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How Can We Tell If Our Blog Is Good?

Monday, January 18, 2010

What's the difference between a "Must-Read" blog and an "Only If I Have Time" blog? In other words, what makes certain blogs stand apart from the rest? And how can we gauge whether our blog is good--meaning attractive and effective?

Yes, I'm talking about blogging again this week. Partly because I've reached my one year anniversary of blogging and am taking stock of what has ended up becoming an integral and enjoyable part of my writing career. But also because I want to understand what truly makes blogging work.

I've pondered three questions recently. And I figured if I was wondering about these few issues, then surely others must be too. Here they are:

1. How can we know whether our blogs are really good or not?
2. How important are blog followers?
3. Will blogging really help me sell more books?

I'm planning to tackle each of these questions this week and wanted to start today's discussion with the first question: How can we tell whether our blog is reaching some level of success?

First, let me start by acknowledging that not everyone blogs for the same reason. In fact, that's one of the best things about blogging--viewing all of the incredibly diverse ways people express themselves. And I'm sure there are some who don't care if others think their blog posts are good or not.

Yet, let's admit it. Most of us want people to regularly read our blogs. It has to do with a previous post Do Blog Comments Really Matter in which I said: The blogging experience is an extension of who we are at our deepest part. We pour our souls into our posts, baring ourselves, sharing about the things closest to us. . .and we don't want to throw our words out to utter nothingness.

All that to say, the majority of us want our blogs to develop into something meaningful. We would like people to read and enjoy our blogs time and time again. We'd much rather have our blog on the "must read" list versus the "I'll get to it only if I have time" list. (Sounds a lot like what we want from our books too, doesn't it?)

What are reliable ways, if any, to judge whether we're growing into a "must read" blog? Here are the typical standards we use:

1. Numbers: We check our stat counters to see how many people are visiting each day. And often we look at how many followers, comments, or tweets we have. If we have a steady increase, surely we're succeeding. Right?

Could the growth have to do with the nature of the ever-widening writing community we're forming? If we visit or follow a hundred blogs, we're likely to get reciprocal followings or visits. So can the numbers tell us more about how active we are in blogging, rather than how effective our posts truly are?

2.Connections: Perhaps we look more at the friendships we've formed through blogging and gauge our success based on the number of genuine relationships we've made. We figure if we have a growing circle of friends, then we must be doing something right.

But if we stopped visiting blogs, how many would continue to take the time read ours? Would our stats fizzle? Or does our blog hold enough weight to draw people because of the quality of our posts?

3. Feedback: Maybe we believe we're successful when we read the glowing comments people leave us, telling us how great we write or how they can't wait until we're published.

The only problem with this standard is that as far as I can tell, everyone usually gives and gets positive feedback. While blog comments are encouraging for all of us, can they measure our blogging success?

When everyone is increasing in numbers, making connections, and getting such glowing feedback, what does the information really tell us? Are these standards reliable enough to show us whether we're on our way to developing a sturdy platform through our blogging or not?

We can all benefit from objective, truthful feedback--maybe from a relative, friend, or agent--someone willing to tell us the truth. Are our blogs worth reading? What can we do to improve? We need objective feedback on our blogs just as we do on our books.

But perhaps subjectivity comes into play too. Not everyone will like every book. And not everyone will like every blog. What's helpful and enjoyable to one blog reader, may not be to another.

And yet, that brings me back to my original question. Should we aim to have our blogs (and books) stand apart from the rest? Obviously certain books rise to the best seller list. And certain blogs will rise to the "must read" list.

There are no set formulas for making books and blogs succeed. Of course there are "rules" and ingredients that that can help us. And it certainly doesn't hurt if you're an agent, editor, or CEO of a publishing house. But for the average blogger, true success is often allusive.

What's your opinion? Do you think the typical ways to measure blogging success are reliable or are you cynical of them? And in your opinion, what makes a "must read" blog?

66 comments:

  1. Ooh, great things to think about. I have never really considered if I have a 'must read blog' I simply know I have a 'must write and post it' blog. I guess that is good enough for me. I watch my followers numbers growing and I also watch what happens if I cannot visit others blogs for some reason. I am happy to say that I have a wonderful group of followers who visit me no matter what I am doing. So thanks to all of them, cause they are apart of the reasons why I love to write the blog.

