Friday, February 5, 2016

The secret to blogging success. (Really.)

As you guys might or might not remember, I'm currently in the process of visiting all of the blogs I've followed since the first time I started blogging.

Yes, I'm still doing this more than a year later. I followed a lot of blogs.

You know what's frustrating me, though? How many people stopped blogging seemingly because they were discouraged by the lack of comments on their blogs.

The reason why I find it frustrating? Time and again, these would be the people I used to visit frequently, but who just never seemed to visit back. And having been through about half of my list and visiting everyone at least once, I can say with safety that there are still people out there who expect other people to read their posts, but who don't actually seem to get involved with blogs outside their own.

And now, it's seemingly getting worse, because google seems to be actively discouraging the use of their "follow" button. So there's no longer an easy, surefire way of getting a blog's feed on a blog reader. (I use bloglovin, but dang, it can sometimes be a major schlep. Because bloglovin requires me to search for the feed on their site, and then, if it's not there, they'll add it later and I'm supposed to "check back." Right. Because "checking back" on a link I will have forgotten in a day or two is going to happen.)

At any rate, it's becoming easier and easier for people to "lose" blogs they visited once or twice. And there's only one solution that I can see to this:

We have to visit each other, people. I know I disregard my advice a lot, since time sometimes just doesn't allow me to do anything but post and run. But the moment I do that for a week or so, I can see my traffic taking a hit.

Back to my point. If we got back to the old ways (gosh I'm sounding old now) of reciprocating visits, and we knew everyone we went to would do the same, we wouldn't have this problem with people not visiting.

It's not that difficult either. First stop is your comments section. More often than not, your commenters' names are in fact links that lead to their profiles, that lead to more links, that lead to their blog. So if someone says hi, go say hi back. See? Suddenly this has become a bit more of a conversation. A first step toward a relationship.

And suddenly, you're not alone.

Tada! Discouragement problem solved.

Seriously, though. If you're a lurker, yes, you in the back seats munching pop-corn while reading the comments. Please say hi! I actually WANT to find your blog.

Promise.

At the least you'll get a hi back within a few days. Or... depending on what you're posting, maybe even a really thoughtful comment. (I try to be generous with those.)

Anyone else sharing my frustration with people not visiting around and then getting discouraged? Any tips for me to find new bloggers? Are you a lurker? (Hi!)

38 comments:

Andrea said...

I got discouraged awhile back because so many of the people I had steady back and forths with stopped blogging. I felt like I had to make new friends which is fun, but takes some effort and trial and error. I do feel guilty when I "post and run". ;)

Leandra Wallace said...

Definitely being friendly w/others is the only way to keep blogs from gathering cobwebs. And everyone understands getting busy and not being attentive to every single post- we all get that way! =)

Hart Johnson said...

I really TRY to visit the bloggers who visit me, but I know sometimes a day with a lot of visits will somehow coincide with a day swamped at work and home, then I get behind, then I lose track... But you're right--those visits ARE how we get and stay connected. I think my problem was I tried to go too fast, got too big to keep up with, then got behind... I don't have the visits I used to. And it's on me.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well said! Blogging is supposed to be social. Get out there and socialize, people.
I ended up with Feedly instead of Bloglovin as I found it easier to follow and find blogs.

Pat Hatt said...

Yep, there are soooooo many who never comment back or anything and expect their blog to magically get comments. Pffft to them. And people need to make it easy to find them on that dumb google + thing if they use it and not have stupid comment systems in place. Like Disquis or something.

Launna said...

I never started my blog to get lots of comments but it does feel good when I write something and people openly visit and leave a comment.I comment on everyone's blog who comments on mine. I really don't expect a comment every time but if the person never drops by my blog, I lose the desire to stay with them. I feel like they could care less whether I comment or not. My least favorite comment is 'good post' great post'... just so they'll get a comment, not so much, I believe in thoughtful and meaningful comments (no, they don't have to be this long.. lol)

Richard Hughes said...

Social media can be overwhelming, but staying in touch through our blogs is an excellent way to socialize.

Hana Banana said...

MISHA, are you reading my mind?

Haha! I was just thinking this.

One of my (unvoiced) goals for this year is to visit more bloggers and spread the love and support. I'm just lazy as heck. However I don't fall into the 'quitter' category over comments. Comments are great, but my blog is just a way for me to record my personal journey (and I happen to be sharing it publicly ;D). I tried committing last year, but yeah...lazy got in the way . OTL.

This year though! This year!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts (which were my thoughts sort of, lol). I'll be seeing your blog around more. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I've checked in on the bloggers who I don't hear from and I hadn't visited in so long from my list, because I never saw a post, and it surprised me to see how many had stopped blogging...it seems right after I followed them...years ago. Bloggers who never visit or return a comment is one of my biggest frustrations with blogging. Don't they know you have to give to receive? Reciprocate?

