New bloggers: Following Back

This is some advice for all new bloggers who think it is ‘normal’ to ask other bloggers to follow back, once they have followed someone’s blog.

Try to remember that many of the blogs you decide to follow have been around for a very long time before you discovered them. That means it takes up a great deal of time to not only produce content for the blogs, but also to reply to comments, and read and comment on the blogs they already follow.

Imagine my own blog, with 8,000+ followers. If I had followed back every one of those, I would need to live five lifetimes just to read their posts and leave comments.

When we have been blogging for five years or more, it usually means we have already followed as many bloggers as we can possibly cope with. In my case, that is close to 120, and some other bloggers follow as many as 300.

So when you follow another blogger, PLEASE do not automatically ask them to ‘Follow Back’. I try my best to help any new bloggers with advice and tips, and always comment on the blog of any genuine blogger who follows me. I am also happy to receive emails asking for help and suggestions. But that doesn’t mean I will automatically follow you back, so presuming I will do so will leave you feeling disapointed. Especially when you ask me directly, and I decline.

If you only follow my blog because you want to boost your own follower numbers, then perhaps it is best not to follow me in the first place.

Blogging is not instant social media, and that’s just not how it works.

Comments Awaiting Moderation: A Warning

In the past four days alone, I have counted fifteen comments awaiting approval that were merely links to a post or product for sale by the person supposedly commenting on my post. I have warned you before, and here is that warning again.

A link to what you are selling is NOT a comment.

A link to your post is NOT a comment.

Just asking me to follow your blog is NOT a comment.

Anyone who does this on my blog is instantly SPAMMED, and the comment deleted.

So don’t tell me you haven’t been warned.

Why Don’t Followers Follow?

Back on my blogging soapbox about followers again, sorry!

Today is the 19th of November. In the nineteen days of this month, I have already been notified of 114 new followers.

Naturally, this is a nice feeling, and I am very pleased to welcome any new follower to this blog. If they have their own site, and good links, I thank them, and usually comment on one of their posts too.

However, with six notable exceptions, none of those followers has left a single comment on any of my posts during that period. A large percentage of them have not even bothered to so much as to ‘Like’ a post.

That is their business of course, and it is not up to me to criticise them. But why are they bothering? Presumably, they want to grow their blogging experience into something worthwhile. Hopefully, they want to become part of the wider community of blogging, and perhaps get more satisfaction from being a blogger.

If so, that will not happen. Not unless they interact with comments, and also reply to the comments made by others.

It could just be that they expect me to follow them back, without realising that I have been doing this for a long time now, so already follow more than one hundred other blogs. Even so, I might be a lot more inclined to do that, if they could be bothered to leave so much as one comment.

Once again, I am going to repeat myself, as a message to anyone else considering following this blog.

Blogging is not Facebook.
Blogging is not Twitter.
Blogging is not a ‘quick fix’ Social Media platform like so many others.
Not everyone you follow can just follow you back.
Blogging is not just about numbers of followers.
Blogging is about engagement, interaction, community, and friendship.

My sincere thanks to all those followers who have taken time to actually ‘follow’. To leave likes and comments, or links and discussion topics.

For the rest of you who follow for reasons best known to yourselves, I understand. You may not feel confident enough to comment. My blog may well have proved ultimately disappointing for you. The fact that I didn’t follow you back might have caused you some offence. Maybe you just followed far too many blogs at once, and became overwhelmed?

Do you need help, advice, or encouragement? I am here for you. My contact email is on my about page. Feel free to use that more private method to contact me, anytime.

Until then, before you click to follow another blog, think about what that really means.

More gripes about blog ‘Followers’

It seems I do this all the time, I know. But nobody is listening.

Just this week I have had six more new followers who think that all they have to do is add a one-word comment to a post, then ask me to follow their blog in return.

It goes something like this.

First comment. ‘Nice’.
Second comment. ‘Follow me please’.

And variations of same.

This week, they have all been from India, for some reason. And they all have active blogs of their own too, though in most cases have just started them this month.

They still don’t seem to get that blogging is not Facebook or Twitter, and not all about ‘following back’ like we are some kind of electronic sheep. So I am now deleting these comments, and taking no notice of the ‘follows’. I have abandoned my usual practice of politely replying to those people, thanking them for following me, and replaced that by ignoring them completely.

Just so you know, whoever you are.

Blogging: Basic Errors

For years now, I have been banging on about new bloggers who embark on the process of blogging without really trying to understand anything about how it works. Regular readers and followers can look away now, as I will be repeating myself here. A lot.

Everyone loves to get genuine new followers. After all, building that community is an important part of being a fulfilled blogger. Yet despite previous posts from me, and many others, so many new bloggers continue to make the most basic mistakes, both in communication, and etiquette.
At the risk of being very boring, here I go again.

Following.

You do not follow someone’s blog by adding the words ‘Please follow back’
For the thousandth time, be told that this is not Twitter or Facebook.

If you decide to follow a blog, try to occasionally read and comment on a post. Clicking ‘Like’ in the Reader is not following.

