The blogs we feature here on Best Blog on WordPress are a diverse lot, as diverse as our editors, as diverse as the enormous community that makes up WordPress. And yet again and again I’ve been struck by how much Best Bloggers have in common with each other. To wrap up the year, I’d like to share some of those qualities with you:
- Best Bloggers respect their readers. They don’t take you for granted. They respond to your comments. They keep their promises or tell you why they haven’t been able to. (For example: We tried to do a Blog-A-Day every day this December. But we went to too many parties to do one EVERY single day. Still, even falling short of the goal, we gave you more great blogs this month than we have in many months this year.)
- Best Bloggers hook you. They drawn you in from the first sentence. That can happen in as many ways as there are imaginations, but it never, ever means this sort of beginning: Sorry I haven’t blogged in so long, but I’ve been busy. Or Not much to say, but I don’t have anything else to do but blog. A Best Blogger has got something to say, and they make you want to hear it.
- Best Bloggers know how to use the tools at their disposal. Mostly, that means they’re good at the language in which they blog. Their writing is clear and sharp, they can punctuate, they proofread, and they sound like the smart people they are.
- Best Bloggers are generous. They know there’s room for everyone. They know that another great blog in no way diminishes them. They link to people they admire, regardless of whether that other blog is bigger or smaller than they are.
- Best Bloggers never stop learning. They read other blogs and learn from what they discover there. They read books — books that are so well written they feel compelled to try to do the same. They’re curious. They’re not afraid to say, I don’t understand that. They try new things. Maybe they’ll learn to podcast. Or take some pictures. Or try out a new template. Find out what CSS is.
- Best Bloggers know themselves. They don’t try to be other people. They know what they love, even if it’s a little odd, and their enthusiasm and affection for their subject animates their writing.
- Best Bloggers know they’re part of a community. They contribute to forums, help new folks out, welcome people to blogging.
Every single one of you has displayed best blogging in one way or another this year. Keep at it. Even if there are more than half a million blogs on WordPress, we’ll find you, one way or another. And if you want us to take a look at your blog, or the blog of someone you generously want us to know about, then go right ahead. Send us a comment on the comments form. Nothing would give us more pleasure than finding your Best Blog and featuring it here on the site.
Happy New Year!
Published 28 December, 2006
Lines , Queues , Standing in or on line
Stand in a Queue is a single subject blog of such staggering originality, I had to almost physically remove myself from my seat in order to avoid spending the rest of the day today reading it. Its brilliant author explains the site far better than we at BestBlog ever could, so I let him speak for himself. In typically restrained British fashion, he begins with a quote from someone else:
“An Englishman, even if he is alone, forms an orderly queue of one.” (George Mikes)
The author of this wonderful blog goes on to say, “This may be true, but it’s friendlier with a few more people in it. If you find yourself standing in a queue and want to talk about it, you’ve found the right place. Let it all out.”Pictures of queues you’ve had to endure are welcome, no matter how poorly composed or focused they are. This blog, however, is neither of those things. It’s beautifully composed and sharply focused and it’s a gem.
Published 25 December, 2006
Ah ha! I’m back! Here’s something to consider: in my personal opinion, the average beginner blogger does not have the confidence to write clearly or strike up a coversation with another blogger. So how do you do this?
Say Thank You to the Bus Driver, talk to the people at the bookstore or have a flirtatious conversations with a person of the opposite sex. Oh noes I said the word “sex” on the Internet. Don’t let it scare you.
Happy Holidays and have a Merry Christmas.
In light of it being the day commonly known as Christmas Eve I thought it would be appropriate to bring you a family oriented best blog. So in that spirit I am happy to present to you Joni Ruhs.
Joni is a stay-at-home mom who has, as she puts it, “lots of thoughts on lots of things.” This, thankfully, is something that works to our benefit for Joni manages to blog away the daily trials and joys of family life (as well as her own personal thoughts) with more than sufficient humor, candor, and insight. One of my own personal favorites was Joni’s musings on the issue of teaching Santa to children.
So to satisfy the family-oriented part of all of us I would encourage checking out Joni Ruhs, yet another honoree in our December Blog a day.
photo, “Merry Christmas-From Me & My Tree”, by Kate McElwee.
Greg Landeim has been a lot of things. A surveyor, an engineer, an analyst and an architect just to name a few. Now, though, Greg is doing what he loves to do and has decided to share that passion with us.
Greg Landeim is a poet and his blog Poetry In Verse serves as a kind of showcase for his work. The works themselves (as far as my limited literary skill can attest to) are very well composed and, even more importantly, enjoyable to read. Plus, with a range of subject matter ranging from the sacred to the daily the reader’s attention is not likely to wan quickly.
What really makes me like this blog even more, though, is the author’s encouragement of commentary. He is laying his art out before the public’s eyes and inviting the public to express themselves back. It is really the ideals of the blogosphere in action.
So if you are looking for a shot of artistic insparation and community you might want to check out Poetry In Verse.
Cool things for under $10. How great is that? Updated regularly, interesting choices, short, clear text. Pretty great stuff and very handy for this time of year, when you’re looking for things that aren’t going to kill your bank account.
Yes, yes, I know, we’re a bit behind on our December blog a day. It’s the party a day that’s getting to us.
Borgy 101 came up from this unlikely string of search words: dogwalkers of the world unite WordPress. He’s an amusing guy and is good on issues as disparate as the Swedish Bikini team and great jobs you might (or might not) want to have.
We had a bit of a glitch in our December blog a day schedule: blame holiday parties. Enough said.
Published 16 December, 2006
photo , politics , web design
Farlane’s a guy who describes himself as indulging in “dangerous photoshop experimentation.” When he’s not showing you photos of dice that have been dropped on white tile until they bounce just so, he’s writing about cool stuff he finds on the web, about politics, about photography and about whatever else catches his eye. He’s a web designer with a good eye, so you’ll find some interesting things on his site.
Published 15 December, 2006
doctors , medical training , medicine
Dr. Sign-Out is a medical resident. She’s created a blog to help her cope with her job, which isn’t an easy one, requiring as it does that she be coherent without actually sleeping very much. She’s got interesting insights into medicine and into the way doctors are trained. It’s not clear how she manages to blog, cure people of their illnesses, and get by on very little sleep. We’re lucky she’s trying it though.
Dr. Sign-Out came to our attention in that most time honored of ways: she emailed us (bestblogonwordpress (at) yahoo (dot) com). If you’ve got something you think we should take a look at, why don’t you do the same? It’ll help us get through the December Blog A Day effort.
Published 14 December, 2006
Cartography , history , Maps
Strange Maps is the sort of site that can quickly become a daily obsession. Its origins are a bit mysterious, having no about page, but if you go to its beginnings (in September) you’ll find this: ” I like maps. I like weird maps, the kind you won’t find in a regular atlas. Maps of countries that never existed – or never will exist. I’ve given up on categorizing the maps I’ve collected so far – irredentism, alternate history,… – and decided to just be a little less anal. So, just for fun, here are the weirdest maps I found on the internet.”
And that’s it, really: a truly interesting, quirky, surprising site by someone who, before blogging made it possible, might never have been able to reach people with these fascinating maps and the stories behind them. We’re very grateful to Mr. (or Ms.) Strange Maps for sharing these with us.
December Blog A Day is turning up lots of unexpected treats — many thanks to the readers who’ve been shooting fabulous tips to us. That’s how we came across Strange Maps, by the way. Someone pointed it out, and that was all we needed to bring it to your attention.