Thoughts for Bloglings

Blogstats So, you’re new to this blogging thing – a newbie – a blogling. Yep, I can see it in your eyes. You have high hopes of soaring stats and ratings through the roof, don’t ya? First of all, let me welcome you to the conversation! It’s nice to meet you. Pull up a chair, let me buy you a cup of coffee. For what it’s worth, let me share a lesson or two that I’m still absorbing. I was just in your shoes just a few months ago.

To start, there are two mistakes I would try to avoid:

  1. Field of Dreams Syndrome. Take it from someone who lives a cornfield or two away from the Field of Dreams…"if you write it, they don’t necessarily come". People won’t find you if you’re not part of the larger conversation. That sage advice mom gave us when we were kids is still true: "the only way to have a friend is to be one" (I think that’s the second time I’ve quoted mom this week! Yikes!). Join the conversation, comment on posts, check out the blog of someone who commented on the same blog and make another comment. Comment on other comments on the same post. When you join the conversation, people will notice you’re there -"I wonder who that person is?" [click] and they’ll stop by your blog to check out what else you have to say.
  2. The Elephant Hunt. I understand the temptation. If you "bag the elephant" and get a blogging heavy-weight like Tom Peters, Guy Kawasaki or Seth Godin to mention you or link to you it would be a coup. Good luck with that. I think you’ll find yourself quickly discouraged. I also think that while you’re fixated on bagging the elephant you’re going to miss a whole host of very cool meerkats in the bush. They may not give you overnight stat success, but they know the terrain, they’ll show you around and introduce you to some other great bloggers (who knows – maybe they know an elephant!).

Some of the coolest meerkats in the blogging-bush – bloggers I respect like Mike Sansone, Liz Strauss and Amy Gahran will tell you that blogs tend to grow organically. Look at my Feedburner subscriber chart. It’s the epitome of the principle "slow and steady wins the race". Nope, I’m not taking the blogosphere by storm, but the chart tells me I’ve got a nice steady shower of growth going.

Try this prescription for steady growth:

  1. Post three to five times a week.You never know which post is going to resonate with people. Don’t think too hard about it. Build a habit and keep posting.
  2. Build a habit of commenting on different blogs. Start joining different conversations. You’ll be surprised how sprinkling a comment here or there will open up new doors. To find new blogs, check out bloggers’ links, scour technorati tags that are important to you, follow comments and commentors like rabbit trails, or do a google blog search for your favorite keywords.
  3. Build a list of blogs you really like and hang out there. It should be a manageable list or you’ll get discouraged. Find a handful, read them religiously and comment frequently. Be a friend.
  4. Follow the golden rule. When people comment on your blog, respond the way you want others to respond when you’re commenting. Post a follow up comment, send a thank you via e-mail, and pay their blog a reciprocal visit complete with a comment or two.

Thanks for stopping by. Let me know how it goes. Why not start now? Leave a comment and join the conversation (I promise to practice what I preach!).

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  36 comments for “Thoughts for Bloglings

  1. July 2, 2006 at 9:57 am

    This is one of the best new blogger posts I’ve ever read. Your writing voice is so warm and entertaining. I love the analogies. I was in the jungle with you all of the way. It was a fun Sunday morning read.

  2. July 2, 2006 at 6:54 pm

    Thanks, Liz! It was just some rambling thoughts that came to me as I was looking at my Feedburner chart. I hope it’s helpful for the newbies.

  3. July 3, 2006 at 4:05 am

    Great post, Tom.
    Bag the Elephant? Mind the Meerkat! A great picture of the Long Tail visiting the zoo.

  4. July 3, 2006 at 4:15 am

    I can’t help it. It’s the artist in me always thinking in word pictures. Glad you enjoyed the field trip ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. July 3, 2006 at 9:24 am

    Okay, so … do your RSS subscribers ever go DOWN? Does that mean you’ve done something wrong? (Not that my subscriber numbers are soaring, but I do notice an occasional drop off, and I’ve decided it’s best not to look at these numbers! Then I just sit and wonder… hmmm. where’d they go???)

  6. July 3, 2006 at 10:25 am

    Yes, Christine, they do go up and down. I remember hitting 50 and feeling really good and then a day or two later it was back to 42. I always look at my subscriber list like the stock market. On any given day it could go up or down – but you want to focus on the trend. Maybe someone out there subscribes to a bunch of blogs in an RSS Feed-ing frenzy and then realizes they aren’t reading certain ones so they delete the feed. Who knows? I’ve gotten to the point of only looking at them occasionally seeing that it’s slowly, surely growing. Looking at it too much will only drive you nuts!

  7. July 3, 2006 at 7:14 pm

    As a “blogling” (a few weeks) who is searching for answers to myriad of questions, this post answered about ten of them.
    It answered a variety of questions about what to do when someone makes a “comment” on my blog.
    Thank you Tom for the post on my blog a few days ago. I was the first one that wasn’t from “anonymous.” It was very encouraging.
    Thank you for taking the time to check me out.
    I have read 100’s of bloglove in the past few weeks. This blog is among the best of the best.

  8. July 3, 2006 at 11:26 pm

    Tom, I wouldn’t feel too bad about quoting your mom, either. The older I get I find the smarter my dad gets.
    When I was 16 my dad was a certifiable idiot. And now as I approach 40 some of that stuff he said seems pretty stinking wise.

  9. July 4, 2006 at 3:32 am

    I believe you, Tom! That’s because you did just that to a blogling like me. I visited your blog, left a logical comment (I think!), you acknowledged it and the rest is history. Thank you again for these pieces of advice. They are very helpful! One person who also helped me develop as a blogger is Maria Palma of CustomersAreAlways. Thanks to all of you!

