yesterday a list of “what makes for a good blog”

was posted by merlin mann. and because i wrote the original list called “how to blog“, of course my mailbox was filled with people asking whaddya think.

with all due respect to mr mann, and i mean that, bro lost me at #1, Voice. Says Merlin:

Good blogs have a voice. Who wrote this? What is their name? What can I figure out about who they are that they have never overtly told me? What’s their personality like and what do they have to contribute — even when it’s “just” curation. What tics and foibles fascinate make me about this blog and the person who makes it? Most importantly: what obsesses this person?

I’m sorry, but next to making money, Voice is probably the most overrated goal in blogs. A good voice is good, but a blog with informative or interesting posts is far better and will be far more successful.

The concept that a voice is necessary for a successful blog just hasn’t been proven. Blogs like BoingBoing have 4 different bloggers who are very different from each other. The success of that blog (Top 5 on Technorati for years) is due to its content, not its voice.

Huffington Post has hundreds of contributors and has been #1 on Technorati for most of this year, not because of it’s voice but because of its content. Same could be said for Engadget, Gizmodo, Post Secret, or even icanhascheezeburger.

One can try to be the next Mike Royko or Jim Murray or Steve Lopez all they want. And a group can attempt to all write in a particular style or tone all they want. But the most successful blogs simply try to provide the best, most newsworthy, most interesting posts in a timely manner and don’t distract themselves with subjective ideals.

Of course there are exceptions to the rule: Dooce, Perez Hilton, Gawker, but when I was at LAist we went from 2000 in Technorati to 600 in six months with 50 people writing exactly the way they wanted to.

Likewise Top of the Ticket went from 2000 to 94 on Technorati in a short period of time with several vastly different styles of blogging. I don’t think anyone confused an Andy post from a Don post regardless of the fact that Andy utilizes “attitude”. Don doesn’t, and that blog is still climbing the charts.

i know it might be weird for the author of the busblog, a solo blog with tons of attitude and voice claiming that voice has nothing to do with what makes a good blog, but sorry, i saw it first hand at LAist: good content trumps “voice” any day of the week.

unless youre maddox.

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