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Why I Love (or Hate) Your Blog

Don't worry, I'm not calling anyone out in this post. I might tell you about some blogs I want to marry, but I'm not listing the ones I want to delete permanently from my mind. (No, not yours. Of course not. Definitely. You're totally my favorite!)

I've only been blogging for about 8 months, but I still get a lot of emails from people asking me about what I suggest new bloggers should do. Why anyone asks me that truly boggles my mind. I've been blogging for less than a year, I make about 74 cents a day from advertising - that's a rough estimate - and I still find a way to run races at a middle of the road pace, despite hours of posts from reading lightning fast runners.

Average runner. Top notch strange face maker. 

So while I may not rank up there as a big blogger, runner, or chef, I am a super big blog READER. I'm a pro, in fact. Here's my list of things I love about blogs, and what I hate.


Going Long: There's nothing wrong with a long post (see the current page you're on - sorry about that). My eyes just really, really appreciate breaks. Not only are short paragraphs easier to read, but they mean I'm less likely to skim.

Font Like This: Just no. This is not readable. This is painful. I should not have to highlight the text in order to read it when I'm only 6 inches from the screen. 

Happiness: Hold on, this one needs an explanation. Happiness is great. But peppy, awesome, the world is amazing all day long and the sun shines 24/7 in unicorn land? It just doesn't seem real! I like to keep my blog upbeat, so I can appreciate a happy blog. But showing imperfections shows that you're real, and makes you a more likable blogger, in my (truthfully, often very flawed) opinion.

No one is this happy all the time.

Depression: I know, I know - I'm a hypocrite. I just ragged on the whole happiness thing. But admit it - no one likes to read a blog that is Debbie Downer every.single.freaking.time.

But I don't want to read about this level of depression all the time, either.

Raw Meat: Random quirk. I squirm a little bit when I see pictures of raw meat in recipes. I'm probably on my own for this one. It just seems...unnecessary? Raw chicken breast aside, I love recipe step by steps.

Not Practicing What You Preach: Nobody is perfect, and I understand that - as do most blog readers, I'm sure. However, reading a blog about how important rest days are, or eating enough calories, or stretching after running - anything, really - with the blogger doing the exact opposite? Drives me crazy.


Photos: I promise I can read, but I love having photos along the way. Maybe I have a short attention span? Who knows. I just like pretty pictures. (Like this guy!)

Common Interests: Even if you're super, super nice, I'm probably not going to read your blog about mechanical engineering or homeschooling children. I'm being honest! I don't feel obligated to read blogs, so I only read what I enjoy.

Be funny: No, like really funny. I like some serious posts, and I like reading training logs from athletes. But what keeps me coming back time after time is reading material that makes me laugh. Do you need to be a stand up comedian? No, although that might help. But a sense of humor is definitely appreciated. (Like these ladies!)

Sugar: This one is probably just me. I like to eat healthy foods most of the time, but sugar is like crack to me. I just want more cupcake porn, people. Help a girl out.

So there we have it. My far from exhaustive list on what I love in blogs, and what will get you booted from Google Reader. I do realize that these are completely my own, personal preferences. Some of you might think the exact opposite, and that's fine. But I'm curious....

What makes a blog a winner for you? And what gets it booted from your reader?

In full disclosure, I'm sure I do most (if not all) of these things. I'm far from perfect, and my blog certainly isn't. And everyone likes different things! These are just my loves and peeves.


  1. What gets a blog booted from my reader? Using the word retard in an asshole I think I'm funny type of way. I have a little girl with Autism and it's just not a joy to see someone who doesn't have kids to carelessly use that word to describe themselves and their friends.

    Oh and put down slower runners and um yeah you get deleted very quickly.

  2. I always wonder how I come off in I always happy sounding? Do I bitch too much? Am I boring? I do take pictures of raw meat...hahahah...ALL.THE.TIME. Maybe you've booted me off your reader?! I think my problem is I don't know exactly how I come off in posts. If I swore more, like I do in real life, I think I'd lose a lot of readers that are there for the food. I'm sure many people that WERE there for the food have left me since my blog has turned into a runner/foodie blog. Oh's for me, right?

