Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Blog Loyalty :: What Makes You Follow (or Drop) a Blog?

As blog reading apps change and bloggers themselves change, I have a question, and hope you'll answer can help all of us to have this kind, constructive criticism chat.

What makes you follow a blog?  What makes you stop?  Do you ever come back to blogs you used to love but lost interest in for whatever reason?

What attracts you to a blog?  Is it photo beauty, daily posts, DIY tips, humor?  Do you prefer a blog that basically sticks to a specific genre, or do you like a mix of topics?

How much do you want to know about the blogger?

Is there such a thing as too much self-promotion or sales pitches?

What is the one thing you find unforgivable in a blog?

I hope you'll answer some of these, as it can help not just me but lots of bloggers out there. I'll post a follow-up hopefully next week.

(powered by pie)

Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack.  Visit her shops by clicking here.  She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party®   and author of the book Bead Soup.


  1. Lori, the reasons for following a blog is usually a common interest and the main reason for dropping a blog is when the postings stop. Many a blogger seem to lose interest and disappear without any form of explanation why that is so.

  2. Anonymous2:43 AM

    I like stories. Whether it's a story about the artistic process or the inspiration behind a creation (be that jewellery, a recipe or any other kind of creation), or a story about a person, that's what draws me in. I find that my favourite bloggers (yourself included in that company), give me a little bit of insight into their world, their history, their thoughts. Of course, gorgeous eye candy helps too! I like a sense of humour on the part of the writer (nothing is more of a turn off than someone who takes themselves too seriously!), a healthy respect for the absurdities of life. And daily blogging is not essential, although I do fret when one of my regular blogs goes AWOL for a while.
    Hope that helps, Lori!

  3. Anonymous2:44 AM

    Oh, and I should add that I strive to do that in my own blog -- write something that people enjoy reading!

  4. I like blogs that make me think.
    If the writer can make me curious, the world gets larger and more fun for me, because I can then go off to further investigate the ideas which the blogger has drawn out of me through her own perceptions.

    I also love BEAUTY, whether visual or descriptive.

    xox jean

  5. Anonymous5:02 AM

    I follow blogs that are on a topic that interests me. The posts don't have to regular, or every day, as long as when the posts appear they're something I know I'll stop and read.

    Posts that are self-promoting and all "look what be got for sale!" are fine, but as long as every single post isn't like that. I like diversity, such as (in the case of jewellery blogs), talking about shows, tutorials, other artists. I also like personal posts, as it makes the blogger seem a little more 'real'.

    I hope that makes sense!

  6. I like blogs that are visually interesting. Beautiful photos with a chunk of text rather than a lot of text. I also have to have an interest in the subject which for me is a craft. A beautifully written blog is appreciated but not an expectation. I like blog hops, tutorials, giveaways!

  7. I usually find blogs from other boggers' recommendations or links on a post. Whether I start to follow or not is usually based on common interests,such as jewellery making , card making, recipes; the "eye candy".
    personal snippets are fine, when occasional, but I don't like continual ranting, whining, or bragging.a big turn-off for me.
    But the biggest issue I have is the blogs that take forever to load, too graphically rich perhaps( the list of followed blogs goes on and on) or includes the dreaded PLAYLISTS that some bloggers feel I should hear.
    I have an old mac computer without an intel chip (runs on Mac0SX-10.5) and some sites are so up-to-the-minute that I can't see half the stuff they include.

    This is only my opinion and I do realize I may be behind the times. But everyone's opinion counts, even those without all the latest gadgets and toys for social media communication.

  8. I usually quit reading a blog when it becomes offensive towards a certain belief or way of thinking, even if it's not MY belief. I'm open minded, but can't tolerate rudeness,especially on a public domain.
    Reasons to follow, as said below, are common interests, beautiful pics, and I love useful tips and tricks.

  9. I follow two types of blogs: beading/jewelry blogs, and people blogs.

    For the beading/jewelry type, I really enjoy good photos --I find it frustrating to try to see what someone's done when the photo is tiny or bad. Especially tiny. For me, this is mostly eye-candy but I also enjoy reading about the process. This is why I have so enjoyed the Bead Soup blog hops.

    For the people blogs, I am following bloggers who have families, usually with children around the age of mine or older (although there is one exception to this because she's so funny and real). I also tend to stay with bloggers who comment on my blog as much as I comment on theirs --the back and forth has created real friendships, as we often get to know more about each other through the comments.

    I'm not religious, so if there's too much Christianity I tend to tune out (this does not include spiritual references --I'm all for those).

    I definitely like to know something about the blogger and enjoy hearing about their life journeys, both happy and sad, funny and difficult. I have needed to write about difficult times and so appreciated the support I received from my blogging friends who commented.

    I really appreciate skilled writing --several of the people-blogs I enjoy reading the most are written by people who love to write and are really good at it.

  10. I follow blogs that teach me something, whether it's techniques, philosophy, or even just learning how to "be" in their own lives. I tend to drop blogs that are not engaging. Too much hiding behind a username is also off-putting. Honestly, I want to connect to a person. So yes, their story. But I also don't like negativity and whining. Or boring details that go on and on. (We all have crappy lives in one way or another...drama is not good.)

    I don't like very much sales and promotion stuff. I like the 80/20 rule. 80% of posts are interesting content with 20% of posts containing a sales pitch. (Though links should be accessible in sidebars...let people find your sales stuff easily if they want.)

