A reader recently told me that he asked he girlfriend to read my blog, and that she thought it made me look "obnoxious, overly opinionated and not in a good way, but funny and really interesting." (I take the whole thing as a compliment over all). I find this SUPER interesting. I'm way curious about how first blog impressions are made.
When you visit a blog for the first time
1. How many posts do you read?
2. If the layout/colours/heading are ugly or unpleasant, do you read anyway?
3. What sorts of things turn out immediately off a blog?
4. What are some general traits that you look for when deciding to add a blog to your RSS reader?
I say the first thing that attracts me to someone's blog is a comment that they left on my blog or a comment they left elsewhere that I've come across. Usually you can get a little glimpse of their personality that way. So if I like what they have to say (found it funny, interesting, smart, etc), I usually click on their profile to learn a little more about them and to learn what their blog URL is.
After that, I'll visit their blog and scan a few posts IF the post titles interest me. I hate to say it, but a bad blog design does play a role. If the page is sloppy looking, cluttered and hard to navigate, that's a turnoff for me. And the only thing that will keep me there or keep me coming back is if the person has some really good content - good writer, interesting and original post topics, etc.
I think overall I enjoy reading a blog that is well written. Someone who has their opinion and isn't afraid to express it, but yet is open minded in hearing other views. I defiantly like humor and a good mix of light hearted posts with deep subjects that really challenge me to think and reflect before commenting. I also like blogs where people don't just talk about themselves and their own life. I like when they can write about other things. Oh yeah...and people with passion are a must!
1. It depends on how much i connect with the blog/how much free time I have at a given time. I've been known to read a years worth of a blog. This one webcomic/blog thing i read, Five Bucks To Friday, when i first found it I read three years worth of weekly posts in a weekend.
2. If i like the writing i'll just move it over to Google Reader and that takes care of that problem most of the time.
3. any racist/sexist/homophobic remarks that appear casual and not sarcastic or in the name of satire. or just general douchebaggery (but sometimes thats entertaining anyway)
4. pictures of hot chicks well written, funny and interesting posts. if i laugh out loud while reading any post i'll probably read that blog for a long time
1. I usually scan the titles on the first page, and read what sounds interesting.
2. Yes, I will turn away if the design makes the blog difficult to read. If it's someone who's commented on my blog, then I will give it more time.
3. A major turnoff for me is when there's almost no content, and instead just links to things with a sentence of commentary about them. Also, though they can be fun, I think that when people use too many acronyms (usually to refer to people in their real lives), it makes it really hard to get into their blogs at first.
4. I read all different kinds of blogs, but I prefer essay-like posts where there's an obvious flow and some kind of point. I think I also judge on tone.
1.I read one, if I like it I'll read more. I read the about page usually, if the first post interests me.
2.I read some blogs I've read forever where the layout or colors are unpleasant. I still read them because of the writing, For new blogs, if the colors or layout are impossible I don't bother. Some colors really can hurt your eyes.
3.Tons of ads, poor grammar, people talking incessantly about things like their boyfriends, the last time they got drunk, or how to make money or increase your hits or page ranks or their cats. I don't as a rule read fashion blogs either.
It's hard to say sometimes it just clicks. I don't think there is one thing. I rarely add blogs to my reader anymore it gets too crowded, though I have started a Google page which is called "blogs I read", and have started to add a few there.
I generally try to read a couple posts before passing a judgment. I recently got several nasty e-mails based on one post that I had written, but if those readers had looked back on the previous 5 posts, they would have understood a lot more as to where I was coming from.
As far as adding blogs to my reader, if there are multiple posts I'm compelled to comment on during my first visit, I'll add it to my "Trying Out" folder in my reader. If I keep going back, it moves to another permanent folder. If I never feel compelled to comment again, it usually gets deleted.
I usually read the entire first page of a blog. It gives me a good peek into their recent mindset and that tells me whether I should come back or not. I occasionally poke through the sidebar archives for interesting post names. I do not like blogs where you have to click to a down page for the entire post. If a blog is ugly or designed such as to make it unreadable I click away immediately. I admire people who take the time to customize their layout to fit their personality...I will eventually have the perseverance to write my blog some new, custom CSS. :)
I have respect for anyone that's able to really put themselves out there in their blog. I try not to touch too much on my personal life only because I feel like I would regret some things later. Mine is more the story of my life this second starring NYC with me as the supporting character. That being said, if I find that someone's life story blog is close to mine I will continue reading. I appreciate humor (and self-deprecation to a certain degree) but don't like Debbie Downers. I want a happy ending or an "OK I messed up but here's what I learned" outlook.
