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Saturday, March 17, 2012

A-Z Challenge 101: Etiquette Lessons For the Truly Novice Blogger

Welcome to Blogging 101: Blogging Etiquette For the Truly Novice Blogger.

Hello class!  Today's lesson is a review.  The big event is just 15 days away, and I just want to go over three very important topics regarding manners.

Question 1: What does it mean to follow a blog?  Well class, that's one of those topics that is WIDE open for interpretation. It's the sort of question that each blogger gets to answer as he or she sees fit. I'll be answering with my interpretation, since I'm the teacher. There are many different opinions, and I'm hoping that the comments on this lesson will be others sharing there views on the topic. Ahem, ya'll hear that? When I follow a blog, I feel like I'm putting a book-mark on that page so I can find it again. There are millions of blogs out there. Stumbling across the really cool one with the sunflower and flamingos logo again is kinda like winning a carnival game. Fat chance. (The sunflowers and flamingos, that would be my newly remodeled blog, by the way.  Our very own Retro-Zombie Jeremy genius digital artist did that)

Some bloggers do what we call a return follow – if you follow my blog, I'll go follow yours. See the inherent problem here? What if no one starts that chain reaction? Then what do you do? YOU GO EVERYWHERE. The absolute best way to gain followers is to go visit as many blogs as you can. Follow the ones you'd like to come back to. Polite bloggers, and most are polite, will in some way respond to your comment, either by visiting you, or by email, or by following you.

Question 2: What's the difference between someone following my blog and me being in the sidebar in somebody's blog-roll? Again, everyone gets to decide this one. I have a list of over 100 blogs I follow, but my blog roll is reserved for those I visit regularly, and has about 20 blogs in it. I change it frequently to reflect what I'm currently reading. I think of it as my “must read” and it does help bring visitors to those blogs. If you go check your stats, you can see what blogs are sending visitors your way. I always consider it a big honor when I find myself in someone's blog-roll. For example, our own Alex J. Cavanaugh has 1414 followers. I'm in his blog-roll. Half of the new people who come to see me, come from his blog. That's a lot of very nice advertising for me. Not everyone displays a blog-roll, but I highly recommend you do. It's a nice community-building effort on your part, and will bring good return on your time invested.

Question 3: What are the rules about commenting? Say it with me this time: each blogger handles this in their own way. I hope that in the comments on this post, you'll hear more ideas so that you have a wide range of opinions on which to base your decisions. If I visit a blog, I leave a comment. It's a “you scratch my back – I'll scratch yours” deal, just like the following. To show that you've actually read the post, say something specific, and then you can leave a standard part like, "I'm visiting from the A-Z Challenge, nice to meet you."  Sometimes it's hard to find something positive to say, but try to find something in common. My Best and I call these comments, the “Oh! I have a dog too!” comments. I think you catch the drift.

Before I dismiss for the day, here's your homework:
  1. Turn off word verification. See this post for directions.
  2. Put a link to your blog in your signature so that we can easily visit you back.  
  3. Play nice with each other. No post. Just do it.

    Please vote for your favorite A to Z Video.  Voting closes tomorrow, Sunday night, March 18.  For ballot, go to the top of this page and click on the tab that indicates "Vote for A to Z Video" and then follow the instructions.

    P.S I'm also at House Revivals today, telling Amanda's 800+ followers about the challenge.  I'd consider it a personal favor if you hopped over there to say "hi" and leave a comment for her.  

    Tina @ Life is Good 
    Co-Host of the April A to Z Challenge 
     Twitter: @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge


Lisa said...

Got it. Thank you.

Barbara said...

ay ay Captain! Just reminded me about the signature link... Thank you!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina .. great thoughts here .. the A - Z is an excellent opportunity to find other interesting blogs ..

Cheers and I'm looking forward to this year's run of fun bloggers - Hilary

MISH said...

Thanks for this wonderful lesson, teacher Tina!
And yes, the word verification thingie is a no-no... bloggers need a course in Decipher 101, since some of the CAPTCHA letters are unrecognisable...

Unknown said...

I hate people who leave comments like, "Follow mine and I'll follow yours". I'm not about numbers. If I like their blog, I'll follow it, but I wont follow someone just to up my numbers.

