May I Ask a Blogging Question about Following?

Stan Although I’ve been blogging since 2011, I still haven’t got my head around the whole Following business and would very much welcome your suggestions about ‘best practice.’

I have the ‘good’ problem that I want to Follow thousands of blogs, as there are so many that cover aspects of life in which I’m interested. But, as you presumably reaslise, there wouldn’t be time to even breathe if one were to Follow every blog that appeals

I know from experience that the blogs I Follow by email are the ones that I definitely see and read and I feel that it’s only right and proper to comment on posts that are appealing. It’s a bit too easy just to press Like and move off. What does ‘Like’ mean anyway?

The WP Reader seems to be too hit and miss for me ~ maybe I’m not utilising it properly?

And while I’m at it, I may as well confess that I’m absolutely hopeless at doing anything about people who are kind enough to start Following me.  I feel I should head to their blogs, thank them, Follow them back but I just don’t seem to have any of that in me.

Maybe you should know that I’m one of those people who is good at writing letters but hopeless at posting them; great at putting washing in the machine but a disaster at hanging it out, not to talk about bringing it in again.

So, what’s your approach to Following, Followers and the like? Have you found a magic formula that works and with which you sit happily, especially when it comes to reciprocity?

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

50 thoughts on “May I Ask a Blogging Question about Following?”

  1. I haven’t found a solution either.. and recognise the symptoms of the unhung washing…:)
    I follow what seems interesting… or well written… or appeals to me… some in the Reader, some by email, But there just aren’t enough hours in a day to read everything I would like to read.

    1. Phew! You recognise the symptoms of the unhung washing. Blog Land is a wondrous place in which one meets kindred spirits!
      Well, if YOU, of all people, haven’t found a solution to the Following issue, I think I’ll go and hang out the washing and stop fretting about it (the issue in hand not the by now smelly washing.)

      1. It all works on the principle of the coffee cup and the kettle… the same kettle that has to be reboiled twice before i finally get round to making the coffee… I get sidetracked 😉

        1. Oh no, never sidetracked when it comes to coffee ….. but have been up and down and in and out of every other side-track and even beaten back the briars and created plenty of new ones ~ like you it seems!

  2. Well I’m quite new to blogging, so I am sure you can get better advice from others. But what I found was that before I started started taking an interest in other blogs, I felt quite alone in the WordPress community. I would spend hours or days writing a post, pluck up the courage to publish it, and then nothing! Once I started taking an interest in the work of others, then I started to notice people taking more of an interest in my blog. And now, my Reader is filled with much more interesting content than in it used to be – in fact I spend more time reading blogs than I do writing for my own – something which I think I need to change! Not sure if this helps?

    1. Hi Chris, many thanks for writing. I’m delighted that you are feeling more at home in the WordPress community and totally agree with you that interacting with others is part of the fun and learning associated with blogging.
      Interesting point re the balance between the time writing and reading posts. I gather some people are very disciplined about all this. I’m not, as I’m sure you have gathered!

  3. I tend to follow someone when a dialogue develops between us, or they’ve consistently visited my blog and liked things over several weeks and, in turn, their blog appeals to me. Occasionally I’ll discover a new blog I love, after it’s been recommended in a post on someone’s blog I already follow, which was how, dear Jean, I discovered you.

    As far email notifications go, I just use these for the blogs with less frequent posts, so that I don’t need to keep checking every day. For those who post daily, or several times a day, I use the reader.

    1. Hi Sarah, many thanks for your kind words.
      Your strategy is quite different to mine in relation to use of the email option but we seem to be on the same lines when it comes to deciding who to follow.
      It sounds like I could be making better use of the Reader ~ it’s just I really don’t want to miss my favourites and seem to manage that with the Reader for some reason.

  4. That’s hard to answer because there is no ideal pattern. Thus if I remember correctly WP encourages us to comment as often we can as a way to improve contacts or followers. I really do not “suffer” if I have likes, comments or followers. Of course it means something to be appreciated, we cannot ignore that. From my followers I can swear there are at least 10 who really like my pictures as a point if view of things not as a smart effect of things. So I am very content with quality than quantity, maybe because it is just a blog for a hobby not for a business. Do I make any sense? I guess is all about purpose, interests and after all, time.

    1. Dana, you make perfect sense and I think you’ve summed it all up very well in the last sentence.
      I absolutely agree that there is a huge difference between business and personal blogs ~ especially if one happens to be blogging for someone else’s business! When I posed the question, I certainly had personal (hobby) blogs in mind and I’m totally with you about quality as opposed to quantity. The more I blog the more I find myself blogging for my own edification ~ similar in ways to keeping a journal. Though, I should also stress that I love the connections and friendships that can emerge through blogging.