    Great post Jody. I think you have a 'must read'blog because you offer such informative posts about parts of the writing world I am not yet privy too. I always enjoy the visits here. Thanks again

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  2. I've been thinking a lot about blogging. I enjoy it. I do. I enjoy writing posts and connecting with other bloggers. But I think, sometimes, I make blogging into something it's not supposed to be.

    For instance: when I'm rushing around the world wide web like a mad woman, trying with all my might to read and comment on as many blogs as possible while my son roams around the living room and my husband wonders why my head's buried in the computer again....I really have to stop and think about what I'm doing.

    Just how much importance should I really put on blogging? My books - hands down, I want those to be "must reads". I'm willing to sacrifice time and energy for my stories. But my blog? Do I have the time, the energy, to climb that particular mountain?

    When I die, I know with 100% absolute certainty I'm not going to think: Man, I wish I would have read so-and-so's blog more often. Or, Darn it, my numbers on sitemeter were low yesterday. Nope. When I die, the things I will regret will be not spending more time with family. Not investing more of myself in lives and relationships.

    When I jump from blog to blog, I'm not investing anything but a frazzled, half-baked comment.

    I think, for me, blogging is something I need to reevaluate on a daily basis. In the grand scheme of my short, tiny life - how much does blogging matter to me? What do I hope to get out of it? A loyal readership? Genuine friendships? An account of my writing journey? After I figure out those questions, I think I'll have a better idea of what success means for my blog.

    Thanks for letting me rant. :)

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  3. Wow, Katie said a mouthful, and are similar to my sentiments.

    Of course I'd love to have a high readership, have everyone love to read my whitty blog posts and have hundreds of people put me on their "must read" list.

    But...

    I think I made a conscience decision this past year that I need to balance it. I have a handful, a small handful, of blogs I read on a daily basis. Most of those are my blogging "friends" or editor/agents. Not that others aren't my friends... but you know what I mean. I just can't do it all. I will indulge once a week or so and sit down and catch up on reading blogs.

    In my mind, the last year my blog has been a "success." I don't have as many followers or commenters as some, but I've quadrupled the # of hits I get per day as as well as the average number of comments. So, I guess I'm a numbers person when it comes down to it. Kinda like books. We measure "success" by number of sales...

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  4. Another reason people probably comment on your blog, Jody, is because you draw them in at the end of each post with your "what about you?" question. You challenge readers to examine and share their own opinions and experiences. Most writers--and most people--can't turn down the opportunity to share their opinion when they've been asked point blank.:-)

    For myself, I read your blog for the following reasons: I know you personally, and care about your writing journey; you write (and edit) well, so it's worth my time to read what you say; you are usually short and to the point; your topics are relevant to me, and you give me something to think about; I'm intrigued by your clip art and really enjoy seeing how it connects with what you're saying.

    I don't usually leave comments on your blog...but I always read it.

    ~ Betsy

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  5. I think we should enjoy what we do and do it to the best of our ability. But, as Katie said, we should also be aware of what's going on around us and not let blogging take away from our family life which is far more important. As for a "must read" everyone is so different that what I think is a must read, you might not like at all.

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  6. Another great blog.

    I enjoy visiting a lot of different blogs because they each give me something different to think about.

    To me, most of them are must reads because I enjoy them.

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  7. I think one must blog for one's own enjoyment or need to write. a blog is web log, a journal. Sure we want others to read and especially to comment. Less than 5% of blog readers will comment. You can't put a lot of emphasis on the stats. Most readers end up on pages because of doing a web search; they don't necessarily stay to read. as to reading blogs, if blogs aren't interesting to me or blog authors don't update frequently, I don't necessarily come back.

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  8. "Must read" blogs are the ones with a strong voice. Just like why I gravitate toward a certain book, I'll click to a certain blog b/c of voice. Presentation. Length. Engaging with readers. Those are keys for me when I think of what works and what doesn't.

    Success is writing about what God prompts. A mentor once told me she prays before every post. I read her blog every day.

    ~ Wendy

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  9. Oh, I wish I knew enough to comment.

    I really enjoy blogs that ask questions as blogs stimulate my gray matter before, during, and after writing periods.

