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.

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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?

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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.

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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

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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. All good advice. I’ve recently purged the blogs I follow and I’m going to have to do it again soon, as there are still too many. I keep following new ones, even though there isn’t enough time to interact with them all.

    1. I had to become very strict with myself when it came to pressing the ‘follow’ button, April. The tips in my post went a long way in helping me. Now, a blog really has to interest me before I press ‘follow.’ I also keep asking myself “am I ever likely to visit and comment on that blog?” before pressing ‘follow.’

  2. Another wonderful post, Hugh! As I shared with you previously that I eventually unfollow a whole bunch. Right now I hardly follow back even though when they follow and comment, I hopped over to make one visit and comment but don’t follow back. Knowing that they just want me to follow. I used to get as many as 30 follows a day and I followed them back. Imagine the numbers!!! Some posts talk about things on and on and on and have at least several thousand words nothingness. I may have to trim a little more of my following so that I won’t get too many coming to my Reader. I do go through my Reader.

    Anyways, I did a PowerPoint presentation today on how to establish an author’s platform by creating a blog. I mentioned it to you before. Your blog link is on the list of blogging support and tips. These members are retirees with great stories to tell and have written books. One person wrote 6 books but hardly sell any. So I just help them to create a blog and get connected. They appreciated seeing a list of helpful blogs.

    1. Thank you, Miriam.

      Like you, I’ve stopped following back even if a new blogger leaves a comment on one of my posts. I now wait and see how often they interact with me before deciding whether to check out their blog and, even then, I may not follow back. Likewise, I follow a number of blogs who don’t follow me back, but that’s because I find the content on their blog interesting.

      Thank you so much for including information about my blog in the presentation you did. I hope it went well and that those who attended go away and take notice of your advice. It’s so very kind of you to help these people. Keep up the excellent work you’re doing.

      1. Hi, Hugh, after my comment to you, I deleted some more blogs I followed but has no activities in the last 6 to 12 months, as well as the blogs I’m not interested in.
        I made hand-outs for the presentation. It would be overwhelming if someone has never had a blog. Many of them took notes and asked questions along the presentation. I have 2 slides with helpful links. They have that if they decide to create a blog.

        1. That’s great to hear about you unfollowing blogs you’re no longer interested in reading, Miriam. Now you’ve made a start, keep on doing it. Once you’re happy with the list you’re still following, remember to come back at least once every six months to do another stocktake.

          It sounds to me that you gave your audience a really interesting talk about blogging. Well done.

        2. Thank you, Hugh, you’re right. I did one round a year ago, but as you said, I should do it every six months. I don’t know how some posts come to my Reader, yes, need regular clean-up.

          Members in that group have published books but didn’t do too much networking. It’s a group of retirees, some are professionals, who have interesting stories to tell.

  3. I have a feeling that most bloggers have – at one point or another – the same sentiments you expressed (and solved) so well in this post, Hugh. Not too long ago, I certainly felt overwhelmed about all the blog posts sitting in my inbox and guilty for not reading them or commenting to them (in a timely manner). Blogging has to remain fun instead of stressful. Why did I forget about that?

    Your seven questions are very valid. If something doesn’t appeal to us, just move on. In general, I read the blogs I follow and leave a comment. But, if they post many times a week, I just can’t keep up and focus on the content that interests me most.

    Like you, I’m not too fond of following bloggers who never reply to comments, yet some of those blogger reciprocate the comment you leave by going to your blog and leaving a comment there. While I like the fact that they visit me, I find this a weird behavior, since I think there’s more value to them reacting to my comment on their blog, than being diverted to commenting on mine.

    And, yes to reading about the blogger first, before deciding to follow him or her. How else would you know whether that person strikes a cord with you as a reader?

    I have no idea how many blogs I follow. I guess having a look in my Reader would answer that question. 🙂 But, I usually click on the posts in my inbox to read the whole story and have never used “reader” before. My guess is between 30 – 50. Receiving all the answers to comments for that particular blog posts floods my inbox as well. Talk about overwhelming… 🙂

    I definitely am not in a position to focus on blogging full-time or even during all my pastime, so choosing the right blogs to follow is important and your tips will certainly help with that!