  5. Since my primary blog is on blogger, I use their feature of my blog list, which puts up a snippet and photo of the latest post. I can see who has posted something new and read it without having to check if it is not there. I follow those whose blogs are of interest to me, either in terms of what they write about, or photographs that they post. I follow blogs that do not ever come to my blog, and have followers who don’t blog. When I get the notification from my WordPress blog that someone new is following or has liked a post, I do go see what he or she is doing and may check it a time or two, but I don’t feel compelled to follow or comment if it is not an area of interest to me. I generally comment when there is something I want to contribute to the conversation, and I do try to acknowledge when people comment on my posts. There are some bloggers who never respond to comments. And truly, if a lot of folks follow and a lot of folks comment, it would be impossible to reply to all of them–though I don’t have that problem usually. I get a lot of traffic daily, but most of those never comment or follow.

    And, I love the photo of puppy Stan you just put up! Give him a hug from me!

    1. Ho Suz, that feature on Blogger sounds good but it also sounds like you are very well-mannered when it comes to Followers!
      As for not responding to comments, I think that’s a real no-no.

      Glad you like the pic of Stan. He’ll be thrilled with the extra hug tonight. xx

  6. I never use the reader as I find it easier to follow by email, but I do find it harder and harder to keep up as I expand the number of blogs I read. I can’t always read every blog post of someone I follow, if they post every day or a few times a week. I’ve heard that some people ‘like’ without reading, but I always read something I ‘like’, I just don’t always have time to comment on every post. I do appreciate the ‘like’ button so I know someone’s been there and I’ll always click ‘like’ for the same reason.

    1. Andrea, thanks for commenting. It seems we’re at one about the Reader.
      I don’t think it would be possible to read every post of those we follow unless we kept the numbers very low.
      Yes, my reference to pressing ‘Like’ related partly to the extent to which the Reader, especially, makes it so easy to just Like without reading the post but I agree that it’s nice to know that someone has ‘called in.’

  7. I don’t think there are many rules about this. If you are trying to market a product, a follow-up might be necessary, but otherwise people follow you who want to get your updates. I don’t use WordPress any more, so I’ve lost much of that skill and process. I only like what I really like and want to be associated with. I share photos I like on pinterest on my appropriate board, and I share yours a lot on my I Love Water Board, or Enjoying Flowerland. Sometimes a topic on a blog I’m subscribed to does not interest me, so I just delete the notice, but again, I only subscribe to what I want to see in my inbox on an ongoing basis. Over time, if it turns out not continue to be interesting, I unsubscribe. I only comment when I feel I have something to say on a subject.

    1. And by the way, When I share on pinterest, it automatically links back to your blog so others can see the post if they click on it. I also share your blog on my “I love interesting blogs” bloard.

    2. Sandy, you sound like you have a very disciplined and sensible approach to the whole thing.
      I’ve only ever just dabbled with Pinterest and haven’t got very far with it, though I love the visuals there. Thanks for sharing some of my stuff there. I didn’t even know there was a place relating to blogs!

  8. Its easy to get overwhelmed when we try to visit a lot of sites. I love getting follows from people who read my posts and leave comments or are regular “likers”. There are others than seem to swing by just to follow as a strategy for me to go to their blog – or product! They are in the “numbers and popularity” game. I am in the “interesting and community” game.
    I would find the balance that works for you Jean … and find your own flow.
    Thanks for posting this – and the photo of Stan the man. Love it!
    Val x

    1. Val, the ‘interesting and community’ game is where I’m at too. That’s for sure! The other is a big turn off, though I suspect it’s important for some purposes.
      Glad you like the pic of Stan. He’s barking now like he knows we’re talking about him!

  9. I created the board for I love interesting blogs. I have an I love books one and others where I can share things that I like, and I can help publicize things I like. I love beautiful images, and there are so many. That’s where I can get lost, looking at the pictures. That’s why I think the photos you share on your blog are so important. They give depth to the topics you share, and I love seeing a slice of life from the other side of the world. So, don’t worry about whether you are being polite, just do what means something important to you. And I think you do that well already.

  10. Hi Jean, I hope you are all well. We are due a catch up. As regards following blogs it is hard to commit to many. I use yours although not as often as I should. There’s a couple more I just visit regularly and one where I am emailed updates- like yours. I like spiritual themes eg Today’s Good News which while religious is very broad in themes and wisdom. I gave up Facebook. I just tired of it.
    Keep up the good work. You are reaching many.

  11. Hi Jean,

    This is a good topic to discuss and a question I asked many when I first began in WP 3 years ago. First of all, there is no human way to keep up and read all blogs you follow. In the beginning, the way to attract more to your blog is to visit others; like, comment, or follow, etc. I try to follow those who have consistently visited my blog and shown an interest. I’m not going to follow someone just because they followed me to get me to follow them. However, that’s how it starts in the beginning, trying to lift your blog off the ground…
    Regarding commenting or liking…I comment most of the time, but sometimes, I just hit like, which really isn’t me. I’m more of a talker, but I do understand that support can also be given by liking a post if time isn’t permitted for commenting.
    Basically, my advice would be to follow those who interest you and when you do visit, either like or comment; do what you feel in your heart. And if you just like the post, that’s fine. I do love receiving comments, but I also understand that sometimes people don’t have time to write their thoughts. Just do what you can and try not to stress out about it. I’ve stressed many times, but finally realized I can’t possibly read everything in my email. So I do the best and hope for the best. 🙂 By the way, I don’t normally read through my reader. I usually go by notifications in my email. I haven’t quite mastered that route…I hope this helps and is not so overwhelming. It looks like you’ve received a lot of advice and feedback, which is great.
    I’m sure all of us have stressed about missing other’s posts, but I haven’t seen or heard of any magical answer, yet. 🙂

    1. Thanks Lauren.
      No, I wouldn’t say I’m stressing or ever was stressed about it but it’s something that plays on my mind, especially when I KNOW that there are blogs I should be visiting as their writer have been so kind to me.

