The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Blog Boggled: Is Blogging Work?

            On my Blog Boggled series, as well as on many other blogs in blogdom, we have looked at many aspects of what it takes to make a blog better and to make it more successful.  Since today is Labor Day for many of us, I would now like to examine the question:  How much work do you put into blogging?

             Let's start with a definition of "work" as I am using in the context of this question.   One definition put forth by the Oxford English Dictionary is "activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a result".  That is a pretty adequate description of work as it applies to blogging.

             How much we enjoy what we are doing is not really a factor as to whether one would consider blogging to be work.  Some people enjoy cooking, auto mechanics, or drawing as a hobby.  The fact remains is that there is work involved in even hobbies.  After all, no matter how much you are enjoying yourself, you may still be working in your garden, woodworking, or even doing housework.  One person's drudgery may be another person's idea of a good time. 

          The bottom line is that no matter how you view it, an activity that we perform to accomplish an end or reach a goal involves an investment of time, thought, and energy--and that is work.   Blogging certainly fits into this description.  The following is a list of the duties entailed in creating and maintaining a successful blog:

1.    Building and Maintenance--The first thing you do is to establish your blog site.  This may be more work for some more technically challenged bloggers like me.  Fortunately Blogger makes it pretty simple by providing templates, codes, etc.   Some of you may have gotten designs from professionals or even designed your own site.  It all requires learning, practice, and application.  Then after a blog has been established there can be the ongoing work of tweaking your blog's appearance, adding new features, or even upgrading or redesigning the appearance.  The work on a living, growing blog is ongoing.   How much work do you put into the way your blog looks?

2.   Purposeful Posting--Once you've got your blog page set up you need to keep some kind of updated content up there in order to make people want to keep returning to your site.  Keeping the content interesting, cogent, and accurate requires some thought.  The work of research may be necessary.  If you have a writing blog, you should be taking time to proofread and edit your work.  Each posting takes time to enter and refine before putting it out for the public.    Do you do much research for your blog posts?  How deliberate are you in producing a quality product?

3.   Adding the fancy stuff--Thinking only of the posts themselves, to make your blog bits more interesting you may be adding pictures, links, and other add-ins.  It takes some time to find these and some know how to add them to your page.  When do you usually resort to these extras and do you have any tricks to make this easier?

4.   Fishing for followers -- So now you have a blog page and you've added the interesting content.  How are you going to find someone to read it?  Here's where the real time consuming work begins in my opinion.  You may have to resort to social networking tools (facebook, twitter, etc), which I rarely have done.  There are also other devices and communities that I've heard of but have not really researched to understand them (StumbleUpon, Yahoo, Google placement, and so on and so on).   These are probably very effective for those who have taken the time to learn how to use them.  Then there is the one I resort to the most:  going to comment on other blogs.  This is how I and probably most of you got people to start coming to visit your blog.  I 'll follow you if you follow me.  The blog etiquette of reciprocity.  How often do you go trolling for new bloggers that you think might be interested in you?   How much effort do you go to in order to keep them as regular readers?  Do you use any of the other methods for drawing readers to your blog?

5.    Responding to comments--This one is pure etiquette in my book and in the interest of maintaining blog relationships.  This one is directly related to how many readers you have commenting on your posts.  We've been discussing this one in the past weeks, but in a nutshell the blogger's response is an acknowledgement that the visitor has been heard and it is a part of the blog conversation which usually ends at this point.  Are responses to comments an important part of blog work to you?   Do you work at creating any sort of relationships with those who visit your blog?

6.    Visiting back--This is another aspect of blog etiquette.  If a blogger took the time to visit your blog then it might be respectful to see what they are doing and acknowledge that you were there.  If we look at the cyberworld of blogging as a neighborhood, it's as though today you brought me homemade soup and tomorrow I'll bring you fresh baked cookies.  If a blogger visits you and leaves a comment, do you usually visit them and leave a comment on their blog post as well?

7.    Finding more followers--Some bloggers just want as many followers as they can rack up.  Others, like me and probably most of you who consider yourselves writers, want as many readers as you can find.   It's a numbers game which equates to the more followers the greater the pool of potential readers.  This is another activity that can become a lot of work.   Blogfests, challenges, contests, and the like attract many who like you are looking for new  bloggers to check them out.  This can be a time of tremendous activity, i.e. work, as you read comments and leave your own calling card on the blogs of others.  When I hosted the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge I added about 100 new followers, but for over a month I was also working about ten to sixteen hours a day blogging, which is really quite impractical.   What kinds of blog events do you like participate in?   Is it worth the work you put into these events?

8.    Blog higher education--There is work in learning.  I, and I would imagine most of you, could spend a great deal of time reading and researching how to become a better blogger.  We can learn a great deal from other bloggers.  There are several websites, publications, and books that offer information about improving blogging skills.  There are seminars that we can attend.   It can take a tremendous investment of time, energy, and finances to pursue this education.    To what extent do you go to learn more about blogging?  Have you attended any conferences, seminars, or classes?   If so, were they helpful to you and were they worth the time and money you invested?

            Blogging can be fun and it can be very interesting.   But no matter how you look at it, blogging is also work.  All bloggers do not put in the same amount of work.  And not all bloggers are equally serious about their blogs.  For some it may be something to play around with and show off something about themselves and their lives.  Others may be using their blog to establish a platform for whatever else they are trying to achieve.  The amount of work that is necessary to maintain a strong active blog depends a great deal on how important your blog is to you.

