Saturday, August 7, 2010

Read Me and Answer Me




I get asked a lot about tips on encouraging people to read and comment on blogs. And I never say much, because the truth is that I have no idea. I don't get a massive amount of comments on here unless there is a giveaway involved. And even then it seems to be hit or miss. I do have a lot of daily readers but not commenters. If you are blogging in hopes of getting comments, you should quit now. That's like moving to Hollywood just to become famous instead of following a dream to be an actress. It's shallow and will never pan out in the end. But I can offer a few tips on how to get new people to at least read your blog now and then.

My first tip is to read and comment on other blogs. I don't know about you but when I notice someone new commenting on my blog, I run right over to their blog. I am always looking for new and interesting blogs to read. If you don't comment on their blog, don't be offended if they don't comment on your blog. I tend to read a lot of blogs as I am falling asleep at night from my blackberry. I can't comment on most blogs from my blackberry because of the crazy pop-up secret code things y'all have in place. So in return, I don't get my nose out of joint when my comments approval box is low. But I do try to comment as much as I can because I know how nice it is to feel that you are actually connecting to these "friends." If you are new to Blogville, you need to introduce yourself to your neighbors. Leaving a friendly comment is the perfect way to show your face around the neighborhood.

My second tip is to be yourself. There is a reason reality TV is dominating weeknight ratings. It's just plain fascinating to see what life is like outside of our own little boxes. I don't write my Monster Monday posts very often but they are the posts that resonate the deepest with readers. I am not saying it is necessary to hang all of your closeted skeletons out to dry on your blog. But an honest connection is important. Look at the blogs, and more specifically the blog posts, that you most love reading. What was it that made you want to read it and then send a link to your bestie? Was it reading about mother-in-law drama? Or crafts? Or recipes, where the poster is honest about things occasionally going askew? Or clothes? If you love reading about it, you probably have enough passion and enthusiasm to write about it. It doesn't have to be any major issue in the world. In fact, I advise abstaining from talking about anything that could even in a teeny way be considered political. Unless you are totally OK with hate comments. Because they will come. And if you are like me, they will upset you. But be truthful in your blog posts. Don't pretend you buy out the Lilly store if you are on a tight budget. No one will judge you. Many of us are in that same boat. It's a big boat. I actually find the best sale tips via blogs. I didn't know you could find Vineyard Vines and Lilly Pulitzer in stores like Marshalls and TJ Max until I started reading blogs. Now I know and I rarely buy anything full price. I'm getting off track but my point is to be yourself. Don't pretend to be someone you are not. I imagine that will become exhausting at some point.

My third tip is to add a follow box. I use Dashboard to read blogs. So if I can't follow your blog, I have a hard time remembering to read your blog. If you go private, I also have a hard time remembering to read.

And my last tip of the day is to add photos when possible. I try not to have more than two posts in a row without a photo of something. I don't know what it is about a photo but I am significantly more inclined to read a blog post that includes a photo. Perhaps it's a kid left inside me or something? Or perhaps it makes me feel even more connected to the blogger who took the time to take the photo and post it? I am not a therapist and don't know why I like photos. I just do. And I can see by who reads my blog posts that y'all like them too. Of course not every blog post has a need for a photo. But every few days it's a great idea to add some sort of related image. Eye candy is fat free!



I also get lots of questions about my photo. If you want to see me, friend me on FB. I have more control that way. There have been several occasions where I received comments from non-blog-owners asking if I was at xyz location or was walking my dog wearing abc dress last night. And while I like to believe they were simply recognizing that they like my blog and wanted to say hello, it freaked me out. This is all without photos of myself. I live in a small, un-preppy town and I dress like a box of crayons. I stick out like a sore thumb. I feel zero need to give the creepers more access to stalking me. Especially when I had no way to even contact those spies!


The third thing I get asked regularly is for a tutorial on nearly everything I sew. So let me answer that right now. If I sell it, I made up the pattern/plan myself. And if I sell it, it doesn't much benefit me to show others the steps to make it. Not that everyone will then open up an etsy shop. But it has happened and I find it so annoying. Once the person even told me they planned to sell it. I am not creating rocket ships. If you have that "how's that made" type of mind, you can likely figure it all out in two shakes of a feather. But the greatest reason I don't tend to do tutorials is that, as mentioned, I make my own patterns. So I have no idea how I would translate that information from cardboard cutouts to a blog. I am just not at all tech savvy. I am however very grateful when bloggers are kind enough to answer my specific questions about sewing/cooking/etc. I have often asked which foot to use or which brand to buy and I so appreciate when a blogger takes the time to answer my silly questions. So if you ever have a specific question, please don't hesitate to send me an email. I might not know how to make a pdf tutorial for you but I am always willing to answer a question to the best of my ability. Also, much of what I do is a bit on a whim. I don't how to better explain how my pea brain works other than to say that I very often will see an idea in my head and know exactly what to do to execute it. But to verbalize that feels impossible. That all being said, years ago I did a little tutorial on her on how to make ribbon ruffle socks. To this day it remains a big draw to my blog. I find that to be so funny. A small post about baby socks hundreds of posts ago draws people in from all over the globe. Who knew?!
***UPDATE:
Perfect example of things not working out as I intended in life. I am realizing y'all are getting the impression that I am upset that I don't get 100 comments a day. Not. At. All. I swear! My intention was to give advice to new bloggers to get some blog traffic and to set realistic expectations. And just to answer general questions that frequently come my way. I know y'all read. Or I assume y'all read. I actually only glance at sitecheck a few times a year. I just never think about it. Honestly, I blog for myself most of the time. My gardening posts are famously unpopular. But I write them anyway because I want to remember things down the road. Like a little journal. I promise I did not intend this to be a whining post or a plea for blog comments. I truly thought I was giving advice. If I offended you, please now know my intentions. If you are still offended, feel free to email me and we can chat it out.

