Thursday, July 16, 2009

Okay, I think I finally GET it least I'm pretty sure I'm on the right track. Here's what I'm gathering from all over the blogsphere these last few weeks of investigating (especially you brilliant techy bloggers). There are all sorts of rules and netiquette expected of bloggers. I can't promise that I'll meet everyone's expectations, but the following 10 are on my list of to-TRY because they seem doable and make sense for those with a PUBLIC blog. I'll check each one off as I fully attempt it.

Survey shows that YOU appreciate it when bloggers:

Test our blog load speed (try Numion or Pingdom). If it's not fully loading in 5 seconds, trying out some speed up techniques like deleting plug-ins or gadgets (Check out Pro Blog Design for Wordpress or Mint Blogger which offers tips, as well).

Remove music gadgets from our blogs so that you don't have to hear it when you arrive (or at least make it to where visitors can turn on the music if they want to, but where it does NOT start automatically). You are usually listening to your own music and get frustrated when my music competes with yours.

Use an easy-to-read font type and size and make the post portion of our blogs with a light background and a dark-colored font (like reading a regular book--it's easiest on the eyes). Is my font dark enough??

In my post area, provide shorter paragraphs and use only left-side justified text (you hate centered text).

Unless I've had a rampant spam problem (daily), disable my comment verification requirement (those hard-to-read words that I made you type before you could submit a comment) AND stop comment moderation (where your comment won't appear right away until I have time to moderate them). Survey says you don't usually leave comments at blogs with required verification. (I've checked this one off, but posts over 10 days old will still require moderation for the time being.)

You'd like me to make sure my blogger profile is available when you click on my name in a comment. You'd like to learn a little about me or visit my blog. If you can't see my profile, you'll assume I don't want you visiting my blog or building a blogging relationship. Most of you hate it when you see this after clicking on someone's name:

Besides just making my profile available, you'd appreciate it if I showed my email address on my profile. In blogger, this is the only way that other bloggers can email me directly from my comments WITHOUT having to click on my profile, go to my blog, and hunt down my email address or comment form. Sneaky Momma has a great little tutorial on this for Blogger users.

You'd prefer that I NOT post more than once-per-day. You don't want to follow or put me in your blog reader or subscribe by email if I write too often (I get this one because I recently took someone out of my reader who posted at least 3 times every single day. I simply didn't have time to keep up.). But you don't want me to go over a month between posts either, or you'll forget who I am.

Let's see...on visiting. You want me to visit your blog daily and show genuine interest in my comment. You'd love it if I used a blog reader (Google Reader will automatically include every blog I follow, making it easier). You want me to visit my commenters' blogs, new and old, and leave a comment for them even if it's just a "hi, just visiting." If I don't regularly comment at your blog, you'll assume I'm not interested in building a blogging relationship (somewhere, my husband is laughing right now).

You really appreciate it when I respond to your comments when you leave a heartfelt response or ask a question--preferably via email if you've enabled your email options (because most people do NOT want to subscribe to a whole comment feed on the off chance that I'll respond). I'm FINALLY figuring out how much easier this is now that my comments are being sent to me via email and I can simply hit "reply."

What do you think? Too much? What would YOU eliminate? Too little? If so, what else am I missing? Comment below or email me if you have more things YOU would add to the list of "Majority Blogging Preferences." I suppose it's good to know, at least. All in all, I'm learning that the blogosphere is very much about building relationships through communication and by respecting each others' preferences. I'm processing it all and making a few changes when possible. I know I can't please everyone, but I'm up for at least trying something out, first.

How are YOU all doing on the above 10 points? Feel free to comment anonymously today to add points to bloggy preferences.

Please click ♥ thoughtful comments ♥ (below) to let me know you stopped by. If you don't have a google or gmail account, just choose "Name/URL" or "anonymous" before submitting. THANK YOU!

36 ♥ thoughtful comments ♥:

Lenetta @ Nettacow said...

Interesting stuff! Lots to think about . . . as I continue to work on the balance between wanting to dink around a whole bunch with my blog and wanting to spend less time online. :>)

Yes, we will drive to WY (if we go), though I don't know which way we'll take. So many paths, so many things to see! Will let you know if we end up anywhere near you - I'm guessing the little one will need a high number of opportunities to get out and run around. That will be interesting!

