Talk To Me
is a no-nonsense discussion feature on this blog. No-nonsense means I’m too lazy to make it look pretty. It’s exactly what the title suggests: I’m going to pose a question or tell you my own opinion about something, and I want to know what you think about it! Obviously feel free to write up your own post on the topic and link it in the comments.
This post is inspired by a discussion about why reviews receive less comments than other posts on These Paper Hearts. In it, Stephanie raises the question of whether we are too focused on catering to fellow bloggers instead of readers who don’t have a blog themselves. As this is something I’ve been thinking about myself, I thought I’d start a discussion.
I am horrible with blog statistics, so I mainly measure the success of a post by the comments it receives. However, it’s mostly other bloggers that leave comments, so I have no clue whether people who don’t have blogs themselves read my blog or not. I see other bloggers’ comments, so they’re much more present in my head than someone who simply reads a post and then leaves. That is not to say there is anything wrong with reading a post without commenting. I do it all the time myself; I’m just trying to rationalize why I mainly think of other bloggers when I write my posts. I am fairly positive that it’s mostly other bloggers who return to my blog on a regular basis, but part of that may be based on my own experience. I did sometimes return to and comment on blogs before I had one myself, but mostly I stumbled upon a blog via Google search, found out what I wanted to know and then never went to the site again.
I’m assuming that readers without a blog come for one or all of three reasons:
The most obvious example for information on a book blog would of course be book reviews, but it could also be a BEA review, author interview or any number of things that enhance the bookworm experience. Advice can be pretty much anything: How do I ask for ARCs? Why does my red lipstick always end up on my teeth instead of my lips? What’s the HTML for inserting a link? Often you find what you’re looking for on a blog and, if the writing is entertaining or the post changed your life in a significant way, you might come back for more, but mostly you’d just read that one post and then leave again. The reason that makes me return most often is if I find something entertaining and/or relate to it. If someone’s writing style makes me laugh, I’ll want to read more. If I also like someone and they share similar interests, even better!
So should we think more about our non-blogger audience? Yes, definitely. Just look at the way I phrased that and the title of this post – the “we” automatically excludes everyone who doesn’t have a blog. I did it intentionally this time to make a point, but it also came naturally, and I’m positive I phrase my posts like that a lot without even giving it a second thought. I want everyone who stumbles upon my blog to feel included! I mean if we don’t share the same interests, you only came here for one specific thing, or you simply just don’t care for reading blogs that’s perfectly fine – but if you come to my blog and are interested, I want you to feel welcome.
Do you agree with me, or do you think it makes more sense to focus on your blogger readers? If you don’t have a blog yourself, have you noticed this phenomenon? What do you think would be some good ways to include non-blogger readers? Do you think there is a difference in what people look for on a blog related to whether they have a blog themselves? Let me know in the comments!