I’m a little nervous to write this post.
It’s been a while since I’ve done a blogging discussion, and discussions, especially the ones related to blogging, are the hardest posts for me to write. I feel like I’ve only been publishing “easy” posts lately, like tags, lists, wrap-ups, etc. This isn’t to say that these types of posts don’t take a lot of effort to put together, but they’re easier for me to write since they all have a structured format. Man do I miss uploading a blogging discussion, one that I structured entirely by myself, and getting to hear everyone’s thoughts on the topic I talked about.
So today I’m attempting to bring blogging discussions back to this blog by talking about blog hopping! (Which, just in case you don’t know, is the act of commenting on other bloggers’ posts.) I got the idea to write a discussion on blog hopping from Let’s Talk Bookish, a weekly discussion meme hosted by my dear friend Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. Last Friday’s discussion topic was blog hopping, and I was supposed to publish this last Friday, but it was taking too long to write. 😅 Please forgive me for uploading late, Rukky…
The Benefits of Blog Hopping
- It’s great for exposure, especially if you’ve just started your blog. When you’re new to the blogosphere, it’s hard for people to find you, so you have to make them find you first. Of course, there are other ways for people to stumble upon your blog, but blog hopping is one of the most surefire ways. Most book bloggers comment back, so when you’ve commented on one or maybe a couple of their posts, they’ll probably return the favor.
- Friends! I swear, blog hopping is such a great way to form connections within the community. With many of the bloggers I consider friends, our friendship started by commenting back and forth on each other’s posts.
- It brings traffic to your own blog. Not only does blog hopping increase the chances of people commenting on your blog in return, but it also helps you get tagged in tags and awards, get shout-outs from other bloggers, etc.
- Supporting other bloggers. Let’s face it, book blogs are losing to social media. (Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books wrote an excellent discussion on the underappreciation of book bloggers, and she talks about the topic more eloquently than I could.) So it’s important to support each other, because, honestly, not many people do.
- Getting post ideas and helping you improve your content. I’m not saying that you should plagiarize. But visiting other people’s blogs has helped me improve my own blog so much. I’ve gotten inspiration from so many beautiful blog aesthetics, memorable blogging voices, creative post ideas, and more.
- It’s fun! Yes, blog hopping can get stressful and time-consuming, especially if you comment back a lot and follow many blogs. But some bloggers consistently put out posts that are such a delight to read and interact with. 🥺
On the Selfish Aspect of Blog Hopping
I’m not gonna pretend that one of the biggest reasons I blog hop isn’t because I know it’ll help bring engagement to my own blog. I’m pretty sure everyone blog hops for themselves to some extent. 🤷🏻♀️ I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, as long as you put at least a little effort into reading the posts you’re commenting on and commenting something insightful. By this I mean, say something that’s actually related to the post, and don’t just say “Check out my blog!!!”. 🙃
Mistakes I Made When I First Started Blog Hopping
The biggest mistake I made was that I followed literally ANY blog I came across. I didn’t even read their posts first. I just clicked the follow button, and told myself that I would find the time to comment on every post on my Reader. 🤡
Of course, it didn’t go well at all. My Reader got so clogged that I couldn’t possibly comment on every single post in it. Sometimes I’d get so overwhelmed that I couldn’t even comment on one.
Moreover, most of the bloggers I followed didn’t comment back, or even reply to my comments. I was following the wrong people.
When you’re a new blogger who’s blog hopping to gain an audience, you shouldn’t follow just any blog. Instead, take note of which bloggers you always see in comment sections, and comment on their posts. They’re the ones who are most likely to comment back. However, I suggest following bloggers who both comment back and put out posts that interest you. There are a lot, trust me.
I also made the mistake of thinking that I had to follow everyone back. I used to follow every blogger who left a comment on or followed my blog, and I regret it. I should’ve checked their posts first to see if I genuinely found their blog worth following. I comment on almost every post in my Reader, and I don’t want to go back to the days when I’d wake up to 40 new posts every morning.
How I Blog Hop
This is just how I personally do it! Don’t take this as an *ultimate guide to blog hopping* because it’s not. What works for you may be different!
What I use to blog hop
I used Feedly for a while. I think Feedly’s strongest point is the fact that you can organize the people you’re following on WordPress into separate feeds. However, I stopped using Feedly because you can only follow up to a hundred blogs on it. If you want to follow more, you’ll have to pay. And I follow more than 100 blogs, so…
If Feedly interests you though, Kal @ Reader Voracious wrote an awesome guide to utilizing it for blog hopping!
Now, I just use the good old WordPress Reader. When I want to comment on a blog post from a person I follow, I just click “visit,” which will open the post I want to comment on in another tab.
I start every blog hopping session by opening every blog post I plan to comment on in a new tab. I find that having them all in individual tabs prevents me from forgetting about a blog post I need to comment on. Though I’ve learned the hard way that your computer will stop working if you open too many tabs in rapid succession…
What posts do I comment on
Like I said above, I comment on almost every post on my Reader. However, I don’t try to force it if I can’t think of anything to comment, and simply leave a like to show my support.
(May @ Forever and Everly wrote a post on what makes her want to comment on a blog post, and I wholeheartedly agree with everything she said in it. If a blog post doesn’t have any of the things she listed, I probably won’t comment on it.)
I also comment back when someone I don’t know comments on one of my posts. I sometimes forget or am too lazy to comment back though… Also, if I’m being honest, I don’t feel the urge to comment back if someone’s comment doesn’t have anything substantial to say (e.g. “Great post!”), and it’s a big turn-off for me when people leave their blog’s link in their comment. If I’m interested, I’ll click on your profile. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Lastly, I comment on all of the posts that link back to me—whether it’s because the blogger tagged me in something or shouted me out—in order to show my thanks to them.
How frequently do I blog hop
I used to have a bad habit of letting un-commented on posts pile up for a few days, but now I try to dedicate time to blog hopping everyday so I don’t get overwhelmed.
What I usually say in my comments
I try to leave at least one-paragraph long comments, which usually talk about:
- my excitement for a book that the blogger mentioned
- my thoughts on a book that they mentioned and I’ve read
- my personal thoughts on something they discussed
- whether I agree or politely disagree with something they said
I have a penchant for rambling, so I’m sorry if I ever left an essay-long comment on your blog post that took you a long time to reply to. :((
I want to end this post by saying that you absolutely are not obligated to blog hop. It’s totally understandable if you don’t want to or can’t dedicate time to it!