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?
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.
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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