    The one unforgivable thing? Flashy ad graphics that distract me. Or sidebar ads that take forever to load and slow the site down. Another unforgivable thing...bad grammar and misspellings. People seem to miss that little red squiggly line under things? Really?

    Great photos are important to me. But if the rest is fantastic, then I forgive a few blurry photos here and there. I do prefer large photos, too many blogs use tiny photos and I can't see their work.

    Oh, and one more. Variety. I have dropped blogs that are the same, every post. Mix it up.

    Gee...I wrote a book.

  11. Hi Lori: First I am drawn to a blog by a common interest such as beading. Then I am held by the person and their sincerity. I like honest good people who are not afraid to open up. I get sick of blogs who merely promote their wares for sale on every post. Yes, I do go back and follow a blog if I truly miss them and they were merely off-track for a while. Your blog keeps my attention Dear!!!
    You are real and very talented and I adore Zack. Thank you for asking about Blog Loyalty. Blessings...

  12. Polly Barker9:10 AM

    I enjoy blogs that share common interest. A little self promotion is ok but when the blog becomes a full advertisement of the bloggers work then I lose interest. I do check back on blogs that I have formally followed. I enjoy learning about the blogger, as in meeting and chatting with a friend, I LOVE eye candy, and tips/tutorials :-) I lose interest when there are MONTHS between posts that would almost be unforgivable!! Hope that helps.

  13. I like when the bloggers personality comes through on the blog - sense of humor, mix of interests, etc. Like beadrecipes, I'm most interested in stories. Good photos help. A mix of short and long posts, deep and silly posts. Basically, I want to feel like the blogger is a friend. These are the blogs that I read every day.

    I have other blogs that I read every few weeks, blogs that have more detailed information on a specific subject. One thing that will put me off a blog is if it's only for promotion. If that's all the blog is about, ever, I'll move on.

    I think I've become much more aware of how hard to it is to write a good blog in doing my own blog. I know how hard I try to give worthwhile content to my blog, making it interesting and informative, as well as entertaining. I want to read other blogs that take the same approach.

    Great questions, Lori!

  14. What makes me follow a blog is, common interest themes, frequent posts, if the posts aren't frequent, then the reader forgets to check it daily or weekly, what ever the frequency is.
    I like a little bit about the blogger and family, however that shouldn't take over every blog post.
    I like tutorials, on jewelry as well as crafty projects. And tips of all kinds, that help us out in life.
    What I don't like is the blogger being disrespectful to others, the blog isn't the place to air grievances, do that directly with the person, it will work out better and I don't need to be involved.
    Now I say this to you, and anyone else who is interested, but have yet to follow my own advice. I've just retired, so maybe I'll be able to in the future..

  15. I am a bit ADHD when it comes to blogs - I'll follow a blog on a certain topic for a while and stop when my interest inthe subject wanes. There are only 3-4 blogs I follow consistently and they tend to be well-written and cover a braod range of topics.

    The main reasons I've stopped following a blog: too many promotional posts - I get that blogging is a business for some people, but I can read ads anywhere else. I've also stopped reading blogs that are "branded" around the blogger's child/children (usually "mommy" blogs). I'm fine with blogs that talk about kids or have some photos, but blogs that "star" a child make me uncomfortable. This is a personal choice and recognize not everyone feels the way I do.

  16. amanda11:40 AM

    I am new to reading blogs, I don't have any fancy things that keep all my blogs for me so I can click and read- I think there is such a thing, right? If there is a link in FB, I read it. I don't mind self promotion- that is what it is all about. I don't mind personal- that is what the artist is all about. I enjoy pretty pictures, helpful hints, short and sweet. I would never read a daily blog- I don't have that much time on my hands!

  17. I follow a blog when I like the (jewelry) person's design aesthetic, and there are useful or interesting posts. Give aways mean nothing to me as I NEVER win. I dropped people who complain, post every day, or cover things I'm not interested in, or heaven forbid market themselves without giving anything to the reader. I appreciate that a blog is hard work; I'm trying to make myself get mine up and going. But a blog must be positive and entertaining or no one will be interested. I dropped one person because she posted every day and when she ran out of things to post she'd just ask her readers questions, which never went anywhere. She also ranted and complained about social injustice, personal slights, etc. There's no reason anyone would want to spend their time reading that. I subscribed to your blog because I admire your work, we're interested in some of the same things, you're farther along and more successful in living a creative life (so provide inspiration),and your personality comes through as nice and interesting. Those are all things I look for in blogs.

