Friday, March 18, 2011

What Brings You Back to a Blog?

We all love return visitors to our blogs. It tells us we are doing something right. So, what is it that encourages followers to return?

I will always return to blogs that are:

Easy to read: no strange fonts, no miniscule fonts, no glaring colours, no white text on black backgrounds.

Scannable: As much as I’d love everyone to dote on every word I write, I’m realistic enough to accept that not all of us have the time. If we create scannable posts, with points and bolded headings, it speeds up the reading process. Blogs with walls-o-text are less appealing.

Easy to comment: Posts that offer a question to readers to generate discussion.

Quick to comment: the blog is set up in a way that makes commenting quick and easy—so that means no word verifications.

Quick to load: blogs with many moving widgets and large file-sized pictures take a long time to load. Not everyone will wait.

Humorous: We all love a blog that brings a smile to our face. Humour has a way of making everyone comfortable.

Helpful: Interesting topics will always draw me back. I love to learn (now that I’m no longer in school).

Generous: I’m not talking about amazing competitions and prizes; I’m talking about generosity of time. I will always visit the blogs of those who have encouraged and supported me – as opposed to those who think blogging is only about promoting themselves and their product.

Regular: Blogs that offer a regular schedule – it doesn’t matter if it’s daily, three times a week, or once a week. I can trust a new post will appear at a certain time.

How about you? What brings you back to a blog?


Theresa Milstein said...

Your list pretty much sums it up for me. I hate Word Verification. So many blogs, so little time to write in nonsense words.

Often my posts aren't as short as they should be. I try to break up the text to help. If you look at my first posts they're paragraph-heavy.

I'm also not a fan of over-promotion. I'm happy for people who get agents, contacts, and so on, but I don't want to hear about it in every post.

That said, most blogs are decent. I love the blogging community!

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I love the blogging community as well. I like thoughtful, meaningful posts, as well as funny, not trying too hard posts. It all just depends on what I feel like reading at the moment. If a title of a blog post catches my eye, I'll usually click on it. :)

I really don't have time to comment on every blog either. I feel bad about it, but I do try to visit most blogs at least once a week.

Jess said...

I agree with your list (and have been trying to play around with my set-up to make it a little more friendly). I'm a sucker for a fun title--I'll click on something if it makes me smile. Agent profiles are something I like to read too (that might change if I ever got an agent :), but for now I'm hooked). This post makes me want to be a better blogger, so thank you!

John Sankovich said...

Your list sums it up pretty nicely. I try to make my posts cover most of those, but sometimes its hard to.

I also like posts that are relevant to what is currently going on in my own writing/life, which is something that can't be planned.

DEZMOND said...

yep, all of the things you've mentioned and one more important thing - I will come back only to a blog whose owner responds to left comment, otherwise I never bother, NEVER!

Carol Riggs said...

Yep, all of the above that you listed. Ease of use as well as informative and/or smile-inducing! Happy Friday to you down under (it's still St. Patrick's day here in the States). :o)

Zan Marie said...

I just removed word verification from mine. I always wondered why that squiggle helped stop spam. ; )

Sharon Ricklin said...

Yes, I agree with all of the above too. I just recently removed that verification thingy from my blog to make commenting easier.

And I always try to respond after all my comments, and am sometimes surprised that not everyone does this! Isn't that why we blog? To get a conversation going? I agree with Dezmond...eventually I stop returning too...

Sharon :)

Kari Marie said...

This list sums it up for me. I like blogs that are easy to navigate and show up nicely on my phone RSS feeder as well. Light colored fonts never translate well. Ditto on word verification.

Old Kitty said...

I return to blogs cos I follow them! LOL! If I follow you and you have a blog post up, I go ahead and read - you can write/post whatever, I'll read! I've read so many types of blog posts - it's amazing!! I love the variety!!! Word verification doesn't bother me (yes I'm crazy!! LOL!) and I sometimes get a kick out of the word I have to type! I like seeing how personalised a blog is to the blogger. I enjoy the blogger's creativeness. Because I follow so many blogs I only ask for one post per day please! LOL!!! I'd love to read one blogger's many many posts a day, but I physically cannot do this - so that's my only caveat. Oh and short n sweet helps! But hey - if you want to write a whole epic post, why not?! I may get to the end eventually ! :-)

Take care

Jemi Fraser said...

