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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340 thoughts on “Is Your Blog As Friendly As You Think It Is?

  1. Hello Hugh! I just discovered you from Dream Big. I’m with you on this one – especially checking spam folder and letting others know when something doesn’t work. I find that not many people do that when links are broken, and those who do, I appreciate it. Otherwise, how would we know right? I had one time when no one could comment on my blog and I didn’t know. Apparently for days, too!. And only 1 reader told me about it. Luckily the contact form worked! Left me wondering why I wasn’t getting comments at all! Nice to meet you.😊

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    1. Hello Ann. Thanks so much for visiting my blog.

      It is strange that people won’t inform a blogger of broken links etc, if they come across them. I guess it is sometimes down to time, but I’ve always been so thankful to the people who inform me of any broken links or problems with my blog.

      That must have been really scary not seeing any comments coming in. I recently had a problem where I was unable to access the dashboard of my blog so was not able to respond to comments or write any new posts. WordPress were very helpful in trying to get the problem resolved although the problem seemed to fix itself in the end. I’ve still got my fingers crossed that it won’t happen again.

      Good to meet you as well.
      Best wishes,
      Hugh

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is, isn’t it. Maybe for most they just can’t be bothered. Or there’s a chance that they thought the problem might be on their end. So yes, definitely thankful to those who alert me. That’s even scarier – not being able to access dashboard. I would freak out! good thing it was sorted and I have found WP to be quite helpful too! 🙂

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  2. Hi Hugh! You’ve got some great tips listed there. During my first month of blogging, I remember asking everyone I knew, to give me honest feedback. Some were pretty honest with their thoughts. 🙂 In hindsight, I’m glad they were.
    I think comments are a nice way to start a dialogue. Maybe, even know what your reader thinks about your post. I make it a point to respond to every comment posted on our blog. Unless, we’re traveling and will promptly do when I get back. Although, I do find it hard to comment on new blogs. It’s more of a personality trait. Something I’m working on. 🙂
    cheers,
    Cheryl

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    1. Hi Cheryl, welcome to my blog and my blogging community. It’s great to have you onboard.

      Thank you. I’ve lots more posts that include blogging tips. They can be found by clicking on ‘Blogging Tips’ on the menu bar. You may have already done that anyway, but I hope you find the other posts just as useful.

      I’ve heard from a number of new bloggers recently all of whom have told me just how much they love getting comments left on their posts. Even if it’s to introduce yourself, go ahead and leave them a comment, especially on their ‘about me’ page. It will make their day and you will be helping them build up their blogging community. In turn, many will then come and pay your blog a visit.

      Best wishes,
      Hugh

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I answer as many comments as I can, but my health isn’t very good and I don’t always have the energy to answer all. However, I’ve some blog posts that I’ve linked to in my ‘About’ page that explain a bit about that and some other stuff about me, and my motivations for blogging, etc.

    I use my first name in all my comments and just looking at any of my comment threads will give people a name to use.

    I usually use the Like button beneath a comment to acknowledge it (though I find this difficult if the post was about something sad or tragic as, despite our knowing that ‘Like’ means much more than the word’s literal definition when applied to blogs and social media, it still looks odd to my eye to say I like something sad). However, as I’ve recently experienced a spate of comment spam, I’ve been thinking about having a break from having the like buttons on my blog. Jury’s still out on that decision, though.

    I’m not new to blogging and in fact had a successful blog until couple of years ago when I decided to stop. But I can tell you that I’ve spent about an hour or so reading your posts and pages and you’re spot on with a lot of your blogging advice. Very good. (Oh, and I’m now following your blog.) 🙂

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    1. Hello, Val. Thank you very much for your comments and for checking out and following my blog.

      I agree about the like button. I also don’t like clicking on it when I’ve read a sad post or a post that includes bad news. However, I usually will leave my best wishes and say I am thinking about them in the comments if I know or have been following the blogger for some time.

      That is so kind of you to say about the blogging tips I have published. I am still learning lots about blogging and I do like to share what I have learned. It won’t work for everyone but, nonetheless, I always like it when I pass on advice and tips that help.

      My best wishes to you,
      Hugh

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love getting comments and am pretty prompt in responding. Then I think they will continue to have a dialog with me. It is one of the most fun parts of blogging. I like your article. It is accurate. My comments go to spam a lot. I even wrote a little song about it and posted it. 🙂 It made me feel like it would inspire people to check their spam folder. Nice blog you have here.

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    1. Thank you very much, that is very kind of you to say.

      Would you be surprised if I told you that I found this comment in my spam folder? It does make me wonder why comments that should end up in there don’t seem to like going there. Pleased to say that I check my spam folder every day, but I do have to rescue a few on a daily basis.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I just installed Yoast SEO plugin on my blog. It checks things that make it work better. I don’t know if it will make me friendlier, but maybe I shouldn’t get any friendlier with people than I already am anyway. 🙂 hehehe. Have a great week, Hugh.

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      1. How awesome is that? I ‘d love to do an interview about your book and have you do a guest post on my blog in that case! Then I will do a review. I publish reviews on Thursday. Terri’s came out today, and I added the link to your review in the related articles. 🙂

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      2. That’s so very kind, thank you, Marsha. I’d be delighted. I have a number of interviews lined up, but I’d love to do an interview and guest post for you. You can contact me through the ‘contact Hugh’ button on the menu at the top of my blog. Let me know if you experience any problems using it as an email should come straight to me once somebody submits the WordPress form.

        I saw the link and will certainly check out your review of Terri’s book. Today has been busy with launching my book. In fact, I don’t want this first day of becoming a published author to end, but I suppose all good things must come to an end. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  6. A very informative post, Hugh. I agree that you must respond to comments. That is how you develop friendships and learn about people as well. I must be honest, I only found out about the spam folder recently and do forget to check it – thanks for the reminder.

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    1. I check my WordPress spam folder at least once a day, Robbie. I’m always shocked by what ends up in there, especially some of the genuine comments. Then, of course, there are those spam comments that somehow don’t go in there. Fortunately, because I moderate all comments, they never end up in the comment section of any of my posts.

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  7. Another great support post, Hugh! I so agree, interaction needs to be taken serious. The blogging world is not Facebook or Twitter. It is a completely different idea behind it. It is much more personal – regarding what we give and what we get. It also is a journey to find out how your blog works best regarding all the information you provide. There needs to be enough and easy to find information but not overloaded. You should give classes for blog beginners. Fantastic post!

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    1. Thanks, Erika. I first published this post in August 2015. I tweeted a link to it yesterday, and it’s been picked up and resulting in lots of traffic and comments coming back to the post. However, the ideas and suggestions behind the post are as valuable today as they were when I first wrote and published the post.

      As the for the classes, that’s very kind of you to say. I’ve been asked if I’m going to write and publish a book about blogging. It’s a great thought, what oh the time! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. No matter how tired I may be, I try to answer all my comments. Sometimes, when a piece has gone a bit chilly, I miss a few, but not many. And yes, it really helps. A lot. It makes it less “a column” and more of a community.

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