Pick A Blog Style: Useful, Attractive, Abrasive, Nice or Controversial

Style can be anything from classy to prickly. Like puppets you can be a witch, a lady or a penguin? You can design and present a style driven by your message, image or goals. / © 2009

Blog style is the graphic design, the page layout and the writing style. Even the promotion and advertising (where you advertise and post links back to your articles) can reflect a certain style. Together, these elements comprise a package that is attractive and useful to a group of people. Attractiveness and usefulness are personal preferences, to some people a style will be attractive, but usually it will not be attractive to everyone. To some controversial opinions are attractive while to others food delicacies or the latest shoe fashion is attractive and useful. To some a simple clean design is attractive while to others a busy design loaded with information is more useful. Since blogs are usually targeted at a narrow audience base, this makes styling a blog easier than a magazine or a general web site. New blogs can use a design similar to other blogs in their category. The overall style could be similar but still unique in some way (change in color scheme or page layout.) Some new blogs, for example, off-shoots from established blogs, use similar page layout and colors. Writing style and promotion location is usually the same as their original “parent blogs”. As a new blogger, you can start with a simple design from Blogger, Word Press or Type Pad. As you blogging skills advance, you will become familiar with page design and widgets.

One of the most looked at aspect of style is the writing. Writing style varies as much as the subject matter and a writer’s personality. Blogging started out as the alternative media channel. Blogs were the “unofficial voice” counterpart to corporate and established newspaper web sites. Bloggers wrote about rumors and stories companies did not want published officially. From the very beginning, blogs were written in informal and direct style. People wrote about their cities, their hobbies and their interests. In politics, a large number of blogs and readers quickly spread rumors and and wider range of opinions. In technology, blogs about gadgets, product pre-release rumors and unofficial reviews became popular. Just like political readers, technology fans wanted the latest news with all the details behind new products. Essentially blogs became the voice of details which traditional Internet sites did not have. –Imagine a “water cooler discussion” on a global scale.

As far as writing style, blogs keep articles short, from 250 to 600 words long. Bloggers also focus on a narrow subject area and try to become a source of information or opinion in that area. There are many blogs in certain subject areas (for example the US political scene) but for the most part, only a few blogs become a vital communities with discussions and opinions written by the readers. To learn about top blogs take a look at lists and ratings. The top 20 to 30 blogs can give you a good idea of a specific area. The Huffington Post was an early political news and opinion blog which quickly became an authority in the US political debate. Many focused subject areas are not covered by popular blogs yet. Many attempts to cover these areas are started, but for the most part not enough dedication and resources are put into these projects. A large blog can be an effort of many writers, researchers and promoters (both free promotion and paid advertising.) Finally, blogs are a forum started by one posted article and continued by comments from a community of readers. The discussion among people is what makes a blog a useful to many people. The blogger starts with a post which stimulates a conversations. Political and current event blogs usually have a controversial style, technology blogs usually have a “scoop” style (revealing a hidden new idea or product), art and design blogs highlight a hidden artists or an obscured project or exhibition. There are blogs which become a stream of news and scoops from other blogs. This has made the blogsphere a voice of the people in focused communities.

As blog use matured, corporations, government agencies and private organizations realized their usefulness. Today many corporations give their workers a voice through blogs. In the technology world, Microsoft, Google, Oracle and many top corporations use technical and business writers to voice their opinion. Technical blogs are also used to explain how products work and show examples from early adopters (users.) In the business side, companies use blogs to elaborate on details of their business from finance, marketing and operation. They also comment on current events in a more immediate and details manner than possible in press releases and articles. The financial downturn in the US and it’s affects on the global economy has given bloggers plenty of material to start discussions and elaborate on them.

Writing blogs is one of the best way to learn about style and to test your own writing style. The same goes for design style, take your blog of a few articles and change themes, color schemes and layout styles. With most blogging platforms you can change page layout, colors, and design style by replacing themes and adding widgets. There are plug-ins for distribution and connection of the content to outside services like social tagging (digg, delicious), social networking (Facebook, MySpace, Linked-In), micro-blogging (Twitter, Four Squares) and RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feeds. This was a bit about style consideration, start looking at blogs for style and try your own style as well. Good luck!

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