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Do People Get Your Blog?

Everyone has their idea of the perfect holiday or Christmas card. In fact, I’ve been hunting for the perfect card for years, buying up simple but charming cards of tress covered in snow and snowy scenes of mountains. I admit that I’m not into the reason for the season aspect of the end of the year holidays as much as I am into the season.

This year, my friend, Leslie, had the best Christmas card I’ve seen in a long time.

Leslie’s 2007 Christmas Card

While it hosts a Christmas tree – or rather a Christmas tree ornament – it is not your normal Christmas card with season blessings, winter snowy, stars, or manger scenes. Take a moment to really look at it.

Do you get it?

Not everyone figured it out. She got numerous reactions from her friends and family, people who know her twisted sense of humor well. Some thought it was an interesting work of abstract art. Her artsy-fartsy friends said “tre nouveau!” Others enjoyed it for its “realism of the modern Christmas” with more time at the mall than with the family. A few said it was daring and adventurous. One person said, “Oh, I can see the face!” Another told her she was “thinking outside of the box again.” Others smiled and said how nice. A few really bold types admitted they didn’t get it.

Did you get it?

“There’s nothing to get,” explains Leslie.

Indeed, there isn’t. It’s a Christmas tree ornament hanging from the mirror of her car in a shopping center parking lot. Nothing more, nothing less. It is exactly what you see. A form of WYSIWYG.

I took one look at it and shouted, “Blog post!”

Judging Your Blog

Are people “getting” your blog? Are your readers reading more into your blog than is there? Are you? Is your blog really “what you see is what you get” or do the readers and visitors have to dig deep to uncover the real story of your blog?

People judge blogs from three perspectives.

  1. From the blogger’s perspective.
  2. A visitor’s first impression.
  3. A regular reader’s familiarity built over time.

From the web design/visual aspect, a blog is much like Leslie’s Christmas card or any artwork. It’s judged by it’s looks, but also by its content, all the elements that fit within the frame of your web browser.

Search engines and feed readers don’t care about the pretty, impressed only with the words. While search engines don’t make assumptions nor decisions about whether or not your blog is worthy of a return, the visual and contextual nature of your blog can turn visitors into readers and keep your readers coming back for more.

People have a way of reading more into things than are there. Call it “reading between the lines” or making assumptions, a lot of people make snap decisions with little or no information.

Leslie laughs at the reactions of all these people, and even my reaction, trying to tie everything into my blog. “I liked the ornament, a gift from a friend. I put it on the car mirror because it was pretty. I took a picture of it to show my friend how I was making use of her gift. I liked the results so I turned it into my Christmas card. That’s it.”

Sometimes a Christmas tree ornament hanging from the car mirror is just a Christmas tree ornament hanging from a car mirror. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s what you put into the picture that makes it what it is.

Look at your blog like you looked at Leslie’s Christmas card. Do you see something that isn’t there? Or do you see what you get?

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, the author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.


  1. Posted February 6, 2008 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I love how the ornament is a glittery holiday take on the cardboard pine tree hanging from so many car rear view windows.

    I was surprised visual appearance was number 2 on the list rather than number 1 for new visitors. If I stumble on a site cold, with no preconceived notion of its worth from a referral, appearance is everything. I figure if the author doesn’t care how the the information is presented, he won’t care about the quality of his message either. I’m convinced it’s why so many stats show visitor length of less than 5 seconds.

  2. Posted February 7, 2008 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    I immediately thought it was a statement about how warm it has been in parts of the country during Christmas. It could be a statement about global warming! Soon we will need to have air conditioned Christmases.

  3. Posted February 12, 2008 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    What a great meta-thought process: do people get my blog?

    In my case, mostly not.

    I operate a blog-based archive of online advertising — the stuff 95% of us hate, 3% of us tolerate, and 2% of us love. A site that highlights good, bad, and great online ads (and then monetizes the content with yet more ads) is too much for some to process.

    And yet, the site is exactly what we tell people: an archive of online advertising. Nothing more and nothing less.

  4. Posted February 14, 2008 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    To me the tree ornament says “peace on earth, goodwill to all mankind,” and then you look through the car windscreen to see what looks like a traffic jam – certainly a lot of people’s cars! More likely to be a car park, looking at it again. The cars’ owners are probably all in the store, fighting over the last DVD player.

    I think if you see something that the photographer (or writer) didn’t intend to to picture, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

    I tend not to let a blog’s appearance get to me too much, unless it’s very hard to read or navigate for some reason. My own snap judgements tend to be based on the first post or two, followed by a quick scan of the post titles in the sidebar. Sometimes I look to see if the writer answers his/her comments, or links to other blogs (and not just techy sites).

    Sometimes I will subscribe and read a blog for quite a while before realizing I’m not ‘clicking’ enough with what I find there, but even if the site doesn’t suit me, it will suit others. Just a matter of personal taste. :-).

  5. Posted February 14, 2008 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Good metaphor. To be honest I thought it was an advertisement ad. lol

  6. Posted February 16, 2008 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    I must have stared for 10 minutes…trying to find SOMETHING. All I saw was an ornament. And finally, when I could no longer bear it, I clicked “read more” in an attempt to read the answer. Haha that was such a waste of my time. Well, I’m not sure blog readers stare at posts and over-analyze them unless they’ve got…head problems…

    Cool insight though.

  7. Posted February 16, 2008 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    “A Rose is a rose is a rose!” Yes, I liked that. I’m just ten days into blogging (on WordPress, I don’t count some feeble attempts on Blogger) and already family, friends and even I are mubling about ‘the meaning behind all this’ and such nonsense. I got tangled up in self-conscious knots, very silly. thank you for the heads up: A car ornament is just that, even if it’s a Christmas card!


  8. Posted February 19, 2008 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    I like the juxtaposition.

    Some blogs look like checkout counters or well-medaled cub scouts. That is fine if it fits the content.

    I enjoyed your post.

  9. Posted February 21, 2008 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    It reminds me of talking with a friend who’s a published poet. He used to talk about critics finding things in his work he’d never even thought of. “Does it bother you?” I asked. “Not at all – I love it! Once I’ve published the poem, it has a life of its own.” Same goes for blog design, or Christmas card photography. It’s what makes art, I think.

  10. sscor
    Posted April 4, 2008 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    This is just what I needed simple and straight to the point. I will begin to utilize this info right away thanks.

  11. Posted July 5, 2008 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Very useful blog article, many thanks…

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  1. […] even with close friends or relatives there can be misunderstandings. As Lorelle explains in one of her latest posts, people can understand or see something you did not mean at all. That is why you should keep […]

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