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

I am laughing so much at the OH I have a dog too comment. As George Bernard Shaw said when being presented with a really unattractive baby , "Now THERE"S a baby!"

I always though that was very diplomatic!

jean--thanks for the post

Arlee Bird said...

Well said! Good blogging advice to follow all year and not just in April.


Brian Miller said...

nice thoughts...i honestly dont pay much attention to followers...comments are where it is at for me...i would much rather have a conversation than a face in my side bar of someone i never met and maybe never see i spend my time with those that comment...i always return comment and i have those that i know comment so i go there first...just my thoughts...and with GFC possibly going away in the near future, it does not make a whole lot of sense to focus there...

Heather Murphy said...

Very well said! I try to make all of these common practice and it has seemed to work very well. I have met some great people so far and I'm excited to meet more during the challenge

Jaye Robin Brown said...

Love to have common sense spelled out! Thank you.

Jeremy [Retro] said...

to the point and teaches us to play well with others... no seriously some helpful stuff, now if someone can actually tell me what is a meme... kidding.

jeremy [retro-z]

Hektor Karl said...

Dog comments are some of my favorite ones! :)

Jarm Del Boccio said...

Thanks so much for this very timely post! I've followed the directions to make a link, but I'm not sure where to put it...right here in the comments box? I'll try it now. I'm identified from my Google account..LDL I change that to the Name/URL below?

Here goes:


Unknown said...

Aaaaah! Fifteen days away?! I am so unprepared right now...

Your last instruction is the best: Play nice with each other. Hehe!

Mina Lobo said...

Thanks for the tips. I've disabled my comments form thingie (I think) and have created a sig for when I comment on others' blogs, so they can easily get to my blog (Ive read elsewhere that this is a bit crass, but I've also read that folks expect it, so I reckon it's really up to how one feels about the practice, right?). I'm gonna try it out here, please forgive if I make a mess of it. :-)

Some Dark Romantic

Patricia Stoltey said...

These are really helpful tips for the new bloggers and good reminders for those of us who have been around for a while.

It is hard to know what to do about the clickable link to our blogs -- as Mina wrote, some bloggers think this is impolite, but I love it when I have a link to follow when new folks visit my blog. I'd definitely agree we should be doing it for the A to Z contacts.

Anonymous said...

Love the advice. Especially adding the link to your blog in your signature.

Anonymous said...

Okay, let's see of the signature works:

Stephen Tremp

Anonymous said...

Problem: if I click my signature then my blog appears, but confined to the size of the small pop up comment box. Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Lets try it again ...

Stephen Tremp

A to Z Challenge Co-host

Anonymous said...

Stephen Tremp

Anonymous said...

Stephen Tremp

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

More great advice. April is getting close.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wow, I really send you a lot of people? Cool!
Anyone who follows me (unless it's a really questionable blog) I follow back. If they return to comment often, they go into the blogger buddy folder in my Google Reader and onto my sidebar.
Some new bloggers don't understand the values of following new blogs or returning follows, so this was well put, Tina.

Christine said...

Thanks for the tips, Tina! Now I'm off to figure out how to create a signature.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Thanks, some terrific pointers here. I've gotta say, if I follow a blog and leave frequent comments, and that blogger never responds to my comments or bothers to visit my blog, that blog goes way down on my priority list. There are far too many excellent blogs out there to waste time on one that doesn't care to engage in a reciprocal relationship.

Suze said...

It took me a long time to articulate for myself why I blogged. I don't spend a lot of time surfing all over the Internet. I guess I'm realizing that I like to make commitments and keep them, on nearly every level -- and that has certainly encompassed the time I spend, here.

I don't follow blogs willy-nilly. In fact, I keep my blogroll trimmed like a narcissist's goatee -- it typically stays between 40 and 50 blogs. If you're on my list, I'm visiting you regularly and I'm commenting regularly. If you're on my sidebar, I comment on nearly every post. Why? Because blogging is an input - output sort of enterprise. You get what you give it. And what I'm looking to get out of it is a community of people with whom I can journey.

