So one of the main suggestions that comes up if you look for ways to increase blog readership is to visit other people's blogs and comment on them. I've been doing this over the past couple of day, just by using the "next blog" button on Blogger. I've made the following observations:
Lots of people start blogs and don't keep up on them. I've found many blogs that haven't been updated in over a year. Some haven't been touched since Obama came into office.
Commenting on family blogs feels weird. I don't know why. After all, the people who run them are the ones that made them public. But are they looking for random people to come and comment that "OMG yes, my baby cried that much too! Wow, you guys are making peanut butter cookies today? Sounds super-fun! Ugh, it's science fair time at your house, too? I can totally relate!" It feels sort of invasive to leave comments for these folks. It's like I knocked on their front door and asked if I could come in and look at their family album, then sat in their living room, eating their food, with my feet on their coffee table, commenting on how each photo was shot and telling them boring stories about how one time I did something sort of like what's happening in the picture.
Lots of people blog about running. I had no idea there was that much to say on the topic, but then again, I'm not a runner.
Many bloggers believe they are better than you. Sometimes it's subtle. One blog said that any comment that revealed obvious ignorance of rules-based systems will not be posted. It made me wish I knew a little bit about them, so I could whip up the most maddeningly ignorant comments I could think of and leave them all over the place, just to be contrary. Sadly, my ignorance is so vast, I didn't even know how to annoy the author. Other times, they're much more in-your-face. One blog that featured mostly the author's political opinions said something like "If you're just a clicker then click on through, this is not the blog for you." Translation: I CAN READ HUFFINGTON POST AND YAHOO NEWS BETTER THAN YOU CAN, BITCHEZ!
Sharing your photography seems to be one of the most common reasons to start a blog. I came across TONS of them. There was the guy who takes mostly action shots of skateboarders and BMX. There were quite a few wedding photographers. There were loads and loads of nature photographers. I commented on some, not on others.
Commenting is deceptively hard. Or maybe I overthink it. If I just wanted MOAR PAGE VIEWS, I could make one generic comment and post it everywhere, like the people who spam for cheap electronics. "Hi! Your blog is excellent resource! I must tell you, I will never buy electronics from store again! My mom got bran new laptop for only $20! Click here see how!" But I guess I want people to come here because they're curious, or I sound interesting, not because they believe some scam. So to me, that means I have to say something worthwhile on other people's blogs, not just NICE POST! HERE'S MY LINK!
At the same time, since part of the point of commenting places is to encourage people to come here, that also narrows it down to where I should comment, in my mind. So I don't comment on blogs that aren't in English, that haven't been updated sometime in 2011, and that I don't find interesting, or at least relevant to my blog.
Those are the easy decisions. Then it gets murky. If someone describes herself as "an avid homeschooler and warrior for Christ," and most of her links are to churches and extreme right-wing causes, but seems to like some of the same books as I do, would she "follow me home?" Would the guy who did a great interview with the man who designed stage clothing for most of the hair metal bands but mainly blogs about death metal "follow me home?" Should I comment? If I come across a poetry blog and I think the poetry isn't to my taste, but they seem to have tons of followers, should I comment?
It's been fun exploring what other people's blogs are like, but I'm not sure how this piece of advice is working out for me. I see a couple of people have been enticed here, and I really appreciate you coming and hope you enjoyed my blog. But at the same time, this seems like an awfully labor-intensive way to try to build a following. I could spend every night for the rest of my life doing this and still not visit every blog. I got accepted into a a book blogging Ning group, so I'm going to try to develop that more. If you're interested in seeing the site, you can visit it here. And anyone with advice, I'm all ears!