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How To Be Nice To Your Blog Readers (and Get Me to Pimp Your Blog)

Posted on the 07 November 2011 by Mswicegood @MeganSwicegood
Nicole over at WORD for Teens wrote a pretty fun/awesome/informative blog post for "new" bloggers. Honestly, there are a lot of "old" bloggers who could take this advice to heart too (myself included). Her post got me thinking about blogger interaction. There are a lot of do/don't lists out there for interacting with authors/publishers and a few lists that cover the big topics for blogging in general, but I haven't seen a list that covers the nitty gritty of making your blog easier to get to and share.
Nothing frustrates me more than wanting to get to a blog or read an interesting post and not being able to or having to take 15 extra steps to get there. I'm an avid blog reader/commenter. I love going to other people's sites AND sharing their content. I won't do it if it's hard though! So here are a few pointers to make it easy for me to read and share YOUR blog.
1. Don't make me prove I'm a real person
You see this one a lot on the big lists of dos and donts for bloggers. It applies here too. Most of the time I'll do this step anyway, but sometimes the verification systems get buggy and I'm not going to sit there for 10 minutes trying to decode whatever obscure badly written word they've put up for me to type in. Spam happens, delete it and move on.
EDIT: Apparently, one of the ways you log in to my commenting system forces a word verification. If you get it - please email me with exactly what you're doing b/c I want to get it off of there and can't figure out what's triggering it. Also, I'm not complaining about having to log in to comment. I think it's important to own what you say. I'm talking about that extra pop-up window that asks me to type a random combination of letters/numbers. Some systems are worse than others. Blogger is usually okay, I can normally read it, but some systems are just awful and if it takes me three tries then I'm just going to leave. If you choose to leave word verification on, that's fine, just be aware that you might be missing out on some interaction because the system was being difficult. I miss out on some interaction because my commenting service is a bit unusual with the log-in process, but the value of moderating and replying to comments via email out weighs that for me. You just have to make that choice for yourself.
2. Make it easy for me to find you!
If you want me to visit your website in return (and I love going to people's sites who have come to mine) then make it easy for me! I hate having to click on your google/wordpress profile and scan through 5 different blogs to figure out which one matters to me. I'm okay if you leave me a link directly to the post/site you want me to check out (as long as it's in the context of a REAL comment - spamming me won't work).
Don't know how to leave a link? Here's the HTML:
How To Be Nice To Your Blog Readers (and get me to pimp your blog)
3. Be Feed Reader Friendly
I use Google Reader. If I really love what I see on your blog you get a special place in my Google Reader - a folder of my favorite blogs that I read every day no matter what. Otherwise, you're lumped into the "Blogs I Follow" folder, which I go through every few days, but generally scan. You'll never ever make it to the special folder if you're not reader friendly. 
Have an interesting post title? Awesome! I'm going to read the post, but only if I can read it without leaving Google Reader. If you abbreviate your reader feed, sorry, I'm not going to actually go to your website just to read a potentially good post. However, if you write a good post I can read in my Google Reader then I will go to your site to write a comment (and if it's really good, I'll also tweet about it - see #4).
4. Make it easy for me to Tweet your posts
Seriously guys, please, please, please make it easy for me to "tweet this"! I use Twitter a lot (@MeganSwicegood). I share links of interesting posts, a lot. Give a girl a break and yourself some free traffic by adding a "Tweet this" button of some kind to the bottom of your posts. I promise I'll use it.
5. For the love of God (or whatever deity you choose) please but an RSS feed subscription button in an easy to find place
See #3: I use a feed reader and want to easily subscribe to your awesomeness! Make it easy for me! Please! If I have to copy/paste your blog url, go to Google Reader, and "add subscription"....well, let's just say your content better be off the charts awesome because I won't do this for just anyone.
Whew, that feels good to get off my chest. There's lots of little blogging pet peeves I have (auto-noise is one of them. I will automatically leave your blog without reading anything if it makes noise when I get there), but this isn't the post for them. There are a lot more experienced bloggers out there to give you advice on content, and dealing with authors and other bloggers. I do have something of an expertise in user experience though (I have advanced training ;) ) and I'm an avid blog reader. I know what makes it easier for me to read and share your content. Follow these 5 little "rules", post interesting content, and I promise you'll be in my special folder and I'll occasionally pimp YOUR blog totally unprompted and free of charge.

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