    Love reading this one for its mix of info, probing questions, and personal revelation.
    Patti

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  10. Jody, I visit your blog regularly because you are a gifted writer who blogs about things I am interested in and I've grown to care about you and your journey, although we've never met.
    I have thought about all the things you talk about here and have decided that blogging works for me. I'm not sure how much it's helping my writing career in terms of selling books, but I have to let go of the results and do the actions that feel organic to me. And blogging does.
    Karen

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  11. Wonderful thoughts. I'd been curious about these answers too. I always thought it was the number of followers and amount of feedback that made a blog successful. But at your mention of connections, I've learned I have bonded with so many differernt people since starting my blog. So maybe that's the biggest sign of success: how much enjoyment you personally get out of it.

    And I'm really not sure what keeps me going back to some blogs. I'm not too reliable, whatever I feel like reading at a certain time is what interests me, and I usually am in a different mood for a different sort of reading material.

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  12. Great blog, Judy. I always love your posts. I think we all want to know if our blogs are successful and topping the must read lists.

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  13. I came back to comment on your blog Jody. Then I'm unplugging. Though I will probably read your posts the rest of the week.

    I love to learn. If I learn something that to me is a super blog. And I learn everyday.

    I also like the way writers want to share. It helps me to know other writers are going through the same stuff I am. And the way writers are so genuine. So real. So if blogs do these things, I think they are must read. Oh and the questions at the end. Essential. Like yours. In April I celebrate my big one year. Glad to know ya, Jody. It's a pleasure. Have a super week. :-)

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  14. great points to ponder..

    Personally, I like a few things on blogs:

    1. Interesting stories/tidbits/links

    2. I lean more towards 'non-cheesy' looking graphics

    3. Too many sad stories turn me off

    4. Too many 'ya just gotta get happy' stories turn me off

    5. Real, up and down (yet interesting) emotional tales get me most every time

    6. Regular postings

    7. Reciprocal commenting is nice, although not necessary

    8. Story gets me every single time.. If there's a story that grabs me.. all the other 'criteria' are out the window

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  15. Happy blogaversary! I too have been blogging almost a year and found that the blogs I gravitate towards as a reader offer me something more than just advice on writing. I like to get to know the person a little through their words. Like you, I can sense your person. I think it's pertinent to let a little of your personality shine through so the readers can feel who you are. Great job Jody!

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  16. A "Must Read" for me is tied closely to friendship with the blog owner--keeping in touch.

    I've long stopped checking out my stats. If I gain a new follower I head on over to their blog and check theirs out.

    The reality is that there is just so much information out there it's overload. If I want to learn a new skill and think via internet might help, I google for articles, not blogs necessarily.

    I suppose if I ever were about to be published it would become more a marketing tool and I'd have to concern myself with this more. But thankfully, this is all for pleasure for me at this stage.

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  17. I'm with Katie and Krista on this one. I wrestle with the right protocol for blogging. I want to reciprocate, but there is no way to. There just isn't. It is a fine line, I think, and one I keep falling off of! lol I am learning, and will get a good balance some day.

    Nice thought provoking post.

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  18. Jody,
    I love that you didn't tie this topic up in a neat bow. So much of blogging is reciprocal. You read and comment on others blogs and they read and comment on yours.

    I think must read blogs rise above this and strike a unique chord with its readers. They might entertain or inform, but likely they do both.

    That said, what is success? And in whose eyes are we measuring it? Man's or God's?

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  19. Jody, your blog draws people because you go beneath the surface of the writing life to examine topics in detail. This is very valuable for other writers, and I appreciate your gift for reflection and analysis.

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  20. Jody, thanks for another great post. The more I blog and read, the more I learn about blogging.

    My blog is only a few months old. To me it looks like a child compared to other blogs. It's sort-of a no-frills deal.

    How do I gage success? I'm not sure. I look at the stats and the comments. I have a wordpress blog so I don't have a bunch of official followers.

    I try to post one semi-polished short piece each week that's illustrated with a few photos. Ideally, the piece is about writing and has some Alaskan twist and is sometimes funny. I find he non-fiction writing to be a nice balance with the novels I'm working on.

    So far, the blog has been great fun, and I've met great people, really extended my community.

    Have a great day!!

