Tips for bloggers #6: Community etiquette

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org

The Skeptic’s Kaddish blog was created with and is hosted on WordPress.com, rather than WordPress.org, and there is, indeed, a significant difference.

The major advantage of WordPress.com, you see, is the community aspect. Bloggers may easily search for, find, ‘like’, and otherwise interact with one another’s blogs in the WordPress Reader. WordPress.org, on the other hand, is for self-hosted blogs, which have no built in communities.

If you take the time to read or listen to any blogging tutorials, you’ll find that there are bloggers who make thousands of dollars monthly through their blogs, and almost all of these bloggers use WordPress.org, which allows them the complete freedom to place ads on their websites in a way that WordPress.com does not. WordPress.org has other advantages as well, but that is not the point of this particular post.

The point I am coming to is this – if you’re hoping to increase your subscriber numbers in order to make money off of sales and advertisements, you would be better off using WordPress.org. However, if yours is a hobby blog or a personal blog, you are likely to find the WordPress.com community more suitable. Sure, you can provide services and sell products on WordPress.com… but it’s not the best service for that.

WordPress.com is best for community.


ADDENDUM

In the discussion thread at the bottom of this blog post, it has come to light that if a blogger opts to pay for WordPress.org, they can install plugins on their websites that make them appear in the WordPress Reader.


What does a high subscriber count get you?

Many bloggers have written or are writing books, and their WordPress.com blogs offer wonderful platforms for selling their works. But I have a serious question – what percentage of your WordPress subscribers are likely to purchase your books? I would wager that it isn’t high…

In fact, if your intention is to monetize your blog in some way, you would be better served by promoting your blog on various social networks (Pinterest, etc.) than by attempting to network with other bloggers on WordPress.com. This blogging community, I would say, is not itself large enough to sustain most small online businesses ventures.

I suggest that the primary benefit of having a high subscriber count on WordPress.com is the opportunity to form relationships with and have engaging discussions with other human beings. Personally, I would liken WordPress.com to a neighborhood.


Howdy, Neighbor πŸ‘‹

We are, essentially, online neighbors, and our blogs are our respective homes.

So – how would you act if you were visiting a friend in your neighborhood? Would you barge in and immediately insist that they admire your new shoes, look through your massive family photo album, or purchase a cutlery set? Or… would you graciously take the time to look about your host’s home, inquire about the interesting artwork on their walls, and pay them suitable compliments?

This 6th blogging tip is not a technical one, as were my previous posts… it’s simply food for thought.

96 thoughts on “Tips for bloggers #6: Community etiquette”

  1. Really great David… reminds me how I felt in the early days of blogging on wordpress (via a different blog, bloomwords). The community aspect is also addictive though (something I struggle with) and not always positive. I really agree that meaningful interaction is key (something I myself often fail at). But we are all here for different reasons (some commercial, some not), which makes that challenging. I love the way you honestly try to bridge the gap.

    1. Thanks, Lia ❀

      we are all here for different reasons

      I’ve found that most of the people I regularly interact with on my blog and their blogs are likeminded… the people who have other motivations tend to fall away… (just my experience)

      ❀
      David

      1. True, but sometimes (or especially) between likeminded people, understandings can easily arise. There are a lot of misfires in an active creative community… ever a challenge to maintain clear vision and a mindset of peace. At least for me πŸ’˜πŸ˜₯πŸ’“πŸ€— :)) xoxo

        1. isn’t IRL like that too though? I mean, I guess IRL you can immediately try to clarify what you meant in a way that posting comments doesn’t allow… but, still, people can end up walking away from us with all sorts of impressions that we’d never have imagined!

          1. You read my mind there David! I was going to comment that exactly, but was afraid that this conversation was somehow being taken the wrong way. Coincidental that you quote a female artist there… I can certainly relate. <33

          2. πŸ˜ƒ So am I. I often sing/play her song “Video Games” (while our kids play actual video games :)) (and sometimes my husband sings along. And he is getting to be a better guitar player than me). :)) Love ya David πŸ€—πŸ’—πŸ€“πŸŽΆ xoxo

  2. I’d love to hear your take on blogs that don’t have “like” buttons, but take part in community round robins. (I had an interesting discussion on Facebook). I feel pressured to say something profound or something instead of just “nod” like I would like to.
    On the other hand, I have not had the button before – and part of me would prefer not to know.
    Do you know if the likes affect how you are presented in the feed? Does it matter?

    1. I don’t think it affects being visible in the Reader… it just means that the function is not available to your readers if you turn it off… personally, I don’t really understand why people do it – what do you have to lose by having ‘likes’ at the bottom of your blog? I also feel that with blogs like that I have to write particularly profound comments… but sometimes when I have nothing to say to them, I just leave them alone.

      Strategically, turning that function off doesn’t do anything to help increase your subscriber count, although I also don’t think it would do much damage to it… unless a lot of people feel awkward about not being about to ‘like’ somebody else’s blog.

      ❀
      David

  3. Very true post and recommendation David! When I was starting I read endlessly to decide between the two, but finally went the WP.com way to experience a free blogging experience before i could get more serious. I guess I will never move out on this blog, I am so happy with the community, the connects and the “reader” and it’s recommendations.
    My daughter is just getting started on blogging and as I tell her, blogging is equal if not more about connecting and reading than writing. There is so much free treasure in there.

    1. Deb, I am pretty sure one could migrate his/her blog to WordPress.org and install plugins to keep in touch with .com community members… I may do that eventually myself πŸ™‚

  4. I had no idea of any of this when I started, I just wanted a platform to build a web page on! I accidentally stumbled across the best community in the internet!

  5. I agree that the free WP version does encourage community. That is the big draw for me. I was on Xanga for many years and loved the people I met there. Many have come to WP and I’ve reconnected. But the main thing is that I met many in person and they have become good friends! Saintvi is one of my best friends and I have Xanga to thank for that! WP seems to be a little less tightly knit but still gives me the outlet that I need for my writing and lets me connect to other like-minded people!

    1. it’s a very big community of writers here… so not everyone is necessarily connected to everyone else… but there’s still the potential for human connection, for sure.

      ❀
      David

  6. Yep, that’s the plan…but when changes are made in WordPress, “Pro” themes often have to also update to reflect those changes. That can take a bit of time, and occasional break a theme if the update is substantial enough. The theme you’re using is automatically updated. Mine ain’t. There is lag. The themes you use are updated along with WordPress.Com

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