What Gets You To Follow A Blog?

Unless they're cute pictures of a dog

I tend to follow blogs and tags, and when I find a blog I like I hit the ‘follow’ button. Almost every day, I go to my reader and read posts by the people I follow, then I hit my tags and look for new authors.

But what draws you to a blog? What gets you to hit that ‘follow’ button?

So in no particular order, here’s a few of theΒ top things I look for in a blog before I hit ‘follow’.

  • Content: Obviously, the content has to interest me. But even if the subject doesn’t necessarily interest me, if the author can present it in a way that is entertaining or interesting, that will get me to read on and possibly hit the ‘follow’ button.
  • Switch Up: This kind of relates to the first point, but it’s slightly different. I tend to like blogs that post about different things. Sure, themed blogs are awesome, but it’s nice to read personal posts or see pictures or something different now and then. I also like learning about the author – not in a stalking-like way but in an interested person sort of way. I try to do this in my blog as well, because I find it so important when I’m looking at blogs.
  • Easy to read: I like blogs that are easy to read and navigate. It might be because I’m inherently lazy, but I don’t want to struggle to read your post against a harsh background or have no way to navigate through your content. I’m also beginning to hate the small comment box in some themes. As you’re typing, the box is unbelievably thin and you can’t see what you wrote before the current line you’re typing. Maddening!
  • The author cares: I think you can tell when a blogger cares about their audience. When they write about a topic they provide links, do research and talk to their readers. These little things really draw me in. Sometimes it’s the little things about a blog that I love.

I’ve read through blogs that tell people what they should do to create a great blog, and I’m sorry…but some of their tips I don’t care about.

Here’s two examples:

Pictures:Β Honestly, if you provide me with food-for-thought, make me laugh, make me think, make me cry (or sniffle…I don’t cry…honest) and there’s no picture, I don’t care. Pictures are over-rated in my opinion. I do like seeing pictures but they’re certainly not what makes me ultimately follow a blog.

Unless they're cute pictures of a dog

Unless they’re cute pictures of a dog

Or dorky pictures of the blog owner

Or dorky pictures of the blog owner

In those cases I’m all for the pictures.

Just saying’.

Search engine optimization (SEO): Optimizing your blog for search engines might be a great tip, but I find it makes many blogs unreadable. I don’t want to see the same search engine catch-phrase sprinkled throughout your blog post. It’s obvious and annoying. Just write what you want and let Google do with it what it will. That’s what I think anyways, although I’m probably 100% wrong.

So what sorts of things get you to hit the ‘follow’ button?

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51 Comments

  1. I will follow a blog if they are writing about what I’m interested in. So if you are an author and you are writing about your process or your struggles or tips (ect ect) then I’m going to follow you. I might not like that particular blog that you wrote but tomorrow’s might be one I don’t want to miss. If I follow someone and I don’t care for their blogs and they don’t ever interest me then I will unfollow.

  2. Did you know that the tiny little comment box can be made bigger on some occasions? :O

    I just prefer blogs that catch my interest, and if the interaction is good, I tend to follow the person back. Not always though.. I’m not a themed blog fan, I prefer personal ones. :O

  3. I tend to follow because:

    1. The blogger is a good writer and has something interesting and intellectually stimulating to say. New perspectives (provided they are driven by knowledge and insight) and ideas intrigue me, particularly on social issues.

    2. I found an environment of like-minded people who can discuss common interests informatively. This could be social issues as well, or perhaps writing and the arts (to include trashy horror films and comic books).

    3. There’s just something I find engaging and fun about the blogger.

    4. The person follows me and dutifully leaves comments, thus making me feel obliged to respond in kind. Don’t tell any of them I wrote this.

    I include pictures on the advice of successful bloggers/social media people who claim that images greatly increase traffic. Although controversy seems to be a fine substitute, given the high volume of hits drawn by atheist blogs!

  4. 1. Variety of topics (for the most part, I rarely follow one-theme blogs)

    2. Engagement with commenters/readers.

    3. NOTALLONEBIGPARAGRAPHORSTUFFLIKETHIS!!!!

    4. Did I mention engagement with readers and commenters? I find blogs to follow based on the comments I read on the ones I already follow. NOT follow-for-follow. (pretty sure I found you via the Amusing Nonsense blog)

    5. Don’t take themselves too seriously or look down on other bloggers (“real” writers vs. hobby bloggers, etc)

    6. Oh yeah, interact with people who comment and say stuff to you!

    You can tell what’s important to me, right? LOL

  5. I follow those that I find interesting. A good title is helpful as well as the first couple of sentences. Pictures sometimes help too. I tend to follow those that make a comment on my blog, but I also seek out those that are just interesting to me.

  6. I follow humor, interesting convos, someone who can converse on a wide range of subjects; good writing is a must, as is reasonably good spelling/grammar, etc.
    I avoid the militant, the table pounder, the blogger with an agenda.
    How it’s laid out matters too. If I can’t read the purple-on-blue text because it makes my eyes bleed, well, that says it all.

    And I will follow people who respond to my blog in such a way that makes it obvious they read for comprehension, not just to leave a URL for their own…

  7. Hmmm. First, I enjoy a good question πŸ™‚ I like writers with unique voices (I follow two written by dogs and one by a cat), I like people who are honest and write from the heart, even when topics are tough. I love people who will engage in discussion and conversation – because I love, love, love comments. Poetry, art, phtography with an interesting point of view, math stuff because we are both total mathies… what I don’t like are people who flood the feed with a hundred reblogs but never leave feedback. (how did I do?)

  8. I followed your blog partially because I disagreed with it, but mostly because I thought the content was well delivered and polite.

