Do Not Try This at Home: The Worst Blogging “Strategy” Ever

A few days ago I received an e-mail from a fellow blogger asking me to take a look at their site. Nothing out of the ordinary so far. Ever since starting The Art of Blogging last year, I receive a couple requests like that via e-mail and/or comments on a daily basis.

Usually, I do not have the time or the energy to offer free feedback. Most of my time is spent writing the content I share on this blog and working with those who want to be my clients.

But, well, I clicked on the link I was provided, to discover that the blog in question was very new.

Seven or so blog posts, every single one of them the definition of overshare. Lots of personal information about someone I didn’t personally know. I managed to go through three of those posts, and then left the blog without subscribing, feeling like a stranger had knocked on my door, walked into my living room, sat down on my couch, and politely asked me to give them a kiss.

I strongly believe that it is almost impossible to build a readership without having to engage with other bloggers, however you need to be aware of the proper way to do this.

Begging strangers for attention would never work in real life, right? Well… don’t you think commenting on other people’s blogs that they should visit your own site is not only disrespectful, but also shows a lack of social intelligence?

In real life, in this online world, we need to build rapport with another human being, develop an emotional connection, and spend some time getting to know one another.

If I do not know who you are, if you never commented on any of my blog posts before, and you ask me to visit your blog and offer you feedback, which means that I’ll have to spend way more time on your blog than you did on mine, what do you think is going to happen?

As a rule of mine, I never even approve comments that include links to other blogs. Just because I can, and because I feel cheated, as if the purpose of that comment is to make me (and some of my readers) click on that link.

I am well aware of the fact that that’s what we do. We are social in the hopes of getting something out of it.

What do you think would happen if a man walked up to a woman and told her they should have sex right away?

What I’ve always loved about blogging is the ability to connect on a deeper level with other people and to form relationships with them. However this takes time and perhaps bloggers need to keep in mind some of the principles of “courting” in case they do not want everyone to think of them as jerks.

The fact that this is not real life doesn’t mean that the same rules don’t apply anymore. Sadly, if you haven’t put in the effort to become socially calibrated, you’ll find it extremely difficult to interact with others in a proper manner.

Other bloggers and your readers need time to get to know you, build trust, figure out that you’re an actual human being, and arrive at the conclusion that you’re interested in them more than you are in watching your numbers go up.

115 thoughts on “Do Not Try This at Home: The Worst Blogging “Strategy” Ever

    1. That’s a different issue, but yes. I keep getting hate for telling people they shouldn’t write about mundane stuff.

      Going on a rant about this or that friend does not make anyone care, is not even mildly entertaining, and does not provide value.

      Liked by 5 people

  1. I did linked.my. blog in comments,a few times, just to show that I too.know the subject, I don’t consider this.to be.rude or such a.big.deal, I mean as long as we all.have to learn something from it, why not.share the information, I don’t mind links with useful info on my site. well, that’s that😁

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Yes it would and I really do hate people that do that. I don’t like people who overshare on there websites especially if it’s the mundane details of your day to day life. I do write personal posts but they tend to be on my other blog and it’s to do with self help and being neurodiverse. I have been called rude, impersonal, cold, arrogant etc and yes I am those things but I’m also polite, personable, warm and confident. I have barged into people’s lives but that’s never a good thing to do. We all learn social skills as we get older through socialisation and online is no different although different rules apply here.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I try not to shamelessly advertise myself on someone else’s blog. I feel its just really rude. Their blog is about them or their work and i’m sure they worked hard to get their following, so who are we to just show up and be like “Hey, follow me to!”

    I’ve literally had to invest money and of course my own time and diligent work. Its not an easy road, but what is? I’m sorry you have to experience unrequited “courting” attempts from bloggers so often. But great post!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It’s not a big deal for me. I have to work as a “gatekeeper” for thousands of comments on a weekly basis, what’s a few that are begging me to look at their blogs?

      But it’s hurting them, hurting their growth as bloggers. And maybe they don’t even realize it.

      And, yes, I am aware that having no readers is tough, and some are desperate to have someone read their words, and that those words and ideas mean a lot to them, but strategy is important precisely because everyone else also feels the same way about their own words.

