Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Blogging Mentors

Flickr Credit: Tim Ellis
You may remember that back in that-other-month I changed my blog design—I, for one, like it better this way, but it didn’t come without constant study. That’s right: I sat down, ran through every blog on my reading list, and looked for what made certain blogs look prettier than others.

But, as I studied, I realized that several bloggers also had a good handle on what they wrote and how they were promoting it.

Wow, I thought. I should do that stuff.

And thus I realized my need for Blogging Mentors. Now, don’t misunderstand me—they’re not really formal teachers. I don’t tell them I’m paying special attention to what they’re doing. Nor do I copy what my Blogging Mentors do. That is not why they’re there.

Taken altogether, Blogging Mentors are a gauge for what I could or should be doing to make my blog function as best it possibly can.

There are five big things I like to pay attention to when I look at my Blogging Mentors:

1.  look and layout :: the thing about my Blogging Mentors? They look nice. They’re clean, they’re concise, and they’re attractive. It’s not about professional design or outrageous overload; they simply make an effort to give a good first impression.

2. content :: I say again, I don’t copy what they write, but I’ve always felt concepts are fair game. On the same token, my Mentors usually have a good handle on post and paragraph length, which is among one of my weaknesses.

3. extras :: my Mentors usually don’t go crazy with the extras—those they include are specific and intentional, whether that includes pictures, GIFs, blog pages, or widgets.

4. advertising :: I follow several of my Mentors on social media, which gives me a chance to observe how they keep in contact with their readers or can promote themselves without being obnoxious.

5. community :: my Blogging Mentors also interact with lots of other bloggers, writers, and readers; therefore, they provide good examples when addressing and interacting with other blogs.

That’s the stuff I care about, anyway.

I like to think I get a little something out of every blog I read, but among some of my go-to mentors, I’ll share five.

Writability :: Ava Jae :: “tips, tricks, & thoughts from one writer to cyberspace every M, W & F”

A Splash of Ink :: Sunny Smith :: “writing tips, writing research help, and other bookish things that tickle my fancy!”

The Write Practice :: Joe Bunting (etc.) :: a blog for writers to kickstart their writing practice

Gossiping with Dragons :: Imogen Elvis :: a writer and blogger sharing thoughts and lessons learned

YAvengers :: The Avengers (of course) :: “Writing YA Fiction for the Greater Good”

If you look around at those particular Mentors, you might notice that they’re not all perfect. In fact, I would never attempt some of their stylistic choices. Again, I’m not copying—I’m taking a look at what matters on their blog, and deciding whether it matters to me.

But, as you can expect, regardless of all their differences I’m exceptionally grateful to my Blogging Mentors and a big fan. They do a great job, and I’m glad they’re around. Who knows where I’d be without them?


Do you have Blogging Mentors (even if you’ve never called them that before)? What do you look for in a blog you choose to admire?

4 comments :

  1. First off, wow, I didn't realise that you liked what I do enough to consider me a blogging mentor. I feel so honoured now! Secondly, I'd agree with pretty much all those blogs on your list. I love Ava Jae's blog, though I don't read it half often enough. I don't think I've seen The Write Practice before though. I'll have to check that out pronto. Thirdly, I certainly do have blogs that I look up to almost as mentors. One that I really look up to is The Notebook Sisters. They have such an awesome blog and I've learn so much from what they do.

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    1. Haha, yeah—your design is gorgeous and I like what you do. XD So thanks for being out there, because it helps. :) And yeah, Writability is one of my favorites! The Write Practice is great for reading, but I usually don't participate because it feels like it's aimed towards an adult audience more than anything else. :/ And I've very recently come across The Notebook Sisters and found it fascinating, so I'll definitely be keeping a lookout for more!

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  2. Thanks so much for this! There are so many impressive blogs I have yet to discover. I'm always looking for ways to improve my blog, although it can be frustrating at times!
    The blogs I admire are bright and not too cluttered, and if they have a lot of widgets and images then I like it to be orderly. Like you said though, I like when they are instantly eye-catching when you click on it. Great post, thanks for sharing! (And thanks for stopping by AFWB!) c:

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    1. I think the hardest thing about blogging is knowing that you can't read all the good ones. It's a tragedy! But I definitely agree, however frustrating it may be it's worth it to keep going. :)

      I agree with all those things—they do matter, whether they know it or not. I'm glad you liked it! (And no problem—I enjoyed my visit!)

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