Friday, November 27, 2009

A Crazy Little Thing Called Blog: YOUR Tips & Advice #1

Lots of great advise, words of wisdom, tips and insight have come in through comments on my A Crazy Little Thing Called Blog feature. So in case you missed them, below is a running list of info that you might find helpful as a new or even seasoned blogger.

Please feel free to add any additional advice you might have in the comments and this post will be updated again at a later date.

I did my best to keep track of who gave which tip first so if you left a similar tip and you're not credited for it, it's just because someone beat you to it. But, your advice is greatly appreciated so keep those cards and letters coming!

--Having read through several dozen emails from bloggers to pull this list and other feature notes together (with links) I will start by saying please add your blog URL to your email signature. Open your email and Keyword Search "Signature". It should give you the steps to add it automatically at the end of your email. It will help blog friends identify your blog and it will promote your blog to others who receive email from you.

And, if you see a lot of blank space between the end of your post and your Comment Button, go back to Edit Post and scroll all the way to the very bottom of your post. Delete the extra spaces at the very end of your post until your curser it just after the last period (.) of your post. It might only look like a few spaces when editing, but it's much longer on the published post.

--Be careful with your blog title and URL. Mine was supposed to be temporary, and if I liked blogging I thought I'd switch to a better, permanent title. But of course by the time I was hooked I'd made friends and it was too much trouble to change. Pseudonymous High School Teacher

--I wish that I had researched more before deciding on my blog title. It's not very appealing. It doesn't make anyone who sees it say "hey that sounds interesting, I think I'll check it out". But now I feel stuck with it because everyone knows me by that title. Matty at Matty Thoughts

--The one thing I wish I´d known, is how addicting blogging can get! :) Betty at A Glimpse Into Midlife

--I wish someone would have told me months ago to add the followers the prompting of a couple of my blogging friends, I have just recently added this and may have had missed opportunities for followers? It often feels like a popularity contest though...I don't like that part. Erin at Erin's Art and Gardens

--Commenting: My one pet peeve is taking the time to visit a blog, read through enough posts to determine whether I like it enough to follow it, publish a comment or two or six and then get summarily ignored. That's just rude. I don't like bloggers who think they're just too too wonderful and important to wave back. Alix at Casa Hice

--When I finish my comment I copy it by depressing the keys ctrl AND c.
I try to send it - sometimes it accepts but if not this time I smile to myself because if I am summarily expelled from blogger I just enter the post again and PASTE the comment I have saved into the comment box by depressed ctrl AND v and hey presto it either accepts or rejects and if it rejects I keep doing it until the comment is sent. I do this all the time now and save hours and hours of wasted time.
Eddie Bluelights at Clouds and Silvery Linings

--I'm a little bummed because I installed Disqus [for comments] and I like it, but I get some complaints and I can't get rid of it now because I don't want to lose all of my comments. Unknown Mami

--I don't like the Disques comment form and I also don't like word verifications. I just like to read and leave a comment without jumping through hoops. 2 Toddlers and Me

--You can turn off word verification on your comments, in your Blogger account, in settings.

--It bothers me when people leave mean Anonymous comments on my blog or anyone else's. Have a backbone stick by your words or just move on. Unknown Mami

--I wish I had listened to advice not to use my real name. Someone from my past looked me up, and caused all kinds of trouble for me. It's okay now, but I had to threaten to file a police report. Gran at Gran Speaks

--I wish I had been a lot more anonymous and didn't plaster my full name everywhere. Kristina P. at Pulsipher Predilections

--One thing I didn't realize was my blog could end up in someone's hands as a result of a google search. Joanie M at Joanie's Random Ramblings

--Deleted Posts: If I had known what I know now, I would have left some of the posts I originally blogged. They were from my heart, inspirational, deep and I was afraid I would have offended someone. So, I erased them. Pastor Sharon at Dances With God

--Moderated posts - I understand that every now and then we get hit by spammers but that's almost always on older posts. There are settings to moderate anything older than two weeks. Hilary at The Smitten Image

--Pet peeve: A lot of ads on blogs that take ages to load. Selma at Selma in the City

--I really don't care for advertising in a blog, I can get all of that stuff everywhere else.Davine at 3 Buddah's and Me

--You should never use someone else's photo unless you have their permission and/or have paid them. As someone else mentioned, you can look for photos with a Creative Commons license that allows for sharing, that would be considered having the photographer's permission. If I use a photo that isn't my own on my blog, I do a search in Flickr for photos that have a CC license. Liz at Inventing My Life