    I think in order for me to not become delusional about my belief or way of life, I have to understand other people’s perspectives and views of life.

    So thank you for providing me with some sense of perspective, and insight.

  9. Great post! I always made it a point to follow blogs I will actually read. There are bloggers who will follow just to be nice, if the other blogger has left a nice comment. Others promise to follow whoever follows them, which I find absurd. I always check out the blogs that follow mine, even leave them a comment saying “thank you” sometimes. But, my reading space is populated by blogs I actually want to read.
    I agree with you a 100% about pictures and SEO. I really wish I did not have to deal with putting up pictures along with my post. But, they do get people interested to read what follows. And I don’t even bother with SEO. I have written freelance on and off, about all sorts of things, and making things “SEO friendly” is so annoying. I’d rather have few people read my posts because they are genuinely interested, than anyone and everyone just because they landed up here, looking for something else.

    • Hi Opinion!

      Love your blog by the way.

      I’m like you – I follow blogs I want to read. My reader thanks me because every day it puts up a bunch of posts I really enjoy reading through with my morning coffee.

      I did the freelance bit as well. I totally ignore it. I just write what I like and let the Google Gods sort through it.

      • Thank you!
        I am wholly dependent on the WordPress Reader for getting readers. I publicize on twitter, but rarely, if ever, do I get readers from there. Except for one or two posts, I rarely get anybody coming along because Google brought them here. For one post especially, I was surprised to see I was the first page search result. It was on trivializing mental illness. Maybe because I phrased it differently than most people would, but it is worrying how little is written about the way people misuse and abuse mental health terminology in everyday life. I wish there was something more I could do about it.

  10. Naked wimmin. So I guess that counts your blog out! Should I un-follow? Am I having a moment of cognitive dissonance?

    As a rule, once I follow a blog by design or mistake I generally never un-follow, rather swear at the host until the screen goes and the air goes ‘blue’ and I am banned. It enhances my street cred, you know?

  11. I don’t follow a great many blogs (yet) because I am still finding my way in the blogosphere, despite having had a blog for several years. What draws me to a blog is usually a combination of the following:

    – Content
    Obviously, I have to enjoy or be interested in the subject matter otherwise I wouldn’t bother reading the blog. I am interested in a great variety of subjects so there’s no shortage of candidate blogs out there.

    – Presentation
    Garish, loud, flashy blogs, some even with auto-play music are out. I like quiet, easy on the eyes blogs with sensible presentation and easy navigation.

    – Readability
    I understand an occasional spelling or grammatical error in a post. I have them myself, no doubt. On the whole though, I think proper spelling, grammar and punctuation show that a blogger cares about his or her audience and makes the posts that much easier to read.

    – White space
    Some people don’t seem to realise that large, long swaths of text are uninviting to read. By spacing out the text, readability increases a lot.

    – Drama, humour, opinion
    Dry information I can get from Wikipedia. A blog is a personal thing so I want to read what people think, I want to read what they find important or funny or terrible. No blog is complete without a major rant or a pet peeve here and there.

    – Writing for Google
    I use SEO myself and while I find it helpful in the sense that it helps me structure a post so it can be properly indexed and displayed in search results, I don’t want to include my keyword 5 more times so I can get a better ranking. I write mainly for myself so I don’t need 10.000+ visits to my pages. (I also don’t think this would be good for my bandwidth bill…). People who find my writing and like to engage with it or who find it helpful or informative, that’s what I’m after.

    – Pictures
    Photos or funny pictures related to your subject, can make a post more attractive to me but don’t overdo it, please.

  12. Agreed on the walls of text. I’ll just click right off a blog that has that problem.

    I’m big on proofreading too. A blog that has a lot of spelling and grammatical errors doesn’t hold my attention long.

    And although I realize that some people like to express themselves in poetry, but it’s not my thing. If most of the entries on a blog are poetry, I’m not going to follow it.

    I don’t care how often a blogger is posting. So often I’ll see a post with “sorry I haven’t written anything in a couple of days” as if that’s an issue. Post when you have something interesting to say, and if you only make one post a month I’m fine with that, as long as it’s a good one. Daily status updates are better on Facebook.

    If I’m considering following a blog, I won’t do it based on just one post. If I think I’ve found somebody interesting, I’ll read at least several posts, and then go to the “about” page as well. So make sure you have a good “about” page, and not just “I like to write stuff”

  13. All 4 of the things you mentioned but the fact that you have a gorgeous boy like Dexter, is no. 1 on my list. The dorky pics helps as well. πŸ˜› It shows you have a sense of humour. That’s important. πŸ˜€

  14. Beyond covering topics of interest to me (and, yeah, readability), Rarity and Surprise are probably the deciding factors on my hitting the ‘Follow’ button.
    Rarity in the sense that it offers research or insight I’ve not found elsewhere; Surprise meaning, I can’t predict the content before I read it [as opposed to those blogs where, the second you read the title, you already know what the rest is going to say…].

  15. Often its like writing a newspaper column (and sometimes I feel like that’s what Im doing, laying it out in a certain order, premise, explication, summing up) where you know what you want to say and hope everyone will hum along with you.

    What kills it for me is the really good posts someone makes, and then abandons the site for other places. I want to respond, but the expiration date on the bottle is two or more years overdue, and there seems no point. sigh.

    (Just beware, dfxc, titles don’t always give away the ending) =)

  16. This is going to make me sound horrible, but I can’t STAND the generic ‘blogging tips’ crap. Mainly because I don’t do most of the tips but… ANYWAY! Sorry, I’m trawling through your blog here because it is ingenius.

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