What Makes a Good Horse Blog (to me)

What Makes a Good Horse Blog (to me)

A while ago, I wrote a post called the Makings of a Great Blog.  I still like that post,and I still agree with what I wrote two years ago now.

Now I know a lot more of the blogging community than I did back then.  Though I’ve always followed a lot of horse blogs, I feel more a part of the community now.  I talk to lots of bloggers on a daily basis, and if I’m being honest I’m being more choosy in what blogs I read and follow religiously (it’s no longer 302 like that post says).

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So what makes a good one?  How do you go from 0 followers to a million bajillion  (sidenote: I don’t have a million bajillion followers)?

The truth is, there really is no formula.  You can do a lot of things to help, like write posts that you think Google search will index highly and therefore bring readers to your site.  You can create infographics.  You can spend money on Facebook ads.  Really, you can do all sorts of things… but it’s harder to pinpoint than all of the tried and true marketing staples.

Dependable content is still great.  You don’t have to be a daily poster, but don’t write for two weeks straight of posts and then disappear for six months.  Find your rhythm, and keep it consistent.

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Your voice is not my voice, and my voice is not your voice.  Don’t copy what you see has a lot of followers and perceived to be popular.  We all can’t be Ainsley Carter.  L. Williams can’t be me and I can’t be Carly even though I wish I could be as funny as her.  Maybe your forte is writing really detailed training posts about your shows or lessons.  That’s not my voice or my preference, but you’ll build your own audience who just loves reading what you write.  A shorter way to phrase this entire paragraph is don’t try to put a square peg in a round hole.  Find your voice and be true to who you are.

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A blog is a discussion between a writer and their audience.  I firmly believe that the beauty of social media is that it creates a conversation between a content source (blog) and an audience (readers).  Sometimes I write posts that are merely a status update, but more times than not I try to write something that will facilitate a conversation.  That’s why you see a lot of my posts end in a question or be about some ambiguous horse topic that could be interpreted a million different ways.  Honestly, it’s great for driving comments up… but furthermore I think there is often more value in the comments of my blog posts than my blog. My readers are a really smart, articulate bunch!

A blog is not a journal.  Some may disagree with me, but I guess what I’m saying is that if you’re writing a blog with the goal of getting readers and followers you have to treat it differently than what it’s name implies – web log.  If your goal has nothing to do with readers and comments, rock on with whatever you want to do!

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It does not hurt to have a cute or unusual horse.  Personally?  I love pintos.  LOVE THEM.  I dream of pinto sport horses… so naturally I’m pretty drawn to Our House on a Hill because Foster is amazing and I’m going to steal him.  This doesn’t mean I hate your blog if you have a plain bay Thoroughbred (you know, like my horse…) but sometimes you just get lucky because some readers will naturally like your horse/dog/discipline/farm more than other blogs.  That’s life.

Spread positivity. Being a blogger means being a part of the blogging community, and you might now always agree with what’s going on.  It try to go by the “Thumper” philosophy – if you can’t say something nice, don’t say nuttin’ at all.  Leaving snarky comments on another blog or attacking a blogger in some way is usually not a good way to get traffic.

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Don’t hold back.  That doesn’t mean go crazy and start spreading barn gossip on the internet, but be bold.  Stir up a little controversy!  Try something new!  E-mail that online retailer who you’d like to host a giveaway for… you never know what can happen.  If you don’t try new stuff, you’ll never know how far you can push your little online world.

Those are just a few of my talking points, but there are tons more.  What do you like in a blog?

See, there I go again asking questions!

31 thoughts on “What Makes a Good Horse Blog (to me)

  1. I like blogs with a great layout (easy to read), lots of pictures and that has the information about themselves and their horse in the sidebar or on a page. I can’t stand visiting a blog and being unable to find the names, breeds, discipline, etc. of their horses or anything about the writer. There is nothing to keep me there in that case. So yeah, having a really interesting, well written about me page is a huge draw!

