Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Blogging Basics: Making Bloggy Friends

As we near the 2013 A-to-Z Challenge, we'll be speaking increasingly on all topics A-to-Z.  In the meantime, though, let's focus on blogging overall.  Today, I thought I'd talk about how to make connections in the blogging world.

Blogging is a social medium, but people's reasons for engaging in the blog world differ.  Some are here to sell books or other products by creating a platform, some want to meet others and hang out, some are more interested in reading than sharing, and some just want someone to hear them.

For each reason to blog, there are dozens of types of blogs.  Parenting blogs, reading blogs, writing blogs, photography blogs, exercise blogs, history blogs, dream blogs, political blogs.  You name it, there is likely a blog for it.  This gives us the ability to visit all manner of blogs, and to invariably find something out there we want to read.

How do you reach out to all of these bloggers and get to know them, though?  How do you meet and forge relationships online?

This is easier than you may think, and really depends upon how much time you have.  Here's a quick rundown of how one might connect with other bloggers:

1. Visit blogs.  Pretty simple, right?  Hunt down blogs you're interested in.  Do a search on the topic you're looking for + "blog."  Head on over and check them out to see if you're interested in what they have to say.

2. Leave comments.  Once you've found a blog you're interested in, read their posts and leave a comment for them.  Make it a real comment, not just a passing "nice blog" type comment.  Address the topic they're discussing and/or ask a question about the topic.

3. Follow blogs.  If you like what they have to say, follow in the way you prefer.  Options include Google Friend Connect, RSS feed, follow by email, etc.  Choose the option you like best and follow it.

4. Have something to say.  It won't matter what you're doing on other people's blogs if you're not talking on your own.  Know what you want to blog about, then do so.  Be yourself, use your own voice, and talk about something that interests you...and that you feel will interest other people.

5. Respond to comments on your own blog and visit back.  When someone happens along and likes what you have to say enough to leave a comment on your blog, be sure to reply in some way.  You can comment back in the comments, reply back to each individual comment (on blogs that allow that), email a response to those who have allowed that possibility, or respond to them on their own blog.  No matter which response you choose, you should also try to visit them back at their blog to return the favor and see what they have to say.

There are many other ways to get to know other bloggers, but these are the basics that will get you started.  After that, you can explore other ways to make connections, such as blog hops/fests, memes, guest posting, guest hosting, interviews, etc.  Most important is that you find out what works best for you and go from there.

May you find your Muse.

The Warrior Muse


Anonymous said...

Great post about the A to Z. It's great for making friends. This will be my fourth and still have friends from the rest.....even getting to meet Arlee.


Elizabeth said...

Well said! I learned many of these pieces of what I think of as blogging etiquette last year during the A-Z Challenge.
There seem to be lots of bloggers who want followers but don't care about follow through.

mshatch said...

excellent post; I know the perfect person to pass it on to :)

D.G. Hudson said...

Great tips for the A to Z. Last year was my first, and I enjoyed it. I like the fact that the team was monitoring the entries and participation (since bogus blogs do turn up on the list).

Looking forward to a new challenge. I think I have my theme. I'll be signing on.

Rob Z Tobor said...

I find that the same small group of blogs I have followed long term and comment on tend to follow each other. It is always interesting to understand who follows who and why. And who comments on blogs, I would like to think I do all the points listed although realistically there are only so many blogs I can follow and regularly comment on.

I think the one thing that annoyed me from last years A to Z was the little gang of bloggers who must have followed almost every blog going and then never commented . . . . . . .Why do that, having lots of followers might sound great but is it, if a large percentage who followed you did it on the off chance you will follow them or to raise their own profile.

And on the subject of profile, I have a great profile although I think my left side is better than my right as long as I smile

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good tips! Especially comment back on the blogs of those who comment on yours.

Arlee Bird said...

These are excellent tips.

In defense of numbers, I tend to follow most blogs I visit and hope they in turn will follow me. I know it's unrealistic for those with large numbers of follower to visit everyone's blogs, but for many of us the concept of a large following (which usually means we have to follow many blogs) makes for a good blog image. It's more impressive for new visitors to see you seem to be popular with 1000 followers than someone with 10 followers. It's a game of reciprocity that has more to do with marketing from the aspect of practicality.


klahanie said...

Hi Shannon,

I do all those excellent points you mention plus more. I do a lot of background work supporting and encouraging bloggers via emails.

I have done my best, even though I would never join this challenge, to help you folks out via, my site.

And the 'followers' thing can be extremely misleading. I don't have that many followers but I get a lot of positive interaction. I have been to sites with over a 1000 followers and zero comments. That tells me something.

And it the spirit of what you note, Shannon, I look forward to you responding to the comments on here.

In kindness and all the best to those who participate,


Shannon Lawrence said...

Yvonne, I still think it's wonderful that you and Arlee got to meet!

Elizabeth, the A-to-Z worked as a perfect crash course for me in all this, as well.

Marcy, that's great! I hope they find it helpful.

D.G., I look forward to seeing what your theme is!