            Hopefully you'll find some questions above to answer in the comment section.  Perhaps you can think of some other information that might be helpful to the rest of us.  What is your main reason for blogging?  What are you doing to accomplish your goals?   For you, is blogging hard work, a pleasant adjunct to your work or aspirations, or something that you just do and it's not particularly important to you?

49 comments:

  1. Wow. It does sound like a lot of work when you put it that way.
    I don't know though, I kind of think of work as something I HAVE to do. I don't have to blog. I don't have to reach to anyone. I like it. I really do. And blogging started for em as a way to breathe my heart on to 'paper.' So I would be blogging even if no one followed me. And most of my followers have actually come to me by referral. They know a blogger who knows me. I have lots of relationships outside of blogging world with people who follow my blog. I think you have to think of blogging as being about connections and genuine interested in others. If you are simply commenting on other blogs to get followers people will see through that pretty quick. Just sayin :)

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  2. Well, I think Tabitha said it all and I agree with her. I started as a release and a way to learn some of the technical aspects of blogging.

    My blog is so lacking technical attention. But that is just me.

    As to comment and followers...I try to be polite so if you comment I bring cookies.

    Happy Labor Day Lee :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  3. I'm not totally sure but I guess I spend around an hour or so every day blogging. It does seem like work since it requires effort, but since it's my way to relax after a hard day in my office I consider it a leisure activity.
    As you know, I publish movie news so I have to visit and read a number of film websites daily in order to collect the news for my posts, and I also have to find pictures for my posts. Together with visiting other blogs, commenting and similar, it's around an hour every day.

    When it comes to followers, 80% of my readers are not the people who follow me, but people who come to my blog over Google or other sites on which I have my banners, but they usually just read the stories and fresh news, and followers are the ones who come for a bit of chat and talk as well, for what I'm very grateful :)

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  4. Hi Lee! Jackson is my married name (now divorced). Thanks for stopping by my blog. I have read so many new ones between yesterday and today.

    My main reason to blog is to hold myself accountable for my writing. I also enjoy sharing my pictures. I haven't been blogging long, but I try to update it once a week. I've known others to update it daily.

    Have a great Labor Day!

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  5. I find blogging enjoyable beacuase of the ineraction between the followers,
    When I was doing your challenges especially the music ones there was the question of which songs/tunes I wanted, then I wrote a poem about each one and as I like to get the music to match the blog had to search the net of the right song. Then came the hardest part putting all my findings on to the blog itself, sometimes it took hours but what a feeling of self satisfaction afterwards.

    Have a good Labor Day
    Yvonne.

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  6. You're right: we get out of blogging what we put into it! Great post.

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  7. Excellent list of good "to-do's" ... bloggers who do all those things build readership and loyalty and friends. :)

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  8. I enjoy blogging - I've met so many great people. I like keeping up with what's happening with them, I look forward to seeing what they'll post about next. So I don't usually think of it as work - although it does take a lot of hours. :)

    I'm terrified to change up my blog again - I had quite a few traumatic moments when I changed it in the spring. Still haven't got it all working, but I just ignore what doesn't work. I do like adding photos or clip art to the posts - but I've always been a visual person.

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  9. How much work do you put into the way your blog looks? I put a lot of work into my blog. I have to look at my blog the most so I want it to be pleasing on MY eyes.

    2. Do you do much research for your blog posts? How deliberate are you in producing a quality product? I research A LOT. I try to make my post meaningful to writers and readers.

    3. When do you usually resort to these extras and do you have any tricks to make this easier? It try to make it easier for people who like to tweet my blog. It's the least I can do.

    4. How much effort do you go to in order to keep them as regular readers? I will follow someone if they follow me but because my followers go up so fast, I only go and follow those who leave me a comment. I don't have time to go though my followers list and see if they follow me or not. So, leave me a comment (just one) and I'll go follow your blog. I spend a few hours a day reading and commenting. But, I like to do that. Rarely do I read blogs that don't relate to writing... unless they're a friend.

    5. Are responses to comments an important part of blog work to you? I don't email readers but I always respond. You're right, it's the least I can do. I don't know how many people go back and read my response though.

    6. If a blogger visits you and leaves a comment, do you usually visit them and leave a comment on their blog post as well? Yes. But, usually I've already been there.

    7. What kinds of blog events do you like participate in? It depends how my schedule is. If I'm writing or editing, I don't have much time so I usually don't participate unless it's a simple blogfest. Is it worth the work you put into these events? Sometimes.

    8. To what extent do you go to learn more about blogging? Elizabeth Spann Craig is always tweeting blogs to improve your blog. I try to read those. Have you attended any conferences, seminars, or classes? NO.

    What is your main reason for blogging? I love it. Why? I'm not sure. Connecting with others without leaving my house, what's not to like?

    For you, is blogging hard work, a pleasant adjunct to your work or aspirations, or something that you just do and it's not particularly important to you? OH, it's important to me.

    Great blog post. You obviously feel blogging is important. Thank you.

