Blogging

Proven Strategies for Building my Blog Community

Here are practical tested strategies I use to build a successful blog community

 

WordPress Discover featured a recent post about Life Lessons I learned while hiking the Appalachian Trail. The dizzying trill of overlapping notifications gave me a brief glimpse of what life must be like for superstars of the blogging world. A few (OK… hundreds) clicked the follow button. But what interested me most were the new comments. I’ve learned that comments are gifts, and these gifts form the foundation for building my blog community.

I scanned through comments waiting to be approved. Blogging friends congratulating me on my newfound fame triggered involuntary smiles. If you’re willing to let me call it a mild lacrimal event (or allergies), then I’m not ashamed to admit that one beautiful blogger even forced out a few tears. And new visitors expressed stunned disbelief that anyone would just give away this much awesomeness for free. It was Christmas in July!

But a surprising number of comments were simple commands: “visit my blog,” or “follow me back” and “check out my post at www.randomwords.com/plagerized-content-that-still-isnt-very-interesting”

Kinda feels like getting used socks from one hand while the other is held out waiting for me to deposit a family heirloom. I’m not an expert, but I’m pretty sure this isn’t how holidays work (unless you consider Tax Day a holiday, then it’s exactly the same).

I’m not completely ungrateful though. After all, my spam monster has a voracious appetite.

I’m also not a blogging expert. I have only been blogging in earnest for about 6 months (prior to this, blogging was a means of keeping friends and family in the loop while I hiked the Appalachian Trail). If I’ve learned anything during these 6 months, it’s this: The comment section is where the magic happens.

How do I make the magic happen on the comment section of my blog?

I want your blogging community to grow. This means more subscribers, but more importantly, this also means more people that actually read what you write (and enjoy the images you share). The following tools have been tried and tested. They work for me, and other bloggers far more successful than myself. I’m looking forward to seeing how well they work for you too.

 

The 80/20 rule applies to blogging

If you’re familiar with Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, you may have heard about the 80/20 rule. This rule implies that successful users spend 80% of their time on OTHER people’s accounts, and the remaining 20% on their own. Seems counterintuitive, right? Wouldn’t it be better to devote most of my limited time and energy to my own blog, and the rest for others?

Nope. Not unless you want the soothing sound of crickets to be a permanent theme song for your blog.

I initially thought of my time on other’s blogs as an “expense” in terms of time and energy. Now I see it as an investment. This is where I learn how to blog. What works, what doesn’t. Sometimes, a “comment conversation” with another blogger will trigger ideas for a future post. And many of my recent sketches were inspired by (or requested by) bloggers who shared something that had a powerful impact on me.

This is also where blogger relationships blossom into genuine friendships. A blogger’s blog is their virtual home. This is true whether we are professional bloggers on a mission to convert stats into cash, or humble personal bloggers journaling about our multi-faceted lives. When you welcome me to your blog, I am walking through your front door. And by the time I’ve finished reading your blog post, we’re hanging out together in the living room, ready to have a real conversation. That’s not an investment, it’s friggin fun!

 

How do I find the right blogs to visit?

The most successful approach for me is what I call “link frogging.” After visiting a blog that I love and leaving a meaningful comment, I read through the comments left by other bloggers. When I find interesting comments, I click on their names, which takes me straight to their site. I’ll repeat until my head starts spinning or Monica makes me stop so I can wash the dirty dishes.

Feel free to start here if you’d like, or go back through my prior posts. You’ll find hundreds of wonderful bloggers that are ready to have a “comment conversation” with you.

 

Pro-Tip: In my experience, Facebook blogger groups are a horrible place to meet future engaged followers. Most are only interested in your participation on their blog and will grudgingly visit yours when forced. However, I recently wrote a post highlighting a few that are remarkable exceptions.

 

Pro-Tip #2: Every Monday at 12PM Eastern Standard Time, WordPress hosts a Community Pool where you can leave a link and/or solicit feedback on a recent post. You’re much more likely to get a great response rate if you can leave your link early AND take the time to comment on several other blogs that interest you. (Usually several hundred to choose from each week.)

 

What is a meaningful comment?

Something specific that not only demonstrates that I really did read the post, but that I also appreciated it. I try to write 3 sentences. Avoid clichés. (“Great post! Thanks for sharing” is the comment version of a booger your potential new blogger friend is embarrassed to point out before awkwardly leaving you to wonder what just happened.)

I only remember 2 “rules” from a writing workshop that didn’t teach me much about writing. The first is that a gun introduced in the first act must be fired before the end of the next act, and “show don’t tell.” This post is already long enough to have multiple “acts,” but I can’t think of a way to bring guns into it so we don’t need to talk about the first rule. The second however, (“show don’t tell”) deserves some elaboration. Rather than tell a blogger that they will enjoy a visit to your blog, a good comment will showcase your talent and pique their interest. And remember, other bloggers that are “link frogging” can see your amazing comment too.

 

Pro-Tip: I try to leave a thoughtful and engaging comment on featured articles from WordPress Discover. For those of you interested in your Domain Authority, your comment serves as a free premium backlink. I also suspect that my comment on a featured article (which was seen and liked by the editors that choose posts featured in WordPress Discover) prompted them to promote my post.

 

Pro-Tip #2: I also try to leave a funny comment on theBloggess.com. Not only is this another free premium backlink, JetPack also tells me theBloggess sent an extra 200 visitors my way.

 

You control the conversation in your comment section

I have a difficult time remembering this, but I still think it’s good advice: The comment section is not about you. Try to respond to their comment rather than answer as an extension to your post. Just like conversations in the real world, the engaged listener who knows when to stop talking about “this one time in band camp…” is the one that gets the invite to the afterparty.

 

Pro-Tip: Promote other bloggers in your comment section. When a blogger asks about something that was addressed in a post you recently enjoyed, share the link with them. Becoming a Connector is ultra-awesome-Ninja-level mastery in the blogging community.

 

Pro-Tip #2: Change the discussion settings on your WordPress dashboard. You can elect to manually approve comments before they appear in your comment section. Also, if those awesome comments with profanity get lost in your spam folder even though you don’t want them to, you can increase the “rating” for comments. All these options and more are available from your WordPress Dashboard. (Look for Setting Tab à Discussion)

 

This should be enough to get you started.

(Even if it’s not, this is my best stuff. Did I leave anything out?)

 

For those of you that have recently joined the (Almost) Unsalvageables and are back for another helping: YOU ROCK! and I’m really looking forward to getting to know you better.

For those of you that have been following along for a while and haven’t gotten sick of me yet, you totally deserve a Snickers!

Snickers for better blog comments

This is one of those prizes that won’t ruin your appetite for dinner. But still reminds you of the good things in life.

 

The increased blog traffic is great, but attracting fans that are eager to return for my next post is why I blog

254 Comments

  • Reply Didi July 19, 2017 at 3:06 am

    For months i’ve been hessitating to start a blog. Sometimes not knowing where to begin, sometines afraid i will do terrible and more things my mind tells me why not to. But theres also the fire to start, the stream of ideas, the boiling determination.
    Thank you for helping me letting that last part grow stronger and showing and learning me all these things.

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 9:59 am

      Didi! This is soooo exciting! I would totally love to be your first follower. You share such thoughtful and genuine comments when you visit here, I can only imagine what we’ll see if you take the plunge and begin a new blog.

      If you do decide to start a new blog and you have questions, I (or the veteran bloggers that you’ve met here) will do what we can to help.

      Have a great day Didi!

      • Reply Didi July 19, 2017 at 1:57 pm

        Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, they mean a lot to me.
        I really appreciate the offer to help when i have questions. I am bad in asking help due to past experiences. It’s bad finding out you have to go in to battle alone when people said they’d be your support system but when you’re at your lowest find out you’re standing alone.
        But i guess blog questions are a safe way to get better and learn to ask again.

        I will definitely let you know when I am ready to plunge into the world of blog writing.
        Keep up the good divers work.

        • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 6:28 am

          It is really hard to face those overwhelming/painful moments, especially when it seems like your support system has abandoned you. Please know that you can send me an email if things get too challenging and while I rarely have answers, I’ll be happy to just be there as a virtual shoulder to lean on. (Sometimes my email box gets pretty ridiculous, but I’ve gotten better about keeping up)

          And there are several other bloggers here with far more experience than I have as well that I’m sure would be thrilled to chat with you if you decide to create a new blog.

          Take care Didi!

    • Reply rugby843 July 22, 2017 at 9:46 am

      Always, just go for it. It’s honesty that will make your blog.

    • Reply Di July 23, 2017 at 11:31 pm

      Hello Didi,
      I totally understand what your thoughts are in your hesitation to begin a blog as I’m relatively new too but I agree with Gabe and hope you decide to just jump in and begin.
      I’m sure you’ll love it too.
      Wishing you all the best,
      Di ??

  • Reply mikesimages July 19, 2017 at 3:13 am

    This is amazing advice. I’ve only recently begun blogging as regularly as I can and it is somewhat daunting waters to swim in. I keep waiting for the blogger police to come along and say, ‘Ok, you’ve had your fun, now out of the pool.’

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 10:02 am

      hehehe I friggin love this. I feel like I’m drowning right now as well.
      Thanks so much for stopping by Mike and once things settle down a bit, I’m really looking forward to visiting your end of the blogosphere!

  • Reply Debbie Harris July 19, 2017 at 3:28 am

    Thanks for this enlightening post Gabe! I’ve been blogging for a while now and you managed to tell me things I hadn’t heard before, so thanks for that! Your featured article was well written and very interesting so you deserve all the accolades and extra spam!!

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 10:07 am

      Hey Debbie! Yeah, you know you’ve made it to the “big time” in the blogosphere when the quantity of your spam increases, AND the quality of those comments decreases 😉

  • Reply watchingthedaisies July 19, 2017 at 3:30 am

    Congratulations Gabe. That was an awesome boost. I think the 80/20 rule is great advice for new bloggers and some experienced ones too. I shall follow up on some of your other tips. Many thanks. ?

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 10:10 am

      Oh wow! Really didn’t expect the veteran bloggers already managing successful blogs to find useful tools here. Feeling chuffed.

  • Reply Mick Canning July 19, 2017 at 3:31 am

    Pretty sensible, Gabe. I certainly dislike the visitors that comment ‘Hey, visit me!’ – it guarantees that I WON’T visit them, even if they follow me at the same time. Even worse, I keep getting sent an invite to visit and follow a blogger who, to the best of my knowledge, has not even visited mine. I did go and look, and they blog on a subject that I have no interest in.

    Yes, comment and engage. It is the only way.

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 10:15 am

      hehehe you have all the “cool” blogging experiences. If I remember correctly, you have what I suspect is a record number of posts liked in less than a minute by one blogger as well. (wasn’t it 15-20 of your wonderful posts liked in less than a minute?)

      • Reply Mick Canning July 19, 2017 at 10:34 am

        It was. That was pretty impressive speed reading, eh?

        • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 10:43 am

          I think I could use a few remedial speed reading courses myself. Soooo far behind already;)

          • Mick Canning July 19, 2017 at 11:02 am

            Don’t worry about it, Gabe. You’re allowed to pick and choose occasionally, and no one is going to grind their teeth over you missing one or two of their posts.

