When evaluating a blog, the first aspects I consider are whether or not it’s visually appealing, easy to navigate, and up to date. A blog could contain incredible posts but, if they aren’t presented in a desirable format many readers will move on. Therefore, the design and accessibility of a blog is crucial to attracting an audience and keeping them interested. In his article, “Why We Love Beautiful Things” Lance Hosey explores a few physical and biological causes of attraction.
Blogs are useful for providing short entries that can be easily absorbed by the audience. As a result, long chunky paragraphs are usually a turnoff and can deter potential readers.
That being said, form should follow function when it comes to designing a webpage. BuzzFeed, a popular blog among young adults, contains short posts involving pictures, videos, and memes. On the other hand, blogs like KevinMD target an audience of health care professionals and medical students and the format is much different. This demographic spends time reading scientific papers, and by the nature of their profession is interested in educating themselves on healthcare related problems. Thus, pictures aren’t necessary to keep the reader engaged, and a lengthier post is unlikely to deter them from frequenting the blog.
Regardless of the readership, blogs should always stay current and be easy to navigate (Carroll 159). If a blog reports on a variety of topics, the reader should be able to click on a tab that will take them to sports news without having to sift through political pieces. Readers want to know what’s the latest news or laugh at a new batch of funny memes so give them what they want!
After a blog has established itself as functional and visually appealing, the author(s) need to gain the audience’s trust. Many people have had the embarrassing experience of reading something on the internet and sharing that information, only to find out it wasn’t true. Readers want to be able to trust the information that’s being passed on to them and the best way to build their trust is by being transparent and having a code of ethics as an author (Carroll 158). The sources used in an article should be linked to a webpage or, at the very least, be listed at the end of an entry.
The last and most important quality of a blog is that the posts don’t die once they’re published. The articles an author posts should encourage conversation to flow from them and create an interactive community involving the audience (Morris 2012). I couldn’t help but notice the similarity in which he talks about digital writing and the way people describe the Constitution as a “living document”. The words in the Constitution have gained new meaning as they have been analyzed by different audiences with different perspectives over time. The Constitution’s value is rooted in how it is used and applied, not simply how it is interpreted. The same is true with blogging.
Carroll, Brian. Writing for Digital Media. New York, NY: Routledge, 2010. Print.