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  21. Excellent post. I've thought about this before and I know that my blog is not a must-read blog. The comments I get are because people are nice and when I visit their blogs, they revisit mine. I think mine is probably funny sometimes, or informative, but I don't think it's a must-read. For me, must-reads are people I've met personally or cyber-know through e-mail. I just feel like I want to support that person and it doesn't matter what they write, I'd probably comment. (sorry, hope that doesn't hurt anyone's feeling 'cause I don't mean for it to at all). Other must-read blogs are ones that give specialized knowledge, particularly agent and author blogs.
    This was a great post and like you said, must-read is subjective, so I hope my comment doesn't sound too cold *grimace*. I love all my blogger friends and enjoy reading about their lives/journeys. But must-read, that's when I have five minutes and it's usually a pretty quick decision on which blogs I'll read. :-)

    Looking forward to your next posts!

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  22. So many variables go into blogging "success," which can be such a subjective term. You've definitely invited a lot of great thought on the subject today. Another tool bloggers can use, too, to measure their traffic is their Alexa Ranking which rates all web sites, blogs too, collectively.

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  23. Once again a great post. I think sometimes we look at the number of followers or the number of comments as success, but I've forged some great relationships with I've meet through blogging. So while I do enjoy the comments and the followers I look forward to getting to know more people.

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  24. A great post, Jody! I DO think blog success is truly in the 'eyes of the writer.' I began blogging in June of 2009 and have thoroughly enjoyed it from the standpoint that it has helped me to be a more disciplined writer and I have met so many incredibly talented writers that have inspired and challenged me with their posts. Regular posting has also helped me to keep my eyes open to what God is teaching me on a daily basis. In each of these areas, I would definitely consider my blog a success.

    It's fun to have people 'follow' my site and I'm encouraged to see a steady increase in visitors, but I view those things as added benefits!

    Thanks for the post! God bless!

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  25. My "Must Read" blogs are written by people with whom I feel a stron connection. They're words are for me to learn, to absorb, to be inspired, to be comforted. I've been blogging just two months and already feel friendship towards some bloggers. Also, the information blogs are important. I want readers to click over to me for the very same reasons. I'm not worried about numbers just yet. I'm new, but I feel success already. And, it feels so good to create.

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  26. I stopped checking stats on my blog a long time ago. I wanted to connect with people and so I find my must-reads are the blogs where I get to know the person behind it.I want to read what they are doing in their lives and will miss them after awhile when they don';t blog.

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  27. Jody, Happy Blogversary!

    Your blog is one of my must-reads. Why? Because . . .

    1) You're my friend
    2) You write about topics I want to know more about
    3) You write well
    4) You draw visitors who leave wonderful comments
    5) I enjoy hearing about your writing journey and your successes

    Keep up the good work!

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  28. Jody, your blog has become one of my daily must reads, so to answer your questions I evaluate why.
    1. Your personality and attitudes come through in your words and you seem like someone I would like to know as a friend in real life.
    2. Your topics are of particular interest to me but even when they are less so, I am interested in knowing what you have to say about things that are important to you.
    3. Your posts are well written, articulate, on relevant subjects and attractively presented... a pleasure to read.

    If I look at my own blog through the eyes of the same criteria, however, I can't determine how effective it is. I can only write what comes to mind and then share it with an unseen following. Without feedback I don't know how relevant it is to those who happen to arrive on the site. How many glance and leave? I wish there was some easy way to track more information about who visits our sites but then I'd probably just get mired down in watching statistics.

    To make the best use of my time I limit my blog visiting to those from which I gain the most value. What constitutes value won't be the same for everyone. I suspect the same thing is true in our blogging as in our writing: write for yourself, from your heart, and don't worry too much about what others think of it. And then from the reciprocal blogging aspect, be the kind of friend you would like to have.

    (And maybe I should add don't be too long-winded or people won't bother to finish reading. I should have thought of that before I went on and on and on and.....) ;)

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  29. I'm a "must" writer like Tabitha. To your point though Jody, it seems that most blog comments are written in a positive tone. Maybe writers are cautious of each other's feelings. In a profession where there are so many negative hurdles to leap over, perhaps consistent positive blog feedback helps us keep each other going. I will say that when I have flat-out asked for criticism on my blog, I am appreciative when people take the time to leave thoughtful comments.

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  30. Great post. I'm not sure the best way to measure success, but I try to make sure that my readers have a takeaway when they read my blog--some tidbit of information. I know I always takeaway something from your posts.

    People keep coming back to mine even when I don't have time to reciprocate leaving comments on their posts, so I hope that's a good sign, lol.

