I’m not sure why this happens but I’m pretty sure it happens to all of us- I am currently in a spurt of receiving a constant string of “Please check out my blog” comments. On principle I usually don’t check out these blogs, but occasionally I do and… I am left confused. Why did you think that I was going to be interested in your blog about car maintenance? I know the answer, people mass drop links everywhere possible to try and build followers but quite frankly, it is sloppy and alienating. Today I’m sharing what it is that *I* look for in blogs, and a few tips on how to leave effective comments!
What I Am Looking For in a Blog
Every single blog reader is different, but I’m going to quickly explain for what it is that I’m looking for in a blog! It doesn’t mean that if you don’t fall into one of these categories, I will never read your blog, but this is a pretty good explanation.
1. There Has to Be a Takeaway
I primarily read blogs to learn something, so I prefer blogs where there is a takeaway! A review of something, a suggestion, a recounting of a trip, a recipe, an outfit, SOMETHING. I tend to not read simply chatty posts because at the end of the day, I don’t know you- I wouldn’t expect people who don’t know me to want to know the minutia of my life, and vice versa. (This doesn’t mean that blogs I follow can’t have chat-style posts, but I usually don’t go for blogs that are solely chat-style.)
2. There Has to Be Images
I am a voracious reader, but I along with everyone hates to stare at an unrelenting wall of text. Even if you have broken it into paragraphs, you need images to give my eyes and brain a small break. They don’t have to be award winning photographs from war torn countries, but just a relevant picture to emphasise whatever you are writing about. There are sites of images that you can use for free (Pixabay for example), so there isn’t really an excuse not to have them.
3. There Has to Be a Person Behind It All
As I’m working on my own site more and more, I’m honing what it is that I like to see in a blog and what I will be doing on An Historian 2.0, and the biggest thing that I’ve recognised is that I want to see an identifiable person behind it all. I don’t need your Social Insurance Number, Date of Birth, and Mother’s Maiden Name, but I like a name (even an anonymous one), what you do (student? professional? stay at home mom) even if you don’t think it’s relevant, and a general location. These things give me context on how I’m going to read your blog, and if they aren’t there, I lose interest because I don’t have any way to identify with you.
How to Leave an Effective Comment
Leaving an effective and useful comment on a blog is actually a skill, and it takes a lot of us a long time to learn how to do it. A good comment will help you build or maintain your connection with that blogger (and possibly other readers), and help you do a tiny sell of your own blog at the same time. Note: I didn’t say, “help you shove your blog in their face”.
1. Read More Than One Post
Before you leave a comment, read more than one post from that blog- I’m not saying you have to read their entire catalogue but show that you have actually read more than just the one post. Make sure that your comment makes sense within their blog as a whole! I find that a lot of people leave throwaway comments that half make sense within the context of the post but make absolutely no sense when you read my entire blog. (For example: on a history book post where I said I was looking for more books to read, and someone said that I should take some history classes to get some background…) Get to know the blogger for a minute or two!
2. Don’t Comment to Simply Comment
This is one of my pet peeves- do not leave a comment simply to leave a comment. This is really common to see on larger blog; the same 3 people will leave a say-nothing comment every single day within an hour of the post going up. From what I’ve seen, most bigger bloggers don’t respond to them, and a lot of people (myself included) won’t actually visit your site because you are clearly using it solely market yourself.
Agnes wants to know why you do this.
3. Truly Engage With the Post
Whatever the post is, actually read it and engage meaningfully with it! As someone who receives comments, “this looks great!”, “Fantastic advice”, “wow, I love this recipe!” truly makes me feel like you didn’t bother to read the post, so I’m not sure why you left a comment. This includes comment threads from blogging groups- either actually leave a worthwhile comment or don’t take part in the thread. Ask questions about a recipe, comment on an outfit, or share a travel memory that you thought of when you read it- whatever it is, make it worthwhile.