SAHMinIL said...

yes, blog speed is important.

Yes, remove music (or at least make it so it's not auto play).

yes, darker text on lighter background works best.

Yes, keep the post short, simple and to the point, however longer post every once in awhile is nice

I don't agree on the comment. I have comment moderation on but NO word verification function. Spam comes easy!

Blogger profiles are nice. I don't have an email option on my profile, but I do have a contact me link directly on my blog.

Yes, I agree with no more then once a day. I really try hard to follow that, but sometimes you can't help to have more then one post per day. So every once in a while is okay.

Yes, I want people to visit. However even if they never directly visit I think it's still cool that they read my blog.

That's why I offer FULL feeds for my blog. So people can read the whole post in say Google Reader. Speaking of readers and feeds. I think it's good to give people all kinds of options including subscribing by email. That's why I use feedburner.

Personally, I don't mind emails, but I don't feel it's a must to respond to every comment via email.

I personally don't want people to always leave me a comment. Leave a comment if you can relate to the post, or have a sincere comment about the post, etc.

There, in my opinion, is no reason to go comment on someones blog just because they commented on yours :)

So that's my 2 cents! Good topic and good points!

Ms Perfect said...

.25 a piece? I'm jealous! Hardly any good garage sales here! We can swap someday. Your rules that you listed seem fair and have good points. I totally agree with not posting too many in one day. I like when people have music on their players though. I wana know what the blogger enjoys. :0)

septembermom said...

I found that many bloggers are happy now that I included my email address. I enjoyed getting to know bloggers this way too. I didn't know about testing your blog speed. I'm on the fence about comment verification. I've been told that the spam gets to be crazy if you stop it. I'll be interested to know if you think it works for you. Good tips. Thanks, Shaye!

SAHMinIL said...

You can also use to test your blog speed.

Herb of Grace said...

Wow. That's a brilliant list! Did you compile it yourself or find it somewhere? Mind if I share it with my readers too?

Mama Nut said...

Good points! I agree about enabling email. My comments get sent to my email and it's so nice to be able to respond right away if I feel like it. My number one pet peave for blogging is the habitual blog lurker. It bugs me when people regularly read my blog (especially ones that live around here and say, go to church with me,) but never leave a comment and don't actually converse with me face to face. How peeping tom-ish is that? I don't expect a comment from readers after every post but once in a while would be nice from the regular lurkers. :) Oh, and I agree about the music thing. I am a multitasker and often have a couple of blogs open at once. It's crazy when everyone's music is blaring at once. Just my thoughts!

beckyw said...

Wonderful stuff!

Dr. Wifey said...

good points. i have mixed feelings about the word verification because i do not want spam.

SAHMinIL said...

I don't want spam either. With blogger you can have comment modercation WITHOUT word verification.

For me that seems to be the best of both worlds. Those that choose to comment on my blog can do so without having to use word verification, but I still have to approve the comments before they become public on my blog. Thus I prevent SPAM.

Shaye said...

Hey all, I only have a quick second as I've been trying to calm down a very active baby-in-arms. But since moderation seems to be an issue, I thought I'd ask how much spam do you moderation bloggers get? Like, for instance, how much advertisers spam did you have to delete in the last week? I guess if I was having serious issues, then I'd stay on moderation. In the last month I've had 237 comments and no spam since taking my blog off moderation. For me, it appears to have been an unnecessary step. Now, one of those messages was a person asking me to follow them because I was following them (which I didn't because our blogs had nothing in common), but I guess that's not technically spam and still so very rare on my blog, at least.

Because I've had no issues, I've decided that if I get an occasional spam comment, then I can delete that one message I may get every few months rather than having to go in and approve every single message that comes through before my other friends and readers can see responses (some days I may not get to comment approval until after bedtime). Of course, if MY blog becomes the target of rampant spam, then I can easily justify going back on moderation and readers will have to just come back every few hours to see if new comments have been added (for those who don't like to subscribe).

Oh my, my 15 month old is WIDE awake and needing some more cuddle attention.

Hugs all around,


Whimsical Creations said...

great points!!

Lenetta @ Nettacow said...

Shaye, I have been blogging for about 2.5 months, have received about 290 comments, and haven't had a single spam comment. I started out with the moderation, but then thought "why bother?" since I wasn't seeing any spam. If I do get spam, then I'll just throw the moderation back on.