  3. I am with you on many of your points. I'll read super long posts if the first paragraph gets my attention. Photos are also great. I like reading about people's honest experiences. I try to be more real and not all rainbow pooping ponies because no one is happy all of the time- and I like reading posts like that sometimes. :)

  4. I haven't deleted any blogs from my reader yet, I can't think of too much that would make me delete someone. There are posts I don't read, but nothing I can think of that I hate. I do agree with most of the things you posted on your love and hate list, I so wish I was funny like most people, but I'm just me and I'm kinda boring. I will say I don't mind raw meat pictures, but I HATE touching it...

  5. well you just nailed it. Spoken like a pro! I like blogs that are direct, real, and just living life. All areas! okay they gotta like wine too. just kidding.

  6. Awesome post and it's so true. Sometimes I need to read a post where someone is having a crappy day because everyone has them and it gets sooooo old reading all the happiness and cheerfulness sometimes. BE REAL! That's what I love most in a blog.

  7. I LOVE THIS! I was just thinking about this the other day. I need photos...or a break in keep me interested. If a blog is merely full of words upon words I get really bored and tend to skim. That's why I like yours. A lot. They're always short and you always have pictures!

    I always wonder what it is that makes people "unfollow" happens once and a while and I don't really get offended by it but I would just love to know so that I can learn what people like/dislike about my blog!

  8. I like it when a blogger interacts -- reciprocates comment love or at least responds to mine via email -- it illustrates he or she appreciates the audience and recognizes not only to they have readers but they're real people!

    Another critical thing for me is how people write -- now I don't consider myself a fab writer; however, I do tend to write how I talk (sooo being real is important too!) and breaking up paragraphs is SO IMPORTANT! I read a lot of blogs now too, and holy moly some are just too long -- or simply need more separated paragraphs!!

    Great post -- I liked reading what you like and dislike in the blog world!

    PS: You will never see raw meat on my blog!!

  9. Poor grammar and spelling. As soon as I read that someone wants to "loose weight", I'm half a second from closing the window.

    Also, people that have no filter. Those that just start typing random thoughts with absolutely no organization and publish whatever spills out. Doing this occasionally is fine, but all the time and I wake up with keyboard prints on my face.

    I only post 2-3 times a week, in an essay type format, so I do go long sometimes. But everything I say has a point. You're welcome to skim my blog for the photos and nothing else. :)

  10. Ha!
    I read this after posting about my run today (which was a total FREAKIN FAIL)! I try to keep my blog positive, but some runs just suck, ya' know? I'd be a liar if I didn't admit that part!

    What I boot: anyone who posts about every single arm curl and crunch they do or every leaf of lettuce they eat. And debbie downers never make it onto my reader list. ;)

  11. I worry sometimes that I can be a bit of a downer in my blog, but I try not to make things to heavy (most of the time :)

    I totally agree with your list though, it's the same stuff I'm looking for in a blog.

  12. I agree with so many of your points! I've also gotten the "I'm so superior" vibe from some blogs that I've now quit reading. I guess I really like when I can relate to the experiences and learn some things along the way. Some blogs just make me smile and nod my head as I read it...

  13. Interesting post, Vanessa.

    I quite reading when someone is rude/crude just for the shock value. There are a couple I read once a while and then back off them again for a while.

    I like to keep a blogroll on the face of my blog so that I can see the title of the blog post and I admit to reading the ones tht catch my eye first.

    And yes... hate those flourescent fonts!

  14. totally agree. sorry if any of my weird colour fonts have ever made you squint. I try to alternate btwn colour and black font in paragraphs so it's easier to read. I TOO have a short attention span hence my blog posts that i refer to as photo-scroll highlights :P lol easy!

    I HATE reading negative blogs. I LOVE happiness but like you enjoy seeing some real once in a while. I am sorry I definitely have raw chicken breasts on my blog :P lol

    I like reading blogs that space their paragraphs out, have pics, have easy to read short posts.

    I go on and on sometimes but 80% of the post is the 30+ photos I've uploaded so if your blog is like that I LOVE IT - pics tell the story :P

  15. I agree with so much of this! Especially the photos-- I have a crazy-short attention span, and need photos to break things up!

    The deal breaker for me, however, is bad writing. I'm okay with grammar and spelling mistakes, but when the writing is a mess, I'm out.

