The etiquette of visiting and the whys and wherefores of Stats

  • Be positive about other peoplIf you can’t then move on without commenting
  • If you’ve lapsed, (I’ve been known to lapse) admit it immediately and move on
  • If you think it is a good article but you can’t relate to the topic, at least leave a star to show that you’ve read it and appreciated the article and the hard work that went into it
  • Whenever you can do it honestly and nicely, comment
  • Unless it’s no visitors at all, there’s nothing as depressing as Stats that show you have had visitors but they haven’t bothered to make their presence known through a ‘comment’ or a ‘like’. I’ve had as many as fifty visitors in a day who haven’t commented. Make your presence known
  • Last but not least, the above isn’t necessarily going to increase your traffic, but it might make you some fast friends and like-minded followers. Imagine it, we are sitting at our computers somewhere in the world sending our words into the ether.  We could be in the US, the UK, or the Philippines, Australia or Austria.  When we get together we don’t always know who is who. I think of it as the ultimate Global Village.

I mentioned to a fellow blogger quite recently that when I started my blog I believed that (as in the movie Field of Dreams) if I built it they would come.  I was sure that my words would speak for me.  After all, I had bravely hauled myself out of my dusty bottom drawer and opened myself up to the scrutiny of strangers. I posted my first piece and waited. But no strangers came.

I’ve heard that ‘In the beginning’ there was The Word’ . That’s sometimes how a blogger must feel. The Blog belongs the author to do with as she or he wishes. It’s a wonderful feeling. But that’s the limit, the blogger has no control over who visits. I began with many, many words and thought they were good.  After several drafts and redrafts I would post my magical prose. Then I would spot a bunch of defects in said prose and update. (Thank heavens for the update and edit buttons.) Then I would wait. And wait. It was dispiriting to say the least.  I’d be constantly checking my Stats. No one was interested enough for even a peep.

More do visit these days than used to but I wouldn’t say the hordes are exactly breaking down my door.  I did a bit of visiting myself. I dropped in on the Freshly Pressed to see how it’s done. Sometimes I liked their contributions sometimes I couldn’t relate. But all of them had their faithful followers, those hordes that I mentioned earlier. These bloggers knew the secret. Some had been at it longer than I have so perhaps time and patience was the key. Also they had Facebook and Twitter followers and I didn’t. I considered it for myself for a while but I have a hard enough time saving my words for articles. I couldn’t keep up the daily grind necessary to maintain the constant demand. The Freshly Pressed had photographs or clipart that illustrated and enhanced their words, and despite help being available, I didn’t know how to do that.

I went back home and read. (That’s the way I am about new appliances. First I try to work them, and then I go back to the manual.) I read about ‘like’ buttons and ‘comments’ and installed them. That was a good start, but still no comments or likes. I can’t get myself to be carried away about photographs, for me it’s about the word, but I’m in the minority on this so I tried. The thing is that I am not good at photographs never have been; I think it’s to do with the fact that I am artistically challenged. I don’t give too much thought about placement, I’m half-hearted about the whole thing and I think people can sense it. My blog just isn’t pretty or professional. I have a recipes blog with no pictures, that should tell you a lot about me.  A teacher once praised a painting I’d done. That was in primary school. It was an accident. I didn’t know what I’d done right then and still don’t. I’ve (unsuccessfully) been trying to recreate that moment ever since.

So what was left for me?  I’m never going to have a pretty or a professional blog, so it’s no use my yearning for one. But I’m going to keep writing, which is one of the reasons I started this blog, the other being that when you are professionally published you may get paid for it, but you rarely get feedback. I like feedback and live in hopes of getting some.

I will keep visiting my neighbours and stop worrying about Stats so much. People say that writing is a lonely profession. Writing takes up a lot of energy and time. What better than electronic interaction with fellow bloggers.  You don’t have to get into your glad rags and haul yourself out of the house. You don’t have to invite them over, make them coffee and spend endless hours chatting when you’re yearning to get on with that idea that suddenly popped into your head.

Bloggers can sometimes be more real than the flesh and blood types.  And I don’t have to answer the door if I don’t want to, except when I want to which is why I have my Blog Roll.

In the end, writing is the thing for me. I’m going to keep it up whether you visit or not, but there will always be a welcome mat. Because we lonely writers need a break now and again and we do need the occasional pat on the back.

17 thoughts on “The etiquette of visiting

  1. I have just realised that if I read your post,delivered by email to either my phone or iPad, there is no like button or space to comment unless in connect to WordPress direct. That might go someway to explaining the discrepancy between visits and likes!

