Sunday, March 07, 2010

Recap: MBS Sunday Brunch for Mar 7

Our topic this week was things we can do to promote and encourage new spanking bloggers. Here are your thoughts.

Poppy: You do so much to encourage and promote new bloggers. You should tell us!

When I was brand (ahem) spanking new blogger you said hello and put a link up on your site. I had been reading you for ages. The fact that you not only acknowledged me, but linked to me, made me blush and feel that I must have something to say because look where I found myself.

So I will follow your lead. I must put more links up on my little space. Mine is a mini-space and I don't think I can promote anyone as I am not yet well known enough. But maybe that is not the point.

Oh, I am all in knots now.

From - Confused of an English Shire

Sara: This is something I have been thinking about lately. I agree with what Poppy said. Me too, as you know. You helped to get me started and have supported so many of us in this community. I wonder if we could better follow your lead by not only going out of our way to read and comment on new blogs, but also to post and link to your "In With The New" posts. That might further spread the word.

Richard Windsor: One suggestion that I have, because I am as guilty as anyone for not doing it, is for those of us who have established blogs to make the rounds of the newer blogs and leave them some comments. It's kind of like encouraging them by letting them know that we are reading them. I guess it would be like “Love our Lurkers,” but in reverse. We could have people comment on someone else's blog :-)

Todd and Suzy: Fellow bloggers can link to new blogs and/or mention them in a post. We know when we were first starting out that meant a lot to us. The wink we got from MBS was a big boost, not only because it increased our hits, but it also made us feel like a part of the community. It was a big deal!

And then readers can leave comments. When you're starting a blog it's very natural to wonder, “Does anyone read this? Does anyone care?” Comments answer both of those questions in an encouraging way.

Other ideas include sending an e-mail, "following" a blog, linking to or mentioning a specific post, voting in a poll (if they have them). Basically, it helps to participate and show that the blogger's effort is appreciated.

We all benefit from new blogs, so we all benefit when they're encouraged.

Hermione: We can do a lot to encourage new bloggers:
  • Make return visits - New bloggers get a lot of traffic on the day when In with the New introduces them. Go back a few times over the next week or two to see what else our new friends have to say.

  • Leave a comment - Each time you drop in, say a few words. It really doesn't matter what you say, although something friendly and encouraging is always nice.

  • Add to your blogroll - If you like the blog, add it to your blogroll. This will encourage your regular readers to go there too.

  • Post about the blogger - If you have reason to, mention a new blogger in a post, and include the link to that blog.

New bloggers can encourage readers in a few ways too:
  • Reply to comments - Always write a comment in response to the comments you receive. It doesn't have to be one for one; a single short comment might cover it, or a comment with one line for each commenter is always nice.

  • Post regularly - You don't have to write long or complex posts. Simple and straightforward works well, and speaking from your heart will appeal to your readers. Or if you have a picture blog, post frequently, even if it's only one picture at a time. In either case, you want to encourage your readers to come back.

  • Comment on other blogs - If you visit other blogs and leave comments, chances are those bloggers will return the favour and visit yours.

R Humphries: If you find a new site that really piques your interest or that you think will be of particular interest to your readers, add it to your blogroll and maybe leave them a comment. But why not feature them in the body of your post? You can say why you like them and provide a brief synopsis of the content. It only takes but a minute and a few words, but those few words will go a helluva long way to make a new blogger's day.

Naomi: More comments!

Mark: I would suggest a FAQ or howto on setting up and posting on a blog while maintaining your anonymity. Good blogs go away all the time (thinking of you, Mike) because the veil was busted. I had to delete my blog and change my nom de plume because I got worried that I had posted "too much" about myself. I've learned a lot since then, but this isn't the kind of thing you want to learn by trial and error.

It wouldn't be a “kink” if we felt free to talk about it openly.

Curtis: I hope no one takes what I'm going to say in the wrong spirit. I like this blog a lot, as I do a number of others. But the universe of spanking-related blogs is so huge that it's difficult to sort through the ones you want to read. I know there are many who feel the need to express themselves about their world, their desires, their fulfillments, feelings and observations. And I know that some blogs resonate with some people and others with others.

I'm grateful that Bonnie puts up her "In with the New" so those of us who are readers and sometimes commenters can check them out. And I'm very grateful for Richard's Spanking Universe contribution that allows us to see what updates we would like to look at. But while I would encourage any who want to enter the field to do so and hope that they will be welcomed, one could spend 24-hour days reading and commenting on all of the spanking-related blogs. Not only should people be encouraged to do what they feel they want to do, but there also needs to be a way of sorting them out so people don't have a bookmark list that's a mile long.

