7 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Deciding Whether To Follow A Blog

How many blogs do you follow?

How many of those blogs do you never visit?

How many of those blogs do you regally visit and comment 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 and into my email box.

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.

I started feeling guilty about not having enough time to visit and comment on every blog I followed.

Something had to change.

I decided to go through all the blogs I followed and start unfollowing some of them.

Today, I’m following 129 blogs, and I’ve set myself a target of never exceeding a total of 150.

For some, that may seem like a lot of blogs to follow. For others, not enough. But it’s the perfect balance for me.

But what mistakes was I making when following blogs?

Banner for the blog post '7 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Deciding Whether To Follow A Blog'

1. Following Blogs That Publish Content I Had No Interest In

Seems obvious, doesn’t it? But have a look through the list of blogs you follow and count how many of them publish content you’re not interested in reading.

Then ask yourself why are you following them.

Many of the blogs I unfollowed were blogs that followed my blog first. I felt it polite to follow back even though I had no idea what content they published.

It was like buying a car without having test driven it first.

Before following a blog, check out some of the posts and ask yourself these two questions.

Does the content interest me enough to keep me coming back?

Does the content motivate me enough to leave valuable comments? 

If you answer ‘No’ to the first question, then don’t follow.

Some of the bloggers you unfollow may unfollow you but don’t get yourself all worked up about it.

My blog loses followers almost every day. If readers don’t find my content interesting anymore, then they have every right to unfollow.

However, I take a different view on unfollowing a blog simply because they unfollowed me. That’s just plain silly.  

2. Following unfriendly blogs

Two things that I dislike in blog posts are lots of swearing and belittling others.

I’m adult enough to know that most adults do swear, but when there’s too much of it in blog posts, or there isn’t any need for it, then I won’t follow.

The same goes for bloggers who publish content that belittles other people or criticises them for how they live, look, write or talk.

By all means, warn readers at the beginning that a post contains swear words or may offend, but never swear at or criticise others in the post or comments section.

If you think you’ll be offended by the content on a blog or in its comments section, don’t follow it.

3. Following one-way blogs.

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 the comments are all one-way, think seriously before deciding whether to follow.

If they don’t respond to comments (especially on their ‘about me‘ page), ask yourself if the blog is worth following.

If the content is interesting, then, by all means, follow but think hard about whether it’s worth leaving comments.

If they do respond, look at the way they respond.

Are they lazily interacting with their readers? Do they respond to all comments in the same dull manner (e.g. ‘Thanks for reading!’)?

Even though a blogger may respond to all the comments, if they are not actively engaging with their readers, ask yourself if it’s worth leaving comments and following their blog. 

4. Following blogs that could damage your health

There are lots of things that can damage your health when online. For example, too much screen time, becoming addicted to social media, reading too many negative articles or comments.

One of the worse things that can happen to a blogger, is feeling overwhelmed or guilty. This usually occurs when they can’t keep up with reading blog posts.

Feeling stressed and guilty for not reading posts is something every blogger should avoid.

If you’re following blogs that you believe publish too many daily posts, think about either unfollowing them or turning off notifications for those blogs when new posts are published.  

Of course, we can ignore all those posts, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking you could be missing out on something if you don’t read or leave comments on them all.

Thinking you’re missing out causes guilt and stress. I’ve suffered from it myself, and know of many other bloggers who also have. Keep blogging fun.

Don’t fall into the trap of feeling obliged, guilty or stressed just because certain bloggers comment on all of your posts. 

If it’s not going to cause you any guilt or stress, feel free to press the follow button, but only if you know that future content will be of interest to you and you can cope with the number of posts they are publishing.

If you believe you are following too many blogs, don’t put off unfollowing some of them. Take immediate action. You’ll feel much better for doing so.

And don’t forget to make the most of setting up receiving notifications on a daily or weekly basis rather than every time somebody publishes a new post.

5. Following ghost blogs

I’ve mentioned it many times before, but the first thing I do before deciding whether or not to follow a blog is to visit the ‘about me’ page of a blog. If there isn’t one, then I consider it a ‘ghost blog.’

If there isn’t an ‘about me’ page, it isn’t easy to find, it’s out of date, or it doesn’t contain any interesting information, I won’t follow.

Why? Because I want to find out about the person behind the blog first before deciding whether to follow or not.

If it’s out of date, then they probably don’t care about updating any content. You could be wasting your time by reading out of date information.

6. Following uncared for or neglected blogs

If a new blog I’m visiting is eye-catching, well organised, easy to navigate around, has excellent content, feels friendly, and seems a great place to be, I will press the follow button.