    CD

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  10. Tabitha -- I know what you are saying and I think it comes down to semantics and outlook. I recall when I was a kid and collected stamps, I would say I was going to work on my stamp collection. I didn't have to do it, but I just loved doing it for my own enjoyment. Even then I recognized I was putting effort and time into what I was doing and that was a form of work. As I've said previously, content and quality of comments has a great deal to do with intent. I don't like it when someone makes a comment like, "Nice blog. Come see mine at ****". Did they even read what I said? Then I will usually see this identical cut and pasted comment on every other blog I go to on that day. You can sure see thru that!

    Jules -- You probably don't need much more on your blog site. Simplicity is all that is needed if you have good content. And you tend to practice good blog etiquette.

    Dezmond -- Are you sure that you're not just having so much fun it only seems like an hour? It seems like you comment on a lot of websites and I find that takes a goodly bit of time by itself. Not to mention the research and composition. If it only takes an hour to do all that you do then I think you should do a special post sometime about your secrets of blogging technique and organization.

    J.L. -- I'm a daily poster here for now, but probably not too much longer. I guess you would sort of say that you are developing your platform for writing with your blog, right?

    Yvonne -- It sounds like you understand what I am saying. I know what you must go thru since I go thru the same procedure except I'm not doing it in verse. On those lists, just collecting the pictures and finding clips and putting it on on the post can take a considerable bit of time, but there is indeed a satisfaction that accompanies the results of one's work.

    Milo -- Thanks for the visit. It's like anything in life. You might go out into a field and kick a ball aimlessly around and that would be playing. Another time you might join in with others and play some soccer. After that you might start practicing to become good at it and you might play on a regular basis. Now you are plying skills to meet an end. You can call it play, but the effort is equivalent to actual work. You can be as good as you want to be and gain recognition for what you do, but you've got to work, or whatever you want to call it, to get there.

    Marvin -- I know you work at doing these things. Nothing wrong with enjoying the work we do.

    Jemi -- As the saying goes, "Time is money", which could easily translate into the effort put into blogging equivacates work. You can certainly enjoy work and how great it is when you do.
    I know what you're saying about the change. I keep wanting to change the look of my blog but I'm very hesitant. Besides it's going to be work and I'm to busy with the relationship part to mess with the appearance. But I'm gonna do it eventually.

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  11. Considering my joint post with Elana and Jen today was on followers, I'll let that speak for itself.
    I put a lot of effort into blogging. Several hours a day. I worked hard to make it visually appealing with overwhelming visitors. With the friends I've made here though, it's not really work.

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  12. Great points! I had no idea what I was in store for when I began my blog. It is work, but well worth the friendships, support, input and info that is found in the blogging community. Good post.
    Happy Labor Day,
    Karen

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  13. Clarissa -- Thank you, Clarissa! You put a lot of work into that comment and I appreciate it.
    The quality and presentation of content on your posts shows that you are concerned with more than just a mere preseence on the page. You have a blog that gives something lasting back to its readers and I think they appreciate you for that.
    Your comment here, Clarissa, was outstanding and provided great, honest information. Thank you!
    As far as comments and responses, I think some of us are as committed to them as we are our posts and sadly, like you say, we don't know if they are always read or not. But if you're going to do something it should be done well and done as though a lot of people may read it. When I was managing a theatrical stage production I always insisted on a quality performance whether there were 10 people in the audience or a thousand. Making the personal connection is important.
    Professionalism should be practiced in blogging just as it would in a meeting with a publisher or a book signing or any other contact event--that is if yours is a professional blog. If it's not and I don't already have some kind of personal relationship with you it may be difficult to justify spending my time at your place unless there is something special about your writing style that makes you worth reading.

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  14. Alex -- I'll be over soon to see what you have to say this time about followers. I've really been enjoying your posts on blogging because it's a favorite blogging topic for me. I can tell by the number of sites you visit and reciprocal comments you receive that you spend a lot of time doing it--believe me I know what it takes. It's been said that you should try to find work that you love so you can love your work. You are one of the fortunate ones.

    Karen -- I too didn't know what I was in for when I started blogging, but once I started I got hooked. The work is rewarding to me and hopefully serving as a foundation for things to come. Thanks for dropping by today.

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  15. My blog is work and hard work, but I enjoy all this type of hard work. I do find it challenging keeping up with reading and commenting on blogs though. I like you want readers. I equate readers as judgement on the readability of my writing. First step blog, second step attempt at publication. I am taking it in baby steps.

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  16. Some really interesting ideas here. I've never really thought of my blog as much more then a means to vent my frustrations or to keep up with my own issues in general.

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  17. Oh gosh, lots of talking points Lee.

    How much work do you put into the way your blog looks? Initially a great deal of thought to layout and content. My first blog has evolved over the last 21 months to a format that I now enjoy. I'm still tweaking my second blog, which is only a few months old - so more to come, I suppose.

    Do you do much research for your blog posts? Always, but I'm use to doing that from my work with newspapers.

    How deliberate are you in producing a quality product? Very deliberate. As a freelance writer my blogs advertise what I am capable of doing, and since my real name and photo is attached I go the extra mile.

    When do you usually resort to these extras and do you have any tricks to make this easier? I generally set up ideas for posts ahead of time, sometimes weeks in advance, and when I have breaks during my day I fill in with research - adding notes as I go along.

    How often do you go trolling for new bloggers that you think might be interested in you? Not as much as I would like. Very often my time during the day is spent on writing assignments that provide direct income.

