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Q & A's for the rookie mom blogger (the much-anticipated follow-up post!)

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the mommyhood memos: Q & A's for the rookie mom blogger (the much-anticipated follow-up post!)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Q & A's for the rookie mom blogger (the much-anticipated follow-up post!)

A week or two ago I wrote a post soliciting advice for newbie bloggers. It was fun to generate some discussion and I enjoyed—and learned from—your responses. A post like that deserves a follow-up so that I can share what I learned and pass along the tips. It’s taken me a while to compile and edit it all without making this a monster-length post. (And no doubt there will be more coming in future posts!) But here are some of your responses and tips so far for the newbie:

How do you read, and keep organized, the blogs you that you subscribe to? Judging by most of the responses I received, the winner—hands down—is Google Reader. For some detailed “how-to” posts on this check out Cameron from Ingenue Mom’s How to Efficiently Read Blogs and How to Create/Add to Folders in Google Reader. I’ve since started to use Google Reader myself and—wow—it’s so much better than just reading them from my Blogger dashboard.

How many (on average) do you read and visit daily? This varied wildly from person to person... so I couldn’t really pick up an average. Some of you read a couple, and some spend hours every day. *phew* I guess I’m not the only one who has to “budget” my time and think carefully about how I will prioritize...
When you read a post, do you always comment? And do you “expect” them to comment back? Responses to this question were all very similar. flyrish from Flyrish Foibles and Other Alliterations said, “I read more than I comment and I never expect a response to my comments, although that is a sweet surprise.” Most people said that they only comment when they have something to “add” to the discussion. (In other words, they may read, enjoy the post, and still not comment.) Another common theme was that people “comment back” when someone makes a thoughtful, sincere post, but not necessarily when they make a “hi, stopping by” comment.
When someone comments on your blog, do you always then visit theirs? No big surprises here... most of you said that you try to, especially if it’s the first time they’ve stopped by. A few others said you always return comments no matter what. (Good for you!)

Can someone please tell me what the deal is with these Follow Me Fridays please and is it worth it? Seems like a lot of people do this, and from what I can tell, the ones that do it consistently have LOTS of readers... so it must work! *grin* I’ve yet to try this out for myself, mostly because the blogging time I do have is limited and it’s not made my “priority” list... yet.

What sites do you feel are most helpful to register your blog with? Cameron from Ingenue Mom said this: “Mom Bloggers Club, Bloggy Moms, Lady Bloggers Society, BlogFrog, The Secret is in the Sauce, Theta Mom Community - these are the ones that I regularly get new followers from. People will mention them when they visit my blog.” I have yet to visit most of these that Cameron’s recommended registering with… but it’s definitely something I’d like to do soon.

Do you prefer to read blogs where the subject matter is streamlined... or do you like a variety? Teresa from Gossip at the Fence answered: “Both… if I expect a blog to have content based mostly on one subject it throws me when they change it up… but if I like a blog based mostly on the writing style of the blogger, I don’t mind the change in subjects because it’s not the subject that hooked me as much as it was the writing style.”

What are the top reasons you will read (and go back to) a particular blog? Some of the common themes I saw coming through in response to this question were things like good spelling and grammar, interesting subject matter, being personal, “clicking” with the writer because of stage of life (or some other “connector”), enjoyable writing style, and simple, easy to read design. Here are a few other specific responses:
  • This Mom from This Mom Loves“Personally I like blogs with lots of content (and not just the cute things the kids say).”
  • Rachel from Get Real Mama: “I personally want them to be clever, witty thoughtful and funny. I want them to be well-written.”
  • HMCinCali: I enjoy short clever postings (about 500-800 words) and many pictures/videos.” [Adriel’s note: that blows it for this post! Way. Too. Long. *grin*]
What turns you off from going back to someone's blog? This is perhaps the question that everyone finds easiest to answer! Common themes included poor design, confusing layout, too many “spammy” PR posts (give-aways and reviews), bad spelling and grammar, poor writing in general, and using lots of different colors and fonts and “busy” things (like glitter and music). Another big turn-off is posts that read more like someone’s journal such as: what Aunt Martha said at dinner last night that hurt my feelings, what little Jonny ate for his morning snack, or how long I stood in line at Target this morning. Basically, posts that have no relevance or connecting point to the reader. (I couldn’t agree more!) A few more specific examples of reader turn-offs:
  • Musings of a Work At Home Missionary Mom: “I hate it when people write in "text" (r instead of are, u instead of you, 4 instead of four). Its hard for me to read and I tend to label them unintelligent.”
  • Rachel from Get Real Mama“I really cannot stand it when blogs are littered with LOL! and Ha Ha!.”
  • Mommycrat: “Ones with too much going on re: different colours/texts etc... Finally, I don't like the ones that automatically start playing music at me when I arrive. I find it distracting.”
Do you think good blogs post everyday? Or does posting every day annoy you? Consensus seems to be that posting everyday is good... as long as it’s posting with purpose! If not, just post when you have something substantial to share.

