Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Blogger Advice Part 2

Last month, I did a very long post with tips about gaining followers and increasing your presence in the blogging world. There were a few things that I forgot to include in that post and thought people might find interesting.

Here is the previous post: Blogger Advice: Gaining Followers

1. Captcha Codes: Boo...Hiss...Grr... I hate Captcha Codes with every fiber of my being, as do most bloggers. Also known as Word Verification, these are the letters/numbers that you're required to enter in order to post a comment. Please, please get rid of them! In the year that I've been blogging, I have only received 3 or 4 spam comments that slipped through. You don't need Captcha Codes. Trust me. Give it a try and if you get tons of spam, you can switch it back. It will make it much easier for people to comment on your blog.

A lot of people may not even realize that they have Captcha Codes on their blog, if they don't comment on their own posts. If you want to see if you have Capcha Codes and how to get rid of them, here are some easy steps:

Go to Blogger and then click on Settings.

Scroll down until you find "Show Word Verification for Comments." Click No.

2. Music: I said this last time, but I'm going to say it again. No music! It's incredibly irritating. And I'd prefer if you don't post book promoting widgets that have sound. It's personal preference, but I think most people share my preference of silence.

Okay ranting part of post over.

3. Timing of Hops/Memes: If you're a new blogger and even if you're not, the weekly blog hops and memes are the best way for new people to find your blog. While it would be nice to expect that every participant will visit all 300 blogs, that's pretty unrealistic. I often get through all the blogs on the Hops/IMM, but there are many weekends when I have to stop after 100 or 200 because I'm afraid I'm going to lose my mind. 

Anyway...if you want to get maximum exposure for your blog, your best bet is to be one of the first bloggers listed on the Hops/Memes. It's much more likely that random people will visit your blog and comment. The memes generally aren't posted at exactly the same time each week, but here are some approximates:

Parajunkee Friday Follow: Usually about 8 or 9 PM, Central Time Thursday night
Crazy for Books Book Blogger Hop: The posting time on this meme no longer matters. A few months ago, the linky switched to a random order. So each time you load the page, the links appear in a different order. Makes it fair for everyone (except the people who get there first, I suppose)
Breaking the Spine Waiting on Wednesday: This is always posted as 12 AM Central Time Wednesday
The Story Siren In My Mailbox: This also varies. It is usually posted Sunday morning, but it can be Saturday night.

I tried to figure out when Top Ten Tuesdays (an increasingly popular meme) posts, but it's really sporadic. I also had trouble figuring out Teaser Tuesdays, because I couldn't tell the time zone. If you know any times that popular memes tend to post, please let me know and I'll edit this list.

Also, follow these bloggers on Twitter. They will generally Tweet the link to the Hop/Meme as soon as it posts.

4. Finding New Blogs Through Hops/Memes: This is a twist on the previous comment. Just like people find you through the Hops/Memes, you find new blogs. After awhile, you see the same blogs linked every week. How do you find new ones? I often wait until the Hop/Meme has been up for a day or so and then start clicking on blogs - starting from the bottom. New people don't know the Hops/Meme well enough to time when it's going to post, so they often arrive late. You are much more likely to find new blogs at the bottom of the list.

5. E-Mail/Tweet Experienced Bloggers:  A way to become known by experienced bloggers and to gain loyal readers is to personally reach out to them. The first review I posted was Swim the Fly by Don Calame (if you haven't read this, you must get it right away! It's one of the funniest books I've ever read). I read it after Steph Su Reads recommended it. I e-mailed her to tell her that she inspired me to read this great book and included the link to my review. She became my first follower. 

Since that time, I've had a few new bloggers e-mail me with questions about blogging. Talk about a surefire way to get me to become a frequent visitor. I'm always so flattered that anyone takes the time to specifically contact me that I seek out their blogs. I really like to support new blogs, but there are so many that it's hard for me to keep track of them on a daily basis. E-mailing a blogger that you like definitely keeps you in her mind.