The blogs that make it to my faves/RSS readers have writing strong enough to make me laugh on at least once a week, or teach me something new, or cover some topic in a way that is provocative and unique. And I have some guilty pleasures as well...mostly shopping-related.
Great topic Lisa!
Like the others who have left comments so far, I try to read a few posts before I try to imagine what kind of person is behind the writing. I also like to keep in mind that I get peeved when people try to determine exactly who am I from my blog so my judgment is never one that is set in stone.
As for things that irk me or make it harder for me to really want to follow the blog- definitely spelling, typos and excessive emoticons play a role. I'm sorry but I'm sort of a grammar snob sometimes. Also, if there's a TON of ads on the site or it's hard to navigate, I usually don't put that in one in the google reader.
Speaking of google reader- for me, the number one thing that makes me decide if I'm going to add someone is if I imagine 'if I don't put this in google reader, will I be sad to never read it again?', if I know that part of me is going to miss reading a particular story, hearing a particular writing voice or be anxious to hear a follow up to something the writer has started discussing, I definitely put it in the google reader. Content, writing style and a writers voice will trump everything. This may explain why my subscription list is so damn long.
Very interesting thread! I'm constantly trying out new blogs, but have never really broken down the process...
1. The number of posts will depend, but I usually try to do at least two or three to get a sense. Sometimes I can tell right off the bat if the writing isn't for me though, so I don't generally need more than that.
2. If the layout/colors are bad, I might still try one or two posts--I mostly read in a reader after all--but it's really a harder sell. I think of it like when you're reading resumes...there might be great stuff there, but if it's buried in a comic sans font, you've just made it an uphill battle.
3. For me, I don't like blogs that are just a gazillion links to other things. I read blogs to read other voices, not regurgitate the same info I could get anywhere else on the net. Someone who comes across as a total douchebag is another immediate no. And frankly, automatic music on a page is almost always an auto no. There's more I'm sure, but those are the ones that pop immediately to mind.
4. If I easily read more than two or three posts on a blog, I'll add it to my RSS "testing" folder. Or if someone comments on my blog..they generally end up in my reader, at least on a test basis.
1. I tend to read a post or two or three. Sometimes, if they're listed on a sidebar, I'll scroll through the "most popular posts." That's always interesting.
2. I like clean layouts. I think a page that loads slowly due to an overabundance of graphics or ads (I mostly don't mind ads but absolutely hate the "pop in" ads that make sidebar ads suddenly overlay the content on a page, or else dance around the screen until you find the elusive 'close' button for the damn thing) is a big turn-off. If I wanted too many ads and slow page loads, I'd be on MySpace all the time.
3. I'm pretty chill so don't have many hang-ups in this area. I'd say: no pop-in ads (I may subscribe but don't like visiting the site since it's a chore to comment); no deliberate hate (an opinion is fine, and I love good discussions that can be open and engaging). And that's pretty much it for this one.
4. I like anything engaging, well-written, and original. I like variety and diversity, and especially enjoy reading anything that challenges me or makes me think.
1. I try to read the first post but if it doesn't hold my interest, I probably won't stick around. I do try to skim the rest of the titles on the first page though to see if anything catches my eye and looks interesting.
2.Bad blog design turns me off. It doesn't even have to be pretty, just as long as it's easy to read, without tons of ads and gifs, I'm okay. I like a nice clean blog design but still shows some personality. I think you can tell a lot about the type of blog and the writer by it. But of course, many blogs I read don't have a fancy smancy design and I love it just for content.
3. Other turn offs: bad grammar, too much LOLspeak, excessive emoticons, blogs that are hard to navigate and are too cluttered. People who are ALWAYS negative or feel the need to bash other bloggers, those who cause drama to get noticed and obvious cries for attention. Those who try way to hard to be eloquent, moving and something they aren't (don't force it). Lastly, music. I hate when music starts playing when I visit a blog!
4. Funny, interesting and well written blogs. If you make me laugh, you're automatically going in my reader!
I would say when I first stumble on a blog I read the first few posts, if not the first page of them. If the font is really small, sometimes it turns me off but then I remind myself that in Google reader it doesn't come through, so it wont bother me then. But if it's just a mess and hard to read, then I probably wont read as much.
I'm turned off immediately by the "woe is me" blogs, where people just whine and whine about things. Or those that are too philosophical, (or trying to be).
General traits in adding blogs to my reader are that they're well written, grammatically correct (for the most part) and funny/relatable. If it doesnt capture my interest right away, or maybe only one post of out 5 does, then I might not add it.