Blog Tips Series | Four Blog Tips You Should Ignore

Thanks to all of your excellent suggestions on my last blog tips post, I now have a nice long list of topics to cover in this series, but before I get to those I wanted to first of all share some of the blog tips I think can sometimes do more harm than good. These are the tips that are repeated so often they’ve become established “facts” within the blogging community: it’s a matter of opinion, obviously (and I should probably have said in my last post that what works for one person may not work for someone else…), but having shared some of the blog tips I DO believe in, I figured I should also share some of the ones I DON’T think should be taken as gospel.

I’m starting off with my number one pet peeve:

blog tips to ignore

BLOG TIPS TO IGNORE # 1 :COMMENTING ON OTHER BLOGS IS THE BEST WAY TO GET TRAFFIC

Look: commenting on other blogs is a good thing. It’s a GREAT thing in fact. One of the things that saddens me most about the current state of blogging is that people don’t really comment any more: I’m not sure WHY that is, exactly, but whatever the reason, people don’t comment nearly as much as they used to. That, of course, makes the comments you DO get even more precious: I think only other bloggers will understand just how important a thoughtful comment can be, or just how crushing it is when you publish something you’ve put a lot of effort into and get little-to-no response, but trust me when I tell you: comments matter. A lot.

So I encourage you to comment on the blogs you read and enjoy, if only to let the blogger know you’re there, you’re reading, and they’re not talking to themselves. While it’s good to comment, though, it’s ONLY good if you comment sincerely. Because of the “excellent” blogging advice given above, there are now tons of new bloggers out there making it their mission to comment on as many blogs as they possibly can, purely because they’ve read that it’s the best way to gain followers. They don’t care what their comment says, or whether it’s relevant – they just care about getting their link onto your comments section, so they can get all the amazing traffic the blog tips articles have told them to expect. The result is a ton of insincere comments, which most bloggers -and, crucially, most blog readers – can spot a mile off.

This is going to sound harsh. I’m going to say it anyway. When I write a 3,000 word post about something that’s really important to me, and you comment like this:

“Love your shoes! Follow my blog!

www.MyBlog.com
www.MyBlog.com
www.MyBlog.com

twitter // facebook  // instagram // pinterest // blogloving // linked-in// that weird social network no one uses, but follow me on it anyway!

!!! Enter My Giveway!!!!

…I am not going to be fooled into thinking you actually read my post. In fact, I’m going to suspect that you might not even like my shoes that much – if you even looked at them. No, I’ll think you really just wanted to get me/my readers to click on your links and follow you, and I’m absolutely not going to do that. Because you look desperate. Because you are essentially a spammer. Because I’ve just put a lot of time and effort into creating a blog post, and you’ve tried your best to make that post all about YOU and your giveaway. Because it’s very obvious to me that all my blog is to you is an opportunity to advertise yourself for free, and and I didn’t spend hours writing a post just to provide you with an advertising opportunity.

I never click on comments like that, and I’m going to hazard a guess that my readers don’t either, because they ALSO don’t want to read a blog written by someone who only seems to care about how many followers they have. So those comments AREN’T actually going to help your blog – in fact, they could have the opposite effect.

blog tips and tricks

BLOG TIPS TO IGNORE # 2 | TAKE EVERY OPPORTUNITY THAT COMES YOUR WAY

I’m not sure if this is an actual “tip” people give as it’s just something a lot of new bloggers instinctively believe: that they should grab every opportunity that comes their way, otherwise they might never get another one. It can be quite hard NOT to think like this – to worry that saying “no” to a PR or brand will lead to them never contacting you again, or to be tempted by the lure of freebies. When you start to indiscriminately accept every opportunity or freebie you’re offered, though, you very quickly lose what was special or unique about your blog in the first place (and that leads to you losing readers, which means you end up not being offered anything else anyway), so be picky. Think very carefully about which opportunities you’ll accept and don’t be afraid to say “no” to the ones that aren’t a good fit: your blog will be all the better for it.

blogging advice: the blog tips you should ignore

BLOG TIPS TO IGNORE # 3 | YOU NEED AN EXPENSIVE CAMERA TO START A BLOG

This might sound hypocritical, because the fact is that I DID invest in a decent camera, and I haven’t regretted it for a second: that camera comes everywhere with me, and I use it so often it’s probably paid for itself a few times over by now. There’s a perception, however – particularly in fashion blogging – that you NEED to have a fancy camera if you want your blog to be a success. I honestly don’t think that’s the case. Does it HELP to have a good camera? Well, yes… but a camera alone won’t make your blog a success: the most expensive camera in the world can still take terrible photos if you don’t know how to use it, after all. So while it helps to have decent equipment, I don’t think it’s essential to make huge investments right at the start of your blog: in fact, I’d advise waiting a bit, until you’re absolutely sure blogging is something you’re going to want to keep doing. When you’re just starting out, you can take perfectly good photos with a point-and-shoot, or even with your phone. One of the best things about blogging is that there are so few barriers to entry: why create ones that don’t actually exist?

four blog tips you can safely ignore

♥  Kate Spade iPhone case*   ♥  Kate Spade notebook set

BLOG TIPS TO IGNORE # 4 | HOST LOTS OF GIVEAWAYS TO BOOST YOUR FOLLOWER COUNT

Am I the only one who almost always scrolls straight past giveway posts? Especially the ones that require you to follow the person on 111 different forms of social media, just for the chance to win a packet of cornflakes that – whoops! – can’t be shipped to your country anyway? People say they host giveways because they want to give something back to their readers, and that’s all very nice and noble, but the fact is, there’s a good chance your giveaway WON’T be won by one of your regular readers. This is because there are tons of people on the internet who make it their business to enter every competition they can find: they’ll enter yours, and they’ll dutifully follow your blog if that’s what it takes to do it, but there’s a good chance they’ll either unfollow it again immediately afterwards, or remain following, but never actually visit  it again – until the next time you decide to host a contest, that is.

