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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Blogging Under the Influence

A lot of the decisions we make for our blogs are based on the views, interests and behaviors of outside forces, whether we realize it or not. These forces are influential in almost everything bloggers do -- from the design of our blogs to the frequency of posts we make and maybe even the platforms we choose to use. Here are some factors that play a part in our habit of blogging under the influence of our immediate and distant surroundings.

The Personal Interests behind your Blogging
A person’s favorite colors, bands, hobbies, foods and the like are all personal interests that can have an impact on how he or she blogs. It is worth considering the possibility that incorporating blogging elements based on the things, people and places you love tends to give your blog more personality and make you more relatable to readers. The design of our dear late great Tina Downey’s Life is Good blog has sunflowers and flamingos on display, as they are among the greatest forms of living organisms she favored most. This is an example of how bloggers make a blog their own while also creating a way for visitors to familiarize themselves with the space and person behind it, even before reading a single word that we write.

Your Blog Visitors and Readers
The people who visit, read and comment on our blogs also influence how we manage our little corners of the online world. Chances are slim that posts will be frequent if you don’t think anyone is reading your blog. On the flipside, you might be more likely to keep a consistent blogging schedule or at least post more often if there are people visiting your posts to discuss whatever you have presented to them. Our readers also impact the topics that we blog about and how we deliver this information. When similar questions related to the A-to-Z Challenge arose among various participants – such as categories and Adult Content, some A-to-Z Challenge Co-Hosts centered our blog posts on subject matters that addressed these concerns.

The Topic(s) You Blog About
If your blog focuses on a certain topic (writing, fitness, books, music, food, art, etc.), or several thereof, this tends to influence other elements of your blogging – from the fonts and colors that you use to the overall tone of the blog. For example, the dark background and glowing text on Jeremy Hawkins’ Being Retro blog is very reminiscent of Halloween and other creepy cool stuff. This works well for his blog because he writes about zombies, comics and monsters. The same type of color and font choices would likely be off-putting for a blogger who wrote about…say…bird-watching or the history of Jamaicans in the Olympics.

Your Favorite Blogger(s)
Anyone who has been blogging for a while knows there are times when we make decisions for our blogs based on what someone else is doing with his or her blog. Have you ever noticed a layout, style, social media button, sharing banner, design or blog post topic on another blog and then adapted that very same thing for your own, because you liked it so much? Sometimes our favorite bloggers that we look up to (or we think are just doing it right) inspire us to make changes or updates to our blog that wouldn’t have even been considered if they didn't do it first.

Anyone who has participated in the A-to-Z Challenge after seeing other bloggers they know signing up is a prime example of others in the blogosphere having influence on when and how you blog. If you've ever written a blog post in response to another blogger, that right there shows that someone else had an impact on your blogging decisions. A few years ago, one of my blog friends posted photos of his movie collection and invited readers to do the same with an “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” persuasion. Welcoming the invitation, I not only posted a photo of my messy batch of VHS tapes and DVDs but I also took the subject matter a bit further, responding to his original post by blogging about My Top Ten Independent Films. This is an example of how our favorite blogger(s) can influence the topics of the next blog post we make.

Statistics and Trends in the Blogosphere
Common technical and behavioral factors such as turning Word Verification on (or off), having music on auto-play, responding to comments and page-load times are things that affect our blogging decisions. Knowing that people are less likely to return visit or comment on your blog if it requires them to sign into Facebook or perform some other annoying task, will determine the features that you choose to implement for readers. Bloggers who place importance on engagement and interacting with their readers will be mindful of the trends that work against their blogging goals versus those that help them. The flipside of that would be bloggers who place their own interests above the visitors, and thus, would only receive a smaller sector of visitors who are members of whatever platform they limit the blog to.

What influences YOUR blogging decisions the most?

Are there any other influential factors that YOU think play a part in how someone blogs?

A-to-Z Challenge Co-Host Nicole Ayers discusses the misadventures in cinema at The Madlab Post. She is currently supporting the American Red Cross and chatting with funny folks on @MadlabPost on Twitter.  


  1. Most interesting facts about blogging and made enjoyable reading.

  2. I have changed some of my blogging habits because of what I've learned from other bloggers. They've taught me so much about consistency, commenting and a zillion other things.

  3. Lots of good points here.
    I know I do a lot of this.
    If I was consistent people might wonder what's wrong with me!

  4. I post about what interests me and post a variety so there is something that will interest others.

  5. Lots of good points here. I haven't been blogging much in the last six to nine months--work, writing, and health all seem to have stolen my time and creative energy. Maybe the fresh slate of the new year will help.

  6. I have no real "strategy" with my blogging. Most of the time I blog what I feel good about putting out there and hope others find it interesting...

  7. Hi Nicole - great points you make here .. and remembering Tina too. I reduced my clutter (which was negligible anyway) on Blogger when a few years ago it was causing us all drama re commenting etc. I need to bring some personality to the overall look of it - something I need to address very soon ..

    Cheers Hilary


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