  • Reply Shallow Reflections July 19, 2017 at 4:17 am

    This is a terrific post, Gabe, and I totally agree with you. I love comments and it is the only way I truly know if someone is engaged in my writing. And I have had steady growth from engaging in other blogs by leaving meaningful comments. I found you through “Big Up Your Blog” and have been impressed with the caliber of writers in that Facebook group so agree it is very worthwhile. I love the Bloggess and will follow your advice to engage in her blog. I don’t see her posts in my feed and I need to remedy that. Congratulations on being featured on wordpress. Are you self hosted? I

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 9:48 am

      Hey Molly! Yup. I’m self-hosted. Not sure if this was really necessary for me since I don’t have plans to make money from blogging, but I’m too deep in it to change course now.

      And you are so right there is something really special about BUYB. Have made quite a few meaningful connections here (including you!), and I’m learning so much. Its kinda exciting to imagine what the next 6 months will bring, right?

  • Reply DailyMusings July 19, 2017 at 4:25 am

    Congratulations on being chosen for Discover. Many great tips. I have been blogging for 3 years now, and I have made great friends through blogging and gotten to know people all over the world. I love to comment, to continue to build those relationships, however it is VERY time consuming. I work from 8-5 which leaves few hours to read through and comment on everyone I follow. Sometimes I will leave a short comment- not specific, to let the person know i was there. Quite honestly at this point it is not about the stats and the number of hits, but connecting with the people whose lives I am interested in following.
    I would like to offer one piece of info to you- when you place a link in your blog and then I clicked on it, the link took me to the new page, replacing yours. This can be frustrating as I then I have to “back” to go back to the original blog, which then takes me back to the beginning of my reader, not your blog. When placing a link click the settings wheel and after entering the link URL check the box “Open link in a new tab” A small thing but one I find useful. Happy bogging!

    • Reply SickChristine July 19, 2017 at 4:59 am

      I second the “open link in a new tab” idea. It’s so much easier on the reader.

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 9:43 am

      OMG I had no idea the links I share are bumping my blog! I would hate that;) Thanks so much -I’ll go back and update-and make sure I adjust future links as well.

      And I don’t know how you’re able to stay as engaged as you do with a full time job as well. I can barely blog AND take regular showers. #rolemodel

      • Reply DailyMusings July 19, 2017 at 2:29 pm

        My day begins at 5:30 with coffee and blog reading, then there’s work, then there’s before bedtime blog reading and trying to keep up with photo challenges. I used to write a lot more, but it is hard!! Your # made me laugh!! Can’t say I’ve been called that before 😀

        • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 6:31 am

          I’m glad you got a free chuckle out of my reply, because your suggestion was solid gold! I’ve already received emails from readers thanking me for FINALLY fixing what they thought was a “bug” I didn’t know how to to control.

          If you ever have any more suggestions, I’ve love to her them! While I sometimes pretend that I know what I’m doing here, I clearly have so much to learn.

          • DailyMusings July 23, 2017 at 9:21 am

            We all do… and that’s what’s so great about blogger buddies- we all help each other out- and not just with the tech stuff….

  • Reply Val July 19, 2017 at 4:50 am

    You’re spot on with all of this, Gabe. Things have changed a bit over the years, but these points are the ones that will certainly enable others to find your blog. That said, the results depend a lot of the quality and type of content of each blog. I first began blogging (not on wordpress dot com) in 2004 and moved here in 2009 – and I had a variety of different types of blog. The major thing that you need for a lot of followers is – as you say – engagement with other people, via comments in your own and their blogs, but your own posts need to have something in them that will make the visitors actually stay. That means choosing post content that the majority of people can instantly identify with. Humour is probably top of the list, particularly if it has to do with day to day mishaps. Then there are shared experiences. Travel, home, relationships, kids, pets are ones that, handled right, will bring people in and keep them there. ‘Things people have in common’ is the key.

    Then you’ve a blog like my current one that, unfortunately for me, only attracts a smaller number of people (and I need to address this soon!) regardless of how much effort I put into visiting and commenting on other people’s blogs, because it is a specialist blog. Not everyone is interested in old photos or vintage stuff, let alone the art of photocolouring.

    I had a popular blog some years back but couldn’t keep up with the pace of it on top of my generally poor health. The success of it in terms of number of followers was helped along by something that has now gone, unfortunately. I don’t know if you’ve ever visited the help forums here? (Hopefully you won’t have had need to.) Along with all the various technical category pages, they had an off-topic one. That was THE place, years ago, to find new followers as you could get into a conversation there with other bloggers and they’d almost always visit you.

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 9:36 am

      Val thank you so much for this comment! I don’t have nearly the experience (or expertise) with respect to blog content that you do, but I know you’re right.
      The comment section is a critical part of making connections with fellow bloggers, but we need to have something to grab hold of. And I suspect this is where our blog content makes the biggest difference. What to blog, how to blog, how much of our “voice” do we share? You touch on all of these questions beautifully.

      And I may be heading your way for advice on keeping up with the pace of a growing blog while maintaining balance in my life. I’m getting pretty swamped here 😉

      • Reply Val July 19, 2017 at 2:48 pm

        The latter is a typical part of blogging, too. Type some short posts, put them on schedule, and take a break for a week or two occasionally. Put off commenting on people’s blogs, catch up with the last two or three when you return. Your brain and body will thank you! 🙂

      • Reply rugby843 July 22, 2017 at 9:58 am

        I don’t think it is the regularity so much as the content. I get pushed by excitement to read if the blog is always fun or quality to read? I don’t know how to explain that well, but repetitive blogs I don’t read as much. I think mine have a tendency to be that way and it is a struggle to blog daily with something new. Your hiking adventures keep me interested. I don’t read FB much, but I do reblog someone’s post there if I think it needs more people to read it. I’ve read so many interesting blogs it is quite fun and informative. And I do think being honest and not holding back brings people like me to blogs. Your comments here prove that.

  • Reply A few comments about building my blog community — (Almost) Unsalvageable — С любовью к людям! July 19, 2017 at 4:53 am

    […] через A few comments about building my blog community — (Almost) Unsalvageable […]

  • Reply SickChristine July 19, 2017 at 5:07 am

    This is all excellent advice, except for the Snickers part because I can’t eat dairy. I’m gonna let it slide, though, this one time. Don’t screw up again. Okay? Hahahaha!

    In all seriousness, congratulations on being discovered. That post was truly worthy of it. You know I’m all about the human connection with blogging. I don’t see the point otherwise. You mentioned The Bloggess. I have found her to be one of the most generous and supportive bloggers, especially considering that she wouldn’t have to be and people would still follow her. She’s definitely one I’d want to model myself after, not necessarily in terms of success (although that would be nice) but in terms of connection. She’s really good at keeping her readers connected to her and to each other. I love that.

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 9:24 am

      Christine! Guess what, these virtual Snickers are not only lactose free, gluten free, and eco-friendly- they have zero calories! That’s right, I’m a friggin miracle worker, right?
      And I’m with you when it comes to Jenny Lawson as well. I’m proud to be a groupie. Not just saying this either. I get her struggles with peopling and her heroic decision to live a Furiously Happy life.

      When I grow up, I want to be her.

  • Reply jacquelineobyikocha July 19, 2017 at 5:13 am

    Congratulations Gabe. I read your article and enjoyed it. These are Insightful tips on commenting. Engaging on social media does take time but worth the while in the long run. I am not particularly keen on lengthy comments – not more than 2 or 3 sentences – though sometimes, I write pretty short statements when I can’t quite think of how to summarize my thoughts or when I’m rushed for time.

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 9:16 am

      Thanks so much Jaqueline and I know what you mean. I hate staring blankly back at my screen, hoping that I will just magically be able to give semi-coherent feedback on a post I’ve really enjoyed. And then there’s those times I click the send button, only to realize that what I just shared is utter garbage, knowing that it’s out there now looking like I’ve accidentally left my zipper undone 😉

  • Reply Elihu July 19, 2017 at 5:19 am

    Great tips! And, congratulations! It’s so exciting to have a breakthrough like that!

    I have dry seasons when it’s all I can do to keep content on my blog let alone scan through everyone else’s, but it is true, engagement is key! ?

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 9:10 am

      ahhhh yes. The dry seasons. I’ve needed to take blogging holidays as well to reset and recharge. I was really worried that no one would be around when I came back. (after all, 40 days of virtual silence is worth at least 10 years in the real world) But seeing friends swing back by and pick up where we left off is incredibly reassuring. Pretty sure this means we’ve formed meaningful connections that will withstand the annoying interruptions of real life.

      • Reply Elihu July 19, 2017 at 12:11 pm

        Haha! You are so right: “40 days of virtual silence = 10 years.” There are some great bloggers here at wordpress that I would love to visit with in person someday. They’ve stuck around for the good articles and the not-so-great ones. I hope your blog continues to grow and thrive!

        • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 5:57 am

          I’m pretty sure it will. I really friggin love this, and have come to rely on the virtual connections we’ve made. Couldn’t imagine what I’d do with all my spare time if I weren’t blogging. Probably something less exciting or challenging like hunting for vampires, or learning to speak Swahili…

  • Reply houstonphotojourney July 19, 2017 at 5:46 am

    That was a great article of advice! Yes, I find a lot of inspiration more from other peoples blogs and love to learn about all sorts of different things! It’s really been a wonderful community to be a part of!

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 9:05 am

      It really is isn’t it? There are still times I have to shake off the disbelief when I experience virtual strangers become real friends. Since I blog for connection and the possibility of inspiring/entertaining/educating others rather than money, meeting friends like you and sharing in our journeys becomes an incalculable reward.

  • Reply George July 19, 2017 at 6:23 am

    I’ve read your blog so now please clean my car. Well, it was worth a try and I bet your spam eater wasn’t expecting it, but I did laugh out loud reading about your plethora of “follow me back” and “read my blog” comments. How does anyone think that is going to work. All tells me is 1) you didn’t read my post because you thought it would interest you. (In fact I’m not convinced you read it at all) 2) if you did read it, it clearly didn’t interest you 3) You have absolutely no interest in coming back here 4) You think your blatant lack of interest in my post is grounds enough for me to become your most ardent fan.

    My own blog is pretty specific in subject matter (hill walks and their surrounding history, folklore, heritage and ways of life in the English Lake District) so I tend to spend more time promoting it to special interest groups on Facebook. Reddit etc. I have had some inspiring comment conversations both on the blog and the social media sites, which have furnished me with ideas, insights and new material.

    So far among the WordPress community my experience has been the same, but I’ve also spent years playing in bands. Promoting music via Facebook, Bandcamp, SoundCloud etc. Especially in the old days of MySpace, I experienced the “like me back” brigade in force. Why? I can tell by the stats you’ve not even bothered listening to the stuff on my page yet you expect me to declare my undying devotion to something you knocked out in five minutes on GarageBand. The odd insightful remark though has had me click straight through and discover some really inventive tunes, which I ended up buying there and then.

    If you strike a chord with someone, you have the basis for an ongoing shared interest. That never happens by making blunt demands.

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 9:01 am

      hehehe you’re awesome. But you really don’t want me to clean your car. I’m a big believer in the restorative effects of “mudding.”

      There are some great subreddits out there for us hikers aren’t there? This is a fun go-to when I’m feeling that itch to get back on the Trail.

      I’m also totally taking credit for knowing a famous rockstar now – Cheers George!

      And if I could make a suggestion? I’ve noticed that your Gravtar link doesn’t send me to your blog. I wonder if you might make more connections if this was updated.