    How much effort do you go to in order to keep them as regular readers? A good amount of effort. I always check in with readers within a day or two. Many write on a personal level and do not comment on the post directly.

    Do you use any of the other methods for drawing readers to your blog? Social networking is a big part of my process.

    Are responses to comments an important part of blog work to you? They are always nice to have but I also realize some folks just don't comment but prefer to "lurk" or privately e-mail.

    Do you work at creating any sort of relationships with those who visit your blog? Always.

    If a blogger visits you and leaves a comment, do you usually visit them and leave a comment on their blog post as well? Sometimes if I have something to add, but not always. However, I always visit and read blogs that have reached out to me. It may take me a few days but I always catch up and read what they have written.

    What kinds of blog events do you like participate in? It's something I generally don't do but I will leave comments. Unfortunately there are only so many hours in a day and I'm never at a loss as to topics that I want to write about.

    Is it worth the work you put into these events? Absolutely. I've made some wonderful online and professional relationships.

    To what extent do you go to learn more about blogging? I keep up every day with technology and writing/publishing news through newsletters and online articles.

    Have you attended any conferences, seminars, or classes? I've been invited to quite a few from different online marketing companies, but unfortunately I never seem to have the time to attend.

    If so, were they helpful to you and were they worth the time and money you invested? The ones that I am interested in are generally free and if I can ever find the time, I'll let you know my thoughts.

    Hope you have a nice holiday. :)

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  18. Oh gosh, lots of talking points Lee.

    How much work do you put into the way your blog looks? Initially a great deal of thought to layout and content. My first blog has evolved over the last 21 months to a format that I now enjoy. I'm still tweaking my second blog, which is only a few months old - so more to come, I suppose.

    Do you do much research for your blog posts? Always, but I'm use to doing that from my work with newspapers.

    How deliberate are you in producing a quality product? Very deliberate. As a freelance writer, my blogs advertise what I am capable of doing, and since my real name is attached, I go the extra mile.

    When do you usually resort to these extras and do you have any tricks to make this easier? I generally set up ideas for posts ahead of time (sometimes weeks in advance) and when I have breaks during my day, I fill in with research - adding notes as I go along.

    How often do you go trolling for new bloggers that you think might be interested in you? Not as much as I would like. Very often, my time during the day is spent on writing assignments that provide direct income.

    How much effort do you go to in order to keep them as regular readers? A good amount of effort. I always check in with readers within a day or two.

    Do you use any of the other methods for drawing readers to your blog? Social networking is part of my process.

    Are responses to comments an important part of blog work to you? They are always nice to have but I also realize some folks just don't comment but prefer to "lurk" or contact me privately in an e-mail.

    Do you work at creating any sort of relationships with those who visit your blog? Always.

    If a blogger visits you and leaves a comment, do you usually visit them and leave a comment on their blog post as well? Sometimes - if I have something to add, but not always. However, I always visit blogs that have reached out to me and catch up on all their posts.

    What kinds of blog events do you like participate in? It's something I generally don't do as many times I leave comments. Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in a day and I'm never at a loss as to topics that I want to write about.

    Is it worth the work you put into these events? Absolutely. I've made some wonderful online and professional relationships.

    To what extent do you go to learn more about blogging? Have you attended any conferences, seminars, or classes? I’ve been been invited to quite a few seminars but never seem to have the time. However, I do keep up daily with technology/publishing news reports.

    If so, were they helpful to you and were they worth the time and money you invested? If I ever get the time to do a seminar I’ll certainly give you some feedback.

    Hope you have a nice holiday. 

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  19. -Oh gosh, lots of talking points Lee.
    -How much work do you put into the way your blog looks? Initially a great deal of thought to layout and content. My first blog has evolved over the last 21 months to a format that I now enjoy. I'm still tweaking my second blog, which is only a few months old - so more to come, I suppose.
    -Do you do much research for your blog posts? Always, but I'm use to doing that from my work with newspapers.
    -How deliberate are you in producing a quality product? Very deliberate. As a freelance writer, my blogs advertise what I am capable of doing, and since my real name is attached, I go the extra mile.
    -When do you usually resort to these extras and do you have any tricks to make this easier? I generally set up ideas for posts ahead of time (sometimes weeks in advance) and when I have breaks during my day, I fill in with research - adding notes as I go along.
    -How often do you go trolling for new bloggers that you think might be interested in you? Not as much as I would like. Very often, my time during the day is spent on writing assignments that provide direct income.
    -How much effort do you go to in order to keep them as regular readers? A good amount of effort. I always check in with readers within a day or two.
    -Do you use any of the other methods for drawing readers to your blog? Social networking is part of my process.
    -Are responses to comments an important part of blog work to you? They are always nice to have but I also realize some folks just don't comment but prefer to "lurk" or contact me privately in an e-mail.
    -Do you work at creating any sort of relationships with those who visit your blog? Always.
    -If a blogger visits you and leaves a comment, do you usually visit them and leave a comment on their blog post as well? Sometimes - if I have something to add, but not always. However, I always visit blogs that have reached out to me and catch up on all their posts.
    -What kinds of blog events do you like participate in? It's something I generally don't do as many times I leave comments. Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in a day and I'm never at a loss as to topics that I want to write about.
    -Is it worth the work you put into these events? Absolutely. I've made some wonderful online and professional relationships.
    -To what extent do you go to learn more about blogging? Have you attended any conferences, seminars, or classes? I’ve been been invited to quite a few seminars but never seem to have the time. However, I do keep up daily with technology/publishing news reports.
    -If so, were they helpful to you and were they worth the time and money you invested? If I ever get the time to do a seminar I’ll certainly give you some feedback.
    -Hope you have a nice holiday. :)

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  20. Part 1 Of 2:
    LEE ~

    >> How much work do you put into the way your blog looks?

