasionally) or who email me or tweet with me or facebook with me or even some text with me.

Now, this isn’t a deal breaker.  I do have a couple MUST READs who don’t know I exist.  But mostly, if you draw me in with your blow-my-mind talent?  You can be sure to keep me around by remembering I am a person, not just another stat number in your analytics or a comment number in your belt.

or something.

You get the idea.

So write good stuff and then interact.

Because if you have a gloriously beautiful blog, but write just to have content, and it’s not real and from the heart but just there to fill the blog day to day?

Well, you know as well as I do a turd in a pretty dress is still a turd.

Don’t be a turd in a pretty dress.

*************

*fyi: no good things come from googling “turd in a pretty dress” — especially not a “pinnable” image.  you’re welcome for that piece of info.

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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. Great tips! Thank you! I am trying to build up my blog and I love yours 🙂

  2. I know it seems as if I’m stalking you, but I’d rather be honest and comment vs acting too cool for school. Your blog? Definitely fits the above criteria for me. I think I have a writer crush on you. It’s kind of like a girl crush, but less gender vs talent level.

    • I love a good stalker! And now I a blushing a bit too. Just so you know.

      Get yer crush on, girl. I love it!

  3. Eeek did you dig around in my brain because I was just thinking this the other day as I was looking at my Reader, looking to spring clean? (yeah it’s purge season around her!)

    The writing, the interaction – for me it comes in a package called personality. Sometimes, I feel that some bloggers try too hard with their writing? And they don’t let their natural personality come through? Yeah that.

    • Oh Alison! We are always on the same thought wave length, aren’t we? I LOVE IT!

      And yes…the trying TOO hard thing? Or if they sound curiously like someone else? ::shudder::

      Not EVERY post has to be a work of literature as long as it’s real, ya know? I mean, I’ve posted enough about poop at this point that it’s a top key word that people search to get to my blog and they search ON MY BLOG.

      It’s all about being real. And poop is real up in here lately.

      or something.

  4. Oh, I hope my blog isn’t a turd in a pretty dress. In fact, I *know* it needs work, but that time thing, gets me every time. 🙂 Your blog is one I always read…every post.

  5. YES! You. Nailed. It. I couldn’t agree more!

    And also? I couldn’t stop laughing. My husband always tells his students that polishing a turd doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a turd. I’d never heard of putting the turd in a dress! Me likey!!

    • OMG! I say the SAME THING when we are writing essays! Polish it up all you want, you’ll just get a sparkly turd.

  6. I want a new pretty dress.

    I deleted my reader about 2 years ago and it was amazing. I stopped reading so many turds and it freed up time for other things. The “must reads” I still found without a reader by interacting with them on twitter and facebook and other places “around” the internet.

    And I’m completely ok with not every post from my favorite blogger being epic or irresistible. Sometimes, we just want to get things down on “paper”, and I think it’s ok for it to be rough, gritty and in need of some serious editing.

    But I agree, nobody should just blog to have content. My mantra has always been: if you don’t wanna write it, nobody is gonna want to read it.

    • I agree. My MUST READs? Do not have to post AMAZING stuff every day. Because even when they word vom with grammar errors? It doesn’t bother me…it’s their heart. And I love that.

      And you’re right…you can’t force content. You’ll just end up with a forced turd. And we all know what that means…”ouchy buns” as Eddie says.

  7. Always what I strive for…but the comment thing gets me. I try to respond to comments, but sometimes I feel like I’m just responding to respond. Do you respond to all comments? I never know what I should respond to and what I should just let lie. I like when people respond to my comments, but I know some of my comments don’t really need a response – but still it’s a little thrill when that response shows up and you’ve made a connection. And also the twitter thing…I just can’t keep up with it. I will try here and there, but then I always fall short.

    • I don’t respond to all comments. If I have a post that begs discussion, I will try. But otherwise I just don’t have time. Shoot, I would rather leave a comment on someone else’s blog than respond to the ones here. But I don’t even always have the time to do that!

