I created my first blog–goodness, I don’t know–five years ago. I had no idea how any of this worked, so I posted away, more or less regularly, and was thrilled every time someone followed my humble little blog.
I think by the time I accepted that it was dead and I needed to move on, it had just over 50 followers. Nothing to brag about, to be sure!
There were many things I did wrong with my first blog, but one of the reasons that really punched the last nail into its coffin was my silence.
You see, I didn’t visit other blogs. I didn’t follow other blogs. I didn’t talk to people. My responses to the few comments I got were short and didn’t really invite conversation.
If you’ve been blogging for any length of time, you’ll know how frustrating and discouraging it can be when no one visits your blog or leaves comments. You’ll also know how nice it feels when someone does, and that’s what I’d like to talk to you about today!
The moment you reply to a comment, your blog becomes YOUR blog rather than just some other site they thought they’d try. It gives your readers a face to put with your name.*
It’s the difference between passing a stranger in the street and not wasting another glance on each other, and saying hi and meeting up for a tea to get to know each other. It creates a connection.
Your readers will enjoy their experience on your blog more** and so will you. Comments are proof that someone has read and liked your content, and your reply is proof that you appreciate your readers.
It’s such an easy way to show you care!
*unless your profile picture is your dog or your car, in which case I recommend you change it. Unless your blog is about dogs or cars, I guess, but maybe still consider it.
**and be more likely to come back, too, which is nice
Gather around, my dears, and let me tell you a story.
Many moons ago, before I ever considered setting up my own blog, I didn’t comment. I didn’t see the point–the sites I was visiting were either run by people who obviously knew what they were doing, or intimidated me with their amazing confidence*.
Either way, they had no time for someone like me. Someone small and insignificant they didn’t even know.
Well, friends and familiars, one day I gathered all the courage I had and emailed my favourite author**. I was just getting into writing again then, and her books were the reason for that. I thanked her for being the inspiration I’d needed to realise what I wanted to do with my life.
I didn’t think she’d reply. I didn’t think she’d care about someone small and insignificant like me.
But she replied. And I still carry her words close to my heart today.
It was nice to be acknowledged. The blogs you follow might not be written by your favourite authors, but it’ll still feel nice when the blogger gets back to you. Maybe all you said was ‘haha, yeah, I totally do that, too’, and maybe all they replied was ‘it’s the best, isn’t it? :3’, but sometimes small things can be pretty big.
*You couldn’t have found me and confidence in the same room back then. In fact, it’s still kinda a rare occasion but I’m told I fake it well.
**I don’t start small, clearly.
Your readers don’t have to comment. There’s no obligation whatsoever. If they did it anyway, that should mean something to you.
It takes time to catch up on all the blogs we like*, so when someone takes the time to tell you that your post was awesome, the least you can do is say ‘thank you’. It’s basic manners.
Once you’re a famous blogger and get a hundred responses to every post, no one will be cross if you can’t reply to every single one. But when your blog is young and you’re lucky to get five comments with each new post, a reply won’t kill you**.
*withers under size of own catch-up list*
**I’m good at jinxing things, though, so maybe don’t trust that
They are what keeps your blog going*. The whole point to your blog is to share information (like a book review) and maybe even help people in a similar situation to you (like figuring out what’s important when you self-publish), and there’s no better way to do this than to actually talk to your readers.
It gives them a chance to ask questions you may not have answered in your post**, and it gives you a chance to show that you really do know what you’re talking about.
*I mean, technically it’s you since you write all the posts and fret over finding the perfect gif, but when no one ever comments it feels lonely and pointless fast.
**Don’t worry about it, it’s easy to miss things.
I’m one hell of an introvert. I don’t do parties, I don’t go clubbing, and I can’t fake a friendly hello to people I don’t like, but even I managed to comment on other authors’ sites when I first started CookieBreak.
I still talk to some of these bloggers today. Some have become friends. We’re each other’s tribe now. We support each other’s writing careers and blogs and share each other’s content.
None of that would have happened if one of us hadn’t made that first step of leaving a comment, and if the other then hadn’t responded.
Some people you’ll respond to once and then you never see them again, but others? Others can become friends who encourage you when you need it, share your new posts, and answer any questions you might have*.
But that won’t happen if you don’t reply or leave the first comment, so be friendly and wave back!
*And come to you for answers in return. Don’t be a monster, repay the kindness.
Blogging can be lonely, especially at first when no one but your parents and closest friends know your blog exists. It’s difficult to be noticed when millions of new posts get published every month all around the fudging world. Talk about stiff competition!
The best way to find new readers is to find blogs you like,
stalk them religiously follow them, and leave comments whenever the author publishes a new post. They’ll soon notice your name pop up on their site over and over again.
It doesn’t need to be a small essay–just a quick ‘This is really helpful, thank you so much!’ is enough.
Please remember, though, that no one has an obligation to visit or even like your blog. Your blog might be fantastic in just about every way, but if it’s about make-up trends I won’t be following it. It’s nothing personal, I just couldn’t care less about make-up trends.
When your catch-up list is difficult to stay on top off as it is, you get a little picky, you know?
Don’t be shy*! Say hi and I promise I’ll get back to you <3
*Or be and just pretend you’re not–we’re on the internet, nobody knows.
Do you find it easy to stay caught up with the comments on your side? Do you feel bad when you know you missed something but can’t remember where (I definitely do)? Do you appreciate comments on your posts, or have you disabled them entirely? Get a cookie, make a tea, and talk to me.
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