Not ALL of the people who follow your blog in order to enter a giveway are like this, obviously. There’s definitely a chance that some of them will follow for the sake of winning something, but will then discover they like your blog on its own merits, and will keep reading it. There’s also a chance that the requirements of the giveway will force some of your regular readers who WEREN’T following you on your chosen form of social media to click the “follow” button. But I think you have to ultimately ask yourself what you’re achieving by essentially bribing people to follow you: and what you’ll gain from having an artificially inflated follower count, which you know perfectly well is made up of people who followed you, but don’t actually visit your site. Yes, high follower numbers look impressive: there is that. My personal feeling, however, as I said in my last post, is that it’s more important to have readers than followers, so while I’m not saying you should NEVER host giveaways, I AM saying that when the giveaways posts start to seem like your only content, it could be time for a re-think.

I’m also saying that if hosting a giveway makes you think it would be a good idea to visit other blogs and leave comments saying “ENTER MY GIVEAWAY!” you should go and sit on the naughty step and think about what you’ve done.

So! Those are the four blog tips I think you can safely avoid. As I said, I’ll be continuing this blog tips series soon: I’ve made a note of the questions and suggestions from my last post, but if you have any burning questions you’d like me to (try to) answer, just let me know!

69 Comments

  • Demi says:

    I know exactly what you mean by this (it sounds trite, but it’s true, I do)–I did a lot of the commenting on other people’s blogs to try and gain more followers for my own and noticed that it didn’t actually get me any more followers. It got me more comments, sure, but those comments all consisted of people going “Great hair! LINK TO BLOG”–so those same people you were describing in your blog. This annoyed me greatly because if I’m going to namedrop my blog in a comment, it will only ever be after a lengthy, well-thought-out comment in blogs where I feel like I have something to contribute. You know?

    But that being said, I almost wanna disagree with your third tip; it’s very rarely that I see a blogger who has “made it big” and doesn’t have a DSLR. I don’t have one, and I rather like my photos, amateur as they are, but I’d be crazy if I thought that a DSLR wouldn’t help out my blogging pursuits even just a little bit. I think if you are 100% sure that you want to take blogging seriously, a DSLR is a good step.

    Anyways, those were my 2 cents! :) (Two.. farthings? I don’t know what the currency is over there, ha..)

    Demi | Carbon Chic

    • Amber says:

      Maybe I didn’t express myself well (probably), but I was trying to make the point that you don’t need a DSLR to START a blog, not that one isn’t helpful once your blog is underway. I stand by that: I think that once you’re sure blogging is something you’re going to continue with, sure, invest in good quality equipment. I don’t think it’s an essential for a beginner blogger, though: as I said, you can take decent photos with a point and shoot, and then invest once you know it’s going to be worthwhile. I also think that bloggers who’ve made it big haven’t done so BECAUSE they have fancy cameras (If that was all it took, we’d all be making our fortunes by now ;)) – if you scoll back through their archives, most of the really big bloggers started out with pretty amateur looking photos, and gradually got better!

  • Claire says:

    I totally agree with the giveaway thing- if I’ve been a loyal reader to the blog it’s really frustrating when a blogger hosts a giveaway that they say is to give something back to their loyal readers but is set up so that loads of people are going to be entering who don’t read their blog. If your asking people to retweet your giveaway to their followers it’s clearly not aimed at your followers. If you want to increase your followers fine just don’t pretend your doing it for your current readers.

    I also find it annoying when the giveaway is only open to people who follow their blog on every platform available, I mostly follow each blog on one or two platforms- I’m not going to be following someone on facebook and g+, and similarly I’m not going to be following someone on bloglovin and an rss feed. Rafflecopter giveaways with 50 daily entries make me feel like someone wants me to jump through all the hoops so I just ignore them completely.

    • Amber says:

      Yeah, I think I would be more likely to do giveways if there was a way to make them ACTUALLY reward your readers, but my experience is that that’s rarely ever the case – it’s just as likely to be someone who followed you to enter the competition and then unfollowed right afterwards or didn’t read. When that happens, there’s no real benefit to the blogger (other than inflated follower numbers, obviously), and none at all to the people who DO regularly read your blog. As I said, I’m not saying I’d never do another one, but it would have to be something really awesome – I hate it when I see blogs where the giveaway posts have almost drowned out the regular content!

  • Sam says:

    I couldn’t agree with this post more! I always try to make an effort to comment on blogs I love, but only ever leave thoughtful comments that I’d like to receive back on my own blog.

    When I first started blogging I was a little guilty of accepting most offers that came my way (not that there was tons of them I should probably say!) but now I’m a lot more selective and only accept stuff I know I can work naturally into a post and will fit with my overall blog theme.