  10. July 4, 2006 at 10:40 pm

    Tom, great post. Thanks for the inspiration and hints.

  11. July 5, 2006 at 10:28 am

    Wow! Take a day off and the comments come rolling in!!
    Dave, thanks for stopping by and posting. Keep up the good work. You’re off to a great start and I’m glad I could be encouraging.
    Chris, I agree. The older I get the wiser my folks get. Funny how that happens, huh?
    Meikah, you’re welcome! You’ve got a great blog going. Keep posting!
    Sandy, thanks for stopping by. See you at Panera!

  12. July 5, 2006 at 11:02 am

    Tom, thanks for your kind comment. I get SO MANY ideas from your blog — what fun to think I could give one back in mine occasionally. It’s an honor to be part of a community of friends who look for similar answers to key questions… and who share these together. As we all struggle… so we all find more reasons to try better answers together. That’s what keeps me going… and it has also surged my business lately. Have a great day Tom!

  13. July 5, 2006 at 11:17 am

    You’re very welcome. Likewise, your blog is a constant source of information and inspiration. It’s great to learn together.

  14. July 7, 2006 at 10:18 am

    SOB Business Cafe 07-07-2006

    Tom Vander Wellโ€™s thoughts for bloglings are worth reading no matter when you started.

  15. July 7, 2006 at 3:15 pm

    Good stuff Tom, thanks. I linked ya’.

  16. July 7, 2006 at 8:03 pm

    hi tom,
    came via Liz’s blog. I’m a blogling meself and i can do with all the advise and suggestions. Will certainly keep in mind what you have just said!

  17. July 8, 2006 at 2:05 am

    For Blog Pups

  18. July 13, 2006 at 8:42 am

    Excellent post! I think he has touched on some very simple but powerful things-to-do. I know an “elephant” that has a excellent list that will only enrich Tom’s own. Find that at
    Disclosure: He is an acquaintance of mine.

  19. July 13, 2006 at 9:10 am

    Thanks for the compliment Harsha and for the excellent link!

  20. July 14, 2006 at 3:14 am

    Tom: I got attracted to your blog in my “search of Excellence in Customer Interactions” – a passion. But what I got as a bonus was this post on Excellence in blogging!!
    You have re-energized the blogling in me to keep at the “slow but steady” game! In the bargain, should it become “rapidly steady”, won’t it be a bonus too?… ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. July 14, 2006 at 6:24 am

    Hooray, Rajas! Glad you found the post a “bonus” – and yes I don’t think any of us would turn down the opportunity (or fortune) of “bagging the elephant” should one wander our way!

  22. January 23, 2007 at 9:06 am

    Thank you for the insight, Tom. I am new to the conversation and it is nice to hear feedback from someone else who has recently walked in my shoes!

  23. January 23, 2007 at 9:12 am

    Thanks for stopping by Madena! Welcome to the conversation. Don’t get discouraged – blog on!

  24. January 23, 2007 at 11:12 am

    Great article Tom. Your site is now bookmarked and I’ll definitely be a part of the conversation. I’ve read through some of your other posts and look forward to many more.

  25. January 23, 2007 at 11:21 am

    Great Robert! Happy to have you joining in!

  26. January 27, 2007 at 6:48 am

    To comment or not to comment
    Hey Tom,
    I just feel that the quality of content can drop because of people going around posting comments so that others can visit their blogs. That idea kind of back fired as now I am faced with the prospect of not having people visit my blog!!
    Would love to hear your comments on this…

  27. January 28, 2007 at 1:56 am

    Tom, I was thrilled to find this article. For someone just starting out – a “blogling”, if you will – it is nigh-on inspirational. Go on, blush!
    I found it to be encouraging, but realistic. I’m a sucker for being told only to post regularly, not necessarily often. I need to be reminded again and again. And the “cool meercats” is absolutely priceless advice. Priceless!
    Thank you.

  28. January 28, 2007 at 8:00 am

    Harish…I understand the issue that you raise. Think of blogging as one of those pre-business conference cocktail parties. You meet some people, exchange business cards, and wish each other well. Then once in a while you meet someone, exchange cards and get into a great conversation. There is synergy between the two of you that leads to a deeper relationship.
    Some people will stop by and comment simply to leave their calling card. Wonderful! Nice to meet you I say to myself as I check out their blog and return the favor. It takes me 60 seconds.
    Nine times out of ten it might be a simple exchange of information, but you will also occasionally hit upon someone who becomes a worthwhile relationship for you!

  29. January 28, 2007 at 8:02 am

    Rory, thanks for stopping by and for the kind words (wow, you could see me blush?). I’m glad you found the information helpful!

  30. Ted
    July 18, 2007 at 9:42 am

    Very good web site, great work and thank you for your service.

  31. July 21, 2007 at 8:38 pm

    Beautiful site

  32. August 2, 2007 at 10:53 am

    What a great, useful post! I’m screwing up my courage to start my own blog–it feels like a tremendous commitment, but also very exciting.
    As an aside, keep fighting the good fight! I managed a call center for some time, and it continues to amaze me how undervalued this critical resource is.

  33. September 2, 2007 at 11:58 pm

    Great Post. Your points really hit home. I was doing some of things you mentioned but now I can see where I can be better.

  34. January 3, 2008 at 8:24 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    I am relatively new and trying not to get discouraged, hard to speak when you feel like few are listening.
    I am so grateful for the subscribers I have and will have moving forward.
    I am excited about making more friends out there in the blogosphere.
    With gratitude…

  35. January 3, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    You’re welcome, Louise. Blog on!

  36. June 17, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    Thanks for the wonderful advice come to my blog for some fun, click on my name………..

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