Blogs Blogs Everywhere

The Blog Universe Exploded and We’re All Drowning in the Fallout

By Jeff Salter

Topic: What characteristics make for an interesting blog? Do you regularly read many/any blogs (besides this one)? Why or why not?

This topic was one of my suggestions… largely because it’s clear the readership of our 4F1H group blog has fallen considerably during it’s 12-year run. I wish I knew what would / could rejuvenate our blog in a way that would attract new readers and entice former readers to return.

Now for this week’s topic:

Let me preface this with a few observations:

With Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and all the other “social media” venues out there, it’s difficult – for me, anyway – to completely separate “blogging” from “posting.” I guess the chief distinction is that POSTERS provide material that is (normally) visible in the initial click, whereas BLOGGERS provide material that is only visible after you click THRU the initial link to the “site”. [I’m sure somebody more tech savvy than me can explain it better, and I invite them to do so.]

If I clicked on all the blogs that potentially interested me – or all the blogs by people who I’m connected to (however loosely) – I fear I’d do nothing but click on blogs all day. The ether-verse is awash with blogs, vlogs, and the like. And, sadly, many of them – my opinion – are not worth the effort.

The domains or sites or hosts (whatever they’re called) which provide free blogging space tend to be driven by pop-up ads, sign-in windows, or other obstacles which have the sole effect of turning away potential readers of the material itself. The more clicks / keystrokes you require of me to reach your material… the less likely I am to make the effort.

What characteristics make for an interesting blog?

I love humor — of many varied types. You want my attention and return visits to your blog? Then make it funny!

That said, I’m gonna flip the subject. As a career librarian and a life-long seeker of out-of-the-ordinary curiosities, it would be difficult for me to name a topic that does NOT interest me… at least a little. One might say I have very eclectic tastes / interests. So I can better respond to this question by stating the characteristics that make for (for me) an UN-interesting blog.

I don’t want the content to be so narrowly focused that it’s hardly different, week to week, than the material already covered 52 times last year. For example: let’s say you’re blogging about WW2 American military helmets. After you’ve dealt with the development and production and three primary manufacturers, what else is there to cover? Week after week, you just focus on a particular battlefield pickup? Why not broaden that blog to include all the countries involved in that war… or broaden it to include other 20th Century wars/conflicts? If you’re a helmet fanatic, why not broaden your topic to include other periods? Maybe go back to Roman times, etc.

Conversely, I’m not drawn to a blog which is mostly political in nature. Lord knows, these are antsy times in which so many people have hair triggers about so many issues. Anything that stirs us up or causes further divisions… is not for me. Just as I avoid those TV talk shows where “panels” of mouthy, self-annointed experts pontificate on political issues… I also avoid bloggers who do the same. All it does is raise my blood pressure.

I don’t want to read a blog with so much personal drama. Yes, I understand some people blog about illnesses, or grief, or tragedy, etc. And I can understand there are likely people going through similar issues who CAN find comfort therein. But, for me, it’s a struggle to read about such struggles.

Do you regularly read many/any blogs (besides this one)?

Frankly, no. I don’t have time… and cannot afford to take on any additional distractions. There have been a few – mostly by fellow authors – that I HAVE followed regularly. One – by my friend Jenn Bray-Weber – alternated as informational one week and writing prompt the next week. I looked forward to the writing prompts and nearly always had something to submit. I can’t think of any others that I read without fail… though there are several which I check out periodically (depending on the topic, whose blog it is, and whether I’m “free” at that moment to indulge).


What about YOU? Which blogs – or how many blogs – do you read regularly?

[JLS # 635]


About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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16 Responses to Blogs Blogs Everywhere

  1. Patricia Kiyono says:

    Short of hiring a “social media expert” to look at the blog and point out ways to beef it up, I’m not sure what we could do to turn people toward us. Sharing and inviting helps a bit, which I do when I have a guest or when it’s a topic I think a lot of people would have opinions on, but even then, many people will visit but not comment. I suppose it all boils down to people having the same issue a we do – lack of time. If we don’t have time to visit them, they won’t have the time to visit us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I can remember an earlier period in which I’d routinely have 50+ views for many of my weekly posts here. Now, I doubt there are even 10 views on a given Hound Day post.
      I hate to “surrender” but I wonder if we may be near that point.


  2. jbrayweber says:

    Ah….thanks for the shout-out, Jeff. That means a lot. And as you know, my last post on MuseTracks was 1/1/2020. Traffic was way down and the juice no longer was worth the squeeze. But I know that was true for nearly everyone in our business. And probably across the blogging spectrum. The wildly popular blog The Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood, which I co-hosted with some amazing and talented ladies, was faced with the same decision to call it quits. Even with bite-sized posts, contests, writing sprints, and the Winter Writing Festival, it was simply too tedious and costly to maintain when the traffic petered down to a trickle. We tried everything to stay relevant but to no avail.

