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Monday, March 25, 2013

What's Your Clickabillity?

This business with Google Reader got me thinking about which blogs I read faithfully, and where I choose to leave comments. I discovered certain posts have a native clickability quotient.

It starts with an interesting title for the post. This is followed by a great (right) hook in the opening paragraph. Pun intended! 

A good blog post is a lot like writing a novel. If it meanders, is riddled with typos, or just plain dull, you probably won't get much action on it. 

Everyone has his own taste on what makes an interesting post. My two favorite types of posts are anecdotal and informational, but only if they're short and to the point.

There are a few well known and much loved bloggers out there who beat a dead horse and all its relatives when they write informational posts. I almost never read them. I know someone, somewhere will tweet or repeat the key points without me have to muddle through all the verbiage.

Here at Casa Maria, I follow a few simple rules.

• No excerpts. I dunno. Excerpts always feel like verbal masturbation. But maybe it's just me. 

• No whining...unless I can be funny about it.

• Tell tiny stories inside my posts.

• Share a little about me. Not a lot. I don't want anybody stabbing their eyes out.

• Check for typos. This might be a personal blog, but I take pride in my words. My name's connected to them.

• Check my sources. I try to be very careful with my facts when I write a how-to post. (Those posts are usually on the Back to Basics blog, but occasionally I do them here too.)

And my #1 rule:

• Talk to people instead of at them. I almost always end my posts with a question. This is really important for me because the whole point of this blog is to grow relationships with readers. You can only do that if you encourage reciprocation.

So what about you? Are there blogs you read where you never comment? How come?


38 comments:

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

My eyes tend to skip over excerpts too though I always read blurbs.
It's so much easier to comment on blogs that end with a question.

Maria Zannini said...

Susan: I like blurbs too. I've bought many a book on the strength of its blurb. And I almost always check out the author too to see if they're as awesome as their blurbs. :)

Mike Keyton said...

Damn it. End with a question. I never thought of that - and me a teacher : )

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: But you tell the BEST stories, so you're forgiven. I never miss your posts!

Stacy McKitrick said...

I don't usually comment if I see 30 or more commenters. I feel like I'll just get lost in the crowd. I also don't comment if it was a informational post. What is there to say besides Thanks?

I tend to comment on my friend's blogs, regardless, though. And I'll always try and reciprocate comments. But I do not like commenting on blogs where I never get a response or comment back. I feel like I'm being ignored then. If it becomes a habit, I usually just stop visiting.

Oh, and I don't usually read excerpts, either. Especially if they're lengthy! I like short posts the best.

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: I agree about the 'no comment' bloggers. I like to feel that I'm welcomed and appreciated.

Re: informational posts
A good blogger will leave the post open for discussion. Just because it's informational doesn't mean he's the final word on it. I like to hear other people's experiences and conclusions.

This is how I find new blogs for my Reader too. If they sound intelligent in the comments, I often check out their blogs.

Anne Gallagher said...

I was just thinking about this the other day -- now that Reader is going away, just exactly which blogs do I really want to follow. I've had some around since the beginning that I don't really read anymore, but keep them because I've had them for 4 years. I think it's time to cut bait.

And I always ask a question at the end of my post. It's how I engage. Or at least try to.

R. Mac Wheeler said...


Hi Maria

My lament...most posts exist solely because the author 'has' to blog.

I infrequently comment, especially if I don't have anything to add. Which is most of the time.

*smile* Have a great day - Mac

Maria Zannini said...

Anne: Re: cut bait

Love it! I haven't heard that expression in years. But I agree. I think there will be a mass culling in my future.

Maria Zannini said...

Mac: You bring up an excellent point of discussion. Why does an author have to blog? Because agents and publishers tell them so?

Some people just aren't any good at it. That's the plain hard truth. Better to tweet, or go on Facebook, or Pinterest than to try to blog when you know your heart isn't in it.

I think it hurts an author's credibility if they're poor bloggers. Be visible, but be visible in a venue that suits the individual instead of forcing him into an accepted niche.

Sarah Ahiers said...

There's really no rhyme or reason why i won't comment. Most blogs i'll leave a comment if i read, but sometimes i just don't have anything to say

marlenedotterer said...

I'm very bad about not leaving comments. I'm trying to do better. The thing is, I'm just not a chatterbox, even in person. But - and this probably sounds selfish, but I don't mean it that way - I would like to have more comments on my blog, and I figure I should give if I want to get. So I try to leave comments and work on building relationships with people. To me, that's what a blog is about - meeting other people and making friends. Sure, I may never meet most of them in person, but a friend is a friend, right?

raelynbarclay said...

And you are fabulous :)

I've been so backlogged I haven't been on Google Reader for an age. I'm disappointed to see it go but I'm sure I'll adjust. I suspect I'll be culling my reading too. (BTW, thanks for the leg work on other options a few posts ago!)

