Sunday, 31 August 2014

Singapore Blog Awards 2014 - What Makes an Award Winning Blog?

At the Awards ceremony after receiving the Best Food Blog award for the second year running, the interviewer from Singapore Press Holdings asked me, "What sets your blog apart?"

The question got me stumped for quite a while. (I didn't expect to win a second time.... )

Click on picture to view video. My interview is from 2:23 onwards.

You can see my stunned, pregnant pause above.

I racked my brains in emergency mode and managed to blurt out that perhaps having a larger social purpose might have helped.

Phew... managed to wiggle out of that tight spot...

But the question, "What makes an award winning blog" set me thinking.

Two years in a row, there ought to be something that I am doing right which would be helpful to share.

Of course, I don't know what went through the judges' minds, but here is my more considered response to the question "what sets your blog apart" after I had more time to think about it.

I am sharing it here, in case other bloggers may find some of the ideas relevant or helpful.

Before I begin, let's recap on the Singapore Blog Awards' judging criteria.

50% - Inspiring and entertaining content

20% - Presentation (Visual Appeal & Ease of Navigation)
30% - Public votes.

If I were to sum up in one sentence, what made my blog different, I would say, "Think beyond yourself".

As I mentioned in the interview, having a social purpose can help set your blog apart. But, it is for more important reasons than just being different.

By focusing on making a positive contribution to others, our content will naturally be more inspiring.

In Johor Kaki blog's case, my tagline is "Put every good hawker on the World Wide Web".

By focusing on bringing benefits to others, readers too can be inspired to do their part for your blog's mission. Engaged readers can follow your recommendations, share your posts and support you in other ways as well.

During the voting process, readers told me that they are rallying their friends, family and even extended family to vote for Johor Kaki because of the blog's mission to help hawkers.

I am touched and grateful that readers expended their own personal goodwill for Johor Kaki, without any enticements. Many overseas readers voted for Johor Kaki but only Singaporeans are eligible for the voters' lucky draw.

At a personal level and unrelated to the blog awards, a goal bigger than myself has more driving force and gives me more staying power.

In blogging, there are downs as well as ups. When the chips are down, a bigger purpose will power you through the hard times.

I get chased off unceremoniously by hawkers once in a while. If it were not for the larger picture, I would have stopped blogging, a long time ago.

Be real. 

It is ok to share with readers the difficulties you face in achieving your blog's mission. Even your failures and failings.

Your perseverance will inspire your readers.

It's ok necessary to reveal a little bit about yourself. The reader wants to connect with a real person. A person who stands for something. It is ok that not all readers will agree with everything you do or about you.

In this aspect, friendship is similar between real life and virtual life. Sincerity will attract genuine friends in real life. Being genuine in virtual life will attract sincere readers who will go to the trouble of rallying their friends and family to vote for you, even when there is no personal gain for them.

Have fun.

Look out for the funny, lighthearted aspects of your subject matter. Share funny anecdotes about yourself and your subject.

Everybody enjoys a good laugh and comic relief, including bloggers. Being able to laugh at yourself and at the situation entertains the reader.

Having fun and being passionate about your blog is also infectious. I try to make my blog positive and uplifting. Whenever I am not enjoying my blogging, I will pause and check if I am heading in the wrong direction.

Hope some of the ideas are useful for you. I welcome you to comment and share your ideas :D

Live your passion and let other things (like traffic, fans and awards) follow.


31 Aug 2014


  1. What an inspiring post. Congrats again Tony! You deserve the award and I feel so happy for you! :)

  2. Your posts are down to earth and unpretentious. You definitely deserve this award!

  3. Congratulations Tony!!!

    Have been following you for many years and thanks for making us HUNGRY for good food all the time ;D


  4. If reporter ask me why I only read Johor Kaki even though there are 101 other food blogs, I will also be stump! I also dunno why, I guess love can never be explained..


I firmly believe that taste is subjective and so, warmly welcome differing viewpoints :-D But, I disapprove negative comments that are anonymous or hide behind fake identities. I feel that that is the same as speaking ill of others behind their backs. I look forward to all your comments :-D Thank you. (Date: 18 Dec 2015)

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