7 Things To Lookout For Before Following A Blog

photography of person using macbook
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

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:

7 Ways To Get More Readers To Your Blog

5 Ways You Can Save Time When Blogging

7 Ways You Can Promote Your Blog For Free

Let’s Keep Blogging Fun

Click here to follow my Blogging Tips magazine on Flipboard.

© 2018 Copyright – All rights reserved – hughsviewsandnews.com

Author: Hugh W. Roberts

My name is Hugh. I live in the city of Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom. My blog covers a wide range of subjects, the most popular of which are my blogging tips posts. If you have any questions about blogging or anything else, please contact me by clicking on the 'Contact Hugh' button on the menu bar. Click on the 'Meet Hugh' button on the menu bar to learn more about me and my blog.

204 thoughts

  1. This is an excellent list, Hugh. I’ve become more discerning about following too. I’m much more conscious of content, and I’m more likely to follow someone who bothers to comment. Even so, I have a hard time keeping up with blogger posts!

    1. I no longer worry about keeping up with the blogs I follow, Diana. I get to them as and when I can. I think most bloggers understand that. Most comments give us such a significant uplift when they are left, especially the ones which spark a conversation. I really love those types of comments. I’ve stopped leaving comments on blogs where the owner of the blog doesn’t respond, or I get the same ‘thank you for leaving your thoughts’ regardless of what I’ve said. We’re social creatures, and during these times, many of us have a big urge to get into a conversation. I think it goes a long way in helping us get through these strange days we all find ourselves in.

      1. I’m the same way, Hugh. I don’t “trade likes” either and that gives me more time to spend on those bloggers that interact. 🙂 It’s been an evolution as the blog grows. Have a great day, considering. Take care. ❤

        1. Don’t get me started on ‘likes’, Diana. I’ve written about them a few times and stopped taking any notice of them when some readers informed me that they ‘like’ posts without ever reading them. Now I’ll only press ‘like’ if I have a comment to add.

  2. Like you and probably many new bloggers, if they followed me, I’d follow back. However, it got too much, going through hundreds of emails and trying to comment on everyone’s blogs.

    Now, if someone follows me, I’ll take a look at their blog to see if it’s something I would read regularly or to see how they responded to others comments before I follow them back.

    1. ‘Follow for a follow’ was one of the biggest mistakes I made. I soon found myself with a massive list of blogs I was following which made it impossible for me to keep up with. I also found out that some of the bloggers would ‘unfollow’ as soon as you followed them back. It seemed to be a numbers game rather than following because the content was excellent and you knew you’d read posts and leave comments.

      It’s a trap that many new bloggers fall into. Unforntuanlly, some become so overwhelmed by it all, that they end up leaving the blogging world for good.

      Not sure why, but WordPress sent your comment to my spam folder, Caz. It’s a good job I check what’s in there every day and fish out the genuine ones I love getting.

      1. Yes, I’ve had a few times where once you follow, people unfollow. Still, then I’d rather not have them as my readers.
        I had a few in my Spam too and one or two other people have mentioned that their own stuff is going into spam too. Someone suggested it could just be WP acting up?

        1. I’d say it’s more likely that the anti-spam software WordPress use (Akismet) may be acting up. So long as it’s only the odd comment that ends up in there, then we’ve nothing to worry about. It’s when all your comments end up in there that it becomes a problem. That’s when WordPress needs to be involved. Over the years I’ve been blogging, I’ve ended up in spam prison three times. Fortunately, the Happiness Engineers got me out.

  3. Timely tips, I just unfollowed a few blogs this afternoon! Some had not posted in a good while and some of them no longer interested me. I do this with my followers as well. I am always cautious and usually delete young men – why would they want to follow a 60+ year old woman who just writes simple thoughts about life? I tried a few times to delete two strange blogs that follow me, but they always reappear on my followers list. They never comment or indicate in any way that they read my posts, and it leaves me a bit unsettled. I blocked them following Word Press instructions yet they still pop back up. You have a lot of useful information. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Unfortunately, there are lots of spammers and trolls who create blogs and follow other blogs without ever leaving a comment or a ‘like’. Once the blog is taken down, they end up popping up again. Some (as I’ve found out) may copy and publish your blog posts and credit themselves as the author. In the six years I’ve been blogging, I’ve had to report a handful of these blogs to WordPress. So far, all those blogs were taken down, but I’m sure the person behind the blog creates a new one and starts the same thing again.