    Not much now. Both of my blogs now appear to my satisfaction. I prefer a more simple and streamlined look. I don’t like to see all kinds of badges and awards and whistles and bells on a blog – those things just pull your eyes all over the place and interfere with what I feel is the primary point of blogging: the text (or, the “blog bit” as I refer to it).

    >> Do you do much research for your blog posts? How deliberate are you in producing a quality product?

    I often do a tremendous amount of research for my blogs – particularly the political blog. But even my fluff blog, “Stuffs”, often requires research. I might find it necessary to look up names and dates, etc., in order to present a detailed piece of writing.

    I am very deliberate about attempting to produce a blog bit of quality every time I post, which can be a bit too time-consuming sometimes. But this is one reason I have never thought to post on a daily basis. I could do that, but I feel the quality would drop off noticeably. (And that’s one reason I didn’t quite make it to the end of the “A To Z April Blog Challenge”.) I like to think of each blog bit as a fairly refined and pretty well written piece, and not just some superficial nonsense quickly banged out and posted.

    >> Adding the fancy stuff …When do you usually resort to these extras and do you have any tricks to make this easier?

    As I said, I don’t care for blogs that include all the whistles and bells – it’s distracting to the eyes, it’s usually totally unnecessary, and if the page takes longer to load than I feel it should, I’ll click away from it and move on. A couple of “extras” is OK, but I don’t at all care for it when I find someone’s blog and it’s got everything including the kitchen sink on it. Be mo’ selective! Which one or two whistles or bells do you REALLY want on the page? Add just those and fight the “Clutter Urge”.

    If someone’s blog page looks like an Amazon.com product page (i.e., every space filled with some link or silly/unnecessary message or award) I will be naturally disinclined to “Follow” that blog (unless he or she is truly a friend of mine).

    >> How often do you go trolling for new bloggers that you think might be interested in you? How much effort do you go to in order to keep them as regular readers? Do you use any of the other methods for drawing readers to your blog?

    I never go trolling for new “Followers”. If someone finds my blogs and likes them, I’m happy to have them as a regular reader, but I’m not interested in having a bunch of “pseudo-Followers”: persons who sign up as a “Follower” but then never actually read your blog and therefore never leave an occasional comment.

    Just the other day, two persons discontinued “Following” my “Stuffs” blog. I only know that because I saw the number 30 (“Followers”) was suddenly down to 28. But since these so-called “Followers” never left a comment – and probably never actually read my blog bits at all – I couldn’t even begin to name them. Sorry, but I can’t cry over a no-show suddenly disappearing. I don’t want those sorts of “Followers” anyway. And of my remaining 28 “Followers” of “Stuffs”, approximately 20 of them are similar no-shows. I have no idea why they don’t drop off as well.

    >> Are responses to comments an important part of blog work to you? Do you work at creating any sort of relationships with those who visit your blog?

    Yes, responding to comments is very important to me. I believe it’s the decent, right, and polite thing to do. If a long period goes by and a blogger never responds to any of my comments that I’ve left on their blog, I will drop him or her. If someone takes the time and trouble to comment on my blog, of course I will reply. And it is in that way that I work to create some sort of relationship with those commenters who visit me.

    Continued Below . . .

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  21. Part 2 Of 2:
    >> If a blogger visits you and leaves a comment, do you usually visit them and leave a comment on their blog post as well?

    If a previously unknown blogger leaves a comment on one of my blogs I WILL ALWAYS visit their blog to see what they’re all about. That doesn’t mean I will necessarily comment on their blog or become a “Follower” of it. I will comment and “Follow” only if I am inspired to do so by what they’re posting, that is, if I’m genuinely interested in the subject matters they address. But ABSOLUTELY I will respond to their comment on my blog and then check them out to see if I like where they’re coming from.

    I mean, if their blogging is primarily concerned with their pets or their children or their favorite recipes or the manuscripts they’re hoping to publish in book form someday, it’s highly unlikely I will add their blog to those I “Follow”. But if the stuffs they’re posting makes me laugh, or is insightful, or politically “Constitutional”, chances are good I will begin “Following” their blog and commenting on it from time to time. If someone can routinely amuse or entertain me, count me in as a “Follower”.

    >> What kinds of blog events do you like to participate in?

    Just some of the ones that you’ve organized, Lee.
    NEVER, EVER one of those bloggy writer contests like, “Hey, I know, kids! Let’s put on a show! Let’s all post about the most violent character we’ve ever created in one of our manuscripts of fiction!” What a lot of onanism! Those types of contests make me barf! And, hell, if it’s barfing I want to do, I’ll at least have some fun with it first – like by drinking a fifth of Wild Turkey 101.

    >> To what extent do you go to learn more about blogging? Have you attended any conferences, seminars, or classes?