What's the best way you've found to boost your readership? And how do you really feel about self-promotion? Again Cameron from Ingenue Mom has a helpful response to this one: The blog networks, the blog hops & comments! Definitely. I do feel like sometimes self-promotion is just sucky, but at the same time, I feel like it's necessary. You have to put yourself out there & kinda market your blog if you want more readers. It's just the way the game works. The comments are huge, but you have to leave thoughtful, sincere comments. Nobody cares if you just go to their blog & say nothing but "Great post, check out my blog." And ladies, she knows what she’s talking about! I started following her when she only had a handful of followers. (I think it was less than 20… Is that right Cameron??) And then in just a few weeks she has far surpassed me and now has over 220 followers! This woman knows what she’s talking about! Now obviously only a percentage of your followers will become your readers… but the more followers, the more potential readers.

What's one thing you've learned that you wish you knew when you started? Or what is your best advice for a rookie blogger? Teresa from Gossip at the Fence said, “I’ve learned that it is okay to self promote... and most importantly to be yourself.” That’s got to be the best tip – be yourself! Other tips offered included things like choosing Wordpress instead of Blogger, writing a bunch of posts at once and then scheduling them throughout the week, taking time to comment on other’s blogs, and careful editing before hitting that “publish” button!

There were some great responses to my questions. Thank you ladies for your fabulous suggestions and contributions! Since you offered such great feedback, I wanted to make this post a complication of some of the common themes. But in saying that I’ve also learned a bunch of other stuff that I would add to this (including some of my own personal regrets and ideas) but I’m going to have to do another post (or posts) so that this one doesn’t get more out of hand than it already is. *grin*

Now certainly I’m no expert blogger (and still just a few months into the blogosphere) but I do feel like I’ve learned a lot already, and am having more discoveries all the time. And although my intention for the mommyhood memos is to write specifically about motherhood and connect with other moms, I feel like blogging fits into that since there are soooo many mommy bloggeres out there. In light of that, here are the posts I’m thinking about writing:

·         Simple HTML for newbies
·         Easy design tips
·         What I wish I’d known before I started blogging
·         An intro to branding and finding your “voice”

Dear mommy friends, do these subjects interest you? And, if so, please let me know and I’ll try to make it happen over the next several weeks. What other bloggy things do you wish you could learn more about? OR, have you written a “helps” post for bloggers that you’d like to share with us? If so leave it in a comment and we’ll check it out!

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At July 11, 2010 at 10:30 AM , Blogger Jhen.Stark said...

OOH, yes, "Simple HTML for newbies" and "An Intro to branding and finding your voice"! Wow, I feel like I just walked into the School of Blogging and registered for classes!!! Looking forward to it.

P.S. So needed this! Although I probably wouldn't say I'm in the Mommy Blogging World, this was VERY good info to read!

At July 11, 2010 at 10:41 AM , Blogger HRH Mommy said...

Adriel, what a wonderful and insightful post!! I love the information that you provided. Great idea!! Compliments to you for taking on the challenge to write about the future topics you want to cover. Personally, I am pretty familiar with HTML, but the other 3 topics I would be very very very interested in. Looking forward to reading about them.


At July 11, 2010 at 11:37 AM , Blogger Asashia said...

Adriel, I'll be back with a more detailed comment but for now... I've left you an award on my blog, enjoy :)

At July 11, 2010 at 12:13 PM , Blogger Cameron said...

I love that you posted this & pieced together everyone's advice!! I'm visiting all the blogs you linked to right now because people gave you some great tips!

I wanted to tell you - one of my favorite things you do on your blog is say what blog posts you're planning on writing soon. I think that is such a great idea!!

At July 11, 2010 at 12:19 PM , Blogger Mary said...

Wonderful post. So much information to take in. I have been blogging for three years and have been trying to figure out how to draw more readers. These tips will certainly help. Thank you so much and yes the topics you suggested would be very interesting to read about.
Blessings and Grace to you...

At July 11, 2010 at 2:36 PM , Blogger Mama Hen said...

Adriel you really did your homework on this post! This is great, especially for new bloggers. I always try to comment back. I started blogging a couple of months ago and I never knew how much time it would take. I think it is important to comment back because readers have taken the time to comment. I also like visiting someones blog when they have commented because it is almost like keeping up with the converstation at times. But I visit so many blogs a day. There are so many amazing bloggers out there! Thank you for your comment about me wanting another child. I know it is up to God and your kind comment really makes me feel better. I gave you an award! Come and get it! :)

Mama Hen

At July 11, 2010 at 7:30 PM , Blogger Musings of a Work At Home Missionary Mom said...

This is great! I soooooo look forward to these upcomign blogs. Seriously - I am so new at this and feel like I am feeling around in the dark sometimes. Being a new mommy I don't have time to do a lot of googling (I do too much as it is!) and wading through tons of information to find what I am looking for. Thanks for reposting those blog club sites. I belong to one of them - but I think I'll be checking out the others as well.

At July 11, 2010 at 10:20 PM , Anonymous Theta Mom said...

What a great post, some wonderful tips here that I think are always helpful for newbies and veteran bloggers alike!

And thanks for the link back! ;) Welcome to TMC!!! Really look forward to blogging with you!

At July 12, 2010 at 6:29 PM , Blogger Aspiring Napper said...

I really appreciated this info. I am a new blogger-- had a blog YEARS ago but now I am a mommy blogger and DEF new to the mommy blogging world. What surprises me the most is the HUGE business it has become. Wow! Not so sure if that's a good thing as far as actual quality writing is concerned...


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