Before I get all up in yo’ grill about boring lifestyle blogs, and why some* are dull as a night with Ryan Reynolds this isn’t about boring subject matter.
I blimmin love reading about catacombs and underground mole people and the Actual London Underground, but pop me in front of a Scandi-style blogger raving on about the latest in stark white barrenness and you won’t get my attention.
What’s interesting to one, isn’t to another so subjective opinions and interests aren’t any of my concern. What is of my concern is being bored. So, why do I find your blog dull and boring?
You aren’t you, you’re trying to be someone else
You don’t need to pretend to be someone you’re not, nor do you need to try and copy someone else’s style. One thing that comes up in many a-blogging How To posts is ‘finding your voice’ or ‘tone of voice.’ And the reason it’s mentioned so much is because it’s one thing that will draw readers to you in droves or drive them away in hoards.
No one wants to be talked AT. A blog is about having an online conversation – making your reader feel as if you’re talking to them and only them *whispers sweet nothing into your ear*
If writing is monotonous you’ll stop reading. If it’s too technical, you’ll stop reading. If it’s boring and unending, you’ll stop reading.
It’s really easy to find your tone of voice. Think about a subject you’re really interested in, or have a conversation with a friend. RECORD IT. Then transcribe it, with all the mistakes, ums and ahs to boot. You’ll then have in front of your eyes your tone of voice. Copy that. You’re allowed to copy yourself.
Word overkill gives indigestion
In this day and age of i-Phones and Face book and e-mail, you have eight seconds to get your reader’s attention.
Fail, and they’ll probably never come back. You can serenade them with beautiful music and sit outside their front door posting rose petals through their letterbox. You can even try to ‘accidentally’ bump into them in the supermarket, but it’s no use.
Reams of elaborate prose is all very well for a novel, but most online readers or ‘webfolk’ are put off by huge chunks of text talking about the latest blusher or whatever.
It needs to be easily digestible. Cut that steak into bitesize pieces and add some salt.
Not literally. But season your post with some interesting images, draw your own, or find a cat gif. Failing that, add a nice quote as above, or a horizontal line of colour. Keep sentences punchy, and limit paragraphs to four lines MAX.
Content is king, but too much will kill.
It’s hard to navigate and messy
Blog design is so important. Again, it’s a taste thing. Just don’t use Comic Sans unless you’re over 50 or under 13. I love clean simple, black and white or colour colour everywhere, but I’m not a fan of the middle-ground so what’s right and wrong doesn’t bear talking about.
But the site should look good. It’s your shop window – imagine a messy display with mannequins half blocking the entrance, clothes all over the place, music blaring out and so much clutter you don’t know what’s tat and what’s decent. Would you bother to walk in and spend your hard-earned cash? No.
And the same with a blog. Why should I spend my precious lunch hour struggling to read your blog through bad design?
All of the blogs I actually read (and give those coveted page clicks to) are beautifully designed. Otherwise I have no choice but to reply on my RSS reader for a distraction-free reading environment. If you aren’t a fa of code, buy a theme. I got my last one on etsy for £6.
A few bloggers who nail their design and make reading a joy are:
Stop selling, start story telling
If I wanted to read advertorials, I’d pick up Stylist. If I wanted to read a review, I’d google it. When I’m on my lunchbreak, I want to disappear into the virtual world and read about you. Your travel plans, your weekend, your relationship. Your, if you can believe it, lifestyle, being the lifestyle blogger you are.
Entertain me, and leave me wanting more. Don’t bore me with what you picked up the last time you were in town. EVERYONE does hauls (a word I’ve started to hate), no one stands out by posting them. Stop telling me what things I should have in my life, and tell me what’s actually happening in yours.
Everyone has a story to tell. It’s more than what’s in your shopping basket or what you decided to wear today. Those posts are fine in moderation, but that’s not why I read your blog, y’know?
An example of a post which had me engaged: Erica’s Shoreditch stroll.
Have an opinion, stop sitting on the fence
You don’t have to have MY opinion, and if we don’t agree, who cares. But dullness = boring = goodbye. If you’re going to tackle a topic such as feminism, politics, religion or celebrity, you’re going to need to make it interesting.
My post on not wanting kids could have been watered down, and yes I received some particularly nasty comments from sad mummy bloggers.
But that post was how I felt, and the amount of views, shares and comments I’ve had from taking a stand on something I feel passionate about (albeit in a sarcastic and scathing manner) made it worth it.
I know I’ve mentioned her already, but Erica is a blogger with a real opinion. She’s honest, and brutal. Another blogger I adore for her stance on certain issues is Samantha, who wrote about rape for us.
Take a stand, pick a side and write about it. Otherwise don’t bother. Lots of people sit on the fence, so make sure your bum is firmly on the ground.
So, they are my two pennies. You may cherish them, love them, adore them, or you can shove them in the bottom of your bag, long forgotten until someone who bought your bag in a charity shop finds them and throws them away.
As a lifestyle blogger, it’s about your life. You don’t have to live in Kensington, have daily adventures, reams of cash. You do have a story. And that’s what we want to read.
*Most bloggers on my radar get it right. It’s why I’m subscribed to about 400 and why I follow mainly travel and lifestyle bloggers. But the blogging world is a big place, with 150 million online outlets around the world wide web, and there are a lot I’ve just passed by for one reason or another – these are my observations of the blogs that don’t wow me.