What Makes a Good Blog?

January 8, 2009

Let me begin with I don’t have the answer. But, it’s something I’ve been pondering ever since we began our foray into the blogosphere.

What makes a good blog? Is it one that engages readers far and wide or one that draws like-minded people to a particular nexus? Does it inspire positive action or purely entertain? Is the sign of success tens of thousands of readers or a smaller number of active participants in an intriguing dialogue?


These are the questions I posed to our little hui of native bloggers. Inevitably, our discussions led to more questions than answers such as, “Why are we doing this anyway?” Hubris aside that any of us could begin to portray the depth of Native Hawaiian thought, why indeed are we doing this and can we hope to be successful?

“I think we’ll be successful if we can get people to expand their ideas of who Hawaiians are,” shared contributor extraordinaire Ikaika Macy. “I’m proud to be one full on moke, but I’m also proud that I’m using the skills and education given to me by my ancestors (both Hawaiian and haole) to make a difference in my community.”

“That’s why I’m part of the hui,” continued fellow blogger Caroline Ka‘ahanui. “There are so many really impressive Hawaiians who need to start speaking up. And, if we can at least help to get conversations started, to me that’s success.”

Mulling over these discussions, it occurred to me to look at the blogs I read and ask why I follow them. What makes them successful for me?

kam-mastWhile I read a lot of blogs for work (like Mack Collier’s Viral Garden and Chris Brogan) and for news (e.g., The New York Times’ The Lede, and KCRW’s Left, Right and Center), I love reading about what makes Hawai‘i Hawai‘i (like Ryan Ozawa’s Hawai‘i Blog and Nathan Kam’s Kam Family). Note, Native Hawaiian bloggers, send us your links. We would love to hear what you’re saying.

melissaThere is one constant I noticed among these diverse blogs – each has a particular voice. If you’ve ever read Melissa Chang’s Urban Mix Plate or Amber Naslund’s Altitude Branding you know right away who wrote it. Like most of the bloggers I follow, their voices (and hence personalities) are clear and consistent.

So with only these few criteria for success, we humbly put it before you the readers, what makes a good blog? Share your thoughts, we’re eager to learn.



  1. Mahalo e Aloha, Ikaika a me Caroline. You’re right we need to hear more Hawaiian voices. For me a good blog is one that gives info that you don’t get from other places. Imua

  2. I think good blogs have to follow the same rules as any other writing. They need to be well researched and written.

  3. Hi MJ and mahalo nui for the shout out. OMG, that was not necessary and I think there are far better blogs out there than mine. But I’m humbled and flattered that you enjoy reading my page. 🙂

    To me a good blog is one where you can feel the passion and pride behind the words. One that you can tell the author is enjoying what their doing and sharing useful information or interesting points of view with their readers. I also think it helps when it’s updated regularly, whether it be daily or weekly.

    You, I must say, have a great blog. I know you’re just starting, but your writing and manao is right on! Mahalo and keep up the great posts!

  4. I’ve been looking for god Native Hawaiian blogs too – and haven’t been to successful. I foudn some outdated ones. Kanaka Maoli this is a challenge to start writing.

  5. Here’s a Hawaiian blog http://www.hawaiiankingdom.info

  6. Aloha Nathan,
    Mahalo for the thoughtful response and the kind words. They are much appreciated.
    MJ et al

  7. Maoli World is also trying to get conversations started – http://www.maoliworld.com/profiles/blogs/does-being-a-native-hawaiian

  8. I think a good blog is one that gets you thinking and wishing youu had thought of that

  9. http://www.uhm-nativehawaiianlaw.blogspot.com/

  10. Very interesting subject matter.

    Andy Parx wrote up a column about this where me and another blogger were the subject matter of almost the same discussion.

    But basically “blogger vs. journalist” schpeel again.


  11. What a beautiful blog! Mahalo for sharing! I’m no expert on blogging, having just started a personal one myself but I agree that blogs with “personality” bring me back time after time. I read the occasional trade or tech blog but they are so boring that I find what I need and leave the site. For me personally, blogging has allowed me to exercise my creative writing. Something I don’t get to do very often at work.

  12. Ikaika Hussey has a blog at http://ikaikahussey.wordpress.com/

  13. My favorite blogs find a way to pull me in with what they’re saying. Nathan’s right it’s the passion that shows thru.

  14. Mahalo for the inclusion. I agree with Margo that thoughtful, articulate writing is a big part of what draws me to a blog. Credibility, to be sure, is always a concern. But for many of us, I’m sure, the authenticity of voice, the expression of a person and not an abstract construct, is at the heart of everything. When we feel a personal connection with an author, their message is that much more compelling, effective, and rewarding. That’s what sparks meaningful conversation, ultimately.

  15. Thanks for the shout out! I have been meaning to comment on the blog but I didn’t want to mess up any settings on YOUR computer! At least I can do it like a normal person now.

    I like blogs that entertain, or provoke thought, or teach. I’m kind of puzzled, though…there are some “successful” blogs out there that are difficult to read, like the person’s been amped up on energy drinks all night. What do they do that draws an audience? Perhaps that’s not for me to answer.

    p.s. Thanks for helping me with my computer situation! I still owe you & Big D Gordon Biersch and now Vino or something.

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