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  31. As a fairly new blogger, I'm still finding my way in the blogging world and figuring out what I enjoy writing and what people enjoy reading. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts, Jody, on how much your editor or agent put stock in your blog popularity. Maybe you'll touch on that topic later this week, or it can be a future post??

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  32. Sneaking back to listen to the conversation. I think Eileen, Kelly, and Jessica hit it on the head for me.

    What makes me more inclined to read one person's blog over the other?

    It usually comes down to relationships. If I've made some sort of connection with someone (whether in person, on Twitter, emailing, on the phone, etc) I usually consider that blog a "must read" blog. Because I want to keep in touch, as Eileen says. :)

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  33. Your blog is a "must read" for me...I love it. Every blog listed in my sidebar is one I visit whenever they have new posts (I follow far more to visit when I have extra time). I'll admit, I don't comment here too often because I know you try to give reciprocal comments, and I also know you're extremely busy. I'd rather people comment on my site because they *want to*, when they have (or make) time, rather than just because I commented on theirs.

    I don't mention that to make you (or anyone else) feel bad...but to demonstrate my cynicism towards comments, followers, etc. I love comments - we all do, but I'd rather people visit my blog because they find something interesting, entertaining, or that they can identify with there...not just because I visited/followed their blog. I never post comments or visit just to reciprocate - I do visit the blogs of new followers/commentors, but only keep going back if there's something of interest to me. I feel it would be disingenuous of me to do otherwise.

    I normally gauge the popularity of my blog by subscriber and unique visits per day. But I don't check them often - because honestly, I blog because I enjoy it. If I can entertain or inform people and make friends while I'm at it, so much the better.

    Now - don't feel like you need to visit/comment back just for reciprocation. I'll read your blog regardless. :-)

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  34. If I knew what makes a blog a must-read, I'd be doing it. I believe some of it is pure luck, but it is mostly about well-written posts on topics people want to read about.

    Commenting and following really is so subjective. I come across so many blogs that are poorly written and have a lot of followers and I realize that people don't always see the same things I see.

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  35. I think many of you are hitting on an important aspect for the average blogger. Once we form relationships with others, then when we have limited time, we tend to read our closest friends' blogs or perhaps our most consistent followers/commentors blogs. So friend blogs are high on the "must read" list.

    But Katie brought up a very valid point and it is this: we have to determine WHY we're blogging. If it's PRIMARILY to relate to friends, then perhaps blog success is measured by friendships. If it's to build a platform, then the measure of success will be different.

    Thus, before we can know if our blog is good/effective, we have to establish our blogging goals: what do we hope to achieve through blogging? And once we know that, then we can better know if we're successful.

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  36. Sarah asked: Jody, how much did your editor or agent put stock in your blog popularity. Maybe you'll touch on that topic later this week, or it can be a future post??

    My Answer: Good question, Sarah!! I am having a post later in the week in which I'll share more about my agent's thoughts on blogging (particularly her thoughts about if blogs help sell books).

    But I will say this today: My agent and editor put zero stock in my blog when they were making the decisions to represent me and offer me a book contract. The book ALONE is what sealed the deal. Now that's not to say they didn't look at my blog and say, "Oh that's nice. She's off to a good start with networking." But the book/writing clinched the deal and the book alone is THE single most important factor in a FICTION writing career. (Non-fiction is completely differen.)

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  37. I think success is in the eye of the beholder. For me, just taking the time to write and express something with the written word is a success. Putting my family first is always my priority.

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  38. Jamie D. said: I don't comment here too often because I know you try to give reciprocal comments, and I also know you're extremely busy. I'd rather people comment on my site because they *want to*, when they have (or make) time, rather than just because I commented on theirs.

    My response: Jamie, I totally agree. I hate the feeling that someone came over to my blog to leave a reciprocal comment because they felt they HAD to repay a visit. I want people to come here to my cyberhome because they truly "must read" my blog!! :-)

    That being said, when I'm crunched for time, I use my blog comments as a way to decide which blogs to visit. In a week's time, I usually try to visit those that visit me, not because I HAVE to, but because I LOVE visiting blogs. I wish I had time to visit more, but the comments at least gives me some direction on where to head first.

    I hope that makes sense. I appreciate your honesty!