--I use only my own photos which just like anyone else's will appear on Google images if someone does an appropriate search. This does not mean that they are up for grabs. They're still my images just as every other photo out there belongs to someone else. Without permission and attribution, it's considered plagiarized. Hilary at The Smitten Image

--You can find copyright free images for your blog at:

--For the copyright symbol [on a PC], the HTML code is & copy, with no space between. When you type them together you get & copy. Willoughby at This Stop Willoughby

--On the Mac keyboard that the © is produced by hitting the option key and then G. Hilary at The Smitten Image

--My biggest pet peeve is that bloggers seem to feel like they have to live up to some schedule or standard and fail to realize that this is not a job! If you have nothing in your mind to post, then don't post. I have seen blogs where people don't post for 3 weeks at a time and still gain a following. Blog world laws are simple. If you post, people will read. If you leave comments, you will get more comments, and if you go away, people will wonder what happened to you. I hate the whole virtual friends stigma that is attached to this thing, that is why I put my phone number in my comment section, because I want to be able to build relationships with some of the people that I meet here. Otin at Wizard of Otin

--Blogging I find is a place where you hope to be heard, but you must first learn how to listen. Ocean Girl at Live High

NEW QUESTION: What's your opinion and/or preference about RESPONDING TO COMMENTS YOU RECEIVE? Do you respond to comments individually on your blog? Do you email the commenter with a response/acknowledgement/thanks? Do you respond to some but not all depending on the comment? Do you not respond directly to comments at all? Do you leave comments on their blogs pertaining to their original comment? And/or do you leave a comment on their current post as an acknowledgement of their visit to your blog? (Make sense?) Short question: What's your blog commenting etiquette?

Word Verification was stated as a huge pain by many bloggers. So as a test, I'm turning ON my Word Verification for one week to see if it makes a difference in the amount of SPAM I receive. I'll let you know the results soon.

Hope your Thanksgiving was great!
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna
Photo Credit © Mikael Damkier -


  1. This was really interesting.
    When someone visits my blog for the first time I always go back to their blog and thank them for stopping.
    If they ask a question that pertains to the post, I respond there with a comment but I also try to e-mail them with an answer because I know that often people don't come back to a blog to check. I really appreciate it when people have added their e-mail address to their blog as it makes it so much easier to answer questions or respond.
    As for the word verification I really do dislike it, because it adds a lot of time to posting a comment, but if I'm leaving a comment I just deal with it!

  2. I respond to comments like I parent... this way today, that way tomorrow... a little bit of everything with no consistency at all.

    Tells you what kind of mom I am, doesn't it.

  3. Regarding Word Verification, I have chosen to keep that and hope that people who read my posts will be gracious enough to leave a comment if they want to.
    Regarding comments, I rarely answer a comment that someone leaves on my blog. I really don't think very many actually come back to see if I had anything to say. But sometimes I feel an urge to answer one or all the comments just to connect with the people who leave the comment. But I don't feel there is a rule that says I have to or that I should. I think it is enough that we read each others posts and comment when we have something we want to say. I only comment when I actually have something I want to say. And I don't go back to see if the blogger said something in answer to my comment. That gets way too complicated and time consuming. I love the comments and I learn more about the bloggers I follow from the comments they leave on my blog.

  4. Joanna, you've done a great job of compiling this wonderful advice. Kudos to you and to your readers!

    I make a point of replying to each and every comment received. I usually wait until I've had about 20 comments then I answer them in order on one post. Ditto with subsequent comments.

    Over the next couple of days, I try to get over to any new commenter's blogs and read and leave a comment there. .. maybe even subscribe.

    When I'm leaving comments, I take advantage of the "email follow-up comments to" option. If I'm interested to see what others say on the same post, or I'm anxious to read the blogger's reply, it'll arrive in my email ready to read at a quick glance. It's quicker to read and delete messages generated this way than to remember to return to the blogs.

    I work by the assumption that others will do the same if they want to see what I might reply on my own blog, so I very rarely email someone with a reply or try to track them down on their own blog.

  5. What a great list of advice, thanks for compiling it!

    For comments, I make it a point to respond when someone leaves a comment for the first time on my blog - I try to email them, but if that's not possible I go to their blog to leave a comment so they know I appreciate that they stopped by. After that, I don't respond to every single comment that I get, but I try to at least acknowledge as many of them as I can, either by email or back at the original post.

  6. ok, i just read through all the comments. and i´m glad i did. i got some great insight. in response to your question, i find that people who leave comments are so much funnier than me, i don´t even try a comeback. i usually just return the visit to see what they are up to. and i don´t get offended if people don´t answer me- i find it´s better not to take blogging too seriously... besos!

