Blogging Don'ts: What NOT to do if you want people to actually read your blog!

Recently, I was purging my reader, removing some of the blogs that are never updated any more, and also some of the ones that, for whatever reason, I don't want to read any more. I started thinking of the main things that make me decide to stop reading other blogs, and wondered if my readers felt the same way I did about these things. So I posed a question on this post:

I've ready many posts of "what to do" advice on blogging. But recently I thought of a few things that are good examples of what NOT to do in the blog world. So my question for you is,
What is something (or a few things) that another blogger can do to make it unlikely that you will continue to follow or read their blog?

And my readers definitely weighed in!
So I'm going to share these with you, so that maybe if you're inadvertently committing some of these bloggy faux pas, you will see the error of your ways. {Or, totally continue on as you were because you don't care what anyone thinks, so neener neener! Whatever floats your boat.}

Several of my bloggy friends are not fans of frequent reviews and giveaways. To quote Rebecca Jo from Knit By God's Hand: " when a blog is just about promoting stuff & not about someone & their life - & what they REALLY use in life - not to JUST get free stuff... I mean, I dig people who have a giveaway every now & then - or talk about things they use.. .but for EVERY entry to turn into a marketing tool - no thank you.. that's why I have DVR, to fast forward through commercials! :)" I could NOT agree more! The occasional giveaway or review is fine, but when a blog becomes nothing but giveaways, (or maybe there's just a 'real' post thrown in every now and then to throw you off)...that's when I remove them from my reader. My friend Kat at Seeking Sanity feels the same way, saying "I like to read about peoples' lives." Me too, that's one of my favorite things about blogging.
Shawna at My Girls is not a fan of multiple sidebar ads.
Melani from Serena & Brandon's Playhouse does not like it when bloggers slam other bloggers. Whether it's a blog friend or a real-life friend, and even if they don't mention someone by name, often the person knows they are the one being slammed and in my opinion, that's just cowardly and dirty, so I totally agree with Melani - that's an automatic UNfollow!
And on a similar topic, Elizabeth Sheryl said: "I really dislike it when bloggers will attack another blogger, especially when its petty. A lot of people diss on popular bloggers, especially if they make good money at it, and nit pick at any little thing. It just reeks of jealousy and turns me off." Totally agree - that's all about jealousy!
Shell at Things I Can't Say is not a fan of auto-reply, and neither am I; if you can't reply personally, don't bother!
Mama Wheaton said that some blogs are so personal and seem directed to the blogger's family, just to update them on their lives. In that case, she feels like she is invading the blogger's privacy and tends to stop reading. I have read blogs like that as well, and felt the same.
My friend Tammie of Irregular Tammie has a few peeves: when bloggers focus almost exclusively on one topic (like pregnancy); bad writing; and then....the big one.
The one that came up in so many comments, and the one that was on my mind when I asked this question.
BUT....Tammie's take on it is different than most; she doesn't mind if a blogger she likes doesn't comment on her blog. She definitely loves comments, but she doesn't want anyone to feel obligated to comment on her blog, and loves the process of blogging itself most of all.
Kristin from The Goat also doesn't mind not getting reciprocal comments. She understands that the bloggers she enjoys may not enjoy her blog, and that's ok with her. (she does, however, hate white writing on black backgrounds, foul language, and poop talk! So take note!)
I agree with Tammie and Kristin, but with an exception - if I am a regular commenter, and you don't want to read/comment on my blog, that's fine, but at least take a moment to reply to the comments I leave on your blog. I am not one to leave "just saying hi" type comments; I put thought and concern into my words. I am interested in your life. Especially if I ask a direct question, or offer you congratulations, prayers, support.....it is just common courtesy to at least answer my question or say "Thank You". I know how hard it is to keep up; while I am not wildly popular, I am a wildly busy mom, working full time and taking care of a large zoo family. But I try really hard to either comment back or reply to comments as much as I can. I think it's important; for me, blogging is about writing AND relationships; that's what makes it uniquely wonderful!
My friend Cat from Juggling Act of Life cut straight to the point: "I stop reading if someone never comments on mine. I mean, what's the point then?" The Grasshoppa will do the same. She also does not like blogs that automatically play music. I don't like that either, but it's not an automatic deal-breaker for me, just reeeeally annoying!
Tree from Mother of Pearl It Is (and several other great blogs!) said: "Oh, and I will always stay following someone that leaves me comment luv frequently, or at least acts like they read my blog!" I love it!
Debby at Just Breathe has a slightly different take on that. "As I work on getting my reading of blogs down I would have to say that at some point I need to let go of those who seldom/never really visit me because they like what they read. They only come over because I came over. I do find that several people that I follow I may not always comment on their post. I just don't follow some of the meme's for the day. I don't like to watch music videos that are 5 min. long. That doesn't mean I stop following them, I just don't read that day. I don't want to comment if I can't give the post 100% of myself."
I thought about this, and I agree. I don't mind an occasional quicky comment just to let me know you're still around, but if you're just visiting me because you feel obligated to do so, then I think I'd rather you not do that. If nothing about my post speaks to you enough to leave a real thought, it's ok not to comment that day. Maybe my next post will spark your interest more!
Oh, and I rarely watch videos at all. That's just not my thing, sorry!

