Monday, January 13, 2014

The Code




Have you heard of The Code? You probably have, although maybe not in those terms. It's what I call the blogging guidelines about followers, comments, content, etc. As newbies most of us muddle through, observing the veterans and gaining hands-on experience. While The Code may vary a tad by individual, locale, and genre, these unspoken rules of etiquette have universal threads. Here are my top items:

Followers - When someone follows you, you follow back.

Do you do this? I do, unless I cannot locate their blog, the topic is something I can't embrace, or is written in another language (even with the translate feature it can be tricky).

Comments - When someone comments, you reply, either within the comments or via email later.

What's your policy? Some argue that people don't come back to see the reply you make. While this may be true most of the time, I've had visitors return and comment on my reply. I also think that when someone visits and jumps into the discussion, they can see that you read and value comments enough to leave a reply.

I liken the conversation generated over a post to sitting around talking to friends. It's one way to help us get to know each other and see what's happening out there.

Time is another factor, and writers often find commenting "one more thing to do". I agree, it is, but I like to show my gratitude and interact with visitors this way. I appreciate the bloggers who shoot me a quick email of thanks when I comment on their blogs too.

Content - Offer interesting content with take away value.

Whether it's how-to info on topics A to Z, book spotlights or reviews, links, interesting musings, stories, or other content, this is a key reason why readers return. Right?

Providing meaningful content is important, for I want readers to come away with something useful, or at least feel like we got better acquainted.

Personality - Be a good reflection of you.

A blog, unless it is strictly for business use, reflects the writer's style. It offers a glimpse into our world and unique perspective. Concerning writing style, I was once told to "Relax and be yourself. It develops over time." Good advice. It applies to blogs too, don't you think?


There are exceptions to The Code, of course, such for those who lack time due to pending projects, family situations and emergencies, seasons of life, and commenting issues and whatnot. While we shouldn't let unrealistic expectations or requirements dictate our signature style, there are elements that can help make our blogs shine.

Do you have a code? What would you add to the list? How does your blog reflect your personality?

A Side Note

I've a guest post up at Gelati's Scoop. If you have a moment, I invite you to hop over. Thanks. :)

Have a great week!

Happy writing,

Karen

Photo credit: Stock Exchange

36 comments :

  1. I agree with these for the most part, though sometimes I have trouble replying to every comment even though I try my very best! I always do it through email though as opposed to on my blog.

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  2. Thanks for sharing. I have been blogging a while, but had never heard of "the code" and I do not practice all of the above, but some of it. I think I will do my best to apply a few of the tips you mentioned this coming year. Maybe it will help my blog!

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  3. Karen, as with so many things in our 'modern' world, common courtesy and ethics seem to have taken a back seat. To be reminded of the code isn't a bad thing. Especially for the newcomers to BLOGGING! I too get a feeling of appreciation but also confirmation when someone comments on my blog(s). To agree or disagree- to be uplifted or to lift me up, to discuss, add value and give comment on something I have written. I too try to do the same to those Bloggers I follow. In fact I have more 'hits' on my blogs than followers Karen. My main purpose is to write about my thoughts, experiences, emotions and/or interests. I share because I want to- I read because I am interested..... How my dad would have loved this medium, he wrote poetry his style and was proud of his work. Maybe one day I might post those in his memory. A newcomer I may be, I aim to 'learn' from those around me.

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    1. Anita, Speaking of returning comments, I cannot seem to locate your blog. If you happen to stop back, would you take a moment and leave your link? Would love to hop over and see you! :) Thanks a bunch!

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  4. Yes, I agree with this all. I do try to stop by the blogs of people who follow. For those who don't stop by regularly, I may just stop by theirs when they come back. I do see some people who don't follow back and unless they're a big, published author, I generally stop following them.

    I like commenting to my followers via e-mail. For my big blog hops where I get over 100 comments, I don't try to follow but I do e-mail comments now to some people. It'd be too time-consuming to follow them all.

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  5. Keith,
    You bring up a good point. Because of the sheer volume of some blogs/posts, it can be difficult to maintain in this way. And we do have another life besides blogging, right? :) I think it's important that visitors know we value their time and input - and that is very clear with you and your blog!

    Amy,
    I don't know that it is called such other than in my head, but most bloggers I know try to maintain the general idea. To me it parallels the principle of sowing and reaping, you know? Thanks so much for your input! Wish you the best with your blog!

    Anita,
    I think some of the lack of courtesy these days stems from people being so busy. There are so many things that want to swallow our time every day. But still, overwhelming as it can be, it's up to make the decision on how to use and balance it all. Not an easy task, right? I can imagine that your dad might like this medium - I have family that would have too. Ah, how the world might be different if this was available some years ago, right? :)

    Natalie,
    Yes, this is another good point. Sometimes the volume of a post's comments and type dictates what you are able to do. I often wait to see if someone follows me before seeking to follow them, especially in this case. I do appreciate when you drop me a note after I stop at your place. You are one of the ones I was thinking of who take the time to do that!:) It's not always easy tracking someone down to do that.