Ref: comments
I won't comment if I don't have anything to add and I rarely comment if there's already 30+ comments.

I definitely try respond to comments on my blog, and reciprocate on the commenter's blog.

Diane Carlisle said...

I almost always end with a question, because I want feedback. I don't just want to post about my opinion, I also like the opinions of others as well, even the opposing ones.

Maria Zannini said...

Sarah: I'm with you. I don't leave comments unless I have something to add.

Maria Zannini said...

Marlene: Comments begets comments, but I prefer to leave and receive thoughtful comments--the kind that show the person really thought about the post.

It takes time to build relationships. This is why I've never opted for these bloghops. It's good for mass traffic but not always permanent traffic.

Maria Zannini said...

Raelyn: Aw, thanks! I think at the very least people should respond to comments on their blog. It makes them feel welcome.

Maria Zannini said...

Diane: Absolutely! My favorite part of blogging is reading other people's take on a subject.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I love your posts about animals the most. They keep me coming back. ^_^

Rula Sinara said...

Great post, Maria. I always love popping in to see how your animals and homestead are going.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Verbal masturbation?! LOL!!

I have to say, I'm not a fan of clogging up the blog arteries with excerpts either.

All those reasons are why I come back here to read your blog! <3

LD Masterson said...

I always read and comment on a blog when that blogger comments on mine. It seems only right. Then I wonder how bloggers who get hundreds of comments manage that.

Occasionally I enjoy reading an excerpt but usually I don't have the time.

Jenny Schwartz said...

The problem with questions at the end of a post, Maria, is that they make your readers think. Some of us (looks in mirror) have trouble with this! But a friendly tone to a blog, like you have, that's gold.

James Garcia Jr. said...

Hi, Maria. I'm sad now. I was going to do excerpts for the next 6 weeks! *grins* Not really. I wish I didn't have to post excerpts. I want the posts to be fun or light. I hate the fact that we need to promote all the time. I really try not to do that all that often.
When I'm rich and famous, I promise that my assistants will not post excerpts evah again! ;)

-Jimmy

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: I'm glad to hear that since talking about animals is my most favorite topic. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Rula: It's not an all inclusive-post, just the things I like to do on this blog. Thanks, as always. You make my day.

Maria Zannini said...

Jennifer: Oh, dear. Now I'm going to have to steal your "clogging up the blog arteries".

Wish I had thought of that!

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: It's a slight conundrum for me. I don't like to comment on a post out of obligation. That leads to too many 'drive-by' comments that are obviously phoned in just to make an appearance.

I don't mind if people don't show up for every one of my blog posts. If it's something that interests them, comment, if not, my feelings aren't hurt.

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: I read your blog, woman! You're not fooling anyone. LOL.

Maria Zannini said...

Jimmy: Ah, but these are my rules. I don't pass judgment on other people's blogs. I just know I'd feel self-conscious if I posted excerpts here.

Maybe I can blame it on the nuns and my Catholic upbringing. :o)

Angela Brown said...

This is going to come across so poorly, but I must...

I don't mind the occasional verbal masturbation. But if it's a lengthy session that should actually be retitled a short passage, then I'll pass. So no surprise if you see an excerpt for one of my stories and it happens to be short, straight to the point and leaves the reader wanting.

As for what I like to do, I tend to listen to the good advise of one wiser and more experienced (Maria Z.) who mentioned to me that it's always a good idea to end the post with a question when you can and to treat your blog as a face for your profession, hence, make sure the presentation matches what you want people to know about you. I want people to know I'm silly (if they couldn't figure that out from my pic), I love to write and I do my best to write well.

Dru said...

Because I'm usually reading blogs at the end of the day, there's not much for me to add to what's already there.

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: But you are one of those souls with native clickability so obviously that verbal masturbation works for you. Is it getting hot in here? LOL.

Maria Zannini said...

Dru: Good point! I check blogs very early in the morning and then again late at night. My comments definitely reflect the time of day. I never considered that before.

Shelley Munro said...

I'm not a huge fan of excerpts either. I tend to read my blogs with Flipboard. It takes effort to comment, and when time is short, as it has been lately I don't even get to read the posts.

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: Excerpts are one of those leisurely pursuits for an early Sunday morning. When it's a mad dash to see what the world is up to, it gets lost in the quagmire of posts.

Gwen Gardner said...

I have yet to get the blogging thing down. *sigh*. I admit yours is one of the more interesting blogs I visit. And I rarely read excerpts. I'd rather read the description, then if it hooks me I'll get the book.

Maria Zannini said...

Gwen: I prefer descriptions too. Excerpts only help me if I have a good grasp of the story to begin with.