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Is Your Blog Biased?

This post has been submitted by Aaron Wall – the author of the comprehensive Search Engine Optimization e-book SEO Book. He blogs at seobook.com

What is bias? According to the Wikipedia:

A bias is a prejudice in a general or specific sense, usually in the sense for having a preference to one particular point of view or ideological perspective. However, one is generally only said to be biased if one’s powers of judgment are influenced by the biases one holds, to the extent that one’s views could not be taken as being neutral or objective, but instead as subjective.

Bias is talked about as though it is a bad thing, but many of the most popular media outlets, websites, and social networks are popular precisely because they are biased. People are more inclined to believe, pay attention to, and syndicate things that reinforce their current worldview. And people are more likely to respond to things they sharply disagree with.

How many popular centralist political blogs are there? Compare that number to the number of popular left wing and right wing political blogs. Which number is bigger?

Don’t be afraid of your bias. It is what makes you who you are, and what will attract like-minded people. Your biases, flaws, identity, emotions, and personal experiences are the only thing you can share that can’t be outsourced to a cheap worker or done by a computer.

Share what you love and the love will come back, usually in the form of comments or somewhere with an a href nearby.

Read more of Aaron’s work at his SEO Book Blog.

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Comments

  1. Rui says:

    I beleive that biasing helps building a comunity around your blog. People like more to read things they understand and indentify themself with.

  2. mgroves says:

    I believe that *everyone* and almost everything is biased, even when honestly attempting not to be. But I also agree that it’s *not* a bad thing! Embrace your bias and admit to it!

  3. Brad says:

    Being biased can be a good thing for a blog. The people who agree with you will keep coming back because they like what you say. And the people who disagree with you, will keep coming back to argue with you. Either way, your blog is still getting traffic!

  4. Great article. I’ve been counting on this. It’s exactly the principle Ive been using for my personal blog – it’s not a niche blog about technology or pets, my blog is the whole world through my eyes.

  5. Elias says:

    Blogs are personal, and you tend to connect with the person behind them. When you read a blog you are asking for opinion, and many times emotion.
    I believe more in product reviews that are from people and not from a sales letter, not that I disbelieve those, but a balanced honest review, especially from someone who tried the product, is much better.
    Totally agree that we should present our biases, and it would be great to present opposing views and saying why we don’t agree with them.

  6. My blog is fundamentally biased towards wordpress, which is obviously only one of many options for running your blog. But this bias does a number of essential things. It sets expectations, it predisposes my audience to like my content, and it keeps my content on topic (if it aint wordpress, dont post it).

  7. Ed says:

    There is nothing wrong with being biased, it is your right, but I think you get real kudos if you offer the pros and cons in a balanced way before playing to your crowd and ending in favor of “your side”.

  8. RJS says:

    An independent third party says “no” — I’m right in the middle. Where I want to be.

  9. James says:

    It is very hard to not be biased about something you care about. Maybe one reason biased blogs are more popular is because of the interest of the blogger.

    If you have no opinion or bias, why blog?

  10. Brian Auer says:

    Most blogs are biased. Niche content is a bias in itself. If you’re not coming off as biased, you’re probably being dull.

    I have a photography blog, and every time I talk about photo editing I use Photoshop as the example. I’m biased toward Photoshop because I use it and because I believe it’s the best tool for the job. I’m not going to write every post with every piece of photo editing software out there.

    It might turn some readers off, but for the readers with the same bias, it just makes their connection to me that much stronger. They’re more likely to keep coming back if they see that we hold the same views or use the same photo editing software.

    Bias is a good thing.

  11. Halfdeck says:

    A bias without a leg to stand on will tarnish your credibility. while bias that proves to be right solidifies your readers’ trust in you.

    After 9-11, our entire country (US) was largely biased toward going to war with Iraq, to such an extent that opposing voices (e.g. Dixie Chicks) took a lot of flak for voicing their anti-war views. Even Hillary Clinton voted to go to war, saying:

    “Now, I believe the facts that have brought us to this fateful vote are not in doubt…Saddam Hussein is a tyrant who has tortured and killed his own people…”

    And more interestingly,

    “Some people favor attacking Saddam Hussein now…This view has appeal to some, because it would assure disarmament…and because it would give the Iraqi people a chance to build a future in freedom.”

