What Makes a Personal Blogger Worth Reading?

In honor of BlogHer10, we’re running features on blogging this week. Today’s post is from Kirsten at All About Me – And Then Some, which is launching a new series of tips for personal bloggers.

This past week I’ve been going through my old posts, specifically the ones imported from my old Blogger blog, and cleaning up the formatting. In doing that, I’ve been skimming pretty much every single post from the past 4 years, and it got me to thinking about my writing, the way I blog, and how that’s changed since then.

When I started out, I wrote a lot about the mundane aspects of my life, what I ate, my crazy work schedule, and other boring crap. I’m not quite sure how people get readers by posting about that stuff, but they do. I maxed out around 25-30 subscribers on Blogger. When I switched to WordPress, my subscriber numbers nearly doubled almost overnight, and stayed steady for a long time. Now, in the past few weeks, I’ve noticed that my numbers are even higher – 74 at the moment, give or take a few based on FeedBurner’s bizarre algorithms. I don’t post much about my daily life anymore, because I’d bore you all to tears. Just trust me on that. In lieu of sedating the world with my blog, I’ve been trying to put more feeling into my posts with more profound thoughts and insights, interspersed with posts about (what else) blogging.

All of this thinking has got me wondering: what makes a personal blogger worth reading? What is it about peering into someone’s life and thoughts that is so enticing? What makes a personal blog worth coming back to over and over again?

In my quest to try to answer these questions, I subscribed to two of most popular personal blogs out there – Dooce and Pioneer Woman. I’ve been seeing Heather and Ree on people’s blogrolls almost since my very first day in the blogosphere, but it took me a long time to subscribe, mostly because I resist doing things just because everyone else is doing it. I need to find other reasons to justify doing things, and blog betterment research provided me with that reason.

At first I wasn’t sure what the appeal was with Pioneer Woman – I figured at first that she was just another mommy blogger who cooks. But I found more and more that I kept going to her site for her food porn (even if it was just to drool all over my keyboard, because I can’t cook ). Her photography is amazing, and the more I read her the more I think that she must be some kind of superwoman in the body of a modest ranch wife and mother. Seriously – this woman cooks amazing meals and takes about a hundred photos of each dish throughout the cooking process so we can all cook like her. As I said, her photos are amazing and she has some great Photoshop actions and photography tips so everyone can take pictures like her. She posts quizzes so we can show off our smarts like her kids get to do, and once in awhile she cleans out her closet so we can dress like her too. How she does all that and runs an incredibly popular personal blog at the same time is beyond me, but the main point is that everyone wants to be Pioneer Woman. Well that and she keeps posting pictures of her cowboy husband’s Wrangler-clad posterior, nicely framed by a pair of cheek chillers. What’s not to love about her?

Dooce, on the other hand, I have to admit I don’t like so much. I think a lot of her popularity has to do with her back story, in which she was famously fired from her job because of the blog, then went on to post all the details of her struggle with postpartum depression. She’s wildly famous with mommy bloggers, but I don’t see her on too many blogrolls otherwise. I don’t think her writing is as eloquent as Pioneer Woman’s, and she flaunts the “My blog got so popular that I can support my family with it” a bit too much for my taste. I don’t think she has all that much to offer new readers. The only reason I subscribe to her blog is for research purposes. She’s not the kind of person I can imagine being friends with, and for me that’s a big part of why I keep reading a lot of the blogs I read. A huge appeal and benefit of blogging is the community, right?

What are things that appeal to you in the personal blogs that you read regularly? Is there anything that’s a turn-off?

Copyright© 2006-2010 KirstenL4W

About the author: KirstenL4W blogs about anything and everything to do with her life at All About Me – And Then Some.

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