  16. Well as we know it's all personal preference...

    I love:
    -short paragraphs
    -reading about fast runners' training patterns
    -people talking about tough things going on in their lives

    I don't love:
    -long rambling boring recaps of boring days
    -cluttered ugly designs
    -people who post "just to post", but don't really have anything to say
    -people who start the post "ooh gosh sorry it's been so long, but..."

  17. OMG! I love you! You are like my sista from another mista!!!!! I cannot express my new found attraction to you .. dont worry, not the fatal kind ... I cannot stop laughing and soooo happy I think I am in the LOVE category!!!

    Now ... can you give me some advice ... hahahah! oooo im still laughing .. yes at this point at myself :)

    DID you run today?! ?!??!

  18. What an interesting blog topic! I have never really thought about it, but I agree with most of these!

    I'm with Sweet & Savory Sarah- I wonder how I come off to others in my blog posts. Probably a little "too happy" & obsessed with my husband....but that's just how I am in real life. Fortunately I think I have a dorky, goofy side that balances me out? Maybe. One time someone commented that my blog was "just too much" and I'm assuming that meant the whole unicorn thing. Still, I thought that was rude. (It hurt my feelings for about 5 minutes.)

    I agree....I LOVE easy to read fonts, lots of pictures, paragraphs, humor. Yea, the funny witty stuff is what keeps me coming back.

    I NEVER read recipes. And although I like honest, I prefer to stay away from neativity. There is already so much of that in the real world that I prefer not read about it in blog world. So I try to be as "real" as possible without being a debbie downer.

    P.S. Raw meat grosses me the heck out too!

  19. Im sorry I posted raw meat. if it makes you feel better, it grossed me out too.

    I want more readers. can you help me figure out how to get my name out or improve?

  20. I really liked this! ...but I might write a really depressed/super peppy, multi-colored font post and dedicate it to you. ;)

  21. Excellent post.

    I unfollow people a lot because I find myself only reading the blogs I really like on my reader and the ones I really don't have like tons of unread posts, so I go to the blog, look and around and evaluate if I want to keep reading. Usually the answer is no. Sometimes I follow someone because they guest posted on another blog and maybe that guest post was good or enteratining or I thought if the original blog owner liked their blog enough to have them guest post then I'd like their blog as well...usually I don't.

    My reader used to be full of outfit of the day bloggers and then I realized I don't care at all what people are wearing or crafting or thrifting. I've found that the majority of the blogs I read are running blogs or healthy lifestyle blogs. I guess that's what I like and therefore it's what I read. There are some that are kinda random but it's usually because the blogger writes really well or just has a truly fascinating life they're portraying.

    I'm so weird about pictures and bloggers posting self portraits, because I'll be honest, I like to actually see the person writing the blog, but I really struggle to put self portraits up on my blog. Too many of the same sweaty pictures of a person in the same gym bathroom is annoying to me. I'm so picky, haha.

  22. I know... seriously... I need more photos. haha. I post these long posts because I love writing but I'm sure no one else likes reading long, drawn out posts lol

    I totally love seeing photos... especially good photos. :D

  23. I get lost in too many running stats. I like reading about them but the whole long entry will lose my interest, especially if the person is way faster than me and they consider that run as slow.
    I wish I could still write about running. May/June I should be starting back!

  24. hahaha...great post! here is another one that bugs me, just going WAY overboard on the ad's. i mean i've been to blogs where i literally can't distinguish wat is the post and wat they are just trying to sell me. and oh man, pop-ups?!

    i think my fav thing is, ya, humor. but that's something that can't be faked, so if they aren't funny, don't try...just find something or a tone that works. but dang, if u're funny showcase it! :)

  25. I agree with every single one of your points here - especially the font thing...and the wordy thing..which makes me feel even more like I have ADHD.

    Not a huge fan of pics of apples or bananas that were eaten as a snack. I get what an apple looks like ;)

  26. I try to work to the theory that every post needs at least one picture, because I prefer reading blogs with pictures in. However, I think some bloggers get carried away with thousands of pictures in the place of writing :)

    I like blogs which are honest, but with a general up-beat feel. And ones that are funny. I'm not a huge fan of repetitive lists of workouts to be completed/been completed, but will cope if they're mixed up with different posts on a variety of topics.

