Tips for bloggers #8: Network with smaller blogs

Food for thought

Here’s a thought that I’ve been chewing on for a while: For those bloggers who hope to expand their networks on WordPress and increase their subscriberships, it’s more fruitful, on average, to interact with and support blogs with few subscribers of their own.

Sharing this is, basically, like shooting myself in the foot because I now have more than 3,000 followers. Still, I think we should all be honest about it.

The main reason that I’m writing this post is that I came to this conclusion by personal experience. As a new blogger, I remember following many large blogs and regularly commenting on their posts, hoping for reciprocity… hoping that they would take note of me. Some of them did, it’s true, but the majority of bloggers with large followings did not. They were too busy producing content for themselves and responding to comments on their own posts.


Appreciation is relative

I love receiving comments on my blog posts and revel in the discussions that ensue on the Skeptic’s Kaddish. This blog has become a huge part of my life, as you may have guessed already, and this includes all of you in our virtual community.

There’s something incredibly powerful for me about knowing that my words have touched another human being across the globe, somebody that I would never have encountered if it weren’t for WordPress. I think I shall never be able to fully convey the degree to which I appreciate all of your support and constructive feedback. You buoy my soul.

Having said that, I think back to the ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ that I received on my first blog posts, just over one year ago… and I remember the unexpectedness of it and my excitement back then. And… well… that was something very, very special for me as a burgeoning blogger. Back then, I could hardly believe it – who are these people that like my poetry? How did they find me? I can’t believe they actually enjoyed this piece! Wow, this poet is from India… and this author is from Australia! How cool is that?!

And, of course, given that I was so new to blogging and didn’t know whose blogs to read, I naturally began reading the blogs of those writers who had taken the time to ‘like’ and ‘comment’ upon my posts. They were my introduction to the extended WordPress community at a time when I knew no other bloggers and had almost no subscribers.


I’m too sexy for WordPress 🎡

(get the song reference?)

The truth is that while more than 3,000 bloggers have subscribed to my blog, I follow a fraction of that number. Obviously, this isn’t about me, per se, but I am being honest enough to write it like it is: the more followers a blogger has, the lower the percentage of those (s)he can realistically reciprocate to.

The math is simple. If I have 10 followers, it’s easy enough to reciprocate and follow their 10 blogs. If I have 100 followers, it becomes more challenging to keep up with all their posts. If I have 1,000 followers… well, what is the probability that I’m actively following them, let alone subscribed to all of them?

Speaking for myself, I always look forward to making new friends on WordPress, and I do my best to follow and interact with those who are kind enough to visit the Skeptic’s Kaddish and engage me in meaningful discussions. I take the time to actively peruse my feed multiple times daily; and I always support my friends with ‘likes’, commenting on the posts that pique my interest… but, like anybody else, my time is finite. I also have two jobs, a wife, a daughter…

My point is simple: You would be better served by showing your support for smaller blogs than larger ones if you would like to increase your subscriber count.


Caveats

While I stand by everything that I’ve written above, and my advice to all new bloggers would be to support one another as much as possible as you develop your blogs, there are also reasons to follow blogs with larger subscriberships. Two that come to my mind immediately are:

  1. Blogs with larger numbers of subscribers tend to have active discussion threads on their blogs, which provide you with an opportunity to interact not only with them, but also with others on WordPress.
  2. Also, you may learn from successful bloggers by example – what are they doing right that others find appealing? What are they doing differently than me, which seems to be working for them?

Also, of course, you may find their content interesting, as I hope you find mine!

80 thoughts on “Tips for bloggers #8: Network with smaller blogs”

  1. This is especially true for me right now. I’ve just started out and I’m getting the hang of WordPress having a community (before joining I didn’t know that was a thing!)
    Big bloggers are certainly more easily found, but there aren’t many opportunities to interact with them… However, I’d love to be an active member of the community and that involves looking for other (small) bloggers to have more constant and fulfilling interactions with!

    1. Natalia – thanks for your comment! πŸ™‚

      I completely agree with your assessment – and, as you wrote, and as I wrote somewhere at least once, we bloggers tend to stumble upon the WP blogging community by accident – I certainly did!

      BTW, I clicked on the link to your blog, but it seems not to exist… do you have an active blog right now?

      Sincerely,
      David

      1. Dang it!!! You can tell I’m not really familiar with the platform…
        And yes! I do have a blog where I’m active right now, it’s honeysavingmoney.wordpress.com hopefully I’ve already fixed the problem with the links my comments lead to…

  2. WordPress’s follower numbers make no sense to me. I have over 3000 followers – so it says on my blog pages – but I don’t. When I look at my stats – I have just over 300 on WordPress (very many are not even people, but ads and “content” blogs for ad traffic) – and about 17 email subscribers. One of them is my husband. Not even my husband reads the email every day. πŸ™‚ This is nowhere near 3000.

    I have tried to understand what WordPress means when they describe this number as “social media followers” – but I can’t figure it out. I do cross-post to Facebook but have over 4000 contacts – who most decidedly – obviously from stats – are NOT clicking over to my blog. They will “like” the previews with painfully obvious comments that make it clear they didn’t read the post itself.

    Have you figured out where this number comes from?

    1. Ren, I’m not sure about “social media followers” because I don’t have any, but I will look into this – it’s probably important! I’ll let you know what I find out when I do ❀

      Yours,
      David

    2. ok, Ren – here’s what I’ve found –

      The actual list of names of “social followers” is only available on the social network you’ve connected to your WordPressdotcom website via “Publicize”, such as FB, twitter, etc.

      The number of “social followers” reflects the total number of people who see your post when it is pushed to FB and Twitter via “Publicize”. They haven’t signed up to β€œfollow” your website like WordPressdotcom users do, so you won’t find their names in your Follower dashboard here on WordPressdotcom.

      ❀
      David

  3. Great advice! I’ve been trying to keep a blog off an on for several years, but haven’t been very consistent. I started the one I currently have almost 2 years ago and I’ve recently reached over 50. So I try to reciprocate and either follow or like others, especially if they talk or discuss things that related to what I’m sharing. Most of mine are on poetry, but I did share one post regarding my weight loss and got a ton of spam likes and follows from diet blogs. So I have to weed out the legitimate blogs from the spammers. 😁

    1. I get spam too, Tiffany, but it’s mostly either random bloggers who seem to want lots of followers but aren’t willing to put in the time to develop their blogs; or it’s weird, random spam, attempting to sell health scams, etc.

      Thanks for your kind comment πŸ™‚

      All best,
      David

  4. So true David, nail on the head! There also seems to be a number of thresholds too: with each increase of five hundred the percentage of reciprocal response has little increase; some followers do drop off for any number of reasons; some followers become inactive; some followers have an agenda (sales or simply numbers competitive; and some followers will only like if you like (I try not to do that, I think a like is a like not a duty). Fascinating post that made me think.

    1. Paul, thank you so much for the kind and thoughtful reply. I do think it’s true… but it’s sort of awkward to talk about because it sounds haughty for someone to say that they’re too busy for somebody else – or too… whatever.

      ❀
      David

  5. I think we all understand everyone’s time constraints. There are a few core bloggers I always look at, and mostly comment on. I’m sure that’s true with most people. But I do look at other posts when I have time, because you never know what you might discover. (K)

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