The Number One Hot Topic for Bloggers

Not that kind of hot!

There seems to be one topic that whenever anybody posts about it, everybody has something to say.

What is it?


When bloggers write about “how to blog”, “how to comment”, “word verification,” even “how to write your post” people are interested.

It’s the one thing we all have in common. Even visitors that don’t have their own blogs have opinions on what they like and how they like to see it.

I’d like to take a little informal survey here.

  1. Does the blog design really matter to you?
  2. What drives you away (word verification, ads, etc.)?
  3. Does it really matter if the blog author replies to every comment? Do you go back to see if they have responded to you?
  4. Are you really aware when someone hasn’t posted in two weeks?

Please add your pearls of wisdom.

My answers:

  1. Blog design does matter to me. It tells me a lot about the blogger’s personality. I read posts through blog lovin’ so I see the post in its natural state. For that reason, if your site is black with white text or grey with dark grey text chances are I won’t be back. If your design is cluttered and confusing, chances are I won’t be back.
  2. The new word verification (WV) on Blogger drives me away. 14 digits? Really? Don’t make me jump through hoops to comment on your blog. If you use Blogger, check to see if WV is turned on or not. I read one post where the gal didn’t even know it was on. After the last update, it changed her settings.
  3. The only time it matters to me is if I asked the author a question in my comment. It’s usually the only reason I return to the post. It actually annoys me to see every comment commented on with “Thanks,” and “I agree.” Your responses should add to the conversation too. I do like to see some interaction though, that way I know the author is reading the comments. – I know several of you will disagree with me here. That’s why I have the survey. I want to know what everyone thinks. 😉
  4. I have no idea if you missed your regular posting schedule. I follow 400 blogs and rarely get to them all. I do notice if my frequent comments haven’t posted something because we have built up a relationship.

Speaking of not posting in two weeks, I’m not going to post for two weeks. I’ve decided to take April off. With the A-Z challenge going on, the new posts will be overwhelming for me this year. I will be posting the April Cupcake Sign.

Pearls of Wisdom – talk to Alex.

Now give me your opinions.

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  1. LOL April cupcakes sounds brilliant. I wish I had thought of that. I too hate the word verification thing.

    1. Well, who can live without cupcakes. – Wait, this is the type of comment on a comment that I say I don’t like. So,I guess they do have a purpose. 😉

  2. Blog design only matter to me to a point. If it’s bad, or bothersome, i may not be back. If it’s nice, i’ll notice. Otherwise, meh.
    WV bugs me too, but only sometimes. I know there are a few bloggers who do actually get quite a bit of spam, and for them i don’t mind. But i think most people don’t even know it’s on. God i hope mine’s not on …
    #3 is same as you. If i ask a question or have what i think is a good comment, i may pop back in. Otherwise, no.
    #4 i only notice on the handful of blogs that i regularly comment on. Otherwise, nope. I follow too many to notice

    1. “or have what i think is a good comment”, that’s true too. I also come back when the topic is good and the comments are good. I will come back to see what others have said.

  3. I just started over on my blog, because it lacked any kind of meaningful strategy and direction, so I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks about those questions:

    1. Regardless of the motif, the color scheme and use of space need to make reading the content easy on my eyes.

    2. I read alot (you know, just like everybody else in the blogosphere), but I need time to write. If a blog takes too long to open because it’s weighed down with gadgets and nifty apps, I might drop by to look at new content and leave a comment, but I’m not likely to engage in discussions that require reloading the page.

    3. I look at it this way, as the host, and the word means something in polite society, if I’m not engaged in the comment section then I’m just cranking out material and it doesn’t matter what I post.

    4. I’m not really qualified to answer. I don’t think I follow 10 blogs (new blog, no rush, lots of lurking), so I notice when someone hasn’t posted ALL day.

    1. LOL! Yes, when I first started and followed only a few people I noticed everything. Following people is just as addicting as blogging itself. I find very few blogs I don’t like!

