Saturday, 22 February 2014

What Makes a Blog Captivating?

Captivate: to attract and hold the attention or interest of, as by beauty or excellence;

There is a multitude of variety and quality of blogs in cyberspace to peruse and enjoy, something for everyone.  Why a certain blog captivates an individual is rather subjective, why a blog captivates my interest and how it holds my attention could be different reasonings to yours.  My online time is limited so I am selective in where I spend it, when deciding whether to consistently read a blog or not I consider the following, listed in order of consideration and importance.

  •  Writing Style
  •  Content
  •  Presentation


Writing Style
Certain writing styles instantly grab my attention and certain styles are just not appealing, in fact some are irritating.  I enjoy blogs where the writer is articulate with sound thoughts.
Well structured, tight sentences instantly appeal, I dislike the long winded, waffley conversation style of writing. Though a certain casualness in writing is needed or the writing becomes too stilted and formal (I know I'm guilty of being too stilted when nervous of my subject matter)
A blogger with sound thoughts does not even have to hold the same opinions as mine they just have to be well reasoned and they have captured my attention, I enjoy being challenged to think.

Content
I tend to be drawn to 'slice of life' blogs, I may be captivated because a writer's interests and lifestyle is similar to mine on some level, or I am drawn because the writers thinking resonates with me, I enjoy when a writer shares opinions on various topics. These are the blogs I read season in and out.
At different seasons I read different 'interest blogs'.  My interest blogs tend to fall into the following categories; photography, books, food, natural health or sewing, all dependent on my current interests.
Content also needs to be mixed up, posting too many similar types of posts in a row (I'm guilty of doing this myself at present) can potentially lose my interest or rather not captivate it in the first place.

Presentation
Visual presentation creates the first impression and is the key to capturing attention.  When clicking around new blogs I first consider readability, the writing needs to be easy on the eyes.  It surprises me that a writer would consider imposing their words on a dark background or have dark sidebars, or when their font is difficult to read, I'm instantly lost and immediately click away.  Previously I found all white too stark and preferred light colour on the sidebars but I now consider white to look crisp and fresh, though this is just a preference not a deciding factor.
Visual clutter is also a consideration, too much clutter and I'm overwhelmed.  Sidebars should not be too busy, though I realise it is hard to decide what is important to display and what is not. I prefer blog headers that are not too cluttered. Minimalism is more and more appealing to me as a personal choice.
Navigation should be easy, search bars, consistent categories and pages all help, as well as contact details and other social media details.
Photos should be cropped and then sized to medium at least if not large or extra large, giving a real visual pop.
One item that I really appreciate upon discovering a new blog is a visual of the writer, a picture of her/him with a little 'appetizer' description.  This often determines if I read further, add in an 'about me' page and I'm often 'hooked'.

Once I discover a blog I'm captivated by, I take time to get to know the writer, initially via their blogs and then with occasional correspondence and have been fortunate to become friends with some very special people.

These opinions are subjective, actually it's been rather hard to articulate thoughts that previously were nebulous and I've possibly forgotten to include some. I'd love to know;

  • What makes a blog captivating to you?

13 comments:

Annaleis Topham said...

I like blogs that are showing me things that are beautiful at times, and then I like ones that talk about real life, then I like to have a laugh. Really depends on my mood and what plans I have for our home.

Jennifer Gregory Miller said...

I break all the rules, Erin.

I don't like to get too deep in blog reading. My concentration level is short lately.

But I follow all sorts of blogs, all types. My favorites are smaller audiences and people I know, like you.

Kate said...

Hmmm. I hadn't really given that question any thought until now… I guess I love a story. I love pretty photos. I love craft ideas. Hmmm. I think I need to ponder this one!

Hil and Bob said...

Pictures! And a positive attitude that is not TOO positive. I don't like when people just complain all day long, but I also don't like it when people never mention their struggles. I like to share in the joys and the sorrows, I guess.

Hil and Bob said...

Opps! Hil and Bob is my wedding site, years ago! I blog at http://hilthethrill.wordpress.com Come on by some time!

Ruby said...

Hello Erin. I have been away a long time. I fall into that category of people who find it hard to stop when you get to a good blog and start checking out all the links.
I originally read mainly home schooling blogs and I like the day to day life ones. I don't enjoy whingers, whiners or gloaters or folk who don't bother giving you a Hi or at least achknowleging you and your blog. I love that I have made many like minded internet friends through blogging!

Meredith Henning said...

Hi Erin, appreciate all your thoughts here, not sure I could articulate all of mine at this point as I tend to get overwhelmed by the volume of blogs out there and like you, tend to stick to my minimal faves. But having said that and having re-entered the blogging world in a new light, I am starting to scrutinize more closely (most especially on my own blog) and how readers can relate to others and vice versa via the cyber world. I do think it's important to establish a connection with readers both ways, I agree with Ruby that it's always disappointing when you are not acknowledged by the blog writer when you've made a point to visit. Will be pondering your thoughts for a while I imagine, thanks ;-)

Sonia LifeLoveandHiccups said...

I find different things captivating depending on my mood. Some days I appreciate a gentleness with beautiful photography and beautiful words. Other times it is something lighthearted or funny that grabs me. I also like projects and crafts that are explained and inspire me. I a real mixed bucket. But above all I do like a real voice, a type of writing that helps me to get to know the writer and what they are about. Thanks for linking up to Weekend rewinf Erin :) x

Bron Maxabella said...

For me it's always visual - I tend not to 'go there' if a blog doesn't visually appeal - then the writing has got to be good. Even the most interesting person will lose me in a heartbeat if they can't write well. Then it's their ability to engage me, how connected and drawn in they make me feel. And then, of course, it's the content - is what they have to say consistently interesting? Are they different to me? Can I learn something? Do they have a unique perspective on things I know about? x

Angie McIntyre said...

Great post, Erin! What captivates me is when a blogger is engaging, encouraging, and welcoming. I appreciate reciprocity and bloggers who like and comment at my blog, so I do these things for them. I'm also a sucker for a variety of great content (not just family matters) with a strong opinion and a strong personality. I want to walk away from what I've read and be better for it. So that's what I want to do as a blogger, to make visiting my blog worth a reader's time. Thanks for asking & hope your week is FAB ❤

Erin said...

Annaleis
I do like a good sense of humour too:)

Jenn
I like alot of smaller audience ones too (and large too all depends) And it's great when you know them

Kate
Pretty photos are great!

Hil
I know what you mean about attitude

Ruby
Pleased to see you back, you have been in my prayers{{}} Yes it is nice to have at least an occasional acknowledgement

Meredith
So lovely to see you blogging again. Love to know what you've thought once you've pondered.

Sonia
True mood does affect what you're up for. Real voice, like it! and welcome over here in my spot:)

Bron
content consistently interesting, high benchmark:) and a unique perspective, yes I like to be challenged to think and as I shared I don't even have to agree but I do enjoy a good mental prod

Angie
"engaging, encouraging and welcoming" high standards too. "strong opinions and to be better for it" Love your perspective and find myself nodding:)

Kendra Tierney said...

This is great Erin. You're right, we have very similar standards for blogs!

Erin said...

Kendra, I know, I was pretty excited to know to I 'wasn't alone':)