  2. I totally agree with you here. I would like to add a very important point: PARAGRAPHS. I’m a detailed-training-ride blog, and if I didn’t put a line break in after every 2-3 sentences, my readers’ eyes would glaze over. Internet style conventions are not the same as English grammer style conventions.

    You started to get there with the cute or unusual horse thing, but when I look at a blog I might want to follow, I always ask ‘What’s your story?’ What makes you compelling? What journey are you on? Those are the best blogs – it doesn’t even have to be competition-related. Aimee’s journey with Izzy and Cuna and Courage and fear is a fantastic example of a great journey and compelling story, and she has the readers/followers to prove it.

    1. Omg yes, paragraphs! I admit, even though training blogs aren’t my most favorite they are SO MUCH EASIER to read through when the paragraphs are broken up by pictures and line breaks. So so so important!

      Also good point on the “What’s your story?” Different people are drawn to different things.

  3. Wait.. I can’t be other people?

    I think the paragraph about a blog not being a journel is kinda up for debate, you are correct if you are trying to monetize, gain followers, etc etc then yeah the way you go about it will be different, but then there are people out there like me who don’t want to be indexed and are happy as a clam in their tiny corner of the web.

    That’s okay too. It can be a lot of things to a lot of people but don’t be unindexed and then wonder why you aren’t making $100 a month on adds with a majillion followers (true story I do not wonder these things!)

    1. I still think a blog is not a journal, even if you aren’t trying to monetize and gain followers. If you allow comments and allow the public to read your blog, in my opinion the journal idea is broken. To me, a journal is a private, one direction document whereas a blog is moreso a back and forth thing.

  4. Ahh, thanks for the shoutout! 😀

    I definitely fall into the training ride/show recap category, and find it to be hard sometimes to strike a balance between writing the content for myself (so that I can review it an remember it later) and writing something that others want to read. Also, filling these posts with pictures (especially if no one was there to document the lesson/show) can be hard, and I dislike columns and columns of text! The struggle is real.

  5. Great post! I started EmisaGem back in 2009 as a way for my family and friends across the country to catch a glimpse into my new life in CA- I didn’t allow comments and truly felt like it was a personal journal.
    W, E, &, E is much the same way for me- still personal snapshots of my daily life (with big pictures- a must for me)! I love being able to go back and see the goings on.

    All that said- I love blogs (like yours) that offer though provoking topics and great conversations! In fact I usually don’t end up commenting because I’ve spent the day thinking about my feelings about said topic and by the time I get around to it there’s a new post to think about!

    I envy those who have the brain functionality to brainstorm up these great posts after a long day at work, horses, life, etc!

  6. I’ve definitely been terrible with my rhythm lately. But for me it really hasn’t ever been about having followers (although making great friends has been an awesome side effect!). Otherwise the only thing I would add is avoid “walls of text” and try to add in pictures, graphics or something to keep it interesting.

  7. I like blogs with photos – no pics just doesn’t do it for me, but that’s just my preference!

    Thought out writing, some posts I read are kind of scattered and I can’t make it through.

    Apologizing for not writing is a pet peeve of mine, no one is upset you aren’t writing. We miss you, but don’t be sorry! Your blog, write when you can!

    Honesty, is important. Creativity and originality – doesn’t have to be new ideas, just not a fan of all the blogs posting the same things.

  8. I saw the article about you on COTH and thought you looked familiar. Then I saw that you ride at the same barn I trailer out to for lessons and realized I’ve met you before! I’m glad I found your blog because I feel like I can actually relate to it, unlike the ones where people have 10 pairs of $300 breeches to school in- haha!

