Interaction is key when it comes to personal blogs

Apr 15

Work with me here, people.

I’ve seen some things with blogging over the past few months. And not all of it is good. So this is my blogging rant for the day — and hopefully — for the long term. I don’t need to do this again.

I need to start with this — I realize there are several different blog platforms out there. I’ve been through many of them. But they all run differently. For example, I use WordPress. But it’s a self-hosted WordPress site, not one you do on the actually WordPress site. That gives me much more control over the site and how it looks, feels and runs. I also use the normal system for comments.

I’ve debated going to Disqus, and actually did it for a few days a while back, but I thought the WordPress comment system was fine. Name, e-mail (not shown) and website, if you have one. It’s worked fine, but I’ve been told that one person can’t leave comments. I have no idea why, but he’s tried many ways to access my site and can’t do it. That’s the only issue I’ve ever heard, though.

Blogger is a different story.

With Blogger’s comment system, it appears the site owner has the choice to decide how people can comment. Some elect to make it a little tighter — in other words using sign on stuff for other things (such as your own Blogger/Google account). The problem with this is there’s no way to link back to your blog. AND with no place for e-mail, there’s no way for the blog owner to contact you or check your site out. That’s one reason I sometimes decide not to comment on those sites. Choose the name/URL option so anyone can comment. It also seems silly for Blogger to not have a spot or option for somebody commenting to not be able to leave their e-mail.

Disqus is somewhat like that now, too.

I don’t like that people can’t leave their blog address on my blog when they comment. It’s easy for me to click on their name to go check their site out. Why make things harder than needed?

Some of this was brought to my attention recently through a group I am part of. Apparently, when I comment with my Google account, or even with my URL/name on a Blogger blog, there’s no way for the person to e-mail me a response. I don’t know Blogger one big, so I have no clue what that means.

But I saw last night when I commented somewhere that I can have a checkmark in place when I use my Google account to have my e-mail address used for responses. That’s fine. But I don’t see that when I use the URL/name. Um… hello, Blogger? Why make things so hard?

I realize it’s about brand setup and all that, but reality has it that not everybody will use Blogger. I don’t personally like the control or interface. And I am already established elsewhere. It’s time to make it easier for your blog owners. Work on that, Blogger.

Now then, that leads me to something else in blogging.

Visiting people’s blogs.

I do my best to make my rounds to several blogs each week. I try and hit them 2-3 times and read what I can, comment etc. But that’s just in a regular rotation.

I’ve recently found a couple of blog groups and have gotten involved some. They can be fun and there’s some interaction. Many of these groups also have “blog hops,” which is basically where people from the group post links to certain posts, social media sites or whatever. The idea is to get people seeing your things, commenting, following and, well, interacting.

That’s how I see it anyway.

Every blog hop I’ve been apart of I try and visit every person on it. I comment on most. The times I don’t comment are when the “rules” are not followed (ie: only post your blog address and not the link to the direct post, as requested) or if one has to go through leaps and bounds to comment.

I’ve hardly ever seen success in blog hops, though. And I’ve done them for quite a while, not just recently.

Sometimes people will stop by or whatever. Maybe a comment? But not usually. I realize my blog isn’t a cup of tea for everybody. And it’s true when I visit blogs, too. But if there are blogs specifically for a hop, they there should be some sort of interest, no? Instead, nothing.

It’s disappointing, too.

Not because of the commenting (which, I won’t lie, we all like to have comments on our blogs), but rather because people are missing out on the interaction. Blogs are about more than yourself. It’s about finding new people, interests or whatever. I also realize that most blogging groups I am in are female dominated. And many blogs out there have that tone. You want proof? Go to Google and type in “Mommy blog” and see how many results come up.

When it comes to personal blogs (such as this one), females are definitely at the forefront. In one group I am in, I want to say there are fewer than five male bloggers in there.

But no matter who is behind the blog, it’s about content and interacting. When I check out others in blog hops, I can appreciate things that aren’t in my norm. If somebody went to town and created a kid’s room (I don’t have kids, so it’s not something I would usually care about), I can appreciate the work and time put into it. And I can appreciate what somebody has done to it — so I comment.

The same goes with arts and crafts and things like that. Or whatever else. I can usually relate — somehow — to what somebody has written. After all, it’s meaningful to them.

I guess, in the end, what I’m trying to say is bloggers should utilize the hops and comments to expand thoughts and interests. There’s a lot of great people out there blogging. There are people I never would have gotten to know if I hadn’t stumbled across their blog, either accidentally, through blog hops or other challenges. Many of these blogs have become favorites and ones I visit as often as possible. You can build some great friendships and get to know people quite well.

Especially with personal blogs as, let’s be honest, major blogs or niche ones, are sometimes more about you visiting and expressing opinions and such. Many of those are big enough where it’s impossible for somebody to respond to each comment or visit your blog.

But with personal blogs, it’s a two-way street.

I won’t lie — if I am commenting and trying to interact and nothing really comes back, I start to lose interest. To me, personal blogs go beyond content. They are about interaction and getting to know somebody. And when it becomes a fully one-way street, people lose interest, me included.

I’ll keep doing things the way I believe is the best way to get to know people and learn about their blogs. It’s just a shame when I know it’s time to cut ties with some.

Such is the life of blogging.

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  1. Good post! (sidenotes: I opened the comments up on NE bloggers so you can comment with name/URL) Blogger does not allow you to comment with name/url/email for whatever reason I dont know. If you have a blogger account and comment with your gmail you can choose to connect your email through the gmail system and then would receive an email reply back to your comment from that blog author (ideally, assuming they reply to comments!) Otherwise you might not receive a reply to your comment if the person has no way to email you back. I know some bloggers just reply to comments via email and some do it on their blog or other ways.
    Rachel recently posted..Mommy Mondays Blog Hop!My Profile

    • I definitely think that’s one of the issues with Blogger, compared to other commenting systems. I usually just respond to people in the comments, but I realize some do e-mail. Blogger should know that, too, as it makes it easier for the blogger to decide how he or she wants to respond to people. It’s a shame all blogging platforms don’t realize not everybody uses their platform!

  2. Hi P.J.,

    Well, I can definitely comment on blog hops – the majority are gearing towards women, its true. I have participated in A LOT of them and the ones that are most successful (i.e., lots of comments and followers) are the high profile writing and photography challenges. I am halfway through the A to Z writing challenge and have gained 30 new followers in 2 weeks (and that is only through Google friend connect), I know there are others who subscribe to the RSS feed.

    Anyhoo, sometimes it is tough to pinpoint your audience on a niche blog. I’m finding that my fashion posts are the most successful in general (course, not that that helps you …) *smiles*

    Finally, if you can project an image of positivity and fun – it will draw most anyone in ~


    • I like the theory of blog hops and think they are great, if everybody truly takes advantage of them. I understand that people have different interests, but usually — at least in the ones in which I’ve taken part — blog hops seem to at least be somewhat specific, so if I’m in one, I would think others would *usually* have like-minded interests. Hopefully, anyway.

  3. Hey! Yea, so…. I brought this to your attention :) LOL!!!!!! I’m gonna mess with some Blogger settings and see what can be done!
    Its All Geek To Me recently posted..Movie MondayMy Profile

    • I’ve heard it before, but you were the first to actually explain it. I never understood what was going on. Now that I got to dig a little, I see it’s the platform. With Blogger, it seems to be one thing or the other — leave your URL or leave it so the owner sees an e-mail. Seems silly one can’t leave both, especially when the e-mail is seen only by the blog owner.

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