At the end of May, I decided I was in a good place with my book blog and the posts I had been publishing that I felt like it was time to up my game. I realized that if I want to build an amazing blog with a modest following, then it’d be smart to know the lay of the land and become more active in the community. These were my major reasons for deciding to prioritize Blog Hopping in June.
I had a really grand plans for the month. I really thought I was going to be able to quickly and easily integrate blog hopping into my daily routine. What I did not realize was:
- How much time is required to read and comment meaningfully on others posts
- How many of the blogs I already followed read/reviewed books in genres I don’t like or posted content that I do not find remotely interesting
I didn’t want to unfollow anybody, but I did find that it was hard at first to find any posts I could comment on. A lot of blogs I followed in the past produced a lot of blog tour/blitz posts or ARC reviews for contemporaries or romance (neither of which are my go-to genres), which is to say: posts I most likely won’t click on. I’m not here for that. (Although, I will say, I’ve become a lot more interested in contemporaries over June!)
I eventually realized that a lot of these blogs I must have only followed because I liked something about their aesthetic or blogging style and my “Follow” was utilized more as a “Bookmark” for blogs I, at one time, thought I might want to reference again for reasons long since forgotten.
So the first thing I realized I needed to do was discover new blogs! Here’s how I did it.
* ⁑ ⁎ ⁂ Method ⁂ ⁎ ⁑*
Since it was the end of a May when I started, there were a lot of monthly wrap ups and TBRs in my WordPress Reader and Bloglovin’ feeds. These have traditionally always been my favorite kinds of posts to read because they cover a lot more books (increasing the likelihood I’ll recognize a title on their lists) and most often got more personal, which I have always found really appealing in blogs I want to follow. I like to feel like I know more about the bloggers than just their bookish thoughts/opinions.
From these posts, I have a few trails to follow:
- I could investigate the blog I was on, finding out what kinds of books they reviewed/liked, look at their most recent posts to see if I anything interested me enough to post a comment.
- I could follow shout out links provided by the bloggers of any noteworthy blog posts they found worth reading and, therefore, sharing. I discovered a lot of new blogs this way! (Reason why I want to start doing this on a more regular basis.)
- I also could investigate the blogs of people who commented on the original posts. It felt great finding blogs I liked this way because I knew these bloggers were more likely to respond to my comments, making the blog hopping all the more satisfying.
At the beginning this all took a lot of work, taking more than just couple of hours depending on the quality of my leads. I was really looking for blogs I liked a lot, so I was going through older posts to get a better picture of what these blogs had to offer. Once I had a good number of new blogs that I was following based on how I connected to their content, my feeds became much more reliable sources for blog posts I could reasonably expect to enjoy during the month.
Although I ended up discovering a lot of new blogs that I really admired, it didn’t necessarily mean that I found it a lot easier to comment on each post I came across. From the outset of this journey, I knew I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time with quick, generic comments. I also learned, just about myself, that I like I try to read the comments that come before I write mine so I don’t comment the exact same thing. And sometimes even if I enjoy reading a post enough to “like” it, I don’t always find myself having something new or meaningful to comment.
A big surprise for me was learning how engaging some blog tags and memes (like Top Ten Tuesday) could be. Over time, I had come to dismiss these kinds of posts as filler posts of little substance. I still come across blog tags where people don’t elaborate on their answers, which seems like a big waste if they go through the effort of making the blog post I will click on. But there are bloggers out there who I can tell spend a lot of time on them and it was really fun to start conversations from their answers.
• Before June •
I did not look at the blog posts in my WordPress Reader or Bloglovin’ feed on a regular basis at all. When I did, it was when I was in need of inspiration. and it was rare I saw a post title that caught my genuine interest. Most of the time I would click on posts, it was because it was the a monthly wrap up or TBR (I still love the broader picture of a blogger that is painted by posts) OR because it was a book review for a title I’ve already read and liked/disliked and wanted to see if my thoughts were confirmed or challenged.
I don’t think I ever commented on anything.
• After June •
There are a handful of blogs that’s names come to mind when I think about blogs that I love reading. When I see their blog posts in my feeds I can remember things about these bloggers and am interested in staying up-to-date with everything they post. I better appreciate tags and memes, especially if they come from bloggers I like who I know will put time and thought into these posts. I may not blog hop every day, but it’s a pleasure when I’m all caught up on my blog posts to open up a bunch of tabs and catch up on everything I’ve missed.
❧ ☙ End Note ☙ ❧
I’m sorry this post is coming out a bit late. I had a lot of trouble writing this post. At times, it took a few detours that I had to omit by thinking about what I wanted this post to be. Essentially, I wanted to come away from my experience last month with something that recorded what I did in case I ever take another break from blogging or feel that I’ve started to slack in being a good blog reader.
Up next immediately on Betwined Reads the list of some of my favorite (book) blogs at the moment. I’ll be up late tonight working on it, because I know it’s something that’s been highly anticipated. I did not expect so many people to want to see what blogs I love, but I guess it speaks to everyone’s desire to follow blogs that are doing awesome things. I worry my favorites are not going to be very new discoveries to anyone else!