    When no WMD was discovered, and ties between Suddam and Al qaeda left uncofirmed, that bias transformed into a huge disconnect, disintegration of George Bush’s credibility, and loss of his reputation as an “honest man.”

    We’re all biased, no doubt. But write with biases that are in sync with reality, else you’ll create a community of irrational readers and a blog that can never be taken seriously.

  12. Markk says:

    Being bias is not being bland about what you think or want to write about as a blogger. So it’s not a bad thing. For example, I’m biased about herd mentality, about the choice of reviews I write on my blog, about sycophantic behavior…and tailgaters.

  13. J-Ro says:

    How bout this…a blog is by definition biased. Blogs are opinions. And they should stay that way. If I want “fair and balenced” I can try finding that in traditional news sources (who say they are not biased and who have quite a time convincing people they are telling the truth about that). When I want commentary, insight, and interest, I look for bias and I look for blogs. I guess that’s why blogs allow comments, so people can argue and discuss the biased writing above.

  14. Tom Hanna says:

    The appropriateness of bias depends on the venue. Most blogs aren’t original sources of news, they are commentary which is by definition biased. It is important to be honest about your biases, especially if a blog does some “neutral” viewpoint reporting on the facts of an industry. Like so much else in blogging, being honest with your readership is key. If your biases aren’t clear, then identify them explicitly.

    Also, be careful of bias against individuals, companies, etc. It’s not always wrong, but it’s easy to go overboard. As with Bush bashing, Microsoft bashing or Wal-Mart bashing, the personality based bias can easily put blinders on you as a writer when the object of hatred does something right.

  15. Sean says:

    Mine isn’t biased at all….I don’t think…

    I could see if benfitting you though, especially if biased about politics or religion or something. You have those reading that agree with you, and then you have all those reading that disagree and are visiting just for an argument.

  16. Armen says:

    Amen! Never read a post in this area before. An excellent read, and one that has shed an interesting perspective on something that, like you said Aaron, is usually frowned upon.

  17. hcfoo says:

    I tried not to be bias but in the end, like most bloggers we have the freedom to say whatever we feel in our own blogs. I think we shouldn’t be too extreme because in the end you don’t want to drive your readers away.

  18. Bes says:

    While being biased may be good, we have to make sure our bias doesn’t hurt others or criticize others simply because someone else thinks differently.

    The bias you talk about created the unique perspective in our expression. Even the act of not being biased is an act of being biased, because you are trying to stick with something and use that concept in everything.

  19. Rebecca says:

    Of course my blog is biased. I also think it’s a good thing, keeps it from becoming bland and boring. Besides, many people read the opinions of those they disagree with just for the little rush they get from getting angry, right?

  20. marhgil says:

    My blog is biased… who’s blog isn’t biased anyway? That’s what make blogs interesting, I think.

  21. Allen says:

    I do have a spiritual slant in my blog but I try my best to make it spiritual neutral.

    Its very difficult not to sound biased. I wrote an article recently on not throwing the baby out with the bathwater when it came to having a spiritual life and I used Christianity as an example. Not because I think Christianity is right or more valid than other religions but just because that is the religion I am most familiar with. Some of my commenters felt I was being a bit preachy but it wasnt my intention.

    Food for thought..

    Allen

  22. Good points about being biased. The best publications and books are accused of being biased, and most of them are. You’ll never get to see every side of any topic, so pick a side and start defining your viewpoint on it. It’s easier to be biased and start a dialogue with someone else, rather than try to be all things to everyone and have nothing unique or interesting to offer.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I just read that post by Aaron Wall (who runs seobook) over at problogger.net (since problogger is in guest blog mode right now), and it made me think! And when a blog post makes me think, and wonder about things, it’s always a good sign! [...]

  2. [...] Is Your Blog Biased? Effin Right it is! And it ought to be! That’s why I blog. By Aaron Wall posted on Problogger.net [...]

  3. [...] Aaron Wall wrote a nice guest post over at Problogger yesterday that got me thinking about something I learned back in English class: subjective journalism. He asks “is your blog biased?” and goes on to say: [...]

  4. [...] guest blogger, Aaron Wall, has published a pretty interesting article on Problogger yesterday, discussing whether to blog neutral or biased. The outcome is somewhat predictable; blogging biased, while still staying reasonable and [...]