I really hope that this post will help you all in some way; either giving you new ideas for your own blogging & commenting, giving you some tips on what not to do....or maybe just helping you clear out your reader some without feeling guilty! We all have our "deal-breakers" and that's OK; that's what makes the blogosphere go around!


Tropical Mum said...

Thanks for that informative post. I must admit that I have been remiss in acknowledging comments lately, and you have reminded me that it is important to do so.


Kelly said...

LOve all th information!! Good Stuff!! Thanks!! Have a great day!

OHmommy said...

Great advice!

Evonne said...

I agree with a lot of this. I like occasional give always, but if that's all the blogger does, there's a good chance I'll stop following.

What drives me nuts is when I put a lot into a post and someone's comment is nothing but a promotion for a give away. It shows when you don't read a post.

Rebecca Jo said...

Looks like we're all in the same boat.. I pretty much agree with what EVERYONE is saying to some extent... that's good to know.

One Pork Chop said...

Great advice! This is exactly why I stopped doing so many give aways. I noticed that I stopped going to blogs that did the same, and then I was embarrassed that I was doing so many!

I need to make a point to respond to people's comments more. I used to be really good at doing that, but not so much anymore.

Great post!

Mama Wheaton said...

Being a better responder is what I will work on.

Lisa said...

<--- worst reciprocator ever.

I do love this post though, great idea!

Cheryl D. said...

Great post! I agree with most of it. However, I will follow a blog and participate in it frequently, regardless of whether that blogger gives me the time of day, if the blog is fantastically written. If it's really great, I can care less if they read or comment on my blog. I follow a blog because it clicks with me. So the opposite is true. I don't follow a blog if it doesn't click with me.

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

Great list.

My only issue is that sometimes i read a blog and... well.. I just don't have anything to say! I'm not sure what I should do in that case!!!

Living the Scream said...

that is all really good information!

one of my pet peeves is when people post a billion times a day and it feels up your google reader.

diane rene said...

you're so awesome :)
great advice, thanks for taking the time to put it all in one happy little post for us ♥

and just so you know, I will always come back to your blog because the world will NEVER have enough purple in it, my friend!

LceeL said...

I wonder how many people come back to read my comment replies. I got frustrated a long time ago with people leaving comments that i couldn't email a response to - so I usually just create one long comment at the end of the comments, individually responding to each comment left. But do people come back to read them?

I would really rather respond via email - but so many people leave those 'no-reply' comments - I just gave up.

Christy said...

Thanks for posting this! I'm really bad at commenting on other people's blogs. I'm just so busy that sometimes I'll have many windows open with the intent to comment, but I can't get to them. I've lost a few follower in the last few days ... maybe that's why. oh well, sometimes I silently read and I guess people who stop following because I don't come to their blog really don't enjoy my then. Thanks for sharing!

Shawna said...

I appreciate all the work that went into that post. Especially setting up all the links! Way to acknowledge your readers.