  8. why do you think I keep coming back here??? LOL, it’s because I feel like I know you, that we have had lunch and chatted, that we have hugged beyond the screen and your words, your beautiful words are such a gift to me…I am so happy that I got to meet you. I’m so happy that I stayed. 😉

    xoxo

  9. OK… this post is awesome! I love all the words. They are all true.

    And in case you were wondering, you are an irresistible blogger. I much read your words.!

  10. True , true and true.

    I have been busy lately, so I haven’t been commenting as much.

    But.

    The bar mizvah is over.

    And I’m back, baby.

    Reading your words.

    So yeah, you are simply irresistible. 😉

  11. New reader here! Found you b/c of Kir’s tweet!

    This is a great post. I had a blog for 1.5 years and abandoned it to start over at Honest Mom just this past January. I felt like my old blog wasn’t a “must read” – I constantly wrestled with the idea of why I was doing this whole blogging thing. Why would someone read my blog and then keep coming back? What was I getting out of it?

    And I didn’t know the answers.

    For that reason and many others – including privacy issues, which is why none of my IRL friends or family know about my blog – I started over. And now I blog honestly and openly about depression, my kids, my life, and so on. And especially on the depression front, I’ve really connected with a lot of people who – gasp! – consider my blog a must-read now. Which is amazing and humbling and thrilling.

    I’m so happy that I’ve helped other women, even just a few, feel like they’re not alone in their struggles with depression and dealing with their high-maintenance kiddos. I interact with these moms on my blog and Facebook and Twitter, and it’s so fun and rewarding. With my old blog it felt like a chore to keep up with all the interactions. Now I love it. And I think when you love what you’re doing, it shows in your blog, and people are attracted to that.

    Sorry for the rambling comment – but your post really struck a note with me. Happy Thursday! 🙂

    • YAY! I love new readers/commenters! And I LOVE rambling comments! they are the best! 🙂

  12. Love it. Let us all be irresistible, and if not in the blogosphere, in our own perfectly imperfect ways.

  13. So happy that being irresistable comes back to stories and relationships! Sometimes it seems all of that gets lost. I’m a newish reader of yours and greatly enjoying what I’ve read!

  14. As I’m at work at this moment, I’ll agree that “turd in a party dress” is an image that I will save to google later.

    I have some “absolutely, positively must read” bloggers — if I see their post show up in my email box (I used to use a reader, but it got so very bad that I couldn’t figure out a way to continue using it), I’ll find an excuse to read it at the next possible moment. And there are bloggers that I will always read — even if it means reading 5 or 6 or 20 posts at the same time, because I just feel that I need to absorb every word they write. And there are another dozen or so bloggers who I like to keep up on, but I need something from their post to get my attention (otherwise, I’ll just skim their post in my inbox . . . and if they don’t offer the whole post to email, well, that little blurb has to be something else in order to get me to click over to the site).

    I think I have very similar rules as you do — you need to write well, and you need to be concise. Your posts don’t need to be short, and I can forgive a tangent or two, but I need to want to read to the end, and feel that I’m taking something away from it. You need to use good grammar — if I need to scratch my head, or read aloud, to figure out what you’re trying to say, well, there’s a good chance that I’ll unfollow. There has to be some good-humor in what you’re putting out — we all have stories of heartbreak, but, I hate to say it, I’m far less likely to read a story if it sounds like you’re putting out a sad story after the past 12 have been on the down side.

    What’s getting me now is flowery writing – every now & then, reading a post with little sentence fragments that try to convey simple (yet complex) emotions is like breathing a breath of fresh air. But, that air can grow stagnant pretty quickly if every post goes back to the same formula.

    Blog design? Well, there are some things I hate, but I’m willing to put up with a lot in the name of good content. A lot.

    And, yeah, a blogger who corresponds will always win points if they interact.

    Ultimately, when I read a blog post, I want to feel like I’m visiting with a friend. Some friends, I’ll let myself into their house, raid their fridge, drink their last beer, and keep them up all night talking about nonsense. Those are the bloggers that get the special attention 🙂

    • I feel like there is a LOT of that “flowery” writing in the blog world lately. People trying to mimic something they saw work for someone else…but they do it over and over and over. So instead of being in their own form or voice, it is a stale copy of someone else’s (which may or may not have worked in the first place).