    Ha!-Ha! Yeah, I need to “get a life”, but I haven’t dipped down to that level yet.

    ~ Stephen
    "As a dog returns to his own vomit,
    so a fool repeats his folly."
    ~ Proverbs 26:11

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  22. How funny! It seems there is a lot a help around the blog this week! I love it!!! Great tips, you're doing wonderful work by sharing these things!!

    I will say that your huge A-Z challenge helped me learn a lot of myself as a blogger, I am very thankful for that experience and I feel I've grown a ton since then!

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  23. Short answer: YES. Blogging is a whole lotta work. A whole lot. Sure, you can do it where you don't respond to people's comments. You never go to their blogs and leave a comment. You just post in your own world and hope people will leave comments. I know authors who do that. They still get comments and have large followings.

    But I want more than that. I want relationships. I want online friends. I want my blog to be about MORE than ME.

    And that takes work.

    (Plus, I'm sure you could name the people who's blogs you continuously comment on and they never come to yours. Do you keep going back? I don't. I stop. You know?)

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  24. "Are you sure that you're not just having so much fun it only seems like an hour? It seems like you comment on a lot of websites"

    Well, actually I don't really visit lots of sites every day, just the ones which you can see in my blog roll :) And I'm professor, a translator and a PR, which means I have a natural ability to read fast and find important information immediately :)
    When I'm free from work, I do drop by my blog a few times daily to answer the comments.

    And yes, I was born organized :)

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  25. Wow! What great comments and information. If it wasn't for the blog world I wouldn't have found out about Write On Con and realized that there is an incredible support group out there for writers, unpublished and published.
    Yes, this is work, but networking always is work. The pay off of being part of a community of ideas is well worth anytime I have spent. It is all about balance for me. I do what I can do with the hope of getting better and better at it. Thanks!

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  26. Ann -- I so agree with you about the idea of testing your writing on the blog. Having readers continue to come back to your site is some kind of testimony to how appealing your writing is. Likewise comments can say a great deal about your writing. A "nice to see ya" comment doesn't tell me anything about what I've written, but a reference to what I've posted or an answer to a question tells me I struck some kind of chord with the reader.

    Bear Monk -- Glad you added your voice to this discussion. Even just griping in the printed word or keeping up with issue requires effort and to me effort translates into ergs, i.e. units of work or energy.

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  27. Paula -- Thank you for the effort you put into such an extensive comment. You are correct that a blog is a reflection on the blog author--who they are, what they can do, level of dedication and reliability, and many other attributes. It's almost like an online resume for a writer so we want to put our best face on.
    Balance is a necessity. Income producing work certainly comes first. Blogging should not interfere with career or family life. Our blog work should have a payoff either related to our careers or our personal recreational and social times. Blogging for no reason, for me, doesn't seem like a very productive use of one's time and talents. I appreciate your regular visits to my site and the comments you leave.

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  28. StMc -- Another tour de force two part comment from Stephen T McCarthy. With the great extensive and inciteful comments you leave, it's a wonder other bloggers aren't beating their way to your blog to curry your favor to visit their blogs to leave comments. I do understand your feelings about what does elicit interest and comments. When it gets too personal without extraordinarily entertaining writing I start feeling like I've intruded into someones family gathering.

    Since I sometimes do similarly formatted posts as appear on your space, I know the time and effort that it takes. You put great care into composing not only your posts, but also your comments. I often rush thru my comments as your occasional corrections will attest. You also have a full time job which makes a big difference. If I were in your shoes--well, actually I don't like to wear other people's shoes--but if I were in a similar postition I wouldn't be doing a lot of seeking out other blogs, and commenting, and posting every day.

    As it is, I don't plan to be posting every day either. One of the natural functions of that move should mean I won't be commenting as much either, but we shall see.

    Hope others will read your comment as you make some good points. You and I have gone over many of these often and I pretty well know your philosophy and sentiments by now as you know mine.

    If there's ever a blogger's conference in Phoenix I'll meet you there and we can attend some of the seminars. You can heckle and get thrown out.

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  29. First, yes, blogging is work, but it’s the joyful kind of work.

    1. I put thought into the look of my blog. I wanted it to look different, be easy to read, look clutter free, and be easy to navigate. I’m planning a redesign for the new year. Yes, I’m planning now ‘cause it takes work. :p

    2. Most posts are 50/50. Half are just me thinking out loud and half include research (like adding info. to go with a photo.) I write my posts a few days ahead of schedule so I can proof if before it goes live.

    3. I add pictures, though I never thought of that as fancy. My blog is pretty basic – on purpose. I don’t want people to get distracted by foo foo stuff. So, an image with each post makes it more lively. I add links when it fits.

    4. Hum, I visit other blog mostly and comment when can. I haven’t really tried to much else. Oh, I do add a link in my sig at forums.

    5. I respond when a question has been asked or when something was funny or intuitive, etc. was left in the comments.

    6. Most of my commenters are peopleI already follow so I do make it there. If I see a new person has left a comment I always visit them back and comment on a post or two.

    7. I’ve only done one blogfest (Alex’s Dirty Dozen). It was fun but tons of work. The post, yes, but visiting other people in the blogfest took 2-1/2 days! But it was fun.