Good points! Posts that are too long make it hard for me - I follow a lot of people and try to visit as many as I can - but time is limited :)

Anonymous said...

I'm with Old Kitty. Short posts especially. I've been concentrating on this. I try to comment on everyone's post who comments on mine. Seems to me that this is a given.

Lately, I've been thinking about how to keep posting something interesting enough that my friends will want to drop by. Bloggers like Kitty amaze me; a short post every day that gets tons of comments! Yay, Kitty! I only disagree with her on word verification. But then, I hadn't thought about considering how interesting they are. Maybe it's time for me to slow down and smell the roses! If I'm too busy to enjoy the "little" things, I may be missing out on what's really important!!

mshatch said...

great list. I'll admit I lose interest if a post is too long - unless it's super interesting. As for what I like, a little snarky (like the rejectionist), generosity (as mentioned), and helpfulness, or tricks of the trade - like a query tracker.

this was a good post!

Claire G said...

Hey Lynda- all the same things bring me back. I'm not super bothered by word verification, but I'm usually moving through so fast that a couple of times I've moved on before realising the verification is on there, and my comment has been lost. No way I'm redoing it after that.

CherylAnne Ham said...

Great list and all are good points. I'm a pretty new blogger so I'll keep these in mind. :)

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Theresa, and sometimes I have to type in the verification twice because I got it wrong the first time. So frustrating!

Chantele, yes, I almost added into the post the importance of a title. So true.

Jess, the fun titles draw me in too :)

John, yep, I love anything to do with writing pretty much.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Dezzy, oh interesting. I was thinking of stopping my personal responses because there's so few bloggers who seem to do it and it takes up a lot of time. I also figured many wouldn't return to even see my response plus I know a few bloggers who don't like email responses. I was thinking it might be enough to just visit their blogs. I guess not. I'll keep at it then.

Carol, a merry St Pats day to you

Zan, the spam filter in blogger works exceptionally well.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Sharon, I'm glad you and Dezz brought this up because like I mentioned to Dezz, this was something I was thinking of stopping. Blogging is about interaction.

Kari, yes, that's another consideration -- how our blogs look on readers.

Old Kitty, short n sweet is a big one for me. But I can't return to every single blog I follow because I follow about 800 now.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Jemi, time is the important factor.

Ann, I've been working on my posts for April's A-Z Challenge and because I'll be posting 6 days a week, my posts are mega short. lol. (I'm stuck on Q). I've tried to think nice things about word verifications, but I mostly fail ;)

mshatch, yep, the snarky ones are amusing.

Claire, exactly! That's happened to me and I just groan.

Anonymous said...

I don't usually reply to comments left on my blog. Is that bad blog etiquette? But I try to visit the blog that the comment is linked to and comment or follow back.

A regular schedule would be ideal but I would rather read blogs that have something to say rather than posting because it's Tuesday.

I love this post!


Lisa Potts said...

I think you've covered all the important stuff. I must admit, extra long posts kind of turn me off. I just have so many blogs I like to check in with that I can't spend fifteen minutes or more on each one.

LTM said...

you nailed it, my love! And the top two are the ones that load quickly are scannable (OK, I'll forgive the occasional long post, b/c occasionally I do it too... we are writers after all, sheesh) and are easy to comment on.

Now that blogger's so good w/the spamguard, there's really no need.

((hugs)) :o) <3

Sondrae Bennett said...

The one that always makes me turn around and vow to never return is the loading issue. Believe it or not, it's sometimes taken me up to 10 minutes just to get to a blog. No matter how useful, humorous, or fun the blog is, that's a dealbreaker for me. Very interesting post. I'll admit I don't blog on a schedule all the time but theres always room for improvement.

Helen Ginger said...

Probably everything you mentioned. Interesting posts.

Mine seem to run the longest when I have a guest blogger. It's difficult to keep those short.

Martina Boone said...

That's a very comprehensive list. And we definitely saw an uptick in comments when we made the number of comments and the comment link more prominent in a bubble at the top of each post. Our posts tend to get various amounts of traffic, which in turn doesn't necessarily correspond to the number of comments. Retweets also vary widely. Writers are hungry for craft, inspiration, market tips, and free books as well as humor, though.

Thanks for the thoughtful post!


Summer Ross said...

