Everyone loves a critic

I learned the hard way. Sometimes bloggers get a teensy-weensy bit defensive when offered advice. Just a teensy bit.  And no wonder! Confessional blogs are truly personal. Even blogs that are more focused on writing get really personal really fast. And it’s a bitter pill to swallow if someone gives criticism, no matter how well intentioned. Most people don’t want some know-it-all, copy-writer wannabe to point out that their dialogue is hard to follow or the rambling introduction is distracting. Even if a rhetorical question taps off a post (“What do you think? Share in comments!”), those who want to avoid conflict know it’s best to compliment, not criticize.

A kinder, gentler critic                              

So how can we help other people improve their blogs – and also help us improve our own.  Today’s topic in the yeah write version of Problogger’s 31 Days to Building a Better Blog, is just that. We’re going to set off to improve someone else’s blog – and we’re going to do it with positive reinforcement! Carrots! No sticks!

The list of suggestions from the Problogger 31dbbb is positive, helpful, and realistic. And many are as simple as being a positive community member. These are my favorites:

  • Leave helpful and insightful comments: Not just “I love this!” Choose a section you find especially sharp or smart or stunning and explain WHY you like it best.
  • Link to the blog in a post, and share the blog through social media. Few readers click on random links, so give your readers a reason to click. “Feeling blue? Check out this wickedly funny post by [insert name here] to shake it off.”
  • Write to the blogger to share topics you think would be fantastic on the blog AND let her/him know when you find a post particularly helpful. You never know. It could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
  • Think you can offer something truly special? Offer to guest post with a topic that fits into the blogger’s niche. Don’t be turned off if you are turned down. Blogs are like babies for many. Often, bloggers need to work up to allowing other voices onto their home turf.
  • If you know a blogger is interested in monetizing, go ahead and share postive or negative experiences with affiliate programs or advertisers. Sometimes that is the motivation an amateur blogger needs to keep up improvements.

Get out there and make the blogosphere shine!

Look around and choose a blog to spit-shine. Since this can be tough, interested parties can feel free to choose a random post or two to practice on at That Unique* Weblog. I’ve been neglecting it horribly, so there’s plenty to polish up.  Are you willing to be a thick-skinned guinea pig as well? Add your blog to the 31dbbb grid below! Create a special post or page so your visitors can leave their comments in one central place. Check out Problogger for additional suggestions and encouragements. Once you’ve finished your tasks, let us know how it went in comments.