I was intimated at the idea of joining the A-Z because of the sheer enormity of numbers, but what I'm hoping to get out of it is two or three new acquaintances who become true friends.

What I've been wanting to see is someone post about a strategy on how to visit that gigantic number. I feel like I'll be diving in fairly uncertain as to how to grapple with the impossibility of visiting even a tenth of the blogs each day.

Pointers on strategy? Anyone?



Rekha said...

Very useful posts for beginners and for those new to A- Z.
Can I suggest an alternative to signature links for those who are on the fence about it.
If the comments section of a blog are open to all, even with comment moderation on...there is an option of 'name and url' comment in the list of comment accounts like this A-Z blog has below:
Choose an identity

Google Account
Publish Your Comment

A follower or visitor can comment and and the blogger/ette gets a direct link to the other's blog. (effective against spam bots)
I use it when blogger gives me problems but some people tend to disable all options except using your google account or open id.
Disadvantage of no profile avatar attached exits.

Duncan D. Horne - the Kuantan blogger said...

People have their own unique way of handling their blog regarding posting, following, commenting and building friendships etc. It's hard to say that this person is not friendly or not a polite blogger, simply because they didn't reply your comment or visit you back. For me, blogging is something extra we do in our lives, and it all depends on the amount of time one has to go visiting all these blogs and regularly visiting and reading favourite blogs.

However, I do think that if you want to develop more friendships and gain real followers who keep coming back, then you need to do the same - keep going back to other's blogs and show a genuine interest.

Sometimes I click the "Next blog" tab at the top of a blog page and come across some interesting blogs that way too.

I'll be doing my very best to visit EVERY A-Z ABC 2012 participant, no matter how many thousand it may turn out to be!

Duncan In Kuantan

Duncan D. Horne - the Kuantan blogger said...

Suze, to answer your question about strategy, it looks like there will be around 1,100-1,200 participants in total. That mean one will have to visit around 36 blogs per day, every day of April! Good luck!

Duncan In Kuantan

Jenny said...

It would be fun if the timing every worked so that my little tiny Alphabet blog link was in synch with yours. We are just on the letter R so it won't hit again.

Yours is huge, though. I don't think I could ever get around to visiting them all!

Great etiquette post.

Tina said...

Hey to everyone who commented. I'm making it around to all of you, don't you worry. It was a migraine weekend and I couldn't look at the screen for very long at my apologies for the lateness...but I will get to you.
Tina @ Life is Good
Co-Host of the April A to Z Challenge
Twitter: @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge

Mimi said...

As the list of bloggers increased, I visited many, and plan to continue. I found a lot of blogs that I will never go back to; mostly because they are about stuff that I am not interested in. One blogger put me off with his diatribes, some are just too religious (my personal preferences sorry) and a few were just too difficult to even leave a comment on. Some had music. Now since I do a lot of this "crawling" at work, that is a huge no no. It might be the best music ever, but don't force your readers to listen!

anyway, I don't "follow" with blogger anymore; instead I stick all my favorites in my google reader and scroll through them through the day. This blog is on that list. So, I don't plan on visiting all 1200 blogs, but i will focus on the ones I like and be loyal to them.

Mimi Torchia Boothby Watercolors

cleemckenzie said...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I hope everyone who reads your post will turn off those word verification thingys. The rules make sense and are easy to remember. Great job.

cherie said...

thank you for your tip Tina..

Unknown said...

I keep forgetting to add my signature to my comments. I need to get into the habit of doing so.

judysnwnotes said...

Thanks for the information. I'm very new at breathing life into my blog and all of this was new information for me. Soooo,
I attempted the signature link idea but the preview indicated nothing was transferring correctly - oh, well, thanks anyway
- judyb

Cat said...

Thanks for the tips. I'm with those who don't leave a link to my blog in my signature because I thought it was impolite - kind of spammy. I do use my Google ID to comment, though, so anyone can still click on my name and get to my blog that way. (I think...)

Shere said...

Thanks for the tips! I also hate the word verification, it makes very hard to post comments from a mobile. I just moved our blog to WordPress and found the spam filtering works perfectly. I use one time approval (once I approve one comment, the person is allowed to post without approval, very handy!)