With blogging the next best hobby seemingly since sliced bread (does this work in that saying? Probably not), there’s an almost ridiculous amount of choice out there when it comes to reading blogs. With this much choice out there I’ve naturally settled on some loose guidelines that tend to dictate whether I’ll be returning to your blog (or not).
Admittedly, not everyone would necessarily want me reading their blog, but I’m guessing that most people will have this selective mindset in common with me (if not, please let me know), therefore as a follow up from the 5 Things That Make Me Leave Your Blog, I’m sharing the 7 things that make me follow you blog.
When I say follow, I mean that I’ll regularly check your blog by actually typing it into a browser (yeah, super old school), signing up to your email newsletter or obsessively saving every new twitter link you share to my reading list (or all three – that’s really striking gold). This doesn’t mean that if your blogs is sans these seven characteristics that it will be instantly shunned, they’re just like a mental checklist of things all my favourite blogs have, therefore things I’m usually searching for.
So, here we go. Seven things that make me follow your blog. Starting with…
If I can find my way around
Reading a post I’ve directly clicked onto from Twitter or Instagram and loving it is one of my favourite pastimes (admittedly, not every click is a winner). The experience is made even more delightful when I land on your site and can easily navigate myself around. Suddenly, this isn’t just a great post that I’ve just read, but it’s a new website that I can’t help but click around a bit more. If this point extends to finding my way clearly to your social profiles, then that’s a serious bonus.
User interface and experience is so vital when it comes to encouraging repeat readers but it’s something that’s often overlooked or not thought upon – especially when it comes to those of us who aren’t entirely tech-savvy or loaded with spare hire-a-developer money. If you’re not on the UX bandwagon yet, get yourself a good responsive theme (plenty of free ones about) and sort your categories and tags out (no thanks needed).
If you show and/or tell me who you are
Unless you’re running an online magazine or a seedy anonymous sex blog (no shade), why wouldn’t you be sharing who you are and what you’re doing? Introducing yourself – like I did in my re-introduction post, here – is something that makes this whole reading words on a screen and expressing emotion thing more personal. It’s a little window into your actual world, and I for one love seeing it.
Whether it’s a professional headshot, a cute selfie, or just a sentence or two at the end of each post, sharing your identity with the reader gives your whole corner of the internet a little context.
If you understand the importance of visuals
Perhaps this point may be a little biased toward my own interests – but I love a good photograph. Your words could be the next William Shakespeare, but if the visual content isn’t there, I probably won’t even be clicking onto your promo, let alone discovering you as the next Bard. Don’t limit this to typical blogger shots either, we don’t all need to have identical flat lays to engage with our audiences, a beautiful seasonal nature shot often draws me in, or even a snazzy graphic (please teach me how to do them).
If you do think that your skills aren’t quite up to scratch, how about you check out my How To Instantly Improve Your Photography post? Packed with some great (I’m being biased again) easy and quick tips to improve each and every photograph you take.
If there’s a reason to
Nowadays every other person you pass in the street writes a blog, just imagine if you followed and kept up to date with every single blog that you came across… yep, it would literally be impossible. I and I assume most other people, only tend to follow and regularly check blogs that offer us something. That something could be a free resource (or a paid-for resource), a style of writing that we enjoy or just the kind of advice and tidbits that we can make use out of, whatever it is, it’s something.
You can bet that if you’ve got something coming up, like some themed weeks or fun resources (for any part of life) then I’ll make sure I can find my way back to you. There’s no need to falsely create an item or event, however, if you’re creating good quality, interesting and consistent content then you’re already on the right path.
If you’re opinionated
An opinion on anything, be it a beauty product, some classic blogger problems or even current affairs (although if you’re writing about current affairs a lot I probably won’t be reading much – lol). An opinionated writer is undoubtedly better than someone who sits on the fence and won’t take sides. If you’ve been testing out a new eye cream I want to know if you love it or hate it, if you’re talking about a new restaurant opening I want you to tell me if you’d want to go again and whether I should.
It’s all too often that we’re afraid to really speak up (yes even about something a meaningless as the new Italian restaurant in town) but the blogging community is mostly a supportive, accepting and understanding place. That’s not to say people won’t disagree with you, but that’s life and being ambiguous about eye cream isn’t shield life from you much longer anyway.
If you’ve got something to share
Currently, I’m planning a post on creating smart content, which is something I’ve learnt an awful lot about lately (because I’ve been trying to create better content – duh). One ingredient for this type of content is having a clear point to a post, another is the ability to not just regurgitate the same old content that’s out there. If you’re saying something and that thing is new, or different, or distinctly you then you’re on to a winning formula.
Although every chatty catch-up post has its place (I’m all for them), if a blog’s content is built around this type of sharing, things can quickly become old (and predictable). Shaking things up with a how to, some top tips or simply your view of something (see above) makes for a great post, that’s something rather than nothing.
If you can be relatable
I personally love reading different blogs for so many different reasons. Across all these blogs relatability can always be a factor, however, relatability is about far more than whether we do the same job or live the same type of lifestyle. Maybe we’re both fans of turtleneck sweaters, or we’re both starting to monetize our blogs, point is that there is most likely something connecting us and that’s most likely the reason I’m reading your blog.
On the other side of this, sometimes it’s not necessary for someone to relate to you and that’s why I’ve italicised the word can. Putting relatability before anything else comes across as fake in most cases. There is so much beauty in blogging, writing as a caricature of yourself in the hope of a reader finding you more relatable is not part of that beauty. Be yourself, whether your readers find that relatable or not – they’re still reading, aren’t they?