      And, yes, there is no way to truly become great without hard work. Time and effort (and, yes, investing financialy in what can genuinely help you as a blogger) are essential ingredients.

      I think everyone is looking for a shortcut because they don’t want to do all that, and they cannot even imagine that some folks are not only willing to do the hard work, but also glad to do it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I guess it just comes with the territory right? I just have to worry about spammers lol

        I totally get the no readers feel. It’s hard but everyone (usually) starts from nothing and the reason I write is because I love it, so at times like that, I think its best to remind ourselves why we do what we do and what really brings us joy about posting and keeping up the blog.

        Sometimes I think people just have this fantasy idea on what it’s like to be a writer, blogger, youtuber, etc and when they actually get into it, they find it a lot harder than they thought it would be :/

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My blog is of a religious nature, and I realize that most people are not attracted to that these days. However, it doesn’t stop me from blogging, because of the few that do “like” what I say is enough for me to begin again, usually with the word prompts offered here and there.
    I also am turned off by bloggers that offer routine, everyday “stuff,” who cares anyway, unless the theme of what they offer eventually will teach or adds interest to the talk of the world on a particular day.

    Liked by 8 people

  4. I had a blogger like a half-dozen blogs within minutes then commented on one asking if I followed her blog yet. I thought to my self, “Really? That’s your marketing strategy?” Some people are a bit ignorant when it comes to self-promotion.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. That was my impression, but she hasn’t been back. I wonder if she was just scrolling through WordPress and “liking” everything she found, and offered the occasional reminder comment.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I love how you emphasize building rapport and emotional connection through blogging! I think that’s why I enjoy your blog so much – your emphasis on authentic connection.

    Also, I take a different view about blogging and followers/subscribers. For me, blogging is more about the process than it is about building a large following. I started a blog to help myself grow as a writer and as a person, and I find that process deeply meaningful regardless of a follower count. While this may not be enough to keep some people going, it is more than enough for me.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I guess the “trick” is to enjoy one. Just one. One reader. One comment. Then you enjoy every single comment, every single reader.

      But sometimes we lose track on that. I know I did. It happens. And it’s a lot easier when you have thousands of readers.

      I also think it’s something about the language we use: traffic, income, stats, subscribers. They are actual human beings, not some robots. So it’s difficult to use those words and see this avatar commenting and image they’re pretty much like you, more than you are willing to admit even.

      This in turn makes people do stuff like what I described in my blog post. Or comment “Nice post” over and over again. Stuff that just doesn’t make sense.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. i’d never thought of commenting as a relationship builder, but the concept makes sense. Thank you for this insight.

    Sadly, many women are actually taught (at least in evangelical circles) that sharing personal details makes them “authentic,” thus giving their readers reason to trust them. Occasionally such sharing does have that effect, but it should be done sparingly. Narcissism really isn’t helpful to readers.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Absolutely right, is very disappointing for new bloggers to finally see a comment notification just to find out that is a sketchy link that has nothing to do with the post. I would add discouraging too. Thanks for the advice 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

  8. Great advice! Strong rapport with other writers takes time. If one is first and foremost concerned with numbers/traffic then blogging is likely not a long term passion. I needed to read this advice, it helped reinforce help from another blogger last week “ Time to comment and learn from other bloggers.” Thanks again!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Those words are so powerful and genuine. It’s true and it really makes sense. Blogging is not just having followers just because you followed them or the other way around. Connection is also one thing that matters.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. This was so timely for me. As a new blogger, I understand the temptation to invite anyone and everyone to visit your page. But I also spent years in the corporate world and know that networking and getting noticed takes time and patience (and consistent quality). Thank you for so eloquently expressing the need to treat blogging as we would any other new relationship!

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Building rapport or starting and nurturing a relationship with other bloggers is as you say not much different than how one would go about it in a face to face relationship. It all takes time to get to know each other; to see if the person on the other end is a dork or not.