  18. Intriguing questions, Miss Lori.
    I would say that I agree with Beadrecipes. I need to feel a connection to the person I am reading, and if I can get a sense that I would be friends with them, then I strike up a conversation (i.e., comments) and hope that they feel compelled to respond (to me directly, not as a comment in their own blog). For what is blogging if not to grow your circle, your community? Finding blogs to love is easy... it starts with common interests, but my blogroll is varied. Fashion, humor, DIY, inspiration... I love it all! I love to read about what makes people do the things they do, the processes behind their creative outlets (not just jewelry but all kinds of creativity). I like reading inspiring stories and words that wax poetic. Eye candy is a must. I follow nearly 400 blogs and as a consequence I cannot comment on every one, but those I do are ones that I feel most comfortable with, and I just cannot leave a simple "Nice post" comment ;-). I do get turned off by the constant sell on some. Of course, today I tried using the Buy It Now button on my own blog, so I am now guilty of that, but I don't intend for it to be a habit. I don't mind the sell sometimes, but all the time is too much. I am not a blogger to sell things, but to connect with people. I love seeing the creative pursuits of people and I like to follow links that lead me to other stores, artists and sites that I might not have found otherwise. I like the camaraderie of hops and the push of challenges. As for a turn off, I would say those templates that make for very narrow reading spaces with pictures that are too tiny, or those that take too long to load. I HATE music that plays and will often take someone out of my reading list if I find that. I don't mind having opinions but those that expect me to blindly follow theirs, or rant and rave too much turn me off. I don't care about frequency. A blog that is updated daily or more, is sometimes too hard for me to follow. And I know that my own readers tell me that when they see that I post, since it is likely longer, they will save it to savor later. I like that ;-) Overall, I like to blog just for myself and if people want to read me, that is fine. I have often thought of removing the ability to comment for a time, like a month, to see what would happen. Would I still blog? Would anyone still read? Would I lose followers? Gain them? Or would the lack of comments lead to withdrawal?
    Thanks for posing the interesting questions. Sorry for my overly detailed response. That is who I am! Enjoy the day, Miss Lori! Erin

  19. I like feeling a connection to the blogger. Second to that is humor. I don't mind when someone uses their blog to show off work or something new, but the minute I feel like they are "using" me to get sales, I walk away. Things like adding me to a FB group without asking, or emailing me directly about an opportunity, that sort of thing. I don't mind small ads, when they are for related items (I find some cool artists that way!). I HATE blogs that play music or have animated cursors. I feel like if you are resorting to "flashy" gimmicks, there isn't much substance. Probably wrong of me, I know. :)

  20. I like and follow blogs if they are something that interest me. I like to see other peoples interpretation of the world we live in. I know that life can happen and get in the way and that is understandable, just put a small post so that we all know. Like right now, I am so far behind because of health issues with my husband, the death of my father and so on. The one thing I really hate to see if profanity. My grandfather said with all the words in the dictionary, there is no need to use foul language. And slang too. As for self promotion, I think that is the only way some of us can promote ourselves. Some do over kill, but....anyway, I hope this helps. Glad you asked!

  21. Common interests are the first draw. I'm fine with either a mix of topics or just one, depending on that blogger and her/his focus.

    In your case, I adore your stories and the jewelry that you share.

    Most of the time, I don't have a problem with self-promotion. There's one small caveat to that, which has nothing to do with you in particular, but I'll tell you about offline, if you'd like to know.

  22. These comments are awesome!

    Lively and entertaining - humorous - informative - engaging - Look what I found, Look what I learned - with GREAT pictures. On a regular basis, but NOT every day - who has that kind of time????

  23. I find that I add too many blogs so anytime I add a new blog, I drop an old one that I no longer read. My reasons are varied. I like a blog written by someone I can relate to.

    I don't like a blog where everything is rosy all the time. I don't need to know too many private things but I like to feel like I know the person a little bit anyway.

    I try not to sell on my blog. I don't mind when other people do that occasionally but when every blog post has a paypal button at the end....well that is the end of my reading that blog!

    I like blogs where I learn something new. It could be about printmaking or collage or even how to grow a cactus. As long as it is interesting and engaging.

    I used to follow jewelry sites but since I stopped making jewelry I lost interest.

    I hope this helps you in your research!

  24. What do I like in a blog? It is easier to start with what I don't like: I'm clearer there.

    I don't like giveaways that giveaway to the popular people. There seems to be a preponderance of them! I don't believe they are random because the fancy folks always win. An in-crowd things goes on. One person "wins" and twenty others get nothing. They usually ask us to post here, tell people there, on & on. I can practically pick the top 5 people from whom there will be a winner. The losers have spent time posting all over social media & no thank you.

    I've tried countering this for myself by having giveaways that require no posting, giveaways that are after the fact & unexpected -- i.e., everyone who commented on a post gets a surprise art bead prize later -- it makes me happy.

    I also don't like non-flexible or judgemental authors. When someone is rude to participants, I find them offensive. Acting so fancy one can't be flexible makes me think the author hasn't lived enough to experience the kicks life can have that create empathy, flexibility, kindness. Authors so full of themselves to exclude others or carry a fist full of rules turn me off. (i.e. telling readers, "you were to sign up here, here AND email me so you can't play now").

    More I don't like: Exclusive blogs. In crowd stuff. Collective blogs where my role is to be a fan, to admire the artists & their amazing work, posts, beads, jewelry; to maintain the superiority of the collective group by being a reader, and as a reader, deemed ordinary.

    What I like; real people, real blogs. If a blog is too professional, I might as well read a book. Blogs are publications that share on multi-levels, and I like those that share creatively, personally, and professionally. I like blogs that respect readers equally regardless of their jewelry arts experience, status, resources -- and I love posts that make the reader feel special, that readers matter, that anything is possible, that it is OK to try because jewelry is for all.

    I like real blogs. Fancy is nice but life isn't always fancy. Funny is nice but life isn't always funny. I like honesty. I want to trust the author. I want to feel respected and respect the author. So, fake doesn't work for me. I like reading about life and love and life challenges and love coming through, the magic of life, goodness. I like happy endings, but there must be contrast to have happy endings that mean anything. I enjoy a juicy story.

