These are the top 5 things I look for in a blog.

1. Looks and style.
I prefer a clean look where content is king. Too much clutter drives me away. Ads can bring home money to the site but if the ads are all over the place and are more prominent than the content then something is wrong. Sound is annoying unless I can control it, turning it on or off based on what I want there and then.

2. Personality.
Information can be found in many places. What makes a blog and a blog post stand out is often the personal touch. I do not mean tearing your heart out, I mean adding your own view and thoughts based on your own experience. A personal style in writing, not just lining up the facts, is what makes me long for more.

3. Food for thoughts.
Whether I agree or disagree, I do like it when a blog post makes me think. A post that challenges me or makes me see things from a different perspective is gold.

4. Content and structure.
We often enter a blog on a single post we found somehow, through a search engine or a link. This makes it important for the blog to connect the dots in a user friendly manner. Using things like categories, tags and related posts in a smart way keeps the reader there browsing more posts. If I see that a blog has many interesting posts I bookmark it or subscribe to its feed. But if I can not find my way around the blog I leave.

5. Links.
A blog that has many links is useful, you can continue reading about a specific topic elsewhere. To me it means that the blogger has done some research and is willing to share sources.

What about my own blog?
The readers should vote on this but I can say what I try to achieve in these areas.
1. I have neither ads nor sound and have picked a theme that I think has the content as centerpiece.
2. Well, I think I need to get better at this.
3. This is up to the readers, I post about things that I have been thinking about.
4. I use categories and site search tags but not related posts.
5. I use links whenever I find it useful for my posts, to name sources as well as additional reading.

This is my submission for the Top 5 – Group Writing Project at Problogger.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.