The Real Reason I Don’t Drop Everything to Visit Your Blog

Filed as Features, General on April 5, 2007 8:00 am

I met Alister Cameron when I saw his name in my stats . The URL www.alistercameron.com got my attention. I wanted to know who was so bold as to name a blog with a title that had A Lister right there. Naturally when I clicked through I found facts. Actually I found more than that. I found kindred spirit, a relationship blogger after my own heart.

The post where I landed was entitled, The real reason nobody reads your blog. Who could look without reading a post named that? Then he started right out with a question that has been problem in my life.

To those of you who have emailed me lately, asking if I have a moment to have a look over your blog and offer some suggestions for improvements, I have to sadly decline. Unless you’re happy to pull out the checkbook. I don’t want that to sound mean, I just want to keep my priorities in order.

You see, I’m a relationship blogger, I really like to get to know other bloggers and I like to help them out. Apparently the word has gotten around that I’m like that. The reason I think that way is that I get messages daily from bloggers who say something like

I just got to your blog today. Would come you visit my blog to give me some advice?

I’d like to say a few words to everyone who writes me a note like that.

I’m a relationship blogger. If you’d like me come over as a friend and do things that friends might do, I think it would great if we were friends before you invite me first. That just seems to me the way it should work.

I’m a relationship blogger. I only have three kinds of time. I have time I spend with my friends and family; I have time I spend working so that we can eat and enjoy our lives; and I have time that I can give to the folks in the community. That last chunk of time I like to give to people who know a little about me and what I’m about and who give me a chance to know a little about them.

I’m a relationship blogger. I invest in relationships. I know time spent with good people is time I’ve invested well. Picking out good people is easy. They are the ones who take time to figure out that I’m not sitting around waiting for a random email to come asking for my help. It’s my experience that random emails rarely come in search of relatonships.

I’m a relationship blogger. I don’t blog for traffic or stats. I don’t blog for links or ranking either. Yeah I check those things, but I don’t write based on what I find. I blog from ideas that readers give me, or that occur to me when I read my comments. I blog for the people who are reading my blog. My blog reflects my relationships with them.

Relationships are the key to everything I do on my blog. They are what got me here to the Blog Herald. They are what makes me glad to open my blog each day or as Alister said in his post.

Here’s the real reason why nobody reads your blog:

  • it’s not the content, assuming your writing good meaty stuff;
  • it’s not the inbound links, assuming been diligently submitting links back to your blog here and there and everywhere;
  • it’s not the consistency, assuming you write a half-decent blog post more or less every 36 hours;
  • it’s not the readability, assuming your blog doesn’t have red text on a black background;
  • and it’s probably not the SEO, assuming your blog is not extraordinarily badly constructed and promoted…

No, it’s probably none of those things, the things most people blogging about blogging carry on about endlessly.

The real reason why nobody reads your blog is this: massively successful blogging is about establishing and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships. It’s all about who you know. Really!

It’s not a coldly, calculating “who you know.” It’s warmly, welcoming your readers so that they can be folks you know well. Relationships are stronger than links for traffic.

Relationships are everyone’s business and business is relationships.

Liz Strauss writes about relationship blogging and changing the world at Successful-Blog.

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  1. By Andrew Flusche posted on April 5, 2007 at 11:30 am
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    Liz,

    Incredibly insightful and inspiring as always. Thanks for the great post!

    I was just thinking about this earlier today. A friend asked me to mention his company’s promotion on my blog. I did just that. Then I thought about what made him different from the emails I get from people saying “check out my blog and let your readers knows.” I have a relationship with him. We’ve never met “in person,” but we’ve blogged about each other, emailed, and the like. I don’t hesitate to help him out, because it’s a mutual relationship.

    Sorry for the rant…. Great post!

    Take care,
    Andrew

  2. By Anne Helmond posted on April 5, 2007 at 11:31 am
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    A great post summing up what I consider essential to blogging: relationships, or networks, or however you want to call them. It takes time, energy and devotion to invest in such relationships just like regular ones.

  3. By Liz Strauss posted on April 5, 2007 at 11:46 am
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    Hi Andrew!
    Helping people comes so naturally to me that it’s really hard to say “no,” when folks ask or need. Yet, I only have so much time for my family and friends, and for my work that when people I don’t know ask with expectation in their request, it bothers me. It’s as if they have forgotten I’m a person too, a person who can make a choice to help and that help is generous, not required.

    Thank you, Andrew, for letting me know you face the same thoughts sometimes.
    Liz

  4. By Liz Strauss posted on April 5, 2007 at 11:48 am
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    Hi Anne,
    Yes, I’m with you all the way. A relationship is a relationship. Either you’re in or you’re not. Respect doesn’t go one way. I like your use of the word invest that’s what it takes an investment of who you are.
    Liz

  5. By evden eve nakliyat posted on April 5, 2007 at 2:49 pm
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    very nice informations.thank you very much.and ver nice blog i will come here all the time.thankss…

  6. By Liz Strauss posted on April 5, 2007 at 2:52 pm
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    Hi Evden,
    Thank you!