I agree with all of your points specially for shorter posts- I realize sometimes everyone is going to have longer posts due to promoting other bloggers or authors, but If it just keeps going then I have a hard time getting to reading all of it, between being a mom, full time college student, homework, volunteer work, and the 900 blogs+ that I follow its hard to find time for long posts.
If I follow somebody i will usually comment, most times sporadically because I follow so many with so little time, sometimes I will only get to a blog once a month and other times I might have the time to read them daily or once a week.

I also think blog title are important- it shows the content of whats in the post.

Anonymous said...

I like Easy to Comment. I pose a question to help visitors leave a comment. I think it helps. And while on the subject, that stupid Word Verification can cause some people not to comment. It should be removed if bloggers have not already done so.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Nikki, not everyone does. I don't think there is a blogging etiquette as such. I think responding to comments just has that extra personal touch. You make a good point about scheduled posts.

Lisa, exactly. It becomes so time consuming.

LTM, long posts are fine when they are interesting and it helps to break them up too (making them scanable).

Sondrae, yep, it's why I moved all my blog awards to a separate tab. I figured they would be slowing down the loading otherwise.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Helen, ah, but guess bloggers are interestiing...and the posts are usually broken up into questions and answers and intersting topics.

Martina, yep, it's funny how making available the number of comments encourages people to comment. It's a snowball effect. The more comments a post has, the more people want to comment.

Summer, yep, time is precious. And yes, it is difficult to faithfully follow that many blogs.

Stephen, I love questions. They definitely help.

Trisha said...

For me, I totally have a warm and fuzzy feeling for those bloggers who come and comment on my blog more often. They're the ones I feel I am actually getting to know. I try to reciprocate as much as I can.

I would LOVE it if most blogs didn't have the word verification thing, or you didn't have to click the button to get to the place where you post a comment, THEN have to enter a word verification AFTER hitting enter. But I still return to people's blogs even if they have this annoying set up.

I really like a varied blog, too - people writing about all sorts of things. Though admittedly I'm not looking to read about someone's day all on its own. I want it to be related to writing or reading in some way. Or something else, i.e. music (my other great passion).

Al said...

Mostly content.

Humour helps.

A personal feel. said...

I tend to return to blogs that are well laid out with good writing and illustrations and also when the blog owner has commented on mine.
If a blog is regularly updated it gives lots more interest and things to comment on. I am reluctant to follow blogs that crash my computer with lots of flickering animated stuff or have white writing on dark backgrounds as this gives me a headache.:O)

Laura Pauling said...

A couple reasons: loyalty - if they comment on mine I will always return the favor.
A developed friendship
similar interests - writing for same age group

I don't care if it's long or short. Or about the ease of commenting. :)

Anonymous said...

These are great points! I like short, funny posts, with information embedded within.

Congrats on getting 500 followers, BTW! :D

DEZMOND said...

no, don't stop with responding to comments, Lyndy, that's what makes the difference between kind and cold bloggers. If it takes too much time, you may respond only to comments of those who came for the first time at your place and to your most faithful friends who do the same. But I will personally keep on answering on all of the comments on my site, because I feel visitors of my blog are guests in my house, and it's weird if the host doesn't talk with his guests :)

Bish Denham said...

Thanks for posting this.

You've said it very well. I particularly get frusted with blogs that take a lot of time to down load and one where I have to jump through hoops to make a comment.

M Pax said...

The word verification is frustrating as heck. If people support me, I love supporting them back. With some people there's just a connection.

My list is the same as yours though.

Talli Roland said...

Hi Lynda! Great list - and I agree with all of it! A big thing for me is short posts. And blogs that are easy to load. There are some that always crash my browser and I've pretty much given up on them now.

J.L. Campbell said...

The word verification thingie is a pain, but what kills me are loooooong blog posts. If they can be broken in 2-3 psrts fine. If not and the subject is not something I'm deeply interested in, I'll move right along.

Golden Eagle said...

I definitely agree with your list!

And I just *gulp* took Word Verification off of my blog. Hopefully it won't open the door to spammers . . .

Gail M Baugniet - Author said...

If a blog does not download quickly, I move on. Unfortunately, anything the blog has to offer is then lost to me.

I signed up for the A-Z Blogging Challenge (#472) and saw your name on the list so I just stopped by to check out your blog and say "Hi". I look forward to reading your "alphabet" posts in April.

Anne R. Allen said...