    Unfortunately, blogging much like other social media platforms I think dangles the overly addictive carrot of “likes”, “followers”, “self-promotion” and all those fancy catch terms. Even though still a bit of a neophyte in all this, I feel that people chase some elusive “self-stroking ego drug” only attainable through “traffic and stats” all the while ignoring the fact that building a blog readership; a real readership/relationship takes time, effort and commitment for both you the writer and the PERSON on the other end – the reader.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Really like this post, because it makes total sense. There are rules for social interaction for a reason and we only hurt ourselves when we break them. It can be tough though to reach out, and start a conversation when we feel we have nothing to say worth listening to or input to offer. That being said, we can only learn through experience and she is a tough teacher.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. All it takes is to read a blog post, express an opinion, maybe ask a question or two. But the important part is to really read it.

      Even today, even with close to two hundred thousand followers across three different blogs, the people who offer great comments are less than a dozen. That’s how you stand out.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. I’ve received a few of these comments and immediately was turned off by them. I was doubting my self, wondering if I seemed “stuck up” or rude by not approving or responding to such comments. I read your blog regularly and know you have given great advice when it comes to blogging. Advice that I try to utilize regularly on my own blog. The fact that you brought this up makes me feel confident in the decision I’ve made to not engage in these type of posts.

    Thank you for providing knowledgeable material and thank you for helping me improve my own writing.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Cristian, building relationships with other bloggers through genuine and thoughtful comments is a wonderful way to become a better writer. Stay humble and honest, and others will appreciate reading your writing.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. “What I’ve always loved about blogging is the ability to connect on a deeper level with other people and to form relationships with them.”

    Totally agree. I didin’t realize how much I’d enjoy that aspect of blogging when I started.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. OMG those ppl are the worst of the worst. I am not even including those who follow you just to get you following back and then after a few weeks they unfollow you.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Couldn’t agree more! I’d much rather get people genuinely interested in making that human connection. I remember getting a comment on one of my posts saying something akin to “great post, come visit and follow me!”. It actually made me feel bad because it was one of my first posts as a blogger and it was clear the person didn’t even bother to read my post. Glad to know what I was feeling was not inappropriate.

    Liked by 6 people

  17. Amen! 👏🏻👏🏻

    It totally takes time, AND THAT’S OKAY! I’m still new to the blogging community and I am still trying to get into a groove of how to do things. I don’t expect to have this huge following in a second.

    For most blogging is a way of connecting with others and the overall process of creating the content for your blog. Unfortunately there are some people who are just in it to get some kind of “fame” out of it. Genuine interest and thoughtful interaction on others posts, like everyone is doing here, is what it’s all about.

    Thank you for being so honest, such great advice.

    Liked by 5 people

  18. It’s the same as people spamming other people’s social media pages with links to their music. It’s extreme annoying and comes off as desperate in a lot of cases. The funny thing is those same people are the exact opposite in real life. This just further proves your point that the same rules apply online. Perhaps they don’t understand that.

    Liked by 5 people

  19. I appreciate your every word is true. Thanks for giving your message very nicely. Actually you know we are so used to immediate gratification that we don’t understand the value of delayed gratification. I always like the way you write simple English and best message

    Liked by 5 people

  20. I’m not plagued with requests to look at others’ blogs (as I’m certainly no expert in blogging), but I thought I would chime in about some of the comments on oversharing.

    One of my late uncles disparaged blogging as a trendy form of navel-gazing, which it may well be for some people. While he took a pretty narrow view, I think people should write about whatever they want to write about. We are free to read what they write or to ignore it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You don’t need to be a blogging expert to be plagued by those requests. People are going to beg you to visit their blogs anyway.

      Yes, people should write what they want. As long as they give up on the notion they want to be read. It they want to be read, then they should write what others want to read.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I don’t understand them, but I do know some people who write and want to have their words read but are content with that seldom happening. It seems to be therapeutic for some people.

        Liked by 3 people

  21. Awesome post, Cristian! What you said and how was very well-done.

    When you’re starting anything new, you’re gonna want approval/feedback from your peers. However, there is a right and wrong way to do that. I always try to “pay my dues” and establish some type of blogger/reader relationship before putting my work out there. It doesn’t take too long before someone reads my blog. Readership kinda takes off from there. Shoot, I even help promote other’s work on here and other sites. Not for some pat on the back but because I believe in that person’s work and message.