  7. By engtech posted on April 5, 2007 at 5:36 pm
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    so very true.

  8. By Luis posted on April 5, 2007 at 5:55 pm
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    I’m a relationship blogger. If you’d like me come over as a friend and do things that friends might do, I think it would great if we were friends before you invite me first. That just seems to me the way it should work.

    I really love this point. A straight up request to a practical stranger, IMO, doesn’t say much about you or your blog, except that you’re itching for attention. The only time this works, is like Alister mentioned, “you’re happy to pull out the checkbook.”

    An insightful comment or an excerpt on a pingback / trackback, on the other hand, indicates that you actually read the post you commented on. This glimpse into your mind, so to speak, could be what makes them interested in what your other thoughts are.

  9. By Alister Cameron // Blogologist posted on April 5, 2007 at 6:14 pm
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    Thanks for the “generous column inches” devoted to my post, Liz.

    One of the highlights for me of “working the relationships” has been meeting you. In a (blogging) world of (too many) relationally retarded recluses you’re out there teaching us all what “high touch” really looks like online.

    I’m a fan :)

    -Alister

  10. By Liz Strauss posted on April 5, 2007 at 7:08 pm
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    Hi Egntech,
    I follow your blog and your comments and know that you take this seriously. Thank you. :)

  11. By Liz Strauss posted on April 5, 2007 at 7:12 pm
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    Hi Luis
    Alister helped me figure out how to answer such emails cheerfully without stealing time from where I should really be placing it. For that I am grateful. I’m with you. It doesn’t say much for a blog or a blogger who asks a practical stranger to drop things and run over . . . it says even less when I take a peek and see that the person requesting such advice is a business blogger who really should know better if he or she is supposed to be in business, wouldn’t you think?

    Liz

  12. By Liz Strauss posted on April 5, 2007 at 7:14 pm
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    Alister,
    I sure hope you know that the feeling is deeply mutual. You’ve always been there when I’ve needed a friend and I’ll always return that favor in any way that I am able.

    You’re a hero.
    Liz

  13. By jhay posted on April 5, 2007 at 9:37 pm
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    So let’s fire up Twitter and our IMs and get to know each other better. Just no spamming please. :D

  14. By Liz Strauss posted on April 6, 2007 at 12:21 am
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    Hi Jhay!
    I am so with you about the spamming. That’s got nothing to do with relatiosnhips. :)

  15. By Char posted on April 6, 2007 at 6:46 am
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    Liz,
    By far the best thing I have gotten from blogging is the relationships. The relationships are developed one at a time, slowly and with care.

    Thanks for being such a good teacher of this principle.

  16. By AngryToxicologist posted on April 6, 2007 at 11:05 am
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    So true. It’s interesting how so many people drop all social skills when they get on the web. It’s just like grammer, it changes but you just can’t leave it behind!

  17. By Shailesh Ghimire posted on April 6, 2007 at 3:29 pm
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    So true!

    I’ve been blogging for 2 years and only a few visitors. Now that my business needs a boost I’ve been looking at blogging and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m on a mission to meet like minded people and develop my network so my blog can take the next step!

    Thanks Liz for your help!
    Shailesh

  18. By Liz Strauss posted on April 7, 2007 at 1:38 pm
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    Hi Char!
    We come to blogging thinking it’s about the writing. Then the people show up and we figure out what it’s really about. :)

    Relationships with people like you make the writing work worth it.
    Liz

  19. By Liz Strauss posted on April 7, 2007 at 1:49 pm
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    Hi (not so) AngryToxicologist,
    Some folks learn to think before they type. Some folks never learn to give as well as receive. You are so right. I think your observation is right on the money. :)

  20. By Liz Strauss posted on April 7, 2007 at 1:53 pm
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    Hi Shailesh !
    Like-minded people are found in groups. Look for blogs that REALLY appeal to you. Come visit my blog and follow some folks home. :)
    I’m delighted that anything I do is helpful. YEA!!

  21. By Bonnie posted on April 9, 2007 at 5:20 pm
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    Great article, Liz!

    Maybe all the “Visit my blog; tell me what to do” requests are related to the “On Demand” world today’s generation are growing up in. It seems a lot of people want (and expect) immediate results with very little effort, and in minimum time.

    Time? Energy? Devotion? Heck no… they just want everything handed to them, like Mommy and Daddy and teachers and coaches and so on… have done all their lives.

    Oops! I got off on a bit of a tangent there. Sorry!

    Back to your point…relationships are the “magic ingredient” that the best bloggers cherish, and work hard to create and maintain. Personally, it’s why I got hooked on blogging. I love the sense of community, of sharing experiences and exchanging ideas with other bloggers as well as with visitors to my blog.

    It’s sad that so many people overlook this aspect of blogging. They don’t know what they’re missing!

    Thank you, Liz!