SAHMinIL said...

I have over 200 comments and out of those I've had about 10 of them be SPAM. That means for me I get one SPAM comment for every 20 comments on my blog.

The amount of SPAM a person gets has to do with google page ranking and how visible a blog is to the WWW.

For example my blog has a google page rank of 3 thus I'm more likely to get get SPAM then say Miller Memories. This is because Miller Memories has a google page rank of 1.

The higher the page rank number the more chance of exposure to SPAM, because the higher numbers are listed first in a google search. If your blog is among the choices on the first page of a google search then you are going to get more hits and thus more SPAM.

The highest page rank any one site can have is 10. The more popular and relevant a site is the higher the page rank numbers are thus they rank first in google searches.

For example amazon has a page rank of 9. That's why it shows up generally on the first page if you are looking certain books, music, items etc.

Seeing I get SPAM once for every 20 comments I choose to keep my comment moderation on. I rather nip it and not have it be public, then going back and doing clean up.

Gina said...

Wow, that's all technical and stuff. OK, to reply to Mama Nut (whom I read and comment to- a lot) I have a whole bunch of people who read my blog and NEVER comment. That's ok with me. They are the teachers at my kids' schools, the ballet teacher, people from church, poeple from MOPs... It is a public forum. There are people that I like to read and I rarely comment on them, mostly because what I think has been said, but also because, in one particular case, we disagree on just about everything- but I still like to look at her adorable children and peep into the public portion of her life that she has posted on the web.
That's just me, I guess.
Also, without word verification I get spam on every. single. post. I still get it even with word verification- just not as much.

Shaye said...

Lenetta~ I totally know what you mean. Blogging is NOT my life and I strive to streamline whenever possible. :)

And I understand...if I start using SEO strategies and having tons of spam, I'll re-think it all. The one time I can remember getting a SPAM comment, it was so silly. HOWEVER, I have another blog that I haven't touched in a few months. I just checked and it still has very, very, very heavy traffic. Back when I blogged on it regularly lots of other blogs linked to it and I did get a number of spam comments that I deleted frequently. If they ever got ugly, I have absolutely no doubt I'd moderate in whatever way possible.

Jenean~ Yeah, a music list is good. If I ever add music, I'll just make sure that it isn't set to autoplay as soon as someone arrives.

septembermom~ I totally understand. If you moderate and get a bunch of spam, then I'd keep it up.

Herb of Grace~ Oh man, this stuff is all over the place. I'm glad you asked, though. I'll try to go back and add in some links to where I found some of the information. They were probably more thorough than I was...I was just trying to compile a quick checklist.

Mama Nut~ LOL. Yeah, that would feel kinda weird. I guess that's what we open ourselves up to by being public. I've had people frequently link to me from blogs that are by invitation-only (and I'm not invited). Talk about feeling a little weird!

SAHMinIL~ Thanks. I certainly didn't mean to step on any toes and hope that's not what happened here with my question about how many spam comments in the last week. Two of my personal friends are SEO experts, so I'm familiar with how it all works and with how it affected my other blog (though some of my readers may not be, so this is great info you've typed for them). I haven't yet attempted to "work the system" despite my SEO peeps offers of help. If I did then I might have a far different view of moderation with a spam comment every day (which is what it sounds like you've dealing with). Ugh.

By the way, anyone who'd like to check your page rant, you can try out for an idea on advertising spam. But sometimes even low ranked blogs are targeted, depending on your content.

Gina~ LOL. Since Nie Nie Dialogues doesn't allow comments, I always feel like a stalker over there. I just want to respond in some way when I read about this difficult journey they've been through. And UGH on your spam every day. Yeah, I'd be using verification or google log-in requirements in that case. Ick!

Okay, off to bed I go. And now that I wrote this post, I fear there will be like 10 spam comments on this post by the time I wake up. Never say never!

Hugs all around,


SAHMinIL said...

No toe stepping here, and I didn't mean to come across as being offended. I'm learning a lot right now about SEO, so if I came across as a stuffy-know-it all I'm sorry! I'm just learning and sometimes get excited about what I've learned. Anyway no toe-steppin' here, sorry for coming across that way!

Chell said...