    1. I think many of us, at some stage, lose the fun and enjoyment element of blogging, Liesbet. It can become overwhelming and make us feel stress and/or feel guilty. However, I’ve never worried about reading and commenting on posts in a timely manner. Sometimes, it can be weeks before I read a post. What annoys me is that some bloggers choose to close comments off after a certain amount of time, thus leaving it impossible for late arrivers to leave comments. Not only that but some of my posts from years ago still get comments left on them, espically if I have updated the post. It seems strange to me to close off comments after a certain amount of time.

      Time and time again, I hear how many readers cannot cope with too many posts being published by a single blogger in a short space of time. That’s why I always spread my posts out. It’s very rare that I will publish more than one post a day; it’s more like two or three a week for me. Plus, the content offer suffers when too many posts are published in a short timeframe. I’m now more likely to delete those posts than read them.

      I agree about not responding to comments as being seen by many as weird, especially if said blogger then leaves a comment on one of your posts. That does seem very strange. I did hear from one blogger who told me that she never responded to comments on her own blog because her readers wanted her to spend the time writing new posts! I was dumbfounded by that statement. Needless to say, I no longer follow her blog.

      Thank you for sharing your comments with us on this subject, Liesbet.

  4. This is a very timely post, Hugh. Liesbet and I were just discussing this important topic. If blogging is stressing us out, or making us continually feel guilty, we need to recognize this and make changes. Your list of tips is an excellent place to start!

  5. Hugh, this is a timely post and not easy information to share. Even though my following has increased, I have seen a lot of spam followers. Some non-bloggers also follow with their email address which sometimes looks suspicious, but we still want to appeal to all types of readers, not just bloggers. And of course, we can’t follow them back. I just went through my list yesterday (those vibes in the universe)…I will unfollow if I see they haven’t posted in over a month. I do still follow some folks I met at the very beginning, who don’t post very often, but when they do, it is worth the wait, because I feel a deeper connection and some loyalty to them. This week, my time was up to continue paying for the premium blog package so I went to the personal account with a free theme, which I had to hurriedly fix yesterday as it defaulted to some old pages. I recently followed a number of new blogs who participate for Sunday Stills (who now follow me), which seems to make sense since they are active. Always best to go through your manage reader list and winnow it out!

    1. Those spam followers can be a real problem, Terri. A few have tried leaving comments of no value other than to try and promote themselves on some of my posts. I move them straight to spam. It’s one of the reasons I never celebrate any milestones in followers because many of those followers are what I call ‘ghost followers’ and never come back.

      I agree that our content has to appeal to all readers and not just other bloggers. Over the last six months, I saw a huge increase in the number of email followers. Strangely, though, every single one of them had an email address that ended with ‘outlook.com.’ Then, whenever I published a new post, I’d be flooded with spam comments within seconds of the post going live from these email followers. Fortunately, WordPress soon saw that they were all bogus accounts, and comments from these addresses now go straight to spam.

      I thought your new Sunday Stills feature would bring in a lot of new followers. The same thing happened to me when I ran Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge.’ However, I think I lost a few when I stopped the challenge (due to time).

  6. 🙂 Hugh, you have made some very valid points, my friend.

    I for one, would not want to follow a neglected blog.

    And, I have deep respect for the blogger who responds to the comments on their blog.

    “About” pages are indeed important (I am deeply surprised of the fact, that a lot of bloggers neglect that aspect of their blog).

    And, from a realistic point of view, we cannot follow every blogger underneath the Sun, because we are going to have a very hard time visiting them all.

    As you have stated, not every blog is going to be of interest to us (And, we would be wasting our time if we followed a blog that we had no interest in).

    Personally, I have no problem whatsoever with a person posting numerous times a day because I am not logged in to my WordPress account twenty-four hours, seven days a week.

    Thank you for your very insightful blogging advice.

    1. Thank you, Renard. Thank you, too, for your comments on this post.

      I agree that we are not logged onto our WordPress account 24 hours a day but, for those of us who prefer to get WordPress notifications via email, that doesn’t stop the email notifications coming into our email box. They are still there when we next open our email inbox and can often cause a feeling of being overwhelmed.