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  39. Jody, Happy Anniversary! It's been so fun being connected with you this year. I treasure the connection. These are good points! You've really challenged me to think outside the box I'd set for myself in terms of my own monitor of how well my blog is doing. It's tough to measure it, and I still question its worth at times, and have a lot of other questions surrounding my blogging time and how much I should be devoting to it. I grapple with this all the time and have not come up with any concrete answers just yet. I do know the the blogging world has been a blessing and I would have missed out if I had not entered it. I do the best I can with my posts but my blog hasn't grown anywhere near as fast as yours. That said, I fight the comparisons. You are offering a lot to the writing community right now because of your position as soon-to-be-published writer. That, combined with your effective writing, make it a no-brainer. Being connected to Rachelle doesn't hurt. God has brought all of these elements together and given you a wonderful way to reach people with your words, but you still have it in perspective, and I admire that even more than your beautiful writing. :)

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  40. What keeps me blogging - although sporadic this last year - is my need to express and to write.

    Congrats on your blogging anniversary - you must be doing something or many things right, because you have way more followers and commenters than I.

    Keep up the Great Work!

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  41. I haven't checked my blog stats in forever. I really feel God wanting me to concentrate on relationships, praying for people, and being present with my own family and face-to-face friends.

    On the other hand, if I want my books to sell, I have to care about platform.

    It's a tough balance.

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  42. Hi Jody,
    I'm a new reader of your blog, but I am finding a wealth of information here. I just read through nearly all your "Rest Here Awhile" posts -- good stuff! Thank you for helping those of us scrounging around in the dark on this writing/publishing journey.

    And yes, I just became a follower...because I found so much helpful info here!

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  43. I read blogs in which I am learning something interesting or because I am staying in touch with someone that I consider a friend. I love making a little spending money from my blog, but even if I didn't I would still blog...it's my outlet and someday it will be a history of sorts for my children to read:)

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  44. Hi Jody,
    Just wanted to let you know there's a surprise on my blog for you tomorrow.
    Karen

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  45. Hi Jody -

    Your blog is a must-read for me. Some of the things that draw me back to a blog:

    1. A friendly, genuine tone.
    2. Regular posts that not only
    speak to the technical/business
    aspects of writing but also to
    the spiritual.
    3. Variety. While I enjoy book
    reviews, a blog that focuses
    solely on them won't be a must
    read for me.
    4. A blog that matures as its
    author gains experience.
    5. One of the first principles we
    learn as writers is there must
    be a take-away for the reader
    or something to encourage
    discussion. Blogs that are one
    long commercial for the author
    land at the bottom of the list.
    6. Giveaways are attractive, but
    I get annoyed if they require
    more than a simple comment and
    email address. I don't have time
    to spend a half hour on a blog.

    I guess it boils down to respect for the reader and friendly interaction.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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  46. Great questions! I agree with a lot of the commenters here. I think, like publishing, it's all subjective. I have a huge list of blogs I "must" read everyday.

    Why?

    Because they offer me something valuable. Whether that's a laugh, a smile, information or a personal relationship doesn't matter. I read because I want to. That's what makes the blog valuable.

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  47. I love "real life" blogs - where I feel I can really get to know a person. And I try so hard to remind myself that blog-worth isn't measured by blog comments!

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  48. Oh, my. My head is spinning, Jody.

    I was disappointed when I added a stat counter, then my sil who is a computer programmer told me the one I'd chosen wasn't accurate! So I trashed it.

    I don't know the answer to some of your questions but I can say that for me, the must read blogs are those I grow from. They consistently offer content that either challenges me as a Christian or a writer. Or, they make me laugh.

    My goals for blogging are to treat others as I'd like to be treated: to help them grow as Christians and writers. And to make them laugh.

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  49. While I'm taking a break from posting one of the things I'm re-evaluating is blogging. Your post and the comments have sure helped me in the decisions I want to/need to make regarding blogging.

    I've been with you since the beginning of your blog and I'm so happy and excited to see the way you've succeeded on your writing journey. Can't wait to read what happens next!

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  50. For me a must read blog is one where the writing is compelling and the author has a clear purpose. I approach my own blog writing with that in mind. Great questions as always.

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  51. I like blogs that give me information or a new look at something or just make me laugh.

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  52. One way I measure blog success is by the friend connections I've made. I'm consider myself a newer blogger, so don't think of myself as an expert:) I do agree with Susan Reinhardt's comments, among others.
    Good post, thanks for making me think!
    Blessings,
    Karen

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  53. When people read my blog and leave friendly comments on it, I consider my post a success.
    Sometimes bloggy friends tell me they bought my book and love it and that warms my heart.
    All in all, I aim for joy and don't take it all too seriously.