Hey fun post. For me the best one on there is tiurning off the music and the verification thingy. I could care less about modertation. I get 1-2 spam messages a month on my blogger blog, my new one I am building is already getting dozens every day, but it is a wordpress blog .

Kristen said...

hmm that is a really good list!! I agree with everything and find that most bloggers feel the same :)

JennyMac said...

This is solid info. I agree that turning the music off is so important. The comment moderation is all per blogger. And using the stopwatch feature is great...really helps with streamlining. Great comments!

♥ Boomer ♥ said...

Great post, daughter! I think I'm going to do a quick Saturday referral to this post this afternoon so we can build more comments hopefully. I am VERY interested in learning others' ideas.

I don't have the word verification anymore. Discovered it bugged readers and caused less commenting. I also, to my knowledge, have had only one spam since I started blogging last September.

I don't blog to make money. I blog to build relationships and share ideas. So page-ranking doesn't matter to me. :-)

I also removed my music some time back. May go back and add it, but the pop-out kind. Found that the music bugged even me! :-)

This was a great job you did, and I agree. Sneaky Mama is so helpful. I still need to learn her trick about making pictures not make readers leave the site....

I also encourage everyone to get a [free] GMail account because all comments directly go to GMail and you can automatically reply to the one leaving the comment if you wish. Not so with all emails.

Love you.
The Mom

blueviolet said...

I once wrote a post about how much I hated music on blogs. I pretty much agree with you on everything here.

Babli said...

I liked your blog very much.Its very nice and I appreciate for your beautiful post.Now I have become your follower so I will be visiting your blog.You are welcome in my blogs.

Lori said...

Hello Lovely lady,

You have been tagged. Please stop by and find out how!! Hope your weekend is great!!

Lori @whenwelisten

Lynn said...


Thank you for the tips. I didn't realize how irritating it was for other's to have music automatically start, as long as there was an option to stop it. I have corrected this! I personally love being able to hear what music other's like - it gives me insight into who they are! I can understand why it may be bothersome, though. I am working on some of the other tips, but I thought that was probably the most important to start with.

Thanks for helping us all learn how to be the best bloggers we can - and most important how to show respect to our fellow bloggers!

Lynn =)

Shaye said...

Chell~ Hmmm, I'm curious about the wordpress blogs getting more SPAM. I'm going to have to test drive a wordpress blog one of these days. All of my current blogs are now blogger (since Yahoo 360 stopped working), which limits my understanding of all that's happening out there. I'm glad that you brought this up! Now that I'm finishing another masters specializing in technology, I'm realizing just how important it is to jump in and experience it all rather than only asking around.

(more responses coming...I know, I'm slOOOOOOOw this weekend)

Shaye said...

SAHMinIL~ Oh good. I'm so relieved. It's often hard to read inflection. So I totally understand the excitement. I've felt much the same way, actually. And I agree that it's totally up to the blogger on what to do, of course. These points are just what I'm hearing are majority reader's preferences (THEY like to see their comment pop up right away). As I said, I can't please everyone so I'll do what works as long as it works for me.

You also mentioned using email subscriptions, which I think is a very convenient option for some (especially with cell phones now receiving emails). For several months I used Feedburner subscriptions then later I included the little gadget that let others use whatever email feed program they wanted for the subscription. So...with that in mind, my one teensy issue with the whole email subscription is that I'm a total edit-a-holic. My 100+wpm fingers ramble. I'm aware of that. But at this stage of my life, if I didn't publish in draft, nothing would EVER get published on my blog. Therefore, I don't like a permanent post out there in everyone's email because I'm just going to re-open it and edit off and on all day long--usually ending up with a post half the side of the one I published a couple hours ago. And some email subscription readers will re-submit every time you republish which basically means my email subscribers will totally hate me by the time I'm finished updating and finalizing. Because of my experience, I understand this freedom-to-edit to be a reason why writers often don't opt for full blog feeds in readers. And I eventually deleted my subscription gadget even though I see there are still people subscribed today.

A number of feeds I'm subscribed to are only partial feeds and I'll admit it's sometimes frustrating. I've even been coming across blogs that get halfway into a post and then say (to read this entire post, click here) and I'm like WHAT!? I don't have TIME to click there. I'm learning to judge by the first couple sentences if I'm interested enough to click over to the blog and read the whole post ('cause, you know, those 5 seconds are actually quite valuable to us SAHMs - LOL).