    I like jewelry artists who credit their sources, and share links to tutorials. I know we are supposed to just know everything and create originally, but how is that possible? Who was born with wire and lampwork in their hands? I like artists who share info for weavings, new techniques, designs, patterns, inspirations. We don't offer enough credit to each other because we are all supposed to be ingenious and just know stuff. I understand that is a big pressure. To create on an island of originality, yet credit everyone too. It's a catch 22, so I like a blog where I can ask, and a pattern or artist or a design source is shared.

    And, last but not least, I like kind blogs. The personal, professional, and artistic all mixed in together and sprinkled with love.

  25. Anonymous2:26 PM

    I don't have too much to add - I like the personal connection, mainly. For me, the kiss of death is:
    frequent bad grammar and misspellings;
    frequent straying away from the subject matter-- I'm fine with hearing about family stuff like vacations, etc., but if it's a jewelry blog, mainly, I want to read about jewelry;
    very little religion, if any (I have my own, thanks); and the absolute killer: trashing the spouse.

  26. what a wonderful bunch of questions and thoughtful answers.

    I am similar to the others...learn something new- usually art or craft related, great photos, engaging discussion, etc.

    But I do really like the ones where I can subscribe via email, instead of have to remember to click over to it. Makes a difference in how much I read.

    Cheers to you Lori. Always thinking and making things better.

  27. I definitely look for common interests, personality and eye candy in blogs, but another huge concern is readability.

    I get overwhelmed by too much information on a site -- too many graphics, too many things to click, too many ads, and huge paragraph lumps that are centered so that they look random disorganized.

    Also, if there are too many spelling and punctuation errors, I literally cannot understand what is being said, so I tend to go away. Or if I like the blogger, I'll stick around, but I won't comment.

    (Then again, I think I might have a bit of a sensory processing disorder, so my experience might not be typical.)

    I'll often stop reading a blog if it seems like the author doesn't want to interact. I've had bloggers respond with "thanks for sharing!" when I've taken the time to leave a thoughtful comment, and to me, that seems patronizing. It's like the blogger really wants to say "*&^% you."

    Another thing I look for in blogs is humor. My favorite blog, hands down, is Hyperbole And A Half. It's random, it's crazy, there are hilarious cartoons, and there's some seriously awesome storytelling. If I can one day be half as funny as Allie, I'll feel like a success. <3

  28. Before I answer your question I just want to say that I stumbled on your Artist's Year Off. It's so cool that you pursued the idea to take a year to try new things. I just finished reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin which is in the same vein. =D

    To answer your question - I like the layout of the blog. If it seems too crowded, I'll be turned off. I mostly like jewellery blogs and now crochet as well. I also like seeing lifestyle blogs but sometimes I compare and wish my life were like theirs. Then I have to look at what I've done with my blog. [=

  29. Common interests are normally what brought me to the blog in the first place but what makes me stick around is personality. The way you write, if it's engaging in a way that lets me feel as if I'm getting to know you. It doesn't have to be deep and soul searching but a little you needs to shine through in the words, even if they aren't the of the language I speak - I know where the translator is and how to use it :) A mix of topics is good, we are complex and not single faceted creatures after all :) Why do I lose interest? People change, they grow and needs change. Some blogs I follow are still a daily thing for me and others just don't seem relevant to me anymore, and still others I'll pop in on occasion just to see what's new in their world because they feel like friends. Constant buy my stuff is not allowed in my inbox, I've even unsubsubscibed to notifications for most groups on FB for that reason. The only thing completely unforgivable in MY blog reading world is perpetual negativity. I just do not need to hear it. We all have moments, days or longer stretches where it's all just overwhelming (I've read posts that brought me to tears and all I wanted to do is reach out and give a hug) but all hate all the time - don't need it. So that's my blog world preferences, I hope I helped to answer what you wanted to know :)

  30. I like craft blogs and jewelry blogs - whether it's tutorials, hops, tips and tricks, showing off - it doesn't matter. It's all inspirational to me.

    However, I find that my blog gets the most hits from tutorials. If I have a showcase of artists or techniques, I get a couple comments from those artists showcased, but not a lot of traffic. Traffic comes from tutorials - but it's hard to say if that equals loyal followers!

  31. There is no single answer. I follow political blogs because I want to be informed. Completely different than the jewelry/food/decorating blogs I follow. I even use a different app.

    I do not "follow" blogs, although I follow yours. I put them in my RSS feed. I have over 300 blogs in my feed. I see each and every post. I do not read all of the posts. It would, therefore, seem that the pictures are the most important part. However, pictures alone are not enough. I also want to learn. It is more than tutorials, it is about materials, photographing, design decisions, new techniques, new materials, what inspires us, good shopping, upcoming events, challenges faced and defeated in the production of goods. What I find I pay less and less attention to are the personal stories. It is not because I am disinterested, it is because I have a full time job, a house to keep, things I want to accomplish during the few free hours I have and reading about family matters takes away from my focus. Honestly, I am not unsympathetic- I do read some of those posts, I do try to be supportive; BUT, I cannot do it regularly. So, mostly I browse the text and look at the pretty pictures. Keep in mind that I am a reader- I LOVE to read.

    I do not follow facebook or twitter. I do not have the time.

    I do not always comment on every blog I visit.

    I love a good sense of humor- it is why I always read Bobbie's posts at Beadsong Jewelry.

    One of my favorite blogs is Olive Bites- not the type of jewelry I make, but Cat provokes me into thinking about what is right in front of me. Thus, being thought provoking is a characteristic of blogs I love.

