Friday, July 8, 2011

Guest Post: Living In Bloggerville

(This isn't a guest post in the sense that it was written specifically for my blog. TexWisGirl wrote this for her blog back in March. It contains such useful information that I asked her if I could re-post it here for my readers (several of whom also read her blog). There are good points here you may or may not have thought about previously. Thanks, T, for allowing me to use your post!)

Living In Bloggerville

Well, I'm coming up on my 1 year blogiversary next month, so thought I'd do a post about some of the things I've learned in this here virtual town we live in.  When other bloggers have posted tips on being a better blog host or visitor, I've really appreciated their knowledge sharing so figured I'd share a few things that ring true for me.

1. LEAVE COMMENTS:  When you visit a blog, whether it is regularly or just a one-time thing, leave a comment to let the blogger know you were there.  Sometimes we can see in our traffic sources (available under Stats) or some other widget (like BlogFrog or FeedJit's Live Traffic Feed) that you were there, but a comment is so much nicer.  When I drop in on a blog I've not seen before, I try to leave a comment - showing appreciation for their blog or post.  After all, they put forth the effort to do a post.  I made the effort to view it.  Even if I'm not compelled to follow them, I want to at least say hello and wish them well. 

2. FOLLOW PUBLICLY:  If you use Google Friend Connect to follow blogs, if you have a blog of your own, by all means follow publicly so folks can see you and find your blog in return.  In connection with that:

3. INCLUDE YOUR LINK IN YOUR BLOGGER PROFILE:  So many followers don't show their own blog address as a link in their profile.  When someone follows me, I try to go back and visit their blog too, but if they don't provide a link, I can't find their blog when I click on their little follower photo.  It's only if they leave a comment that I can click on their name and "follow them home" that way.  Include your blog in your profile under Dashboard-Edit Profile-Show My Blogs.

4. MAKE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS PUBLIC:  I have comments delivered to my email inbox and usually read them there.  If you leave a comment on my blog that asks a question, I will often try to respond via email rather than reply with another comment on my post (I don't think many folks return to a blog to see if you've answered their question - who has the time?!)  Anyway, if you have your email address marked private, I can't respond directly.  You can change this to allow email replies to your comments by adjusting your profile settings under Dashboard-Edit Profile-Show My Email Address (make sure you've got the email address identified in the Identity section where you want your emails to go to).

I thought I had this setting in place, but I didn't for a long time.  It took some comments left by followers before I realized they were getting the dreaded message when they tried to email me.  I credit Beth at be yourself...everyone else is taken as the first blogger that I read to explain how to correct this problem. 

5. CONSIDER REMOVING WORD VERIFICATION - Especially if you moderate/approve all comments before they are posted:  It's incredibly time consuming for us blog-addicted readers to comment on each blog we read (my list currently tops 200).  However, I try to stick to my #1 point above as much as possible.  Word verification (where you type in those dreadful code letters and numbers in order to leave a comment) makes the process take almost twice as long.  And then it's very frustrating to be presented with the message "your comment will be visible after approval."  (What?  I deciphered and typed that miserable code for nothing?!)  Now, I understand security concerns.  I'm just saying two deadbolts might not be necessary on your blog's door.  And, yes, I had word verification set on my blog for a long time for fear of spammers etc., but I removed it after some other bloggers suggested it.  I've not had any issues since (knock on wood, that friendly comment world will continue.)  You can adjust features for comments on your blog under Dashboard-Settings-Comments. 

5a. On a related note, I use Open ID so non-Google account holders can comment using other ID types but I've never allowed Anonymous comments (yes, I'm afraid of haters...)

6. SET YOUR COMMENT BOX AS A POP-UP WINDOW:  For forever, I had my comments set up to embed below my post - I thought that setting was needed to display them there.  Duh!  Nancy at A Rural Journal recently posted a suggestion to set your comments as a separate pop-up window since she was having difficulty posting comments in Bloggerville and had read that the embed setting might be an issue.  I switched mine immediately to a pop-up.  I can't tell you how constipated my keyboard must be with all the word verification letters and numbers that never "took" to the screen because of blog page reloads occurring as I was typing them in.  You know how that works - our blog page of photos, blog reading rolls, links, buttons, gadgets, widgets, etc. resets when someone has disturbed the initial load by sweetly attempting to leave a comment and having to wait for the whole flippin' page to work through its issues before it allows it.  Kind of like ripples on a pond - you have to wait for them to stop before you can see (type) clearly again.  Folks, I apologize for all my blog ripples you may have encountered in the past.  I hope my pop-up comment box makes your life more pleasant.

I am not a well-heeled blogger.  I don't use Facebook or Twitter or upload posts from iPhones and the like.  I DO use the reading list under my Dashboard's "Blogs I Follow" to get the feed from your new posts so I hopefully don't miss any.  Oh, that reminds me, if you use this same feature, when a blogger changes their blog's domain address, your "Blogs I Follow" will recognize a name change has taken place but it will no longer pick up the feed of new posts.  I learned the hard way that I had to unfollow and refollow the new address in order for it to truly recognize the new site's feed.  If you DO change your blog's name and/or address, it's best to tell your followers/readers in a post that you're doing so so they can find you.

I hope at least one of these tips is something you find helpful, agree with, will try or will at least see what settings you've had in place on your blog that you never knew about (so you'll have more "Aha" moments than "Duh" moments).  I'm sure I've missed other good tips that some of you might want to share.  But that's enough from this Bloggerville resident.  My apologies to WordPress users or anyone I've bored to death just now...

As always, I appreciate you stopping by!  Refer to #1 above!  :)


texwisgirl said...

you da man! :)

i was just thinking that the texwisgirl label on your posts hadn't seen any new action lately and was feeling ignored. so thanks for dusting off this post and re-publishing it. and if it just helps one more blogger out there, then it's worth it.

p.s. did you happen to notice i updated the old profile pic?! if i get tired of seeing my mug around Bloggerville, i'm switching it to a tree rat...

A Reel Lady said...

Love this and going to have to figure out the pop up comment thing!

Sall's Country Life said...

Hey Brian, some great blogging lessons in that post! I read it the first time on the texwisgirl's site but it's all good advice and is worth another read! Like your facebook page idea also! Thanks for stopping by our site, always enjoy your comments!! Happy fishing this summer!

darlin said...

Thank you for reposting this, they are awesome suggestions and what I view as blogger etiquette. Now I'm going to have to check my settings... thanks again.

paul said...

Great info Brian! This is the first of you posts that I have read, and it certainly won't be the last. I haven't commented on all the blogs I read, but will definitely start as of right now!

heyBJK said...

I used to have word verification on my blog and got rid of it. I have never done the "owner approval" step. I don't allow anonymous comments, though, and haven't had any issues.

Paul: I can't take any credit for this post. It's all TexWisGirl.