  7. I do try to go back and welcome a new visitor. But since I read so many blogs, I only go back and read that visitors blog, if she/he is commenting regularly at mine or if I instantly really like her blog. Does that make sense?

    I have a suggestion for the person who didn´t realize her blog can be found on a google search. You can edit this as well. Just go into dashboard/Settings/Basic and answer NO to the question "Let search engines find your blog". Don´t forget to Save settings and your done!

    P.S. And please don´t forget to turn your word verification off after one week.... :)!!

  8. When I first saw this blog title I signed just a little and almost didn't read it.

    Glad I did. I didn't realize the rules about using photos. Sounds naive now that I write it down, but I figured if I wasn't making any money on my blog it was OK.

    I don't know about going back through all of my blogs and deleting previous photos, but moving forward I will definitely use the site.



  9. hey there jj! hope you had an amazing thanksgiving. i have been a mixed bag on comments...i started by doing similar to hilary and responding on my own blog. then i started responding via email. now i kinda mix it up depending on the day. if you visit me, i will jump over and visit you at least once. i read several people that do not comment on mine, but if you take the time to comment i usually get you back.

    one thing i like about your posts are that you usually end with a question, which i think is great to get people to respond.

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  11. Thanks for this... it was an entertaining read and a little bit of something for everyone.

    best wishes
    PS... I find word verification to be inconvenient, but if it's worth a comment I'll push over it and go ahead :)

  12. You are doing such a great job with this feature!

    I have never had word verfication. Ever. And I have maybe received 2-3 spam comments in the past year. It's really not all the preventative.

    And I don't always respond to each individual comment. I often will respond on my blog. Sometimes I may email them, and sometimes I may respond on their blog. Depends on how I am feeling. I do wish everyone had their email address linked to their comments.

    I have met several great people from your blog and the post where you featured me.

    Oh, and my husband was recently looking for a new job and I turned off the ability to Google my blog. I Googled his name and nothing came up.

    Now, if you Googled my name, it does because my name is everywhere.

  13. Guess I am rude. I don't usually reply to comments on my blog?! But I do visit the bloggers sites and leave comments there. Good post hun! I enjoyed it very much!
    Hope your Thanksgiving was fab...mine sure was!

  14. Thanks Joanna for taking the time to put all this together. Very helpful tips! In fact, this very post helped me today reduce the space between the end of my blog post and comment area. Thank you!! Ironically, because of your earlier post and the ensuing comments, I turned OFF word verification for comments over at my blog. I have noticed a couple of new reader/commenters.

  15. I'm with slommler. I never reply to a comment on my blog. I do visit sites and leave comments there though. Or, I reply in an email if a blogger asks for a reply. I don't go back to reread blogs, so I'm thinking that most people don't either. Hope no one finds this rude.

  16. I respond to every comment on my blog that is linked to an email. If it's not I'm too lazy to go back to my own blog and respond in comments (esp now because I have a 'top commenters' gadget and I dont want to be my own top commenter). Although only 1/2 my friends have enabled the emails in their blogs despite me doing a whole post about it. (It's more my friends who hardly blog and only check a handful as opposed to the bigger bloggeres who have ventured out to find new friends not in IRL yet).

    As for the word verification I have it on because I figured it'd be less spam. I've only gotten one in the 6+ months I've been blogging, but I'm curious how many others have gotten without it on.

  17. Word verification is annoying. So, to amuse myself I try to read the word as if it pertained to something. Here - fardsta - perfect word for how annoying it is. Word verification is just sooo fardsta!
    As for commenting, I go to the commenters blog and leave a comment about their subject. Seems more polite somehow.

  18. This was a really informative post. I got some ideas. FYI: I turned off my word verification months ago and had only 1 comment to delete and that was someone selling something.

    I'd like to say I don't like the music. I feel it is distracting. I have read other that say turn off the music also. Just a thought.

  19. This is a great feature, Joanna. I've learned quite a bit about technical aspects of blogging. From these comments, I am learning a lot about bloggers habits.

    I always respond to each commenter on my blog. If someone new stops by or joins as a follower, I go to their site, check it out and thank them for visiting. I have e-mailed a few commenters but, from this I am learning more about how that feature can be used.

    I do go back to blogs to see if there is a response to my, or others, comments. I learn more about the blogger that way.

    I saw one bloggers response here that said she never replies to her comments because she figures people don't come back. But she is wrong. Until I figured out she never responds, I went back regularly. Even now I'll go back occasionally to see if she responded to the more interesting comments. Nothing. After a while, I get a feel for the bloggers habits, who to go back to and who not to waste my time with.

