Of Blogging and Followers: Blogging 101

This is part II of assignment 9 for Blogging 101. 

The assignment for today was to build a post off of a comment that we made yesterday.  In thinking about that it got me thinking about comments in general and some of the things I have learned in my month on WordPress.  So I made you a list.  Here we go:

1 – There are a lot of fishers out there.

People who follow your blog just to get a follow back.  They haven’t liked or commented on any of your work.  Chances are very high they didn’t read a word of what is on your blog.  All they want is the guilt follow.  I give these people the benefit of the doubt and read through their blog until I find something that inspires me to comment.  If you don’t take the time to reply to the comment, or even worse, don’t take the time to at least like the comment (however inane it might be) that tells me you don’t really care if I am reading your stuff or not.  You tell me why I am going to keep reading.  Are you Kurt Vonnegut?

2- Building real followers is like building a friendship.

Along those same lines, I have found that the people really worth following are the ones you know pay attention to the people following them.  Why?  Because you make real followers the same way you make real friends.  Just because I am following your blog doesn’t mean I am going to buy your book or care about what you are talking about.  I can delete emails really fast.  If you don’t engage your audience the chances are high that they are not going to care about what you are talking about, no matter how well you write.

3 – Authors who muse are annoying to me.

Being an author to some people means that everyone should care about what you are writing because you are good at it.  Writing is your skill.  That is why you are here.  Here is the problem: that is why we are all here.  Why should another writer care about your random rambling?  If there isn’t a point or a lesson to be learned from your musing than tell me why I should care?  Because you are good with words?  Guess what?  Most of the people on this site are good with words.  Find another way to stand out or stop rambling.  Make your words count.

4 – Everyday posters who post multiple times a day are often not worth following.

One of the objects of Blogging 101 is to post something everyday and I know that many of us are struggling to keep up with that, and good on you for it!  Here is what I have learned though, if you don’t put enough thought into what you are going to post then it isn’t worth it.  There are some theories out there that say that no words are wasted, but here is my counter argument: Your posts go into the email inboxes of your followers.  Do you want to bombard them with 10 emails a day of your random thoughts?  I call these people Facebook/Twitter bloggers.  They are treating their blog like it’s a social media website and thus a place to post any random thought that pops into their head.  If you have something meaningful to say, think it out, type it out, read it, then post.  Don’t just post to get views.  It’s not really helping your cause like you think it is.  I feel this is as good a way to lose followers as it is to get/keep them.

5 – Shameless pluggers should be paraded around for their whoring.

I have had a mess of people comment or message me because they want to promote/sell me their book.  Please refer to point 2.  Why do I care about you?  If all you are coming at me with is, “here is my book! Buy it!  It’s totally awesome!” I will delete you and never speak with you again.  This is like walking up to a random person in the bar and saying, “here’s my naked self!  Let’s do it!  I’m great!”  Can you at least buy me a drink first?  Tell me your name?  Ask me any stupid thing about me, then we can talk about you and all your shameless self promotion?  Go away already.

All this being said, I will share my thought process on this site and how it works best if your aim is to expand your readership:

  • The basic tenant should be: Do unto others.  If they like something of yours, go read their site and like something back (really read it though.  Don’t be lazy and like the first thing you find).  If they comment, comment back.  If they follow, follow back… with stipulations:
  • If someone follows your site, click on their name, go to their site and read something of theirs.  Comment or like it depending on how well it suits your taste.  If all you ever get is a follow and no other communication over the course of a few weeks, they didn’t really like your site, they just wanted another follower. 
  • Same thing goes with likes and comments.  Bloggers should care enough about their readers to pay attention to what they are writing too.  Too many people are just on this site to write things and have everyone love them and read their fabulous words.  If they don’t care about you, ask yourself what about their site attracted you in the first place and if you want to keep reading it even though they have no time to address you.  Unless this is Neil Gaiman we are talking about, they have time.
  • Along those lines, if someone takes the time to comment on your work, comment back.  I would even say to go a step further and go to their site and find something to comment on.
  • I have 30 WordPress followers at this point but I only consider about 5 of them real followers.  These are the blogs I will read anytime I get an email and comment on right away.  Why?  Because I know that when I post something they will do the same.
  • Why is this a good habit to form?  It depends on why you are blogging.  My aim is to build relationships with my readers so that, if or when the time comes, I will have a base of readers to work from if I do ever publish my work.  I can then send it to them knowing that I have fostered a real relationship with these people rather than just spamming random people I have never spoken to about this awesome thing I wrote… and PS, I’m naked!

I would love to hear from the rest of you now.  What has your experience with this site taught you?  What is your impression of blogging?  You know what happens now if you don’t comment… and if you do 😉 

Side Note:  Really taking the time to read through blogs is very rewarding.  I read through nearly two hundred last night and found 3 that I really liked.  I posted about them and ended up breaking my site view record by over double.  I also doubled my number of visitors and gained 4 new followers… just for suggesting other sites that were good. 

The logic is, if you find something truly good that means you probably have good taste.  If you have good taste than it’s probably a good idea to follow you as well. 

This is evidence that the homework Blogging 101 is giving us is absolutely worth it.  Follow it and it will lead you in the right direction.