    I actually like entering giveaways on blogs I follow (especially as I’ve won a couple in the past) but I’ll admit it does get annoying when you see the same bloggers doing giveaways every other week purely to try and boost “followers.”

    • Amber says:

      I think everyone goes through that stage at first, where you’re all, OMGFREESTUFF! It’s only human nature :) When I had my beauty blog, I accepted EVERYTHING at first… it took quite a while to realise that getting a free shampoo really wasn’t worth the time I’d have to spend writing a post about it!

  • Gillian says:

    I scroll past most giveaways, too! Often times they’re boring and so big I wouldn’t have a real chance of winning, anyways. If it’s actually something cute, I’ll probably enter…but only when I follow that particular blogger on other platforms, anyway, so I don’t get a bunch of crap in my feeds that I don’t want.

    YES about the camera! I take outfit photos with my ancient point and shoot…and I’ve figured out how to get them to look decent enough. At some point I’d love to get a better quality camera…in part because I suspect mine will die soon…but I’d rather get a better point and shoot than one I’d have to completely learn. I’m thinking maybe a Nikon D40, but I really have no idea what I’m talking about, so who knows!

    Love this series!

    • Amber says:

      That’s a really good point… DSLRs do take a bit of getting used to, and you have to spend time learning how to use them. I think it’s actually possible to end up taking WORSE photos with a DSLR if you don’t know how to use it properly – I’ve definitely seen that happen! As I said, I don’t regret buying mine, and I do think it helped my blogs, but it’s not the be-all-and-end-all – you can definitely get decent photos without one :)

      • Mariana says:

        Yes, it is! I see it happen all the time… I’ve been photographing since way before blogging, and it’s a recurring thing that people want to buy a dSLR before even knowing what’s wrong with a point and shoot. Then they’re all frustrated because they have to buy lenses to be able to zoom, and the pictures still look horrible at night…
        It made some sense in the beginning of digital photography, when they truly did have superior image quality, but these days the only difference is depth, and for most outfit photos there’s software for that, usually in the phone, and no normal person who doesn’t spend the whole day staring at photos will ever notice. I maintain that no one should buy a dSLR before learning how to shoot with a good ol’ SLR…

  • Jeanette says:

    Thank you for writing this great post. I have just starting my fashion blog and reading all kind of bloggingtips:)

  • Nina says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post, it shows you in a very personal light. I think it’s so depressing when people advertise how many followers they have, for example on youtube. While watching different “youtubers” you will see that even though they have a million people following them, they only have maybe a hundred thousand viewers on each video. And to make people want to watch them they do these giveaways over and over again, and everytime you will have to follow them on a new site. Just like you said with always accepting different company’s offers it all looses its charm and won’t be fun anymore.

    After 500 giveaways and none won, you start to realize that that’s the only way they gain their comments and viewers – by giving things away. There are people on Instagram who make a new account just to post the same picture a billion times in order to win.

    I think that today’s people are quite tradgic. If they want something so bad, then why not just buy it themselves. If it is something they really do love or need, they will buy it. At least I personally do…

    And Amber, I just wanted to tell you that I have been following your blog for over a year, and it’s first now that I have started to comment on your posts. When I first did, and an answer I was so surprised. Most of the time you will see bloggers commenting back maybe one or two people, but you take your time and answer everyone! I think it’s very honest and amazing to know that as a reader, I mean something to you. :)

    • Amber says:

      Aww, thank you, that’s so nice of you to say that! I don’t always manage to respond to every single comment, but they do mean the world to me, as do my readers: I wouldn’t have a blog at all if it wasn’t for the people who turn up every day and wade through my 3,000 word essays!

  • Yazmin says:

    I totally agree with your first tip that we should ignore. I only find myself commenting on posts I actually read because I don’t see the point of writing just a couple of words for a comment. It’s so obvious when people only comment to leave their links! When I get comments that say follow4follow? I’ll reply saying ”I’ll check your blog out first” or something along the lines of that, but I think from now on I might just ignore them or delete them! And as for giveaways, I’ve hosted a few, and I can officially confirm they do not work! I can’t even see myself hosting another giveaway because the last big giveaway I hosted in collaboration with a company it totally failed. From then on I decided that I’m not going to bribe readers in any way, no matter which company it is unless I absolutely believe that my readers will like it. I’d rather keep my loyal readers than gain new followers who are after free stuff.

    Yazmin xx
    http://www.yazzyscorner.co.uk

    • Amber says:

      I’ve only done one giveaway on this site (but been involved with quite a few when I was freelancing), which I agreed to because it was part of a much larger collaboration, and I thought it was a good prize. I didn’t do it to boost followers, but if I had, I’d have been disappointed, because while I did get some extra followers, it didn’t have a huge effect… I get more followers if someone re-tweets or shares something, or if someone features me on their site, and that type of follower is much more valuable to me, because I know they followed because they were interested in the site, not because they wanted to win something!

  • Leila says:

    Amber – I haven’t been following you for very long but I wanted to just chime in with an “amen!” You’re right about people following just to get free stuff, and I’ve seen the spam comments all over the place (the FOLLOW FOR FOLLOW LIKE FOR LIKE nonsense in weird fonts/symbols on Instagram is the worst). I’m too lazy – if I see a giveaway that requires more than one step, I skip it.

    P.S. You’re adorable, and I always want your skirts and dresses. ^_^

    • Amber says:

      Aww, thank you!