If you are too busy to follow so many blogs, then just ‘unfollow’ them. It’s easy.

Contact.

There is very little point being a blogger if other bloggers are unable to see or read your posts. If you do not link your Gravatar image to your site, then you will be impossible to find, and end up wondering why nobody ever reads your blog.

If you only want to follow a blog by email, that’s fine. It probably means that you don’t want to have your own blog.

Making your blog accessible ‘By request’ seems rather superior, and also totally pointless to me. I am not about to fill in lots of personal details for the privilege of being able to view your blog, believe me.

Sort out your comments thread. Having to add name, email, website, etc every single time I want to leave a comment is tiresome.

If someone takes the trouble to leave a relevant comment on one of your blog posts, then have the decency to acknowledge that.

Religion.

If people have decided to be religious, that has usually happened by the time they are writing a blog. By all means enjoy your religion, but please stop telling me that I am doomed because I have none. There are so many evangelical blogs out there, and they all look and sound the same.

Be nice.

If you don’t agree with a point of view, or just want to criticise a writing style, that’s fine. Healthy debate is to be encouraged in blogging. It would be a dull life if we all agreed all the time, I get that. And ‘banter’ can be fun. But avoid harsh sarcasm, sniping, or deliberate rudeness. There is no place for such things in our community.

Blogging can be such a rewarding activity. You can make lifelong friends, expand your knowledge, and discover so much too. But just like so many other things in life, there are some ‘natural rules’ to follow. You should not have to be reminded what they are, as they fall under the category of commonsense and decency.

Best wishes to you all, and happy blogging!

Why I Can’t Follow Your Blog

I have been very lucky to have attracted a great deal of new followers lately. Among those trying to sell me something, or asking me to promote their blogs or ideas, there has been an unusual number of genuine and interesting bloggers too. Many have just started out, with just a few posts on their embryonic blogs. I have enjoyed reading some of their posts, and left encouraging comments on occasion too. However, I am unable to follow them back.

So for anyone who wonders why this ungrateful old grump doesn’t follow back, here is an explanation.

I set a limit of being able to follow just 90 blogs. Even allowing for the fact that I am retired, this still takes up a huge amount of my free time, and some days borders on a part-time job. Including those bloggers who have more than one site, I currently follow 99 blogs, almost all of them very active.
I like to be a committed follower. I like to read everyone’s posts, leave likes and comments, and also engage with others who comment there too. This means that I just don’t click ‘Like’ on every post in the Reader. I actually read them, and try to leave a comment that is pertinent to the subject covered, and one that hopefully makes sense too. This takes close to three hours most days, sometimes four, allowing for managing my own blog followers and posts in the meantime.
So, If I don’t follow you back. Don’t take it personally. It’s just because I don’t have time.

My best wishes to all followers, old and new. Pete.

Following Followers

Most of us bloggers have a core group of followers. Those that we can count on to be around, leave likes and comments on our posts, and to interact with others who do the same. Over the years, I have always treasured those ‘silent’ followers too. Those who rarely comment, if at all, but never fail to appear with a ‘Like’. I follow around ninety other blogs, and do my best to keep up with them, engage on their posts, and interact with their own communities. I would love to be able to follow more than I do, but it is not manageable in terms of time.

It is the habit of some new followers to actually ask us to follow back. I can see why they do this, but perhaps they are unaware of just how much time is involved in following a blog ‘properly’. Having a huge number of followers may seem attractive to a new blogger, as they happily follow scores of blogs themselves. But they will eventually discover that receiving so many email notifications of posts and comments can be overwhelming, and they will hopefully set themselves a sensible limit on how many blogs they follow.

But the point of this post is to salute some people who have loyally followed my own blog. Some for a very long time, others for a lot less. I have previously been unable to follow them back, as my self-imposed limit was reached some time ago. However, I have recently ‘lost’ three or four blogs that I follow, as those bloggers have either given up, or decided to take a long break. So, after all this time, I am pleased that I will now be able to follow these bloggers. I thank them for sticking with me, and for all the ‘Likes’ and the comments they may have made. I am adding links, so that you can see their sites too.

https://themarckoguy.wordpress.com/
https://rachelmankowitz.wordpress.com/
https://touchmyspinebookreviews.com/
https://marysmith57.wordpress.com/

As and when I can, I will follow some more of you. In the meantime, I once again send my thanks and best wishes to everyone who follows my blogs. Pete.

How to delete followers, courtesy of Jude.

Click on My Sites on the top left of your blog / post and scroll to Stats then on the right next to Days, Months, Years you can see Followers. Click on that and you have a list of followers that you can look through. You can remove straight away or if you are interested in seeing who/what is following you, click on the name which will take you to their blog. I always right click and open the link in a new window so I can quickly return to the list.

Blogging: Tidying up the blog.

I currently follow 86 other sites. Most of these are on WordPress, with a few .com sites that are accessible via the WP platform. On most days, it takes at least 2 hours to catch up on all the posts published by my followed sites, as well as making comments, and dealing with the email notifications too. Not a problem for me. I have time on my hands, and blogging is my hobby.