      There are a few things we can do to ensure we keep ourselves and our blogs safe. For instance, never click on any uninvited links in comments, or never respond to a comment from a troll. Try not to feel too unsettled by some of those that follow you because I know it can take away the enjoyment of blogging. I usually do a ‘housekeep’ of the blogs I follow once every six months. That way, I know I’m keeping the number of blogs I follow under control.

  4. Very interesting post, Hugh! You’ve made me realize I need to give my about page more attention – or rather create one, because at the moment, it’s just a blurb on my sidebar. Also, I totally agree about whether or not the blogger responds to comments. For me, blogging and blog reading is finding those with common interests and discussing them. I’ve formed new friendships through blogs. So bloggers who don’t respond to comments will get a pass from me. Great post!

    Michelle

    1. Thank you, Michelle.

      I recommend you create a separate ‘about me’ page on your blog. After hearing from many other more professional bloggers, I’ve just made my ‘about me’ page the home page of my blog. Apparently, new visitors like to know about the person behind the blog and what their blog offers before deciding whether to follow or not. That kinda makes sense than rather having to read a few blog posts first before deciding whether to follow. I don’t know about you, but I’ve mistakenly ended up following some blogs that published two or three great posts but then started to publish stuff I had absolutely no interest in. If I’d read the ‘about me’ page first, I wouldn’t have made the mistake of following them.

  5. I realized a while back that WP doesn’t notify me when some people post comments … especially on an older posts. I think I solved the problem but who knows! I try to connect with people and am learning to avoid those who want to use their blogs as one-sided platforms. I actually don’t mind a bit of bad language and satire. Though I try not to offend anyone.

    1. I know that I don’t always see notifications of comments in the notification area of my blog, but I haven’t had any problems with getting emails of notifications. If you’re not always getting email notifications of new comments, then I’d recommend you report the problem to WordPress. Only this week, I found out from them that the reason why I was having some issues with my blog was that the theme I was using had been retired and they were not doing any updates on it. I wasn’t pleased with finding that out, but it explained why I was having some problems. They usually come up with the answers. Since changing themes, the issues I was experiencing have all gone.

  6. I’ve only been blogging a year, but I’ve already maxed out. What is the point of following someone if you never engage with others? It would be interesting to take a look at the percentage of “followers” who have never left one comment. I can only imagine their only goal was to hope that I would follow them back. Talk about meaningless numbers! Are we that shallow that we chase followers? I prefer people who have something of substance to say. I’ll take quality over quantity any day.

    Your blog is engaging because of the content, your helpful nature, and the way that you respond with meaningful dialogue to those who leave comments. I think it’s essential for newer bloggers like myself to model our blogs after those who have cultivated this sense of community.

    1. I’ve read a lot about the percentages of followers who engage with the blogger they follow, Pete. Most seem to agree that it’s somewhere between 20% and 30% of followers. Looking at my own stats, I’d say that was about right. However, I do know of some followers who never leave comments but do contact me via my blog or via email. They seem more comfortable communicating with me that way.

      ‘Ghost Followers’ (as I call them), who follow and never read or interact with the blog they follow are people best forgotten about. I’m sure many of them follow in the hope that they get a follow back. Of course, that is pointless to do unless we read the blog posts and/or actively communicate with the author of the blog. As somebody who once followed over 500 blogs, I was shocked by how many I never actually visited when I did a good clean out of the number of blogs I followed. I was one of those who followed back anyone who followed me (what a big mistake that was).

      I’m now down to following around 130 blogs but do still look for new ones to follow. However, I’m strict with who I do follow because I don’t want to follow any blog I know I won’t go back and visit. If the content doesn’t really interest me, then I won’t follow. Likewise, if the blogger doesn’t engage much with their audience, then I certainly won’t leave any comments, but I may still follow if I like their content. For instance, there is one blogger I follow who responds to all comments in the way. He usually says ‘thanks for sharing that information me.’ However, his content is generally good, so I continue to follow. I have, though, stopped leaving comments on his posts because I know what response I’m going to get.

      And you’re so right that quality should always be more important than quantity. Too many bloggers chase the stats rather than produce good quality content. When we first start out as bloggers, I can see why stats are important, but audiences will come if the quality of the blog posts is excellent.

      Thank you for the lovely compliments about me and my blog. I learned much of what I know from other bloggers, and I enjoy passing all these tips on to you all.

  7. Hugh, one reason I enjoy your blog is because you have great content and because you are friendly and kind when you respond to comments.