  4. You are so right about this. When I’ve brought any of these topics up I usually get lots of feedback. After all it’s a common ground topic that we all have opinions about.

    1) I agree with you.

    2) I’ve gotten pretty good at jumping through the hoops. But, if there is too much profanity or material that I find offensive I tend not to come back.

    3) I with you on this one too. If I have the option to subscribe to comments I always do so I can keep track of the conversation. I find it more time consuming to keep track of where I’ve been and going back to check on it so I very rarely do that.

    4) Like you I don’t notice for the most part, but eventually I might check to see what happened if I don’t hear from somebody I’ve been accustomed to seeing posts from. If I have an email address I might send them a little note or I might comment on an old post. Sometimes people just seem to disappear and so I move on.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

  5. Blog design doesn’t matter too much to me except if it’s confusing and cluttered. I rather go to a simple blog than a heavy, bogged down site. And the thing that gets me the most are sites that take too long to load. And by that I mean anything over 7 seconds. As far as commenting back, well I try to reply to all my commenters but that’s because I don’t have too many and I have the time to do so. I realize most never check back, but some do. (:

  6. 1. Only that it’s not too cluttered, and the font is fairly readable.

    2. What drives me away, definitely, is excessively long posts. I sometimes just don’t have the time to give to reading and thoughtfully commenting on them.

    3. It matters somewhat. They should pop in at least and touch base to keep the dialogue going. To me, blogging is about the dialogue.

    4. Sometimes. If it’s a very regular blogger who I’ve visited for a long time, yes, I’ll notice an absence.

    1. Yes, font size. Why do some people use such tiny fonts?

  7. I so agree about the comments on comments. Adding to the conversation is the point, after all. It can be hard, though. Not everyone who comes by to comment throws me a line I can build on, you know?

    I peeked at the A-Z challenge and felt dizzy. 1400 blogs? It is too overwhelming. I’m thinking I’ll do something with National Poetry Month, but not daily posts.

    1. Oh wow, I didn’t know it was a 1400! That’s wild.

  8. Yes, blog desing is actually THE most important thing to most visitors, if it’s off putting you will leave immediately. The black background and white letters is a big NO, since it annoys 90% of people and gives sight problems. I never read such sites, because it takes me at least five or ten minutes to recover my eyesight 🙂
    No pics, long posts, rants, no clear topic, self-indulgent posts, are also things which turn away most of the readers. And word verification shouldn’t even be discussed any more, we all despise it 🙂
    Everything at my own place is designed to be pleasant for the eye and soothing and energy filling and I have thousands of people visiting each day exactly for those reasons 🙂

    1. Yes, you’re site is a great example of design from color to flow to organization.

  9. 1. Yes, blog design matters. I know somebody who uses YELLOW in-text links – which basically makes the text invisible. I don’t try to read her blog anymore.

    I think if you want people to read your blog, you have to give them something they CAN read. Hate the light text on dark background – the only thing worse than white on black is the fluorescent blue on black.

    Also, I get that people want to run ads on their blogs, make a few nickels. This is fine, except when there are so many ads I can’t find the content.

    It should be easy to figure out on a blog how to follow it, how to comment, and how to get to the home page. Sometimes I will follow a link to an older post, I may be contemplating following the blog, but want to see another post or two first. No home page button, no buttons for Next or Previous Post, so that I can read a little more, and I *won’t* follow.

  10. None of that matters to me. If you’ve got something great to say and it appeals to me, then a lousy blog design, word verif, or whatever isn’t going to keep me away. I’m pulled in by a blogger’s words!

  11. You mean me???
    I like to see that a blogger has taken the time to personalize his blog. It needs personality.
    I do reply in the comments and some people come back to see it. Like you, if I’ve asked a question, I’ll go back to read. But replies also show that the blogger is interacting with followers, and I look for that as well.
    My schedule is M-W-F and people do notice if I skip a day!
    April is a good month for a break if you’re not doing the A to Z, but I hope you’ll post now and then as I will be visiting all of my regulars as usual. I just won’t sleep…

    1. Yes, I was talking about you! LOL

  12. Blog design matters. I like clean and uncluttered. But I visit many blogs that don’t fit that description. I don’t like WV either, but I still find it on many blogs I visit. Sigh. Can you tell these things don’t keep me away? What keeps me away is bad content or long posts. I’ll skip those things first. And if they continue, I loose interest and rarely comment and then stop visiting. Ads will also drive me away if there are too many.

