7 Things To Lookout For Before Following A Blog

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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.

#bloggingtips #blogging
Image credit: Pixabay

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?

#bloggingtips #blogging
Image credit: Pixabay

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.

#bloggingtips #blogging
Image credit: Pixabay

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.

#bloggingtips #blogging
Image Credit: Pixabay

What factors are important to you when deciding whether or not to follow a blog? Please share them with us in the comments section.

If you enjoyed reading this post, then you may also enjoy:

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  1. Excellent tips Hugh. I too have an aversion to over-designed blogs but also dislike those that are ‘under-designed’ to the extent it makes them difficult to read. For example, long paragraphs of text without any sub headings or other elements – it makes me feel like it will be hard work.

    1. I agree. Those blog posts with huge paragraphs of text and no sub-headings or images are hard work. In fact, I no longer read posts if they are just huge blocks of text. I see the same thing happen in email notifications of new blog posts where the whole post is displayed on the email, and it’s nothing but large blocks of text. Delete, delete, delete.

      1. I plead guilty to doing this when I first started blogging so now I’ve learned a little more, I’m going back and changing all my earlier posts to make them easy on the eye

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  3. Hmmm, I also follow a lot of blogs, but there are just a few that I really look forward to/always click on to read. I don’t follow just because someone follows me BUT i do take a look with bloggers that regularly interact with me. If I like their blog, then I’ll definitely follow back.

    I find that even if I like a blogger’s writing, if they never respond to my comments then I slowly start to lose interest in them.

    1. It sounds to me as if you’re doing all the correct things when it comes to following other blogs. Keep following those guidelines and you won’t end up falling into the ‘follow’ pit that many find difficult to then escape from.

  4. Hi Hugh, came today via the link-up on Stevie Turner’s site. I looked at most of the blogs via their links left on there and can see a lot of them haven’t been here and had this advice yet… So Follow button relatively unused today… 😉

  5. Found you via Debbie Kaye! I had to cut back on my blog reading because it was interfering with my fiction writing. I have my favorites that I try to get to once a week, but even that is difficult to do on a regular basis. I don’t automatically follow anyone anymore (I used to), but social media has become way too spammy for my taste. I have found it’s much better to sit back and see how genuine the follow is. More often than not, they follow me in hopes of me following back–a numbers game–and not because they long for my pearls of wisdom. 😉 It’s okay. I’d rather have a small but authentic following, than a large mass of people who don’t even read my stuff.

    Great post!

    1. The ‘numbers game’ is a huge problem in both the blogging and social media worlds, Kate. It took me a while to realise that a follow for a follow was worth nothing unless they actually came back to read and comment on my blog posts. I’ve heard it said that only 20% of our followers ever do come back to visit. Likewise, I’ve now stopped following blogs whose content I have absolutely no interest in. If it means that they then unfollow my blog, then so be it.

      Thank you for your comments, and a big thank you to Debby for sending you over from her blog.

  6. Great Tips Hugh, and like you I follow far too many and have culled alot.. though its still 300 plus.. I now do as you do, and look before I press follow, Some just are advertising something, And also I have learnt if I don’t get a response on the third time of commenting, I no longer leave comments and unfollow them..
    Wishing you well, and as I said to Debby, your tip you gave years ago I used which is to back up and save our blog content.. I have had two WP blogging friends who have had their blogs hacked and lost everything..
    Take care..

    1. Hi Sue. Thanks so much for sharing your comments with us on this subject.

      300? Wow! I’m still culling. Want to get down to 200 or less. I see that as my perfect balance with how many blogs I follow. I see and hear of far too many bloggers who get stressed out by the number of blogs they follow and not being able to keep up with them all. Plus, I can’t see any point in following a blog if I’m never going to visit it and read and comment on some of the posts.

      I’m so glad to hear you’re backing up your blog. It’s something many bloggers fail to do. And you’ve shown us, by sharing what happened with to your blogging friends, what can happen if you don’t back up all your blog content.

      Best wishes,

  7. Excellent insights and practical tips, Hugh. Thanks for sharing.
    Regarding ‘unfollowing’ people who haven’t posted recently: I would only notice if it’s a blogger friend who has been a presence on my blog and someone I have come to like via their blog. In that case, I check on the person if I can. Often, it’s illness, loss of relationship/job, and in the cases of two bloggers I greatly admired, it was their own death.

    1. You’re welcome, Cynthia.

      I totally get where you’re coming from when some bloggers go absent from their blogs without any reason. I’ve even tried contacting a few myself, but without success. Even their social media accounts had been closed down. It did bring me to the conclusion that something had happened, and it was also very sad that I knew I probably wouldn’t hear from them again.

  8. A well-written write up on why we should follow a blog, Hugh. Content is certainly something I like out for before following a blog. Though I can be a bit potty-mouthed at times, I’m not inclined to follow a blog with a lot of swear content. Just not to my taste, and we shouldn’t be making excuses for blogs we like and don’t like.

    Like you, I used to follow a few hundred blogs and cut that down to over 300 (which I feel still needs culling). I do prefer following blogs that publish once a week or fortnight or monthly. Definitely can’t keep up with blogs that post every day – I don’t feel stressed to keep up with these blogs as you mentioned, but rather I just don’t have the time and I really like to engage with a blogger and most of their content. Bloggers that post not-so-frequently but still to a schedule, I can easily make time for them in my schedule too. You do publish more than me, Hugh, and on different topics. However I’ve never found it hard to follow along with your blog – whenever I pop by it is just like picking up where I left off.