      I think Instagram is becoming one of the worst for those “FOLLOW FOR FOLLOW” posts. Anytime I look at one of the “big” blogger’s post, there’s always tons of people not saying anything at all about the photo, and just going “FOLLOW ME!” A few days ago, I was looking at a popular blogger’s Instagram, and someone had gone through loads of her photos, just commenting <—-FASHION BLOGGER! FOLLOW! (with the arrow pointing to her avatar, obviously.) It literally made me cringe: can people not see how bad that kind of thing makes them look? You may as well just type <— SPAMMER HERE!

  • Miriam says:

    I love this post Amber! Follow me!!

    Haha sorry, I couldn’t resist. In all seriousness, I really appreciate when successful bloggers like yourself clear some of these “rules” up.
    Especially #1 is something that I read time and time again right from the start, and I have to admit, I struggled with it. I love comments as much as the next blogger and always try to respond, but what do you say to generic, blah comments? The whole exchange feels pointless.
    Then there are bloggers who say that they comment on 10-20 posts daily, and I’m amazed at how they do it – is it even possible to have something genuine to say to 20 different bloggers every day?

    Like you said, those “rules” we always read are self-imposed and stifling, and it feels great to break them!

    • Amber says:

      Haha!

      I know what you mean: I can be quite guilty of not commenting enough on the blogs I read (I tend to read blogs on my phone, and I always find it hard to type on it, especially if it’s a site that wants me to log into something, or enter a captcha or something…), so I’ll go through stages of thinking “must! comment! more!” (in a ‘to let them know I’m reading’ way, I mean, not in a ‘because I am a spammer’ way…), and I can only ever manage a few a day. (Mostly because I’m wordy, I guess. ) If you’re actually READING the posts, it would take a really long time to comment on 10 – 20 a day. I really wish I had the time/energy for that, but I just don’t!

      As for responding to comments, I think that’s a whole other minefield! You’re totally right – in some cases there’s literally nothing you can say, and I also think the majority of people aren’t actually looking for/expecting a response. On my shoe blog, for instance, I’ll write a post saying “I like these shoes” and people will respond with either “I like them too” or “I don’t like them”, and there’s really nothing either of us can add to that without just going round and round in a giant “me too!” loop! (That doesn’t mean I think those comments are worthless, or insincere or anything, I hasten to add – they’re exactly the comments I would expect that blog to generate; they’re just not comments that people leave with the expectation of getting a response!)

  • Liz Tea Bee says:

    Ugh, giveaways! I only enter them if I’m already following the blog. I do tend to follow my favorite blogs on multiple platforms (I follow you on Bloglovin’, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. Which seems sort of excessive when I type it out. Oh, well.) I generally consider sponsored posts* and giveaways posts to be content free. If you’re not generating content I’m not likely to come back.

    As a reader I can say that I’ve never clicked through to a blog from one of those contentless comments but I have clicked through if the commenter said something interesting and I thought I might want to hear more from them.

    I’m surprised how much I’m enjoying this series even though I have no plans to start a blog anytime soon. (In part, because I can’t take decent pictures no matter how nice my camera is.)

  • Liz Tea Bee says:

    Oh, I meant to say that I think there is a right way and a wrong way to do sponsored posts and I think most people do it the wrong way. Most sponsored posts just read like “This is what Company told me to say.” A good sponsored post should read like any other entry on the blog and I should be able to hear the blogger’s voice.

    • Amber says:

      I’m possibly biased here, but I can honestly say that sponsored posts don’t bother me at all, AS LONG AS they’re written in the same style as the rest of the blog, and are something you can imagine the blogger might have written about anyway. As you say, though, it shouldn’t feel different from any other post on the blog – I think that’s quite a good way to work out if it’s something you should be doing or not!

  • Helena says:

    Really great informative post. I completely agree with all the comments, particularly the giveaway one (I thought I was the only person who didn’t really like giveaways ha). The first sort of little milestone for me was when I got my first comment on one of my posts. It was like ‘thank god, someone has actually read what I’m doing’ and it meant a lot to me. So when you see one of those comments that have no indication that they’ve read the post at all it’s really sad to see. I don’t know if you’re thinking about doing this, but as part of your blog series could you possible do a post on post design? I know other factors are very important in blogging and you’ve already posted some great tips but blog design is one of the main things I struggle with, as I’m sure a lot of new bloggers do too. That would be amazing.
    Helena / helenaterry.blogspot.co.uk

  • Kristian says:

    Definitely hit the nail on the head with all of these.

  • Mana says:

    Sometimes I comment I love your shoes, or your skirt and don’t say much more because that’s what I took away or related to most from the post. However, I also leave lengthy comments like this a lot, so I guess you know even the times I just adore your shoes, skirt or top, that I still read your post. I always worry about that.
    I also fully agree with this. As a matter of fact I once held a giveaway and got no followers. And I’ve gotten a lot of sponsored opputunities from websites that just look shady so I tend to stay away from them. And I only had a fancy camera to blog with because my husband was studying photography at the time.
    Mana

    Fashion and Happy Things

    • Amber says:

      Oh God, yeah – I definitely didn’t mean to imply that just because someone leaves a short comment that I assume it isn’t genuine: I sometimes leave “love your shoes” comments too, because I genuinely do love their shoes, and there’s not a whole lot you can really add to that! You can always tell when a comment is genuine, though, even if it’s short – I was more referring to the ones where there’s tons of links to all of their social media etc, with a comment that’s blatantly there just as an excuse to add the links. I would never think you were doing that :)

  • Mana says:

    Oh and I meant to add, I only leave my like at blogs I love and have been inspired by, because I want them to visit my blog. And one time you did and said you loved my fringe and it seriously made my week, because it had been a crappy week.
    Mana

  • Timely post, thanks Amber! I’ve said it before; it’s as though you get inside my head and then write a brilliant, articulate post that clears up my current confusion. I have an invitation sitting in my inbox that I knew I was going to respond to with a thank you, but no thank you. It is tempting, that carrot dangling on a stick, but your post today makes me feel JUST RIGHT about saying no! Thank you! Thanks also for the giggle about sitting on the naughty step!