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  54. hmmmm I started blogging ~a year ago, a whim of sorts- never expected to blog for an entire year- now I'm "addicted"
    Blogging, I think, brings some clarity to my thinking... much better than journaling.
    Having discovered some excellent blogs along the way is icing on the cake- I learn, I laugh, I see glimpses of how others think and live.

    Don't know that I trust my "blog counter" or pay much attention- but it is a little thrill when I find a comment

    What did Mary Tyler Moore say at the end of her show... something like "what is a family- just someone that makes us feel a little less alone in the world. Thanks for being my family" Something like that..

    blogging- a big extended family- something that connects us, makes us feel a little less alone...
    it's all good...

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  55. I have been posting about this topic of blogging the past many Mondays. I even linked to your posts about getting comments in one of my posts. There is a science to this blogging art and I think you have pinpointed it to a great deal. For me, my must read blogs start with good writing and entertainment value. I want to enjoy what I'm reading. Good information--like this post-- is another essential. I sample many blogs and some I follow, while some I just pass by.
    I'd like to think I'm writing good stuff in mine, but like you say comments are almost always nice and polite. I like it when I am challenged or constructively criticized, but it rarely seems to happen.
    Lee

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  56. Hey, Jody! I read your post yesterday and have been thinking about it off and on since then. Your blog is definitely a must read for any person trying to make a go of this writing thing. You provide such an insight into the early career of a writer and the publishing industry. And you always make me think about where my priorities are and about writing in general.

    In terms of measuring success with a blog, I think we must first define why we are blogging before we can determine the level of success. Like our books, if we're trying to make our blogs a success in terms of content, then the content must be excellent, but also like books, it's all relative and subjective.

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  57. I'm sneaking by while I'm unplugged.

    You hit on some relevant points Jody. I'm refecting alot on blogging right now. I want to be effective and an overall blessing, but only God can determine that. I will probably not play with stat counters, I have enough anal tendencies that drive me. I have found that when I don't comment or visit as much there is a difference in traffic to my blog, but such is life.

    I plan to really focus on making my posts authentic and relevant to writing, mixing in a nice balance of individuality.

    Thanks Jody!

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  58. Excellent questions.

    I can honestly say your blog is GREAT. You cover so many different aspects of the writing life, and you do so beautifully. Plus you're honest and inspirational at the same time. In fact, I have something for you at my blog... ;)

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  59. Usually most of the blogs I visit are not "charged" and trying to create tension. I guess I would tell the truth on those if I thought the person was close enough to me or could handle it. :O)

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  60. I've had to limit myself to blogging twice a week. That goes for reading and posting. Otherwise I rush through blogs and don't absorb half of what I read.

    My must read list tends to be the bloggers I feel a real connection with. It could be because of how long I've known them, if I've met them in real life, my respect for their attitude, accomplishments, or outlooks etc.

    But you're right. It's all subjective.

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  61. The intangible, undefinable "voice" is often what draws me back to a blog. The person writing is someone I want to "talk" to, so I keep coming back to hear what they have to say.

    You could be writing about writing, or family, or darn near anything else at this point... I don't know you, not really, and yet I want to hear your point of view on things.

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  62. This is such a great topic Jody. I think the blogs I'm most loyal to are the ones written by people who I feel are friends. Great information is a plus too. Yours is on my must read list (as is evidenced by the fact that I'm technically unplugged this week and still reading your blog :)

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  63. Great post Jody! The blogs I consider must reads are the ones I find both entertaining and pertinent. I like bloggers that mix a little fun in with their intriguing topics.

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  64. Thank you for this wonderful post. Karen Lange had a link on her blog and I followed it here.

    I have also reached my one year anniversary of blogging, and I admit I didn't know what I was doing when I started.

    I'm still working on making my blog an interesting one, and I've found that in reading other blogs, I like:

    1. Blogs about writing, that give helpful advice, good writing exercises, and fun analogies for the writing life.

    2. Blogs that are beautiful. Mine is plain at this point, so it needs some fixing.

    3. Blogs that have postings at least 3 times a week, or more. I think I may blog too much some weeks and not enough other week.

    Just some of my thoughts that I am trying to put together so I can "spiff up" my blog and make it better for my second year of blogging.

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