    I read a few blogs that don't comment on mine. But over all, unless the blog is outstanding, and there aren't that many that fall into that category, after a while of the favor not being returned at least occasionally, I move on to a more interactive relationship. I read a lot of blogs that aren't that technically good, but I am engaged by the bloggers personality.

  20. Well done! Thank you for all the useful information.

  21. This is such a useful thing you are doing for the rest of us!! Great tips!!

    I have recently started emailing replies to comments. However, for the commenters who don't have an email addy set up, there is no response...which stinks! You can easily change your settings to show your email address so that those of us who email replies can reach you! If you don't want to use your regular email, get a free one!!

  22. Thank you, Girl. As a result, I've turned off my word verification. I know what a pain it can be to comment and then have to get the word verification right too.

    Hope you had a good Thanksgiving!

  23. Great information and I also turned off word verification and haven't notice any spam yet. Have a wonderful weekend.

  24. Thanks for making the effort to do this, Joanna, it's useful and helpful information. I'm also really glad you raised the question about blog commenting etiquette. I prefer not to comment on the comments. I notice some bloggers do where others don't, so I use that as a rule of thumb that it appears to depend on individual preference. Now I'm going to read what the others have said here about this.

  25. Hi, I love the direction your blog is taking at the moment. With regards to replying to comments - I'm all over the place - sometimes it's in my blog and sometime it's in my visitors blog. I am definately NOT a creature of habit.

  26. Hi Joanna,

    I received a lot of grumbles and groans about word verification, so I shut mine off about a week or so ago. No problems so far.

    My blogging etiquette is as follows: I go to every single one of my 48 regular reading blogs every single morning...and no, they don't all post every day or leave me comments every day, but I still go. Then I go back to the prior day's post and if anyone outside of the 48 has left me a comment, I go to their blog to say hi. I try very hard to get to everyone. The only time I think I failed was when I had over 150 comments on one post.

    By the way, today I noticed for the first time, "Little Walnut Brain" in the blog address and laughed! I'm nothing, if not totally aware of everything... ;)

  27. I respond to comments with an e-mail. I don't respond to every comment, but I try to. I do make an effort ot visit everyone who visits me, at least once.

  28. I loved reading everyone else's answers to this question. It looks like we all have our own way of handling comments.

    I used to acknowledge each and every comment that was made on my blog, but I stopped because I didn't think anyone was coming back to read them. Now, I generally respond directly to someone via email or their blog if they have asked a question or made a comment that I want to follow up on. I'm not sure if this is the best way or not.

  29. Thanks for all of this info, Joanna. It will be more than worthwhile for many, especially if it gets people to turn off word verification. I'm still a little confused about pictures....from what I've read if they are public domain or on a "free pictures" site they are ok to use, but some of your info seems to say that isn't so.

  30. Thanks Joanna,

    I acknowledge every single comment through email. I have my settings such that comments made on my post also go to my email. I simply click the reply button and type my response and send it. I find this much easier than going back into the comments section of my post and making another entry there for every comment that was made.

    You've asked what people do in terms of responding to comments. What I'd be just as interested in is what everyone's preference is on having their comments acknowledged. In other words, do you want to have a response to your comment? Does it bother you if you don't get one? And how do you prefer to get your acknowledgement....thru email or in the comments section of the original post? Or would you rather have that person come to your blog and make a comment on one of your posts?

    I've noticed that some people respond to my comments and some don't. Those that do acknowledge, some do it by email and others in the comments section of the original post.

  31. Wonderful post. When I started this venture, I had not read many blogs and so I have probably committed many a faus pax...

    Ah, commenting. Due to a busy work schedule I have never been able to respond in my own comment thread in a timely matter. I would love to as I do enjoy comment threads that turn into a conversation.

    I try to visit all the blogs of people who have commented. I also email a response when I can, if an email address in linked with the comment. I do read blogs of bloggers who do not comment on my own blog. I'm fnie with that, it does not always have to be 100% reciprical for me.

  32. Thanks for the education. I'm learning a lot through your helpful posts. It's great to hear from your followers on their pet peeves or solutions to problems.

    One thing that gives me pause is the comment that if you don't have anything to say, don't post that day. I believe that what someone posts may not be relevant to every reader. So, if their posts bore you, move on!

  33. Regretably, I do not always have time to respond to comments oartly due to work on the Sunday Roast programme - would love to do so and I am always upset that I might upset someone ~ Eddie

  34. What a wonderful post!!! So full of terrific information!!! Thanks for doing this!!! You've given us a wonderful forum of ideas!!! I really learned a lot!! ~Janine XO

  35. Excellent post. Lots of good ideas and things I plan to try. Thanks

  36. "What I'd be just as interested in is what everyone's preference is on having their comments acknowledged. In other words, do you want to have a response to your comment?"