      • Reply George July 22, 2017 at 12:19 pm

        Thanks – I hadn’t realised my gravatar wasn’t linked. I shall sort that out. More importantly thanks for instilling the idea that “mudding” has restorative benefits. I now have an argument to back up my common practice!

  • Reply amindfultravellerblog July 19, 2017 at 6:30 am

    This is really invaluable advice. I find myself constantly 80/20, and for a while I was beginning to question if this was right or not. Should I be spending all this time commenting and reading so many other bloggers’ posts?? And here is the answer…of course I should. Thanks Gabe.
    Lorelle 😉

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 8:54 am

      Hey again Lorelle! It does seem counterintuitive at first doesn’t it? It seems REALLY counterintuitive when I begin questioning whether or not I should take an extra long nap instead of heading over to my blogging friends place to catch up 😉 However, the inspiration and connections with blogger friends are real. And, in my opinion, totally worth it.
      Really glad we’ve met! Can’t wait to see what the next 6 months has is store for us.

  • Reply Maggie Wilson July 19, 2017 at 7:09 am

    I didn’t know about the 80/20 rule, so thanks for that. It does take an investment of the blogger’s time to read, and respond meaningfully.

    Congratulations on the notoriety. Much deserved!

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 8:44 am

      Swee-eet! Now I know I’m on to something if I can serve up a morsel or two that even veteran bloggers like yourself can enjoy.
      Cheers Maggie!

  • Reply Matthew Wakelee July 19, 2017 at 7:13 am

    Great advice! When I first started blogging I was only concerned with my site, but now I read a lot of other blogs and enjoy interacting with other bloggers.

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 8:41 am

      Hey Matthew! Thanks for stopping back by. What do you think? Have you noticed any growth in building your blog community yet?

      • Reply Matthew Wakelee July 20, 2017 at 7:45 pm

        Yeah I think so. I’ve really been enjoyed commenting on oth r people’s posts and the dialogue that follows. I think it has helped me improve as a blogger, too, and it’s simply more fun to interact with like-minded individuals.

        • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 7:33 am

          For me, FUN is a big part of it. If this weren’t fun, I don’t know if I’d still be putting in more hours every week than most do with their full-time jobs 😉

  • Reply thebackyardpoet July 19, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Hey Gabe, some very good advice for us newbies. I have only been blogging for a couple months and at first, I thought you had to automatically follow anyone who followed your blog. The result was spending my time reading blogs that were of no particular interest to me. I found myself becoming a follow gatherer. Now, I am more selective with the sites I follow and can spend my time really enjoying those posts and not just clicking the like button. True, you won’t gather a hundred followers a day, but the way I see it, 10 Quality friends far out weights 100 followers.

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 8:39 am

      Exactly! “10 quality friends far outweigh 100 followers.” I wish I’d learned this lesson sooner – not only saves us wear-and-tear on our clicker fingers, but makes this whole blogging thing far more fun right?

      • Reply thebackyardpoet July 20, 2017 at 7:47 am

        Absolutely. Before I was spending hours and not really making connections. That is not what blogging is all about.

  • Reply carrieconverse31 July 19, 2017 at 7:56 am

    Thank you for sharing your insight and advice! I love visiting other blogs and learning about their unique experiences not only within the blogging community (especially because I only just started my own), but in life. Your 80/20 rule is great to remember in time spent off screen, too! How many more meaningful conversations would happen daily if we always remembered conversations happen when both people listen/read to understand another human’s insight instead of simply being present for self promotion? Very thoughtful provoking article, thank you!

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 8:37 am

      Sweet- Welcome Carrie! Looks like you’re already off to a great blogging start (Great comment btw)

      The real life corallaries to being an “active listener” are far more challenging in my humble opinion. I have to give my wife credit for “encouraging” me to keep honing my listening skills. For some reason, every time we start talking about the dirty dishes or laundry, my mind starts wondering what will happen on the next Game of Thrones, or where we’re going for our next hike or…

      Pretty sure it’s genetic 😉

  • Reply Remnants of Wit July 19, 2017 at 7:57 am

    This is amazing advice! I love linking people to other blogs from my posts (it does make me feel like a ninja master of blogging!) but I hadn’t thought about doing that in comments, lol. Thanks for the food for thoiught. 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 8:23 am

      I still have a lot to learn about effectively connecting blogging friends. Looks like I better head back over to your place to check it out. Cheers Monica!

  • Reply Liesbet July 19, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Wow, Gabe. You have been “getting around” these weeks, learning a bunch along the way. Thanks for doing the trial and errors and sharing what works. Your tips rock as much as those Snicker bars. 🙂 Your audience is growing substantially. The more I read and comment to blogs, the more I feel connected with people as well. It is such a nice feeling, but so very time-consuming. I wish I had more time to engage and figure out what works and what doesn’t. Luckily, I have you for that!

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 8:18 am

      Hey Liesbet! yeah, blogging has kept me pretty busy lately, but it’s been even more fun than expected. You’re right though about time becoming the limiting factor during our early growth spurts. I can’t prove it, but I suspect that once we go through the blogger equivalent to puberty our efforts will start having even greater impact and reach an even wider audience (I can almost feel my voice changing just thinking about it ;))
      Hope you enjoy the Snickers- you’ve sure earned it!

  • Reply dawnkinster July 19, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Good advice. I’ve been blogging since 2006. When I started I didn’t know what a blog was, but did it because a fellow grad student was hosting and wanted some stuff to host. I think, I’m still not very technical. Anyway, even with all those years of blogging I learned things fro your post. Specifically the ‘community pool’ thing. I get that prompt and I have never once ever opened it. I had no idea what that was. Now I will go check it out!

    And I agree about commenting on other people’s blogs. I sometimes think I just don’t have time to read all of the blogs I’m now following. But they are just so interesting! I feel bad when I delete notices without reading but sometimes I have to. On the other hand, if I read it I try very hard to leave a comment that shows I read it. I know from my own experience how much those mean.

    And I have ‘met’ so many wonderful people in the years of blogging. Many of them I consider friends even if I’ve not met them in real life, though I’ve actually met in person a half dozen of them now. When I’m traveling, if I’m near someone that I’ve blogged with for years I try to make time to meet them somewhere. Especially if they have a dog! 🙂

    Thanks for the great advice….I look forward to future posts!

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 10:23 am

      Howdy Dawn! Thanks so much for stopping by. I love meeting veteran bloggers! Your point about virtual connections with fellow bloggers becoming genuine friendships is absolutely true. I’m at a point now that I see virtual faces when crafting new posts, feels like I’m writing from them- to them. I think this might be improving the quality of my writing (I still have a loooonnnngggg way to go when it comes to improving the quality of blog content, but every little bit helps).

      And I think you might enjoy the Community Pool. While many of the link sharers simply drop a post and go in order to get a small bump in their Domain Authority, I’ve meet extraordinary bloggers every week as a result of this linkup.

      I’m REALLY behind right now with my blog reading, but when the dust settles a bit, I’m looking forward to heading over to your place. I think we’re gonna get along great.

  • Reply Writing to Freedom July 19, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Kudos Gabe on being featured and your ascendant ecstasy. XD I’ve also found the joy and growth in blogging comes from comments, visiting and enjoying other people’s blogs. Seems to confirm the giving is receiving motto. 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 10:27 am

      hehehe hey Brad! I don’t know if “ascending ecstasy” is the right term here. I’m going with “unraveling anxiety” for now. At least until I can catch my breath.
      And of course YOU would understand the gift of giving. I’ve said it so many times, you’re probably tired of hearing it, but its still true. You have a talent for finding and highlighting the best of others.
      So glad we’ve met brother!

  • Reply Merbear74 July 19, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Congrats, Gabe! Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy! 🙂
    Back in my day, it was called being “Freshly Pressed.”

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 10:31 am

      hehehe I can’t wait until I’m old enough to begin my stories with “back in my day…”

      And you’ll always be Freshly Pressed to me Mer!

      • Reply Merbear74 July 19, 2017 at 10:41 am

        Don’t wish your youth away, Gabe! 🙂
        Haha, thank you! A week after I started my blog in 2011, I was Freshly Pressed. I remember how exciting it was, all of that attention on me…wow!

        • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 10:42 am

          hehehe they had INTERNET back in 2011 :0

          • Merbear74 July 19, 2017 at 10:43 am

            They did, young grasshopper!! 😉 LOL!

  • Reply usathroughoureyes July 19, 2017 at 8:44 am

    Another great post Gabe. What more can one say other then to have friends one must first be friendly. You like soooo many others we are getting to know in the growing family of bloggers always make time to comment. Not only do you comment but you pick out particular points that let us know you really read our post. This is comforting and the basis for us wanting to learn more of you. Thank you.

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 10:37 am

      Exactly Tom (and hiking Audrey)! Aren’t those comments that let you know someone else not only read, but took the time to share a specific and thoughtful observation amazing? You are the kind of people I love getting to know even better.

      Once I get a chance to catch my breath, I’m looking forward to heading back over to your place. I’m curious to know how Audrey’s section hike is coming along!

      • Reply usathroughoureyes July 19, 2017 at 4:17 pm

        They sure are Gabe. You are always so great about this. We have been following your example and always read peoples post and comment. The best part is our comments are always genuine because everyone’s post we read is informative in one way or another. We only wish we had more hours in the day to dig deeper into the post of so many followers. Audrey was able to get a cell signal and she and the team are doing great. They ascended and camped on “Sinking Mt.”. She said the hike the next day was guelling with the elevation at 1284 feet per mile. She’s doing it and we’re so proud of her. Its funny because the photo journalism side of her is always at play. When they reached Niday shelter they were surrounded by a boy scout troup and took many pics to share when she returns. She also met a hiker that had been on the trail 2 months and of course took lots of pics there too. We need to sign her on as your public relations agent because she is telling em all to check out your blog, lol. We’ll keep you posted and thanks for asking.

        • Reply Anupama Pullagura July 20, 2017 at 1:24 am

          Thank you http://usathroughoureyes.com/ for sharing this wonderful post on my blog page…I now understood your comment on whether I visited his page previously, as we shared information on the same subject, but Gabe’s post was way more interesting and informative than mine!

          Wonderful post, Gabe! I just started blogging since June and it’s been a month in WordPress now. Though I’m pretty busy with my daily routine, I have been doing this “link frogging” that you mentioned in your post. However, I am yet to follow the 80/20 part. After things settle down for me, I am sure to do that as well. I loved writing from my childhood. Now that I found a right platform, I would love to spend some time on it and to be a part of community where my readers really enjoy my content, rather than sneak peak in for grabbing attention. Glad to connect with you!

          • Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 7:15 am

            Hi Anupama! Tom and Audrey (USA through Our Eyes) are wonderful “connectors” aren’t they?

            I’m glad you found these suggestions helpful. There are times I wish I’d had a roadmap to follow when I first started out, but I recognize now that discovering my own path -what works for me and what doesn’t – has been one of the funnest, and most rewarding elements of this journey.

            Looking forward to visiting your blog once I get a chance to catch my breath!

        • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 6:42 am

          hehehe SWEET! I can imagine Audrey as a shining Trail Ambassador -and the idea of her sharing my humble little blog with AT hikers makes my head want to explode! Looks like it was fortuitous that I was away from my laptop and not able to engage with comments till the weekend.
          This comment has made my day- its gonna be a GREAT weekend now!

