It's come to my attention that I am hardly the good faring blogging citizen I was a couple of years ago. This is going to change this week with a set of single topics. Today's is what to look for in a blog.
When it comes to looking for other blogs to follow, it can be a bit hit and miss of subscribing to that blog is going to be worth it or not. There are a number of things that you can do though that can increase the success rate of the blogs that you subscribe to or regularly read.
A generalist or a specialist
Blogs tend to fall into one of two types when in comes to content. There’s the specialist who focuses on a single topic and there’s the generalist who post regularly but across a wide range of topics.
The specialists have the inside knowledge on the topic that I like to read about. I like reading blogs of this type as the topics often align with what is going to be of benefit to me.
Take the blog of Curtis McHale from British Columbia.
I have read this blog for a few years now and his blog has been a continual benefit to myself as I traverse the world of freelancing. Curtis McHale's blog is about being a business owner and everything that it entails. This is his specialty but the his field of knowledge on this isn't restricted to what happens during office hours, it also includes the other 18 or so hours of the day when he's not working for clients. This includes balancing family life with running a business, the books you should read as a business owner and the tools and services that can help you as a business owner.
A generalists blogs focuses on a greater range of topics. I find that most blogs I follow of this kind are people’s own personal blogs. They post what interests them.
That’s definitely the case of the blog of Kurt Harden from Ohio.
Here you find a blog that covers not just one topic but links, quotes, and many pictures of what's on the grill that evening. I like this type of scrapbook though and it's worth having a few blogs like this to follow. The reason being is that while Kurt's blog doesn't focus on a particular topic, it does include content that is relevant and interesting. And that's a good thing. I've never met Kurt, but I've read his blog for so long that I've come to understand what makes him tick.
Whether you’re looking for a generalist or a specialist is down to you. If you’re looking to learn about a particular topic then I suggest you look for specialist blogs. For anything else a generalist blog is just fine.
A consistently published blog is a great blog. It doesn't need to be daily. It doesn't need to be a number posts a day or even a single post a day. As long as that person keeps a schedule going that doesn't involve weeks without a post then it's a blog worth reading.
The single exception to this rule is when the person behind the blog announces a period of time in which they'll be unavailable. Patrick Rhone's blog is essential reading for me, but in March of this year Patrick announced that he would be stepping back from his blog to focus on a project of his own.
We can’t always post regularly and there are times where we need to step back for a bit and they say so on their blog. This is the exception to posting consistently. It's not because you're being lazy, it's because you have something more important to do and that's a good thing. I know that when Patrick comes back he'll have garnered enough new insights for his blog for another year at least.
An RSS feed
An RSS feed is the easiest way to follow a particular blog. Using an RSS reader like Feedbin or Minimal Reader you’ll be able to follow all the blogs you're interested in. Some of you might be thinking that with a blog an RSS feed might be a given these days. Sadly that isn't so. I've noticed a number of websites that have blogs on them but lack an RSS feed to subscribe too.
In this case I would skip over subscribing to a "blog" like this. They've made a decision to not include an RSS feed so that they have more traffic to their blog or they just have a bad CMS that lacks an RSS feed. Regardless of the content that the blog includes I would skip over blogs like this.
Looking for blogs to follow can be a bit of a hit and a miss but if you know the type of blog you want to follow, they're a consistent blogger and they have an RSS feed to subscribe to then you should be onto a winner.
You can even follow this one if you're not already doing so!