After all, if it looks and feels good and the content is of interest, I’m likely to read posts and leave valuable comments.

If the design of a blog is poor, 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, hasn’t been updated in years, or has lots of broken links, then I’ll move on quickly.

If a blogger doesn’t care about their blog, they are unlikely to care about their audience.

7. Following the blogs of trolls

We talked about checking out responses a blogger leaves to comments on their posts, but are those responses written in a friendly manner? And do they leave unfriendly comments elsewhere?

Because we blog or leave reviews, not everyone will agree with what we have to say.

I’ve witnessed many rude comments left by the host and by readers on many blogs.

I’ve been the victim of rude and unfriendly comments on other blogs where I’ve left a friendly comment. If the host of a blog responds to me in an unfriendly manner, I’ll unfollow their blog.

If the host of a blog allows other followers to attack readers without taking any action, I will unfollow.

I always respond to comments in a friendly, courteous and professional manner, even if a reader disagrees 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 or in the comments section, then consider whether it’s worth following that blog.

Hosts of blogs should do all they can to stop trolls leaving comments on their blog posts. If they don’t, then they probably don’t care much or have any concern about the welfare of their readers.

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 affect your mood.

Whatever you do, though, never respond to unfriendly comments by attacking the person who has left them. Leave trolls well alone. 

#blogging

I use all the above seven tips before deciding whether or not to follow a blog. And they all help me keep my blogging under control. 

What factors are important to you when deciding whether or not to follow a blog? How many blogs do you follow? Is it too many or too few? Join the discussion by leaving your comments.

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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 of my blog to learn more about me and my blog.

133 thoughts

  1. Congratulations, you will be featured on the upcoming Senior Salon post, Monday Nov 1th as one of the top three bloggers.
    Thank you for your support and participation. Please invite your fellow bloggers to also come and participate, thanks in advance.

  2. THANK YOU!! As someone who is new to the whole realm of internet blogging I’ve felt almost overwhelmed with Information! I’ve found myself becoming so caught up in my stats and the lack of I’ve allowed room for discouragement to creep on In. However, upon reading this you have pointed out some key factors that I am so happy to be reading this!! I’m blown away with a sort of “aha” moment. Without further aideu THANK YOU!

    1. I’m glad this post has helped. Many bloggers fall into the trap of feeling overwhelmed and guilty because of a lack of time and stats. It’s all about finding that perfect balance and sticking with it.

  3. This blog has been so helpful- I’ve only just started my blog and I’m trying to reach more people. Your obviously a seasoned blogger and I will continue to follow your blog as it is so informative. It should also stop me from making some huge mistakes as being a newbie with little experience- I’m expecting to make quite a few. My daughter has warned me that my opinions could cause me trouble- she was trying to make me aware of the many haters there are out there.
    Anyway thanks for this blog it’s great!

    1. Unfortunately, there will always be the chance of a visit from trolls when you go online. My advice is to never engage with them. They’ll soon get fed up and move on. But never let them spoil the fun and enjoyment blogging can bring.
      All bloggers make mistakes. These kinds of posts are here to help, and you’ll find plenty of them online.
      Good luck on your blogging journey.

  4. I must rewrite / update my about page Iwould hate to lose you after all this time.It is something I have been meaning to do and have done every couple of years. I too am wary of no about page and if there is only one post, I have found only one awful blogger which is not bad considering. He called me awful names so I blocked him. I visit and leave a comment to those that took time to do the same to mine, it is polite and comments feel like payment for a job well done. Follow with reader is my preference as email’s get overwhelming when you have fifty or sixty at once, so I stopped most of them. Thank you for even more helpful information what would the blog world ( me in particular) do without A helpful Hugh.

    1. I’d recommend updating your ‘about me’ page at least once every six months. It may not need updating all of the time, but if you have any links, they can often break without any reason or you knowing about it. For example, I recently found a broken link on my own ‘about me’ page which, when clicked. lead to a page that said, ‘This blog has been removed for violation reasons.’ I was pretty shocked when I saw that but removed the link straight away.

      I don’t know why some readers have to be horrible in their comments. I’m sorry it happened to you, but you did the right thing by blocking him. Never respond to trolls. They’ll soon move on.

      I’ll only leave a comment if the post I’ve read interests me. Years ago, I stopped checking out the blogs of anyone who left me a comment because it took too much time. Now, I’ll wait until they leave at least a few comments on different posts before checking out their blog. And I’ll only follow back if I’m interested in their content.

      Thank you for joining the discussion on this subject, Ellen. I’m glad my blogging tips are helping you.