Julie Flanders said...

Yeah I can't understand this at all. Sometimes visiting and commenting can feel overwhelming, but ultimately it's what makes blogging fun.

Maria Zannini said...

If you're looking to build a relationship then yes, reciprocating comments is wonderful for this.

But not everyone wants a relationship. I can think of a lot of bloggers who get lots of comments, but rarely if ever return comments.

It's more than the logistics of time. They're either fan favorites which requires no reciprocity, or they provide a useful service (quality content).

In this case, the onus is on the blogger. The post must not only be relevant to the reader, but also motivate the reader to leave a comment.

I don't like to split hairs on comments alone. That's only a small part of the big picture. We might not always see the proof of our influence, but stick around long enough and you'll know if you're making an impact.

Tanya Lynne Reimer said...

Oh so it isn't just me? I noticed this too. I noticed some only visit me after they have up a new post which is nice because then I don't miss a post. The emails help and yeah, I don't find bloglovin that useful. Right now I use the blog roll on the sidebar to tell me when someone I visit often gets up a new post, but I find I am missing a lot of great posts regardless. I tried the visiting everyone I followed, and after I did the first fifty and only had two visit back, I found it discouraging. Is it them or me?

Mark Noce said...

So glad you blogged about this, and glad that I'm not the only one noticing this. I've even emailed some folks asking them to not give up on their blog, I like it after all:) Also, I think we're going to see more and more Blogger attributes replaced with Google+ because Google doesn't actively support Blogger anymore.

T.F. Walsh said...

I know what you mean completely. Timing is an issue though, so I've found posting 1-2 times only a week helps me a lot:)

Jemi Fraser said...

Agreed! Reciprocity works and helps build community - which is what blogging is all about! :)

Liz A. said...

Not so much a lurker as one who just skims a lot of the headlines. But I know what you're saying. There are many blogs that I would take time to comment on, but after a while, they'd never visit back. (I blog five days a week. I don't expect comments on every post every day, but once a week would be nice.)

I find I like Feedly for a blog reader. It adds new blogs right away.

Botanist said...

Right on, Misha! It's called social media for a reason.

And I agree that Blogger doesn't make it easy these days. I loathe and despise Google+ because of the way it insists you work (and I blogged about that a while ago) and sadly will not comment on blogs that require me to use it.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Misha, most people forget that blogging is all about interaction. They expect people to visit their blogs without visiting any blogs. And when they do leave comments, we can't return the favour, as there is no link to visit their blogs. And some of them have 8 or 9 blogs and we must check to see which of those blogs they regularly update.

Terry W. Ervin II said...

I think some other social media has taken over the commenting aspect of blogs directly.

I sometimes like from FB over to my blog when I have an article of interest. I can tell from my stats that a lot of people click over. The majority, however, post comments on FB rather than the blog itself.

I have a steady group of blogs I visit. I don't comment every time, even when I read, but I do visit.

Lexa Cain said...

It always shocked me (and continues to) when I faithfully visit a blog time after time, and the blog owner never bothers to come visit mine. I may put up with it for a few months (more if it's actually *my* hop), but eventually I'll just stop going. And I always notice they have almost no commenters. How can people think that others should be interested in them and their lives if they aren't interested in others'? I don't comment to people directly on my blog, but I always return comments. I just figure it's time consuming for people to visit a blog and then have to re-visit to see if there's a reply - but it's much easier just to go to the visitor's blog, read, and comment! Have a great weekend, Misha!

Madeleine Sara said...

Misha I cold not agree more. Blogging is a great community that involves committment, sharing, reciprocation. I personally stopped blogging because I was bogged down with family illness and bereavement.

When I can spend time blogging, I enjoy the interaction with my blogging friends and really appreciate their comments on my own blog that show that they are participating and not just lurking.

I confess thought that if a blog hurts my eyes, especially black background and white writing, I cannot visit because I will get a migraine. Having returned to blogging it is heartwarming/ comforting to find many of my former blogging friends still blogging on.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

This was a timely post, Misha. I've noticed the same thing. I finally started re-visitng bloggers who hadn't posted in awhile (in my feed) and realized they hadn't posted for over a year. Who knows why? I suppose they either got discouraged or could no longer afford the time. (I know there are some pretty busy schedules out there.) But I agree: Blogging is a social activity. I really enjoy the interaction, and I learn a lot from reading other people's blogs. And I do try to comment often.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Yes, yes, to all of it.
More and more, people seem to believe that the blogiverse, and/or universe, revolves around them. What irks me most is that when I follow another blog through GFC or in an obvious way, and comment to that effect (to be sure they know), they don't even follow - and sometimes don't even comment. The give-and-take is becoming more of a take-and-take. Makes me sad. I'm also grateful to many like you with whom I've been connected for years. Yay for that!

Suzanne Furness said...

