Is Your Blog As Friendly As You Think It Is?

Just imagine it’s your first day here on Planet Blog and you and everyone else with you hears the words “Hands up all those that want 1,000 followers.” What percentage of people in your group do you think would put up their hand?

When we start our journey in the world of blogging, getting as many followers as possible is very important to all of us.  Why write and blog if nobody is going to read what we have to say?

So we’ve managed to gain lots of followers and we want more, yet we seem to also be losing followers.  I wonder why?

I learned very quickly that building and maintaining your very own blogging community is an important aspect of blogging and one of the easiest ways to start losing followers is by not acknowledging those followers that leave comments.  In my time as a blogger I’ve seen this happen quite a lot.

When I am introduced to or discover a new blog, one of the first things I do is to check out the bloggers ‘about me’ page.  If they don’t have one or it is not easy to find then it won’t be long before I will have moved on without pressing the follow button.  However, it does not end there.  I won’t follow a blogger if they have not answered any of the comments on their ‘about me’ page.  For me that’s like inviting people to a party and just ignoring them.  If you have an ‘about me’ page (and if you don’t then I recommend you set one up) then respond to anyone who leaves you a comment.  They are far more likely to continue to follow you and far more likely to become part of your blogging community when you acknowledge them.

I also try and find out the first name of any new followers.  I think it’s a far more friendly approach when somebody addresses me by my first name when responding to a comment I have left on their ‘about me’ page.  Of course, it’s not always possible to find out a blogger’s first name and some don’t make it easy in trying to find that information out.  My advice is at least to mention your first name on your ‘about me’ page and to try and mention the first name of the blogger when responding to a comment they have left.

Of course, we also want readers to leave comments on the posts we publish.  I often leave comments that include a question to the blogger of the post I have just read and then never hear back from them.  For me this is another sure way of un-following the blog.  I don’t expect all of my comments to be answered, but when I have asked a question I do expect the blogger to come back to me with an answer, even if it’s to say they are going to try and find out the information.  Should they choose to ignore my questions then I’m unlikely to continue to follow them.

As we build up our blogs and gain more followers we will no doubt start to get more comments left on our posts.  Don’t ignore those comments and leave then unanswered. A sure way to lose followers is to not acknowledge comments or answer questions.  Some posts can generate hundreds of comments and you should do all you can to answer them.  I check and respond to comments on a daily basis.  That’s not going to work for everyone because we all have busy lives, but try and respond to comments and questions left on posts within a few days of them being left.  If you do not want comments to be left on a post, or you are finding it impossible to respond to all of them, then close down the ability for any new comments to be left.  After all, we don’t want your blogging to start getting out of control, do we?

Make sure you check the comments section of your blog’s dashboard on a regular basis.  You may think you’ve answered or responded to all comments but make sure the number next to the number of comments pending is zero. Don’t forget also to check your ‘spam’ folder on the comments page of your dashboard.  Some genuine comments can sometimes end up in here.

Even if you have nothing to add to a comment that has been left on one of your posts, always thank the person who has left the comment or ‘like’ their comment by pressing the ‘thumbs up’ icon.  Pressing the ‘like’ button for a comment takes less than a few seconds and the reader who left the comment will get a notification that you have liked their comment.  For me that is far better than believing my comments have been ignored.

Another area to discuss is about how friendly your blog is, for those that visit, is to make sure that everything on your blog works.  I’m a huge fan of using ‘Twitter’ to share posts and promote blogs, but if I press the Twitter link on a blog and it does not work then I’ll start to ask myself questions like “is it worth following this blog” or “does the blogger not want me to follow them on Twitter?”  If you are going to include links in your posts then make sure all those links work before you publish the post.  Ensure links in widgets and on your menu bars also work.  From time to time, and for whatever reason, links stop working so try and get into the habit of checking all links to make sure they not only work but take visitors to the page you intended the link to take to them to.

Don’t be afraid to inform a blogger about links on their blog that do not work. It’s happened to me several times and I’ve been very grateful to the blogger who has highlighted the fault to me.

What about you, what do you do to make sure your blog is friendly for visitors?  Do you have any tips or advice you’d like to add and share with us about leaving and answering comments?

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361 thoughts

  1. Great points, Hugh!
    Since I’m a new follower of yours, I wondered if you have a category for all new posts. I’ve popped in a few times and can’t find the feed. Thanks!

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    1. Hi, Susie. Thanks.

      Yes, right at the bottom of my blog (under the comments) you’ll find three more widget bars. The middle one is where you can see a list of the categories on my blog. Also, in the widget bar to the right of the post you are reading, you’ll find a list of my top 10 posts and pages and a list of my last five most recently published posts.

      I hope that helps.

      Best wishes,
      Hugh

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Hugh,
    I was pleased to read how you emphasized addressing fellow bloggers by their first names in the comments. This has always been very important to me and yet I’ve noticed that very few bloggers do this. Many don’t have their first name on their blogs and don’t sign on and sign off from comments.
    I have worked in marketing for many years and even your computer-generated letter can get the first name right as long as the database is good. Using first names is a very basic social requirement in the real world so why wouldn’t that also be important when you’re wanting to get to know people through your blog.
    One difficulty with this is that many bloggers are fiarly introverted and not extroverted social butterflies like me. I am definitely a swinging from the chandeleirs type and ideally I’d be wearing something like a hot pink flamingo suit, sequins, bling, unashamed celebration.
    For people who struggle with social interaction in the rwal world, it would be understandible that this could carry across to blogging. However, saying “hi” never killed anyone and if you want to preserve your privacy and be less public, they could choose a blog name and even have a bit of fun with it.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

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    1. Hi Rowena,

      I don’t usually sign off my comments with my name because my name is in the title of my blog and on my ‘about me’ page. However, I do get frustrated when I am wanting to address a blogger and am unable to find out their name or what to call them by. I agree that some bloggers don’t want to reveal their identity, so why not use a pseudonym one? It’s such a friendly way to come over to your readers by giving them a name they can call you by, and I’m always amazed when bloggers don’t give a name on their ‘about me’ page. It’s the same when responding to a comment. I may not mention the person’s name right at the beginning when answering or leaving a reply, but I always try and include their name somewhere else in the comment. I know that whenever I see my name in a comment directed to me, it makes me think that the person is coming over as being friendly and somebody that I’m probably going to get on with in the blogging world.

      Thanks so much for your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hugh, after talking about being blog management, it’s taken me awhile to respond to your reply. I’m a bit under the weather recovering from the flu and things are slipping through the net. I’ve also felt like someone’s been switching the wires in my head lately. I’m getting used to laughing it all off.
        xx Rowena

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  3. Hi Hugh. I have only just found your blog and will certainly take on board what you suggest. In honesty though, my blog is kind of on online diary for me and I started it for my friends to see what I had been making. Few of them leave comments… they tend to ring me up and let me know that they have read a post. I was initially really surprised that complete strangers were enjoying it too. It motivated me to share a little snippet of my life rather than just be about crafting.

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    1. Hi Cherie, welcome to my part of the blog world. How nice that your friends call you and discuss your posts. When I first started blogging, many of my friends (and family) followed my blog and left comments. However, I don’t tend to hear from them about my blog posts anymore. Whenever I ask “Did anyone read my post…” there seems to be a stampede for the door. 😀
      Thanks so much for reading this post and for leaving some comments.

      Like

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