          • usathroughoureyes July 22, 2017 at 10:18 am

            She and we get a big kick out of your travels and writings. We hope to return to Damascus for more stories of the hikers. We bet you have a whole lot of em to share. Audrey is on her way back as I type. She is exhausted but I could tell she was on cloud 50 with excitement. I’m sure you can relate to those feelings.

          • Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 10:33 am

            Glad to hear she had a great hike and is returning safely Tom.
            And I think I can remember that sense of peaceful ecstasy, but its getting a little fuzzy. I think it might be time for another long hike…

          • usathroughoureyes July 22, 2017 at 12:40 pm

            Sounds like a plan!

  • Reply curioussteph July 19, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Thanks, good stuff. I’m not a month into my blogging adventure, and so find info like this very useful. Both on the writing end and on the interacting with the community side of things. Follow my interests, pay attention, be respectful, and share in a healthy way.

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 10:30 am

      Hey Steph and Welcome! Its so exciting to meet fellow bloggers that are new to the dance. So much information to absorb and so many places to go. I’m looking forward to heading over to your place to visit once things settle down here a bit.

      And please feel free to ask questions as they arise. As with real life I suppose, the learning never stops. In fact, another blogger just taught me something uber helpful today too. So grateful – and hope to be able to pass it forward

  • Reply Diana Frajman July 19, 2017 at 10:04 am

    Okay, at the risk of sounding cliché; Great post! Thanks for sharing it! I love that the tips that you shared are realistic and practical. They are the, in the trenches, information that bloggers need to hear. Not to mention the side lessons of blogger etiquette. I’d rather read this kind of information to help me improve my readership that those post that claim to have made $10,000.00 this week on their blog ones.

    • Reply Gabriel July 19, 2017 at 10:44 am

      hehehe those posts are ridiculous aren’t they? I really don’t understand the appeal of sharing monthly income reports, but apparently, there is an audience for this kind of stuff. Part of me wonders if the “audience” are IRS auditors collecting information;)

      And Diana… you have a little something on your nose 😉 (Monica likes to remind me that good friends are the ones that aren’t afraid to let me know I need to clear the boogers out of my nose)

  • Reply Amy July 19, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Thank you, Gabe for taking time to write up these tips! I wish I had learned these few years back when I started my blog (I had no clue…) I agree with you that “That’s not an investment, it’s friggin fun!” It’s so friggin fun to connect with people throughout the world and share.
    Another awesome post, Gabe! 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 5:52 am

      Thanks Amy! And you have clearly figured out quite a few of your own tips as your Share and Connect blog has a very robust following.

  • Reply Unbound Roots July 19, 2017 at 11:48 am

    Gabe, I’m four months into the world of blogging, and my head is definitely spinning with all the ways to connect in the blogging world. I love this article of yours, and I’m going to keep it as a great reference tool (and share it with others). Thanks for all of your insight!

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 5:54 am

      I sure hope this is helpful Erin, these suggestions really do work for me (sometimes too well, as it feels a bit like driving from a fire hose 😉 ).
      Thanks SOOO much for sharing too!

      • Reply Unbound Roots July 22, 2017 at 12:09 pm

        Yes, and I forgot to mention that I can completely see the 80/20 thing with blogging. Since joining BUYB, I’ve been spending a lot more time reading, sharing, commenting, and learning. But, I have to say that I have been enjoying myself and everybody else immensely! Your post is definitely helpful, so thank you SO much!

  • Reply Jodi July 19, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    I really dislike getting a comment that says check out my blog. If I get an Engaging comment I naturally will. It is a off putting and self serving to ask. I enjoy earning a loyal readership on the merit of my content and an individuals interest. Good luck with your blogging experience! It’s a fun world. ?

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 6:02 am

      hehehe yeah those comment commands are pretty annoying. I really suspect that many think “this is way I’m supposed to get people to visit my blog.” Hope they swing my to take a peek at this post.
      If nothing else, maybe we’ll see a more entertaining version of spam comments. Something like: “So interesting that you mention this, I just said almost the SAME thing (except better) on my blog. Com’mon over and see for yourself!”

  • Reply JT Twissel July 19, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    All good suggestions, thanks! I’ve more or less given up trying to get followers just to have followers. It’s far more satisfying to have a few good friends who stop by every now and then and comment than to have hundreds who post just to post. But it’s taken me four years to come to this realization!

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 6:05 am

      I’m glad these suggestions are helpful JT. And I’m with you. The follower count that WordPress says I have, and those that are part of the wonderfully engaged community I consider fans and friends is very different.

  • Reply thebrokegirlsguidetobetterliving July 19, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    Great post! Congrats on your newfound stardom 😉

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 6:06 am

      hehehe I think I might be a few posts away from stardom Amanda, but it sure was a busy week;) I’m still trying to get caught up on responding to comments!

      • Reply thebrokegirlsguidetobetterliving July 24, 2017 at 1:40 pm

        Hahaha, I’m well behind you there and I still am having trouble getting caught up to my handful of comments over here. Just gotta keep soldiering on 🙂

  • Reply the incurable dreamer July 19, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Check out my latest post on how to make a ham-free, ham sandwich. Follow me please.

    HAHAHA! Okay, I am done fooling around now. If I remember correctly, it was the magnificent Jenny Lawson who brought us together, and not a single day passes without me thanking my lucky stars that she did. You were the very first follower of my blog and have become a dear friend. The day we cheers with wine, and celebrate the beauty of farts in every language, is one I am very much looking forward to. Really, I can’t wait!!

    Watching you grow your blog and become a blogging superstar has been a real privilege!! But more importantly, being able to call you friend is an absolute honour, and something I am eternally thankful for. I am so proud of you, Gabe, and can’t wait to see what is to come!

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 6:16 am

      Hey Tanya! So sorry about the delayed response. I just had to get away from the laptop for a few days to escape the overwhelming craziness. My poor mind still isn’t up to handling “normal” stresses.

      Yup, your right. Jenny brought us together and I thank YOUR lucky stars too!

      I’m sooo excited to head your way Tanya in the soon-but-not-soon-enough future. I’m planning to bring the Benadryl though. You have a way of triggering my friggin allergies. But please don’t change. I love you just the way you are! (Great. Noe that song is gonna be stuck in my head all day 😉 )

      Jamba prietene mea!

      • Reply the incurable dreamer July 22, 2017 at 11:49 am

        Aww, Gabe. I am so happy you took a step back and spent some time taking care of yourself and that magical mind of yours. Your blog is so huge now, and you are so well-respected and loved, and that in itself is a lot to deal with, so I am so proud of you for shutting down and refueling.

        And, I just laughed my damn head off. I am so happy you thank MY lucky stars as well. See, this is why we are friends!

        I promise never to change, and you promise me the same. And the Benadryl is on me – you just bring your awesome self! I really can’t wait!

        • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 1:05 pm

          If by “magical” your mean surprisingly functional despite being waayy past its expiration date, than I’m with ya. But we’ve gotta be careful with my ego… I have a tendency to self-destruct when things are going too well.

          “Have Benadryl… will travel” pretty sure this is from one of those uber-masculine Westerns back in the day, when “rub some dirt on it, and get back in the game” was front line treatment for all injuries that couldn’t be treated with a bottle of whiskey 😉 Regardless, its got us motivated.

  • Reply rhymelovingwriter July 19, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    I’m so happy to have found your site and am giving thanks again today for you, your insights, and your generosity. There is some seriously helpful information here. I’ve long heard of the 80/20 rule, but not yet heard it applied to blogging and in fact was heading the wrong direction there. Had not heard of FB blogger groups, WordPress Community Pool or Discover, or thebloggess.com. I’d never heard of ‘link frogging’ either, though I was intuitively following the practice on a limited scale.
    I’m pretty happy the Snickers was a virtual treat too – that chocolate gets me every time. 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 6:20 am

      hehehe I think we’re gonna get along just fine. You sound like my kind of people!
      And I’ve just googled “link frogging.” Looks like no-one else has coined it yet, so maybe (like househusbandology) I get to claim credit for investing a new term!!!

      Enjoy the virtual Snickers -you can have as many as you want 😉

  • Reply desertcurmudgeon July 19, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    All very good tips, Gabe…some of which I do or have used, others I may just try on for size. Aside from a 1 or 2 month clunky start, I’m also about 6 months into this whole blogging thing and you have been one of my biggest and most genuine supporters, not to mention the fact that I’m sure you are responsible for many followers I now have checking out my page in the first place. So you, Sir, deserve 2 Snickers bars. Full size.

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 6:22 am

      It’s been my pleasure Paul. And now I feel like I’m getting rewarded for getting rewarded 😉 This blogging thing is friggin awesome!

  • Reply flyingthroughwater July 19, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    Wow Gabe! Great posts!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!!
    .
    .
    .
    .
    But seriously….this is valuable information for so many of us. I was blogging for about 3 months at A Kinder Way when I stumbled on to a Meet and Greet at Dream Big, Dream Often and it changed my whole perspective. Danny…the host…is such a great guy and huge on community. He told me early on that there is no grand secret to growing your blog. You have to make meaningful and genuine connects. Treat other blogs/bloggers the way you want to be treated. Read, like, comment, share when you find something that you connect with. It all starts with REAL connections.

    I shared this post in my Posts of Note today. 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 6:35 am

      hehehe thanks for sharing Nikki!
      And seeing your comment reminded me of yet another great opportunity to link up with fellow bloggers. I’ve missed your monthly Meet-and-Greet recently, but I’ve met quite a few amazing bloggers through your efforts to help us connect.

      Cheers for the REAL connections!

  • Reply Arionis July 19, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Great tips Gabe. What is your thought on the CommentLuv plug in? I found your blog by a comment you made on The Bloggess page and I was waffling between going to your site when I saw your most recent post was about the Appalachian Trail. That made up my mind right there and *click*, off I went. Then the man crush was on. I installed the plug in on my blog.

    P.S. Don’t tell anyone about the man crush. 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 6:38 am

      hehehe your secret’s safe with me Ari.

      I’ve thought about installing the CommentLuv plugin (and may still do it in the near future), but I’ve been trying to keep things as simple as possible for now. Worried that more plugins means slower loading time, and more difficulty for others to read and engage. During my next conversation with my web design genius friends, I’ll have to ask about the pros and cons…

      But I love the way it works on your blog, and the Bloggers’ so it must be a reasonable way to go…

  • Reply A Song In My Heart July 19, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    This information is so helpful for me, as I am about 3 months into this whole new blogging adventure. There is still so much that I don’t know! But I am thoroughly enjoying it all!
    I will definitely be stepping up my activity. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 6:44 am

      I’m so glad you found these suggestions helpful, they really do work for me (a word of warning though… sometimes I get TOOO much engagement, and its difficult to keep up. But sounds like a great problem to have, right?)

      Once I get a chance to catch my breath, I’m looking forward to heading over to your blog to hear the song in your heart (love that header by the way)!

  • Reply Shallow Reflections July 19, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    I’m self hosted too and didn’t know that wordpress would acknowledge – I thought I was exempt from being featured. I’m not changing mine either. I’m committed at this point.

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 6:49 am

      Yup- WordPress will even occasionally feature business sites and online magazines. I don’t know how effective promotion for these kind of sites would be (and I wonder if they might be paid promotions?), but still, its a very kind venue to share with us humble bloggers.