  27. I agree with every single point, now excuse me while I check my blog to see if I make the cut. :) No really though, I have been blogging since 2008, so I have a pretty big list of likes and dislikes. The big one you hit on is depression...seriously? I totally believe in 'keeping it real' and not being June Cleaver every day (because we know that's not normal), but to be a Debbie Downer 24/7...who want's to read that??? No one! I also hate the LONG posts with no breaks or bold words so you can speed through if needed. I love when bloggers are mostly positive and have a point....don't waste my time people. :) LOL.

  28. I agree with most of this and it's a good list, but the biggest thing I have come to learn that I love the most about a blog is if that writer is being true to who they are and writing the way they speak, using their humor, etc. I feel like some blogs are trying to be just like another blog and it might work for someone else, but not everyone - you have to be true to who you are. That aside, I totally have things that I like and don't like and I pay more attention to the ones I do like :)

  29. As a former English major, I demand good grammar and spelling, otherwise it causes me pain to read.

  30. It's interesting how a group can have such a strong common bond - running/healthy living - and still be so diverse. I like that.

    Anyhoo, poor spelling and grammar kill me. A fitter-than-thou attitude does, too. That said, I don't delete a blog from my reader unless it's obscene or gross.

  31. I get tired of the debbie downer attitude All.Of.The.Time. I try to stay with the people who stay positive the majority of the time and give me great ideas. I love your blog, BTW. :)

  32. I kind of love your depressed face...

    Things that make me stop reading are offensive comments about others, posts that are impossible to read due to font/colour/terrible grammar, and if you just don't catch my attention enough to keep reading.

    Things I love- humour; showing me the good, bad, and ugly of your life or your blog topic; pictures; well-written posts that make me think.

  33. I can't seem to stop writing long posts, I'm just long winded, what can I say. I pretty much agree with you....I stop reading blogs when people eat a teaspoonful of ice cream for dessert, or split a tiny cookie with their husband. Not practicing what you preach is a big one for me. Basically, blogs that are just boring don't do it for me. People who post a million pictures of themselves for no apparent reason (i.e. not with friends, involved in an activity, etc) really get on my nerves too. Great list!

  34. I love it when bloggers are real, like I feel like I actually know them, not just their blog persona.

  35. Pictures of raw meat...LOL. Never saw that one coming but true dat.

    I whole heartedly agree with your list. I'm a big fan of pictures in blogs, especially to break up large expanses of text. I only hate it when they're huge ones that take a long time to load.

  36. Things I hate on blogs: lots of typos or just bad writing. I have to read my fair share of poorly written papers. I don't want to read bad prose in my down time. I also really dislike obsession about weight. It is just a number.

    Things I love: bloggers who have a compelling voice and a sense of humor. I also like puppies, cupcake porn, race recaps that make me feel like I was there, and a sense of community.

  37. I am totally the debbie downer blogger but I'd like to think I'm working on it. Always good to hear opinions on what people like and don't like. I don't like bloggers who complain that strength training might make them not fit into their size zero shorts. Legit, I saw that exact statement on a blog once. Never read it again. Gimme a break.

  38. THIS is an awesome post! So with you on the long posts..just not gonna take the time to read every word. Especially a race report that starts with "two days before the race..." And humor is great. I wish I was funnier, but I'm not. I try though!

  39. I couldn't agree more with the negativity part... debbie downers get deleted or blocked from memory. It's too easy to find things to be sad or mad or whatever about... I don't read blogs to commiserate, I read blogs to be inspired!

  40. hilarious and AWESOME post!!! Love the pics to go along with it :) I'll make sure I keep these things in mind as I post day to day!!!

  41. I'm with Beth at RAMK: I feel like you can tell if someone is being kind of fake on their blog, and trying to sound like someone they aren't. It comes through in the writing and makes it far less enjoyable. Ditto on the reaaaaaaaally long paragraphs (which I catch myself doing too!) Break it up just a bit for the eyeballs!

  42. Great post - interesting and thought provoking. Never really thought about what makes me like or dislike a post. I do think one of my biggest pet peeves is when someone who is ignorant is giving advice on a subject (i.e. a 25 year old who has never once owned a home was vomiting advice about how to buy a home, or a runner who is teeny tiny and never had a weight problem telling us fatties to park farther away at Wal-Mart to add steps to our day so we can get skinny . . . um I run half marathons SHUT UP!).

    I'm a huge fan of humor, learning something (one of my blogs I constantly refer back to or forward her posts to friends because they are informative and fun).

