It seems everyone has a blog nowadays, from your postman to your mum (eek!) but what really makes one stand out whilst other fade into oblivion? Having a great design definitely helps, as well as making sure you’ve laid out your site efficiently, but I tend to think the real success of a blog is in the content- and the commenters.
Feedback is an essential part of web 2.0 as that’s what really makes the blog format stand out, but why some posts gets loads of comments and others get none remains a mystery. Sure, if the topic is very controversial you know you’re provoking a debate, but what about the majority of stuff that falls into the middle ground? Ever felt a little bit green when your friend skins up her site with a stylish new template, or you see a semi-identikit post get 100 comments to your none? What you’re suffering from is Blog Envy.
(1) The jealousy you feel when you see another blog getting recognition in the mainstream press.
(2) The jealousy you feel when you realize that your friend’s blog is more popular than yours. ‘
I have to admit to suffering from this very 21st century ailment, as though I’d like to be happy when I see a lovely new piece of software or a cool piece of tech on a site, often the most dominating factor is the green eyed monster.
The strange thing about this is that I don’t feel Blog Envy towards professional sites, as I expect the likes of Gizmodo, and Electric Pig to do very well, it’s when I see peoples personal sites that envy comes out in full force.
There’s a site called Phatterism that is amazingly designed, with graphics and flash that goes so far beyond my level of expertise that I just sit and gawp at it, and then you have the lower level sites that seem to directly compete with your own inane rambling. When my friend redesigned her site I was impressed with her clean layout and Twitter streams, but the envy angle did seem to be in effect as well. Why is this?
Surely the success of another site doesn’t detract from my own, or perhaps the issues is that I feel my content isn’t quite as well rounded or creative as someone else? Since leaving school there’s a whole competitive angle missing from most of our lives, as we no longer battle each other on a curve or for discernible result; as a blogger our success is seen in our traffic and feedback. In a work situation you’re never really ‘graded’ in the same way as at school, you may be assessed and given a bonus (or fired) but the competitive structure of actively working against someone is often missing (in most, but not all industries).
Perhaps that’s why blog envy is such an understandable diseases, the curse of the social media masses who try desperately to stand out, yet find themselves absorbed in the sheer numbers and weight of the web. As with any disease it can be combated- so stay positive, create great content and remember you’re writing for the Web because you love it– and who cares what anyone else thinks?
Zara Rabinowicz edits Shiny Shiny and Kiss and Makeup and runs her own blog Almost Zara. She’s guilty of blog envy, but tries to curb it by posting positive comments.