      • Reply Shallow Reflections July 22, 2017 at 7:45 am

        Did you do anything to help them find your awesomeness or did they discover you on their own?

        • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 7:59 am

          There is also a place to send Discover an email that will take some searching to find, but you can send them a link of a post you would like them to consider. However, I suspect that they receive 1000’s of these emails a day (considering over 2 million new posts published each day).

  • Reply rugby843 July 19, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    I am so tempted to write “great post”? But I think you are right. We all want the comments, and you’re never sure if someone actually read what you wrote without them. I was drawn to your site because of the name and the picture and the trail stories. But I admit the name piqued my curiosity at first. You are hood at this!

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 6:51 am

      hehehe yes, ” (Almost) Unsalvageable” sounds jarring doesn’t it.

      And… thanks for sharing the comment 😉

  • Reply rugby843 July 19, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    And I cannot ever seem to get the spell check to write good or gave. I’m probably the only one??

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 6:53 am

      Spellcheck and I HATE each other. Next time I see here, I’m gonna tell her she doesn’t get to be the boss of us anymore! (Spellcheck HAS to be a woman, cause she’s always telling me I’m doing it wrong;))

      • Reply rugby843 July 22, 2017 at 10:10 am

        I should probably take offense to that, being a woman, but the older I get the more I let things go….I have been reading the responses to your last blog and there are some great ones! In fact I left likes and will follow up on a lot of those bloggers. Your name and that cute smiling picture was a draw and I have not been disappointed. Glad for your recognition, well deserved.

        • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 10:25 am

          Thanks so much (and for sticking with me despite my playful jibes- completely joking by the way, women are by far the superior species in my opinion. And I’m not just saying that because my wife will take any my Netflix privileges if I don’t behave well in public 😉 )

          • rugby843 July 22, 2017 at 11:34 am

            Aww. I know you’re kidding, np. But I love the humor! I must be the only one who does not have Netflix!?

  • Reply Dave Ply July 19, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    Sheesh. You come to my blog and say “Tone it down a bit for us mortal bloggers huh?”, and then announce that you’ve been Discovered on yours. Who’s the lesser mortal now?

    In truth I’m not the least bit surprised you’ve caught the eye of the moderators in Olympus, you have a natural talent for this venue. And as this post suggests, you have a fine touch in putting the social into social media, and seem to be doing it at a furious pace. That’s a nice tip too, on how to get noticed by the gods of WordPress – I may have to try it. (Once the anti-SPAM machine gets dusted off)

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 6:57 am

      hehehe I will ALWAYS be the lesser mortal. I called dibs a long time ago, and no one gets to take that way from me;)

      And yes, it would be wise to fine-tune your discussion settings on the WordPress Dashboard before you throw your post in the ring. I wish I had made these changes in advance. Was pretty busy for the first several days manually filtering a steady stream of comments. Enough so that I needed to take a brief logging holiday to recover…

  • Reply Jay July 19, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    These are good rules. You can talk to a brick wall if you like but I think good blogging means community-building.

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 6:59 am

      I agree. And for me, sharing within a community, rather than in impersonal, transient audience is far more meaningful (and rewarding).

  • Reply Parul Thakur July 19, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Gabe, let me tell you that in 6 months you have learnt tricks of the trade that most 6 years old in the blogging world wouldn’t have. You got a great collection of ideas and I’ll bookmark this to read again.
    Another thing that has worked for me is joining a campaign – weekly photo challenge, I loved when WordPress had the discover prompts on, and then A to Z, NaBloPoMo etc. Sure they stretch, but one wants to write the possiblities are many.
    Congrats again on getting ‘discovered’. That was one awesome post!

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 7:02 am

      Wow- thanks Parul! I do feel like I’m starting to get the hang of this blogging thing, but I know I still have a loooonnnnggg way to go.

      And Gary has mentioned the NaNo in November (writing a novel in a month), but I don’t know if I’ve heard of “NaBloPoMo” before. Is this a challenge to write a blog post every day?

      • Reply Parul Thakur July 22, 2017 at 2:02 pm

        Yes it is. The NaNo is novel writing and I’m far away from there..

  • Reply A Gypsy's Tale by Brooke Breazeale July 19, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    you nailed it, once again…and I think I passed! I have implemented all of the above, not even knowing these where the blogging rules to live by (I know, ‘recommendations is more accurate)!!! What I do know is that you are killing it, and you are one of 2 people who i have ‘welcomed into my home’ that make me light up when I see your name, whether it is a post or a comment, precisely because of what you said. Your words, comments and responses are always heartfelt and thoughtful….and who doesn’t need more heartfelt and thoughtful!

    Sooo happy for you about your article being published in WP….it’s pretty fucking cool…and very well deserved.

    🙂

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 7:04 am

      Hey Natalie that doesn’t surprise me a bit! You write a wonderful blog, and I suspect your audience will be flourishing even more than it already is in the near future.

      And you get all the credit for anything heartfelt and thoughtful that you see in my comments. After all, YOU are the one that inspires them.

      Cheers my friend!

  • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt July 20, 2017 at 9:39 am

    So glad you shared your thoughts and tips, and congrats on the viral post! So well deserved. Gabe! Comments do indeed make the blogging world go round!

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 7:20 am

      Hey Terri! And you’re right. Comments do make the world go round. If nothing else, blogging would be a boring, lonely, (almost) meaningless exercise if it weren’t for our ability to engage and provide feedback for one another.

  • Reply Ann Coleman July 20, 2017 at 10:35 am

    “Great post! Thanks for sharing!”
    Okay, now that I got that out of my system, I’ll leave my real comments. First, congratulations! For someone who is new to the blogging world, you are achieving great success, and you deserve it. Secondly, thanks for the information. I’ve been blogging for over two years, so some of the advice is stuff I’m doing already, but some of it was also brand new information. I had no idea there was such a thing as a Community Pool or Word Press Discover. And what I like most about your blogging advice is that you didn’t just tell us how to get more “likes” and “follows” (because that isn’t my primary goal), but how to get more actual readers, and how to find other blogs worth reading. That’s the reason I blog! (That, and finding great new blogging friends….like the guy who wrote this post!)

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 7:24 am

      Wow! I wouldn’t have expected that any of this would be new to you Ann. You’re one of the first bloggers I discovered, and I’ve learned so much from you. I probably haven’t said this yet, but you’ve shown me (and probably quite a few others) how to be more engaged and successful bloggers. So thanks for sharing!

      • Reply Ann Coleman July 22, 2017 at 9:49 am

        What a nice thing to say…thanks, Gabe!

  • Reply emilypageart July 20, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    The snickers art seems like a real departure from the other stuff I’ve seen you post. I love the other stuff, but wanted to validate that this one is fun, too. I’m working on a series of fruit and veggie paintings, but yesterday I sketched out a painting of fancy chocolates because I decided my paintings were getting much too healthy. The downside, though, is that looking at the photo I’m working from keeps making me hungry…

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 7:31 am

      Great eye Emily! I actually created the Snickers sketch more than a year ago, and I suspect my style has changed quite a bit since then. (but I still like this one quite a bit, and I know what you mean… the original stock of Snickers wasn’t in the shape of the Appalachian Trail symbol. It was much bigger 😉 )

      Are you going to be sharing your paintings on your blog when your finished? Even if you don’t, I’m still planning to head back over to see what you’ve been up to recently!

  • Reply Luiggi Svagelj July 21, 2017 at 1:23 am

    Gabe, I have to say this post was really awesome in letting me know where to go to build viewership and I appreciate the work you put into your posts.

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 7:36 am

      Hey Luiggi- what a great comment! I do put quite a bit of work into ensuring that you get the best I can share. I hope you find these suggestions helpful.

      And I’m looking forward to heading over to your blog when I get a chance!

  • Reply Lutheranliar July 21, 2017 at 6:42 am

    Incredibly helpful. Thank you! I’ve been at this blogging thing for three years, and honestly did not know any of your tips. But enough about me. Here’s my favorite part of this post: “I’ll repeat until my head starts spinning or Monica makes me stop so I can wash the dirty dishes.”

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 8:18 am

      hehehe it wouldn’t be so funny if it weren’t so true.
      And glad to hear that I dug up a few suggestions that might be helpful to you! (And Thanks so much for the Twitter Shout out! )

  • Reply Andrea Stephenson July 21, 2017 at 11:47 am

    I completely agree with the 80/20 rule Gabe, the connections I’ve made aren’t because people have commented on my blog but because we’ve engaged with each other – this makes for a very meaningful blogging experience and a real community. I’m going to be on WordPress Discover soon, so I’ll look forward to what that will bring!

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 8:16 am

      Hey Andrea! I friggin LOVE your blog. Your writing is beautiful. And I’m so glad we found each other. I (almost) don’t want to share the secret… but that would just be selfish.

      • Reply Andrea Stephenson July 22, 2017 at 10:20 am

        Thanks Gabe, I appreciate that I’m a secret worth keeping 🙂

        • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 10:32 am

          hehehe and a secret worth SHARING

  • Reply sydspix July 21, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    This was great advice! I still find it hard to find a balance and not be totally run by social media. It seems to interfere with my creativity and any free time I can find. I imagine the 80/20 rule is correct but very time consuming. Good post.

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 8:15 am

      Yes, I know what you mean. I often get caught in the social media vortex. Fortunately, my wife is always standing guard to ensure I don’t wade too far out into the deep end and drown 😉

  • Reply Bel July 21, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Congratulations on being featured! I’m not surprised…you really write well and I always enjoy reading your blog. I totally agree with you on the “follow me back” or the all caps “READ MY BLOG” and how they put a link to their blog in the comment section without saying why it’s even there…it gets to a point where I’m just annoyed. Someone recently tried to post 10x on my comment section to like, comment, and read their blog (i guess in no particular order)….once wasn’t enough obviously ? Oh well – that’s my rant for today. Other than that, I’m glad I met amazing and supportive people on this blog…? And that I wish yours to be more “instafamous” than it already is. A guaranteed awesome read every single time. ?

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 8:13 am

      hehehe instafamous… Your awesome Bel! And you’re way ahead of me there, but I’m still in the race, so don’t think about slowing down 😉

      I’m sure you’ve already done this, but I had to change the settings on my discussion tab to moderate these “READ MY BLOG NOW!” comments. After manually snagging the first several dozen, I was at my wits end, until I learned WordPress is set up to hold these until I’m ready to scan through for those I want to let in, and those I want to feed to the Spam monster…

      • Reply Bel July 22, 2017 at 9:00 am

        Lol! I barely scratch the surface while you delve into the deeper scary unknown depths of this thing called “life” – don’t worry, we’re still running the same race even if I’m lagging ?

        Thanks for the settings tip! I will definitely do that – ? Keep on writing, Gabe. It’s just like swimming ?

  • Reply Retirementallychallenged.com July 21, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    Congrats, Gabe! You definitely deserve the recognition!

    This is the post I’ve been writing in my head for a while (although not as well as you). When I started blogging three years ago, I wondered how I was going to get any followers. Then, I started searching out similar lifestyle blogs and leaving comments… wow! You definitely get out what you put in. By reaching out to others, I have gained new friends around the world… and have learned so much. Some blogs I read have very few – or no – comments. I wonder how they keep going. But, then I notice they never leave comments on other blogs, nor do they respond to any comment I leave.