I have auto music on my blog. Some people love it, some don't. I've gone back and forth. But for now, I think I'll leave it.

Nancy C said...

Excellent points. I think about blogging like a conversation...and nobody can maintain a one-sided conversation forever. Give and take matters.

Lindsay-ann said...

This post was really interesting. It was like I was reading my own thoughts there! Many of those things I agree with and it was good to know others are thinking the same. Nancy C who commented above summed it up well.

Shelley T. said...

This was a great idea and I am glad that you asked other bloggers for help. You are right most everyone has a to do list but sometimes you really need to know what not to do!

Melani said...

I must say, everyone has already said it all! LOL

Great advice! Thanks!

shortmama said...

You have great suggestions from everyone!

I definitely agree with trying to either reply directly to a comment or commenting back on someones blog...I try to always do so, even if they arent a follower of my blog or Im not a follower of theirs. There are times I get behind but I give it my best effort to reply!

4 Lettre Words said...

What a great post! I can't stand the auto-reply thing.

Hope you're having a great Wednesday!

Max Evel said...

I'm the anti-blogger.
Seriously, after trying to do new,
and different things at blogger for about 6 months,I have decided,I really don't care if people stay, or follow. I've had my share of followers on old sites. I play music on my new site.
It's a part of what I do .
I don't want this new site to be the typical blogging site,and I don't advertise on it either like some do,and yes, I will keep that option open.
I do what I do for pure enjoyment time. It's more freedom than a typical social media site.
I say everyone should just post whatever they feel ,and not sweat the small stuff,and have fun doing it. It's your blog.
Good Post !

C said...

i like to follow honest peeps, who comment on occaision on my posts... but i will still follow several blogs where posting is not an option cuz they turned it off or there are like 200 comments already so i just keep following out of interest in their lives. i hope peeps enjoy my blog. i do cuss alot but i dont think i have ever said something hateful on purpose. i would be so upset if i hurt someones feelings!

good post, cindi loo hoo! ;)


Just Breathe said...

This was very helpful. Thanks for liking what I said. I really wish I could reply to each comment but no-reply stops me! I have several people along the way who taught me about the email comments, to open up my email address, take off verification and do the pop up screen. I have seen so ill effects by doing that.

Fiona said...

Great post! Thanks for the info, very thought provoking. In fact, I'm going to tweet a link to this post right now!

lindseyloo said...

you hit it right on the nose!

qandlequeen said...

I think you nailed all of my turn-offs. I not a big commenter although I do read quite a few blogs. I would hope my lack of commenting isn't held against me.

Heather @ Sugar N Spice Mostly Nice said...

I can only imagine how much time it took to get that post together! Great job, thanks for all the tips!!

Grace said...

Good info. The one that I am bad at is commenting back to someone that comments to me. I wish there was a way for me to do this.. besides just commenting in my own blog. How do I know that reader comes back and sees what I wrote?

Kirby3131 said...

Well, I guess I'm a perfect blogger LOL Nope, that's not true. I have a tough time replying to comments left for me. I want to, I think about it, I do sometimes, but it's rare.

Good Stuff! I was hoping you'd compile a post on all of the comments you received. :)

Kristin - The Goat

Allyson & Jere said...

Hey there, just stopping over from SITS.

Loved this post, I agreed with all of the reaons people gave.

But, I will admit, now I'm all traumatized, because I never usually respond to peoples comments on my blogs. Mostly because I don't know how. Like, should I go back on and comment in my own comments? Do i just go over to their blog and randomly answer a question they asked on mine, in their post? I honestly don't know. And now I feel bad, because I haven't been doing my part. So, thank you for that insight.

From Tracie said...

I think you pretty much covered all of my pet peeve-y reasons to quite following a blog.

On commenting back....I decided a few months ago to start replying through email. I have found that this ensures that the person who commented gets my reply, especially important if they asked a question, and it has opened up a lot of conversations and blog-relationships. So my big pet peeve is people who don't have email enabled on their blogger profiles. Let me email you people! =)

Here via SITS....I just had to check out this great topic!

lori said...

