There are an astronomical amount of blogs scattered across the web, traveler — mine being one of them. But… what makes a blog “good”? What makes a blog worth reading? Is it the author? The subject matter? Or is it the visuals, the links, the stylizing? Well, I’ve taken two blogs, and I’m going to pit them head-to-head against each other in a comparative battle.
I present to you…
A Quick Note Before I Begin
I chose “My Kawaii Life” because it’s a blog written by a friend of mine. This opportunity gave me an excuse to finally read through her posts, and I wanted to compare hers to a blog that’s considered quite notable.
Visually, both blogs are relatively easy to read. Both have high contrast ratios regarding text-to-background color, and both utilize legible, sans-serif fonts. One advantage My Kawaii Life has over Wrong Every Time, however, is that the former’s font size is bigger. Accessibility standards mark 16px/12pt as the recommended font size for monitors. My Kawaii Life sits at a comfortable 18px; Wrong Every Time sits at 15px. (For your visual ease, Spacedust sits at a nice 20px/15pt. I love you, too.) While WCAG standards identify contrast as the accessibility identifier for text, Wrong Every Time’s smaller font size and lighter weight makes it more difficult to read. For someone with 20/20 vision, even I couldn’t help but make the font larger to ease the strain. One point to My Kawaii Life for large(r) text.
This is a cropped version that focuses on the text area. …I’m starting to wish that the text area was fluid and full-width — and looked like the above!
The compromise here is that Wrong Every Time is visually simplistic, while My Kawaii Life’s floral décor can cause strain. I love the pattern’s vibrancy, but it’s combative — and borderline overpowering — when bordered against the text. If visual hierarchy has taught me anything, one lesson is that backgrounds should be subtle.
I LOVE the floral decoration, but think it should be reserved for the header/title area, only. It takes some active effort to block the vibrancy out.
Nevertheless, background color doesn’t compensate for paragraph and entry length. Perhaps it’s unfair to compare an emotional entry with a review piece. Perhaps it’s not. Both pieces follow the “one idea per paragraph” rule, but I admittedly gave “Attack on Titan – Final Review” a precursory scroll to gauge its length. The longer paragraphs illustrate main points with various examples, but some sentences feel more padded than others. Subheadings could easily alleviate long paragraphs and would provide even further structure to the review. Ultimately, Wrong Every Time employs embellishments were My Kawaii Life aims for simplicity, sincerity, and relatability, which puts them on two different levels stylistically. More on that later, though.
Both bloggers make use of supportive, engaging visuals to further their points. Mary uses a full-width image to separate her introduction and spoiler warning from the rest of her content, which creates a needed mental pause. Separation of text can be handled in numerous ways, but the visual she chose lends itself so well to the subject matter and argument that it feels natural. Of course there’d be a picture of Eren from that scene there. Bobduh’s visuals are engaging, too (is my bias towards this anime showing?), but their purpose is to support the review points. To atone for my bias, I’ll admit that the imagery in both posts serves to break up the content in an engaging, breathable way. The padding on the inline image of Mary’s post calls for an adjustment, and both authors could stand to caption their visuals, but these are my only gripes.
This is where each blog differs considerably. Both posts have a healthy variation of punctuation and sentence structure, but Wrong Every Time’s author is clearly a more seasoned writer. Mary’s individual voice can be heard in the occasional snippet, but Bobduh has a very strong sense of identity. Yet where Mary’s sentences are simplistic, Bobduh’s err towards verbose. Mary lacks nuance; her style feels rudimentary, and the lack of contractions force her points home in a forceful, stiff manner. (I will give Mary the credit she deserves in that her usage of bold and italic texts serves her points well, and gives her post a conversational quality.) Bobduh’s points are well-articulated, but occasionally become too articulated, and start to border “run-on” territory. Both authors have room for improvement (don’t we all?), but Wrong Every Time is absolutely more engaging.
Again, “In Defense of Eren Yeager” is a personal post, while “Attack on Titan – Final Review” is a dissection piece. My Kawaii Life represents the forgotten essence of the blog: a “web log”, or digital journal entry. Wrong Every Time embodies the spirit of the modern blog: external links abound in a sea of specific content. Unfortunately, most of Bobduh’s links lead to images on imgur.com. The points made are linked to supporting visuals, but I can’t help but sigh and ask myself, “When was Simple Lightbox plugin first available for installation?”. While the lightbox feature on Mary’s blog is inconsequential, it would serve “Attack on Titan – Final Review” quite well (especially since some of the links display the same images that are embedded in the post itself…). Hyperlinks are distracting and engaging by nature, so the presence of seven in the second paragraph makes getting through the content very difficult.
Mary’s post is much more concise, making it easier to read and digest. Bobduh’s review is as thoughtful as it is thorough, making it longer and more difficult to get through comparatively. Bobduh’s review also requires an engaged mindset — but each post warrants its own level of engagement considering the subject matter.
Mind Your Mobile Device
“Mobile first” is the mantra of the 21st century, so I’ve also done a comparison between the mobile experiences of both blogs.
Wrong Every Time
When perusing Wrong Every Time on mobile, the first thing you see is an ad. A total of three ads are present in this blog entry, whereas none are present on My Kawaii Life. Blogging.org says that Bobduh “might be considered one of anime’s most legitimate critics,” and that he “might even influence the future of Japanese anime” given his reviews and thoughts — so maybe the ads are for revenue purposes because he’s considered influential. All I know is that ads are incredibly distracting. As much as I hate targeted ads, there’s nothing more off-putting than furniture, fashion, or Holiday Shopping ads woven into the anime review I’m reading.
Furthermore, it takes a second glance to realize that the small image at the top is supposed to be the site’s banner. It almost feels like an afterthought as opposed to a meaningful brand choice. And as much as I love the pastel color scheme, “Wrong Every Time” is barely legible at the given size. Thank god the address bar tells me whose blog I’m on!
Ugh! Ads. Right when you load the page. The vibrant, seafoam green banner background isn’t helping, either.
Wrong Every Time at least reads better on mobile than on desktop, but damn are those links still distracting.
My Kawaii Life
See how powerful that floral décor is when it’s utilized sparingly? Plus, no ads! I’m in love already.
Again, Mary’s blog is just that much easier to read, especially on mobile. That large font size, bolding, and full-width visual are so good.
It bears repeating, so here it is again: Mary’s blog is so much easier to read. The large font size remains large on mobile, and the font family lends itself to Mary’s conversational tone. Bobduh’s font family feels very appropriate for reviews, given its more serious appearance — but could definitely serve to be enlarged. Blog posts should be fun to read, and Mary’s feels just as fun to read on mobile as it does on desktop.
The “Poor” Example
Since both My Kawaii Life and Wrong Every Time were quality blogs, I wanted to find an anime blog that paled in comparison. Boy, did the Internet not disappoint.
It felt dirty to compare this blog to either My Kawaii Life or Wrong Every Time. There isn’t even a comparison to be made. This post was devised in 2016 and was very clearly abandoned once the author hit “Publish”. I tried to read through the content to see if it had any substance, but that was a fruitless venture; I had to edit the page via Inspector to turn the background GIF off just to get through half the page. The content is riddled with grammatical errors, and I often questioned if I was making assumptions about the author’s American nationality.
Unfortunately, an American citizen did put this blog together. A weeaboo, in fact, put this blog together. (As a weeb myself, I have the credentials to say this! Fight me.)