    I definitely also like it when a blogger takes their time to engage with my comment. It shows they take their blogging seriously and are willing to listen to their readers – and so I feel valued and it’s a lovely connection – maybe even friendship – to have.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your comments on this subject, Mabel.

      Time can often be our emery, can’t it? When it was my enemy, I did all I could to make it work for me, rather than me work for it. That’s why I had to cut down on the number of blogs I followed and lay down some ground rules of what kind of blogs I followed going forward. Like you, I love engagement with other bloggers. It makes blogging, and all the hard work we all put into it, worthwhile. We don’t feel as if we’re falling on deaf ears.

      Like you, I also can not keep up with bloggers who publish more than one post every day, especially when they are all published in a short space of time. That was something I allowed to stress me out; thinking I had to read and comment on all those posts, so I’m glad I now allow those posts to pass me by. I just read one of the posts every now and again (but only of the title of the post is eye-catching). 👀

      1. Time can certainly be the enemy and time can pass so fast when you’re right into blogging. Through engagement we chat with others and there will be different opinions about what we blog about, which is so interesting to hear.

        A good title always draws you in, and you hope that these posts are a good read. Some posts may have catchy titles but their content doesn’t match up. It’s these blogs that I also don’t usually follow.

  9. I think we have as you said, Hugh all been drawn into the follow for a follow I did my clear out a while ago and bookmark ones I don’t follow but have read a great post from them before and check in once in a while…Have a lovely weekend 🙂

    1. Thanks, Carol. The ‘follow for a follow’ trap, is one of the biggest pitfalls of the blogging world, and many of us end up in it at some stage. Weeding out the blogs that really don’t interest us is the key to managing our whole blogging experience.
      You, too, have a great weekend.

  10. As always some terrific advice Hugh and important that people find the balance that suits them when it comes to blogging. And I also think it is dependent on why you blog in the first place. Building a following of like minded bloggers who are likely to enjoy your blog is key, especially when promoting not just your own books but others too. It is meant to be an enjoyable process… hugs Sally

    1. Thanks, Sally. I agree about blogging is all about enjoyment and fun. Unfortunately, many bloggers lose this element at some point and find that blogging can be more stressful than they thought, especially when the stats don’t materialise. Finding that perfect balance can be hard to achieve, but is well worth all the hard work in finding it.

  11. Thanks for this post. Indeed it is very helpful. For me the important things to follow the blog are the content at the blog, about me page and mostly I prefer to follow the blogs with which I can relate well through my blog. I really liked your point on how frequently does a blogger acknowledge on comments. Will keep this in mind now own wards.

  12. Lots of help and wisdom here for our Bloggers. Your popular post will be featured in the next Blogger’s Pit Stop.
    Blogger’s Pit Stop

  13. Hello. I enjoyed your article and want you to know that you are right on target. First, it is an aficionados guide to blog enjoyment and reading; not unlike an introduction to fine chocolates. Second, it is a road-map for those of us who create these magnificent 21st century scrivenings. I am printing a copy to place right behind my keyboard as a constant reminder of where I am and what I am doing. Thank you so very much, my friend.

  14. It’s definitely not possible to read and leave comments on every blog we follow, otherwise there would be no time left for anything else! I re-blog or leave comments on the ones that interest me the most and on the ones where the author comments or shares some of my blogs. I could sit here all day leaving comments, but I also have to go to work and run a home!

    1. I don’t mind sharing the posts of bloggers that don’t follow me back. Providing it’s great content and an intresting read, then I’ll probably comment on the post as well as share it. It’s the blogs I follow whose content does not really interest me that I need to weed out. A ‘follow for a follow’ is a trap that many bloggers fall into at some stage of their blogging journey (usually early on). I’ve just about weeded out the blogs that I should never have followed in the first place. The trick, now, is to remember to come back and do it again in at least six months time.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us on this subject.

  15. The comments really make a difference for me. I like the idea of creating a relationship with someone, so if I don’t get comments back, it seems too one way. And I don’t think most bloggers realize that their replies don’t go back to the original commenter….some just post on the blog and that person never knows there is a reply…


    1. I follow a few blogs where I leave comments but don’t receive comments back on my posts. However, I don’t mind that because I only leave comments if I have enjoyed reading the post and have something to say that adds real value to the post. I don’t see any point in leaving comments that add no value, although I do know that many bloggers see this as a way to get some free promotion. These comments, however, can often look spammy to other readers.

      As for most bloggers not realising that their replies did not go back to the original commenter, I guess you’re referring to the ‘Notify me of new comments via email’ box, and whether or not it’s been ticked after leaving a comment? You’re right. I’ve responded to comments by asking questions and, in one case, offering some free books, but never heard back from the people who left the original comments. Now, that’s what I consider a one-way conversation.

      Thanks so much for reading and leaving your comments, Jodie.

  16. I did the exact same thing of following whoever followed me. Now 6 months into blogging, I find that I don’t view other’s blogs and feel bad. So I’m taking you’re advice and will really look at who I’m following and the content as well. Thanks again!

  17. Well Hugh, judging from all the comments, you have a LOT of loyal followers! I don’t tend to follow blogs because my email inbox gets flooded and I like to keep it under control. Instead I bookmark my favourites and pop over to visit a couple of times a week. It keeps the pressure under control and still keeps me in touch with all my favourites.

    1. Thanks for sharing how you control the way you follow/visit blogs, Leanne. I would never have thought of doing that way.

      I’m happy about placing email notifications for new posts in a folder called ‘Blog post to read.’ That way, my email inbox doesn’t look too full. 😀

      I had to fish your comment out of my WordPress spam folder. No idea why it ended up in there.

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