Readers of Blogs: The Untold Story.

Take a minute to Google “blogging tips”. You’ll find yourself pulled into an endless internet rabbit hole, where you look away from your computer hours later with an unexpected deep knowledge of SEO and how to brand yourself.

But in the vast pool of how-to’s, there’s very little information about the most important party involved in blogging: the readers.

Computer, Camera, Notebook / Stock Photography from unsplash.com / Image from TheSirensTale.com

While discussing blog reading with several other readers and bloggers, a few blog trends popped up that I’d love to share. It may create a whole new spin on how you view your blog readers!

1. Readers love interaction.
An endless pool of comments never responded to post after post communicates a strong message to blog readers that a blogger is not interactive. Readers should not have to stomp, kick, and shout to be noticed. Being a dedicated, interactive blog reader can take just as many minutes of the day as it can to run a blog. Blog readers deserve a response, whether it be to a comment or question.

2. Excessive advertisements/sponsorships may make readers question the authenticity of the blog.
I know how many hours of work, editing, photography, and vulnerability goes into running a blog. Simply put, I support any blogger who receives some form of compensation for all their hard work. But as a blog reader, seeing sidebars that go on for days with posts packed full of affiliate links, it makes you start to wonder if there’s passion behind the blog, or just a paycheck. Not to mention, it makes readers’ eyes go gaga. And not in a good way.

Apple Laptop on Table / Stock Photography from unsplash.com / Image from TheSirensTale.com

3. Comments, big and small, are meaningful.
Whether a reader leaves a novel-length response or a quick line or two, their comment may have a variety of purposes. Readers leave comments to interact, to get to know the blogger more, to ask questions, or simply just to let the blogger know that they came, they saw, they read, and they liked! Comment size should never matter.

4. Dedication should have some form of pay-off.
Many blog readers are bloggers themselves; if they dedicate their time to your blog, a return visit to their blog is only polite. Their content may not hit close to home, but imagine their surprise when they see a well-loved blogger took the time to stop by and return the kindness. I can’t begin to count how many blogs I’ve removed from my Feedly after interacting/commenting for well over a month with no responses/no return visits/etc. Ain’t nobody got time for dat!

Do you follow any blog reading rules?
Do you like bloggers who are interactive, or just showcase their work?

{shared on the Jack of All Trades link-up}

64 responses to “Readers of Blogs: The Untold Story.

  1. As usual, great advice. It’s not to be taken lightly this blogging thing. Mutual respect. I believe in it fully. That’s why I love you so much.

    • Thanks Tracie! I’m always torn between: Am I taking blogging seriously enough, or am I taking blogging too seriously? At the end of the day, it’s a very vulnerable and open act to perform. Readers who take time to enjoy and share the ride of life along with a blogger deserve time and attention!

      Your comments always bring me the biggest smiles! XO

  2. Great points. I like being interactive. I was so disappointed the other day when after reading several blog post on a new blog I had just discovered, I realized that comments were turned off. I really wanted to let the blogger know I enjoyed her work!

    • Thank you, Kelli! It is definitely disheartening when bloggers make it difficult to connect and interact. It starts to feel like a one-woman (or man) show, that you can only watch and not participate in. Plus, it’s difficult to not have the opportunity to even say to the blogger: ‘Hey, your content is great!’

  3. this is great!!! as a blogger and a blog reader, i definitely agree with all of this! 🙂

  4. Yes, yes, yes.

  5. such good things to think about.
    yes, yes, yes, and yes.
    and xo

  6. I think the interaction factor is huge for most readers–I know that feeling “ignored” by a blogger has led me to decide it wasn’t really worth the time it took to read their blog.

    • Couldn’t agree more, Rachel! I always keep in mind that not every blogger or blog reader is going to like me / my style (just like in real life). But just like in real life — if someone interacts with you, the least you can do is respond! Otherwise it just feels off-putting.

  7. Great post filled with great information! 🙂

  8. Thanks for the post! I have been very dedicated to an internship I am in so this is the first post by a fellow blogger I have been able to read in a while. It is very much appreciated for something you put hours into research to simply write a post that doesn’t have some long complicated system but rather just truth!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Jeremy! I can relate to where you’re at; I just finished my graduate degree in December, but it still feels like yesterday that my day was filled with hours of research and complicated systems.

      Hope the rest of your internship goes well!

  9. That’s all pretty excellent and true. Great list!

  10. I love this, Caitlin! When I first started blogging, I definitely noticed cliques among bloggers. I would comment on various posts and hear nothing but crickets. It can be very discouraging to a new blogger when 1) no one comments on their posts and 2) no one acknowledges the comments they post for others. I make it a point to respond to comments. Sometimes, it may take me time to do it, but I value my readers and I want them to know that I appreciate when they have something to add. Great post!

    • Jessica, I couldn’t agree more. When I first started this blog, I had left a different blog platform (Livejournal), and found it was very hard to be noticed and responded to. It can be very disheartening for new bloggers!