  • Ellesworth says:

    Great post, Amber. I confess I’m guilty of not commenting much anymore – on anything! I put it down to a combination of feeling out of synch with the kids despite only being 30 (Tumbler? What the heck is a tumbler??), and being socially awkward anyway. Interesting that you’ve noticed a general trend. I wonder why that is? No doubt we’ll see popular science articles in the news papers about it over the next few years. :)

    #1 drives me crazy even though I don’t blog. It’s just so rude! Or at least it seems that way to me, but maybe that’s part of turning into a crotchety old woman. ;)

    Thank you for all the effort you put into your blog, Amber. It’s my no. 1 go to when I need a pick me up. You have a really lovely writing style, and I always love your style. :) New years resolution: comment more!

    • Ellesworth says:

      *New years resolution: comment more and with fewer spelling mistakes and errors. Oi!

    • Amber says:

      Aww, thank you!

      I’ve read a few things about the downturn in commenting, and the consensus seems to be that a lot of it is to do with social media: it’s just much easier to click the “like” button on Facebook or favourite a tweet than it is to sit and write a comment, and the more people get used to being able to just “like” something, the more they do that rather than comment. I’ve noticed that sometimes my outfit photos will get very few comments here, but they’ll get lots of instagram likes/shares/pins etc, so I think people ARE still responding, they’re just doing it differently, especially with image-based content. I will also sometimes get very few comments on the blog itself, and then find people have been commenting on Facebook or Twitter – which I sometimes don’t check every day, so I don’t realise, and just assume everyone hated the post – lol!

      I also think it might be something to do with the sheer number of blogs out there now. Back in the day, there weren’t as many blogs to comment on, but now people are following dozens, or even hundreds, and there’s just not time to comment on them all. I know if I tried to comment on every blog I follow, I’d have no time for anything else, so I really don’t blame anyone for being exactly the same in that respect :)

  • Corinne says:

    LOLLL I once saw a girl comment the same thing on like 15 blogs I visited in a row. It was like a game for me in the end. Mental. And it was something like ‘I love your blog and I’d love us to be friends, your layout is so nice’. Every single time.

    I do think comments are the way to go though. Not to generate traffic. Not to generate followers. But to make blog friends, I find it’s fabulous. I’ve met some great bloggers through commenting, but decent comments, mind you. None of this ‘love the had and shoes and bag’ lark. 90% of the comments I leave will say something relating to the text. I often find myself writing only about the text then have to go back and comment on the outfit or whatever after, because I don’t want the blogger to think their new dress is ugly.

    I have to admit I did go through a stage of not reading properly and just trying to comment on loads. I’ve been through many ‘stages’ that I’m not so proud of nowadays, but we live and learn, right? Now if I honestly can’t find something decent to comment, I just leave the blog. I doesn’t happen often because I can basically find something to say about anything. But it does happen from time to time!

    I don’t usually enter competitions either. If it’s something I want and already follow their social media, I will enter using those. I think I’ve entered a few for Naked 3 palettes and iPads. But I really hate following loads of things to enter. I also really dislike those that have 30 bloggers joining in the competition and you have to follow them all on instagram, twitter, pinterest, GFC, bloglovin and whatever else. I have to really want something to do that!

    I’ve had about 4 or 5 giveaways on my blog and do lose followers on twitter/bloglovin when it’s over. I don’t really see the point in having people follow me that aren’t going to read my blog post when it hits their feed. It’s just like buying followers really. Redundant. I’ll host competitions on my blog if I think it’s a really good prize and my readers would like it, but none of those competitions from the asian sites anymore. It’s just tack.

    I’m jealous of your coffee. I ran out.

    Corinne x.

    • Amber says:

      Yeah, I think people underestimate the value of commenting – not as a way to get followers, but just as a way to build community, and get to know people. It’s a shame, because I suspect that’s why most people get into blogging in the first place (it’s the reason I started), but it’s somehow been lost along the way, as people get caught up in chasing followers etc.

  • Jenny says:

    Wow, this is good advice! It drives me bonkers to see those comments on blogs I enjoy. I mean, if someone likes your comment so much that they want to see who wrote it, they just have to click on your name. Not rocket science. :-) Anyway, I enjoy your blog but haven’t commented much, so I thought I’d start.

