Sharpen Your Blogging Habits: The Golden Rule For Bloggers

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you receive but by the seeds that you plant." - Robert Louis Stevenson

Thanks so much for all the feedback for our blogging habits series featured this month. I hope we are all giving little tweaks to our blogging vision to make what we do with our blogs the best ever for 2012. If this is your first time popping in, here’s the series line-up so you can get on the same page:

Part 1 – Sharpen Your Blogging Habits: 4 Ways To Define Your Audience

Part 2 – Sharpen Your Blogging Habits: 7 Keys To Blogging On A Consistent Basis

Part 3 – Sharpen Your Blogging Habits: 14 Actions To Take To Amplify Your Blog’s Voice

There’s a local health foods store I frequent to buy my vitamins. It’s a little mom-pop operation. Actually a mom-daughter-niece operation where ‘everybody knows your name’. One day I noticed a blurb in their newspaper ad about the store’s blog. I checked it out. It was a ‘just-beginning-to-bud-and-dying-from-the-frost-of-being-unread’ blog. Only one post made a couple months earlier with no comments on it. The post was well-written and happened to mention a new natural face soap the store had begun carrying. It’s a wonderful goat’s milk soap made locally that up until that time had only been sold during the farmer’s market season.

Excited to be able to get my beloved soap in the winter, I ran by the health foods store to snatch up all the bars I could. When I paid for my purchase, I shared my excitement with the owner and thanked her for posting about it in her blog. Her mouth kind of fell open, then she smiled and said, “I didn’t know anyone was reading it. I guess I’m going to have to put some more things on there.” She didn’t think anyone was reading or getting value out of her blog until someone told her.

Blog Habit #4: Encourage Other Bloggers

Whether you call it sowing seeds, karma, doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, or good vibrations, when you take the time to encourage others it will pay big dividends in your personal attitude as well as your blogging mojo.

Sometimes we’re so caught up in building our own blog, we forget it really does ‘take a village’ to create a strong blog presence. Readers are the lifeblood of a blog, and a large portion of readers are fellow bloggers. If you happen to have a niche blog, bloggers in that niche are even more important to help you gain a readership by spreading the news about your blog in that niche community.

Interaction in social media usually comes in the form of participating in the community conversation in some way. Sounds simple enough, right? So why aren’t readers naturally interacting on blogs? Why do we have to ‘work’ for their involvement?

A 2006 study by Jakob Nielsen cites that 90% of online community users are lurkers who never contribute or interact, 9% contribute a little and only 1% are vocally active. This is a fact of life that many ministries and non-profit groups have always dealt with. The 20/80 rule, as in, 20% of the same volunteers do 80% of the volunteer work. While we’re not going to make a major societal impact, we can put a tiny dent in whether people stand on the sidelines of our blog or become more interactive by modeling interactive encouragement to others.

How can you be an encouragement to other bloggers without draining your already precious social media time? Here are a few simple ways:

  • Make a comment on someone else’s blog.

Did you enjoy a post you read? Learn something? Completely disagree? Stumbled on the post during a search? Take the time to make a comment to let the blogger know. You don’t have to write a dissertation, but you can also do better than ‘Great post!’ One sentence can make the difference to a writer who’s feeling like their words are floating into the internet ether without notice.

  • Click a social media sharing button.

Are you skimming blogs while on your coffee break or between toddler duties at home? Don’t have time to think about and write out a comment? It only takes a second to click a ‘like’ button on WordPress blogs and about the same amount of time to click a Google 1+, Facebook, Twitter, or social bookmarking button like StumbleUpon or Reddit and you’ve done double duty by letting the blogger know their post has not only been read but shared with others.

  • Tweet or retweet blog links on Twitter.

Become known for showcasing valuable information by taking the time to tweet and retweet post links on Twitter. Folks will appreciate it and be more likely to check out your blog posts when you tweet your own links.

  • Make a Pinterest board for your favorite blog posts.

Once you are on Pinterest, it’s easy to add a photo from one of your favorite blog posts with a simple click of the  ‘Pin it!’ button. The ‘pin’ will link back to the blog to help get more traffic to your fellow bloggers’ sites.

  • Have a blog round-up or showcase.

Some people enjoy writing a post highlighting a weekly round-up of quality blog post links. This has the double benefit of helping others while you get readers who show up just for your great lists!  It doesn’t have to be a long list. Here are some examples:

Read The 12 Best Blogs You May (Almost) Have Never Heard Of

Read Adventures in YA and Children’s Publishing’s ‘This Week For Writers

  • Ask someone to write a guest post for your blog.

Be discriminating about this, but if you see a quality blogger who hasn’t built a large readership yet and may need encouragement, nothing helps like a request for their writing skills! You have the mutual benefit of being exposed to the other blogger’s readership.

  • Stay positive in your online interaction.