    8. Uh, none. I read other bloggers giving blogging advice. ;)

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  30. Jen -- I've been doing my Monday blogging series for quite a while, when I don't do my writing topics which is not often. I think the topic of blogging always has an audience and will stimulate some helpful discussion. I'm so glad the A to Z Challenged helped so many people. I know it showed me a lot.

    Elena -- I'm glad you're not afraid to admit that blogging is work. I don't care how much fun anyone is having, there is work involved. I know there have been some bloggers that I felt I had a great deal in common with and when I went to comment they ignored me and didn't return the visit to see what my blog was about. But usually these blogs treated others the same way and they rarely have any comments. I don't know why they don't just close their comments and pretend like everyone is hanging on their every word. But enough rant. Thanks for the great tips that you offer and for your comment here today.

    Dezmond -- I have this bad tendency to think and daydream when I start reading something. I causes me to be very slow trying to get through something. Sure seems like you are commenting a lot and also keeping up with responses to your comments and comments where people mention you. You really do very well at be attentive to your readers and blog friends.

    Pam -- Yes, the networking and sharing of information is really valuable. I too have found many great resources because they were mentioned on someone's blog.

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  31. Holly -- I really like your comment. Thanks for giving us this info. I'm in agreement about the simplicity. I guess the important thing is to decide what point you are trying to get across with your blog and focua on that. The mix of "thinking out loud" and information is what adds the personal touch to what could be just another dry blogful of data. I think we all like a bit of personality in what we read in the blogs.
    If you thought the Dirty Dozen blogfest was a lot of work, you should have done the A to Z Challenge. That could get grueling and at times I just had to throw up my virtual hands and decide I couldn't read every single post of every participant for a whole month. It was great fun but a whole lotta work! You wanna join us next April?

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  32. What is my main reason for blogging?

    To expose my readers to a variety of spiritually beneficial topics, books, articles, and thought

    To edify or build up my readers in the faith once for all time delivered to the saints

    To exalt the glorious character of our Lord Jesus Christ

    To expand a passion for the supremacy of God in all things

    What am I doing to accomplish my goals?

    I write articles, review books, refute error, offer scriptural treatises, expose readers to authors, pastors, doctrine, and point people to the glory of God.

    Is blogging hard work...

    Most of the time it is hard work. I try and put major effort into being interesting, accurate, biblical, uplifting without phoning it in. I spend a great deal of time on most blogs - some not at all, copying a quote that "hit me" isn't a lot of work. My blog is very important to me.

    I have spent time researching how to make my blog better. I don't look for more followers now, I want those who follow to actually follow. I try and visit very person who comments on my blog. If they comment they get a comment. I have worked at creating relationships, I am in contact with a few people now. I don't fish for followers. I have tgrie to make my blog better by adding the tabs at the top.

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  33. Gregg -- You are very good at doing what you set out to do. Your comments--this one being an example--are usually very comprehensive and show that you've actually read what you are commenting on. Your responses to the comments you receive are caring and considerate and go to a goodly extent to completely answer your readers' concerns and questions. I think many of us who read your blog look upon you as a expert, or at least one who is familiar with the take of the experts, on the topics upon which you expound. It's pretty obvious that a great deal of time and study has gone into preparing many of your blog posts. Thank you for the service you provide.

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  34. Good post bro. I need to get out there more. I haven't been doing anything relevant lately. I do have a new post that I'm working on right now. Will post it probably by the end of the week.
    Good stuff though.

    Be blessed. Be a blessing.
    DJ GlenMC

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  35. There are some great points here. I blog to connect. Though I put a lot of work into my blog, but I've never trolled for followers. They find me and add me if they like what I say. Likewise that's what I do. It's funny I read this (and Jen, Alex and Elana's) because I'm writing about the same thing.

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  36. Sometimes I love blogging and other times I find it a chore. However, I feel the friends I’ve made along the way make it worth while. Regardless I do work hard to try to make my posts interesting and always spend time trying to research whatever I decide to write about. I also try to find a quote that fits the theme as well as a picture to add a little interest. I make an effort to respond to commenters by visiting and commenting on their blog. When I have a little extra time, I love to check out new blogs. I’ve learned so much about writing and blogging from other bloggers and from Dani’s blog-a-day challenge.

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  37. Blogging has become an important activity to me. I learn so much from others and while I'd love to comment on comments I receive, I'd rather comment on a few other blogs I've read and appreciated. On her post on blogging today, Elana at Elana Johnson, Author, http://elanajohnson.blogspot.com/said: "Only do what you can do." That seems like sound advice.

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  38. Glen -- I'll look for something soon, and of course I'm going to try to catch the live stream on Wednesday.

    Candy -- It's a topic that's always relevant since there are always new bloggers that want to know and veteran bloggers that still are interested in reading about topics related to blogging.

    Jane -- I know what you're saying. Since I've committed myself to a schedule I feel obligated to get something on the site and when I'm behind I get pressured. Granted it's a personal thing--like who's going to fire me if I don't. Findng new blogs means more potential work in the future which can be good, but it can also add to blog stress.

    Liza -- to Elena's quote I would add "but do what you should" which for me means to acknowledge the comments I receive. To me that comes first, but the commenting on others can be almost just as important. Like you say, going to the other blogs can be an important learning experience.

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  39. You manage to cover all the important points.