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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    1. http://mythoughtsinadayinthelifeof.blogspot.nl/

      Karen
      I write in dutch and english- also wrote a travel blog whilst visiting my children Down Under. All 3 blogs have links hither and yon! Enjoy! :-D

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    2. Anita,
      Yes, my apologies - I wasn't connecting your name with you - and I know you! LOL Forgive me, perhaps I just wasn't ready for Monday this week. Thanks so much for sharing the link! Will stop by as soon as I can. :)
      Blessings,
      Karen

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  6. 2013 saw a drop for me in blogging participation but I'm back up and running again. My goal is to use Monday morning to visit as many blogs as I can in one big blitz, then through the week simply do the best I can and that's all I can do.

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  7. I try to follow that code. I reply to many comments on my own blog (usually in batches) and I visit the blog of the person who commented. (Once in a while I will miss someone.) Some people just don't visit those who comment though, and I don't understand why.
    As for content, I try to post something for everyone.

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  8. I will follow those who comment, or follow me.
    Sometimes I have to do some investigation to find out who some people are with Google+, or by comments on other blogs I follow. I like to leave comments to let the blogger know that I am following them and I am interested in who they are, and what interest them. There are a few exceptions but this is my Code that I follow.

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  9. Stephen,
    It is hard to keep up, and I am not sure what the solution is. Although I think maybe a blogging stunt double may help! We need to work on that, I'm thinking! :)

    Alex,
    Yes, I respond in batches too usually. Now see, your blog has a very large amount of comments, and for you to keep up is just amazing to me. Not sure where the balance is, as I've mentioned in the above replies. I am thinking there is merit to the blog stunt double idea - one who is on the same page and who will represent us just right. What do you think? lol :)

    David,
    It is evident that you take interest in those who comment and follow your blog. I appreciate that when I visit. It can get hard to keep up. As you can see, I'm tossing the stunt double idea out there. :) Feel free to help with brainstorming on that one!

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  10. I try to follow the code, although there are days when I just can't be online that much. Usually I start by visiting other blogs, but it soon becomes playing catch-up with the comments.

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  11. Like Diane, I try to follow the code, but there are times when I have a tough time keeping up. The new follower part can be tricky if I don't check my follower list regularly.

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  12. I think you are right about the code and there was a time I followed it to the letter. Then I stopped blogging for awhile as I needed to write more. I've jumped back in and try to follow everyone and comment but I might skip a week here and there.

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  13. Diane,
    Some days just work better than others, don't they? Like you, my aim is to touch base with everyone I can, but sometimes it can get ahead of you. So we do what we can, right? :)

    Tyrean,
    You have a lot going on too, with homeschooling, your books, etc. I don't know how you keep up! I'm thinking the stunt double thing might work for you too! lol :)

    Terri,
    I know, and in theory it is great, right? But sometimes it gets hard, and I now understand better why some people don't come visit after you comment. So we do the best we can to be courteous, and that's what we can do! :) The good thing too, is that many of us run in the same circles such as Facebook, so we do touch base when we can like that too.

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  14. Hi: I have made wonderful life long friends through blogging. I hope that you will find that true too. Have a wonderful week. Blessings, Martha

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  15. Hi Karen - excellent post .. and really it's common sense isn't it .. but of course we're doing something new and we need to get to grips with the technology and what we're doing etc etc ...

    I love it .. and have met some amazing people ... I tend to use the Reader, but probably I should reply to comments on the blog first, but I get round ..

    The interaction I've had has been great .. and I love getting emails from bloggers = that extra icing on the top ..

    Sometimes people irritate with only a brief comment ... but I am just very brief back, or don't worry too much ... a degree of reference to the content of the post is the very least ..

    But you're so right ... enjoy 2014 - Hilary

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  16. Martha,
    I too, have made so many friends though blogging. It's been a great experience. Congrats on 6 years of blogging! :) Your blog is a wonderful stop.

    Hilary,
    Yes, I guess you are right about the common sense thing. It does take a while to get your legs under you, that's for sure! It is a wonderful blessing, all those we meet. For instance, it is not likely you and I would have met otherwise. And I am so glad we have met! You are a blessing to me and so many others. :)

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  17. I try to blog by "the code." I think I hit most of your points, IMHO!

    I do follow anyone who follows me. I think it shows mutual support and is the polite thing to do. As for replying to comments, I do that routinely. I actually learned to do that from watching some of my first blogging buddies, like you! People definitely read my replies because they've often commented a second time in response to my reply, or emailed me to continue the thread of their initial comment and my reply. Also, I tend to hang around blogs of writers who reply to some of the comments left by readers, whether or not my comments are specifically replied to. It's nice to know the blog author is reading the comments and taking the time to reply to some portion of the comments.

    Great discussion here. Be well, my friend.

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  18. I never thought of it as a Code, but you're right! I do try to do all the things that you listed, and have realized that most people do. The truth is that I've come to love my blogger buddies. :)

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  19. Janette,
    I too, learned much from watching other bloggers. I am so thankful to have met wonderful people like you. :) I agree, much more goes on in the comment threads than meets the eye. It can be heartwarming, funny, and educational to read the comments!