These are just a few thoughts about ways to promote your blog and make it more reader-friendly. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions (alisoncanread at gmail dot com or @alisoncanread on Twitter). I rather like doing these advice posts. I may make it a semi-regular feature. I don't want to usurp on the fabulous advice features of other bloggers, specifically Parajunkee's Book Blogging 101, but I have lots of thoughts about blogging that I enjoy sharing. Let me know if you have any specific questions in mind.


  1. Great advice, thanks for this! I really like these posts. I agree, captcha and music are both SO annoying. Music is a guarantee I won't follow someone's blog. Captcha makes it less likely I'll comment. I had it on my blog at first but quickly realised how annoying it is and switched it off - I haven't had one spam comment yet (touch wood).

  2. Thanks for the heads up regarding Captcha Codes - yup, I did not know I had them on. Looking at the Settings section of Blogger made me see a few things I wasn't sure I could change and I kept putting off trying.

    Also, warning: Now I know you *like* getting queries, expect an email :-)

  3. Some awesome advice--totally agree with it all! Especially the Captcha. HATE that. I know some people think it'll keep away the spammers but Blogger blocks 99.99% of spam comments even without the Captcha. I do get some spam but it doesn't show up on my blog or, if it slips through, there's a very convenient delete button.

    Anyway, keep up the great blogging and advice!
    Mary @ Book Swarm

  4. I love these posts..I have been a blogger for a bit now on a site and recently started my own so I could follow people. Though I really don't care to amass thousands of followers to my own blog, I would like a few and all your posts have help me thus far. Keep them coming, they are great for us newbies

  5. I am not a fan of captcha in any capacity and so I'm in agreement with you there. And, to be honest, I'm sort of glad I don't pull in hundreds of new followers from a follow post because it takes me some time to get used to following whatever new number I've gotten for the week as is. Slow and steady, right?

  6. I believe Crazy-For-Books blog hop has her linky set to randomize entries, so it doesn't really matter when you add your link, it could be anywhere in the list. Just some added info, if it's helpful....

  7. Fantastic post Alison! I'm with you on the music, I can't deal with it or with widgets that have sound, they drive me crazy. And thanks to you, I got rid of my word verification:) I think emailing/tweeting bloggers you like when you're new is a great idea, I did that as well and was so surprised and pleased when bloggers I had been following long before I even started my blog showed interest in helping me and welcoming me to the blogging world:)

  8. Nice advise! When I started I had to do things on my own. I only did mess up once. But still I wish I had someone to give me great advice!

  9. Couldn't agree more with the whole Captcha thing or whatever you call it. It just kills time that's so precious! LOL

  10. Great post, Alison. All great information!

    Jen at Red Hot Books

  11. *cries happy tears*

    Alison, I think it is so important to get the word out about how frustrating and irritating Captcha Codes are. I've ranted about them before too because, like you said, they are so unnecessary. I can count the number of spam messages I've gotten on one hand. In the end, I think it is better to to make it easy for people to comment, plus it really doesn't take much effort to delete a span comment you may happen to get.

    I think I've said this before, but I love to participate in memes when I know I will have the time to dedicate myself to them properly. I've stopped doing FF and the Hop and I was never big on WoW, but I love IMM. It is so fun to see the books others have collected.

  12. opps... I wasn't finished with my ramble.

    Thanks for sharing this sage advice. Excellent post.

  13. The Word Verification doesn't really bug me all that much but I can see how it would bug others especially on meme days when they are trying to comment on lots of blogs, it does slow things down considerably. Maybe I'll remove it but I did that during Armchair BEA and felt so exposed xD.

    Music! Thankfully I haven't encountered a blog that plays music but I have opened websites in the past that would automatically play music and its even worse when you can't find the stop button. Tip: If there isn't a stop button try the Esc button. I also don't add widgets to my blog if they have sound, if its irritating me I am not going to irritate my followers :P.