      I’m with you – I always respond to all comments. Sometimes it’s within a day, sometimes it’s a week, but I always make sure to respond 🙂

  11. I rarely get comments. It makes me wonder if people read all the way to the bottom! LOL!

    I dunno, the blogging world has changed so much since my first time around it feels like it is not nearly the community it used to be. I think there are so many blogging platforms out there that we are all spread out. Honestly, I get sick of typing my name, email address, and website in every time I leave a comment somewhere that isn’t WordPress. It has to be something REALLY good, or I have to feel like I am going to say something REALLY relevant to the conversation.

    Unlike on WP where I can somewhat lazily jibber at you! 😀

    • It’s definitely difficult to get readers to leave comments. It’s hard to engage a reader to the point of having something to say in response! I honestly didn’t start getting a good amount of comments on my posts until I started using social media to collaborate and work with other bloggers.

      I couldn’t agree more with you about the changing blogosphere. I started blogging back in the early 2000’s, and things have changed so much since. You make a great point about the different platforms — Blogger, Blogspot, Typepad, WordPress, etc. I prefer using Disqus for comments; it’s not allowed on WordPress unless you self-host your site, but it helps with mainstreaming and organizing comments back and forth. It’s one of the reasons I’ll be leaving WordPress in the future for a self-hosted site! While the WP comment function works great for WP users, it is not set-up properly to respond to non-WP users.

    • I thought I was the only one exhausted by trying to comment outside of WP! (; I jibber more, too, if I don’t have to prove I’m not a robot. LOL

  12. Great list! I’m so interested in the topic of blogging and what is considered kosher vs. non kosher. Maybe because I enjoying reading and blogging myself so much.

    I really appreciate #1 – as a a reader I know that I really do love being responded to!

  13. At first I didn’t really “get it” when I started blogging. I was so overwhelmed with all the jargon, setting up the actual site, figuring out how to write that it wasn’t until a few months in that I finally stopped lurking and started interacting. And, wow, what a difference it makes! Such a fun way to make your own community!

    • I think blogging for any newcomer, especially in today’s blogging world, is entirely overwhelming! I remember when I first started blogging – that’s all you did. You blogged and wrote. There was no fancy photography needed, no social media, no building readership, etc.

      But, with that said – I think the “new” blogging world is much better. There is a bigger community that allows you to find your “niche” and meet new friends. I don’t remember feeling a “community” when blogging was just blogging.

  14. Great post Caitlin – I can definitely relate to the delicate art of sidebar balance. You do want your hard work to pay off, but at the same time you can’t have the space too cluttered.

    And agreed, blogging is always so much more fun when there’s engagement. I love when other bloggers interact with me – it gives a whole new perspective 🙂

    • Thank you, Anastasia! Clutter is a perfect way to describe some bloggers. I fully support getting endorsed… let’s face it, blogging is a lot of work! But I think sometimes too many ads / sponsorships really take away from the content and flow of the site.

      And I couldn’t agree more with you… there’s nothing I love more than seeing responses from readers and getting to interact!

  15. Awesome post! I always wonder, as a new blogger, why there are so many “shares” at the bottom, but very few actual clicks or comments. Feels very silent and mysterious indeed…but I just keep on a’writin, because really, that’s what I’m here for anyway ❤ Thanks for the encouragement, this is a great post!

    • Thank you, Cassandra! On some blogging platforms, especially WordPress, it allows for users to share/like much easier than to leave a comment. I think it’s difficult to really pull readers in to the point of receiving a comment. I’ve found what works best is to stay active on other blogs, leave comments, and get into communities.

      At the end of the day, whether we receive a response or not from readers, blogging should be fun and a creative outlet 🙂

  16. Great Post and message! Obviously we write because we want our voice to be heard! It makes me very happy and I always say thanks back!

  17. I am still trying to get it all figured out!

    One of my main goals, before working on my own blog, is to read and pay more close attention to those that follow me. That’s what I use to do and that’s what inspired me to blog in the beginning!

    I felt like somewhere I got lost into a dark hole in my own world….. It’s starting to get brighter as I read more blogs and get involved outside of my own again 🙂 It’s a lot of fun!

    I have so many people say “I read your blog today!” But yet…. no comment. I know how it feels so I’m trying to give back in return.

    Oh, and I still need to learn SEO………… been saving that for a rainy day. Well, rainy day is… here. 🙂

    • I really like your approach to blogging, by finding inspiration and connections through your readers 🙂 It’s so easy to get lost in the dark hole of our own worlds, I’m guilty of it all the time! Reading other people’s stories and journeys is a constant reminder (for me) to be happy and grateful. It gives a lot of insight into the good and bad in the world!

      And oh, SEO. I know some basics, but I really should spend more time stepping up the game. Add that to my rainy day list as well, haha!