    We’re in this together.

    Liked by 4 people

  22. As selfish as it may sound, I didn’t really write my blog for others. It’s my therapy, but over time has developed into a sense of feeling that it may help someone of similar circumstance. I’ve started and stopped a handful of blogs, but the one I presently have is sticking with me. It appears to be the evolution of my life to a point where I consider myself sane enough to write insightful thoughts instead of the creatively crippled thoughts of the past. If someone is interested enough to read my thoughts, so be it. I’ve developed friendships with a couple of people over the past eleven or twelve years. What you say is true. Be “attractive”, but not in the sense of being overbearing about demanding you come see my work. I won’t be offended by someone who doesn’t visit my site. My only drawback is when in engaged, I have to force myself to stop.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Great advice! It reminds me of when you start to follow someone on other social media platforms and they instantly inbox you asking you to subscribe to their other media platforms. I’m like whoa can I get to know you here first.

    Liked by 5 people

  24. either way we are building rapport with people whether in real or virtual so every ethic remains the same. Let me tell you , your blogs are very communicative especially all emotions come and go but they don’t resonate but instead clear messages in a balanced way is given. lot to learn. I think experience speaks.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. The internet is a wild place, but REAL people (most of the time) are on the other end. The medium of cyber travel has it’s unique rules but this post is spot on. There is a proper rate of disclosure and we invest into relationships…even those on the internet.

    Being aware of social graces goes a long way in blogging. YES, we all want the world to visit our blog, that is a part of networking NOT spamming people. We have to add something to the conversation, we actually have to care about the people and the concepts we discuss. Begging for attention only works as long as you are willing to apply that awkward pressure on someone. Real followers worth having WANT to visit your blog, they aren’t held hostage by begging. Be kind, be helpful, be civil and trust the process.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. “In real life, in this online world, we need to build rapport with another human being, develop an emotional connection, and spend some time getting to know one another.” That sums up the whole thing, right there. No one wants to see all your dirty laundry right out of the gate!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Thank you SO MUCH for this!! I was always taught to treat others how I would like to be treated, so I would never use someone’s blog as a promotional tool for myself, because I would feel disrespected. There are some bloggers who really pour their blood, sweat and tears in their posts trying to help others and it serves an injustice to their work when someone uses their comment box as a way to direct traffic to their own blog. I mean, if you’re going to promote yourself, at least read the post you’re promoting yourself on. Lol.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. As a writer, my pet peeve is people who are all over my blog feed and social media but never produce anything other than ‘buy my book now!’ in a variety of forms. It gets old really quickly. No sharing of their writing process, research topics, helpful tips, sites or tools they’ve found useful, works in progress updates etc. Fair enough, I don’t need to know what they are for breakfast, but something that shows me they are a real person wouldn’t hurt.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. It’s frustrating how much of a “game” WordPress is. I have gained 150 followers in the last month since becoming more serious about my writing, and I’d say probably 10 of them are genuine people who read my posts and engage with me. I’m sure that just following random people does get some followers in exchange, otherwise people wouldn’t do it. That’s not my style, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a game. I get far more interraction on Instagram for my book photography hobby because I’ve found genuine people who are interested in the same thing I am. I’m also picking up other authors too because I’ll post photos of books I use for writing research as well as fiction. I suppose the answer is to find your people and network through them.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. So true. It’s a line that was crossed at plugging their site on one of your blog posts. That’s spamming. One thing I love about this site is exactly what you described in your writing – the ability to get to know people, gradually. Although there are those that create and write in a blog solely as an online diary of sorts, I can’t help but feel as though they do so in the attempt to get things out and hopefully find other lost souls that are in or have been in the same position as they. We are all looking for that connection, but you’re right, there is a such thing as internet rapport and some people are completely unaware of it. Others are and just make the decision to conduct themselves otherwise ignoring the rules of internet rapport. I’m sorry you had to experience this, love!

    Liked by 1 person

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