    I have followed you for quite some time- I do not read all of your blog posts. I do not mean to be cruel but I do not understand depression and since I recognize my limitations I just don't read those posts. Recognizing my limitations does not, however, mean that I do not drop your blog, I just wait for the next post. It should be noted that I can empathise with other parts of your life.

    I choose blogs based on their main content- I pay more attention to the posts about that content than off topic posts.

    That is my honest answer, I hope it helps.

  32. Hi Lori!!! I love color and funny, and sweet and sad and hard and easy and lots and lots of beads. I won't follow and read and comment if there is mostly ads, I will read and comment and follow if I can "feel" about the blogger. It does not need to be happy all the time but I do want and maybe even need to connect with the person ! am reading. Have a Blessed Day!

  33. I follow a blog because something about it will strike me as interesting or pleasing in some way. I like blogs with stories and that let you get to know the person behind the blog a little bit. I like regular postings (doesn't have to be every day) and photos and easy navigation. Often if I find a blog I like I will want to go back and read past posts. If I have to "click to continuing reading" - I don't and I don't follow those blogs. It's frustrating to have to click-click-click rather than just scroll.
    I stop reading when I find the blogger starts complaining too much about whatever. I like a lot of different subjects - books, beauty, knitting, DIY, jewelry, writing, travels, decorating, cooking, and style. I read them all and the bloggers vary in their ages from 20s to 60s.

  34. Well, no shocker, here you are hosting a fine discussion on blogging - love it! So many great thoughts shared, I am giving many a virtual high five. I'm also cringing a bit realizing how many folks I may turn off with poor proof-reading. When I started my blog I was thinking of all the wonderful blogs I had followed for years and years - without commenting at all. I suddenly felt quite selfish that I had been reading away in reader and not interacting. oops. I blog like I am chatting to friends, that's when I am most myself and hopefully still engaging, funny, informative and all that good stuff.

    As a blog reader I think I am very forgiving. Honestly, a blogger doesn't owe me a damn thing so they can do as they please. At times I may raise an eyebrow and wonder if they are feeling ok, but I will be around for the next post. I think it is plain to see when folks post out of anger, frustration, etc and I imagine they need my support the most. I don't leave my friends at times of need - I don't unfollow. I just can't think of a time I have done so.

    Perhaps the flip side is I only follow once I have a sense of what to expect. If it is the first time I have visited a blog, I usually have a good poke around and see if it is for me. There is a certain x factor. I can't explain why all the blogs on my list are there. There was one blog that resonated so strongly with me that I read it all the way back to the beginning that very night, two hours later I was in tears and just spent. That's quite a powerful thing!

    I love the community of blogs, hops and challenges are such a great way to interact with like minded folks all over the place. Hearing about other interests, good times and bad is all the wonderful getting to know you stuff.

    I really don't mind if you promote, share coupons, share a sale, a great source, all kinds of awesome and I'll take it. If it doesn't appeal I will move on - no harm no foul. Actually, I love seeing posts where someone shares a whole bunch of stuff they have been up to and what is on the horizon. I get inspired by those who are rockin it! Kelly Rae Roberts is someone who comes to mind as an expert at this. It's full on promotion baby, and it doesn't turn me off one bit since it feels very genuinely her.

    Ok I'm rambling but there is my rant.

  35. I mainly follow a blog because they post something that catches my interest and I keep following because they hold my interest. Or I have become friends with the blogger. I really like getting to know the person through their blog.

  36. Anonymous12:33 AM

    I tend to follow when I'm pulled in my fantastic photos and kept there with humor and an authentic "real person" kind of conversation. Whether it's gardening tips, jewelry design, parenting, etc. -- those are the key things that get me there. I actually am put off by things like giveaways. And I'm probably not the best follower as far as seeing and commenting on many posts -- in fact, I may be one of the worst! Honestly I have never gotten into using a reader or RSS feed, or following every post by email. I click on something that sounds interesting when I see it posted on FB. If I like it a lot, I follow. But I may not come back until I see something posted again. I just can't figure out how to fit reading blogs into my daily habit any better than I can fit in watching TV, watching the news, or reading books of any sort other than Dr. Seuss. I just ain't gonna happen. But it's not the bloggers' fault!

  37. Hi Lori. :) Good question - hard for me to answer. I have about 250 blogs in my RSS reader. (people should really consider using a 'reader' to funnel all the blogs they want to 'follow', you can also follow websites, etsy shops, any site that is updated you can usually add to your reader then you just open that and there are all the new blog posts in a list where you can preview or read the entire content or click through to the blog)

    anyway - on to what I follow. I follow a few jewelry artists because they are friends or they inspire me in some way.

    I follow many DIY home type blogs. I enjoy seeing how creative people answer problems or go about things. I think fueling that creative bone improves our creativity without being indoctrinated with jewelry design ideas (I don't want to copy someone elses designs, I just want my creativity piqued).

    I DISfollow blogs that have too many ads, self promotion, sponsored giveaways. I DISfollow blogs where the author is rude or rants about things constantly.

    I do not mind different religious points of view or lifestyles but if the author is not equally tolerant of others, I can't do it.

    I really am a mixed bag and have a hard time figuring out WHY I follow the blogs I do. They just interest me! I have stopped following some blogs that I realize aren't really adding anything to my life - meaning I read the preview and move on and I'm not implementing any of it - say a cooking blog - if I'm not actually MAKING some of the recipes or learning something that I'm using, I'll eventually drop it. It may be a GREAT blog, but it's just not ADDING anything to my life and my life is WAY too busy.