23 comments:

KatiePerk said...

I found your blog through your etsy shop! Great post.

Dana said...

I enjoyed this refreshingly honest post about the bloggy world. :o)

Jo said...

I love your blog because of you ~ always keeping it real!

Jo
Would you mind shooting me an email at beesandfleurdelis@yahoo.com? I can't seem to get through to yours ~ I'm sure the problem is just with me! Thanks :)

Flamingos & Flip Flops said...

Sorry I haven't commented lately, but no worries, I still love you and your blog... I guess maybe I should find you on FB since I'm on there daily!

DC GOP Girl said...

The final tip should be: If you want comments, right a post about comments because it makes everyone remember to comment! :P

But I 110% agree with you. My comments are hit or miss and more often than not I find people tweeting and facebook messaging me comments more than anything.

I've gotten really good about commenting lately though, so expect to see more of me commenting on your lovely blog.

XoXo.

LillyxxGal said...

Great post! I read your blog and many others and often don't comment but definitely enjoy reading! Keep up the great work, xox Sue

Tricia Loves Makeup and Fashion said...

I agree with your post. If people leave me comments on my blog, I tend to go over to their blog and begin the following process. It's also a nice way to meet new people. I enjoy your blog. It's refreshing.

Ashley E. said...

Thanks for the comment on my blog! Maybe I am giving her too many options. Love your blog, I started following you. :)

LPC said...

You're a very genuine person it seems:).

Jenny Beth said...

thanks for sharing this. i cant remember where i found your blog but i have been reading for quite some time and once i discovered you were a lilly lover i was hooked. i ADORE EVERYTHING lilly!!!! thanks for sharing this and you are totally right.

sharing bloggy live is awesome. i have struggled with the tutorial writing but this is something i hope to truely conquer this fall. thanks again for writing this post!!

Mandy's Memories said...

Great blog post! So glad I am one of your followers. I loved your tips and love your blog layout. Have a great day :)

Dr. Blondie said...

I would also add "update your blog regularly" to your list of advice for new bloggers. I agree with everything else you said!

Pink Maple said...

I too read blogs often on my Blackberry - usually on the train to work - and it drives me nuts that sometimes I can comment and sometimes the comment page just won't load properly!

garden state prep said...

Years ago one of my friends described my outfit as "it's like the crayon box exploded" and another chimed in "you look like an Easter egg". You're not the only one in a non-preppy land!

prepfection said...

Good tips, I don't know how blogspot works but on wordpress you can track all your page hits, which is a nice reminder that even if people do not always comment there are people reading. As a new blogger it can be frustrating to try to break into the blog word, but it is so true that the best way is just to be persistent commenting on other blogs and in the long run it will come back to you.

thepreppyprincess said...

Good for you on this post Miss PPC, it is loaded with good advice and insight.

I feel your pain on helping someone and then they become a competitor issue, it can take the fun out of things.

I wish I could make it easier for folks to 'follow' me, but with Wordpress I don't think it is easy. :(

Congrats on a stellar post I am going to bookmark and share, it is now recommended reading!

Sending you a smile,
tp

Pink and Fabulous said...

Great tips!! I am trying to get more followers and this is excellent advice!!

thepreppytimes.blogspot.com said...

I hear ya. Good job as always. As a neophyte blogger, I really know what you're saying. Kudos

Whitney and the Preppy Puppy said...

I love this post! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Meggie said...

I just discovered your blog through Kelly's Korner and appreciate all of your tips and advice! I starting blogging about 15 months ago, so everything is still sort of new to me. Thanks again for sharing! selphpartyof3.blogspot.com

Grumpy Grateful Mom said...

I loved your frankness with your tips. I don't see that very often and think you are fabulous. Great tips!

Josh and Jill said...

I also found this through Kelly's Korner! Thanks for the tips!

allenaim photography and design said...

My garden posts are also hugely unpopular :) ...but I love writing them and so it goes...;)

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