    In addition to the “follow my blog” comments, the follows I get from bloggers who I have nothing in common with are a little puzzling. I’m pretty sure they have little interest in what I have to say, and when I look at their blogs, it is fairly obvious that they just hoped that I’d auto-follow theirs. I currently follow a lot of blogs and really only have time for those that resonate.

    Your tips are great – I had never even heard of WordPress Discover or The Bloggress – and I learned a few more from your commenters. The only thing I’d add is make sure your blog is easy to follow. I can’t tell you how any blogs that I’d love to follow but they only have a “follow via WordPress Reader” option. I don’t use the Reader. Others only use Reader and not email.

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 8:09 am

      Hey Janis! You bring up a good point about the type of blogs to follow.
      I’d originally written another paragraph about following blogs outside my niche. Firstly-I don’t know if I really HAVE a niche (unless househusband-hiker-traveler-living-abroad-who-uses-art-therapy-to-help-cope-with-depression-anxiety-PTSD-and-his-obsession-with-blogging/social-media is a niche 😉 ) and secondly, I see blogging as my new morning newspaper. Filled with lots of different sections, each of which are interesting for different reasons. Some blog posts, to be honest, are not that interesting, but I have grown to love the conversations I’ve had with these bloggers. And THAT is one of the biggest things that keeps me coming back for more. I’m curious to see what’s new in my friends worlds.

      And I think you’ll love theBloggess.com Jenny Lawson is raw and hilarious and uncensored. And has the largest “personal blog” in the world.

      • Reply Retirementallychallenged.com July 22, 2017 at 10:40 am

        I’m not sure what my specific niche is either and I follow more than a few blogs that don’t align with my demographic at all, but they are well-written, beautiful (I love photography blogs), inspirational, and/or educational. I like your analogy of a newspaper and all it’s different sections. Many sections are interesting; one or two, not so much.

  • Reply Paufyu July 21, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Thank you so much for this post honestly! You are definitely my blogging goals. I have one question though; for those who don’t use wordpress, what is your advice to them? I currently use weebly because my past experience with (free) wordpress was quite limited and I wanted my website not be mainly about my blog but a home for everything I do, including my blog. I found its somewhat a disadvantage because wordpress uses the reader.
    In terms of the facebook groups; gosh they are horrible. Its similar to the whole “follow4follow”. Will check out those reputable groups though.

    I think I would start investing some time into commenting. At first I had the impression “most of these people have a following, do they even care about my opinion if I comment?” and I managed to get a reply once out of the few times I did comment. I can admit its easy for a comment to sit in pending or on your website and not know (i am guilty of this) but I love hearing others’ opinions and i personally love the interaction. Hopefully I will get many replies back.

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 7:55 am

      Hi Paufyu! These are good questions. I don’t have experience with weebly, so I can’t give meaningful guidance here. But I will say, thank you can still engage with nearly all of the sources I suggested even if you’re not affiliated with WordPress.

      The Big Up Your Blog Facebook group is very different. There is something magical about this group. I suspect the admins are a big part of this as they carefully monitor membership to ensure that our community is filled with bloggers that are interested in genuine engagement. You might want to consider checking this out if you’re interested in meeting fellow bloggers (of all different levels of blogging experience)

      And in my experience, reading the blogs of others, and providing meaningful comments, has probably been the been the greatest factor in the success I’ve found thus far.
      Looking forward to heading over to your blog when I get a chance to catch my breath!

  • Reply Allison Brown July 22, 2017 at 6:17 am

    Love your suggestions! I’m a new blogger (since Feb) so I tend to get overwhelmed with not only reading interesting blogs but also getting (pleasantly) sucked into the comments. 🙂 Like some others have mentioned, I also work a full-time job in addition to blogging and writing my first book. Next on my agenda, though, is to investigate everything WordPress has to offer. It seems like a great resource! I must say that, since joining Big Up Your Blog, I’ve enjoyed reading all of your work!

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 7:40 am

      hehehe I know what you mean. While I keep my blog posts between 700 and 1200 words, its not unusual for the comment section to exceed 10K words (I’ve never done a word count on the comment section, but based on the amount of scrolling I have to do to get to the bottom, this seems about right;) )

      And isn’t Big Up Your Blog awesome! I’ll be looking for you this weekend.

  • Reply Lorna July 22, 2017 at 6:23 am

    I bog frog, too. I miss the days when blogging was about people and stories and not so much about stats and selling.

    I love the ‘your comment section isn’t about you’ thing. I blog because I want to know other people’s thoughts, not to have mine parroted back to me. I wouldn’t even mind if people started their own conversations on my blog posts, as long as they were civil and I could join in, too.

    You’re good people, Gabe. Keep going.

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 7:44 am

      Hey Lorna! You bring up a good point. I’ve chatted with another blogger recently about “cross talk” (encouraging other bloggers to respond to one anothers comments). While the idea of creating an engaged forum sounds very appealing, and I, like you, would gladly encourage connecting other bloggers, I’ll have to make sure that I maintain some control over the conversation. I have seen a few conversations wander off on an obscure tangent that makes it difficult for others to engage in.

      And you already know this Lorna, but your good people too. Glad we met!

  • Reply Gary July 22, 2017 at 8:35 am

    Great post Gabe. When folk start blogging the immensity of everything from what to blog about to how to get people engaged is way more daunting than this sentence makes it seem. I still consider myself a novice in that area and do have a few things I need to improve to get that more polished look. Not just on the blog, but working in harmony across my social media.

    The biggest advice I have is not to overwhelm with hundreds of ideas and spent days trolling top sites and gobble up the legion of must have posts that tell you all the “secrets.” For me compiling a list of priorities works, breaking them down and making them easy to achieve chunks.

    The 80/20 rule is one I’d hurl into the top of things to be doing. Nobody will engage with you if the best you offer is “Great post” (my paradoxical opener lol) it leaves little to discuss and sounds like you are there just to blog hop and lay obligation to visit back. A neat trick to get engagement going is to ask a question in the final post conclusion.

    I guess often I tend to overdo the engagement rule and spend more time on other peoples blogs and promoting them than I do my own! Fine lines and balance.

    Great tips though and will share and flip this one 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 9:48 am

      Yup – you’re right again Gary. It can all get overwhelming in a hurry, but if we focus on implementing a few changes at a time, seeing what works, and then, if it does, keep it. Otherwise, transition to the next strategy.

      This is a modification of the scientific method, which has worked well for me thus far. Although I will admit that I still have a looonnnng way to go to learn balance as I, like you, spend about 90% of my time on others blogs, and it can get a bit dizzying.
      But this stuff led me to you, so I’m gonna say tis absolutely worth it!

      • Reply Gary July 22, 2017 at 11:35 am

        I’m speaking from a years experience reference frame. I think you and I have similar thoughts on where we want to be. My next ambition is the theme change. Aiming to do that next month now.

        Scientific method is good too. It has more methodology and with my background is definitely something I concur with. Still, Rome wasn’t built in a day so I’m taking things slower and trying not to repeat mistakes. The balance is hard though as a writer. Blog enhancement or writing….balance thing again. There are times when I go missing from here for several weeks as writing takes precedence.

        Obviously since your/our methods ended up here then you’re dead right. Linking up proves we’re doing something right!

  • Reply angelanoelauthor July 22, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Holy bananas Batman, this is a wealth of special sauce! I didn’t realize there could be a method to commenting–I just comment because I love it and people are awesome. BUT–I can love it, think people are awesome AND do it better! Again, you amaze me and I’m so grateful smart hiking surgeons like you are in the world. 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 9:51 am

      hehehe love that. Holy Bananas Batman… I think this is going in the long term repository Angela 😉
      And I would say, keep doing what you’re doing if you love it Angela, you have created a wonderful blogging home. One that I love to visit as often as I can.
      But… if you find you have time and energy to expand your blogging community even further, then these suggestions worked well for me, and I suspect they will for you as well.

  • Reply Ritu July 22, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Loads of fantastic advice here Gabe! One Meaningful comment is better than 100 inactive followers!!!

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 9:51 am

      hehehe I might even go further and say one meaningful comment is worth ALL the inactive followers 😉

      • Reply Ritu July 22, 2017 at 3:21 pm

        You know what… That is true!!!

  • Reply Thewanderingdarlings July 22, 2017 at 8:44 am

    Awesome post Gabe! And hella congrats on your new found fame and getting featured hope you celebrated with a big old snickers. You’ve put some fab tips below and thankfully I was already most of them but you’ve given me a few winners which I’m now off to start doing. Going to share the shit out of this tomorrow for Sunday blog share

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 9:16 am

      hehehe YES!!! love it (the Snickers of course… but also sharing the shit out of this post tomorrow for Sunday Blog Share) 😉

  • Reply Lisa Orchard July 22, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Thanks for the info, Gabe. This is a great post. I didn’t know there was a WordPress community. I’m going to definitely check it out and congrats to you for WordPress finding your blog post. I read it and it was great. 🙂

  • Reply D. Wallace Peach July 22, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Great post. Thanks for sharing!

    Ha ha. Look at all these comments. You are a powerhouse, Gabe. I love your analogy of a blog as an online home and how comments are invites into the living room. It feels that way to me, and the friendships wrought by these comment-conversations are as real as anything face to face. I discovered quite by accident that comments are the secret to growing a blog and enjoying it at the same time. The biggest challenge becomes time management, and when you have that figured out and post about it, I’ll be thrilled! Thanks for the links to WordPressDiscover and The Blogess. Both sites are new to me and I’ve already opened links for a little exploration. Soooo….

    Great post and thanks for sharing! 😀 <3

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 10:07 am

      hehehe this might be the blogger equivalent to a nervous tic, right?
      And I have to be careful when I see comments from you on my blog D. My wife is pretty sure I’ve become your latest groupie! You novels are immersive, and captivating and…
      Well, I have been known to gush, so I can understand if you think I’m exaggerating. But, actually engaging with an author with genuine talent (and on my friggin BLOG!!!) makes me wanna do the Beatles swoon 😉

      • Reply D. Wallace Peach July 22, 2017 at 10:23 am

        Pfft! Now you’re making me blush. 😀 Well, I’m delighted with the connection and reading your blog is a joy. I always look forward to learning from your wisdom and life experiences. Keep smiling, my friend.

  • Reply Kathi July 22, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Wonderful advice! I have been blogging for just over a year now and always get excited when I have a comment to my blog. I have set it up so I have to approve comments before they post, so I can delete the spam.

    I have a friend who deletes all the negative comments to her blog, however, when I get one of those I post it. I feel it is just as important to post and reply to those as well as the positive ones.

    I have spent some time on your blogs this morning and really enjoy your post. You’ve got a new fan here!

    Keep up the great work!

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 10:31 am

      Ohhhh I love these comments too Kathi!

      Sounds like we might have similar mixed feelings about needing to moderate comments. I want to ensure that the spam doesn’t distract, but it’s almost, if not more important, that I don’t “censor” those that have taken the time to genuinely provide feedback.
      And, I was surprised to see that so many bloggers read through all the comments as well. if someone else had “constructive” feedback for me, wouldn’t it be great if another blogger also benefited?

      Thanks so much for stopping by and following along Kathi. I’m looking forward to visiting your blog soon as well when I get a chance to catch my breath.