Excellent points. Very nice post. I agree 100%: I come back to a blog that's easy to read, funny, and useful. And I'm so glad to see people agreeing with me on annoying word verification. Bloggers lose so many comments that way. Besides, being paranoid is a turn-off.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think you nailed it! I also return to friendships.
And sorry if my blog is too heavy on the photos...

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Trisha, yes exactly! It's that personal touch I think -- the visiting and commenting.

Al, yes to all three

Madeleine, oh yes! so not a fan of flickering images!

Laura, loyalty is a big one.

Ibdiamond, thanks so much :)

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Dezzy, it's good to know because I wasn't sure. I can't just respond to some--if I only respond to some I feel like I'm snubbing the others. I don't want that to come across at all. I guess that might change depending on time issues...I'll think about it some more.

Bish, for sure

M Pax, I love all the people I've met through blogging and some are very special to me.

Talli, crashing browsers is not a good thing. I hope if my site ever gets too clunky, someone would tell me.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

JL Campbell, yep I'm the same --unless they've commented on my blog then I will either wade through or wait and hope the next day's post is shorter ;)

Golden, the only time I got a lot of spam was when I opened my blog to annonymous commenters. Blogger caught them all as spammers and I was getting about 15 a day. I could easily delete them before they got published, but I got no genuine commenters so I just took that option off. I might turn it back on at a later stage.

Gail, welcome! And yay for joining the A-Z Challenge!

Anne, welcome :) I see no reason for the word verification with the great spam catcher blogger has.

Alex, haha, nope, your blog loads fine so all your pics must be small file sizes. :)

Theresa Milstein said...

Glad I'm not the only one who has to type it twice. I feel like an old lady squinting. "What does it say? Is that an 'l" or an "i"?

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Theresa, or is it an 'm' or an 'r' and an 'n'?

DEZMOND said...

PS the problem with the loading of some blogs isn't so much connected with pictures they have, but most usually with the template itself. My blog often takes a few more seconds to load than others because of the original template with two side-bars :( I can't do anything about it :(

Arlee Bird said...

What you have cited are all things that bring me back to a blog. Also, I will return to a blog if the blogger has left a comment on mine.

I usually will stop visiting a blog that uses unneccessary profanity or is opposition to my personal values to the extent of being offensive.

Tossing It Out

Rachna Chhabria said...

Your list is almost the same as mine. Dark colors really irritate me as does strange fonts. And blogs that take ages to upload, I practically give up reading them.

Amie Kaufman said...

I agree, I think you've hit the nail on the head. I also really enjoy blogs that give me a sense of who the person is--personality, not just information.

Myne said...

I think you got everything, and reading through the comments was also instructive. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

some great points here ~ great to read some of these comments after I just posted a similar question on my blog.
I love a short, easy to read, relevant, quick comment kind of blog... because I am time poor!

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

You've hit it right on.
I don't mind the e-mail comments. Even though I have no way to know who comes back to check I try to answer every comment.
Like the way you presented your points.

Stephanie Faris said...

Good writing. Especially humorous writing or blogs that are on subjects I can relate to.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Yes, if I could never have to fill out another "word Verification" I'd be happy happy happy!

What brings me to blogs - sometimes it's those who comment regularly on mine, not because they comment, but because it makes me think of them -there they are, right where I can see them - but, I also do "blogwalking" where I visit blogs I follow, or etc.

I'm pretty easy to please, though :-)

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Dezzy, ooh, I didn't realise that about the blog templates. I played with a double side bar but I decided it was too cluttered looking for my own blog. It works brilliantly for others though.

Lee, yep, I'm with you on that.

Rachna, I have a really fast connection so I don't often come across many blogs that load slowly.

Amie, oh yes personality is important.

Myne, thanks

Michelle, yes! same!

Mary, thanks

Stephanie, I agree

Kathryn, that's actually a good point about those who comment on your own blog. It's true -- especially if you are following a high number.

SweetMarie83 said...

All great reasons to return to a blog. My reasons are pretty much the same. I love to learn new things in general, but I also love to learn things about people, even if they're strangers. I guess that's the writer in me, I'm always collecting facts, traits for characters, dialogue, that sort of thing, and have an unquenchable curiosity about people, their lives, what interests them, makes them tick, etc.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

SweetMarie, learning and meeting new friends is the best part of blogging :)