    I don't know if any of that is helpful - if you're just curious about people or trying to learn to assess your own blog. I think with blogging you just have to be yourself, keeping your audience in mind, but also knowing that people are SO unique and different and odd and strange and wonderful that there are a MILLION different reasons people connect, read, follow, and unfollow.


  38. What an awesome discussion! It's taken me the better part of a day to figure out just how to answer, so here goes.

    I like a variety of blogs, so the only thing that connects them all is that X factor - the personality of the blogger, the way they write, if they can keep me engaged, that thing you can't put your finger on until you see it.

    I follow blogs that teach me something, that are engaging, have pretty pictures, and/or that have a strong focus to it. A strong focus is actually very appealing to me; this way, I as a reader know right off if it's something that I'm interested in. If a strong focus isn't there, then a blogger HAS to be engaging for me to keep reading.

    Truth is, I actually don't follow a whole lot of blogs because of the time it takes to keep up with them. And the ones I do follow I don't comment on as much as I should, again because of time. I reduced the number I follow a while back because I wanted to be more engaged with those blogs I do read, so I need to be more on top of that in the future. The questions I ask myself before following a blog are things like: Does this help me in some way? Does this blog add value to my life? Is this blog so compelling I'd be sad if I missed a post?

    Things that put me off as a reader: horribly long load times (you don't need every post on your front page, you know? 5 or 10 is plenty, with a next button, otherwise it takes forever for your blog to load and you've lost me); centered text for the entire post (it's just not that readable); microscopic or extremely large photos; music; no search box, no archives, and no about page; and a haphazard blog design or template that's hard to navigate.

    In all fairness, I use a feed reader to save me time, so most of those issues aren't usually a problem except when I visit a blog directly.

    I will say that while I don't care much about overall post length, multiple posts a day is a definite no-go for me. Just imagining the kind of energy that takes to do every single day is exhausting, and all I'm doing is reading! I'm really into quality over quantity lately, even in my own blogging, so I'm more likely to follow (or keep following) a blog that posts once or twice a week with a quality post, versus a blog that posts multiple times a day, or even every single day.

    For me as a blogger, I'd rather spend an extra hour and craft a meaty post and leave it up for a couple days then try to craft a new, engaging post every single day - it's less pressure for me as a blogger and for readers, too, who have lots of blogs to keep up with. The quality over quantity and the pressure I feel to perform are exactly why I dialed back in my own blogging; I don't want to put something up just to say I posted - I want it to be intentional. So, I definitely respond to blogs that are intentionally posting, versus filler posting.

    And since others mentioned it, I don't mind promotional posts so long as it's not every post, too. I also don't mind ads, but that's probably because I don't see 98% of them if I'm using my feed reader.

    Hope this helps!

  39. Lori:
    I follow blogs about jewelry (beads) quilting, cooking and other crafts. I add them if I like a post or two. I use Blogger, so other blogs on Blogger are easiest to add. I didn't know what the fuss was about with Google or whatever. I have not joined blog-lovin'. I like tutorials and usually 'Pin' them. I also tend to add too many, and need to drop some. If they have not posted in a year, then that's a candidate to drop...Slow to load blogs are not too fun, for large images or for playlists. That doesn't always keep me away, though. I like a mix of stories and pictures, I feel that more than 3 or 4 pics per post is excessive. Good photography is better, but not crucial.

  40. Hi Lori,
    Lots of thoughts about your qestions. And it looks like you've gotten a lot of answers so I'll try to keep this short and to the point.
    Your's is one of the blogs I check in with regularly. If I feel like the person writing is one I could be friends with in person, then I'm more likely to continue to follow. It's all about the content. I prefer a mix of topics and getting to know the blogger. Showing what you do and how you do it always gets me back. There is one blog I follow that is very genre specific, but her stuff is so fun and she does tutorials all the time and tutorial videos that I always check in. All sales and all "see what I made" can be a turn off. I too like the 80/20 rule. Attitude is everything. I enjoy your's by the way :) And well written with some humor thrown in keeps readers. People that like to write tend to have better blogs. Folks that are just advertising their stuff don't seem to. Just my opinion. And if we lived within driving distance, I'd want to meet you for pie!

  41. As is true of LOTS of people, my time is limited. I tend to read blogs featuring jewelry artists that I'm fascinated by. (Oooo terrible grammar! hehe) Or people I've met and just love. Or people I've never met and just love.. Or inspiring Christians that encourage me to love, give, serve.
    I dislike political blogs. I dislike blogs filled with anger and hatred. An occasional vent can be bonding, but a blogger that delights in pointing out the negative over and over is just unpleasant. No time for unpleasantness!
    My thought is that blog following is so personal and unique. I've perused a few answers here and I'm struck by the variety. One person's love is another person's dislike.
    Interestin' stuff!

  42. Lori, thanks SO much for putting this together!

    Fascinating topics and fantastic pictures draw my attention to a blog, but what really keeps me coming back is great writing, the personality of the blogger, and useful information (whether it’s jewelry techniques, recipes, DIY ideas, parenting strategies, garden tips, or whatEVER).

    I hate to stop following a blog – usually it only happens when I realize that the blog author hasn’t updated in a long, long time, like 10-12 months or so...but I will also stop following a blog if the author steps over the line of kindness and respect for others. My time is valuable and I choose not to waste it reading someone’s negative rant. (hint: this is also the one unforgivable sin.)

    If a blog has music that starts automatically, I will not follow it. Period. I *might* read the post I went to the blog for, but most likely, I won’t be back.