      On the other side of the coin, I do remember how when I used to use the WP Reader how I would scroll down to the last post I had read and then try and make my way back to the top again. It was a never-ending climb that only made me feel very overwhelmed. That’s why I’ve now moved back to getting email notifications and have created a new folder I’ve called ‘blog posts to reads’ in my email account. It’s helped take away that feeling of being overwhelmed and made blogging fun again.

      I have nothing against bloggers publishing a few posts a day but spread them out rather than publish them all within a short space of each other. The WordPress scheduler is the perfect tool for doing that.

  7. I spend a couple of hours every morning with my morning coffee and the WordPress reader going through the blogs. I found an area in settings some time ago that stopped them from feeding into my overflowing inbox.
    I think of it as reading a newspaper but with the benefit of connecting with the writers 🙂

    1. Yes, it’s possible to turn off email notifications in your settings, Jacquie. Many do this, simply because they can not cope with the feeling of being overwhelmed when those emails come in.

      On the other side of the coin, many don’t use the WP Reader because it too can be overwhelming. I referred to myself as being like a hamster running on a wheel, in the hope of getting to the top of the reader, in one of my earlier posts. I wasn’t able to cope with it, so changed back to email notifications.

      For me, moving the emails to a folder I’ve called ‘Blog posts to read’ seems to work best for me. However, we should always go with what works best for us. 😀

    2. I’m with you Jacquie, I turn off all email notifications. I don’t mind WP Reader, at least when it is loading correctly. Sometimes it is extremely slow to load, but that might be because my internet connection isn’t the best since we live out in the boonies and have satellite internet.

      1. I know what you mean, Maranda. I’m on an island. Our internet goes from good to spotty all the time 🙂
        I like the Reader. It’s easy to use and lets me skim the global news stories at the same time 🙂

    1. You need to cut down that list of blogs you follow, Colleen. It does take time but is so well worth it. After all, why keep following blogs we have no intention of visiting again?

      Once you’ve done some housekeeping on your follow list, you’ll feel much better about it.

  8. Wise words, as usual. I regularly check those I follow and – if they haven’t posted for several months (and not left anything to say they’re taking a break) then I stop following. Likewise I check my own followers and if they’ve never interacted with me in any way – I remove them.
    When I gave a talk about blogging to my writers’ group a few weeks ago, I emphasised that posts/comments need to be acknowledged.

    1. I remember you mentioning the talk you were giving on blogging, Eileen. I hope it all went well?

      I’m the same. If a blogger has not published a new post for at least six months and given no reasons as to why they’ve stopped blogging, then I tend to think the blog has been abandoned and unfollow them. It helps clear up my ‘follow’ list and keeps it under control. However, if they all of a sudden reappear, by leaving a comment on one of my recent posts, then I may follow back.

  9. Hugh… Applesauce! You did a terrific job with this post. It felt personal and in the moment — not just the usual kind of “advice” or “how to” thing that get published so often. Oh, and look at the conversations you generated! Marvelous.
    I feel strongly about “really interacting with their readers”. You’re a role model for that. I couldn’t agree more on the “About” page.
    Have a thriving Thursday, my friend. Hugs.

    1. Thanks so much, Teagan.

      I always enjoy it when my posts get the conversation going. I always try and look at these kinds of posts as my own personal experience, so I’m really glad that you mentioned it.

      You’re a great role model for always interacting with your readers, Teagan. That’s why they always keep coming back to read the great content your blog offers.

      Hugs to you.

  10. All good points, Hugh.

    I tend to follow three types of blog. One is the type that has a lot of content that stimulates my mind and makes me think about things and has a good comment section with give and take responses between post author and commenters. Yours comes into that category. I’ll admit I don’t read all your posts but that applies to all the blogs I follow. My health isn’t great and I have to stagger what I do to be able to keep up with everything.

    I also follow image-orientated blogs usually to do with nature, art or crafts. The authors of posts in these blogs rarely respond in detail to comments and I’m okay with that as I’m following them either to get a quick ‘fix’ for my senses or because I want to learn something. That said, it’s nice to receive a reply as it’s an acknowledgement that one has commented.

    The third type is to do with my vintage interests, some of them bloggers who, like me, collect vintage photos and some to do with genealogy and family history as I’m a sucker for reading about people’s families and past times!

    To my mind, blogs are – or should be – different from other websites in that, unlike a magazine or news site, one can get to know other human beings as individuals, get responses, sometimes have a conversation. So if that element of it is missing – I usually either avoid it.

    I’m with you entirely on not enjoying blogs in which people belittle or criticise others. But I’m generally okay if there is some swearing unless it’s overdone. What annoys me more than swearing is the use of asterisks in place of certain letters!

    I’m fine with people who only post sporadically providing their content is worth waiting for. People who post several times a day annoy me and sometimes that alone will be enough for me to unfollow. I’m also turned off by posts with huge amounts of photos – scroll, scroll, scroll… urgh, please no!

    I also like to see an ‘About’ page, but a lot of bloggers, even after years of blogging, don’t feel comfortable writing one, and I can’t really use that as a reason not to follow. So instead, I find and read their first few posts. There’s usually something about a person there, or the reason for blogging. I do like to know the first name of the person and the country they’re from, maybe their age or interests, etc, to form some sort of impression about them. It’s friendly. An alternative is to ask… but of course we’re Brits, so how to do that? 😉

    I rarely have to deal with unpleasant comments because of two things. First I have ‘Pleasant comments welcome’ above my comment box, and secondly because I moderate all comments so if there’s anything horrible I just send it into oblivion!

    A poorly designed blog? It depends on so many different things, Hugh. The biggest turn off for me is white or coloured text on black, but for a lot of posts I can change that in Firefox using the ‘Reader View,’ (https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/firefox-reader-view-clutter-free-web-pages), and I tear my hair out on blogs that have no way to navigate to previous posts (and those that have turned off commenting on older ones.) One other thing that drives me batty is blogs that have only one post per view, meaning lots of clicking the back and forward arrows to see other posts. Have you come across those? Often they are image or poetry blogs. And while I know they are very popular, I really dislike the home pages that have a large-format slideshow on auto.

    I recently took your advice from an earlier post in your blog and decided to schedule my future posts, so I’m now posting every ten days. I use the following few days to answer comments and catch up on reading other people’s posts, and then I’ve got the rest of the time free for the rest of my life.

    Sorry for long comment.

    1. Hi Val, thank you for all your comments, and no problem with it being a long comment. You’ve gone to great details about some of the points I raised in my post.

      I agree that it’s far better to have an acknowledgement rather than no response to a comment. For me, though, it’s when I ask a question and get a response that just says ‘Thanks for reading.” That usually tells me that the author of the post I’ve left a comment on has not really read my comment. If they do the same thing a second time, then I will (in most cases) unfollow the blog.

      I don’t mind the odd bit of swearing in a blog post, but when it’s overdone or not really necessary then I will unfollow a blog, especially if it appears in every single one of their posts.

      I agree about posts that include loads and loads of photos, especially when WordPress offer a gallery as a way of displaying photos. Often, these blogs can also take a long time to download; time which many of us don’t have enough of to wait around for.

      I do think that an ‘about me’ or ‘welcome’ page is important to have on a blog. Whilst some people would find writing one uncomfortable, I do feel that many readers like to know a little about a blogger (or writer and/or author) before deciding whether to read their work and/or follow them on Amazon, etc. Reading their first few posts is a great way of maybe finding out more, but I know many bloggers who have deleted those first few posts (including myself), so it would be like looking at a blank shelve if somebody went looking for more information about me on my blog. I’m always amazed by how many visitors my ‘about me’ page gets, although it is also my blogs home page.

      Like you, I moderate all comments before they appear on my blog. I’ve had the unpleasant experience of getting comments from trolls, not just aimed at myself, but also at some of my readers. I’ve often seen unfriendly and nasty comments on blogs I follow and do wonder how on earth they got there in the first place.

      I have come across some blogs that have their home page as just one post. In fact, in the beginning, that’s what my homepage was like. Then I heard from a lot of more experienced bloggers that visitors like to know a little more about the person behind the blog, so I changed my home page to my ‘Meet Hugh’ page. When I made the change I was amazed by both the number of new visitors I got, as well as the number of new followers I got. It’s been one of the best changes I made to my blog.

      I’m so pleased to hear that you’ve taken on board some of the blogging advice I’ve already given. I hope it does help and that it will make your blogging journey an even more incredible experience.

      Once again, thank you for all your comments.

    1. There’s a lot of stuff I wish I had known about the world of blogging when I first came here in February 2014. Thank goodness I stumbled upon some posts that included blogging tips. I’d never have believed that I’d be writing and publishing my own.

  11. Thanks for this post. All the reminders in a tidy little package. I follow many, but have whittled it down to under ten that I follow religiously. Seriously, that is about the amount I can handle on a daily or weekly basis. I do however always check out the blogs of those who follow mine. They may not be to my liking, mostly for the reasons you stated. Too bright. Too long. Bad language. Yours is on my short list. You make sense to me.

    1. Hi Deborah, thanks for your comments and for adding me to your blog shortlist. That’s a real honour.

      Even though I follow 215 blogs, I don’t read all the newly published posts of those blogs. First, the title of the post has to really catch my attention to make me click on the link to read the post, and I’ll only leave a comment that adds value to the post. However, I always say to people to go with what works best for them.

      Thank you for adding your voice.

  12. Thank you for these excellent tips, Hugh. You make me feel validated when I have to unfollow people. Thank you for that. I always felt guilty about doing that but now the Master of Blogging Extraordinaire has spoken and I listen. LOL! You hit the nail on the head on all these tips. I will visit someone’s blog if they follow me and peruse their posts. But If I don’t find any of interest to me I move on.
    I especially am turned off by vulgar content and language. I will not read any more if I see one particular word in the posts. I high tail it out of there. Not necessary to use that kind of language anywhere.

    Since I’ve been doing the interviews I have picked up many more followers. It has become difficult to check out all their blogs. Sigh! But once in awhile I will find a jewel and respond on a post. I hope all my new followers will continue to come back even if I don’t get a chance to look at their blogs.

    Thanks again, Hugh, for all your help. I feel like you are my priest and you are listening to my confession. Sigh! LOL! Bless me Father! 🤗 xx

    1. Hi Janice. I don’t know why, but your comment went straight to my WordPress spam folder, so I had to go in and save you.

      I’m glad to have been of help. Nobody should ever feel guilty about unfollowing a blog, especially if the content is not to their liking or interest, so don’t worry yourself about that.

      As for those bloggers you don’t follow back, just look at it as their loss if they unfollow you for not following them back. Unfortunately, there are too many in the blogging world who are more interested in the number of followers they can get rather than reaching out and supporting other bloggers. They are not worth worrying about, and many soon pack in blogging when they realise they are blogging for the wrong reasons.

      I follow a number of blogs who don’t follow me back, but that’s because I enjoy reading their content and leaving comments on what they’ve written about. That’s one of the most important reasons for following a blog.

      Hugs to you.

  13. Thanks again Hugh for highlighting some great tips for bloggers at all stages of their blogging journey. I agree with all your tips and I will add that I also dislike pop ups appearing as soon as I’ve opened a post to read, sometimes I can’t get rid of them so just give up and don’t read any further. I don’t like the feeling of being bombarded with suggestions for following this that and the other as soon as I land on a page. I know the reasoning behind this action of course but it really puts me off. I also like to know the bloggers name, not just their blog name but their real name. It can be so hard to find sometimes. Its because I like to use their name in a comment, as I’m a friendly sort!! Following and unfollowing can be a minefield but you’ve handled the subject with your usual good humour and style – so thanks again. Debbie

    1. Oh, those pop-ups! I dislike them, too, Debbie. Especially when they pop up every single time you go to read a new post, and there’s no way of saying ‘no thank you’ and ‘please, don’t show this popup ever again.’ I agree they are very annoying.

      Not knowing a name you can refer to somebody as is also very annoying. I think I’ve mentioned before in previous posts that if you don’t want to use your real name then use one that everyone can use when they address you. Using a name in a comment always comes over as being friendly, and that’s far better than coming over as somebody who isn’t particularly friendly.

      You’re welcome. I’m glad you’ve found this post useful and helpful, Debbie. Thank you for adding your voice.

    1. I can answer that question, Michele. One blogger, who never responded to comments on her blog, told me that none of her readers minded her not responding, as they would rather her spend her time writing her next post! I was rather dumbfounded by that response. I don’t follow her blog anymore.

  14. Another very helpful blog to make us think. I look for humour as well; the bloggers I follow who post regularly are a varied collection, but if they are writing something helpful, interesting or that resonates AND it is funny, that is the one I am going to stop and read. Short blogs are good, but some blogs that are about a time or place that interests me are quite long and well worth bookmarking to read properly later. We shouldn’t feel guilty about skipping blogs; if you just read and commented ( intelligently ) on Superblogger’s piece yesterday, skip their blogs on topics that may not ineterest you. If time is short skip more blogs, your favourite bloggers will still be there when you get back from holiday or the visitors have gone.

    1. Thank you.

      I agree that we should never feel guilty about reading and commenting on all the blogs we follow. There just isn’t enough hours in the day to do that, and many bloggers tend to be happy with an occasional visit and comment (as it should be).

      Thank you for adding your voice to this debate.

  15. Very good things to take into consideration. I need to go through mine again, as I am overwhelmed every day by all the email notices I get. A lot of those I delete without reading, so if I never go there then why keep them. There is some place (I forget where) that you can find out how long it’s been since they’ve posted something. If it’s been a really long time, and they never visit you, it may be best to unfollow them.

    1. Yes, you can find out how long ago it was since a blog you followed published a post by going to Reader, clicking on the Manage button next to Follow Sites, and the last line under each of the blogs you follow will tell you when they last published a new post. If it’s been more than 6 months, then I tend to also unfollow them.

  16. Content, content, content is the biggest reason I will follow or not follow a blogger. Much like a good book, if you catch and hold my attention, I’ll be back for more. I agree with everything you have written here – the about page, the tone of comments, if the blogger comments, etc. One thing I would say to new bloggers is to write content before running around and following everyone and their mother. If I come to look at your blog and you’ve only written 3 blog posts, I probably won’t follow unless the content is overwhelmingly crazy good.

    When I first started blogging over five years ago, I sent notifications of new posts to my blogging email. That was a mistake! Except for the bloggers I follow religiously, everything goes to the reader now and I go there as I have time.

    1. When I first started to blog, I fell into the trap of reading and commenting on too many blog posts rather than writing posts. It’s an easy trap to fall into, and it isn’t long before that feeling of being overwhelmed will follow. You’re right to say that bloggers should have a good selection of posts on their own blog before spending too much time reading and commenting on other blogs. Maybe read and comment on one or two a day until you get your content written and published.

      For various reasons, I’m not a fan of the WP Reader. I tend to have most new post notifications sent to my email address. I have a folder called ‘blog posts to read’ where I move them all. That way, they are not stuck in my ever increasing inbox.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject.

  17. I think if I were to give advice, it would be pretty much the same as yours, Hugh. However I rarely (never) check my reader and hardly ever get to read all the posts of which I am notified in my inbox, though I do try. During an average week, I tend to comment on 40-50 individual blog posts by 20-25 individual bloggers (an average of two posts per blogger). This doesn’t include the conversations back and forth on the same post. I know this, because I keep a record of all comments on my posts and that I make on posts of others. I do this to ensure I am repaying the kindness of those who visit and comment on my posts. I find two posts is the sweet spot for me to both publish and read. I really struggle to read and comment on more than two posts by any blogger a week and often unfollow those, or just don’t read posts, by those who post more frequently. I have many other things I like to do in addition to reading and responding to blogs and dislike oodles of emails sitting in my inbox.

    1. I’m so with you on the number of blog posts some blogger publish, Norah. I no longer read any blog posts from a blogger who publishes more than one blog post within a short space of time. After all, there’s the scheduler to use, so why not use it and spread those blog posts out over a longer period of time?

      I’m not a fan of the WP Reader, either, although I do use it sometimes. When I used it solely for reading blog posts, I found myself forever trying to get to the top of the reader. In turn, this contributed to making me feel very overwhelmed.

      The trick is to find the perfect blogging balance for ourselves. From your comments, you seem to already be doing this. If it’s working for you, then that’s great news. It took me some time to find my perfect blogging balance (much of which I’ve shared in some of my blogging tips posts).

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us on this subject.

      1. It is tough finding what works, isn’t it? But being overwhelmed is not a pretty sight. This is supposed to be fun, after all, isn’t it?
        I said I read 40-50 blog posts. I realised later that I actually read many more than that. I only record the ones that there is a sort of reciprocal commitment with, to make sure I’m being fair. I read and comment on others that don’t always read and comment on mine – just because I like them.

        1. Yes, blogging should always be about fun and enjoyment, Norah. We should never allow it to make us feel guilty and/or stressed.

          What I have learned to do is read and comment on at least one post a day. I’m happy when I achieve that, and see any others I have read and left comments on as a bonus. I know one isn’t a hard target to beat but, for me, it keeps the fun and enjoyment in blogging.

  18. Lots of interesting points here Hugh. You’ve prompted me to go through my list of blogs I follow. I have a feeling a clean up might be in order. Thanks for the nudge.

    1. Thank you, Miriam. I try and check out the number of blogs I follow (and which ones they are) at least once every six months. I think setting yourself a target of the maximum amount of blogs you follow will also help. Now I have a target I can never exceed (215 blogs), that also helps.

  19. Great blog post, Hugh. As stated in the first comment by Ragazza Triste (sad girl) I follow a lot of blogs, hosted by wonderful bloggers, with great content, in different languages. I cannot comment as often as I would like – the days should have 28 hours for me to guarantee sufficient time.

    1. Thank you, Karen.

      Time can often be our energy, can’t it? I read a lot of blog posts, but don’t always comment. I believe we should only comment if we’re adding value to the content of the post or have something really interesting to add (like your comment on this post). I’ve saved myself a lot of time by following those rules around leaving comments.

  20. Good points. I need to weed mine out. I also prefer it if there are pictures or videos as I´m a slow reader and a lot of print puts me off. Not good at skimming but a picture says so much (some say it is the same as a 1000 words).

    1. I agree about the images or pictures in blog posts. I believe they are essential in breaking up text and helping the reader to rest their eyes. If posts on a blog only contain huge block paragraphs of nothing but text, then I won’t follow (not even if the content seems interesting).

    1. Thank you, Ragazza.

      It can be difficult pressing the ‘unfollow’ button, but we really are doing ourselves a big favour if we do from time to time vet the blogs we’re following and ask ourselves if we do visit them and if the content is still of interest. It’s certainly helped me get rid of the ‘overwhelmed’ feeling that blogging can often bring.

      1. You are right, we owe them that level of respect. I keep tabs on the people I follow because I don’t want to make someone feel left out, so I have managed to read every post and comment on each of them. The amount of love I am getting is just overwhelming. 🙂

  21. All good advice!

    Several months ago, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with the number of alerts coming into my inbox and did exactly what you’ve just suggested.

    There are several blogs I get on a weekly basis. I can scan through the contents to see if there’s anything interesting.

    1. Yes, getting weekly alerts work, too. However, I do know of some readers who find it a bit overwhelming, especially if the blogger concerned published lots of posts in a week. But, as you say, it’s a great way to scan through and see if anything takes your interest.

    1. Thanks, Ritu.

      It can be time-consuming going through the list of blogs we follow. What I did was check the list as often as I could and check out at least five blogs. I got a feel for which ones to stop following simply because I knew I hadn’t visited them for a long time. I asked myself was it still worth following them anymore? In most cases, the answer was ‘No’, so I unfollowed.

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