  9. Knowing how to write helps (not talking sentence structure, punctuation or spelling here, though thats a bonus). I mean story telling. Knowing who your audience is (for some people that there even is an audience) and being truthful in your story telling are big parts of any kind of writing. My blog though not very popular within the “horse blog” community is actually pretty popular out of it if my traffic stats are correct. I attribute that to keeping my design clean, my points simple, my paragraphs short and my content relevant to it being a blog about my life with horses. Though i do on occasion throw in some stuff about my personal life its always necessary to continue the story and not extra information that doesn’t relate to my theme. I’m sure its not as popular as some in the horse blog community for some those very same reasons but in reverse. 🙂

  10. This is a topic near and dear to me, because largely I feel like I’m not really a very good blogger anymore, but not for your reasons listed… it’s because I no longer have an interesting story to tell. Gogo’s blog had hundreds and hundreds of followers, really loud and specific goals, and made for a really interesting story. O’s story just isn’t all that interesting – even though I still have hundreds of folowers, I don’t feel like it is that great. It really does stand as more of a journal for me, so that I can go back and have memories of her when she dies.
    I wanted to do a topic about this, about how there are two kinds of interesting blogs – the story-tellers, and the giveaway-ers – but never did. I don’t do contests, giveaways, or do much interacting with my audience, but I do try to tell a halfway decent story when I have the content.

    1. Hmm, I think O has an interesting story but it just happens to be a different story than Gogo.

      Hopefully I am a mix between story and “giveaways”, because that’s what I strive to be.

  11. Great post with excellent points and comments! Honestly I go back and forth on who I’m writing for (myself? or my readers?) but the answer is both because of the dialogue – which I find to be the best part of the blogging community.

  12. I love blogs that show a journey, it’s really great when a writer makes a claim or goal and then you can see them work towards it. Eventing a Gogo was GREAT at this and truly sparked my interest in following others and not just talking to myself in my corner of the web.
    I think it’s also great when a writer lets their horses personality shine through, when you feel like you know their horse you can connect more.
    These are among other points that have been outlined in your post and in the comments section of course!

  13. Not sure I agree about a blog not being a journal – but that’s ok! I definitely started mine as one and used the fact that I had to post and publish it to keep me accountable (I’ve never been good at keeping a journal going in my life!) But I totally agree about the conversation peice of blogging too. Now that I’m really getting into it, I’m really enjoying getting comments, replying, and following other blogs too. It’s a really nice kind of community 🙂

  14. You should never be anything but yourself… Unless you can be Batman… Always choose Batman… (Says the Superman lover). Anyway! Love this post. Sometimes I feel a little lost when it comes to what I should write about… What do people actually want to hear in the end? Or do they just want good pictures. Only time will tell where my voice is!

  15. When I started blogging it was because I wanted to write about something I enjoy — and I enjoy my horses almost every day. I’ve never wanted to post a training log but I do find people enjoy when I write about hunting. And readership is always better when Zelda plays a prominent role. So, I guess I mostly write for myself and am pleased to have picked up readers along the way.

  16. your posts on this topic are always super useful – you have a much better perspective on marketing and digital media etc (and i’m pretty much brand new to blogging)

    my own blog is more journal-ish, and detail specific re: schoolings, lessons, shows. and it’s also a picture repository so i can get them off my phone lol. mostly it’s a way for me to catalog what i’ve done, while also still interacting with the rest of the blogging community. but i really enjoy reading all the different types of blogs out there 🙂

  17. The voice of the writer is very important to me, maybe moreso than the exact content, because I follow a lot of different horse blogs. The style and tone of some sites just jumps out at me and this is what keeps me coming back to read.

    Also like it when the writer responds to comments. This also increases traffic because people come back to read the author’s responses.

  18. I like a variety of blogs. I get a kick out of following international blogs because I love the different spelling “colour” as opposed to the boring way we spell it, etc. I also love seeing pictures of horsey environs around the country and world. I am one of those who digs Liz’s hunt photos. The fall colors make me happy. I love your horse show pics. I get a little wistful when I see all the horses from some blogs in big green fields. In a way, each blog is like a little trip to wherever–New England, Texas, England, Australia.

  19. I just came upon this blog post while searching for help with my own blog. I was wondering if anyone would mind taking a look at it and give any pointers or tips. I just started it up about a month ago and I’m just trying to improve it and make it better. I’ve never blogged before, so I thought it would be lovely if some horsey people would check it out and give me some feedback! Any help is VERY appreciated! adamsonequestrian.com

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