Rob, it's true that there tend to be "groups" that follow each other and comment regularly. I imagine that circle widens out a bit as each member sort of brings more people in via guest posts, that sort of thing. But I do like that friendships form in an online format where most of us haven't met in person. And the profile I can see is very nice. ;-p

Alex, yes! Sometimes it takes me a little while to get back, depending on the online time I grab, but I ALWAYS get there eventually. I try to make it same day, but that doesn't always happen.

Lee, that makes sense. And chances are if you follow someone they'll come check out your blog. Maybe they'll like it, maybe they won't, but it's an opportunity.

Gary, I think it's great that you work to support and encourage bloggers. And thanks for what you do!

Melissa Ann said...

I think this is great advice. :) I enjoy getting out and reading other peoples blogs almost as much as I enjoy writing my own.

Unfortunately I find writing comments to be difficult. :( I am working on that though. Hopefully I will have it under control by this year's A-Z.

Carol Kilgore said...

Great tips, Shannon. I just tweeted this.

Tonja said...

I like it when people note in a comment if they are a new follower - it makes it easier for me to reciprocate.

Most of my favorite blogging friends were found during A-Z over the last two years. Before that I was talking to myself. :)

Cynthia said...

Great tips, Shannon. I do agree that reciprocation is a big factor in how well one can maintain their connections on the blogosphere.

AtoZ said...

Cool tips, Shannon. Just tweeted it into the #atozchallenge newspaper.

Missed Periods said...

Those are the perfect tips for someone just starting out.

Trisha said...

Nice tips here :) I have passed them along to a friend of mine who's just getting her writing blog (and other blogs) off the ground.

Tina said...

Great post Shannon with lots of basics to get new people started. Also a good reminder that even seasoned bloggers need to get out there and visit!

Tina @ Life is Good
Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge
@TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

Unknown said...

Great tips, Shannon! The only thing I'd add to that is when you comment, try to say something relevant. Just posting "Hey, nice! Come visit my blog!" is incredibly spammy and is counter productive.


Shannon Lawrence said...

Melissa Ann, sometimes it is hard to figure out what to say. I don't mean in this post that anyone has to be perfect at it. We all get behind sometimes, at times we don't know what to say. The blogging community is pretty understanding.

Carol, thank you! I appreciate it.

Tonja, haha, that's how I always put it, too. I was talking to myself until the A-to-Z, and then I got the feel for it.

Cynthia, I think it reflects life in person, as well. Community is community, and involves everyone giving and taking.

Damyanti, thank you!

Missed, I'm glad to hear it, thanks!

Trisha, wonderful, I hope it helps, even if just a little.

Tina, thanks! True for everyone, not just those trying to build their blog roll.

Shannon Lawrence said...

Jamie, we were posting at the same time. Thanks! I agree, it has to be a real comment.

Jolie du Pre said...


Excellent post!

1. I especially agree with no. 5. I try to respond to EVERY person who comments at my blog. I don't want any of my readers to feel like they're being ignored if they choose to leave a comment.

2. And as far as klahanie's remark on the number of comments on a blog, it's a mistake to equate the number of comments with a blog's success. My blog started last March of 2012. It got a little over 600 page views in March. Last month, nine months later, it received over 8,000 page views. However, if you look at posts, not all of them received comments. Some posts have a lot of comments, some have a few, and some have none. As an author of horror and paranormal, my goal is to reach readers who want to read what I write. I'm much more interested in visits to my blog than the number of comments my blog receives. I appreciate comments, but that is not the only indicator of a blog's success.

Precious Monsters

Michelle Wallace said...

Some great advice Shannon!
I think the reciprocation factor is very important... and it's common courtesy to return a visit!

Shaharizan Perez said...

Thanks for the basics Shannon. I haven't been blogging long and this is a great guide to the protocols on blogging.

Chuck said...

Shannon, this is an excellent post. I am looking forward to the madness of the A-Z in April!

Shannon Lawrence said...

Jolie, that's an interesting point. I do know they say to track the views to your blog, and there is some stat that lets you know how long they stay on average (bounce rate??), which will give you an idea if they read or just happened across your blog and then left within seconds.

Michelle, definitely!

Shaharizan, thank you, I'm so glad to hear it!

Chuck, I'm looking forward to the madness, as well! So close, but so far away.

Konstanz Silverbow said...

I completely agree. The thing that has definitely helped me the most is leaving comments and replying to comments left on my blog.

Konstanz Silverbow

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shannon - great tips here .. thanks ...

Love the A - Z and can't wait - well I'd prefer to .. lots going on before April Fool's Day strikes!!

Cheers Hilary

Susan Scott said...

o all the comments and the blog from you Arlee are all so interesting, informative and inspiring thank you! I will definitely give this a go from Johannesburg South Africa!
Shannon, where do I find your post that a few above are referring to? Would be grateful if you would forward please.

Shell Flower said...

I've heard comments called "blogging currency" and I think this is an apt name, though it's more of a barter economy, in my opinion. Yes, you comment when you are moved to do so, but it's also to reciprocate and forge connections. I find that my "bloggy friends" are so supportive and helpful to keep me on the writing path and I learn so much from them.

cleemckenzie said...

You're right about exchanging ideas and connecting with others in a manner that suits you. There's no one way to do this just as there's no kind of blogger. Thanks.

Susan Kane said...

Excellent advice to old or new bloggers alike.