    A mix of topics is fine, but spelling & grammatical errors definitely distract from the message. It’s nice to get a little personal connection with the blogger, but I don’t demand details. I think the personality comes through in the writing, and I know everyone has his or her own unique style, so I try to approach each blog with an open mind.

    It IS possible to overdo the self-promotion and sales pitches – my own personal strategy is to make the majority of my posts useful information/non-promotional content. I have links on the side of my blog to my Etsy shop and also a link to my gallery of work – I trust that my readers, if interested in purchasing my work, will be able to find the links (since they’re at the top of the blog page). I might need to *up* my promotional content perhaps - need to give this some thought.

    A confession: My schedule is jam-packed, so when I can subscribe and have the post delivered to my email in-box, that’s a huge plus. Another help is when the blogger posts to Facebook – that reminds me to get over and read that blog!

  43. I don't follow very many blogs faithfully. My time is valuable so I am selective.

    Reasons for not following:

    Posts about what the blogger had to eat.
    Posts that contain religious or political attacks or support.
    Unaccredited pictures/ideas.
    Too much self promotion.
    Being talked down too.
    Boasting or innuendos about wealth or fame.
    Posting too often (more than once a week unless something special is going on).

    Reasons to follow:
    Common interest (jewelry and adornment creating, environmental protection, reduce-reuse-recycle, vintage).
    Tutorials/how to's.
    Group participation projects/events,
    Shared ideas/finds with links to original content.
    Sharing resources.
    Tips and tricks.
    Audience participation (show 'n tell, surveys).
    Offering encouragement and inspiration.
    Good close up photos including the back or sides.
    "down to earth" persona with some humor.

  44. Of course I start to follow a blog due to some shared common interest.

    If a blog entry has my attention I start to read through the blog... and if I like it I will start following it.

    There are many different kind of blogs I am following, in topics as well as in style. There is not "one! way that I prefer. It is rather more about personality.

    I think in the reasons why I don't follow a blog or stop following / reading a blog one can see what I like. ;)

    One of the things that stop me from reading in the beginning are the short cut blog entries. If I have to open every single entry to be able to read it. No way. I love going through a newly discovered blog, even if it may take hours, but I won't bother my time if I can't easy go through it. Simple but important to me.

    The same goes for ads / layout. I really like different styles, the only thing is: No sound/music, nothing that stops me from reading, nothing that needs too much time to load. Adds at the sidebar are okay, sometimes even great if they are connected to the main content of the blog (yes, I am someone who will buy other ads from other artist :)).

    Nice pictures are good and enjoyable (and better than blurry ones) but they don't have to be professional (ehm... I am also way below that ^^) because perfect pictures alone are no reason to follow. There are a lot of nice decoration blogs with great picturs but after seeing some of them it gets boring. A blog has to have some kind of personality. A blogger don't has to show everything from his private life, not at all. But having some personality in a blog is important. I need to be connected somehow. For jewelery it could be about the creation or inspiration process, about success and failure... something like that.

    And a blog is something personal, so if someone wants to share his private life, opinions, events, what happened... perfect for me. I also include something from time to time to my blog and I gained a lot of friendships even in real life.

    But to be honest, that may include the risk of losing me as reader. I have strong ideals in life and I once stopped following a great crafting blog because the author wrote a hate blog entry about gay people. No way how good your stuff is, I don't want to have anything to do with intolerant and hateful people. I also can't stand religious people who want to take their view of living and how everyone should have to behave to everybody else.

    Oh, and something very simple: I won't stop reading just stop commenting - word verification! ;)

  45. elizabeth7:58 PM

    I normally stumble across new blogs randomly while I'm searching for something else. Say I'm looking for a picture, or a new recipe for dinner, or a craft tutorial. You'll find a blog that has interesting things on it, but there are far too many to read right now because you're on with something else. So you follow it so you can read it at another time when you're not busy.

    I think these days, because people's attention span is shorter, and because there is such a wealth of information out there, people don't go looking for specific blogs and they don't read just one thing.

    Think of the internet as one big library and each website a single book. If you're interested in reading, you won't read the same book every day forever. You'll skip around, today Charles Dickens, tomorrow Martha Stewart.

    So basically, as a creator of original content, as a blogger - you should just write about what you want. People will either follow you or not. Blogs don't need to be all things to all people. You can write in your little corner of the internet and some people will read it. If it's not what they want to read today, they'll read somewhere else.

    Shameless self promotion is boring, and you can see straight through it. As a reader your first thought is "They only care about numbers or sales, they're not interested in writing or sharing information, only personal gain". Too many 'give aways' where you must share links to win, too many things that make their site 'search engine friendly', these are things that mean the writer is trying too hard to get readers, instead of creating interesting content.

    Beware of the "TL/DR" factor too (Too Long / Didn't Read). Long winded ramblings are tiresome when you want some specific knowledge. Interesting anecdotes are great, if they Are interesting and if they get to the point eventually. We don't really need your life story every day. Sometimes I just skim read through blogs and don't sit down and read every word.

    Images are good, if they illustrate what is written in the blog post. Too many pictures just feels lazy on the part of the creator, blogs are for reading. There are other places on the internet for looking at pictures.

    Personally, the only reason I unfollow a blog is if they have clearly abandoned it. If their last post was a year ago, you know they probably won't be posting again, or often. However, if the content that's already there is interesting I'll keep it on the list. The only exception is incredibly opinionated or rude people, I don't need that. But I probably wouldn't start to follow a blog like that anyway.