If something someone says on their blog rubs you the wrong way, think twice before you rattle off that rant that accuses them of being a no-talent hack. Some people support getting as controversial as you can to stir up buzz so people will come check out your blog.

That’s also what they do with reality shows, Jerry Springer and 24/7 news channels. Think about it.

When you are posting something negative, ask yourself these questions: Is this negativity really necessary? Can I make my point without tearing another person down? Of course, life is not a box of fuzzy kittens (if only!) and stuff happens and we like to talk about it. It’s fine to disagree, but be cautious about being disagreeable and attacking others’ personally. It’s bad karma and may come back to haunt you.

  • Answer the question posed in a blog post.

If the specific post asks a question, try to answer it. If you go on and on about your mother’s cat or some other rabbit trail, the blog writer may be frustrated thinking their post/question was poorly written or unclear. That can be discouraging. Answer the question, even if it’s “I don’t know” then tell everyone about your mother’s cat.

If you read a lot of blogs  it’s usually not possible to devote time to commenting on every one. However, you can give yourself a goal. For example: ‘I’ll comment on 3 blogs per day’, or’ I’ll ‘like’ 5 blogs today’, or ‘I’ll write one thoughtful comment per week’. Again, don’t overload yourself with added pressures. But you need to look at encouraging others as an investment. Interacting and sharing in the blogging community not only gives out good vibes, it teaches you to step out of yourself. When you do that, the seeds you plant will come back as a good harvest.

Question: What makes you want to take the time to comment on a blog post?

40 thoughts on “Sharpen Your Blogging Habits: The Golden Rule For Bloggers

  1. Diana Douglas

    Interesting statistics on the percentage of people who respond to blogs compared to those who just take a look. I had no idea it was so small. I’ve never heard of Pinterest. I’m going to check it out once I post this.Thanks for the info!

    Reply
    1. kristin nador Post author

      Pinterest is a lot of fun especially if you are a visual learner. I think there is a lot of potential, but seems to be honing in on niche groups like DIYers, fashionistas or those strange creatures called writers. :) Have fun checking it out, Diana!

      Reply
  2. Christy Farmer

    Very nice Job, Kristin! I agree about being positive. Personally, I prefer writers and bloggers who serve their readers in a positive/encouraging way. I hope the shop owners blog more now :-)

    Reply
    1. kristin nador Post author

      Yes, I agree about being positive. You can turn almost anywhere in society if you want a dose of negative. Why not be a trend-setter? :) The shop owners are blogging more and at a consistent pace. I hope it helps their business. They offer really great customer service and good products. It’s hard for small businesses in these times.

      Reply
  3. Heather Jenkins

    Hey Kristin,

    Great post! Several things make me want to comment: a topic that interests me, a thorough, well-researched concept, a fun post, or a post that feeds me in some way. Your posts are usually a combination of all of those, so I comment. :) Whether you like it or not. Hee-hee.

    Reply
  4. Author Kristen Lamb

    Great post and I totally agree. If you want a lot of comments, I find that blogging about topics people feel passionately about, yet there are no clear answers. Then the discussion is half the fun. For instance I blogged about what went wrong with the Star Wars prequels and that blog is STILL getting comments. Everyone has an opinion and people feel very strongly about Star Wars, LOL.

    Thanks for a great series!

    Reply
    1. kristin nador Post author

      Thanks Kristen! That is a very good tip about blog topics that people feel passionate about – that’s why you’re the guru. :) I loved that Star Wars prequel post! I wonder if posting a blog about this year’s East Coast Super Bowl might have the same response. I think geeks are more devoted than jocks to their passions though ! lol ;)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
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  6. Jacqueline Dixon

    Kristen, You are very encouraging in your words. I agree that a kind word or phrase sometimes is all a person needs to know that there is someone who cares or listening. I don’t know how anyone’s faith is, but the seed you sow is the fruit that you bear, so make sure it is positive fruit. Your positive feedback was all the shop owner needed to be encouraged to continue. Positive seed, Positive fruit.

    Jackie

    Reply
    1. kristin nador Post author

      Jackie, welcome to the discussion! :)

      “…the seed you sow is the fruit that you bear…”

      Very well said. It’s a life-long, sometimes daily process for me to speak the positive things I want in my life. I’m a recovering pessimist :) so positivity is not my natural demeanor. But I’m learning that faith and positivity is a much better investment than pessimism and expecting the worst. Good advice!

      Reply
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  9. M.E. Anders

    Fabulous post, Kristin. I like to comment on a blog post if the topic is of special interest to me. As much as I would love to comment on every blog post I read, my time is limited. Therefore, I will either tweet or “like” a post, if those options are available. I had not thought of a Pinterest Board for my favorite posts…will add that to my possibilities. :)

    Reply
    1. kristin nador Post author

      That’s where you can really get into a time suck ditch by trying to comment on everything worth commenting on, there’s a lot of great discussions going on in the blogosphere, and we could be spending our whole day commenting! Tweeting and “liking” are good compromises so stay in control of our social media schedule. Comments are always the most fun I think, both for the commenter and comment-ee (new words heh).

