Follow-Up to What I Wish I Knew Then

Instead of posting an update to this post and making it longer than it is already, I thought maybe I’d just post a follow-up.  First I have a question for you. 

Do you usually go back to a blog post you’ve already read and commented on to see the follow-up comments in case anyone responded to you? 

If you’ve hung around my blog for long, you probably know that I answer a lot of your comments through personal email.  But there are times when I also copy and paste that reply into a comment on the respective blog post. 

I do this when it’s a comment that helps clarify my post and I think other readers might be interested to hear.  I’m not sure if this is typical procedure for any other bloggers, but it’s a habit I’ve developed, and I was wondering what yall think and what you do if you’re a blogger.

Okay, then.  Moving on.

Sarah asked what a carnival is.  I’m going to defer to my good friends over at Blogging Basics 101 to answer this one.

Some webrings host collaborations called carnivals.  The ring
owner decides on a topic and invites members of the ring to write on
that topic.  The owner then provides links to each of those sites that
submit links.  BlogCarnival.com provides a list of several carnivals ongoing in the blogosphere.

Sarah also said:

And is a post considered more interesting or better if it has a link in it to somewhere or someone else?

Not necessarily.  In fact, too much linking will send people away from your site.  We all know how easy it is to get lost on that bloggity rabbit trail and not remember from whence you came.  So you don’t want to sabotage yourself by linking too much. 

On the other hand, link love is a reciprocal thing, meaning that if you give the love, you’ll get it back tenfold.  Well, maybe just twofold.  But the point is, linking is a good thing as long as you don’t go overboard.  It’s all about finding the right balance.

Stephanie had a few good points to add.

Write regularly. If there isn’t fresh content at least once a week (and that’s minimum!), I usually don’t go back to a blog.

Yes.  I was thinking of mentioning regular posting, but I was trying to keep my tips to 10.  I was also going to say, "Keep it brief."  But then I realized that I break that rule almost every day.  Brevity is not my gift, as I’m sure you’re aware.  And if you weren’t aware, this post is quickly becoming a case in point. 

But I digress.

The point is, if you want to maintain the interest of your readers, you’ll need to post regularly.  And if your goal is to make some pocket change through ads, you should try to post every day.  I usually keep several "works in progress" in my draft folder so that on the days I don’t have something fresh to post, I can use one of those.

Both Stephanie and Holly mentioned using pictures — another great point.

More from Stephanie:

I’d love for you to post a more in-depth discussion about the pros
and cons of divulging personal information and publishing family photos.

Hm.  Yeah.  I waffle on this one, as you can probably tell.  I used to post tons of pictures, but then I decided to back off.  I took down all the pictures of my children and began posting only pictures that didn’t show their entire faces or were taken from a considerable distance.  This post contains my reasons and links to several articles that cemented my decision.

Recently I’ve become lax on this policy, although I do take most pictures down after several days.  I have no idea if that does any good, but it makes me feel better. 

If you do post pictures, it’s a good idea to "watermark" them so that they are more difficult to steal.  Chris explains this in greater detail.

As far as personal information is concerned, I have chosen not to divulge our exact location, and I try to be vague about our whereabouts.  Also, you have probably noticed that I don’t use our first names although I have in the past.  I’ve NEVER used our last name.  I just feel safer this way, but some very popular bloggers have their full names on their sites.  Again, it’s a personal decision that every blogger has to make for him/herself.

If you are keeping your name private, make sure your email address doesn’t contain your last name!!  When you reply to comments from your family email account, you may be divulging more information than you intended.  Personally, I have a separate email account for all blog related communications.  It’s just easier that way.

Half-Past Kissin’ Time had this to say.

I would also suggest (as a newbie) that you should always be writing
(or thinking like a writer), even when you are not at the keyboard.
Your post about what your daughter said about Santa is a classic
example; some of the most simple things that happen in life are
short-but-sweet snippets from your day. Keep a notebook handy for
thoughts, too.

I’ve taken to keeping a notebook with me at all times so I can write down little morsels such as these.  Besides, it was a great excuse to get a bigger purse!  Hey, I wonder if I can write that off on my taxes.

Kidding.  KIDDING!

Gina has a great point about blog rolls in this post on Blog Etiquette.  (The whole post is worth a read, but I’m only going to quote the parts I’m referencing.)

Be as generous with trading blogrolls as you want others to be with
you, but never complain about it or expect reciprocation. No blogger
owes this “link” to you. No, not even if you’ve blogrolled them forever
and sent them emails telling them how much you love them.

Absolutely.  Blogrolls are personal, and everyone has their own protocol.  It is generally considered impolite to request to be on someone’s blogroll. 

Here’s some more good advice about linking, also compliments of Gina.

As for mentioning other
people’s work… if you are blogging about a specific post on someone
else’s blog or on a news site, you should ALWAYS include the link in
the text of your post (could be an a permalink or a typed link).
Linking to the appropriate permalink seems to be more commonly done,
and is definitely more helpful to the reader, than linking to the
"front page" of a blog.