  • Erika says:

    I am really enjoying this new series of yours. This post made me laugh out loud! I agree with these tips completely. And I seriously dislike those giveaway posts, and those linkups, that make you follow everyone and their best friend’s neighbor – so annoying!
    I have always been one of those silent readers, and only in the last year have I started commenting on blogs. I don’t see how it has helped my blog any though, but even still, I am glad I have overcome that bit of shyness. It is nice to know when your blog is being read, even by those who don’t have much to say. :-)

    • Amber says:

      I’m glad you have, too! I often feel shy about commenting too: it can be quite hard to talk yourself out of that sometimes, but I can’t think of any bloggers who DON’T appreciate comments, so it’s definitely worth doing!

  • I don’t bother to read most giveaway posts either. There was a phase earlier this year where say, 10 girls hosted joint giveaways for $500 from Visa or something but you had to follow all of them on all forms of social media…!! It was US blogs & I was disappointed to see one or two of my favourites involved to be honest. Just feels like selling out to gain followers.

    Bizarrely I had lots of offers from companies whilst I was pregnant- one or two I would have said yes to if only they’d read my blog/ realised I was pregnant / offered maternity items. They don’t even seem a tiny bit embarrassed when you politely decline based on your very obvious pregnancy. I guess they send their offers out to all and sundry hoping for bites!

    I’ve noticed Esprit are doing the rounds at the moment actually.

    Another tip for your series- be honest and disclose when stuff is c/o, sponsored etc. As a reader I find it really shady when bloggers don’t disclose c/o items.

    • Amber says:

      I think if you’re asking people to follow you on ALL forms of social media, you’re almost definitely going to lose followers afterwards, because even the people who genuinely want to follow your blog don’t necessarily want to do it on ALL platforms (and therefore get the same information over and over again…), so they’re likely to unfollow the ones they don’t deem “necessary” once the giveway is over.

      A lot of brands definitely do just blast stuff to mailing lists: my version of your inappropriate-for-pregnancy offers is the constant (literally dozens a week) invitations to London events. I actually now have a disclaimer on my contact page saying that as I’m based in Scotland I’m not able to respond to those requests (I also have a stock email to copy and paste, but I’d prefer to just not get them in the first place), but I still get tons of them from brands who LOVE my blog and are my BIGGEST FANS, but who have somehow managed to miss the fact that I don’t live in London!

      Good suggestion with the disclosure stuff: I was thinking about doing one on “best practice”, so it would probably fit in there!

  • Kate says:

    So true! Another blog I follow for its fashion content sometimes crowbars the most bizarre unrelated posts in, presumably for the freebies.
    Your blog is an inspiration for me, as I love midi skirts and shoes too. I will remember to comment more and let you know that I am reading!

  • Aline says:

    Awesome post, love your shoes!
    Follow my blog!

    hehehehe, I joke I joke :P
    But in all honestly though, that is my biggest pet peeve as well! I can write that i had a horrible weekend where the world almost ended and people say “lovely post, follow me” and move on. UGH, even if their blog is awesome I get repelled from following it -_-! Not cool people, not cool.

    As for the every opportunity, you’re completely right as well! Where I live (Lebanon), brands are still trying to learn how to interact with bloggers. They contact us in bulk and then suddenly you see the same freaking post on every single Lebanese blog. It pisses me off! The point of a blog is to offer your perspective and to have posts kinda different from what others are doing (even if you’re posting about the same product let’s say, at least give it your twist!).

    I have a huge rant about this topic saved in my drafts, I feel like I’ll be posting it soon :P

  • OMG i love your shoes! i followed, follow me back?

    LOL, JK ;)

    seriously, this is all great advice. i think the key thing to take away is to have integrity. you’re right that people are commenting less & comments are my favourite thing – true comments anyway.

    for a long time blogging has been less about having a ‘web log’ & instead about engaging. it makes me sad that that’s dwindling.

    becky,

    accooohtrements.wordpress.com

  • Elise says:

    This is the first blog post I’ve read on your blog (I found it through bloglovin). I’m a relatively new blogger, so I found this blog post very helpful. Your blog seems really interesting, I look forward to more tips ;)

    Elise

  • Eloise says:

    Love this!
    Follow me on instagram / twitter / to the shops /

    I jest. I did love the post though. Simply because everything you’ve written here and some of the things that people do have really started to irk me. There’s nothing more frustrating than spending yonks taking outfit photos, even longer editing them, and even longer writing the post – for someone to put “nice dress” when you’re clearly wearing a playsuit and have written “I love this playsuit” a gazillion times during the text.

    Obvs the blogging community has expanded a crazy amount but I’m not too sure why the genuine comments seem to be dwindling. It is a bit disheartening to spend ages on something to get such little interaction back.

    And I also scroll past giveaways, although I’m a bit of a hypocrite as I have actually hosted them in the past, your right though, when I did a million pro compers headed my way and it sort of defeated the object.

    Anyway I thought this post was well thought out and very well written so wanted to leave a comment telling you how much I appreciated it!

    xx

  • Jennifer says:

    I’ve been blogging for years, but took time off and started up again. Let me tell you, blogging is a whole new world from 5 years ago. I blogged before giveaways were a thing, before blogging was so “commercial”, before anyone could dream about getting money back from a blog.

    So reading your little “how NOT to blog” tips are great. As a reader, I hate reading comments with tons of links to blogs, and for awhile I never included my website with my comments. I have to agree, it stinks no one comments anymore. I told my co-blogger that she shouldn’t worry about the lack of responses, it is common. I wonder if it is because so many people are streamlining their blogs? And companies now have blogs? I sometimes hesitate to comment because I feel silly smacking down “Cute outfit” or “Sounds yummy!” on a post. I mean what am I bringing to the table? But maybe I should because it is nice to know that people are reading.

