Taking a blog to the next level involves a lot of hard work. In fact, when I started this blog earlier last year, I had underestimated the effort involved and started spending more and more time (quite unknowingly) to accelerate harder to reach some of those unrealistic goals.
In an attempt to become more practical, I recently came up with a plan and hence the revised version of my goals. The process of zooming out (by 10x) the monetary and other egoistic targets saved me time and I started enjoying other aspects of my blogging life without compromising my family time (the smile above). The reduced focus on money and material targets also gave me time to connect better with the readers. And I realized that connecting better results in certain reader behaviors that make every blogger happy.
Visitor/reader behaviors that every blogger relishes
#1 Genuine comments: Posting comments and replies originally meant voicing opinions and not backlinks or marketing opportunity for the commenter. Of late, the commenting process has become more of an obligation and artificial popularizing mechanism but there are still a good bunch of readers who come up with genuine comments. This is something that bloggers really enjoy!
#2 Follow up: How often do we follow up after reading a post and commenting there in? In most cases, you read and forget where you commented and do not even care to go back. In fact, a blogger gets more satisfaction when a commenter comes back to follow up or check the discussion status. I think it is a good habit to subscribe to comments at least to follow up once per post thread.
#3 Readers and commenters connecting each other: A lot of people directly address the blogger while replying or making comments. However, a blog becomes more successful and the blogger feels just great when the readers are helping each other and involving in healthy discussions and debates. This also helps to reduce the load on the author/blogger. Technically speaking blogs are not really naturally conducive to promote discussions but platforms like WordPress are maturing towards meeting this genuine requirement.
#4 Regular visitors’ faces on social media widgets: Of course not everybody has those widgets enabled nor do all visitors have social media accounts. However, whenever those familiar faces (and avatars) show up there, it gives the blogger a good feeling that at least a few of them are listening and following you regularly. (In fact, this somehow gives me more satisfaction than increasing RSS counts where I do not know who is accessing the blog)
#5 Content credits: Even when somebody, who could market your content better, reuses your original creation elsewhere but (s)he has mentioned your name there it gives the blogger due credit. Thanks to the small percentage of people who have cared about this aspect!
#6 Reading contents completely: There are many people who do not read completely and not even 50% for that matter but stop at a stage where they are somehow ready to come up with a half-hearted comment. On the other hand, there are genuine readers who completely read from title to the last period, digest it and then comment! Even if such comments come in only once in a while, they are special and make the blogger happy!
#7 Token of appreciation: Sometimes as a blogger you strike good deals with vendors and provide firsthand tips for your readers. Some readers promptly consume it without thanking or without even mentioning whether it was really useful at all. But there are many whose simple and genuine ‘thanks’ makes a lot of difference. (Recently there was a funny incident where a genuine referral of mine fought with the vendor to take the referral credit away from me! These kinds of backstabbing are one off incidents but otherwise mostly people tend to ‘thank’ genuinely)
#8 Offline feedbacks: I receive 10-15 emails per week (with respect to this blog) via the contact form, seeking help, reporting issues, good feedbacks, suggestions to improve, friend requests etc. It gives me a lot of pleasure to reply to those emails as these are examples of the effectiveness of the blog. And many a time, the offline email feedback conveys a lot more than the public comments. This is one of the things that I really like about having a blog.
#9 Link loves (not from link love only posts): The link to your work or findings from a relevant post (even if it is with rel=nofollow) is always something that I like. Of course, I am not a person who receives a lot of it nor do I give a lot. But I guess, in general, all bloggers love it! (This point is slightly different from #5)
#10 Blogroll linking: Of course blogrolls have become monetization tools now, but if somebody – without expecting a link exchange – does link to your blog it is a major approval for any blog and is highly satisfying!
There may be several other reader/visitor behaviors that a lot of you particularly like. It could be subscribing to your feeds, donating, reviewing your blog, following you on twitter and so on. Could you share what you like the most about your readers and their actions?. Also let us know what all aspects of blogging give you satisfaction and happiness.