Follow-Up to What I Wish I Knew Then

Instead of posting an update to this post and making it longer than it is already, I thought maybe I’d just post a follow-up.  First I have a question for you. 

Do you usually go back to a blog post you’ve already read and commented on to see the follow-up comments in case anyone responded to you? 

If you’ve hung around my blog for long, you probably know that I answer a lot of your comments through personal email.  But there are times when I also copy and paste that reply into a comment on the respective blog post. 

I do this when it’s a comment that helps clarify my post and I think other readers might be interested to hear.  I’m not sure if this is typical procedure for any other bloggers, but it’s a habit I’ve developed, and I was wondering what yall think and what you do if you’re a blogger.

Okay, then.  Moving on.

Sarah asked what a carnival is.  I’m going to defer to my good friends over at Blogging Basics 101 to answer this one.

Some webrings host collaborations called carnivals.  The ring
owner decides on a topic and invites members of the ring to write on
that topic.  The owner then provides links to each of those sites that
submit links.  BlogCarnival.com provides a list of several carnivals ongoing in the blogosphere.

Sarah also said:

And is a post considered more interesting or better if it has a link in it to somewhere or someone else?

Not necessarily.  In fact, too much linking will send people away from your site.  We all know how easy it is to get lost on that bloggity rabbit trail and not remember from whence you came.  So you don’t want to sabotage yourself by linking too much. 

On the other hand, link love is a reciprocal thing, meaning that if you give the love, you’ll get it back tenfold.  Well, maybe just twofold.  But the point is, linking is a good thing as long as you don’t go overboard.  It’s all about finding the right balance.

Stephanie had a few good points to add.

Write regularly. If there isn’t fresh content at least once a week (and that’s minimum!), I usually don’t go back to a blog.

Yes.  I was thinking of mentioning regular posting, but I was trying to keep my tips to 10.  I was also going to say, "Keep it brief."  But then I realized that I break that rule almost every day.  Brevity is not my gift, as I’m sure you’re aware.  And if you weren’t aware, this post is quickly becoming a case in point. 

But I digress.

The point is, if you want to maintain the interest of your readers, you’ll need to post regularly.  And if your goal is to make some pocket change through ads, you should try to post every day.  I usually keep several "works in progress" in my draft folder so that on the days I don’t have something fresh to post, I can use one of those.

Both Stephanie and Holly mentioned using pictures — another great point.

More from Stephanie:

I’d love for you to post a more in-depth discussion about the pros
and cons of divulging personal information and publishing family photos.

Hm.  Yeah.  I waffle on this one, as you can probably tell.  I used to post tons of pictures, but then I decided to back off.  I took down all the pictures of my children and began posting only pictures that didn’t show their entire faces or were taken from a considerable distance.  This post contains my reasons and links to several articles that cemented my decision.

Recently I’ve become lax on this policy, although I do take most pictures down after several days.  I have no idea if that does any good, but it makes me feel better. 

If you do post pictures, it’s a good idea to "watermark" them so that they are more difficult to steal.  Chris explains this in greater detail.

As far as personal information is concerned, I have chosen not to divulge our exact location, and I try to be vague about our whereabouts.  Also, you have probably noticed that I don’t use our first names although I have in the past.  I’ve NEVER used our last name.  I just feel safer this way, but some very popular bloggers have their full names on their sites.  Again, it’s a personal decision that every blogger has to make for him/herself.

If you are keeping your name private, make sure your email address doesn’t contain your last name!!  When you reply to comments from your family email account, you may be divulging more information than you intended.  Personally, I have a separate email account for all blog related communications.  It’s just easier that way.

Half-Past Kissin’ Time had this to say.

I would also suggest (as a newbie) that you should always be writing
(or thinking like a writer), even when you are not at the keyboard.
Your post about what your daughter said about Santa is a classic
example; some of the most simple things that happen in life are
short-but-sweet snippets from your day. Keep a notebook handy for
thoughts, too.

I’ve taken to keeping a notebook with me at all times so I can write down little morsels such as these.  Besides, it was a great excuse to get a bigger purse!  Hey, I wonder if I can write that off on my taxes.

Kidding.  KIDDING!

Gina has a great point about blog rolls in this post on Blog Etiquette.  (The whole post is worth a read, but I’m only going to quote the parts I’m referencing.)

Be as generous with trading blogrolls as you want others to be with
you, but never complain about it or expect reciprocation. No blogger
owes this “link” to you. No, not even if you’ve blogrolled them forever
and sent them emails telling them how much you love them.

Absolutely.  Blogrolls are personal, and everyone has their own protocol.  It is generally considered impolite to request to be on someone’s blogroll. 

Here’s some more good advice about linking, also compliments of Gina.

As for mentioning other
people’s work… if you are blogging about a specific post on someone
else’s blog or on a news site, you should ALWAYS include the link in
the text of your post (could be an a permalink or a typed link).
Linking to the appropriate permalink seems to be more commonly done,
and is definitely more helpful to the reader, than linking to the
"front page" of a blog.

<snip>

When you want to mention a friend or other fellow blogger, it is
courteous to add a hyperlink behind their name or the name of the blog.
The link should be to the front page unless you are mentioning the name
in the context of a specific post.

And may I add, ALWAYS test your links to be sure they are connecting to the correct site.

One last thing — the spam filter.  I don’t use one.  I find them tedious and annoying.  Instead, I have set my blog to close comments on every post when it becomes two weeks old.  This seems to eliminate most spam comments without imposing that bothersome spam filter on my poor unsuspecting readers.  You’re most welcome!

Good NIGHT! I had no idea this post would get this long and so full of links.  I’m sure everyone’s gotten carried off into worlds unknown by now.  Or blogs unknown, rather. 

ANY-WHO.

I hope the two of you who made it this far have found these posts to be helpful.  Or at the very least, somewhat interesting. 

If you have any further questions on blog etiquette, I will now turn you over to the REAL experts, Shannon and Melanie, who are hosting a podcast this week discussing exactly that.

Happy Blogging!