Yeah, I’m going to be honest here. When I was tasked with writing a blog about my favourite blogs, and why I like them, I initially struggled. Not because I couldn’t think of any, but really because of that “where do I start?” dilemma that inflicts all writers. There’s probably even a blog on that subject somewhere.
Anyway, I read a lot of blogs, some of which I really enjoy and will go back to time and again. Does that definitively make them my “favourite” ones? You could argue that it does, particularly as other blogs I stumble across are able to engage me no further than the headline and first par, thereby rendering them as my non-favourite ones, I guess.
When I think of a blog, I think of a specific writer whose name is on that blog. That, for me personally, is the draw. I get a real kick out of an individual’s writing style, whether it be funny, witty, informative or whatever, even if their chosen subject is initially of no great interest to me. If I really like the way something is written, if it sucks me in, I’ll read it.
However, you could say a website with a collection of columnists writing about similar subjects of interest to me, that in itself constitutes as a blog. For example, I’m a big fan of football, and I really enjoy reading caughtoffside.com, mostly because I like reading the opinions of experts. Or even our very own Learning Lounge, in which all LikeMind Media staff share their thoughts and ideas for the benefit of the marketing world.
But are those two examples blogs? Yes, they probably are. Could I list those websites among my “favourite” blogs? Or should I stick to my predilection that a blog is a written article by one individual? Dilemmas, dilemmas…
Then something twigged: It doesn’t actually matter how you define a blog. Which means I’ve just wasted a minute or two of your time reading this by rambling to myself and failing to deliver a valid point.
But hang on, there is a point. Whichever way it’s dressed up, whether it’s an individual or a collection of writers, if it looks and feels like a blog, and it’s something you want to read, then you absolutely should. Be a sponge, soak up all the content you can, good or bad. If it is good, and it’s a blog that makes you want to return to, you’re on to a winner. The more you read, the more you’ll learn, and the more it will help develop your own writing style.
Here are five key things I look for in a good blog, and which have led me to choose the examples I’ll come on to in a bit (I promise, I won’t take up too much more of your time):
See what I did there? I’ve refrained from calling them my favourite ones. Cheeky, I know. But I do really like these blogs, for all the reasons listed above, and I will go back to them because I know I’m going to enjoy them; because they’re going to make me laugh; because I’m going to learn something helpful, whether for career or life purposes; because they’re just a right good read. Some of them you’ll probably be familiar with, and there’s a reason for that. Anyhoo, without any further ado:
As something of a self-confessed silly old sod myself, this blog never fails to tickle my fancy. It’s wildly funny, it talks about everyday things in life that I can relate to, or that bother me as much as the Silly Old Sod himself, and is one of my go-tos when my spirits need lifting. I love it.
Not just a blogger, but an award-winning author and massive on social media too. It was on Twitter where I first learned of the Secret Barrister’s existence, drawn in by the mystery of who this anonymous person is. Written by a genuine practising criminal barrister, it’s an authoritative, darkly comic and revelatory exposure of the justice system in the UK.
I couldn’t not have Ann Handley on this list. She’s something of a marketing goddess at LikeMind Media Towers too, whether it’s her live stage appearances, her fortnightly newsletters (which are a must) or her best-selling book Everybody Writes, which is as much a marketing bible as you’re likely to get. Ann writes her blog in a style uniquely her own, which is not only wonderfully engaging but also teaches me, and I dare say thousands of others, a thing or two.
Outrageously funny and well worth reading for the laugh-out-loud stories about life as a waiter – but oh so much more than that as well. Also an award-winning author, and with a blog back catalogue stretching back to 2014 – that’s not only dedication, but proof how far a blog can take you if it hits all the right notes. A delicious treat.
I have an interest in politics to the point that it matters, because it affects me. I want to know what’s going on, so I keep myself abreast of the latest political news without ever becoming a fervent politico. Guido Fawkes is always there with an opinion, or further insights, when a major political story breaks – even breaking some of their own. There’s gossip and tittle tattle, and it’s all very right-wing, but it’s a take on politics that you won’t get from the mainstream media.
The internet is awash with blogs by stay-at-home mums, working mums, single mums etc. You name it, there’s a mummy blog for it. Which makes it harder to sort the wheat from the chaff. But I find myself curiously being drawn to Slummy Single Mummy every once in a while, because it’s everything I’m not. It offers me that viewpoint from the non-me, and does so in a way that’s honest, often humorous and generally very well-written. Kudos.
I love music, but I don’t get to many live gigs anymore, and I don’t buy new music very often because the whole landscape has changed thanks to Spotify and the like, and because I mostly listen to Greatest Hits on the radio these days. So I like to keep my toes dipped in by reading NME’s blogs – they’re as diverse as I like to think my CD collection is (yup, I still do CDs) and they retain a link with what I call the good old days, when buying and listening to music was a major part of my life. They help me feel still connected in some way, and if someone brings up Flo in a conversation, I’m likely to know who they’re on about rather than looking blank and old.
I’m a sucker for them, whether it’s the BBC about today’s big news story, or the latest from the Test match at Lord’s, or football transfer talk. They’re right there in the here and now, and I can even forgive the multiple mistakes, because that’s how quickly the authors are responding to events.
And that, really, is all I have to say about that. The more blogs you read, the easier it is to pick out the ones that really mean something to you, and the more you’ll go back to them. Hopefully, you’ll learn a few things on the way, or have a laugh, or just marvel at the way an individual can make you feel so invested merely by the words they write. Ta-ra for now.
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