    Thanks for the tips! Have you tried bloggers new mobile view feature? I'm giving it a shot but it could use a little tweaks, good thing its still in the beta stage.

    My WoW

  14. Captcha can go die now :) Ditto for music and sounds on blogs because that's pretty annoying.

  15. Great post, l agree most definitely with music and captcha! If a blog has music l will only visit it when it's gone UNLESS l love the blog.

  16. Great advice as usual! I tried participating in a bunch of memes, but I stick to the ones you mentioned.

  17. Oh the music. I will not go to blogs with music. I hate when I open a bunch and can't figure out which one has the music

  18. Great advice! I really hate word verification! Such a hassle especially when they are hard to read.

  19. Alison, you're so sweet to post this info for new bloggers. I wish I'd found something like this when I was just starting took a long time to find my feet! :)

  20. All great advice!

    I would add that it is great to find new blogs through hops/memes, but it you comment on a review post and not just the meme post, the blogger will likely notice you more. Review posts seem to get a lot less comments, so when one is made, it tends to stand out.

  21. Thanks for the advice. I just turned off my word verification. I know that it can be annoying.

  22. I'm loving these series of posts, and completely agree with what you said. I don't have Captcha on my blog and though annoying, doesn't perturb me from commenting. Music on the other hand, I hit the back button as fast as I can.

  23. Hey, don't be telling people when to wait for the Follow Friday linky! ;) Kidding, but all this is great advice. Being near the top of linkys is a big help. Captcha codes bug me, too, simply because I can't always read them. For some reason, those sideways letters throw me off, the same way cursive writing does. And music... the worst is when a blog has an ocean wave soundtrack in the background. Anyway, great post!

  24. I'm with you on the music. Sometimes I won't click on a post by a blogger because they have music and I don't want to be bothered. And if I click on a blog that has music unexpectedly, I usually close it before I even read the post.

  25. Yay for the campaign against Captchas heh~~

  26. I really enjoy reading these posts of yours! I think it's pretty amazing how quickly you've got to 1000 followers.

    Another big one I'd add is responding to comments. It's always nice to know people read what you comment and make me want to go back to a blog. Although I'm not sure if you have that set, since I tried to reply back to a comment you made on my blog recently (my lasy IMM post I believe), but you didn't have an e-mail listed. It's easy to just hit reply on a comment you receive through e-mail to try it out. But I believe to have people reply to you, you need to have your e-mail listed as public on your blogger profile. Let me know if that works for you!

  27. Thank you for the advice!!! And is true about the music... sometimes can be a little bit annoying... : s

  28. Hi Alison, Thanks for stopping by my blog. I have been trying to find meme information tonight and have spent 45 minutes searching. Then TA DAH! Here you are with this awesome post that has answered all my questions with great tips. Thank you for your help. ;D
    kjovus at gmail dot com

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. *woops--do over* You have won me over--I'm turning off the captcha codes. They've never stopped my from commenting on a blog, but boy do I feel the pain when I'm trying to race through all the meme posts!!!--great idea!


  31. Thanks for stopping by. Your blog is BEAUTIFUL. Love the colors. I absolutely agree with you on the music. So annoying and it takes longer to load the blog.

  32. I've been liking your advice columns Alison, and do find them helpful. Just wanted to say thanks :).

    the Novel Nook

  33. Love your blog and your helpful posts! I'm so new at this that I don't even know what to I appreciate your help so much!

  34. Great tips, Alison! I completely agree with several of them, especially about the word verification. Grrr! Drives me nuts!

  35. This is awesome advice! Being a new blogger can definitely be overwhelming, and these tips are really helpful. I totally agree about music and widgets that make noise. I had the countdown for Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick on my blog for about 30 seconds before I took it down because it was so annoying.

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!
    New follower :)

  36. Thanks for the advice. I'm a new blogger so this is very helpful. :)

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