  • Reply Phaytea's Pulse July 22, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Love love this..it’s so timely and relevant..I’m really just here cracking up at the website you created….what a sense of humour!!! And BIG CONGRATULATIONS on getting featured…bigger things are definitely heading your way

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 2:50 pm

      hehehe glad you enjoyed Phaytea. I hope your right… we’re just getting started here.

  • Reply wittygingergoesaround July 22, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    oh wow congratulations for being featured! That’s impressive. Thank you so much for sharing these tips, I still have to learn a lot about this world and you were very helpful and an eye-opener.

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 3:44 pm

      It can be daunting at first. But please feel free to stop back by here if you have questions or just want to hang out with some very impressive bloggers.

      • Reply wittygingergoesaround July 22, 2017 at 3:57 pm

        I have that many questions that I don’t even know where to start hehe about haging out with very impressive bloggers, where do I have to go?! count with me! there is no better way to learn that learning from the masters 😉

  • Reply emfletche July 22, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    This is such great advice Gabe, I do struggle with commenting sometimes but I know how much I appreciate a few kind words from others so I reciprocate on those blogs that I genuinely love. Like yours 🙂 You blogging superstar you 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel July 22, 2017 at 3:47 pm

      hehehe take it back! I might lose my amateur status. The I wouldn’t be able to compete in the blogging Olympics.

      I’ve been training for marathon blog reading for months;)

  • Reply thebeasley July 22, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    This is all really interesting. There was stuff here that I didn’t know about for example the Community Pool. So really useful stuff, thanks so much Gabe!

    • Reply Gabriel July 23, 2017 at 5:42 am

      Glad you found a few pearls here. The Community Pool can be hit-or-miss, but I’ve found that if I share a link I’m proud of early, and engage with other bloggers, its an excellent way to meet new people.

  • Reply April Munday July 23, 2017 at 1:50 am

    If only you hadn’t said that three sentences constitute a meaningful response. Everyone else is satisfied with one or two. Your advice is so good that I’ll probably have to come back and read it again.

    P.S. Do you get those spammers who tell you that they’ve bookmarked your post?

    P.P.S. I wondered why this post didn’t come up in my Reader and realised that I wasn’t following you. Now rectified.

    • Reply Gabriel July 23, 2017 at 5:46 am

      hehehe love this! My spam folder is still getting a decent workout, filled with advertisements about Yellowstone safaris and buying email marketing services, and plenty of “follow me!” But anybody who says they had bookmarked a post gets to stay. That’s sacred;)

      And so glad your following! I’ll do my best to make it worth your time!

  • Reply Lucy Mitchell July 23, 2017 at 1:52 am

    Great post – my motto is sharing is caring. Well done you on your blogging achievement ??

    • Reply Gabriel July 23, 2017 at 5:46 am

      Thanks so much Lucy! And love your motto.

  • Reply blondieaka July 23, 2017 at 1:54 am

    Hey Gabe..Great post and I love the comments section also … it can be fun and informative at the same time…Thank you for the links… a couple I didn’t know…Have a great rest of the weekend 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel July 23, 2017 at 5:48 am

      Glad you enjoyed Carol, and that you’ve found the links helpful!

  • Reply wingedwordsofawanderess July 23, 2017 at 3:34 am

    This post of yours is really informative. I started blogging almost a month back and first few posts I couldn’t see any viewers except those from my friend circle to whom I shared the link. I was feeling little low and was searching for blogging tips and what would have actually went wrong. Its during my investigation I came across your post. Really a great deal of information for a beginner. Thank you so much..?

    • Reply Gabriel July 23, 2017 at 5:53 am

      Yay! Love meeting new bloggers! I wish someone had shared these tips with me early in my blogging career (6 months is roughly 30 years in internet time). Hope these tools help you to meet plenty of engaged new friends.

      And feel free to stop back by or follow along whenever the mood strikes!

  • Reply ceearrbooknerd July 23, 2017 at 6:11 am

    I’m loving the phrase ‘link frogging’ – sounds more cheerful than blog hopping, somehow 🙂

  • Reply arv! Jpr July 23, 2017 at 8:15 am

    You’re on right path Gabriel. Meaningful comments are important to build your community. Great going

    • Reply Gabriel July 24, 2017 at 9:02 am

      Thanks Arv!

  • Reply Pam Avoledo July 23, 2017 at 10:07 am

    I bookmarked this by the way. On my blog, I make it a point to talk about different intrepretations with my readers. I don’t mind if they tell me I’m wrong. I want my readers to feel free to disagree with me and state their own opinions. It’s what makes blogging rewarding for me.

    • Reply Gabriel July 24, 2017 at 9:04 am

      Isn’t it great to learn something new from those visiting our blog? I’ve already received some really helpful guidance from fellow bloggers to improve site performance etc. This kind of thing doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Love it!

  • Reply josypheen July 23, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    I love your comments Gabe. You were one of the first people I started to follow (after you left a comment on my about section) and I have been looking forward to your posts ever since. I think you always have a funny and engaging comment section because your comments and replies feel so real.

    I also do the link-frogging thing. Although I didn’t know what to call it! I found a couple of my favourite blogs because there were funny replies on some of the SundayBlogShare posts. Mostly from Katie’s Fatty Mc Cupcake blogs- she has some REALLY funny comments! I think I also started following some other sweeties through the comment section on your blog.

    I like the community pool too, but I found it left me with far more of the “Nice, come check out my blog”-type posts. I do normally check those out BUT I rarely go back and visit them again unless they are fun and engaging.

    Anyway, thank you for being lovely and for teaching us newbie bloggers how to attempt to be awesome like you.

    • Reply Gabriel July 24, 2017 at 9:07 am

      Hey Josy! Fatty Mc Cupcake’s blog is hilarious! I’m hoping some of her talent will rub off on me if I hang around long enough;)

      And really glad we’ve connected Josy. See you soon!

      • Reply josypheen July 24, 2017 at 7:03 pm

        It has aready! Your blog makes me giggle too! 😀 😀 😀

  • Reply restlessjo July 23, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    Can I swap the Snickers for a Dime bar, please Gabe? I know you’re a nice guy. I don’t really get where all this is leading though. Do you have an ultimate goal? I don’t do the interaction with WP but I’ve been led to believe that their bias is American blogs. Oops! That’s me blacklisted forever. Wishing you a happy week ahead x

    • Reply Gabriel July 24, 2017 at 9:08 am

      Hey Jo! “What is the ultimate goal here?” Great question. If it were 6 months ago, I would have said that this blog would be a platform to help promote my memoir about hiking the Appalachian Trail. But somewhere along the way I stopped being driven by specific goals. Instead, I’m guided by more of a mission statement: inspire, educate and/or entertain an engaged community of loyal participants.

      I’ll admit that I didn’t anticipate this level of “participation” so quickly, but I suspect I’ll be able to relax a bit once The referral traffic from WordPress tapers off.

      And I’ll also admit, I found this question surprising coming from you Jo. You have created a very successful blog. If I don’t catch you early after you publish 6 word stories or MondayWalk, I risk a scroll-related injury on my way down to the bottom of your comment feed. And you still (somehow) manage to respond to all comments, and visit the blogs of commenters. Now I’m really curious…

      What are your blog-related goals?

      • Reply restlessjo July 24, 2017 at 9:24 am

        Only if I can have the Dime bar. I’m mercenary 🙂 🙂

        • Reply Gabriel July 24, 2017 at 9:55 am

          Ha!!! Gladly… you can have a WHOLE quarter’s worth of Dime bars. 😉

      • Reply restlessjo July 24, 2017 at 10:19 am

        I’m afraid that you have caught me in a period when I can’t see the wood for the trees and I’m not sure why I keep going, Gabe, other than pure egotism. I love the warm fuzzy feeling when you feel you’ve connected with somebody really well but, as you point out at the start, there are so many time wasters out there. And how many meaningful relationships can I maintain at any one time? Some of it becomes duty, because there are people who visit you that you don’t really connect with, but you feel obliged to return the visit, but feel irritated. I think maybe blogging has a life cycle and there’s a time to move on. But it’s also a crutch, and I’m not sure that I can throw it away. I’ve invested too much of me in it, but couldn’t/shouldn’t I find something more useful/fulfilling? I do know that there’s life after blogging. Some people whose work I really respected and loved have left the arena. You’ll be sorry you shelled out for those Dime bars, Gabe! I’m sorry I don’t have a positive/happy answer for you. I think that you should just enjoy the journey, and I personally will always consider it a privilege if you visit my blog.

        • Reply Gabriel July 25, 2017 at 7:24 pm

          Not sorry about handing over the quarter’s worth of Dime bars at all Jo. And I think I can understand the “rut” that comes with reaching a plateau. You’ve already built a successful blog and community and now maintaining feels a bit like racing on a hamster wheel. Exhausting and doesn’t really get us closer to a fixed destination.

          I’m still on the there side of the plateau. I have a LOT of building and learning to do, so I suppose I’m still in that excited newlywed phase of the blogging life cycle.

          However, I think that once I get nearer that blogging plateau, I will likely be able to devote more time to writing that memoir I keep talking about (but rarely make progress on). Author/Bloggers like D. Wallace Peach and Jenny Lawson serve as role models for me here as they’ve found a way to maintain communities while stepping back the daily work they put into it.

          This is getting to be a pretty lengthy response (probably because you’re thoughts resonate with me), so I’ll close by saying I sure hope you continue to find joy and fulfillment in the blogosphere.

          • restlessjo July 26, 2017 at 7:20 am

            I think you are a pretty swift learner, Gabe. There are ideas in here I could pinch. I don’t use WP in the focused way that you do. Not wanting to fill your comments box either, but I popped back to say that I’ve amended my comments in response to friendly complaints. I do get fed up of scrolling and scrolling, and sometimes I’ve genuinely forgotten what I wanted to say by the time I get there (comes with being geriatric) so I thought I’d make it easier for folks. Of course, that means no reading other interesting comments on the way, but you can pull them up if you want to. For purposes of research. 🙂 🙂 We’ll see how it goes. Bye again! Hope you’re having a good week.

  • Reply Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC July 23, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Woo Hoo, Gabe! Congratulations for your much deserved Feature. No wonder you are rethinking time management systems, with 100s of new comments to handle. (pinned this, btw)

    I admire the way you handled the deluge of “visit my blog” comments. I’m never sure how to respond to those — I don’t want to encourage that kind of engagement, nor do I want to DIScourage new bloggers who don’t really know any better.

    I especially appreciated your 80/20 rule – I recently “downsized” by a third – now Mon & Fri only – to have more time to get around to other blogs I follow. I didn’t want to appear to be “one of those bloggers” and I was falling waaaay behind on comments etc., even tho’ I was spending hours every night. I may end up going to once a week if I still can’t get get around without giving up bathing and sleeping. 🙂 YOUR blog will always be one of the ones at the top of my list, however.
    xx, mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    • Reply Gabriel July 24, 2017 at 9:15 am

      Cheers Madelyn (and you rock for pinning – Pinterest is a relatively new thing for me. I don’t know how well it will drive traffic here, but it sure is fun to create new pins on Canva 😉 )

      I know what you mean about not wanting to discourage bloggers that don’t share similar views about the use of the comment section. My hope is that this post will serve as guidance to improve their community outreach, (without taking away the sacrifices my spam monster requires;))

      And I don’t know how you keep up with it all Madelyn, I struggle to share one new post each week, and respond to comments in timely manner. I guess its time to get that planner!

