- Content. Bloggers, a blog is a website. You are a writer. Even if your site is personal, remember it is public. Think before you post minutia. There is no shortage of content or topics to cover. Give your readers a reason to return.
- Respond. Part of the appeal of blogs and the Internet is the ability to interact. If I wanted to sit in on a lecture or read a traditional article with no means of sharing my opinion, I wouldn't be reading a blog. When your readers comment, reply. Generic is better than no response. Believe me. And many readers like me do care if you act as if you sit in a lofty tower. My 'I just want to sit at your feet days' passed more than a decade ago.
- Follow-up. If you host a contest, set a firm deadline and honor it. Things come up. When they do, update your readers. Personally, I'm a little miffed when you ask me to become a follower, leave a comment, promote you and your contest and you drop the ball. Don't ask me to jump hoops and then you don't deliver. For all those wondering, when you win a book from BES or Color Online, books ship within 10 days. I let you know when book ships, too. And for you prize winners, stop driving hosts crazy by failing to let us know you got the prize. Books get lost, stolen or yes, we forget we left the wrapped book in the car or at the office. I don't want you to thank me repeatedly, I want to know you got your prize because I said I'd send it.
- Memes. Warning, major rant here. Participants if you don't know, memes are only successful when participants participate. That means drop a link and follow up by commenting to other participants' posts. If you're too busy to visit fellow bloggers and leave a comment, don't post your link and bail. Not cool. Some memes boast double digit links but there is little commenting going on. What's up with that? And do link back to the original meme post. Why? Because it makes it easier to access the next link so you can comment to someone else.
- Websites are references. Bloggers if you don't know, not only are your fans reading you but so are future employers and current ones. The Internet is public. Be careful what you post. Don't publish something that someone can access at a future time that will cause you a career move blocker.
- Website or picture book. Bloggers, pictures and widgets and lovely backgrounds are pretty, but are you presenting a slide show or a site for reading and interacting? Consider who your audience is and how they access your site. Everyone is not traveling the web in a Cadillac. If your readers have to wait for your page to load or they have to remove blockers or they are blocked from viewing your site (viruses, firewalls and spam are realities of the net) then you may be losing or failing to gain readers because visiting your site requires hoop jumping.
- Word verification. Okay rock stars. I realize I said spam is real but do you really need word verification? Live Journal is the worst. Not only do you have to type words that are barely readable but then you have to cut and paste gibberish. What the frack? Yes, I get you don't want ugly comments or spam but have you really had multiple, bad experiences or did you buy a policy because it sounded good, and you wanted to be careful? Really, how long would it take you to delete an unwanted comment? Less time than it takes your readers who are taking time to comment. Years ago, I belonged to a diversity forum and there was a real need to moderate and filter comments. If you run a blog that inherently draws the nut jobs, by all means, I agree you need filters. For the rest of us who are gushing over books or grand babies, I don't think we have too much to worry about. If you have word verification, know that I and I don't think I'm alone and it's cool if you don't care if only I don't show up, know that I come by your space less often and definitely comment less. I spend way too much time online, and I don't want to extend that time jumping hoops to tell you I enjoyed what you wrote.
Any peeves of your own? Want to tell me don't take myself so seriously? It's cool. I have thick skin, and I've embraced my ornery self already. Confession Tuesday is hosted by January at Poet Mom. Join us.