    Bottom line - I think blogs should stay personal to the writer, don't try chase followers. Give just enough personal information to make you approachable and human, but not so much that the whole internet knows your régime de toilette.

    Write what you know, what you like, what you want to share - and the people will come.

  46. It's kinda funny I just came across this post as I don't read your blog very much anymore. I know that sounds awful but don't take it personally - it's only because your rss feed stopped working a long time ago. So it's all my fault as I'm terrible at keeping up with blogs via bookmarking. (Even worse are people who convert to Facebook only posting - that's a guarantee I won't get around to seeing something until months after the fact, if ever. Ok, never, as I'm on Facebook about 3.2 minutes per week total.) So I guess that's my answer then. If it does not come down to me in my reader every day then I'm not likely to keep up with someone regardless of how much I like them. Partly because of the multiple platforms I now use to get my reading done. I read my blogs/feeds on my iPhone, the iPads, or the computer - whichever is most convenient at that the moment. Using something like Feedly, it has all my feeds built in and I can pick it up on the treadmill or in the car (or on the deck, etc.) and I don't have to go through the hassle of bookmarking everything on every single electronic thing I use and yay! for technology because I'm lazy and that's awesome. As far as bookmarks go, I probably only hit 10 sites per day (MAYBE) by bookmarks, half of which are news/political related, and the other 200-300 post entries come from rss feeds.

    More generally, I will 'forgive' (more like turn a blind eye) a lot from a blogger if I personally like them and I just want to be connected to them in general because I like them. I'm not religious but I wouldn't stop reading someone I felt connected to simply because they talked about their faith in every post in a good natured way. Everybody annoys you at one time or another or seems foolish at times, if we want to be honesty, and that's just human nature. If we got turned off by that and moved on in each and every instance there would be nothing left to read and people would die off in droves from boredom. I like the fact that people are different from me or have different opinions. So it would take a really abrupt turn for me to go from being interested enough to follow someone, to dropping them because I was turned off by something they did. More likely that someone just stops posting altogether or posts so infrequently that you just kinda forget them, you know?

    I'm kinda a content whore so I don't think I can speak to what is attractive for most people about a blog. I mean - I follow THREE cookie decorating blogs when I have NOT A SMIDGE of interest in decorating a single cookie myself. Like, ever. I like the colors and creativity involved and it makes me happy so I read it. Same goes for nail polish review blogs. I'm not going to be interested in buying 99.999% of what I see (one can only have so much polish and lord knows I already own enough) but the colors and glittery pics make me happy. Basically I like anything with bright, clear photos of colorful things, even if I have no interest in the craft/medium itself. Restaurant reviews of areas of the country I don't live in? Sign me up if the photos are awesome. I scan through dozens of things every day from Serious Eats that I don't, and will never, have access to. Why? I don't know. Content whore. lol

  47. Great post. My dislikes: Too many photos (over 5), out of focus photos, and 20 shots of the same piece in the same position. Moving graphics and/or music because they are so distracting causing a negative reaction instead of positive one. Black backgrounds. The same with gray text on white (eye strain). I usually drop a blog if they haven't posted for a year. Oh yeah, one more peeve....unlinked references. If a piece is being sold in the artist's Etsy shop, make it easy for me to click on the word Etsy and go directly to the piece. Whew, that was liberating.

    I post a "look what I made" blog which is in its 4th year. For someone with low self-esteem, it has helped me grow as an artist and allowed me to chronicle accomplishments, which has helped build my confidence. Yes, I throw in some tutorials and write about other artists, but on the whole, it is a virtual show and tell. I love show and tell. Every artist is different and that is what I am drawn to in blogs--the thought process, use of materials/tools, the end result, photos, studio layout and storage, etc. I also love when an artist shares their marketing techniques from making their own price tags to staging their booth.

    I get up in the morning and can't wait to be inspired by some new technique, or catch up on what Lori Anderson has been up to. A wonderful, positive way to start the day. Thanks for the post Lori.

  48. What makes me leave a blog? Auto loading music, bad photography, not much activity less than one post a month, whining, tails on my curser.

    What I love, great photos without a lot of background clutter, just show me the goods! A great sense of humor, someone who can show the good and the projects gone bad.

  49. I start reading a blog because they have something that interests me, beading, quilting, etc. The blogs I like best reveal the person who is blogging. You are very open about your life and I feel a connection, like I'm making a new friend. It's more than just selling your work, it's about making connections.

    Be well. Be happy. Be love.

  50. I love diversity in a blog. "Love My Art Jewelry" is my favorite just for this reason. Maybe today's post isn't my thing, but tomorrow, or the next day.....
    Personalizing it makes me care and probably be a little more loyal, cause I feel like I know them.

  51. wow, you got a lot of good thoughtful comments. i get a lot of blogs maybe 200 / week. mostly crafts, knitting and crochet, liberal politics and some humor. initial attraction would be a common interest. an annoyance on a craft blog would be photos that were so darn artsy i couldn't see what the project was, and couldn't imagine making it. what would make me drop a blog? not enough posts, and if i feel the artist is way too advanced for me, or if its not advanced enough. but thank you for a great blog.

  52. I do follow lots of blogs related to jewellery designs and photography. I like simple yet attractive blogs with well aligned quality pictures and of course good typography. I hate to see any kind of flashy things.


I appreciate comments! Thank you for contributing to the conversation.