      Also? you have let yourself in, raided my fridge, and blogged in my comments.

      I like it.

  15. You said, “turn in a pretty dress.”

    Heh.

  16. Love this post! and it’s totally interaction with me. So much so that it’s killing me. I’m wondering, at what point, will I not have time to get back to people. As it is, it’s taking me longer and longer to reply to comments. And yes, I could have a simple comment system that just allows folks to comment but I think that’s awful. I want the conversation to go on and on and on…
    When I get new followers, I want to know all about them right away. Sometimes, I wish I were a mega blogger who just writes stuff, a million people comment and that’s it. Still, they get like 300 comments a post and believe me, their posts are sh*t! Yes, I said it. So what! And I hate when one of them leaves a comment on my site, I reply to them and think “Oh, she likes me”, I follower her and then I never hear back from her again. She totally got me. Why do I fall for it over and over again.
    Listen, now I’m just blabbing. And don’t think, for one second, that I’m spell checking this dang comment. I’m sure you get my drift!
    m.

    • I do love the interaction. like big puffy unicorn heart. I mean, if you want me for the long haul? Talk my love language…ME! Ha!

      no really, I have maybe a couple MUST READs that don’t know I am alive, but it’s possible that those are just fun for now. If I KNOW you and TALK to you and I love your words? You are stuck with me forever.

      And you can blab your head off anytime you want.

      I’m always reading.

  17. Great post. Makes me wonder if A. my blogs look like crud and B. While I know I can tell a good story, I wonder if I write a good one… Your blog is on my must read list.

  18. I know that my blog definitely isn’t a must read. For anyone. Heck, I think it’s got cobwebs all over it right now. I feel like I don’t know how to write and it’s just junk. Nothing interesting for anyone. I wish I knew how to tell a story well in writing. It would really help with the blog and work (after all … writing a legal brief is all about telling your story). Sigh. I’m frustrated.

    • yeah, your blog? I have check numerous times…it’s been quiet for what…2 months now? You have the bloggy blues…and a case of the evil voices. They are those a-holes who sit in your brain and tell you that you are no good.

      they are liars. just so you know.

  19. Your blog is a must read for me. I love it. You are interesting and a mom, I think, much like me. I find it hard to find my “niche” in the mom blog world, but your blog inspires me to just be “me”.

  20. Another question for you, how do you get noticed in the first place? I think my blog is pretty cool but I don’t think I’ve gotten it out there like I need or want to…

    • I’m not sure I am a good person to ask…I’ve been doing this for five years and have only been “noticed” the last couple. But I will say once I started leaving comments on other people’s blogs and talking to people via twitter, I suddenly had more people show up. Does that help?

  21. Katie,

    This entry has inspired me. I have been wanting to change things with my blog and this just hit the right spot. Hopefully this change happens soon.

  22. Fantastic post, Katie, and I agree with every single [necessary] word. Those are all the same attributes that keep me coming back to a blog over and over again, too. And they’re ones I strive to implement in my own writing and blogging as well.

  23. E X C E L L E N T!
    Insightful.
    Love this: “Don’t be a turd in a pretty dress.”

    To me, an irresistable blogger is one with Kick Ass Content & Authenticity.

    I identify w/ bloggers who are imperfect and flawed!
    I’m like, “Yeah, I get you, Sister!”

    Xx

  24. I definitely don’t want to be a turd in a dress ;). I agree about the writing and interacting. I can’t even remember mists folks design 🙂

  25. Since I read on my phone 99% percent of the time, blog design isn’t as important as it is just an accessory — an accessory that still makes me jealous from time to time. 🙂 I agree, my favorite ones are story teller, mostly funny ones, and a lot of them are ones that don’t even know I’m alive. But those are the ones that inspire me to be a better blogger and writer. Thanks for this, Katie!

  26. I so agree! I like pretty things, too, but for me, blogs are all about the writing.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Katie of Sluiter Nation listed the top five characteristics that make a blog a must-read for her in Be An Irresistible Blogger. The attributes that Katie lists not only keep me coming back to my favorite blogs as well, but are […]