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. I know, and that’s completely fine. Some of my favorite blogs to read make no attempt to draw in new readers – and I feel lucky to have found them!

    1. That’s very kind of you πŸ™‚

      You know, I’ve read that being able to write in a way that is casual and comfortable is the best way to go for bloggers – readers like to be able to relate to those whose posts they read.

      Actually, now that I think about it, I remember a particular blog here on WordPress that I encountered at the start, which purported to be a blog run by several people with IQs of at least 150. And when I challenged one of them on a particular point that didn’t make sense to me, he asked me what my IQ is (I don’t know what it is), and then he basically told me that he was better than me and didn’t care about my opinion. This actually happened – no joke!

      My final response to him was something alone the lines of – “LOL. Ok.” – and then I stopped reading their blog. I’m still not sure whom those bloggers were attempting to draw in with that attitude.

      ❀
      David

      1. this is a great story! Thank you for sharing – it gave me a giggle. I was once asked my IQ at a job interview. I stood up, shaked the interviewers’ hands, thanked them for their time and left. Humans human a little too much sometimes. lol

        1. or not enough… (human) . Appalling but not surprising. Many years ago, I hear a story secondhand about say a gardener who gained Mensa membership – and shrugging said – all it shows is that you re good at these tests. That’s human (but I know what you meant). Good for you.

  1. Some good points. I’m always amazed when people have the time to build a huge following AND keep up with all of them. It takes SO much time. Sometimes small and intimate is all that’s needed on WordPress.

  2. I’d never thought about it like that…I’ve been blogging for 11 months with relatively low numbers of subscribers for the time frame (though still a considerable amount more than when I first started when I think only my Mum and Mother in law read it, for which I am very grateful!)

    I sometimes think I should make an effort to find more followers, but I struggle with promoting my writing.

    I find it hard to read all the content of the people I follow even at low numbers, so I can see you would have no hope to follow everyone back with such high subscribers!

    They are very well deserved though, you are generous, consistent and interesting as a writer, thanks for this series for newbie bloggers, very helpful.

    1. Rae, thank you πŸ™‚

      TBH, I wrote this blog post partially out of a sense of guilt… there are so many lovely people who interact with me and support me… and I just can’t keep up with them all 😦

      ❀
      David

      1. I think you definitely give enough in your blogs though…you take the time to create content that’s enjoyable, insightful and helpful, and in turn you get followers, that’s reciprocity 😊 (though thanks for replying to my comments πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‰)

  3. As I read this blog, I must admit that, even with 240 followers, it takes a lot of time to look at all their posts and to answer to the comments they write on my blogs. Even now I was thinking about some kind of a sollution for this.

  4. I appreciate your content so very much. I’ve actually read through a ton of your blogs. Sometimes I’m not signed into WordPress so it won’t let me LIKE everything or comment. Just know I am reading and I truly do appreciate your advice. Also, I think it’s very VERY cool that you are across the world.

    Have a beautiful day!

      1. Ha ha. Apparently, I’m not that great at being Stealthy! My real name is Bobbe. I try to write using the name Alex because in a former life, I used “Alexis” as a pen name. NOW YOU SEE WHY I need to read your blog tips! ha ha!

        1. Well, your user name is linked to your blog, which says ‘Bobbe’ … so I wouldn’t exactly apply the word ‘stealthy’ to your approach πŸ˜€

          ❀
          David

          1. LOL!!! Ah well. If my family disowns me for being honest, I guess it doesn’t matter. Hilarious though. I just laughed right out loud in my church office. I’m sure everyone out there is wondering why the finance manager is ALONE back here just laughing away. LOL!

            Okay, I know you have other comments to answer. I will stop bugging you FOR TODAY. Have a great one.

      1. I can tell. Besides I know a little bit about your soul (through your poetry) to know that you would do me no harm. Thanks. You rock. (Pun intended)
        Good night from Japan.
        ((I go to sleep hoping that WordPress will rectify something that seems to have broken on my website)) GN.

  5. I’m still trying to keep up with all of them but slowly caving… I just can’t do it. I’m always appreciative of a follow and if I like you I want to help like others helped me.
    I think it’s fair to say, we blog the way we live. What about you?
    ❀️

    1. I think it’s fair to say, we blog the way we live.

      Hmn… πŸ™‚ yes, in general, that’s true, I think… except that our blogs only reflect those parts of ourselves that we are willing to share…

      ❀
      David

      P.S. also, I don't go around blowing so many kisses IRL 😘

      1. HAHAHAHHHAAHA
        🀣
        True I suppose. I’m for better or worse an open book.

        I blow them just not hug and kiss like I did…
        🀣😘😘😘🀣😘😘😘😘😘

  6. Interesting advice, thank you David! I never thought about it mathematically but it’s true, once you get past a certain point, it’s impossible to reciprocate in the same way as you did when starting out! I remember those halcyon days of my first likes and comments too 😊

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