    I personally love giveaways. Why? Because usually if it is from a blog I like, they are giving away something I like. But I never really thought about how many people would just search around for giveaways. That stinks.

  • Rebecca says:

    I think a few years ago you probably didn’t need a great camera, now I think you do, but with the proviso that you don’t need it at first. I started a blog about 6 years ago that I took all the pictures on my phone for- actually still do, but they look a bit crappy. On the other hand I started another one fairly recently (serial blogger, I can’t help myself!) and I have been thinking lately that I have to stop using iphone pics on it as they just never look good enough. The more mature the internet gets the glossier and more professional looking it gets too, and I think great pictures are a part of that sadly as it means I need to get my act together.
    The thing that worries me is not the camera thing it’s the question of whether you can have a really successful blog these days without vlogging too, and I just don’t know the answer to that. I hope you can, because I’d hate to think blogging was just a ‘young and beautiful’ thing, which vlogging almost seems to make it.

  • Ghalia says:

    As a long time (since 2010!) loyal reader who doesn’t comment much, I feel like I must apologise for not commenting more often! I would hate for you to feel discouraged by that fact that you’re putting so much effort in your blogs, & don’t really feel like that many people are reading them because of lack of comments.

    I follow all your blogs religiously, & I suppose I don’t comment often because that’s not what I’m used to doing when reading things, if that makes sense? Pre-“the internets”, when reading books & magazines & articles of all sorts , one just read these things for pleasure, & that was that. & your blogs are one of my little literature pleasures in my day-to-day life; sort of like a magazine. In fact, I get restless waiting for your latest posts over the weekend! & when I’ve had a busy few days in which I haven’t had time to browse the net, I feel like I’ve won a mini-lottery when I have to catch up on several days’ worth of posts from the three blogs. Is that weird?

    I just wanted you to know that even though I don’t comment much, I do enjoy your blogs – all of them! – & I am sure there are thousands of others like me out there. So please keep posting about shoes & your life in general!

    • Amber says:

      Oh, it’s not my intention to make anyone feel guilty – it was just a general observation, really: I know there are lots of reasons why people don’t comment, I was just making the point that bloggers really appreciate it when they do!

  • Call me M says:

    I totally agree with you on everything Amber! All excellent tips! I tend to ignore people who only come to my blog to leave their links, and after a while, I decided to start deleting all extra self-promoting links in comments, for my blog to look cleaner and less spammy. I absolutely hate those comments. And I agree that it’s better and more important to have more readers than followers. I’ve also noticed a decrease in comments over the past few months.
    Also agree with tips #2 and #3, and while I do host giveaways from time to time, I don’t like when others host a new giveaway every week to boost their followers’ number. And I rarely take part in others’ giveaways, unless I really REALLY like what they’re giving (absolutely hate when I’m asked to leave my email on the comment form though, which I never do).

  • Suzanne says:

    This was a very interesting read.

    I used to leave more comments on blogs then I got seriously sick last year and it all seemed so silly. Not just the commenting, but blogging as a whole.

    It wasn’t until someone wrote me on my blog after I wrote about my harrowing unforeseen illness that I changed my opinion about commenting. It changed my perspective on why I blog as well.

    Just a few weeks ago I went to Amsterdam and spent 10 days with bloggers I’d never met before and only knew via their comments an online connections. It was a brilliant experience.

    So does commenting grow my blog? Not in a sustainable way. However does commenting enrich my life? Absolutely.

    bisous
    Suzanne

  • Tracey says:

    Now I feel like I have to leave a comment! Just kidding, you know I always will if I have something to say.

  • Myra says:

    Hi
    I can’t pretend to have read all the comments, although I did read the initial blog post. Many of you are discussing the merits of using DSLR cameras to improve your shots, but the next generation of cameras that are mirror less and much lighter than DSLRs, is already here, so if you haven’t got a DSLR I would hang on until the mirror less cameras come down in price :)

  • I wish I could really express how much I appreciate this post, but I think other have already said everything I could. On top of hating the “follow me, follow me” comments, which I do not click on, I really appreciate that some people are still realistic enough about cameras! I do use a point and shoot, and my pictures are (usually) fine. I would love to have a fancy camera, but it’s not in my budget! And it won’t be for quite a while. Doesn’t mean people like me can’t still have fun with blogging!

    I do, however, kinda want to do a giveaway at some point, but not in a super annoying way. I will wait until it feels right. Anyway, thank you for this wonderful, wonderful read. :)

  • Because I read many of the comments on this post, I realize what I am about to say is redundant (sorry), but Tip to Ignore #1 is spot on. I love when people genuinely comment on a post, even if it does not seem to happen often. It feels like I have one lovely follower who makes a sincere comment on almost everything I post, but then the rest are: “LOVE YOUR BLOG!!! FOLLOW MINE OR I WON’T FOLLOW YOURS! KISSES ;)” Ugh.

