The Internet is a tool of immense power that can be used for great good or great evil. On the one hand you have things like massive drives for charity and pushes for worldwide social justice, and on the other you have things like child pornography, illegal trafficking, and cyber warfare. One party on the web that remains neutral in this good-versus-evil tug-of-war is the “blogosphere” or the community of blogs and bloggers that has become increasingly prevalent as more and more people being to log on to the net.
So why are these blogs so popular and why are people so attracted to them? What exactly makes a blog “good”? I believe that one of the most important factors for creating a good blog is the design and layout of the webpage itself. Scientists researching human psychology and behavior have found that a product that is well designed, most importantly in terms of shape and color, can quite literally provoke us into picking it up, looking at it, reading it, ect. The “Golden Rectangle” that has so enamored artists, scientists, and philosophers alike can be found in the designs of anything from the greatest architectual wonders to a paragraph of text. And paragraphs of text, unsurprisingly, are extremely common in blogs. Some blogs even go the extra mile and include pictures on their front pages that have suspiciously similar proportions to the “Golden Triangle”. One magnificent example of this is Brandon Honey’s “People of New York”, a blog showcasing New Yorkers and their stories (Hosey, Honey).
So what does all this mean for you and I, the readers? It just means that we’re the (somewhat) helpless victims of our subconscious, which is, whether we like it or not, attracted to certain designs and layouts, which bloggers use to suck us in and keep us reading. While this spin on the situation might sound pretty depressing or even frightening, one consolation is that anyone can use these same tactics to attract and keep readers on their blog, yes that means you too! The Golden Rule is this: if you want a blog that both attracts potential readers and keeps them coming back for more, you have to start with a couple of things you more than likely learned way back in Kindergarten: colors and rectangles.
1. Hosey, Lance. “Why We Love Beautiful Things.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 16 Feb. 2013. Web. 14 Sept. 2015.
2. Honey, Brandon. “Humansofnewyork.” Humans of New York. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2015.