Momcomm Monday is my weekly series to help you become a better writer, blogger and social media geek. If you missed last week’s post, catch up on Momcomm in Review.
If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been on the down low lately. No one reason in particular but rather a culmination of bits and pieces of life. It’s been hectic to say the least. I’m usually pretty good about reading other blogs and commenting but the past few weeks I just haven’t been able to swing it.
So I’m going to try a little experiment that’s not entirely self-serving. It will hopefully serve as a super fantastic way for YOU to keep up with your favorite blogs too.
I already subscribe to my favorite blogs via RSS and read them in Google Reader. Or maybe I should say I half assedly do that. I know there are some fave blogs missing from my reader and I’ve been terrible about using Reader consistently, which is why there are always over 1000 unread posts in there. UGH. Luckily I don’t treat it like email where I have to read EVERYTHING but really, I’ve got to get it under control.
My experiment is going to involve using my Reader to comment at my favorite blogs on a regular basis. But before I get to HOW I’m going to attempt this if-it-works-it’ll-be-really-awesome feat, let me explain a few things…
What is RSS?
To really understand my experiment you’ve gotta know what RSS is. Here’s the Wikipedia definition:
RSS (most commonly expanded as Really Simple Syndication) is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format.
If you’re a blogger, your most dedicated readers subscribe to your RSS (or Google Friend Connect but I’m not going there for this post). These people are EAGER to hear what you have to say. If you don’t have RSS set up on your blog, then you must get on that ASAP.
Don’t use the fact that you will lose pageviews stop you (viewing your blog in an RSS doesn’t count towards blog traffic). I’ve heard that line before and let me just rant for a second. You should bend over backwards to make things easier on your readers. Want to keep them? Give them options for reading your posts (one being subscribing to an RSS). If you’re worried about losing pageviews, then you’re being selfish. It’s not about you. Wouldn’t you be ticked if you found out your favorite store was making your experience less than stellar to boost one of their stats? Same thing here. Your reader is your customer… and they always come first. /rant 😉
Now that I’ve got that off my chest and you’ve set up your RSS, please burn it. If you have no idea what that means, then read How to Burn a Feed Through Feedburner and don’t miss Kludgy Mom’s article How to Use Feedburner on Your Blog either. Both of these articles are must reads.
Using Google Reader
Google Reader is one way to read RSS feeds. It’s probably the most popular as well. Google Reader is basically like an email inbox for the blogs you subscribe to. Instead of surfing from website to website to read posts, you get it all in one place.
Why am I so concerned about keeping up with other blogs?
Because blogging is about more than blogging. It’s about building relationships with other bloggers. I just passed my first year of blogging and I’ve got to say that I had no idea how many great GENUINE connections I would make from blogging. Plus there really are so many great bloggers out there that I learn from (how they write, how they promote, how they interact).
Need some other less kumbaya reasons for commenting on other blogs?
– When people start seeing you on other blogs, you suddenly start to be “everywhere.” If someone doesn’t know you, then may think “I see this Adventuroo everywhere. She must have a blog that people like to read since she sure seems to have connections with all these bloggers.”
– When you post a really snappy, funny or thoughtful comment, not only does the blogger take notice, but other their readers do too. If they liked what you had to say in a post, then they will be intrigued to read more from you.
– Commenting on blogs with Comment Luv enabled show your most recent blog post. If you’ve written a catchy title, people will want to come to your blog to read it.
Here’s how I’m going about my experiment.
Now that I got all of that really important stuff out of the way, let me tell you how I’m going to run this little experiment…
1. I declared RSS bankruptcy.
It’s like email bankruptcy, only easier to do because no one’s waiting for a response. Essentially, I marked everything in my reader as read. No more 1000+ unread posts! This way, I start my experiment fresh without worrying about going back and reading older posts.
2. I laid out a schedule for commenting.
I’ve had my RSS categorized for a while now (note: be careful what you name your folders since you can’t rename them in Reader. Lame, right?). Each week day I will read through new posts from one category and leave comments. I don’t plan to leave a comment for EVERY post but I’ll how many I can squeeze in a day.
If one of these bloggers tweet their post and I see it on Twitter first, I’ll definitely read and comment no matter what day it is. This just makes sure I read each blog at least once a week.
Monday- Carolina blogs (mostly blogging moms but not all)
Tuesday- Outdoor bloggers
Wednesday- Other Favorite Bloggers
Thursdays- More Other Favorite Bloggers
Friday- Marketing, design, scrapbooking, foodie and other type blogs I don’t typically comment on
I’ve always suggested this approach to others but I’ve never gotten around to making a habit of keeping to the schedule. Hoping to change that!
3. Time myself.
This one is going to get painful to keep up with but I’m going to try. I think the first week I’ll just use a timer and see how long it takes to do this. After that, I’ll try to keep it under 30 minutes a day even if it’s scattered in spurts here and there throughout the day.
4. Keep track of comments by starring them.
I’m really excited about this. I’m always forgetting where I’ve commented. In Google Reader, you can star favorite posts. I’m
going to use the star for another purpose and star a post when I’ve commented on it. I can then view all my starred posts if I ever want to see where I’ve commented.
I’m going to give this a go for a month and see if I can create a nice, productive habit out of this.
If you want to see my progress, I’ll be posting updates at least weekly on my Facebook fan page. Then I’ll post a recap in a month.
Sounds like a plan, right?