It recently occurred to me that some of those sites have not published anything in a long time. Many of them do not follow my own blog anyway, so not receiving any feedback is normal. I decided to have a trawl through those dormant sites, to see if there was still any point following them. I looked first at the sites that had not published anything for over a year, then down to six months. If you haven’t published anything for that long, chances are you are no longer blogging, as I see it. I last did this exercise in February, so you may recall a similar post from then.

I sent a few comments to some bloggers, asking politely if they were OK, and still active as bloggers. I received replies from some, but not others. After going through the list of all 86 bloggers very carefully, and checking out each site for activity, I arrived at this result.

1 site is permanently deleted by the blogger.
1 site has posted nothing for seven months.
2 sites have posted nothing for over a year.
1 site replied that they had been busy, but will be posting again in the future.
2 sites made no reply to my comment, and have nothing on their blogs since late 2016.

So, I un-followed six sites this morning, by clicking the check box on WP.
I now follow 80 sites, all of which are satisfyingly active. I think that is about the most I can manage, to be honest. Any more than that, and I would never have time to engage with them all, especially as some of them post up to seven times a day, most days of the week.

Something for all those new bloggers to think about, before you follow umpteen sites, in the excitement of the early days of blogging. If you are to be a real follower, and intend to be a part of a blogging community, you have to choose carefully.

(And A, if you are reading this, where have YOU gone? x)

Spreading more words

This is the second part of a short series of appreciation of the blogs that I follow. I am hoping to get them even more traffic, and some new followers or admirers. The first post on this topic was well-received, so I thought that I would strike whilst the iron is hot, and recommend some more excellent blogs for you to consider. As I said in the previous post, I have not informed the bloggers in advance, but I am confident that you will find much to admire, to gaze at, or to give you food for thought.

A German man, his lovely Norwegian partner, some imaginary ‘bookfayries’, and a home on the Norfolk coast, in one of its most picturesque places. All of this adds up to one of the most unusual blogs on my list. The learned Klausbernd, resident of Cley-Next-The-Sea, compiles unusual and informed articles and travelogues. These are accompanied by the sumptuous colour photography of Dina, who shares her time between work in Germany, and home in Norfolk. Not only will they introduce you to places and sights you have never seen, they also bring to life places you thought you knew, from a different viewpoint. Dina’s photography is improving in leaps and bounds, and the sea-faring Klausbernd, a successful author, adds detail and fascinating facts to their collaborations. It is a massively popular blog, and it is easy to see why. And it has bookfayries…Oh, and it is also in German, as well as English.
http://toffeefee.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/blakeney-point/

Arlene lives in the Philippines. She is a retired bank worker, a cancer survivor, and devoted mother and grandmother. She has a love of reading, and of buying books. She is also a great cook, using the traditional ingredients of her region. She loves to take photos, contemplate on sparrows in her garden, and to appreciate the orchids that grow in those exotic climes. Her religious faith is strong, but not an issue as far as the blog goes. She loves to reflect, to be with her family, and to post about how she is feeling, and anything and everything in her life. Visiting her blog is like taking a break, retreating from the busy side of life, and slowing down a little. Her blogs are very popular. She has enjoyed views in the hundreds of thousands, and has a loyal following. It is easy to see why.
https://arlene1956.wordpress.com/

I have written a fair bit about my past in London, as well as some posts about places that I recommend you visit. If you ever wonder how some of those streets and areas got such unusual names, then this is the site for you. Even though I know a lot about London, and have walked or driven over a good part of its streets, there is always something great to discover here. Elizabeth is actually an American. In her desire to publish a book about the street names of London, she has unearthed a rich treasure trove.
http://thestreetnames.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/gin-lions-and-the-black-prince/

Gretchen lives in New England, in the USA. She is an accomplished artist, restorer of furniture, and creator of floor-cloths. Her style, and especially her use of blues, keeps me captivated. Her stories about New England life, her cat, and her beloved garden, always make me feel good. I worry about her when the snow is bad, and she gets so cold; and when her upstairs neighbours drive her crazy with noise. She has some warm tales to tell, of life in a different place, and at a different pace.
http://regnistegg999.wordpress.com/

Someone I worked with, back in my Ambulance days in London. Now blogging about his love of photography, and his desire to master the art. A real Londoner, a dedicated Paramedic, committed motor cyclist, and someone that I am pleased to call a friend. His photos cover unusual aspects and angles of life in London, as well as his trips elsewhere, and his love of photographing live performers at gigs. He is still learning, but has already achieved a lot. Always happy to take advice, welcoming constructive criticism, and striving to do better. Check him out here.
http://jimjimmyjamesdotorg.wordpress.com/

Five more of my most-loved blogs for you. I hope that you get the chance to look at them, perhaps follow them, comment on posts, or just come back to them, now and again. They are all quite different, but all have their strengths and originality. There are a few more to come. Another time.