If I had children I would do all I could to make sure they never got out of control. I do the same with my dog, Toby. When he was a puppy I took him to training classes and, on the odd occasion when he does disobey me, I put what I learned at those classes into place to make sure he behaves. Fortunately, I’m pleased to say that he behaves most of the time.
If we can do this with our children and pets, then shouldn’t we also do the same with our blogs?
Occasionally I hear other bloggers say they feel guilty because they do not have enough time in the day to read all the newly published posts of the blogs they follow. This is also true of myself. It’s impossible to read every single new post published by the bloggers I follow. There is just not enough time in the day to do this. However, what I have learned is to not allow my blog to get out of control and to make me feel guilty.
I could quite easily sit and read blog posts all day long without doing any writing, but I first came here to write and writing is what I enjoy more than anything else. I make time to do my writing without allowing my blog to become out of control or to make me feel guilty.
I follow hundreds of blogs and, over the last few months, I have adopted a scheme that allows me to both write and read most the posts of the bloggers I follow.
I’ve divided my followers up into four groups. Let’s call those groups A, B, C, and D.
Group A: These are the followers that support me the most. They visit my blog often and are a huge part of my blogging community. They read, like, and comment on many of my posts. They also share my posts either by re-blogging them, or by sharing them via social media.
When it comes to which posts I read first I give these followers my priority.
Group B: These are the followers that visit my blog from time to time (but not as often as those in Group A) and who may occasionally share my posts.
Once I have finished reading the new published posts of those in Group A, I turn my attention to those in this group. I value these followers just as much as I do those in Group A because they’ve chosen to become part of my blogging community. They do this by leaving the occasional comment and/or like and the occasional sharing of some of my posts.
Group C: These followers pop by to say hello to me rarely but, when they do visit, they leave the occasional comment and/or like and are still part of my blogging community.
I’ll visit their blogs once I have visited those of groups A and B, but only if I still have reading time left.
Group D: I call the followers in this group ‘Ghost Followers.’ Why? Because they follow me but never make their presence felt.
I’m no stranger to this group because I too have been a ‘ghost follower’ but, in an attempt to cut back on the number of blogs I follow, these are the first blogs where I click the ‘unfollow’ button. Yes, I do unfollow blogs and I am not afraid to say or do so. Right from my very first day on WordPress I picked up some ‘Ghost followers.’ I received the notification that they were following my blog but, for what ever reason, they have shown no evidence of visiting my blog since then. I’ve often tried to work out why they followed my blog in the first place, especially as many have blogs of their own, but I’ve stopped worrying about that now.
I class myself as belonging to Group B of many of the blogs I follow. I’d like to be in Group A but time does not allow me to be a member of this group and I no longer allow that to make me feel guilty.
Whilst the above works very well for me, I realise that it won’t work for everyone. However, I wanted to pass on what I have learned in the hope that some of you will find it useful.
If you are going to want more followers and more traffic to your blog then you are going to have to spend more time responding to comments and questions. That could mean less writing time for you or not being able to read as many blogs as you would like to read, but don’t follow a blog never to return to visit it.
If you find a blog is not, after all, to your liking then unfollow it. Don’t be afraid to use the ‘unfollow’ button. I’ve got to the stage that for every two new blogs I follow, I will unfollow one which falls into my Group D. Every six months I have a blog clear out and I unfollow blogs in Group D who have never shown any signs of visiting my blog despite having followed me. I do this so I can keep the number of blogs I follow at my ideal level.
My last piece of advice for today is not to be fooled by the number of followers you may think your blog has. According to my statistics I have hundreds of followers yet I probably only ever hear and interact with around 30% of them. I not saying that of the other 70% none of them ever visit, but I have learned never to ignore the 30% that do.
Ensure you become and remain an important part of blogging communities by visiting and interacting with them. If you are going to follow a blog then become a real follower. Don’t become a ‘ghost follower.’
What about you? How do you manage the time for writing and for reading the blogs you follow?
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