      • Reply Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC July 24, 2017 at 11:31 am

        I have the biggest, best-fed spam monster on the net, Gabe. If yours gets hungry I’m sure he’d share – he snarfs up *pages* of link-spam every single day (over a million in total!)

        I’m a blogging light-weight, Gabe, despite the considerable time I spend on it. I don’t know how some of the authors I follow do it. Many of them post *daily* as well as promoting others, and some comment liberally across all social media formats *in addition to* writing, formatting, editing and indie-publishing a book or two a year. Truly, the mind boggles. I can’t even keep up with *reading* everything they write!

        I’m a Pinterest fan because, once you set up your boards, it’s quick – and I use it as a sort-of bookmarking ap as well. WordPress doesn’t automatically post your articles there – you must do that yourself, but I do get a few visitors who click from there and “like” or follow. Few comments from the Pinterested, since they’re meme-focused tho’ (which might not be the worst thing in the world when you’re suddenly swamped with comments – lol)
        xx,
        mgh

  • Reply Di July 23, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    Hello Gabe,
    What a brilliant post ( thanks for sharing?). No honestly, this is packed with so many links and helpful advice.
    I’m sadly lacking on the three lines rule almost every time but what’s a verbose girl supposed to do!
    I’ll be reading this many times. I love the 80:20 rule too.
    And I’ll be accepting that Snickers bar, thank you, as I’m not going anywhere….
    Thank you for this post…
    Di ?✨✨

    • Reply Gabriel July 24, 2017 at 9:17 am

      Yay! Hi Di! I love it every time you visit here. You’re always so kind and genuine and giving. EXTRA virtual Snickers for you if you’d like 😉

      • Reply Di July 24, 2017 at 4:40 pm

        Thank you so much my friend!
        That’s so kind of you. As for the Snickers….I’ll just take my share as I’m sure there are so many you’ll be giving away….✨✨✨
        ?

  • Reply The Hook July 24, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    I wish I had the time to visit other kick-ass sites like yours, Gabe, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day – especially in the summer when Niagara Falls is hoppin’ like a frog on a hotplate…

    • Reply Gabriel July 25, 2017 at 7:25 pm

      hehehe now I’m hungry for frog legs

  • Reply mydangblog July 24, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    I’ve been away so I can’t remember if I already commented but Wow! Congrats on being featured and thanks for all this great advice:-)

    • Reply Gabriel July 25, 2017 at 7:26 pm

      Thanks Suzanne. It’s been a busy busy week here. Kinda looking forward to the craziness to slow down a bit so I can get caught back up on y’alls blogs. I feel like I’m missing out on the party 😉

  • Reply candidkay July 24, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    Oh my goodness! How did I miss your Discover piece? Love that:). I have been lucky enough to be Freshly Pressed twice (so you can see how long it’s been–that’s not around anymore)–but each time, I loved how it opened me up to new readers and vice versa. Well deserved and more for you, Gabe! Here’s to putting it out there:).

    • Reply Gabriel July 25, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      Hey Kristine! Not surprising at all that Discover has already tapped you a few times. Love ya stuff!

      • Reply candidkay July 25, 2017 at 7:30 pm

        And not surprising to me that they “discovered” you :-). I always love reading your missives!

  • Reply emma July 24, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    I’ve always thought the 80/20 rule was invented by the most wicked blogger-procrastinator who, like me, can’t write a word until they’ve read the entire internet. Go Gabe, love ya work!

    • Reply Gabriel July 25, 2017 at 7:29 pm

      hehehe Absolutely true. I should be busy writing the next post, but I’m pretty sure there are still a few (million) posts waiting for me to catch up on before I start pecking this keyboard again.

  • Reply bedlamanddaisies July 25, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    Great post Gabe! I really like that 80/20 rule. I need to work that into my time management in a better fashion. I tend to get sidetracked by people thinking I should feed them and a puppy that needs to go out a billion times… yeah, I think I’ll take that Snickers now 😉

    • Reply Gabriel July 25, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      Preach on my sista. And don’t forget about the dirty dishes;)

      • Reply bedlamanddaisies July 25, 2017 at 7:46 pm

        True! Shockingly, I’m on top of them today. Tomorrow….that’s another story. lol

  • Reply Deryn from Running on Real Food July 28, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Thanks! There are some really great tips in there I’ve never thought of or heard about. Excited to put some of them to use. I find it’s hard to figure out where exactly I should be spending my time, aside from creating new content..thanks for pointing me in the right direction!

    • Reply Gabriel August 1, 2017 at 10:31 pm

      Hey Deryn! Thanks so much for stopping by. Looks like we might have found a few tools that will help us grow authentic blog communities. Looking forward to swinging by your blog soon as well!

  • Reply susielindau July 28, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Congrats on being Discovered! I’ve blogged for 6 years and have become pretty frustrated. It used to be a mutual community of voracious readers and writers, but it seems the majority people who follow never read anything. The focus on social media to bring readers to the blog adds a ton of pressure too. I’ve spent hours on Pinterest and am about to give up. I enjoy writing short essay and I’m still hooked on the instant gratification of comments from my followers, like you!
    BTW, I spent a few hours today trying to enter code in a text widget to get a Pinterest follow button like yours. Did you use an app?

    • Reply Gabriel August 1, 2017 at 10:28 pm

      Hey Susie! Been pretty busy on this end of the pond, so sorry about delayed reply.

      I’ve heard quite a few veteran bloggers express similar frustrations. Seems like that plateau of success without significant further growth is a big challenge to overcome. I’ll be keeping an eye on your blog to see how you navigate these tricky waters…

      As far as Pinterest is concerned, I used a Pinterest plugin. (I’ve since switched to Social Warfare as it’s far more integrated).

      Cheers

  • Reply Gay Stepdad July 30, 2017 at 4:58 am

    Wow…. the magic certainly does happen in your comments. Great post and great advice.

    • Reply Gabriel August 1, 2017 at 10:32 pm

      Hey Matt!
      The comment section has become FAR more work (but often even more fun) than the writing/digital art itself. Curious to see how long I can keep this up 😉

  • Reply seaangel4444 July 30, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Gabe, your insights are extremely helpful! I’ve taken several ideas (thanks to you) and am super excited to see the cool changes that I am sure will happen (a.k.a. more awesome members o’ the blogosphere will stop by my blog! Truly grateful to you, Gabe! Thank you! Cher xo

    • Reply Gabriel August 1, 2017 at 10:34 pm

      Hi Cher! It’s taken me several days to get back to you to say thanks for stopping by and dropping the ego-boosting sentiments. Still a bit crazy over here, but one I get a chance, I’m excited to see how successful your experiments in building your blog “empire” have become!

  • Reply Laura Cameron August 1, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    Hi Gabriel, I am so glad I found this post. I am a new blogger and have been wondering a lot about etiquette and how it relates to building a community. This was my first week using the community pool, and I hope to implement a few more of these practices as I move forward with my journey. Here is your cliche, thank you for sharing 😉

    • Reply Gabriel August 1, 2017 at 10:38 pm

      Hi Laura! Love meeting new bloggers. And, I’m not trying to sound boastful, but I have to admit, I really wish I would have read a similar post when I was getting started out. May have even experienced even MORE growth;)
      But to be fair… I enjoy the more organic addition to my blog community. Doesn’t feel as overwhelming as drinking from a fire hose.

      • Reply Laura Cameron August 2, 2017 at 7:41 am

        Not boastful at all! I am constantly reading things and thinking to myself, damn I wish I knew that sooner. Either way, I am enjoying the learning process 🙂

  • Reply KathrinS August 2, 2017 at 2:55 am

    I’ve only been blogging for a month, but this is absolutely the strategy that has worked the best for me. I write a new post maybe every 4-6 days, and on those days I may spend 1 hour on my own blog. But in between I spend one hour every day reading other people’s posts, learning and commenting. It’s been great so far!

    Kathrin — http://mycupofenglishtea.wordpress.com

    • Reply Gabriel August 12, 2017 at 8:55 pm

      So glad to hear you’ve been having a great start. I feel a bit hypocritical at the moment because life has kept me from catching up with the comments, but I have to say, I really miss it. And I’m looking forward to visiting your blog once I catch my breath!

  • Reply Green Global Trek August 2, 2017 at 11:58 am

    Gabe, well what a lovely surprise to see of your new found fame… the secret is out! I read this post with great interest as you do write very eloquently and give some solid advice and tips here.

    When we first started blogging it was also to keep friends and family up to date with our lives in our new found home of Nicaragua Central America. The interesting thing is that we have a lot of really good content from our almost ten years of nomadic lifestyle, there is a treasure trove of content. It is only more recently that we started to get a larger audience of readers and commenters. Still on the small side but I sure do appreciate the comments, the feedback, the conversations and the thoughtful opinions of other bloggers. It really makes the effort to blog worthwhile.

    Peta

    • Reply Gabriel August 12, 2017 at 8:57 pm

      Hey Peta! Sorry about the delayed reply. I’ve been swamped here recently.

      And I have to say, I love that I’ve found your blog. I’ve already mentioned how immersive your posts on Sri Lanka are, and that we are excited to visit in the not too distant future.
      And I suspect I am not the only one that you both have touched so profoundly!

  • Reply jaicommunity August 9, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    That post is some of the best content I’ve read yet. I’ve had my site up for about three months or so and have seen some slow progress in visits, but comments have been absent. This advice really helps and I am planning on implementing your suggestions.

    Than you again and looking forward to some future posts from you.
    Jai

    • Reply Gabriel August 12, 2017 at 9:10 pm

      So glad to hear these recommendations resonated with you and hope you find even more success down the road. I’m looking forward to checking out your blog as well as soon as I get a chance to catch my breath (real life has kept me away from the blogosphere for a few weeks ;))

  • Reply Miriam August 13, 2017 at 4:29 am

    I’m absolutely thrilled for you Gabe. I noticed your stats and thought “wow”. Brilliant advice here for new and old bloggers alike. As you may or may not know I’ve been outback for the last six weeks so I’ve been “out of action” and not able to read. Everything you said is so true. Congrats on being featured on Discover. So well deserved. 😊

    • Reply Gabriel August 13, 2017 at 11:06 am

      Yup, I knew you were trekking through the Outback Miriam, and I’m so happy you had the chance to get away and recharge.

      In a few weeks it will be my turn. I’ll be heading for another lengthy hiking trip. Hopefully will take me through Fall and early winter. Hopefully, there will be plenty of fall foliage and snowy landscapes to share in the coming months.

      • Reply Miriam August 13, 2017 at 3:29 pm

        Sounds wonderful. Hope you have a fantastic time. I’ve no doubt it will inspire you to write some amazing pieces. Enjoy!

  • Reply Rowena Fraser August 13, 2017 at 5:30 am

    Thank you for sharing and being honest. Some food for thought for this blogging newbie. And congratulations on being featured.

    • Reply Gabriel August 13, 2017 at 11:08 am

      Glad you enjoyed, and please feel free to stop back by anytime the mood strikes!

  • Reply amosaicsoul August 15, 2017 at 9:27 am

    Awesome advice! Blogging is so therapeutic for me, so I really want to do a good job so others can be inspired as well. Thank you for these tips! It really is a whole new world to be discovered.

    • Reply Gabriel August 15, 2017 at 1:24 pm

      I hope you find these tips helpful. Because you’re right, blogging really is therapeutic, and a great way to connect with those who share these values.

    Now it's your turn to play!

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