  12. I use WordPress Reader and set for once weekly notifications, so on a Sunday afternoon, I grab a coffee and sit down for a big read! As a WordPress blogger, I have found it virtually impossible to post comments on ‘blogspot’ blogs (it wont allow me to comment!) and of course these blogs do not come through on my Reader. I have a few notifications that come in my email. This works for me for bloggers who post once a week, but daily bloggers can clog up that system! As for my reader, I do not generally bother to read recipes,or blogs that simply post a link to something else without any personal input from themselves! I follow a few photography blogs and post a ‘like’ if I like a particular shot, and only comment if it is an extraordinary one.
    If anyone posts a ‘like’ on my own blog I immediately pop over to see what they are at and ‘follow’ if I like what I see. I am so deeply honoured that anyone might like a post or even follow all my posts. It is they who give me the buzz, to keep doing what I am doing, and how nice to see the viewed stats rising!
    I have only ever NOT responded to two comments on my blog over a period of years ( Akismet blocks all the spam on mine) so anyone who takes the time to comment on mine deserves a response.
    I follow quite a few bloggers, all whom I enjoy. Most of these post once a week or less- thankfully that means I can keep abreast of most of them!
    Blogging needs interraction, doesn’t it? And you are a star at doing that !

    1. SV, what an interesting approach! Now we know what you’re up to on a Sunday afternoon. It sounds very organised and like it works well for you.
      I agree with you about Blogspot. Now, that would take me a second afternoon to try and grapple with and it’s such a pity as there are so many great blogs over there ~ it sometimes feels like they are in another universe altogether.

      You sure are humble ~ you whose blog is so, so interesting and on my MUST READ list, no matter what.

      Blogging wouldn’t be blogging without the interaction. Might as well stick to the personal journal if interaction isn’t one’s thing.

  13. Great post and I totally agree with you!
    And I think you “said” it all! I’ve been thinking a lot about this too…
    I’ve also seen other bloggers who likes everywhere and everything… I just don’t get it. How do they find time? Or energy?
    I have followers who never “say” anything. And some followers only follow for a short while and then they’re gone again. Just like that. I don’t get that?

    I’m following you now… I’m not the one who follows thousands of bloggers… I have the same problem as you, I can’t follow every blog that appeals.

    All the best!

  14. And another thing I agree about: “And while I’m at it, I may as well confess that I’m absolutely hopeless at doing anything about people who are kind enough to start Following me. I feel I should head to their blogs, thank them, Follow them back but I just don’t seem to have any of that in me.”

    Very well written!!

  15. Hi,

    You pose a great question and I have really enjoyed reading what other bloggers have said. I personally don’t like getting a lot of emails from blogs I follow, since I get too many other emails as it is. I used to use the Word Press reader, but found it wasn’t working well for me since some of the blogs I follow post once a day, so the reader is filled with their posts and I will miss posts from others.

    A few times a week I will go into the “blogs I follow” link and look at the list of blogs I follow. I will right click on the links and read the blogs like that. I try to do a few letters of the alphabet at a time so I don’t get overwhelmed.

    Like others, I will follow a someone if they have followed me. The only exceptions to that are those blogs which are of the type, “Blog and retire rich.” Those blogs all seem to want email addresses for followers and not giving the choice of following in a reader.

    I also try to write a nice note on someone’s “About” page, thanking them for following me and letting them know that I have followed them back.

    As for housekeeping, if a blog I follow hasn’t had any new posts in 4 months, I delete it from my queue, unless of course they have been commenting and liking my posts.

    It is time consuming that’s for sure, but it is so worth it since I have met so many wonderful people here on WP.


    1. Nancy, thanks for this insight into your approach. Using ‘blogs I follow’ sounds like an interesting way to go. Never as much as thought of doing things that way. Think I’ll give it a go and maybe combine it with SVs ‘big read.’ New tricks for old dog!!!

  16. Oh crikey, the washing! I’m definitely going to do that next. I s’pose I use ‘like’ to tell people I’ve read it and still out there (assuming they care). I follow several blogs and every now and then something on them just hits a chord and I can say something specific. Like now!

    I try to say ‘thanks for liking’ if it’s someone new that seems to be a person I’d stop in the road and have a conversation with. ‘You should go see what they’re up to’ often doesn’t inspire me – usually I see we have nothing in common.

    Anyway, i really enjoyed this, which I’d missed. Now, the washing…

    1. Hello Anne, thanks very much for commenting. You certainly got me thinking as I have to confess that I don’t even try to thank people for ‘Liking.’ It sounds such a mannerly thing to do and I think I’ll have to re-visit mine.
      Hope the washing got dry and that you brought it in!

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