    Author response does matter to me. It doesn’t bother me if the author doesn’t respond to every post, but they should respond to at least a third. More, if possible. Sometimes it keeps the flow going. It always shows a presence and indicates the author cares. My interpretation. I rarely go back, but sometimes I hit send before I thought about what I said while trying to be funny and go back to make sure I haven’t ticked somebody off. But I don’t believe the responses are really for the initial commenter. They’re more for discussion because many, many people read the full comment stream on every blog they visit.

    After a while, you learn the schedules of those with whom you share comments on a regular basis. If they miss a few posts, I usually notice. Probably not just one. Two weeks worth? Yeah, I’d notice. But probably not on a sporadic commenter.

    I’m supposed to have a pearl of wisdom? Uh-oh.

  13. LOL! This is great. Verrry entertaining.

    I agree that it’s a big buggy when the author responds to every comment on their post unless it has a purpose. I tend to respond by email back if I have something of importance to say to the commenter because I know I usually never go back to the blog to see if the author commented! <—Phew! Those were a lot of words I'm sure I could've condensed and said better. 😉

    I never notice schedules. Prob cuz I don't keep one myself 😉

  14. I have more than 900 blogs on my Reader so I only comment if the post interests me or if I can help in some way.

    The word verification was never a big deal to me–as long as I can decipher it. I type so fast I don’t even notice typing a few extra letters.

    Design does not matter either–as long as it’s not painful to look at.

    And I do care if someone replies to comments. If people take the time to leave me a comment, I take the time to appreciate them with a response.

  15. The word verification drives me nuts, but by the time I’ve already written the comment, I’ll still go ahead and do it. Grudgingly.

    Busy blogs are an eye annoyance but they don’t truly turn me away. What bothers me most is blogs with so many widgets that it takes forever for the page to load. After about 10 seconds, I’ll leave.

  16. Love the little image on top. Reminds me of Georgia O’Keeffe. 🙂

    My thoughts:
    1. Blog design sort of matters but isn’t most important. Turn offs are too many gadgets. Also don’t like that flag thing that announces I’ve just arrived from… (my exact town and country)

    2. Drives me away: when blog is all book reviews. If I haven’t read the books, I obviously can’t relate. Or if there’s nothing but blogfesty/award question stuff.

    3.I (personally) think it’s nice to show that you appreciate your comments either by answering comments or visiting the person. It’s important to me that people know they are appreciated, even if all I answer back is something like “Thanks!”
    With comments I’ve left: I’ve kept my list of followed blogs very small all along, on purpose, so it’s easy for me to occasionally go back and check out discussions again.

    4.Yes I notice if someone’s gone from my small blog list for a while. But thanks to google reader it doesn’t matter when they post. I will see it when it comes along.

    Sadly some people have had trouble commenting on my blog lately. Hope trouble is over.

    Enjoy your “time off”! We’ll be back for cupcakes.

    1. Oh yes! How could I forget #1. I won’t leave a comment if I see it on there. It has the exact time and date and city… you live in.

    2. Oh and speaking of readers, my love of blog lovin’ is drooping. It hasn’t posted my latest post –I don’t know what else hasn’t been posted. I may have to redo Google Reader as a back up.

  17. 1.Does the blog design really matter to you? Cute or nice is nice, but the only thing that makes a difference to my return is if it’s hard to read: cluttered, bad color contrast.

