I will be suing Jared Wilson. Get lawyered up.All resemblance to any actual, existing blogs is purely coincidental. I couldn’t possibly be referring to you.
Seriously though, I do want to be helpful. I can work on many of these things myself, otherwise they wouldn’t be in my head to tell you.
1. It’s too personal. Personal is good. Too personal and I don’t care. I should know enough about your life to understand you. I shouldn’t know what you are doing with your homeschooled kids every day or how your sheets gave you a rash. Know what “TMI” stands for and blog accordingly.
2. You have no sense of humor. You can’t laugh at yourself. You don’t find normal things funny. Your blogging is too killer serious about religion, marriage, kids, church, politics, etc. You can’t tell jokes. You don’t post funny pics. You’re sour and easily offended. Blogging without humor disqualifies it from being edifying and helpful to my mental health.
Even though I am a seminary grad with post grad hours and extensive reading, and even though I teach Bible professionally, I know the difference between myself and Ben Witherington III, which some bloggers clearly do not. Reading some rookie blogger tear into a guy with three Ph.d’s is, at the least, unlikely to yield any real insights.
4. Your posts don’t have links that lead me to new, interesting and helpful sites I’ve not yet discovered. I tell this to beginning bloggers all the time, but usually to no avail. Season your posts with helpful links. Not too many and not everything with a site, but with the links that will lead your readers to discover what you’ve discovered that’s worth their time. The internet is a vast universe to be explored, and it is constantly changing. Helping one another gain usable information and tools from that universe makes the experience worthwhile.
5. Your blog is an echo chamber. A fan site. You’ve got your favorite preachers, teachers and authors. You repeatedly link them with an applause sign, or you copy and paste them with added accolades, or you repeat what they said in your own words. You do it every time they post, preach or publish. Your blog is nothing more than an audience for your heroes. Now we all know who you think is awesome. Wonderful.
6. Your finger wagging lectures make your readers feel stupid. There are very few people I read or listen to knowing they are going to make me feel stupid. In a learning environment, I’m willing to hear new points of view or examine my own in the light of new questions and critical engagements. I enjoy a person who challenges my way of thinking or acting WHEN they do it with truth, not guilt or manipulation. I don’t want to hear how amazing it is that I don’t agree with you, and if I’d only 1) read your post AGAIN, 2) read the Bible verses AGAIN or 3) admit my ignorance in comparison to your grasp of the subject, then all the answers would be obvious.
One of the worst blog posts I ever read took some guys at the BHT to task for having a discussion of God’s sovereignty in regard to natural disasters. The blogger was shocked: how could anyone not just read the verses and shut up? Whence cometh this unholy discussion? Socrates, drink this hemlock and be quiet.
7. Your blog wastes my time. After I come there, I’ve learned nothing, seen nothing, felt nothing and been moved toward nothing. It was just there. I want my five minutes back. I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but is there anything real, human, truthful, beautiful or worthwhile there?
8. You keep telling me how much I need to read your blog posts. No one else tells me I need to read your posts. No one links them. No one seems to have noticed them. But you keep saying I really need to read them.
Call me cynical, but I believe that blogs build audiences the old fashioned way: People who find them decide to link to them, add them to feeds, bookmark them, write about them and tell others that this blog is saying something interesting. If that system doesn’t work, you aren’t interesting.
9. You keep playing with your site and it’s annoying. The fonts/colors/template change. The sidebars grow like some kind of lab culture. You’ve added every tie-in, java box and whirling dervish you can find, and then you redo the template. Some ADD people like this. I don’t. Change your site occasionally, please. I’m fine with that, but take it easy. Anyone who spends too much time redesigning the sidebar needs to go home and hug their children.
And don’t get me started on people who are fascinated with stats, awards, links, meters and graphs. Go find an aluminum foil ball, put it on a string and bat it around.
Number one change you can make to improve your blog: Better, larger, plainer fonts.
If your site isn’t working, you ought to know. Have someone unbiased and honest tell you. Then fix whatever is wrong so it works for you and your readers. Then leave it alone and let it work.
10. You think blogging is too important. You talk about the “blogosphere” like it’s the real world. You have teams assigned in the blog universe and you are willing to have galactic war over what you think is important. You would pay money to go see your favorite bloggers. You engage college students who write inane comments on your blog like they are Richard Dawkins. You believe the “Christian blogosphere” is being read by millions of non-Christians. You think your blog is like a church and you’re the pastor. You have delusions of celebrity because you once got linked by Adrian Warnock. You keep talking about wanting to “blog full time.” You have a “fund raising drive” for your blog. You went blogging on a date. You blogged your honeymoon. You take your laptop into the bathroom. You asked your pastor if you could liveblog his sermons. You bought an iPhone so you could keep up with your Twitter friends 24/7. You go to sleep thinking of your next blog post. You are offering a “livecam” to those who want to watch you blog live. You get out of bed in the middle of the night to check your moderated comments. You give yourself a superhero name like “Internet Monk.”………..forget about that last one.
In other words, you scare me.
Blog like you’ve turned it off and you really don’t need to turn it back on to be normal. Then it might be worth reading you.