What’s up with Blog Engagement???

It’s been a while since I’ve been blogging.  Ok, I’ll go and date myself now and admit that I started out way back in (ahem) 2007.  Yes, people, that is a whole 10 years of blogging, with some gaps in between for random life changes that tend to happen when you tell God your plans.

Amber comments: That’s how we met, via blogging all those years ago. My life has never been the same – just saying!

I returned once more to active writing in August this year, changed the ol’ domain name and found myself thrown into a whole different world.

Amber comments: So basically I told her to get off her arse and help me out here. People were missing her particular brand of nutso, and she needed to get her amazing photos out there. Why should I be the only one being subjected to benefitting from all this crazy? 

*Ahem* Does the saying the fox smells his own smell first count towards the comments re crazy above???

I apologize if you already know this stuff… sharing is caring though…

People don’t engage like they used to.

It seems everything now happens in the world of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.  Now that’s all good and all but… what’s up with the whole I’ll retweet your post but have no idea what you’re talking about or whether it’s good at all.  I mean I can post an absolutely terrible post about nose hair removal or the wonders of poo pourri and people share it with abandon.

Let me just say I get it though.  I fall victim to doing this too on a daily basis.  Life has become so fast paced that we intend to read and to comment but the minute we sit down to do exactly that, the phone rings or you remember that you didn’t call the doctor like you were meant to (yup well that’s me today anyway).  Then we forget and move on to the next day.

I blame no one. I am at fault too.

Amber comments: In the good old days, you’d get engagement by reading and commenting on other people’s blogs. These days, by the time you have written your posts edited and added all of your photos, spread the posts through all of the platforms and then made sure that you are retweeting, and Instagramming everything multiple times a day and keeping up with the latest chat, its very hard to have the motivation to then think, right I am going to read other people’s blog posts too. By the time I am done with all of that, I am pulling out my bottle of wine ready to start the process all over again to give my site content.

That said, I do try and comment at least once a week and doing so I access my feedly.com page and start reading. I have used a few different readers in the past but I find feedly the best as it satisfies my Virgo nature, whereby I can actually put blogs I follow into different categories such as blogs I comment on and blogs I follow because I want to be like them (hey no shame here).

Amber comments: Did you get all of that? She doesn’t comment much but she actually has herself organized just in case she gets a wild hair…

The number one reason I find commenting on blogs so tedious?

Well, every time I want to comment on a blog I have to fill out the entire form and sometimes even a captcha code.  It takes time and when I am reading on average 20 – 30 blogs it makes it more of a… do I need to call the doctor thing.

I may love the content but to constantly have to fill out a form.  It’s off-putting for the average reader never mind someone like me who has to dictate their posts then fix the spellers because the dictation app doesn’t understand my accent (I can’t type much anymore but that’s another story).

Amber comments: I agree, its super annoying to have to keep filling in the info. Captchas are the worst. I never get them right and it takes me 2-3 goes.

Thankfully this is an easy solution if you work on WordPress.  If you want to make my life and all your other readers who want to comment but get irritated easier…

Amber comments: I am all about being easy….

Amber … never tell a South African you’re all about being easy… that connotation is not what you meant I am sure bwahahaha

Self-hosted WordPress? 

You’re in luck and your fix is super, super easy.

Go to your dashboard and click on “Jetpack”.

Click on “Discussion” and turn on the “Let readers use wordpress.com, Twitter, Facebook etc option.  This will speed up the commenting process and I for one will be in less-typing heaven!

I pay the cheap-o WordPress subscription!

For all you that just added a domain to wordpress.com because, like me, you already had a base on the old platform… and can’t afford the $25 a month fee because of your slight cookie addiction costs (no judgment the pain is real).

We aren’t as lucky as the self-hosted folk, WordPress wants us to give up the cookies and just succumb to paying the $25 a month…

Go to your settings and click on “Discussion”

Scroll down to this section:

Now, this is up to you in all honesty but I will say it is extremely hair pulling to have to type my name over and over. I am a legit human and some days I don’t even remember my own name yet blogs what me to!  Mine is set to off, you are free to add your name and site or to just comment.  Either way each comment raises your engagement level.

See how I’ve selected that the Comment Author must have a previously approved comment.  This is essential, it means that the reader’s very first comment must be approved after which all their comments are automatically accepted. When the reader returns to comment a second time they don’t have to fill in all their details over and over again.

This gives you the blogger the opportunity to make sure they’re human and decent before allowing their comments.

Amber comments: Halleluja! I say Amen to that!

Your site takes forever to load!

No seriously some of the blogs I visit take forever to load.  I read fast (not as fast as some people who are just gifted) but fast all the same.  I scroll and then have to wait in order to see any of the beautiful photos you posted.  This is a seriously grrr moment for me and all your other readers.

WordPress has the image edit feature which allows you to edit the shot when you’ve uploaded it.  Once you’ve uploaded your photo check on the right of the screen where the little thumbnail appears.  Right next to that thumbnail is a little link “Edit”.  If you click on it it’ll take you to another screen that allows you to crop and scale your images.  I scale all mine down to 700 wide because I don’t like thieves but 1000px is found to be acceptable in the “speedy site” realm.

Ultimately

When people visit your site they want easy to read material, quick photo loading so that they can immediately feel the wow of the moment you’re describing and finally to comment in an easy manner.

I am an old-timer in the blogging sphere by many peoples standards but I am also a WordPress/Web designer/Content Creator and well generally a jack of all trades.  Got any questions? Shout and if I can’t answer I’ll find the answers for you because I love to learn new and easier ways to do things… gives me more time to fend off the marriage proposals and eat satisfying cookies.

Amber comments: We like people to actually read our stuff, so we try to make it as easy as we can to do so. Please just don’t even get me started on Pinterest though. That’s a whole other nightmare/time suck!

If you want me to do a quick audit of your blog give me a shout, I don’t mind doing it and if it helps, great!
All in the spirit of Ubuntu
Co-author Amber hails from napafoodandvine.com and although she likes people to think of her as the calmer one… she’s at times wilder than me!

8 thoughts on “What’s up with Blog Engagement???

  1. This is so helpful! When we started blogging we just wanted to put content out there and made SO MANY MISTAKES on all the technical stuff.

    I totally get how overwhelming social media is! We’re still trying to catch up and take a breath. We’ve got grand plans to try to rein some of this stuff in at the end of the year and would love to pick your brain sometime 🙂 10 years is an impressive blog career, you should be proud!

  2. Really enjoyed the post, as well as the on on using Instagrm. Very helpful for a newcomer to this Twitter, blogger, techno thing.

    1. Thanks, glad they are both useful and you enjoyed. It’s a true minefield and makes me wonder how all these teenagers seem to just know how to do it! Let me know if you need any help!

  3. I have had this blog post in my “to read” pile for awhile. I am glad I finally opened that list! I use Feedly to as my blog reader. But at times I find a post I want to read more thoughtfully and comment – generally I then send that blog post to my “to read” pile. I try to go through that at last once a week – if we are not travelling. When we are away, internet sucks generally and the “to read” pile backs up. It is disappointing to put so much time into a blog post and then get no comments. I guess it is a good thing that we do our blog mostly for ourselves and some very loyal readers. I love your blog writing style … glad you are back to writing! Linda

    1. Thanks! Totally with you, sometimes life gets away from us and then catching up more so! I appreciate your kind words, in the past it was so much easier to comment on blogs tbh – the biggest life saver so far is plugging in to the WordPress.com system.
      Re the blog itself, think the best is to do it for yourself and the rest will follow. Your blog is awesome, they will come

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