    • Dear S, no explanations necessary among friends. I’m just happy to see your logo when it arrives. I have no iPad and my phone looks like a Blackberry but is actually an ordinary old fashioned type mobile. I’m going ot be on the road most of the week and some of next week helping family members and babysitting and all sorts of exhausting things. I am going to be missing my daily fix of visits and visitors. Maybe I’ll jjust take a hard copy notepad with me and write. Maybe I’ll have something that’s not daily post to show for it. Hugs

  2. I like your honesty. I keep reminding myself it isn’t about how many people read, or like or comment on my writing. It’s the writing itself that is the real joy for me. Those other things are simply little bonuses for me. I keep checking out other bloggers’ writing, liking, commenting, reaching out myself and slowly it’s feeling like a community. Even in the real world it takes time to make good solid connections.

    • I think that we all come to your conclusions sooner or later, some 🙂 have to have it pointed out to them first. And of course your’re right about it taking time to build up your own little community within the bigger one.Thanks so much Kami.

  3. Mary, I’ve only been blogging for four months, and it’s been pretty slow going. Things have picked up lately, but I think part of that is because I just dragged myself out there and found some people I thought I could relate to, and I started liking and leaving comments. Some were welcoming; others were not. I added and deleted blogs I was following until I had a group I was comfortable with. Little by little, I add more people, and it’s not freaking me out like it used to. I’ve found some of my favorite bloggers by reading hovercards (avatars) on other blogs, and then following people who are relatively new and don’t have a lot of followers. I am not part of the horde that way, and it is easier to build a relationship. Keep writing, and keep visiting. They will come.

    • Thanks for the good advice, Maddie, it’s taken me a lot longer to come to some of the same conclusions. I’m thinking more of a ‘writer’s club’ not exclusive, rather inclusive of like-minded people that I can be supportive of and who will in turn give me feedback and encouragement. You know, it’s the funnyest thing, but I keep thinking Pen Pals. Are you too young to have had them or remember them?

      • I’m old enough to remember pen pals, and one of the reasons I came over to check you out is because you were “seriously seeking grannies”. I’m a goof, and I have a lot of fun on my blog … and my husband and I act like we’re twelve years old, but we have a 25-year-old son, and I’m no spring chicken. 🙂

      • It’s funny but you look younger in your picture 🙂
        Did you have any Pen Pals? It was so much fun and exotic to learn about people living in other countries.

      • I didn’t have a pen pal. Some of my friends did, but I loved writing letters and kept in touch with some of my cousins that way. … Yes, using my book character as an avatar, and the fact that silliness ensues around me, I tend to give off a younger vibe. I can be mature *if I have to.* 😉

      • I’m ending my Susan Hunter series with book six (working on #5 now), and then I have thought about looking at young adult. I’ve seen other authors make the switch with good success, so I’ll probably be making the decision some time next year.

  4. Mary, you have readers! I too wonder why some blogs have loads of followers and a log of inane comments, while others of quality seem to be ignored. Think it says more about the generation gap than readers, the blog or the author. 🙂 S

    • Sandra, I think you’re wrong about the inane comments (well, mostly) but right about the generation gap. Younger people have taken to Facebook and Twitter like a flock of electronic ducks to water. (ooh, what an image). As far as readers go, I’ve worked out that people tend to stay with or comment on things that they can relate to. I like to dip in and out of blog sites and see what people have to say on a variety of issues. On the other hand I try to keep myself out of hot water by avoiding issues that I have strong feelings about. Sandra did you know that you can meet some of the nicest people on the Net.? 🙂

  5. I’m here! I liked this! I know how you feel! I didn’t have visitors for five years. hahaha But that’s mostly because I didn’t want any. It’s taken a very long time for me to feel as if what i write is worth reading. You really do have to do it primarily for yourself first I think. And if you sincerely like what you write, other people will like it too. I always like to read what you’ve written. So here’s a big pat on the back to you from me. I’ll try to do it more often. xxoo

    • People ignored Jazzy for five years! Can’t believe it Gran, but it’s their loss. I just love her. She’s got a lot to say in fewer words than some of the blowhards I’ve come across. You’re right about needing to write primarily for yourself first and foremost. It’s a little like – you can’t expect people to like you if you don’t like yourself kind of thing. Thanks for being there, Gran. I’m getting the best advice and support preferring Gran.

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