  18. I value blogger friends for their honesty. The fakers stand out a mile after a while, so whilst one might accrue a vast clan of followers, it doesn’t take long to see who are the genuine ones – and I love them all 😀

  19. That was a very concise way to put it Caitlin, I think it’s very important to stay true and appreciate other bloggers efforts. I recently attended a new bloggers group meeting and we shared the fact that only bloggers can relate to so many of the issues we face~i.e. your non blogger friends just don’t get it! It does take time, but it is so worth the effort to comment and connect. One of my favorite bloggers turned her comments off, except for every now and then, like she doesn’t want to be bothered with others, she is just writing her personal diary! As much as I love her blog, I stopped reading it because it felt like a one-way street~ thanks for reminding everyone of some very important blog basics~
    Jenna

    • Haha, Jenna — your comment made me smile 🙂 I was just talking with a friend the other day (who is not a blogger), and she was so confused by some of my worries and/or things I needed to do. It’s hard to explain blogging to someone who doesn’t do it, and it often can be seen as a frivolous thing.

      I’ve started explaining blogging to non-bloggers as: It’s an online community and a way to share ideas and images with like-minded people!

      And I couldn’t agree more about no response bloggers. It’s very disheartening and it feels like a one person show! It takes away from the whole idea of building a community and meeting new friends!

  20. love this, such a great reminder to reach out. IT always means the world to me to have readers reach out to me…so carving out time to respond back is so important! Thanks for sharing this!!!

    • Thank you, Rachel 🙂 I’ve had so many blog readers over the years send me little notes about appreciating the interaction I have on my blog. Just as much as bloggers love to hear back from readers, readers love to hear from bloggers! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  21. Some great advice and reminders here. It is easy to become bogged doing one aspect of blogging more than another. I suppose the key is finding a balance that still allows for a life. I feel it could become a full-time job while my family often fear it already has. It’s certainly addictive. 🙂 x

    • Thank you 🙂 I couldn’t agree more with you — it’s very easy to get locked into one aspect of blogging over another. My inbox right now is screaming at me, but I’ve been keeping up with responding to comments in a timely manner (can’t win them all, right? haha). A balance is so needed… if you figure one out, share the secret with me! 🙂

  22. Great post!!! All of these things are very simple, too. And I think the interacting with other readers/bloggers is the best/most important piece to this whole thing anyway!

  23. Stopping by from the Jack of All Trades linkup! I love this post, it’s so true! While we blog for ourselves we are also blogging for our audience! Readers get forgotten in all of the how-to tips but they’re really the most important component of a successful blog!

  24. YES! As a blogger and a blog reader, I get all of this through and through. My sister and I very much want our blog to be a place where people can have a conversation or feel like their voice is heard. I can’t always be as quick to reply as I want to when I’m working full time, but I always try to let others know they’re appreciated. The hardest part for me is that I can’t visit all the blogs I want to every week with my work and life schedule, and I’m always afraid I’m sending the wrong message. I used to agonize over that but I’m learning the Lord knows my limits and He’ll help me balance what I need to without stressing it. 🙂

    • Your blog is a very welcoming place 🙂 The first time I visited it, I instantly felt like I could reach out to both you and your sister, and I saw how active you are in discussing things with readers. That is so awesome!

      And I hear you on trying to balance blogging / work life / personal life. I work full-time (about 45 hours a week), so sometimes when things are busy, it’s so hard to stay connected with my blog, social media, readers, etc. I wish there was more time in the week to really build in more connections, read all the blogs I’d love to, and interact on the level that bloggers/readers deserve!

  25. Thanks for writing this! Such good advice and all good things to remember 🙂

  26. these are such great points! i have worked through kat lee’s blogging kit, and she has the idea of developing a “target reader” to whom you should always write. and when i’m thinking of a specific person, it makes me more likely to write things i think they would benefit from, and also to think, how will this image/blog post/blog design impact them? will it help them or discourage them?

    • Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting, Whitney! Love seeing new faces from the Jack of All Trades link-up 🙂 That sounds like a great idea from Kat Lee. I love the idea of having a ‘target reader’, and it helps focus content that is uplifting, supportive, and encouraging.

  27. Pingback: {April} Month in Review. | The Siren's Tale

  28. Yeah girl! Great points here! I know if I leave comments I love for them to be returned. And I get that sometimes life gets busy and maybe people can’t reply to every comment but if I leave multiple comments and never get a reply on their blog or a return visit with a comment on my blog I will often unfollow them.

    • Thanks lady! 🙂 Life definitely can get busy which will slow down response comments, for sure. I’m guilty of that from time to time! But it’s so disheartening when someone just doesn’t respond at all. I’m with you, I often unfollow after a bit.

  29. All excellent points, Caitlin. I couldn’t agree more.

  30. I like both types of bloggers and I like being able to leave love in the comments, but I don’t mind if there’s no response. I think I just trust the bloggers are busy, and if they have time and I’ve commented, they’ll eventually say hi for a minute. I picture it as passing someone in the hall of a huge office complex…several passes can be required to start a conversation due to time demands, etc. But, if you’re going the same way, a friendship will begin growing….like with farm friend Caitlin.(:

    • I love that metaphor! It describes blogging perfectly 🙂 Sometimes I’ll worry when a week goes by and I’m unable to respond to comments, then I remind myself – it’s just blogging, we all have busy lives, and when the conversation can come… it’s wonderful and worth the wait!

  31. Pingback: {April} Month in Review. | belong with wildflowers

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