    2.What drives you away (word verification, ads, etc.)? There are some blogs that seem to only cover content I just can’t get into (mostly spiritual, but it has happened with crafting)–it isn’t that I object so much as I’m just not engaged. Other than that, it is the ‘hard to read’ or ‘hard to comment’ (so agree on WV)

    3.Does it really matter if the blog author replies to every comment? Do you go back to see if they have responded to you? No–only for questions, like you. I LIKE to be acknowledged, but often don’t go back, so I never know anyway. And the email responses are fine, though there, too, only needed if I ask a ?

    4.Are you really aware when someone hasn’t posted in two weeks?
    Only my closer circle, and often not even then. I can be terribly oblivious.

    I think you are wise, if you aren’t up for A to Z, to take a break because so many in the blog world will be engaged in that.

  18. Hi Holly – to reply – it’s interesting I’m typing this in word – as I can bring it up to your post and answer without having to scroll up and down – that’s why I like the pop up comment box – I can drop it alongside the post or paragraphs I’m commenting on.

    1. Blog Design – needs to at least be tidy – there’s way too much on some blogs
    2. I hate flash or moving ads
    3. I hate ads!!
    4. Word Verification is a right pain – on the other hand I’m tolerant for some bloggers, and have emailed them requesting it gets taken off – they’ve been grateful for the nudge
    5. Now that I don’t get comments back to my email from people’s blogger blogs – it’s frustrating as that camaraderie has gone – and I have to remember to return ….. I know that it’s possible to get it corrected – but ‘half’ the blogging world are quite happy with their present format and when a choice is removed arbitrarily by blogger – it’s not kind!!
    6. I hate it when they just comment for the sake of it – I agree .. with your (3) …
    7. I hate it when people post 7 times a week … and sometimes the posts seem to be just to get something up …
    8. I follow x number of blogs – and do like to get to those bloggers whose words I enjoy reading or visuals …. I miss people too – and can email them to check in
    9. Personally it makes no difference if bloggers have a schedule – though I know if you’re building a business you should be more organised. I’ve been lucky and now post every 5 days or so … but I really should do twice a week – as I have so much I want to write about!!
    10. Bloggers please get your email somewhere so we can contact you should we wish to ..
    That’s probably way too much – but you did ask and I held off til I could get back with some time .. and now to read the others …

    Cheers Hilary

  19. I’m the same way about comments. If I’m asked a direct question, I’ll answer it, but I honestly don’t know how some folks are able to reply to every comment that comes their way. It would make blogging a full-time job. I do read them and reply when I have something to add, though. Great post! 🙂

  20. 1. I only notice if the design is unreadable. Dark type with a dark background–forget it.
    2. Honestly, if the author consistently ignores me, I won’t pop in again any time soon. By that, I mostly mean not popping onto my blog.
    3. It really doesn’t matter to me, unless I have a question. I try to reply to all the comments, but some weeks time gets away from me more than others. If the author comes to visit me, that’s the reply that counts to me. 🙂
    4. I rarely notice, too. I will notice if someone isn’t around for awhile if we’ve become regulars on each other’s blogs. I follow over 1,000 blogs. Yeah, so most will take me awhile to notice.

  21. Hope you have a restful April.

    I’m on blogger. I don’t think they have a set-up where I can respond individually to each comment. Or maybe I’ve never found it.

    I’m with you on the captcha squiggles. Some of the letters are so twisted and crammed together that they’re almost impossible to read. Otherwise, I don’t worry too much about how that person’s blog looks.

  22. Design matters to me, too. And I admit, if someone misses a day, I don’t notice.

  23. Word verification doesn’t bother me so much. What bothers me are pop-ups and redirecting ads.

    Also, big long ranty blogposts that go on forever. Sorry, I’m not reading that. :

  24. Good questions. The only time blog design bothers me is when there are so many add ons that it loads slowly. Word verification drives me NUTS! I don’t usually check back to see if someone responds to me, but I do notice if they don’t reciprocate most of the time (I don’t mean every time, but if I comment a lot and they never visit me – then I notice). I don’t notice much when people miss posts either – I follow so many people, I don’t remember what most of their schedules are! 🙂

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