I don't always have the time to do as much visiting as I'd like to but I always try and visit those who take the time to stop by my blog and I try to stay in touch with my regular blogger friends. I enjoy the social aspect.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

It is hard, but I agree it's important to visit. Even if you're not after more readers, it's good to stay in touch and stay in the support of fellow writers (and everyone with a blog is a writer).

Click said...

I totally agree with all of this. I used to feel like when I blogged I was just sort of shouting into the ether because it seemed really hit or miss whether or not anyone would actually comment on my posts. At the same time, I'd read other people's blog posts but I was a bit hit or miss about actually commenting myself.

Then I got onto the A to Z Challenge and suddenly commenting on other people's posts was bringing people back to mine.

Now I follow the blogs of most of the people who comment on my blog posts (like yours) but I still try and comment back whenever I find someone new leaving a comment. I think that if you put in the effort to connect with other bloggers, you'll get it back too.

Nas said...

Helpful post Misha. Yes, people tend to get discouraged after a while.

erica and christy said...

Hi, Misha! We stopped blogging because life got in the way. But I really do miss all the friends we used to chat with in the blogosphere! Unfortunately we didn't have time to even blog much less keep up on the social scene in the past year...or years at this point. But it is very nice to see some of our old friends are still blogging and keeping in touch. When I can I like to check in! Take care, Christy

A Beer For The Shower said...

Yep, we're both with you on this. Any time someone comments on our blog we make a conscious effort to visit them back, try to make some kind of connection with them, etc, and often we'll seek out new blogs and initiate contact as well, but like you said, it's frustrating when they just never come back and yet expect you to keep visiting.

If you count each comment we get as a page view, then our comments aren't even 1% of our overall traffic, and yet for us the comments are the best part. It's social interaction. It's finding out what people think about your work, or about a certain topic. That beats high-numbered silence any day.

Donna N. said...

I stopped blogging because of a couple different reasons , one was because the drama and hate that was building with authors and bloggers really made me sad (this was a couple years ago) and two I burned myself out. I spent every waking moment, blogging , visiting , promoting and I just lost the joy of doing it.

I miss it to be honest and I might jump back in again this year.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

I always visit the blogs of people who comment on mine, though it may take me a few days now. I used to visit plenty of others, but like you, I got tired of the one-way street.

I'm astounded by how many bloggers expect people to comment on their posts when they would never spend the time to do the same.

Maybe some huge, semi-famous bloggers can get away with that, but they're few and far between. Still, it would be nice to be able to take a brief holiday without my traffic completely falling in the toilet because I missed a week of commenting.

Life happens.

Deniz Bevan said...

I agree! Nothing more discouraging than visiting and commenting, only to not be reciprocated, or having a favourite blogger stop blogging -- not just from lack of comments but from the whole "life got in my way" thing. As if everyone's not busy! But a blog shouldn't be a chore. Just post less often or write shorter posts, or do whatever you feel like. I think some of the people who fall off the blogging wagon are the ones who start off with long essays and great big discussions, and then feel they have to keep that up, and get discourage when they can't. But the best part about blogging is that it's the best mixture of tumblr, pinterest, everything -- you can curate it, shape it, change it up, redesign it, make it your own.
I really like the idea of visitng each blogger you follow. I'd like to try this. I still feel guilty that I haven't visited everyone who blitzed me last year! I've got 50 names on that list still to go...

SavingsInSeconds said...

Thanks for the kick in the pants to actually reply to comments, and visit the commenters. I am so bad about doing that.
I was sent to your site from jlennidornerblog and am so glad I found it! Hope to visit again soon.
Dianna

Toinette Thomas said...

I don't take it personally when I don't get comments. I know sometimes it's hard for me to find the time to reply, but I always try. I think some people are afraid to comment. I just keep blogging to the best of my ability and hope it touches someone, whether they comment or not...Oh, but of course, I do love it when people comment. It makes a bad day seem brighter. Thanks for sharing this.

Maranda Hymes said...

Sounds like a good plan! I'm pretty new to the game so I count that as the reason why I don't get too many comments. I'm trying to establish myself more in the community. I comment on a few blogs a week and the majority of those bloggers visit back. my blog

J Lenni Dorner said...

Yup. I try to be sure to visit back the people who comment to me (with a genuine comment, not just a "I wanna win your contest and that's all" thing). A to Z is much the same way.

Intangible Hearts said...

Hi Misha,
I never stopped blogging but when I changed the name of my blog I lost a lot of followers. Please stop by when you get a moment!

Breezy Bre said...

Hello, sorry I'm late to the party here. I just started my blog a few days ago. I have made a couple posts and even started a few pages just to keep myself busy between jobs. I am very hopeful that I may be doing something right, after reading this post. Me and another newbie to blogging stumbled across each other, and have been posting back and forth on each others posts for a few days now. Thanks for writing this. I'm glad that apparently I'm doing something right... :)