Respond in a timely manner.
As I have mentioned I try to spend a few hours every day reading and networking in the blogosphere. During my reading sessions I will comment when warranted in anticipation of a great conversation. And then crickets! 7 days later (or longer!) I receive a response from said blogger, but by that time I have read so much other stuff that I really don’t recall what the comment was about; nor do I care any longer. This scenario happens often. Be the blogger that pays attention to your house. If you don’t care enough about your blog to respond to someone in a timely manner, then I don’t care either. And neither will the rest of the community. Responding a week later is not responding in a timely manner, imho. People respond when you respond back immediately. My personal rule is to respond within an hour when at all possible, but never more than 6.
To What Do I Attribute My Growth?
On Saturday, Emily, who blogs over on Blogspot, emailed me and asked me how I get people to follow my blog. And the answer is…I’m not really sure if I’m being completely honest. I believe part of it has to do with being sincere and honest and not hiding anything from my readers. Part of it has to do with be willing to create a community. And lastly, I try to create content that I believe adds value to people’s lives. This is the one thing I think many bloggers miss. Content is so important. I never just write something to have something to post. Often times I read through several posts on a page and it simply doesn’t captivate me. Then I read a page like Fonz or A New Perspective Perhaps or Power Plant Men and I can’t stop reading. So what separates these from the crowd? I believe it is the honesty that I get from the words that they write. I like to see vulnerability, compassion, love, anger, frustration and…honesty. If you want more people to read your stuff, then write something people want to read; have an opinion! Seems simple, but many miss this.
When to Follow back
This question continues to pop up and I am not sure if there is a right answer. In the beginning stages of my blog I utilized the Follow-for-Follow strategy. It worked, but a problem arose in that too many Followed blogs made it difficult to navigate Reader so I stopped the practice. With that said, I am also not sure why so many bloggers battle with this issue. If you enjoy a blog, Follow; if not, then don’t Follow.
Open the Post
Any time I see an image or meme someone has posted in Reader I am always cognizant to click on the subject header and open the post. Why would I do this if I have already viewed the image? Good question! I do this to ensure the blogger receives credit for my view. If I only view the image from Reader, the artist or photographer doesn’t get credit for me having viewed their post. And as I have confessed, I am an avid stat watcher and understand the value of giving someone their just rewards! I find this to be rewarding on my end as I know that I have been a considerate participant in the community. I understand no one will know, but I also believe it is this mentality of others first that helps me grow.
Add a Featured Image
I have noticed that not everyone uses images in their posts. I do at times, other times I do not. But what I try to do even on reblogs is add a Featured Image. Why? I do this because an image header will draw more attention in Reader than a post without. When you have no Featured Image, your post hits the market as a simple block ad with a subject header and text. Very easy for the eyes to scroll past. But an image, on the other hand, will draw the eye and increase the chances of a visit!
Open Link in a New Window
What does this even mean? Ever noticed that little box you leave unchecked when creating links? Why is that there? Another great question!! You guys are on a roll! That box is there to help you with a little known stat called Bounce Rate. Bounce rate is a measurable that reveals how many people are hitting your page and then leaving without viewing other pages. A low bounce rate is desirable if your goal is to have people combing through your webpage. My bounce rate is around 45% which is a little higher than my goal of 40%. Anywho, to help you get your rate down and encourage people to visit more pages, I suggest clicking the Open Link in a New Window box any time you are creating a link to an external page (i.e. New York Times, other blog pages, LifeHack, etc.). Not one of the most important tips I’ve ever given, but I thought I would mention it as someone asked about it on Tuesday.
Make Your Page Reader Friendly
I think this happens because people are simply unaware these feature can be changed. Too many blogs have fonts that are too small or fonts that make for difficult reading. Or a background that makes it nearly impossible to decipher the words. Never forget that your page isn’t for you, but for the reader! Don’t select fonts that make it difficult on the eyes or people will leave your page. I mention this because this week I saw 3 pages that used a font or background that drove me to leave their page. I recommend adjusting your font size in theme settings and choosing a font that is more of a block style. Just a thought…
Be a “Considerate Blogger”
I am coining a new phrase: “Considerate Blogger.” I have 2 basic focuses in my blogging “style.” First, to produce quality content that adds value to those that read my stuff. Secondly, to focus on helping others and being a Considerate Blogger. What do I mean by being a Considerate Blogger? There are simple things I do everyday that stats tell me others do not.
- I always click on the original link when reading reblogs. Always. This is a way to make sure the reblogger and the reblogged get their credit.
- I always click on images in reader and view photographs from the bloggers home page.
- I always try to end my comments by signing my name. Why? I want everyone to know that I am not a generic responder. When I respond, I do so genuinely and want that person to know my comment means something to me. Therefore, I put my name behind my comment.
- I always respond to calls of action. If a fellow blogger asks me to vote for them, or share their post or provides some other call, I respond if it is brought to my attention. It only takes a few moments and means something to them, which means something to me.
- I share others information freely without expectation of anything in return. Why is this so important? I believe you must do for others what you want them to do for you. If you want people to read your page, then you must read others. If you want people to share your post, then you must share others. If you want people to comment on your work, then you must first comment. If you want people to click your links, then you must be a link clicker.
Fill out your about page. This one baffles me and deters me from reading. Here is my thought…let’s say you are talking about fitness. In order for me to take your words seriously, I want to know who is talking to me. Are you a fitness professional? Are you qualified to speak on the subject? What is your bio? Have you included a photo? Honestly, I do not read a lot of posts that are done so anonymously. If I don’t see an about page then I will usually just move on by.
Push Your Calls to Action to the Top of Your Margin
This is something I notice a lot. If I visit your page I want to find things easily and quickly. I can’t tell you the number of times I have to search to find Twitter/Facebook links or Email Subscription buttons. Those are Calls to Action and should always be in the margin near the top right on your page. Many of you need to rework your pages. I say this not because I am an expert, but because I am a reader and find it difficult to navigate your page.