Prefectdt: I find myself more inclined to listen to Poppy, R Humphries and Naomi regarding how best to help out new bloggers because they all have blogs that are six months old or less.

Many of us (I include myself in this) started in the spank blogging world two or more years ago. Since then, the rules of the game have changed out of all recognition. What helped us get started and encouraged us to keep blogging at that time is possibly very different from the elements that would help a new blog get started and keep going now.

How can we help new bloggers now? I have to admit that I do not really know because it is not the same now as when I started my blog. But I am willing to learn.

What I would like to see is successful bloggers, with blogs of less than six months of age, taking a good look at their stats and motivations and correlate them with outside influences. They can then inform the more long term bloggers of the things that helped them. More established bloggers would then have a better idea of how things are working now and what helps new blogs get going and keep going in this day and age. If we want to help new blogs, we need to know what works for new blogs now, not several years ago.

Florida Dom: To start with, if somebody leaves a comment on your blog and you don't recognize them, check out their blog. And leave them a comment, especially if they're newcomers.

Whenever you come across a new blog or if Bonnie links to them, stop by and leave a comment and encourage them.

I know this may sound obvious, but I just wanted to repeat it.

Daisychain: The best way to encourage new bloggers is to leave short, but encouraging comments on their blog. Tips are handy too, especially if they are tips about how not to fall into a particular trap such as privacy, etc.

I received loads of encouragement at first, which helped to inspire me and made sure that I continued. There is nothing worse than writing a blog and having no one comment. Davey has given up writing for now. He was discouraged because he only had a few readers. It's a shame because there are so few "couple" bloggers, and I like to get the male and female perspective on each story.

Ronnie: You've helped a lot of bloggers get started and have been very supportive. If it wasn't for you, some of us wouldn't be around. Thank you.

There a lot of very good suggestions and I really can't add any new ideas.

I agree about adding new bloggers you like to your own blogroll, leaving a friendly greeting, and always replying to a comment you've received.

Mija: Like everyone says, comments are a help, especially early on. I think it also helps to remind new bloggers to put some sort of stat counter on their blog so they can see how and what their traffic is and where it's coming from.

Only about one visitor in every 200-500 on my blog leaves a comment. Without a stat counter, I might assume I only had 20 or so readers!

Finally, for those who are starting blogs, focus on being readable. Make sure to look at your blog on different computers and browsers and pay attention to colors. I know I'm way more likely to read a blog if it's written in black text on a white or light background. Black background with light text makes for painful reading.

Karl Friedrich Gauss: As so many have said before, posting comments and taking an interest in the work of new bloggers is really crucial.

If you like how or what they write, make sure they're in no doubt that at least someone out there appreciates their effort!

R Humphries: I don't often comment more than once, but I wanted to add a note on Mija's comment. According to the Woody Geek Squad, browsers all read code differently. What looks nice on your computer might not be the same on those of your visitors. Apparently, the best check sequence is:
  1. Mozilla Firefox
  2. IE6 (even though its not much used)
  3. Opera
  4. Chrome
  5. Safari
  6. IE7
  7. IE8

You should also check the difference between viewing in 1024 and 1280 screen modes. I work on a laptop at 1280 and everything looks fine, but on a desktop at 1024, my page looks awful.

With so many alternatives, if your page is hard to read or not appealing to visitors, they will just move on.

Bonnie: Thanks to those who recognized my efforts in this area. However, if I thought I knew the answer I would not have asked.

I wrote several articles about blogging several years ago and linked to them from each In with the New post. With the passage of time and the advance of technology, these posts became dated and I stopped linking them. Based upon your feedback, I think it might be helpful to update those articles and repost them. Consider it added to my blog projects list.

I believe that new bloggers bring with them novel perspectives and innovative approaches. These are precisely what it will take to expand our readership. As a rising tide lifts all boats, a growing audience benefits all blogs. Every reader we send to our new colleagues is an investment in the future of our community.

Thank you to everyone who registered their thoughts on this important subject. For those who didn't, next week, I promise we'll talk about spanking!


fonda redcheeks said...

Thank you for these comments. I am a nervous wanna be blogger, and a looong time lurker on many blogs. Now I know what it means to have someone comment. I will!

Bonnie said...

Hi FRC, and welcome! I appreciate your comment.

If I can help in your blogging quest, you need only ask.

With warm regards,

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