<snip>

When you want to mention a friend or other fellow blogger, it is
courteous to add a hyperlink behind their name or the name of the blog.
The link should be to the front page unless you are mentioning the name
in the context of a specific post.

And may I add, ALWAYS test your links to be sure they are connecting to the correct site.

One last thing — the spam filter.  I don’t use one.  I find them tedious and annoying.  Instead, I have set my blog to close comments on every post when it becomes two weeks old.  This seems to eliminate most spam comments without imposing that bothersome spam filter on my poor unsuspecting readers.  You’re most welcome!

Good NIGHT! I had no idea this post would get this long and so full of links.  I’m sure everyone’s gotten carried off into worlds unknown by now.  Or blogs unknown, rather. 

ANY-WHO.

I hope the two of you who made it this far have found these posts to be helpful.  Or at the very least, somewhat interesting. 

If you have any further questions on blog etiquette, I will now turn you over to the REAL experts, Shannon and Melanie, who are hosting a podcast this week discussing exactly that.

Happy Blogging!

Comments

  1. says

    When I’m feeling OCD, I do go back and check posts where I have left comments.

    These are great tips! And you use normal person language too! Thanks!

  2. says

    I check comments, but usually only on posts where I’m really interested in other comments as well, like your Fashion Question posts. Love ‘em!

    Thanks for more blogging tips. I noticed that the email I’ve been using has my last name, though I didn’t think I included it. Argh! Off to try and fix that.

  3. d. says

    Thanks for the additional info. It is beginning to seem a little overwhelming and I am beginning to think I should just stay on the sidelines of the whole bloggy thing and enjoy everyone else’s talent.

  4. says

    I am sure many will find this all helpful! I don’t ever go back to someone’s comments on another blog unless it’s a REALLY heated post or something. I like the email responses and do the same, and like you sometimes I’ll include in the comments just to make something clearer for everyone else commenting!

    Steph

  5. says

    I used to go back and check for responses, and enjoyed doing that – made lots of friends that way. Now that I use two separate computers that are not synced, it’s just too complicated. I kinda miss it.

    Glad you brought up the linking etiquette thing. Once I had a new blogger base an entire post on a question I had asked, without linking to me! I know I should be more understanding, but still, it felt a bit like receiving a big thank you for waiting on a table instead of receiving a big tip.

  6. says

    I normally don’t go back and check. I’ve been meaning to tell you that you are the most gracious blogger I know. You’re so good about emailing and responding to comments. I usually just go through the my list on Google Reader and when I’m done I try to shut my computer down for the day. Doesn’t always happen that way, but I try.

  7. says

    This is an excellent post. Thanks for all of the fantastic pointers (and for linking to my site)! :)

    I appreciated Gina’s comment about not expecting reciprocation when it comes to blog rolls and your follow-up comment that “it is generally considered impolite to request to be on someone’s blogroll.” I completely agree. It’s akin to inviting yourself to a party…very unmannerly.

    That said, I’ve had several individuals and companies request that I add them to my blogroll. What is your etiquette advice for how to respond to such a request?

  8. says

    I only sometimes go back and check if the topic was especially interesting to me. However, if I’m one of the later commenters, I often read most of the other comments.

    That being said, I wish ALL commenters had an email address I could reply to.

  9. says

    Thank you so much for all the great information and for scaring the you know what out of me. I will be going through every post and deleting all my boys’ pictures. Better safe than sorry.

  10. says

    i really appreciate the email replies. often i try to go back to the post to see if i’ve received a reply, but depending on if it’s been a busy blogging day on my end, i can’t remember where i’ve posted replies and so never know if the author responded to my comment or not.

    livejournal notifies you by email if you receive a reply to a comment or a post, as i’m sure other blogging services do, but email replies are really helpful on sites you comment on but don’t happen to subscribe to the service of.

    babble babble. lol.

  11. says

    I usually go back and check my fairly recent posts for comments and the Southern girl in me tries to reply, especially if someone new popped in for a visit. If someone had a post that I really relate to, then I like to check in and see what the other responses have been.

    This has been another great overview and will be helpful to new and not-so new bloggers–thank you!!

  12. says

    Thanks for all the info. I’ve been blogging for a year and still feel new to it.
    I go back and respond to comments and if email is included, I will email a response. I reciprocate comments as part of de-lurking.
    I enjoy blogrolls. If I see something that catches my eye I click and I hope someone rolling by my blog might see something on my blogroll that would interest them.

  13. says

    If I ask a question, or if I am really interested in what other people may say, I will subscribe to the comments when that is available. Otherwise, I just plan to check back if I am really interested. Usually, I forget to do this.

  14. says

    Oh, thank you so much for sharing your advice! You are very generous to us newbie bloggers and I have learned much from you. There seems like so much more to still learn!

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