Hi there - I popped over from SITS. Your post title brought me here because I'm fairly new to blogging and am still figuring out the etiquette. I don't like blogs that are all giveaways and reviews either. Those aren't real. Or funny. I'll keep reading and commenting on a blog even if they never comment on mine if I like it because I have to be able to read for enjoyment, not out of obligation. Oh, and I hate purple blogs. Just kidding :-). Thanks for the great tips!

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate this post. Lets me know I'm at least on the right track!! I'm with the others who don't like constant giveaways. I also don't like constant memes. I really like it when a blogger gives me something new to think about or points me in a direction I haven't been before.

Stopping by from SITS... and now I'm off to take a better look around your blog. :)

Mary K Brennan said...

Some great advice. I think it's all about keeping it clean, remaining respectful, and having fun.

tulpen said...

I agree with just about everything too: Dislike too many reviews/giveaways, can't stand the autoplay music!!

I purge my blogroll now and again. Actually, I purged the WHOLE blog and started a new one. Change is so nice!

Brooklyn Book Lover said...

This was a great idea for a post. My blog is still in its infancy and I appreciate any helpful advice I can get. I was playing with the idea of offering giveaways because I thought that is what people WANTED. Now that I read your post I realize that it is a turn-off for some people. Like I said, I am still learning and appreciate all you helpful bloggers out there.
Thank you.

Brooklyn Book Lover said...

This was a great idea for a post. My blog is still in its infancy and I appreciate any helpful advice I can get. I was playing with the idea of offering giveaways because I thought that is what people WANTED. Now that I read your post I realize that it is a turn-off for some people. Like I said, I am still learning and appreciate all you helpful bloggers out there.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great advice!

Kat said...

Yep. I agree with all of it.
OH! And I REALLY don't like it when I've written a big emotional post and then someone comments "just stopping by to say hi" and clearly hasn't even READ the post. Grrrr. Makes me mad.

Great post! :)

Anonymous said...

I've never once read or commented on a blog with the expectation that the blogger would read or comment on mine. Honestly, I don't WANT someone reading my blog out of obligation or even because that person thinks that by reading my blog he or she is going to get a new reader for his or her blog.

I wouldn't expect the author of every book I read to come read my blog or read every little story I happen to write. I read blogs that I enjoy. Period. I don't read blogs I don't enjoy. I don't expect that the writer of every blog I like is going to like my blog. Life doesn't work that way.

I blog because I like to write. I enjoy feedback, but if I don't get it, I will still write. If people like it, they'll read. They might comment, they might not. I might read back, I might not.

I do, however, make an effort to respond to 99% of the comments I get, especially if it's from a new person and especially if there was obvious thought put into it and it's clear the person read my post.

Other than that, I'm not guilty of any other pet peeves. Thank goodness!

I did enjoy this post, though. It was interesting and I'm definitely going to look around your blog some more and see what I think. :-)

Jessica Anne said...

Very informative. I'm still trying to figure out the comment back thing--on the blog or via e-mail. I feel like I'm invading someone's life by e-mail, but maybe they don't re-read the original post to see if I comment there (I don't).

Brandy said...

Thanks for this article. I've recently gotten into doing giveaways and I feel like I'm doing a disservice to my regular readers. I've gained tons of followers but they are only there for the free crap and don't even bother reading my real posts. It's disheartening. I try to be a reciprocator because I love making friends. I actually consider debby at just breathe one of those.

Jerry said...

Oh -- so many rules...but I guess they all make sense. I guess this means that I should start commenting on comments to me. I've hesitated in doing that 'cause I figure that would just get a dialogue started, and I wasn't sure that was the correct venue for that.

But then, I'm a pretty new blogger guy and still trying to figure it all out.

Enjoyed this.

Clueless_Mama said...

Thanks for the post! lots of information to think about!!

Seizing My Day said...

