I think that asking people what makes a good blog or a great blog post is like asking what makes a good sandwich – you’ll get some similarities within the answers but each will be unique as the person you’re asking.
Let’s consider good writing the bread of the sandwich. It’s what keeps the blog together. Without good writing, you have no readers, and without readers, what’s the point of writing anyway? Blogs are meant to be shared and linked through various articles and pathways. As Michael Morris says, “text becomes functional” within the blog and the more it’s shared, the more meaning it has. Although good writing increases the likelihood for a greater audience and more connections in the blogosphere, the other features that make a good blog tend to be specific for the person who’s blogging. To continue with the sandwich analogy, the meat of the sandwich is where people’s preference comes into play. For me, a good blog has two other main features, a clean design and transparency.
As a reader, a clean design is what initially keeps me on (or off) of the site. White space is key – I don’t want to be overwhelmed by ads or lists of previous articles. Everything is best left in it’s own little box or compartment, and believe it or not, studies have shown that this is not unique to me. The human eye is drawn to the shape of a golden rectangle and content displayed this way is more easily absorbed! A really great example of this clean and minimalist design in a blog that I read is the I Am That Girl blog.
Both myself and Brain Carroll, author of Writing for Digital Media believe that transparency – that is sources clearly linked or cited as well as having labels when needed, is key to running a successful blog. Carroll says it best, when he says, “Post deliberately.” To have a good blog, the author must only post what he or she knows to be true and then link back to where that author found the resource, therefore adding another link to the network and hopefully increasing future shares. Second, a good blog has an author who has provided enough information for the reader to create a clear identity of who the author is.
Some of my favorite blogs feature authors with distinct consistent voices and content and I’m able to create an identity for them based on the information and interests they share along with any photos posted on their page. Because blogs are usually a one-person narrative, it’s important for me to feel like I understand the person behind the content. So, to conclude, like a good sandwich, a blog has a myriad of components; the foundation of a great blog is good writing, but from there, it really launches into personal preference and style. For me, the perfect blog is a mix of good writing, transparency, and simplistic design all wrapped up into one platform.