What could be better than to enlist the help of a Social-Media-Addicted-and-Therefore-Representative-Millennial to talk about what to include in a blog targeted at this important up-and-coming consumer group? As a relative newcomer to the world of wine blogs, my very bright niece Margaret has a few recommendations to those wineries and Citizen Bloggers who might be interested in improving their blogs. I enlisted her help during schoolbreak from Indiana University, knowing that she is a constant internet and iPhone user ( junkie might be too strong a word, well, maybe not….). For several days, she took a look at the list of best blogs culled from recommended blogs noted on other sites (vinography.com, etc ) and here are her observations about what catches interest -- or not --
- Blogs should include a very visible way to contact the blogger. Ideally this should be in a “contact-us” tab at the top of a blog, if your blog is organized that way. If not, embed your e-mail address in the “about me” or “profile” section. Why make it so hard to contact a blogger directly? I mean, we all want content suggestions, as well as comments on what we’ve blogged, right? And sometimes we'd like to have this dialogue off-line....
· Blogs that Margaret showed me as examples that use this feature best: http://www.thewinoclub.com/, http://www.fermentingthoughts.com/, http://www.barrys-wine.blogspot.com/, http://www.sharonwine.blogspot.com/ (which uses the (at) and (dot) to foil spammers
- It is useful to put on your blog the list of blogs that you personally respect and follow. Some people call this a blog-roll. And this blog feature is perhaps most important for what we used to call “the working press”, ie those blogs associated with a print magazine, because having this feature on a publication’s blog shows that the editors and writers are open to gathering information from a variety of news sources. If you are not a member of the working press, having this list on your blog still shows that you are open to other sources of information than just those in your immediate social sphere. A good example per Margaret: http://www.sharonwine.blogspot.com/
· By the way, those who establish links to other bloggers make it easy to build relationships and share readers with each other. Margaret says, also look at www.nichewineblog.com
- An example of a blog that could use some graphic-artist assistance, in Margaret’s opinion: http://www.winemaking.jackkeller.net/. Her reaction: “everything is the same color, it is just a headache to read because of the small font, you have to scroll down a long way to find information.”
- An example of a well-designed blog in Margaret’s opinion: http://www.domaine547.com/, because “the sections are clear, header bar at the top takes you quickly to different parts of the site”.
Overall, bloggers are pretty literate – not too many grammatical errors, misspellings, long boring sentences. (This comment from Margaret, who is, after all, a dual English/Neuropsychology major)
Now, of course, I need to take her recommendations to heart, and improve my own blog. And I will. Thanks, Margaret, for doing a wonderful job!