I'd love to hear your thoughts either here or via email, when you have time. Maybe there's a good in-between option for draft posters like me.


(more responses coming...)

Shaye said...

Lenetta~ WOW! That's a lot of comments for a new blogger. I really enjoy your blog, by the way! I have for a few months, now.

Boomer~ Love you, too! And the blogger picture things is pretty easy to fix. I've also been using it on links in my posts so that if someone clicks a link, it doesn't automatically take them out of my blog (when I remember, that is!)

Babli~ Welcome! I'll swing by this week. Thanks!

Lori~ You naught girl, you! WHAT have you gotten me into. It had better be a fun one! ;)

Lynn~ It's nice to have an audio option. Just nix the auto-play. That way people can hit play if they wanna listen. Some people are reading at work, others are rocking a baby to sleep, while others are just listening to their own computer music and don't like having to try to find the off button. Dare I admit that I still have auto music on my birth website. {GASP} I still think that's different from a blog, though, so it'll stay because it's part of my story.

Hugs all around!


Helen McGinn said...

I was just thinking about this so how timely to come across your post. I think I've just about got it right except I sometimes leave a 2nd little post in the 1 day so I'll be stopping that. I find it odd that sometimes I get lots of comments and somedays I get hardly any...that aside, I'm enjoying my blogging and hope that I'm getting something right!

It's lovely to meet you and read your blog. x

Lenetta @ Nettacow said...

Shaye, one thing I just thought about . . . you submit only part of your post to feed readers. I've read that it's best to post the whole thing unless you are making money on ads that are on your site, though I think most pay when people click through, not just visit. (Granted they won't click through if they don't visit.) The flip side of that is that you can stick ads on the bottom of your ad in the feed reader, though I haven't tried it myself . . .

And I should've mentioned this before - if you have a couple hours to kill (ha!), here is a great e-book written for women bloggers. I've learned a ton, from beginner stuff through more advanced stuff that I still haven't wrapped my mind around. I occasionally pick up stuff from her blog though I haven't bit the bullet and subscribed yet.

SAHMinIL said...

Regarding Ads/monetizing blogs.

You get paid by clicks, but you also get bad by impressions. (impressions=people visiting your blog).

How much you are paid is all about your page rating, your page content, and the conversion rate per ad.

Conversion rate meaning how many impressions you need to get money, and then how much money that equals. Even the amount of money you earn per click is based on a conversion rate, not all ads pay the same.

My blog is monetized, I do have ads on it, and at the same time I provide a full feed.

This mainly is because I polled my readers a while back and learned that they prefer a full feed. So I'm giving them a full feed. I will not do ads on my feed, because I feel that they should be able to do some reading "ad free".

If my content is good enough or if they want to comment they will click to my site, they will recommend my site to others, etc.

Perhaps I would get more if my feed only was a preview, and if I put ads on my feeds, but at the same time doing that I think would cause me to loose some of my readers...

It's a balancing game really, and you can't please everyone, I think like most things there are good points and points to benefit from, but I don't think it's a cookie cutter solution.

I think that at times we have do what we feel is best for our readers and not necessary what best for our pockets. LOL

2Shaye said...

Thanks for posting more ideas, Lenetta! By the way, I can't hit reply to reply to your comment via email. But, muwahahaha, I already have your email address on file from some time back--lucky me! :)

I have been reconsidering my partial feed, but there was a method to the madness there having nothing to do with ads, of course. I think I left a note to SAHMinIL either in an email or the comments section of the post, but I know it's frustrating (because a large number of the feeds I subscribe to are partial or non-existent in my feed) to not have access to the entire post with pictures and everything. The main reason I originally decided to only go to partial feed for both email and feed readers is that I'm an edit-a-holic. I post most of my stuff in draft format (or it won't get published at all) and then go back in over the next few hours fixing alignment and wording and all that jazz--I also add in helpful information from commenters that better clarifies the post. ;) And I sometimes forget to do really important stuff like yesterday I intended to link to my original source for the recipes and had to go back in and add that later (recipes are weird when it comes to copyright since they're so readily passed on with altered instructions, but I still like to honor original sources when I have the links on hand). But the ORIGINAL post is what is fed to everyone's reader and I felt safer with people only having the first 3-4 sentences in case I needed to make changes over the first few hours. My assumption, at the time, was that if I didn't capture their interest in the first 3-4 sentences, then it didn't matter anyway. They could click over if they were motivated, or not click over. Their decision (and I usually DO click over for the blogs that I follow simply because I'm invested in those friendships). So as I mentioned to SAHMinIL, I'd like to find out if there's a way to FORCE every feed to update automatically.

