The Wall Street Journal had a nice piece on Gina Trapani’s Lifehacker yesterday at Lifehacker Draws Visitors With Time-Saving Tech Tips.
Lifehacker is a standout blog in my opinion and a prime example of how blogs can be more than just creating noise and clutter on the web by actually providing useful content to their readers. The quote of the article that sums it all up for me was from Robert Scoble:
“”She focuses on information that’ll make her readers’ lives more productive,” said Robert Scoble, author of the Scobleizer blog and a former Microsoft Corp. blogger. “That’s quite different from other bloggers who share gossip, give opinions or break news.””
I think news blogs have a place and can be quite successful – but if I were starting a new blog today I’d be focussing more upon a style of blogging that is ‘helpful’ in nature as it’s the type of blog that not only draws people in, but that develops loyalty among it’s readership.
It’s also a much easier style of blog to monetize in some ways either through the development of products to sell readers (loyal readers are much more likely to buy something than one off readers) and also through affiliate products of other people’s quality resources.
The other great quote from the article was:
“Ms. Trapani, who manages a staff of three writers, is something of an anomaly among bloggers. She avoids writing about herself and her posts are free of the sarcasm and snarky attitude that other blogs — particularly those on technology — use as calling cards. The former software programmer says she prefers to stay out of the limelight. Any publicity about herself, instead of the site, “makes me want to climb under my desk and hide,” she said. “But that’s just my inner geek.””
Perhaps this is more of a personal preference than anything but the other reason I am drawn to Lifehacker is the voice that it is written in. It’s a remarkably positive blog and I often come away from it in a slightly better mood than I was in when I got to it. As a result there’s a lot of goodwill towards Lifehacker in it’s readership (and in the wider blogosphere). Also – despite it’s size – it’s one of those few large techie blogs that usually has a positive vibe i it’s comments – this has a lot to do with the way it’s written in my humble opinion as that has a lot to do with the type of reader interaction it attracts.
It’s no wonder that they’ve tripled their readership in the last year.