Totally laughing at the picture of the monkeys ~ you have to come see the first picture on my blog today! :)

interesting post! funny how some things seem like common sense... and others are personality ... I love music if it is tasteful... ;) I learn new songs that way! ;)

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

Well said! I try to reciprocate comments that are left on my blog, and if someone poses a specific question in a comment, I'll almost always reply - even if it takes me a week or more to do so. I'm still trying to find that 'balance' and time constraints and life interruptions, which are always a work in progress like me! ;)

I agree with others - I bypass a lot of blogs that strictly do reviews and giveaways because I'd rather read a 'real' post about them and/or their family. Something I can relate to. When I post a review or giveaway, I always post a 'real' post separately on the same day. That might reduce the amount of people that enter my giveaway, but at least it (hopefully) keeps the regular readers happy with a regular post, even if it means double 'work' for that particular day! ;)

And I obviously need to figure out how to keep my comments short and sweet - instead of babbling on like I'm doing now...I might get around to more blogs to comment! ;)

KaLynn said...

Great post!! I feel the same way too. Some of my favorite blogs are the funny everyday blogs, the photo blogs, the road trip blogs. I tend to hit the blogs that comment on mine the most. Then other times I will go to my followers and check them out if I realize that I haven't heard from them in a while. Makes me think that maybe it is ME that hasn't hit THEIR blog!

Anyway, thanks for the reminders! I truly appreciate it!

Tammie said...

what a great post!

ive gotten bad about replying to comments. i love it when the comments section sort of turns into a conversation between myself and everyone else. sometimes i just dont have the time for that though.

Dana Elmendorf said...

I don't follow or comment just because some does that for me BUT I always reply personally to every comment (i only have a couple its not that hard) but sometimes it takes me a day.

Your "who are these kids and why are they calling me mom?" cracks me up. I ask that ALL the time.

Okay, I'm off to Lurk here. You have TONS of eye candy for me to check out.

Jayne Martin said...

I enjoy responding to comments as much as getting them. Especially, if the post topic has invited diverse opinions and an interesting dialogue can be started. I use the Disqus system which sends the person an e-mail when I've responded to them. It seems to have made the interaction between me and my readers easier and readers can even interact with each other. Some very funny comment threads have resulted.

Unknown Mami said...

Great post!

It takes a lot for me to stop following a blog because I know that it hurts people's feelings just like when I lose a follower I'm slightly crushed.

I do not respond to every comment, but I do if there is a question. I also do my very best to visit everyone that visits. I can honestly say that is not a chore because my followers happen to be excellent bloggers.

I also realize that commenting is not everyone's thing so I won't stop following just because I comment on their blog and they don't comment on mine.

On my recent trip to Miami, I met a lot of wonderful bloggers and I realized that some people have been reading regularly, but I had no idea because they never comment. It really does not have to be tit for tat.

The relationships we create with other bloggers are wonderful and they keep the community strong, but I also like having readers that aren't bloggers and therefore do not know blogging etiquette. I'm just tickled that anyone would want to read.

I'd say that maybe 10% of the people that stop by comment. I wouldn't want to base who I follow on who comments. If I like a blog I will follow it even if they don't comment.

Anyway, that's my rambling opinion.

Amanda said...

Interesting! Thanks.

I must confess I'm bad at leaving comments when I read blogs... I'll have to work on that.

Mary Lou said...

Thank you so much for clearing things up for me. I'm a fairly new blogger. I had a giveaway, not to promote anything, just because it seemed the thing to do. I played music but it even drove me nuts so I took it off. I'm still not clear on answering comments. Do you answer on their post or email them? I get a lot of emails from the ones I commented on. I want to do it right but I don't want to be anyone other than myself. I'm learning and I love blogging.

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

Came over from Frogs in My Formula. Great post. I wonder, though, if people prefer the reply come right to their email or if it is OK to comment right on the blog? My notification system at Typepad kind of stinks, so I'm thinking email might be best. Anyhow, I try to comment to people once they comment on my blog and then visit their blog as well. I've found some of my favorite blogs that way!

Kim said...

I used to be awesome at leaving commments on blogs.. now? I do it like once a month.. and I feel terrible about it, but trying to juggle all I do and then comment get way to overwheleming.. I still follow my favorite blogs (such as yours) I just do it quietly now.. I understand though why people have removed me though from their everyday reading.. well mainly cause I shut down my old blog.. but I still like to visit.. even if it is only in my reader..

Great post and insight..