  • Peggy Lyu says:

    I really like this post Amber!
    I don’t comment often on your blog just because I feel quite shy speaking in english because I seem so good when I speak in english with other italians and I always say something stupind when I do it with people who speak english as their own language (here’s an example…how do I say to say that english is your language?)…
    Normally I comment on my “friends”‘s blog but I’m feeling a little sad because so few people comment on mine and sometimes I think if it’s worth going on with my blog or if people totally don’t care about it…
    But I get really mad when I find comments like “Come visit my blog!” Or “spam comments”

    • Amber says:

      Awww, your English is great, and you said it just right! I know approximately two words of Italian, so I’m always super-impressed by people who can speak more than one language :)

  • Alicja says:

    ugh, ok, this is going to be super awkward, but… I’ll follow your encouragment from the first tip and comment, just to tell you that I really, really love your blog. Your writing is extremely funny and interesting, and your clothes are just awesome. At this point I don’t really know what I love more – your shoes (oh God, I need new Melissa ones now), your dresses or your stories about misadventures :) I’m also a redhead like you, but I live in Poland, and I guess we don’t get as much natural redheads here as you guys do on the British Isles, so it is really great (and rare) to find another blogger that looks somehow simmilar to me.
    Anyway, I just wanted to say that I read your blog, I think it’s great, that you are very pretty, you have beatiful clothes and you write in a way that reminds me of Marian Keyes novels (and it’s meant as a compliment, she’s one of my favourite).
    And the best part is – I don’t have my own blog so I won’t encourage you to “visit my blog” and most definitely I won’t as you to “comment” on anything :)

    • Amber says:

      OK, you should *definitely* comment more, when you’re going to be so awesome about it – thank you so much! And the Marian Keyes comparison is a HUGE compliment to me – she’s one of my favourites, too!

  • M says:

    Not getting comments is one of the weirdest things about blogging. You’ll see your stats increase, but there are very few comments. It used to really irk me, but then I realized there’s a benefit. I’m not getting spammed with “love your hair! FOLLOW MY BLOG!” in a post completely unrelated to my hair.

    Similarly, I don’t go around spamming everyone with comments in the hope of having them spend .001 of a second on my blog. It doesn’t make any sense.

    Long story short: great tips… but I still want a DSLR!

  • Emma Farley says:

    All of the Kate Spade goodies are making me swoon :)

  • First of all I just want to start by saying how I’ve always loved the way you write and how witty and sincere you are! I find myself nodding and being like “oh yes!” every time I read your posts. And in regards to the tips on what not to do, it’s funny because just the other day this girl that recently started blogging asked me if I could give her some tips on what to do to gain more traffic, considering the fact that I’ve been blogging for so long. At first I was at a loss as to what I should tell her, because my blog isn’t exactly the coolest kid on the playground, so I felt like whatever advice I would give her would probably not work! haha so I tried to tell her what not to do when trying to get more traffic, and that was: don’t comment on other peoples blog’s in an intrusive manner. I’m all for commenting on other blogs, I love the community feel of the blogging thing and think it’s a great thing, in fact it’s the commenting on other people’s blogs (in a very sincere and conversation like manner) that has led me to meet some great people! So that was something that I really felt like I should tell her, because a lot of people do make that mistake when starting a blog.
    And as far as giveaways go, I feel the same way! I think I hosted one once, when I started (felt like I had to do it!) but at the same time it feels like I’m bribing people into following me so I’d much rather have like 50 people who truly like what I do, than 500 who just want me to give them free stuff. So yeah, that’s never a thing that I’ve considered doing again, it doesn’t feel right for me, doesn’t feel “me” and something that I want for my blog. I blog and post because I like it and if in the processe someone actually likes what I do and takes the time to read it, great!

    I realise I probably rambled on here, I really can’t keep it concise either! (just read your latest post too, really interesting!). Oh and if you spot some major grammar mistakes I apologize in advance but english is not my first language! :)

    Keep up the good work**

  • Ruth says:

    Bit late to this but thank you for this post, in particular the comments thing. By boyfriend keeps telling me that is the way to get more people reading my blog and I kept resisting because it seemed a bit pointless (and I’m too lazy). Glad to have this view validated by a successful blogger!
    It’s a real shame that there is much less genuine commenting. The main reason we started our blog was because we wanted to really get discussions going.

  • Georgina says:

    It’s not just you noticing the comments dropping off. I’ve talked to a few people about it, and it’s happening to most of us. I think a lot of it is because more people are reading blog posts on phones or tablets, and often the comment option is either a massive fiddle or just really unreliable. I’ve had a few people tell me they’ve written out a comment on an iPad that then just gets eaten when they try to post it.
    I think the interaction has moved a bit too. Bloggers used to chat in their comments, now lots of us are chatting on Twitter. I get more responses to posts on Twitter or Facebook then I do in the post’s comments.

    • Amber says:

      Yeah, I’ve noticed that too, and I find it so frustrating – I’m not a huge social media fan, so I hate having to go and search for comments, and them worry about having probably offended them by not responding!

  • Selina says:

    OMG YES. I don’t do giveaways because I have nothing to give away and because I’ll either get no response or some spammy randomer will win it. I’m now deleting all spammy comments, however well intentioned because I don’t want that on my blog. I get very few people commenting and I doubt more than about 5 people read each post but I’ve seen blogs with a tonne of followers but with about 2 comments per post which is misleading and shows that even with their fancy blogs, it doesn’t mean their blog is loved. And when there is a giveaway, people flock to it. I got a comment recently which showed that the blogger hadn’t read my post at all. Something along the lines of ‘Amazing post!’ With their blog underneath. It was a pretty depressing post so I know they never actually read it

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