    I’m not sure there is anything that can be done. In my opinion, society has become hyper focused on NOT reading. And certainly not past bylines. Plus, it’s all so volatile and everyone has an opinion.

    I concur that time is a commodity, and depending on where we are personally in our lives and as a society, we have either more or less to willingly give up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      Judging from what I see on my internet “feed” — the main thrust of the so-called “click-bait” ads is to frame every article as though it’s fresh, trendy, salacious “news” or expose. That… and nearly anything about any presumed “celebrity” (whether true or not).
      In other words, the digital version of the National Inquirer.


    • Jenn, I wish I had found your blog. It probably would have been one I enjoyed, judging by Jeff’s remarks.

      The reason I’ve kept my newsletter to once a month is because I feel I wasn’t the only one who had a busy life (and I’m not that important that everyone needs to know everything I think twice or even four times a month – hee hee). The newsletter, Novel Thoughts, started in 2016 and has increased its circulation steadily ever since. That tells me I’ve found the right formula. If you start yours up again, tell Jeff to let me know. 🙂

      Oh, and I also do not offer freebies to get quick subscribers. Never have. The subscribers I have are those who want to read my newsletter for the benefit of what is printed in it. So I try to do my best to make sure they have articles of interest and not reruns.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Tonette Joyce says:

    I am going to be a little late this week, as my PC is SUPPOSED to be fixed by early afternoon tomorrow,and not to keep repeating myself, but I struggle using the phone.
    I agree that too narrow a focus condemns a blog to a short life.
    I expected to tell stories in my other blog but found out that people were just “Give us the recipe /technique/info already!”
    and I understood. Others who were interesting with what they had to say sometimes decide to ‘take us on their journey’ when they decide to lose weight, become ill or their spouse leaves them. Sorry, Friend, I’m leaving you, too. You wouldn’t want to hear all of my drama.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I’m sure there are potential readers for whom those “this was/is my journey” blogs become a sanity-saving lifeline. So, if they exist only for that niche (however small it may be) then I guess it was worthwhile for that blogger.
      But, as you say, “sorry, I’m leaving.”


  4. Because I find most blogs all about a particular person’s work and/or personal life, I don’t read very many. A select few from friends who make sure they’re blogs are not preachy, but inspirational I will read. Most of the blogs I read have an element of humor to them mixed into the topic.

    Rarely will I blog myself, unless I have something burning to address. It has to be something that I cannot leave alone until I’ve had my say. But that doesn’t happen too often. Most of the time a simple post on Facebook or Tweet on Twitter will suffice.

    What I do enjoy is a newsletter instead of a blog. Once a month, I put one out, as Jeff knows. 🙂 More than that is too much for me to work on or read in the case of others. In my newsletter, I have a variety of topics, including my work in progress, humor, interesting information, and tips for writers. There are a couple other sections of interest in the newsletter, mostly to bring a smile to someone or give them something they might enjoy like a new recipe. And, I am not the sole writer of my newsletter. Right, Jeff?

    My personal feeling is that most writers put out information too often about themselves and their work. It gets boring. Learning about new authors, but not about their personal lives, is something I enjoy. For the most part, I keep my personal life to myself, as a rule.

    Now this is all just my own opinion. We’re all different, and some may love having their inbox filled with blogs, but it’s not me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      Learning bits & pieces about an author’s personal life is a toss-up for me. On one hand, I can enjoy / appreciate occasional pieces about some experience they had, or some interesting thing they’ve learned. But I really don’t want to be trapped inside their “parlor” when they want to cry on our collective shoulders. Does that sound cold? Maybe it is. But I think that’s a role for personal friends, rather than internet strangers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly, Jeff. An occasional experience in one’s life can be interesting. I’ve written about those in some of my books and in articles I’ve written for someone else. But everyday life, trials, and tribulations are not things I want the entire world to hear. A few friends know, but that’s not information for the whole world. 🙂 And no, that’s not cold.

        Maybe some people feel the need to put it out there for the world to read, but only those close to you are really going to care.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I sometimes wonder why I bother to have my blog at all. I’ve thought about closing it, but I haven’t done it yet. I think one of the reasons for the decline of blogs is that there are so many other options now. Things like YouTube, Instagram, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      yes — so many other options… and so many people already camped upon those numerous options
      To me, it’s rather like the TV options I grew up with: CBS, NBC, and a very fuzzy ABC network. Once in a blue moon, we got the UHF channel from somewhere. Today, there are a zillion channels… but “nothing worth watching”.


  6. It would be hard to read a blog that has such a narrow topic. I do think most people want something that is just quick and entertaining. They don’t want to take the time to go read a blog, when they can just scroll through several twenty second videos.
    My son, Wyatt is constantly telling me that most people scroll past videos after the first five seconds. If it doesn’t grab their attention right away they just don’t care. That’s what we’re competing with now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      very true. Short attention spans are definitely compounded by such a wide variety of material (and of such varying quality).


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