    Honestly, I wouldn’t have believed that someone would swear in their blog posts. Among other things, it shows the inability to communicate. About a month ago a blogger I’ve been following for at least a year swore in a blog post. I immediately unfollowed. I’m no fragile flower, but when writing a blog post the writer has the opportunity to think twice about hitting publish.

    I also agree with you about bad mouthing others. There is no need for it, and if the blogger is a professional blogger it doesn’t make any sense.

    What makes me follow a blog? Content and friendliness. I like nice photos (especially for quilting, crafty things, DIY, etc.) but photos that aren’t “perfect” are OK too. We aren’t all professional photographers.

    Every once in a blue moon I’ll come across a blog where the writing is grey on white and too hard to read. So I don’t stay to read it. Too many pop up ads will make me leave too. I do understand that bloggers need to make money through their sponsors but sometimes it’s overdone.

    There was one blog I recently stopped following because they sent posts every day, that became boring to read. If someone rarely publishes a post that’s fine with me. If I like their blog I’ll read it no matter how infrequently they post.

    Whew! That was long winded.

    1. Not long-winded at all, Lea. It’s precisely the type of comment I’m always delighted to receive. Just one comment like yours every once in a while is worth a hundred short comments that don’t create discussion or are just a line of emojis (Grr!).

      I’m not sure why bloggers feel the need to swear in their blog posts. I’m OK with the odd mild swear word every now and again, but when it happens on every single blog post and several times in the same post, it’s a sure way of making me not to want to return. I really don’t see the need for swearing in blog posts. Sure, it may be a blog post about poor customer service, a terrible holiday, or a product that wasn’t up to what it said it would be, but why use swearwords? They can make a blogger look very unfriendly.

      Likewise, I’ve also encountered bloggers who criticise people for the way they talk, where they live or those that (like me) are dyslexic. Usually, the comments on their posts are from other trolls or those who are unfriendly.

      I recently followed a new blogger at a blog party I attended who became very unfriendly towards me in her comments. I should have realised I should not have followed her because she was hostile towards others who had left comments too. I can’t think for the life of me why she was unfriendly and abrupt towards those who left her comments, yet she seemed to quite enjoy it.

      Thanks again for leaving another thought-provoking comment that had content in it to strike up a discussion. I value those comments a lot.

  8. Hugh, this post is always timely, even if it is a reboot. When someone follows me, I immediately check out their “About Me” page, followed by a post or two before ruling a site in or out. If their posts are poorly constructed, full of ads, or otherwise head banging, content doesn’t matter at that point. I’m out. I choose blogs based on comments left on other blogs I follow pretty often. But, I regularly go through the list of blogs I follow to see if I am still interested. Drop one, add one, keeps the list manageable.

    1. Sounds as if you’re managing the number of blogs you follow extremely well, Suzanne. Plus, you’re using great rules as to whether to follow or not.

      I’m unable to check out all the new bloggers that follow me until I’ve at least had a few comments left by them that prove they’ve read the posts they left the comments on. I’ve recently been getting lots of comments from certain new bloggers such as ‘thanks for writing this, all your words gave me food for thought. I’ve just written a post about…please check it out and leave me feedback.’ Of course, they also leave a link to the post, too. Some of those comments were left on my Wordless Wednesday posts, which prove these comments are left without the post being read. They’ve been left in the hope that other readers and I will follow them back. In fact, in the last week, I’ve had one blogger leave the same comment on at least 10 of my blog posts. Perhaps I need to write a post for those new to blogging that lists the ‘do not’ of being a blogger?

      1. Hugh, could those comments be computer generated spam and not real bloggers? I get a few of those as well. Lately, a comment I made on your blog months ago has gotten likes from suspicious looking blog names. I am still following the comments, so I get notifications to my email. Warning bloggers about ‘scams’ like these is probably a good idea. Take care.

        1. They could well be, Suzanne, but the ones I’ve had recently did have a WordPress blog with some content. It seemed to me to be more of a way of getting some attention without leaving good meaningful comments that proved they’d read the post. Their gravatar also had an image, although not an actual photo of the person behind the gravatar.

          Likewise, I often get one blogger liking all the comments I’ve left on a blog post. The problem is, they ‘like’ each comment within seconds of each other. Given that some of my comments could be a blog post in themselves, I then know that the only reason why they’ve liked all those comments is to get noticed. The best thing for those kinds of ‘likes’ is to ignore them completely.

  9. 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

  10. Pingback: ~ Esme Salon
  11. 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.

  12. 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… 😉

  13. 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.

  14. 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,
      Hugh

  15. 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.

Leave a Reply to CarolCooks2 Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.