    I think Blogger has been vastly improved this year w/ all the new templates. Signed up just in time to benefit from this back around March when the templates were in beta mode. I've also noticed that they have a STATS section that appeared less than a week ago. That will prove very helpful to those who are concerned about their blogs performance.

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  40. Hi Lee .. yes it is work - but what isn't? The most important thing to me .. are the commenters and readers .. with whom I most definitely interact and get to know - as best one can in the blogging world - possibly better than one's friends perhaps?!

    My commenters are my lifeline - love them; my blog itself is 'me' .. and my future - my asset base to take things to another level;

    & I got going with a group .. otherwise I'd have not known what to do .. and just developed the idea of the blog from articles and subjects I'd discussed with my mother and my uncle - but which amused, stimulated and inspired us .. in times of adversity.

    I have had some help re above, but shortly after .. the blog just took off & I've had a lot of illness to deal with .. so I'm very happy with its security and the learning process .. so it continues to grow ..(slowly granted!) .. and I continue to learn doing courses .. to improve my technical skills, while maintaining the blog itself.

    It's essential to appreciate your commenters by commenting on their blog and usually follow your followers ..

    Have a good week .. Hilary

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  41. A great post.
    It is work, but it is definitely a pleasure too.

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  42. Lisa -- I have been quite lax about investigating the helpful features that blogger and other sources have to offer. Partly out of intrepidation, partly not allotting time to do it, I have not done as much as I probably should be doing to improve the performance of my blog and understand what's really going on with it.

    Hilary -- I've equated the blog to a garden. We plant, prune, and expand and hopefully reap a bountiful harvest that nourishes our minds and souls. You do a really wonderful job with your in depth comments and responses to the comments you receive. That makes readers feel like you care and want to keep coming back to see you.

    Al -- Thanks. As the saying goes, "Anything worth doing is worth doing well." Why maintain a blog if you're not going to keep it up to a high standard. It's like inviting someone over to your house--I wouldn't want to visit a filthy house in disarray and I certainly don't want anyone seeing my house that way.

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  43. r-LEE-B ~

    >>If I were in your shoes--well, actually I don't like to wear other people's shoes--

    ;o)
    Yeah, I hear ya, Brother.
    Hats, too. I don't like wearing other people's hats. And I absolutely INSIST on wearing my own bra.

    >>I pretty well know your philosophy and sentiments by now as you know mine.

    Yeah, we've covered most of this stuffs before, and I know my viewpoint is well outside of the mainstream. I'm not just the Village Idiot, but I'm the Local Screwball, too!

    >>If there's ever a blogger's conference in Phoenix I'll meet you there and we can attend some of the seminars. You can heckle and get thrown out.

    Sure! It would be good material for my next blog bit! :o)

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  44. Hi Arlee,
    I started blogging after my first stroke two years ago. I didn't even know what blogging was. My oldest daughter was so worried about me that she set up a blog for me so that I would just "sit still"!
    Well I loved it. For me it is more fun than anything else. Sometimes I do get serious but I still think of it as my own space to do what I wish with. Followers or not.
    I have become friends with several followers and really do cherish that friendship. One of my favorite things about blogging though is reading what others have to say. People are so interesting that I am amazed that they would want to read my posts!
    I don't spend as much time as I used to with it because I don't like spending hours on end on the computer. Depends on my mood I guess!
    BTW, your blog is one of my favorites!
    Love Di ♥

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  45. StMc -- Okay, you're on. Next blogger's conference in Phoenix.

    Diana -- The beauty of blogging is that you name the commitment level where you want to be. The community can be very nice. And thank you for that kind comment toward this blog.

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  46. For me, blogging is still very much a labour of love. Once I finish my MA (5 weeks, whooo!) and start to focus on writing fiction, I'll likely become a lot more focused on the blog and gaining momentum for what I want to achieve. I still don't want to consider it 'work' though. If I start thinking of something as 'work' I always take a step back and allow myself some breathing space, find out what it is about it that I enjoy, and then dive in head first and fall in love with it all over again.

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  47. Jamie -- As I've already said, how we describe our blogging activity may be merely a matter of semantics. "Labour of love" is a way of saying you like the work you do. I don't see work as a bad thing--it's bad when it turns into toil or drudgery. Congratulations on reaching the upcoming education goal. And here's to wishing you a highly successful career in writing.

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  48. Hey there! I am totally with you on criticism. I know what you mean about people ignoring it on blogs. I am not a pubbed author and I don't have a critique group yet, so what I want from blogging is to get some feedback, not just a bunch of praise. Sometimes I'll offer suggestions on people's blogfest stories, and it does get ignored. I think blogfests should be for practice. So if ever you read an idea or story of mine that seems weak, please tell me how I can improve. I'll do the same for you if I ever read something that irks me.

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  49. Dayana-- Thank you for your visit here and responding to the comment I made on your blog post. I do subscribe to posts where I have made comments so it's okay to respond there. I've discussed this on my site before. It's a peeve of mine that some people make a comment, don't subscribe to see if there will be a response from the blogger or a related comment from another blogger. So I understand why you handled your response in this way.
    I don't read many of the blogfest fictions, but if I do or if I read a fiction someone posts on their site, I do try to be as direct and honest, but in a tactful and hopefully helpful way. And yes, feel free to be honest if there is a criticism you feel needs to be made about my writing or anything I've said.

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Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

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If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee