Monday, November 25, 2013

The Perfect Style Blog In Five Steps

I've been reading style blogs fervently for a couple of months now. I encountered The Clothes Horse via Tumblr, and felt like a whole new world had opened up. Or rather a neglected world, since I ran a semi-random blog under the pseudonym of "Miss Mixie" when I was in middle school. Anyway, by the time I came across The Clothes Horse, I had been on Tumblr for so long that I'd forgotten about actual blogs and how wonderful they are! I'm glad to have rediscovered the fun of full-fledged online diaries.

Keiko Lynn

Keiko Lynn is one of my favorites.

The point I'm getting to is that I have figured out my taste when it comes to personal style blogs. I can't speak for everyone, but these are the things that I look for in a fashion diary, in order of importance:

1. Some substance. I like to read people's thoughts and accounts of their daily lives. A likeable personality is crucial. That said, the writing doesn't have to be deep or incredibly fascinating. I'm a dork, so I get really invested in the objectively unexciting things: "You went to the grocery store?! And the cashier was nice? Tell me more!"

2. Good photos. They don't have to be super high quality--in fact, I would settle for smartphone snapshots. But uncluttered backgrounds and overall intentional aesthetics are important. Also, don't post six different pictures that are only very slightly different. I don't care that your head is tilted a little to the left in the third one.

3. Readable text. Use a normal font in a regular size! I don't know what it is about weird, tiny fonts, but people seem to love having them. I'm only 19, and they strain my eyes.

4. No captchas. They're irritating and difficult, and I don't get the point. It's one thing if you have a problem with spam and added the "human test" because of that, but if you have a regular little blog and you're not getting zillions of comments, either approve them individually or let them all be published right away. It makes your user experience much less annoying.

5. Pinnable photos. I use Pinterest, and chances are I'm not your only reader who does. Let us promote you! (In case y'all didn't realize this, the reason some photos aren't pinnable is that they're hosted on Flickr but set to "private". If you want to increase traffic to your blog, that's a bad idea, because Pinterest can bring in a significant amount of pageviews.)

I read blogs that go against these guidelines, but my favorites fulfill 3-4 of the criteria. Some even hit all five!

What do you think? Are these things that you care about?

16 comments :

  1. Keiko Lynn and The Clothes Horse are definitely favorites of mine as well! I agree with you on a lot of these things, but a few of my favorite blogs also go outside of those guidelines you have as well. I love the aspect of getting to know a little bit of someone's personality as well... it keeps me interested! There was a fashion blog that I found recently that had the most lovely photos but no "About" page and I am just wondering how I can find out more! (Though about pages aren't completely necessary.)

    Like you, I recently re-discovered how awesome personal blogs are only a few months ago, and I am inspired to start my own. :) Before then, I was a strict Tumblr addict and would reblog stuff for hours, but now I find myself actually creating my own content, and it feels great!

    Btw, I love how your blog is developing! You are expanding to make posts like this, and I love that!

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    1. Thank you, Danielle! You actually occurred to me when I was writing this as a blogger who fits all of my picky criteria.

      It sounds like we had similar experiences re: Tumblr vs. personal blogs. I was also getting tired of just looking at other people's content and not making my own! I think Tumblr tends to fool people into thinking that they're doing something creative--and it's true that curation has a creative aspect--but for the most part Tumblr is all about aesthetic consumption. It was starting to get me down.

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  2. I definitely agree with you on all of these points! I know for a fact that many, MANY bloggers never actually read what I write and so a few times over these past two years I've wondered if I should even write anything at all. But I'm not writing for those people, am I? No, I'm writing for the ones that matter. And although I've shortened my posts over the years, I still try to throw in some kind of daily substance because you never know what kind of conversation it will spark! And now that I switched to Disqus comments, I can reply and they will actually SEE my reply! :) <3

    toni

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    1. It always makes me cringe when I see comments that totally ignore or sometimes even contradict what the blogger actually wrote! I'm glad you've kept writing, because I enjoy that aspect of your blog as much as the pretty pictures.

      I'm thinking about trying out Disqus. . . I just wish it had a fill-in-the-blanks option, because before I got a Disqus account I used to be intimidated by figuring out that system. But I got around to it, which is I guess what most people do. Disqus is definitely better for conversations!

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  3. Awesome list. Thank you for mentioning those damn Captchas. And it's usually the blogs with no traffic that have them. Akismet took care of all my spam problems, and I don't have to make my readers jump through hoops just to leave a comment. I also agree that weird, colorful, too small text is a big no-no.

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    1. Exactly. Thanks for stopping by, Sage!

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  4. totally agree on all. also, i get a bit annoyed when the pixel widths of all the pictures aren't the same size... it's a pet peeve!!

    xx
    Chantilly

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    1. Oh my gosh, me too! I considered putting that on the list, but I was like, "Eh, doesn't bug me quite enough."

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  5. #4!!!!!!!!!!!! I get so, so so annoyed with the word verification!! It takes me longer to do that stupid word verification than it does to comment!

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    1. Saaame! And sometimes I have to refresh the thingy because I can't read it at all!

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  6. I definitely 2nd the no captchas bit! I also like reading about peoples' lives :)

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  7. This list addresses so many problems in the blogging world. As a blogger & a reader, I always try to look at my blog from someone else's point of view to make sure my posts are clear, my pictures looks alright, and the entire site is easy to navigate. I definitely tend to follow bloggers that are similar to myself. I used to just follow everybody that caught my eye but then I realized how many style blogs were lacking good content and really weren't interesting people. Writing about my own life and making it witty & relatable has been invaluable to me as I use my blog to archive my life. I don't want to look back and think my life sucked. lol

    I actually just used to Pin my own photos using the "add from a link" option, so I never even knew there was something I could add to my blog to cut out that middle step. Thankfully, I have that now. :)

    Thanks for writing this insightful post!

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    1. ME TOO! I've done literally everything you just mentioned, haha. And your personality is at least half of the reason I subscribed to your blog! This outfit is the other half: http://anoldstoryblog.blogspot.com/2013/11/grave-danger.html.

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  8. Yeeeeees to Everything. I usually start reading a blog for pretty pictures and then I get invested in the person.(Like you said, "they went to the grocery store?whooooa!"). I really hate the word vertification but I only have internet on my phone and it hate most commenting system so that could be me. It was refreAshing to read this, I get really sick of reading how to make your blog more popular and get money and better stats, this reads more how to make your blog more enjoyable which is sort of what its all about. You should totally publish a list of blogs you read regularly, it sounds like we have the same taste and I'm always looking for new blogs with pretty pics. www.triplethread.net is a great blog, her posts are thoughtful and she has great photography.
    Oh, happy thanksgiving as well! I just wanted to tell you how sweet you are, you always leave such uplifting comments and it always makesmmy day. You are such a sweetheart!

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    1. Happy Thanksgiving, Katie! This is such a lovely comment. You're a sweetheart too! We should definitely talk blogs to read.

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It's lovely to hear from you!

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