    I'll have to keep thinking about it some more.

  43. I agree on the paragraphs. For me it's all about the grammar/spelling/word usage... I don't mind a few mistakes here and there - we all make them. But habitual abuse of the language is something that'll make me un-follow for sure.

  44. Thanks for posting this. All good points. I'm sure I've committed some/most of these "blogger sins" ;-) I beg your forgiveness though.

  45. One more thought: I totally agree with the above comments that interaction is important. It helps build a sense of community and a sense of "We're all in this together".

  46. Nice list! I always try to have pictures on my blog posts, if not mine something from the internet at least!

    I try to interact with my readers as much as possible, but sometimes it is hard to do so but that is another big thing for me. I love it when I get a response from a blogger whose blog I commented on!

  47. I like pictures, short and to the point, useful info, and some humor in blogs. And lets be honest, I also like the blogs that do cool giveaways. This was a great post, and now I have a few more blogs to add to my list. :)

  48. Home schooling the kids .... I break out into hives at the thought!!!

  49. I have to agree with you on all of the above. Blogs that I check out every day are funny, honest, witty, and make good use of photos. The ones that eventually get the boot (or, at least I don't check them out every day) are those that have nothing new to say. In other words, they post just to post. I want to read something that you put some time and thought into, so if you don't have it in you that day, just don't post!

  50. Great post! Totally agree on all of your points. :)

  51. After reading this, now I am wondering if mine is one of the "hate" blogs. I am still totally new and exploring new things. Actually trying to convince my husband to get me a better lens for my Rebel. Exact words "But I need to take better pictures for my blog!" I always feel like I might be rambling. Gotta keep it short and sweet!!!

  52. Ummm, yesssss. To all of these. And, seriously, why is my own blog so boring when I'm so funny in person? I'm baffled by this.

    You had me at cupcake porn.

  53. Oh gosh now I am going to be all self conscious next time I write a post. I love photos on blogs- makes it easier and more fun to read!

  54. ah pheeeew...see it took me a while to come over!!! ha ha!!!

    I love this post.

    What turns me off...pretentious people...long posts...I skip those or part of them..putting others down will make me un follow almost 100% of the time.

  55. I get frustrated when bloggers are super negative or down on themselves. Also, too wordy and no photos!
    I love lots of interesting photos that make sense with the post and keeping it real! You have found a great balance!

  56. I love this post!!!

    Only one thing has ever booted anyone from my reader, and that is: disordered eating. I don't care if your content takes a dip for a while; I'll probably skim more, but I won't totally delete you, and I'm not turned off by either too much happiness OR too much debbie downer stuff. Blogs that aren't honest don't make it onto my reader in the first place =)

  57. I HATE when someone does a giveaway and then never posts the winner until DAYS later. There was one blog that i watched for a month and they never did another post after the one where they were supposed to announce a winner. i guess she kept it..... :(

  58. Totally agree....I try to be conscious of how/what I post as I am a totally rambler in real life...I hope I don't do rambly posts...

  59. I just realized you mentioned me in this post. SO I DON'T CLICK ON EVERY LINK WHEN I READ. SUE ME. hahaha

  60. I love reading about people with funny stories and similar interests as me, even if their topic of the day has nothing to do with our mutual interest. Pics are always a plus, too!

  61. Love your posts. Love your blog.
    You pretty much practice what you preach. You try to eat well, You try to exercise, but you have moments when you just want some greasy curly fries and cupcakes ... Love the honesty and how you are just human. :)

  62. Interesting post. Pretty sure I've commited some of your hated blogging things. The biggest thing for me is interaction. I read ALOT of blogs and comment on ALOT of posts and when I've commented for months and they never respond or visit my blog I remove them from my blog reader. Also some of the more popular bloggers that seem too good for smaller blogs quickly lose my interest too.

    I really am sorry if I've ever gotten on your nerves with any of my posts. Some days I'm blogging to get my thoughts out there for me to look back on one day and I'm sure it doesn't flow perfectly or always have pictures.

  63. Hey, we started our blogs at about the same time I had no idea! Your's just exploded. You have a huge readership for just 8 months of blogging.

    Who are these Debbie Downers? Maybe I'm crazy, but I can't think of any depression blogs. Most running blogs are upbeat to some degree.

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