For those of you who read the free eCourse "Blog Your Art Out", today is the day when I compile the comments I received via the blog and by email. These comments will be added to the official eCourse page, as well as to the Word file, so if you want a new Word file, please let me know!
This one is long, too, so grab a snack and a cuppa and enjoy the read!
There were lots of comments on the blog post and I received a ton of emails, so I got a good feel for what the average blog reader is looking for (and not looking for) in a blog. If you haven't had time to read the comments, do click here and take a look.
First, what makes a reader follow a blog?
- Personalization of a blog. Readers may come for the eye candy, but they do enjoy learning more about the artist.
- Frequent posts. Readers tend to forget about bloggers who don't post at least once a week, preferably more.
- Some readers really like to read a blog with a regular feature, such as "Wordless Wednesday" or "Etsy Finds".
- A meaningful post doesn't even have to have that many words -- it can be a picture with a little bit of thought typed below.
- A big favorite is clear, large, well-done photos. It can be of an artist's work, a funny something or other, flowers -- anything.
|a gate near my neighborhood|
- A blog with the blogger's personality is always great. It not only makes the blog consistent, whether they are talking about their art or their personal life, but it keeps the words from being dry and reading like a dissertation or advertisement.
- A HUGE favorite -- bloggers who take the time to visit their commenter's blogs! This was expressed so often I thought I'd show you some of the words that came to me in emails.
- "I take time out of my day to comment. To me it's courtesy to visit me back."
- "If a blogger never comments on my blog, I quit reading them. I may not unfollow them, but I do quit reading them."
- "When I comment and comment and comment, yet I never get a single comment back, it makes me feel like the unpopular girl sitting alone in the cafeteria.
- Related to commenting, and a favorite of bloggers and readers alike -- having an email listed on the profile page of the blog. This allows a blogger to comment to a direct question a reader may have, or to merely thank that person for commenting.
- Readers love when a blogger shares tips, tricks, and links to cool finds. Sharing is always in vogue.
Of all of these, the returning the comments part seems to be the hot button. Readers LOVE that, and I feel it's important to remember. None of us has the time to respond to every single post the day that it's posted -- I know that there are days that I get bogged down and have to have a catch-up day. But giving it your best shot could mean the difference between gaining new readers by word of mouth or losing fans.
Now on to the pet peeves.
- Blogs that are purely "look at me, look what I sold, look at my accomplishments" blogs. There's a tactful way to tell everyone about your hard-won kudos.
- Blogs that are very long, with no pictures to break up the words.
- This one got many, many comments ... music that automatically turns on. Some people actually said they enjoyed people's play lists, but the majority of people felt very strongly about music on a blog. I don't care for music on a blog as it startles me and often wakes up my husband, who is an early sleeper due to his job, so I have to turn my volume all the way off. That being said, none of the blogs I follow that have music have turned me off -- their blogs are too cool to pass up! It's something to think about, but do what's right for you.
- Blogs that go off on rants constantly. An occasional rant can be good for the soul (and I've done it!) but we're talking about rants being the norm. Make that a double eek for political and religious rants, or preaching to the reader.
- Giveaways that ask the reader to become a follower in order to win the prize.
- Too much side bar action. I love side bar decoration, but it can go too far, especially if you have a three-column blog. Every now and then, take a look at your blog with a critical eye and see if you have too many ads, blinkies, or other things that distract from your important words and photos. These can also make the blog take forever to load up.
- Additional to side bar action, a number of people say they don't like to see ads on blogs, that it takes away from the personal connection they want to get from their visit.
- Backgrounds -- many expressed the difficulty of reading white script on a black or dark blue background.
Regardless of which path you decide to take in your blogging journey, the key is to love it. Honor yourself, honor your art, and honor your visitors. Unless you're writing your blog sheerly as a diary and don't care if you have followers, the best thing we all can do is treat our readers as our customers and friends. After all, they may become just that! Who knows, you may meet them at a bead show, or have the pleasure of having them visit you when you're exhibiting at a craft show. They may fall in love with your work because they've come to appreciate you as a person.
I hope you've enjoyed the eCourse, and I'm so very happy you've spent this time with me. As always, everything I've written is just a suggestion ... each person needs to make the choices and decisions that feel right to THEM.
Be well, and Happy Blogging!
Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and writes the blog An Artist's Year Off. She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.