      Reply
  10. Jan Morrill

    Kristin, thank you for a very helpful series. I’ve been doing some of what you’ve suggested here, but I learned others ways to “follow the Golden Rule,” too. Thanks!

    Reply
  11. Kristin McFarland

    Very interesting, Kristin! I’m trying to branch out my blogging, and you’ve given me some great suggestions. Now I’m off to read the rest of your posts in the series.

    Reply
  12. Bridgette Booth (@Bridgette_Booth)

    I’ve never thought of a pinterest board for blogs. What an interesting idea!

    As far as what makes me comment – I love it when the blogger makes it easy like you did and ask a pointed question. Sometimes, I enjoy reading a post, but really don’t know how to add to the “conversation” other than to say “uh-huh” which is not so helpful. If the bloggers asks a question then I can get started and, as you can see, will go on and on and on. :)

    Kristen was right (as usual!) this was a link worth following.

    Reply
    1. kristin nador Post author

      Hi Bridgette! I agree, sometimes it’s hard to ‘jump in’ a blog conversation when you’re not sure where it’s going, or someone gave a really great reply and there’s not much more to do besides agree with it. But even if all you can do is agree or say ‘Great post,’ that’s okay to do, too. It’s kind of like knowing when to break into a group conversation at lunch break or a party, sometimes it’s an easy segue and sometimes it might be clunky and awkward. Go for it anyway, and you might end up making a friend – just like you did today. :) Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Reply
  13. Donna S.

    Hey Kristin, I found your blog by way of Kristen Lamb, while wading knee deep in We Are Not Alone. It’s amazing that you’ve only been at this for 2 months because your content is knowledgeable and to-the-point. I’m just starting to develop a platform for my eBook, so I’m certainly going to follow your blog. I’ve learned tons already and I’m on the edge of my seat to learn more. Thank you! Donna L. Sadd

    Reply
    1. kristin nador Post author

      Thanks for your kind words, Donna. Kristen Lamb rocks! Her books ‘We Are Not Alone’ and ‘Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer’ have both helped me immensely in shaping the vision of my blog. Keep following her advice and you can’t go wrong. And we’d love you to join us here, too. :)
      I went to your book link, it’s sounds really cute!

      Reply
  14. Kinley Baker

    Wow! I’m a first time visitor and I just got lost on your blog for an hour. Great posts! I couldn’t stop reading and I ended up clicking on 8 other links because you give so many choices. I’m struggling to find my blogger voice and the whole series was super helpful. Thank you!

    Reply
  15. AChrisNYC

    Great post, thanks! It all sounds so simple – taking a few minutes out of our day to take a look around at the rest of the digital world, find people who share our interests, and communicate how much their blogging efforts mean. But it’s easy to get caught up in your own projects and forget how much a two-minute note might mean to a fellow writer.

    Reply
  16. Kitty Bucholtz

    I’m new to your blog, Kristin, but now you’re in my Google Reader and I’m linking to you on my Routines for Writers [http://www.routinesforwriters.com/] blog post on Monday. :) So why am I leaving a comment? Partly because I just took a class with Kristen Lamb and she told us to GO MAKE FRIENDS! LOL! But mostly because I LOVE this 4-part series! Super helpful and useful – in fact, I’m changing my tagline ASAP! I love to comment on things that get me excited, things I can say, oh yeah, that’s me, too. It’s hard to change myself to say, TAKE THE TIME AND DO IT, because I am already busier than I want to be. But I’ve always liked the pay it forward concept, and the seed planting idea. Thanks again for a great series! :)

    Reply
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  21. JudyStoneGoldman

    I didn’t see this post originally, but now that I’m seeing it today, I’ll follow the Golden Rule and leave a comment! It’s easy to wonder if Tweeted, older blogs get notice, so I’m saying, “Yes they do!” As for commenting in general, people seem to have styles–frequent commenter, shy/rare commenter, and commenter in the middle. I can flip flop among the styles depending on what’s going on for me, but when in the middle, I’m most likely to comment when the content makes a direct connection within me, something I really relate to and (probably) feel strongly about.

    Judy Stone-Goldman
    The Reflective Writer
    http://www.thereflectivewriter.com
    Personal-Professional Balance Through Writing

    Reply
  22. Barbara McDowell

    Fab post, Kristin! You are so right about the building of community. That is one of the best parts. Just posting a comment or sharing a link has pulled me into some great conversations and allowed me to meet so many bloggers and writers.

    Now I’m snagging your Pinterest tip on having a fave blog board. :-)

    Reply
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