The accessibility of reading and writing blogs does not affect one’s ability to create longer or more complex forms of narrative, rather it creates the ability to concentrate and expand on a certain subject by being presented in a linear form.
There is a wide variety of blogs on the web that cover various aspects of the subject of writing, as I have intended to do with my blog. Here is a list of just a few I have come across which I have found aspects I’d both like to emulate and avoid while developing my own.
The first of these blogs is The Renegade Writer. This excellent site provides many useful articles on a wide range of writing topics from topic generation to methods of self-publishing. While I appreciate the wealth of knowledge that can be gained from reading this blog, it has a specific leaning towards the “freelance” writer, which is something I will personally try to avoid. While I will certainly be speaking to any freelance writer who cares to listen, I do not want to narrowly focus my target audience to that degree. As far as aesthetics are concerned, the format is fantastic. It’s very simple and to the point. The blog provides easily searchable content that has both relevant pictures attached and post titles that stand out. Another aspect of this blog I would like to avoid is their promotional side. They offer E-Courses, Phone Mentoring and Free E-Books. While these are all great services for some, my goal is currently not to profit largely from self-developed strategies as much as it is to help share the wealth of strategies that exist already. The links and navigation aspects as well as their update frequency seem consistent and well thought out.
Another blog that has similar content to my own, The Write Practice is one that I came across when trying to decide on a title for my blog. While it’s title is similar to that of my own, it’s format and content are quite a bit different. The first and most notable aspect of this blog is the immediate offer of a free book, 14 Prompts, as written by the blogs author Joe Bunting, for anyone who subscribes to his site via email. This is a little much in my opinion. One thing that I do notice as I look through the various posts on this blog is that the owner is not the only contributor. Many of the posts are authored by various different names, some including even just the attribution “by Guest Blogger” I love the idea of having guest bloggers and other people of note help share their own information through my own blog. This not only functions as a way to get more information out there, but also brings about other people to your own blog that might otherwise have not found their way. I also love that it has a list of recent comments featured easily on the side, this helps you get a sense of what is being talked about without having to sift through the mountains of articles.
The final site I’d like to discuss here is Positive Writer. Like The Write Practice, this blog immediately features an enticement to sign up for a free e-book via email subscription. Again, while this I’m sure is a clever way of keeping traffic on your site, it is not one that I am prepared to handle nor willing to. This would require a formula of my own, which I have yet to even consider nor attempt to develop. I immediately noticed that the blog is missing a search function, which to me seems to be an extremely important piece of any blog. If I were to come here looking for specific information on a specific topic, how should I find it? Do I need to search by category and then filter those articles through the use of Ctrl-F and a defining term. Sure, this may work, but only if the words I’m looking to find are in the title or excerpt provided on that page. This blog also features guest contributors which I love, and a wide variety of topics. It’s layout/theme is simple and effective, but again, the lack of search functionality detracts from it’s outward appearance. I plan to provide my readers with every available option as far as search capability in order to promote a relaxed and unobtrusive environment. I feel this will keep them coming back. Like any other sites, this one for me would not be a normal stop for my information gathering.
All Photos Provided By Corresponding Blogs
After acquiring an account with InoReader (not one of the suggested RSS readers, but one I found fits my needs a little better), I quickly added the feed for Writer’s Digest. I was immediately attracted to it’s simple, yet effective theme. It’s uncluttered Navigation Bar, features various tabs such as Articles, Competitions, Resources and Community, all of which have scroll down menus of their own, allowing for easy navigation.
Having some issues with concentration, it’s relaxed presentation, devoid of distractions, is a fantastic plus for me. Even the sidebar is organized with easy to follow URL links, tags and a noticeable lack of flashy things. I also quickly noticed that every effort is made to keep you on the blog as you click through links, successfully opening the appropriate URL’s in tabs when needed so as not to run the risk of losing you. This, as discussed in class is incredibly effective; eventually you have to come back!
Writers Digest is a self-hosted blog that follows many of the same principles that their print edition does. It’s posts are in columns, each of which contain multiple entries given in excerpts so as not to fill the entire page and force the reader to sift through information they might not be interested in. On each page, where relevant, there are multiple links for sharing and connecting through various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google + and YouTube. These links for both following and sharing are incredibly important for a blog. Through their use, they are able to keep readers like myself abreast of their current postings and other information as well as allowing us to disseminate that information through our own social circles. It amazes me how these tiny little thumbnails can feed a blog such as this with new readers and contributors so easily. I certainly plan to use them to their fullest on my own blog, The Write Subject
Finally, one of the most important aspects to this website, in my opinion, and as far as format is concerned, is the “Register, Log In” links. While this is often something that people accidentally or purposely neglect when they are just casually browsing through a blog, for people like myself, these give a sense of connection and an almost magnetic need to return to the blog. This can be very important for those of you who really appreciate a site for it’s contributions as it allows you to feel like you belong to something you enjoy. Registering allows the authors of Writer’s Digest to keep in contact with you via Email, which can prove to be yet another reminder and push for people that may have neglected to come back for a while.
I am hoping to eventually emulate to some degree, the simple and effective format used on the Writer’s Digest blog as I develop my own style in the weeks to come.