Well, I'm going to approach this from a reader's aspect and a blogger's aspect because to me they are essentially one in the same because you can't have an active blog without reading other blogs or participating on your own blog in some form or fashion. I will be speaking in general terms, so my concerns may not apply all the time and does not apply to ALL blogs.
Issues I find as a writer of my own blog.
- Setting up post in advance ~ I use to do this in the beginning. But then life happened once the release date of my book started fast approaching. So right now I'm struggling with time management.
- Book Reviews ~ I'm so overwhelmed with the number of requests I get for book reviews. I remember a time when I had to ask for them or read books I already owned. Now my inbox is overflowing. It's hard to tell someone your schedule is full and you can't read their work. But I can't read everything.
- Memes ~ I know there are tons of memes out there. But honestly, I only know of the same few I see on other blogs. I would love to mix it up sometimes. And often when I get to the blog host of the meme, the linky list is so full I'm at the bottom or in the middle and many won't ever make it that far down the list to visit. So I struggle with deciding on whether to participate or not. Or just do me and let it ride.
How I find ways to interact
- I comment often on other blogs.
- I try to post at least three times a week.
- I try to be creative by trying different things. I get bored easily. So if it's boring to me to write it, I assume it's boring to readers. I love to crack myself up. I like to be the first person to laugh at me or something I did.
- I try to remember that bloggers are real people. Behind the blog is a breathing, living human being with responsibilities and loved ones demanding their precious time. And not every blogger is always having a great day. So I will generally comment on a blog when the post has no comments at all. I remember the feeling of posting and not having a single soul coming by to reply to my brilliant ever so enlightening posts. :-)
From a reader's standpoint I'll go over three issues; community, concerns and struggles.
- Community ~ As a reader, I want to know when I happen upon a blog that I am valued as a reader. That my interaction is easy to facilitate with other followers. What I mean by that is I don't want to jump through hoops to comment on your blog. The point in reading the blog is to gain information and relay that information back to you as to whether it was effective or share some of my own ideas by expounding upon your central idea. Make your comment tab highly visible or at the least put it in a common place.
- Struggles ~ Get rid of CAPTCHA! It the most annoying aspect of blogging as a reader. Most blog followers follow many, many blogs. In order to respond to them in an efficient manner I need to get in and get out so I can move on to find other valuable information. But if you have on captcha (the little box that pops us and says enter these letters before your comment can post) you have just slowed me down in my blogging schedule. And most of the time after I comment I immediately hit the X and close out the window. So if you have on captcha I won't know it and my comment will not have posted. So in order to make sure it did I have to wait even longer to see if the captcha box will appear before I close out. Once this happens, I make a mental note to check that blog last on my round of blog visiting because it's too time consuming and I assume other bloggers value my time more. Unless you have thousands of followers where the potential for spam is greater, you shouldn't need captcha. Just monitor your blog daily and check your spam filter. ALSO, be mindful that not everyone is using a computer to respond to your post. I often use my iPad and do you know how frustrating it is to type in words over and over because of auto-correct or to type them in using a touch screen? So be mindful that not everyone uses the same technical instruments to comment. Also keep in mind people who use their cell phones to reply to your post. I'm sure captcha isn't making it easier for them either.
- Concerns ~ Another block or concern in forming community on blogs is when the blog owner doesn't respond to comments. Sometimes I do check back to see if there was a response to my comment, especially if I asked a question. Again, it goes back to feeling validated as a reader and as a person who's time is very valuable. Make me feel welcomed and appreciated.
- Community, Struggles and Concerns ~ "Follow me" gadgets. Sometimes I'll find a blog that I just adore. But I can't follow because I can't find the follow button and it takes me several minutes to search all over to find one little gadget. If you want followers and repeat readers, make it easier for them to find you again and again by allowing them to follow you either by RSS, GFC or Email. Put it at the top of your page. Again, it goes back to time. I don't want to struggle to keep up with you.
As a blogger some of my issues regarding community, concerns and struggles are:
- Assistance ~ I don't know how many times I've come across a blog and asked a question on how to do something that they have implemented on their own blog and never received a response. I know bloggers are busy, believe me somedays their just isn't enough time in the day. But at the very least provide an email and set the email to auto-reply with a message. But to not to respond to a question in comments I find is a turn off and it feels like the blog owner is apathetic to other bloggers. I look at blogging as a community, and in communities people help each other. I know some people can get out of hand with their questions and how to's but just be honest and say in your auto-reply, I'm really busy, but this site has tons of info that might help you. Or set up a page just for FAQ's.
- Overpopulation ~ Another issue and it could be just me. But I often don't follow blogs with thousands of followers unless the blog is so valuable that I will likely visit it more than once a week. Why don't I follow blogs with thousands of followers? Because most blog owners won't ever know I exist. If they don't know I exist, there really isn't any way to network with that blogger or exchange ideas. I basically feel invisible to that blogger. I regard blogs with more personal interaction as more desirable. That's my personal preference.
- Reciprocation ~ Lastly I struggle to find blogs that are reciprocal. Have you ever found a blog and followed it for weeks never to see that blogger come to your blog to even say hi, thanks for following, thanks for stopping by, nice blog you have or I followed you back? This is probably my biggest pet peeve. I admit I have a rule, if I give you a week, maybe two weeks of my time in consistent visits and comments and you don't return the favor not once, I will unfollow you. I think it's rude. It's like walking into someone's house, saying hello to them and they never look up to acknowledge you ever came into their home. I'm not saying you have to comment everyday on my blog, I'm simply stating be courteous, introduce yourself. You don't have to follow me back (that would be nice) but it's not necessary. Just be polite and considerate. I often think that people who don't reciprocate are like that in person and in life outside of blogging. And I'm not that kind of person outside of my blogging life. I'm a hug on you, wish you well, sending you good vibes kind of person. I desire those same kind of people in my blogging circle as I do in my personal life.
- Empathy ~ P.S. I think on occasion some bloggers forget what it was like to have no followers or that one faithful, lone commenter day in and day out. None of us started out with tons of followers right out the gate. Someone encouraged them along the way, helped spread the word or gave some helpful advice in how to be a better blogger. All I'm saying is pass the baton. When you help one blogger, you could be helping them help another newbie in the blogging world.
What are some of your concerns or struggles as a reader or blogger?