  5. Oh this is good advice. When I first started blogging over 5 years ago anyone who followed me got a follow back. Now I check out their blog read a few posts decide if I want to follow or not. I often go through the ones I follow and check them out. Some are not blogging anymore so pointless to follow of course. I now realize those that just suddenly follow but dont comment on any of the posts are just out for follows. You know “i have XX following me types of blogs lol. I used to care about numbers now I care about content and do they reply to your comment. Some remove your comment because they want a certain comment on their post. I understand if its nasty or critical type of comment but even going so far as it must be x amount of words. oh yes I have seen them and Im sure you have to. #SeniSal

    1. I remove comments such as ‘Great post’ or ‘Great Tips’ because they don’t add any value and don’t prove that they have read your post. I do the same for comments that are just a line of emojis. Most are from bloggers who don’t even have an ‘about me’ page on their blog or haven’t bothered updating their blog at all. They are often the only ones that ‘likes’ their own posts and usually have no comments at all. I also remove the comments that say, ‘Great post, please visit my blog, follow me, and tell your followers about my blog and to come and visit me…’ Those comments annoy me the most because all they are doing is trying to ride on the back of bloggers who have put a lot of hard work into their blog brand.

      Follow for a follow is the biggest trap that many bloggers fall into. Most of those that don’t leave a comment after following will usually unfollow you as soon as you follow them back. Unfortunately, It’s more of a numbers game to them.

      Thank you for your great comment and for joining the discussion.

      1. Argh yes I forgot those ones the “ follow me etc rubbish. They annoy me too. Sometimes I’m not sure what to say so I like and share the post. Words fail me at times 😳 yes very much a numbers game.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your post at our Senior Salon Pit Stop linkup ending this Saturday, October 31.
    I pinned this on our Senior Salon Pit Stop InLinkz Linkup Shares board and also share it on Twitter @EsmeSalon with #SeniorSalonPitStop
    I have my about page but it’s not set up for comments. Not sure if I can turn comments on pages. I will have to investigate.

    1. I hope you can enable comments on your ‘About Me’ page, Esmé. many visitors like to say ‘hello.’ However, if you can’t, the main thing is that you have an ‘about Me’ page. I’d recommend updating it at least once every six months.

  7. I don’t know exactly how many I’m following as of now, but I know I’ve choosen them wisely not blindly.
    And Im happy that Im able to visit their posts often.
    The first things that makes me follow a blog is the unique & wise content they put, that obviously makes me fall for their content.
    Secondly, as you said about the ‘about me’ page, it is really important to have one. Its like a cornerstone page of any website.

    Though its a sound advice you’ve given here and I so agree with most of them.

    1. Good to hear you’ve never fallen into the ‘follow for a follow’ trap. So many bloggers end up doing so and later regret it.

      Unique and interesting content are always winners. Why follow a blog if the content doesn’t interest you? Yet many people do just that and end up with a timeline full of uninteresting reads.

      An ‘about me’ page is a must. New visitors like to know a little about the person or people behind the blog first. If there isn’t an ‘about me’ page, I move on without following.

      Thank you for joining the discussion.

  8. I totally agree Hugh. I use to feel guilty for only following what interested me and unfollowing blogs that no longer serve my interests but then I realized that I would rather be fully involved, participate and comment when appropriate than be a false friend online. Same as I would in real life. Thanks for a great read.

    1. Hi Diana, thank you for joining the discussion on this subject.

      I think the majority of bloggers go through a guilty stage at some point on their blogging journey. It’s just knowing what to do and taking action when it happens. Those that don’t take any action often end up abandoning their blog.

      Good to hear you have your blogging under control.

  9. Hi Hugh,
    You know how many blogs you subscribe to? I don’t know. I guess I could check, but I never did. If I am not happy with the content, I unsubscribe.
    Congratulations! Your post won the Inspire Me Monday Linky Party. You will be featured on my site tomorrow.
    Janice

    1. Hi Janice, Yes, I know how many because WordPress informs me. It certainly helps keep the number of blogs I follow under control.

      Thank you for the great news about my post winning the Inspire Me Monday Link party.

      Have a great week.

  10. Thanks for the great tips. I’ve made a few of those mistakes. I used to reciprocate the follow, but I have since stopped. I don’t have an idea of how many blogs I follow. After reading your post, I’ll have to do a review. I’m one of those who don’t have a full or half-page of an “About me.” But, I’m alive and not a ghost. 😊
    All great tips to consider.

    1. Many readers visiting a blog will check out the ‘about me’ page of a blog first before deciding whether to follow or not. Check the other comments on this post. You’ll see how many agree. I recommend that all bloggers create an ‘about me’ page and keep it updated. Review it at least once every six months.

    1. You’re welcome. I’m glad the blogging tips I am publishing are helping. And you do right about being cautious before following any blog. Make sure you check them out first and are interested in their content before pushing the follow button.

  11. Yes, I’ve become very selective about the blogs I follow. Simply because someone follows me (and especially without leaving a comment) doesn’t mean I’ll do the same. I’ll always respond to a comment though. Interaction’s the name of the game. Great tips and advice Hugh.

    1. Whenever I follow a blog, I always comment, even if just to say hello and that I like their content, Miriam. It only seems polite to do that. However, if they don’t respond or acknowledge my comment, I may unfollow them later. If anyone follows me without leaving a comment, I don’t even check their ‘about’ page.

  12. I am a selective person in following blogs. I agree with you. Follow but don’t have time to read their posts. It was a mistake. It’s better to follow them but always read their posts well. I follow your blog.

    1. I don’t read all the posts of the bloggers I follow, as some publish daily, so I tend to pick and choose which ones to read. However, if the title of a blog post is eye-catching, I’ll open it up and start reading it.
      Thank you for the follow.

  13. Thanks Hugh for this post. My general approach to following a blog is to start with the ‘about me’ page which in fairness I think I got this approach from you!

    I view the about me page as an elevator pitch that will tell me a bit about the author and what the blog is about. This gives me an idea if I will be into the content.

    Secondly I’ll scroll through the first page of posts and see if any appeal to me. If I click on posts I’ll also look at the writing style – is it annoying or difficult to read.

    I’ll also judge by the number of pop ups and ads – if it feels like I’m reading a post that is trying to shoehorn as many affiliate links as possible I won’t bother as it suggests the author is more bothered about making money than adding value.

    Finally in regards to follow to follow – I’ll never do this because I’ll never read their blog if the content doesn’t interest me (I’d also advise if someone wants to get my attention they are better off leaving a comment!)

    1. Thanks for sharing with us what you do when deciding whether to follow a blog, James. It’s good to hear that some of my previous tips are helping and being followed.

      I agree that popups can be a real problem, especially when there is no way to stop them from reappearing every time you visit the same blog. And you’re right about engaging with a blogger to get noticed, although I will add that the way to do it is by leaving a valuable comment that confirms you’ve read the post. Leaving nothing about a link to your blog or a few words that say nothing about what you’ve just read, won’t get you noticed.

  14. Thank you for really interesting advice. I’m Afrikaans speaking and if some blogger likes to comment positively on my blog, I’ll follow her. Unless her beliefs really clash with mine. I don’t follow blogs that is unrespectful towards my God.

    1. You’re welcome. I’m glad this post has helped.

      I’d only recommend following somebodies blog if the content interests you, and you know you’ll revisit the blog, read posts and leave comments. Following a blog and never revisiting it doesn’t serve any purpose.

  15. Thank you for this post! I’m interested to read here about feelings of guilt when one is not able to keep up with new blog posts. These comments come across as being written by very measured and considerate people. Is it that we are in a community of writers where acknowledgement of someone’s work feels like basic courtesy if you have named yourself a follower?

    As someone who’s returned to WordPress via the smartphone app – primed by previous exposure to Reddit, the algorithms of Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram (where your posts don’t even make it to everyone’s feed) – it’s REALLY lovely to consider that there are followers who care whether or not they got to read your post.

    I had presumed that the deluge of information (work emails, personal emails, corporate ads, text messages, social media status updates… and blog posts) was the new normal for everyone. I had imagined that, while scrolling, people only intentionally engage with headlines that appear important/catch their eye, or search specific people to see what is new in their digital lives – never mind getting through everything that’s on Reader.

    Personally, I would not worry if I over-subscribed to blogs. But as this is a newish account, your post is a great reminder of the opportunity to not have a cluttered feed, and to read people’s works more mindfully and intentionally. It’s very wholesome.

    1. Thank you.

      Given that it’s the first thing most readers will read first, blog posts titles are so important. When you think about how precious time is, the title of your blog post is even more important.

      Unfortunately, most of the bloggers I have spoken with over the years I’ve been blogging have gone through at least one stage of feeling guilty or stressed because they believe other bloggers expect them to read and comment on all their posts. Of course, in the majority of cases, that just isn’t true. Nobody expects it to happen, yet some of us still feel we’ll offend somebody if we don’t read all their posts. Others feel obliged to do so simply because of who leaves comments on their posts. If the content doesn’t interest us, there should never be any obligation to follow the blog and read posts.

      Thank you for joining the discussion and sharing your thoughts with us on this subject.

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