How many blogs do you follow?
How many of those blogs do you never visit?
How many of those blogs do you actually visit and leave comments on?
I used to follow over 500 blogs! I merely followed many because they followed me first.
What a big mistake that was!
New blog posts were continually dropping onto my WordPress reader list or into my email inbox.
It wasn’t long before I started to feel overwhelmed by it all and realised I couldn’t possibly read and comment on every new blog post.
Then I started feeling guilty about not having enough time to visit and comment on every blog I followed. Something had to change.
I went through all the blogs I followed and started unfollowing some of them.
Today, I’m down to only following 215 blogs, and I’ve set myself a target of never exceeding that total.
For some, that may still seem like a lot of blogs to follow. For others, not enough.
But how did I decide which blogs to keep following and which blogs to no longer follow?
These 7 tips, I use before deciding whether or not to follow a blog, have helped me keep my blogging under control. Will they help you?
Does the content interest me?
This may seem very obvious, but go and have a look through the list of blogs you follow and count how many of those blogs publish content you’re not really interested in.
Then ask yourself why you followed them in the first place.
Many of the blogs I unfollowed were only being followed because they followed my blog first. I felt it polite to follow back even though I had no idea what they blogged about.
I compared it to buying a new car without having test driven it first.
Before following a blog, check out some of the posts and ask yourself these two questions.
Does the content interest me enough to keep me coming back?
Does the content interest me enough to leave comments?
If you answer ‘No’ to the first question, then don’t follow.
Is it content friendly?
Two things that don’t go down well with me are blog posts that contain lots of swearing or blog posts that belittle other people and/or the way they live.
I’m adult enough to know that most adults do swear, but when there’s too much of it in a blog post, or there really isn’t any need for it, then I won’t follow a blog.
The same goes for bloggers who publish posts that try and belittle other people or criticise them for the way they live or talk.
By all means warn readers at the beginning of a post that it contains swear words, or may offend, but never swear at or criticise other readers in the comments.
If you think you’ll be offended by the content on a blog, or in its comments section, then don’t follow it.
Do they respond to comments?
While looking through those blog posts, don’t forget to also look through the comments section and see if the blogger responds to comments.
If they don’t (especially on their ‘about me’ page), then ask yourself if the blog is worth following.
If they do respond, look at the way they’ve responded to comments.
Are they really interacting with their readers, or do they just respond to all comments in the same uninteresting way (e.g. ‘Thanks for reading!’)?
Even though a blogger may respond to all the comments left on their posts, if they are not really interacting with their readers, then ask yourself if it’s worth leaving comments and/or following their blog.
How Often Do They Publish Posts?
Feeling overwhelmed by bloggers who publish too many posts in a short space of time is something I see and hear a lot about in the blogging world.
Of course, we can ignore all those posts but, for some, that can lead to the question of if they’ve missed something important.
This, in turn, can cause some readers to feel guilty or stressed because they think they must read and comment on every post.
On the other side of the coin, if a blogger only publishes a post once in a while, then will we lose interest in their content?
Ask yourself if it’s worth following a blog that either publishes too many or not enough posts and if it’ll make you feel guilty if you miss reading and commenting on any of those posts.
Don’t forget, too, to ask yourself if it makes any sense following a blog that you know you’ll never likely visit again.
If it’s not going to cause you any guilt or stress, then feel free to press the follow button, but only if you know that any future content will be of interest to you.
Who’s the blogger?
I’ve mentioned this on my blog before, but the first thing I do before deciding whether or not to follow a blog is to visit the ‘about me’ page.
If there isn’t one, it’s difficult to find, or it doesn’t contain any interesting information, then I probably won’t follow the blog.
Why? Because I’ve heard it said by the majority of professional bloggers that most new visitors to a blog will want to find out a little about the person behind the blog first, before deciding whether to follow or not.
It’s true of me. Is it true of you?
Cared for or neglected?
Sometimes, if a new blog I’m visiting is eye-catching, is well organised, easy to navigate around, has excellent content, feels friendly and seems a great place to be, then I will press the follow button.
If it looks and feels good (the same as when I’m trying on a new pair of shoes) and the content is of interest, then I will almost certainly read posts and leave comments.
If the blog is of poor design, takes too long to download, uses a font that is too small to read, has a brightly lit background that produces stars in front of my eyes, or has lots of broken links on its home page, then I’ll move on quickly.
Friend or Foe?
We talked about checking out responses a blogger leaves to comments left on their posts, but are those responses written in a friendly manner?
Just by the fact that we blog or leave reviews, not everyone is going to agree with what we have to say.
I always respond to comments in a friendly, courteous and professional manner, even if a reader does not agree with what I’ve said.
If there’s evidence of a blogger attacking somebody in an unfriendly manner because they have not agreed with all or some of the contents in a post, then consider whether it’s worth following that blog.
By all means, if the content of that blog still interests you, you can still follow and never leave any comments, but be careful when reading negative responses to comments as they can often bring readers down, and even go as far as to affect your mood.
Whatever you do, though, never respond to unfriendly comments by attacking the person who has left them.
What factors are important to you when deciding whether or not to follow a blog? Please share them with us in the comments section.
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