    Lisa,
    The name for The Code came to me when discussing basic courtesy with another blogging friend. We were talking about the principles that help our blogs succeed, help us meet others, etc. I too, love my blogger buddies! So glad you are one of them!

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  20. I think you summed it up very well. And you are excellent at blogger interaction. You're a wonderful hostess. Hey! I think that's an excellent word for you.

    Thank you for showing me how it's done.

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  21. My follower list is a mess and a half...most of it's from four years ago when a lot of bloggers followed me over from MySpace. Many aren't even blogging anymore. So I just go through the comments and read the ones who read mine!

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  22. I try to follow the code. If someone comments, I go to their site and comment. Lately, I have also responded to their comments on my blog. I've just started doing that, though, and I sometimes forget. I also try and follow anyone that follows me or comments on my blog. I've noticed lately, that a lot of blogs only have a click to where you can follow them by email. I follow some people that way, but would rather become a 'follower', because I get so many emails. I think bloggers should offer both ways to follow for those of us who prefer not to follow by email

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  23. Rhonda,
    Ah, you are making me blush! :) I do love to have people stop by and share their thoughts, that's for sure. Always thought that was one big point of blogging, you know? Your site is a wonderful stop too, and you do make a great hostess too, if I may say so! :)

    Stephanie,
    I have followers from forever ago, it seems, some still come by, others do not. Like you, I try to reciprocate when someone stops by. Once in a while I can't find their blog, which I feel bad about, but short of hiring a PI, there's not much to be done! :)

    Janet,
    I do the same, unless I can't locate their site for some reason. Like you, I prefer to follow by GFC rather than by email. I have three email accounts (all for different purposes) and the volume of email I get is crazy. So I don't like to sign up for more; a GFC follow is my preference. I'm with you, I like to see both options offered.

    Happy weekend,
    Karen

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  24. YES! There should totally be a "sign up for a blog, read this memo" notice for first timers. =) I'm a code keeper, to the law. Except sometimes--like you--I can't find the person's blog who followed. Speaking of which, I've got a new one to go track down. =)

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  25. LOVE the vivid photo of the red flowers blooming in the snow. Where was that taken? Breathtaking.

    Thanks for the code. I am new to blogging, sort of. I posted a bit on a writers' site the last few years. But I am new to this part of the online world. I had been wondering how much comment we are supposed to do because I see so many blogs with one or two comments and no comments back. I was thinking I comment TOO much. Now I will comment and follow with abandon.

    Nice to meet you! Have a great day. Heading to that gelato site next!

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  26. I love blogging and visiting blogs, but it's time consuming. Each week, I try to visit the blogs on my blogroll at least once. I also read some that I follow by email.

    Interaction is key for me, and I do go back sometimes and read replies.

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  27. Crystal,
    LOL - yes, there probably should be. Most of us muddle through though and learn as we go, right? I try to keep the code as best I can. :)

    Sandi,
    It's nice to meet you! Thanks for following too. I wouldn't say these guidelines are set in stone, but most successful bloggers I know follow something like this. Enjoyed my stop at your blog today. Wishing you all the best!

    Susan,
    I learned a lot about blogging from you. You are a great teacher! Thanks so much for putting up with me, especially in the beginning. :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  28. Great code! I do comment back on my reply for the occasional blogger who comes back to comment again, but I find it's better just to visit their blog in return and join the discussion they have going on there as well :-) Informative post!

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  29. When I first starting blogging I just felt my way around and learned some things over time. This code would have been helpful. :)

    I do the same as you when it comes to following, and I don't like when I can't find a blog for someone that I think might have one.

    I also reply to comments on my blog and find that some readers come back and comment on them. I also agree that it can show readers that you read their comments and value them.

    I try to comment back to those who comment on my blog. It may take a couple of days, depending on what it going on, but I think it is important. Plus, I love seeing what everyone is up to (reading and writing- plus other interesting tidbits). :)

    Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

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  30. Jamie,
    I think too, that it's a matter of how things work on your blog. To me, visiting the other's blog is one of the key things to do whenever possible. Love when you see discussions going! :) Thanks a bunch!

    Jess,
    It may take a while for me too, to get around to another blog, but like you, I do my best. A few might have slipped through the cracks on occasion but my goal is to stay on top of it while I can. Appreciate your input! :)

    Happy weekend,
    Karen

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  31. Fantastic tips, Karen. I'm going to share the link on our Australasian Christian Writer's fb page now.
    You're a great example of someone who interacts well with your readers. Thanks for the reminder of what works best. :)

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  32. Thanks for the great post, Karen! I often wonder if commenters know when I reply on the blog, but it is important to visit other blogs, and comments mean a lot!

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  33. Dorothy,
    Thank you, sweet friend! :) Hope your group finds it helpful. Your blog is a great example of what works well. You welcome your guests in such a warm and wonderful way!

    Connie,
    I'm glad you liked it! I agree, many don't return to see the comments. I say do what best fits your style. :) You're right, a return visit is the best way follow up.

    Happy weekend,
    Karen

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your input. Have a blessed day!