    The answers are going to be as varied as the posters, but from my perspective, it's cool to be acknowledged by E-mail or by a replying post, but not necessary. I always subscribe by E-mail to future comments and that is always plenty of stimulation on whatever subject is at hand.

  37. I only comment if I have something worth saying. Which isn't very often!

  38. Great discussion here. Thank you!
    And i guess I assumed everyone check to have comments emailed on the post where I comment. If there are too many after awhile, I can unsubscribe. And I also assumed it a more personal and perhaps not acceptable presumption to email.
    And I don't use the comment verification and haven't had a problem.

  39. Thanks for sharing this. I'm still pretty new and learning a lot. I rarely respond to comments but I always visit anyone's blog who was kind enough to visit mine. And I try to stop by my reading list everyday or two (it's getting harder as the list grows!) There definitely is an etiquette to all this and I sometimes worry I am stepping on a toe. I'll say, though, that I have never met a more supportive, responsive group of women than those I have met blogging.

  40. I just added disqus. I changed my mind and took it off. No comments were lost. I decided to put it back but now I'm thinking of removing it again. It seems easy once you are registered. I can't decide!!

  41. I didn't realize I was supposed to comment on my own comments as well as comment on other peoples' blogs. This could be a full time job! :)

  42. Congratulations on your 300th follower, Joanna! (me!)

    I got rid of word verification quite a while ago. I use comment moderation, which i feel is essential, and having both seems unnecessary.

    I don't know if it's the kind people mentioned, but the blogs where the entire blog has to keep reloading after "post comment", again after the comment is typed, to bring up word verification, and again after that to finish, just drives me batty. It often keeps me from visiting again.

    My favorite comment set-up is POP UP windows!!! That way the main blog page stays put. You can opt for pop up comment windows in the settings. Also, that way you can refer back to the post if you want, while leaving a comment!

    Comment etiquette, wow. I used to try to reply to every comment, but time prevents me from doing that anymore. The same reason keeps me from matching visit for visit. I work full time and just can't do it or I would do nothing but work and blog. But simply ignoring someone who takes the time to comment is just rude. At the very least, I try to make a point to return visits when I am able to.

    Ultimately, blogging should be joy, not work. Hearts (and bloggers) go where they are appreciated!

  43. PS--pet peeve: please don't load your blog with so many widgets and gadgets that it takes prohibitively long to load. Not all of us have state of the art equipment, and if a blog takes up too much of my time just waiting for it to come up, I won't be back.

  44. I try to return visits for every comment that I get. Also, I respond to comments via e-mail some of the time. This all depends on my time constraints.

    (I would like to always return comments via e-mail and would love to be able to comment on every post of every person that I follow. But I have a job and 2 young children. It's just not possible.)

  45. all very good advice and knowledge

    I turn off word verification a long while ago, since than, I have gotten maybe 2 spam on an older post which I quickly deleted so, really, it's not even necessary considering some of the blogs only allow Blogger users in which case, any comment left they know who left it

  46. I am finally back to reading blogs and couldn't wait to read the update on the series.
    Comments are one of the keys to the blog world and every one has a different style. I don't respond to comments in my comment section as I find that I rarely go back to the comments on other peoples blogs to see if I have received a response. It is more clicking where I've already been. I always go back to a blog that has commented on mine, read through posts and comment. If I like the blog, I'll return several times to make sure, always commenting. I don't leave a comment on their blog regarding something from mine in answering a question...I'll email a response unless I feel it is pertinent to the post.
    Love this series!!
    (you can turn off the word verification now...argh!!)

  47. I read part two and had to come and read part one. Good advice here.
    I found if I enjoy blog I go and comment on theirs usually 5 - 6 times so they know I'm enjoying what they write. There have been several that I've finally quit commenting on because it is a one way street. I enjoy the back and forth commenting.
    I don't do word verfication. A huge slow-down for readers who like to cover lots of blogs. I also agree. Don't post to just post. Really have something to share or an event to share. To copy some e-mail into your post that's been floated thru the internet forever is a waste for everyone.
    Just my .02
    ♥ Joy

  48. Genial brief and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you for your information.

  49. I don’t usually reply to posts but I will in this case. I’ve been experiencing this very same problem with a new WordPress installation of mine. I’ve spent weeks calibrating and getting it ready when all of a sudden… I cannot delete any content. It’s a workaround that, although isn’t perfect, does the trick so thanks! I really hope this problem gets solved properly asap.

  50. amazing stuff thanx :)


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