One other thing on full feeds that I wanted to mention...I have at least 2-3 friends who pulled or changed all of their blog posts for privacy issues or a serious stalker issue they faced and yet everything they originally wrote, including very private info they accidentally published, is still in my feed even after completely deleting their blog. Not that I foresee this being an issue for my family, but we're essentially archiving everything we ever wrote in each other's feeds. It's just kind of mind boggling to consider the permanence of feeds and caching. WOW!

Anyway, I do think I'll be changing my partial feed to full feed for the same reason that I changed my verification and moderation practices. I guess it's kinda that "the visitor is always right" motto that I attempt to fulfill when it doesn't contradict my own concerns. But I'm REALLY hoping someone can help me figure out how to force feed readers to update (instantly) instead of totally republishing 3, 5, 8, or 10 times when I need to correct a glaring error or simply rephrase something.

Thank you for providing a link to Scribbit's e-book!! YAY! I've started it already (she's such a gifted writer) and will tell you when I'm finished. I may even write up a review if I'm motivated enough. How awesome that she provided it for FREE. Whoot!


2Shaye said...

Thank you, SAHMinIL. It really is a balancing act and sometimes we have to balance between reader preferences and author preferences. For me, things change every few months.

Scribbit also has a short section on paid ads that I read over. Though I don't currently do advertisements, I'm fascinated by the process. From Scribbit's and other information out there, it appears that many are bypassing the automated ad systems entirely and doing their own ads (charging smaller companies $25-100/month to keep their animated banners on their blog) so they can have better control over their blog content and only serve companies they personally believe in. Of course, some companies may only advertise with those who have great page rank and viewership. On the automated front, I think it's BlogHer's ads that are strictly by impression and other companies pay primarily by click and then there's Google's ads which are both (and include Google page rank, right?). Whew, it's a lot to take in and the rules will probably continue to change as the system is perfected.

Anyway, it's all fascinating and if I ever decide to go that route, that's when the authentic learning will happen for me. :) Right now I'd like to focus mainly on my voice and building authentic relationships with others.


P.S. I've recently learned that there are even LARGE online groups where people join and agree to go to each other's blogs each day and click on their ads to raise their profits. That seems totally unethical, but I guess somehow it's technically legal. Very interesting.

SAHMinIL said...

"I've recently learned that there are even LARGE online groups where people join and agree to go to each other's blogs each day and click on their ads to raise their profits. That seems totally unethical, but I guess somehow it's technically legal. Very interesting."

It's not "legal"; ad companies like google will ban your accounts once they learn this is what you are doing. When you sign up for google, or any of the other ad companies, you are signing a contract/agreement with them.

In that agreement there is a line stating that you will NOT encourage people to click on your ads. So those rings that you described are totally against the contract/agreement with most ad providers.

Thus that community that was described above is totally against the rules! It may help short term to get a buck or 2. However once google, or the other ad providers, learn about the circle they will start closing accounts and banned people from having ads.

So short term it's okay, but long term it will come back to bite you and will actually prohibit you from making money!

2Shaye said...

Thanks for clearing that up, SAHMinIL. Having never signed a contract, I wasn't sure. They sure seem awful bold about advertising those groups. Again, it seemed unethical and, as always seems to be the case, if it appears too good to be true, it usually is. :)

Sorry for the delay in comment posting. My comments are moderated for posts older than 10 days which is why it keeps taking me a while to approve all these great comments on this particular post. This is all great stuff here--nothing like real life experience with these things. As much as I dislike ads, I may have to try them out for the simple fact that you learn more about something by doing it.

2Shaye said...

UPDATE: I'm already almost finished reading the Scribbit e-book. I was going to skim it, but the writing is very enjoyable and before I knew it, I was over 100 pages into it. Great stuff for the beginner AND even some tidbits for those of us who've been web logging (pre "blog") since the 90s.

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