I’m a blog stalker. I’m also choosy about the blogs I regularly stalk. I wasn’t always this picky. I used to mainly write business copy, grants, and the occasional magazine article. Now that I mostly blog for a living I’m more selective. I chalk that up to being online too much. I don’t have time or the inclination to stalk blogs that fail to make a good impression quickly.
What qualifies a blog as non-stalk worthy is terribly subjective but some of these issues are problems that come up over and over again between my band of blogging pals and I. Additionally, some form of, “How come no one reads my blog?” is the number one email question I get from new bloggers and a questions I see frequently at blog-related forums.
There are major reasons I won’t read a blog; such as a blog is simply not my taste, (sports for instance). However, beyond content, there are six basic reasons that will stop me from stalking your blog.
1. You disable comments:
The fun of blogging vs. other forms of writing are the instant reactions and the fact that it is, or should be, a community oriented experience. If I like a post I want to tell the writer. If I hate a post I want to tell the writer. There are blogs I stalk simply because the comment section is so amusing. I get why some people disable comments but this is just how I fly. If you give your opinion and don’t let me give mine I won’t be back for another visit.
2. You never hit enter:
For someone who blogs short this isn’t a big deal. What I can’t take are 140 plus lines of the great wall of text. My eyes can’t take it. My over-worked brain certainly can’t take it. This is an easy fix. Hit enter, gain readers, end of story.
3. You play musical blogs:
Maybe you change templates every other week. You might decide your blog needs a new name each year. In one weird situation a blog I really liked changed their name, template and url four times within a year. It’s too much work for me to change my blogrolls and feeds all the time. Changes are good because blogs do evolve but if it gets too confusing I can’t deal and won’t visit.
4. You fail to respond to comments:
Believe me, I know it’s hard to respond when you’ve got even ten plus comments to deal with. However, if you’ve got two comments you do have time to respond back and you should. This is one of the best ways to build up readers and it’s good blog etiquette. Every comment I leave is time I could be spending elsewhere so getting a response back makes me feel happy that I used my time wisely – for someone who actually cares about their readers. One suggestion for those who do get many comments per each post is to do a nice round-up response. Going in and leaving a, “Thanks everyone for your input” and highlighting a few favorite comments is a good plan if you’re dealing with comment overload.
5. You update infrequently:
My favorite blogs update at least five times a week; most of them more than that. I know that’s a lot for some people though. For a personal blog just three posts a week will keep me coming back. I’m guilty of this myself actually. I have one blog that I’ve slacked at continually this year and big surprise I’ve lost a ton of readers. I am not stalk worthy at this particular blog and I can’t blame anyone but me.
6. You have a questionable blog personality:
A long time ago I came across a blog where the blogger had plastered atop her blog something akin to “Wow, my hits have really gone up since I started writing from a kitten’s point of view.” Was it a joke? I don’t know. The blog was pink so I assumed the worst and clicked out of there at lighting speed. I don’t want to read your point of view as a kitten. I want to read blogs that feel real — not false or void of the human condition.
Case in point; I’ve ghostwritten a few blogs where I’m dull because that’s what the blog owner wants. They want to sell something and hate when I try to add anything personal. I never get comments at these blogs because no one cares one way or the other about me or quite possibly, anything I say. I wouldn’t. If all you’re going to write about is pencils then fine, write all about pencils – swim in it. Just show me that you have a kid or a killer Frisbee habit, or something, anything, going on besides this mundane interest in pencils.
Of course I have more criteria regarding why I’ll stalk (or not stalk) a blog but the above are my biggie reasons barring topic.
Now it’s your turn. Why do you stalk certain blogs? Or better yet tell me why you won’t.