Monday, July 5, 2010

Some Hopping Tips

The Results of My First Blogger Hop

Blogs Visited:

New Blogs Followed:

Total Blogs Now Following:

Comments on My Blog:

New Followers:

That's right, I visited, commented on, and followed every blog I could.
(Blogs that did not support Google-Followers, I passed on)

I made it my personal goal to visit every single one this weekend; even stayed up way past exhaustion last night to finish.

Today, I was rewarded with over 300 posts (from Sunday and Monday) in my Google-Reader, which I diligently skimmed and read. It took me (I'm guessing) over 3 hours.

I just got back from an hour-long massage-shower to release my headache and shoulder tension.

Do NOT Do What I Did.

Have you ever gone to an all-you-can-eat buffet, filled yourself to full, then gone back one more time for dessert? Or how about gotten a gym membership and spent two hours going full-speed/full-strength?

Do you remember how it felt the next day?

Yeah, that's about what I'm feeling right now.

So here are my tips on how to safely and successfully Blog Hop:

1. Set a Realistic Goal
Pick a number you're comfortable with following and stick to it. No one is judging you on how many blogs you visit. In fact, there's no (easy) way to keep track at all. The only judge you have is yourself, and I think they'll understand your reasoning.

2. Be Sure to Leave Comments
Remember what I said about 'no way to keep track'? Well, when you visit someone's blog, be sure to leave them a comment. It doesn't have to be super fancy or detailed, but there are a couple things it should include:

A Polite Greeting
As in any correspondence, this helps break the ice and establish a connection.
"Hi there!"
"Hey ho, how's it hangin?!"
 "Caught you through the Hop!"

 Some Positive Detail You Noticed About Their Blog/Post
 An added bonus to the ice-breaker, this gives the blog owner a reason to further their connection with you. It always makes people feel good to know their hard work is being seen/read.
"I loved [insert book title] too!"
"Your banner is really ugly."
"Wow, your story is really similar to mine!"

A Tactful Link to Your Own Blog
Always leave a link. This is about establishing connections. How are we supposed to do that if you say 'hi' and disappear? However, don't be forceful about it. Provide it as an opportunity, not an obligation.
"I also review SciFi in my blog, (link)"
"Go to my blog if you ever want to see your family again: (link)"
"Hope you can hop over my way too! (link)"
"I visited you, now you visit me! It's only fair. (link)"
"Care to venture into (The Wolf's Den)?"

Now, while it's best to make each and every entry unique, if you are dealing in mass there's nothing wrong with creating a template that you can copy and paste. Especially when it comes to links—you don't want to mistype your blog-page and accidentally send them somewhere else!

3. Be Smart About Following 
Don't Expect a Follow for a Follow. 
While it's nice to think the above is some sort of unwritten rule, this can't be farther from the truth. I've seen some blogs with over 1000 followers, and you can bet that that person isn't following 1000 blogs. Well, at least not actively. They might be 'a Follower', but that's not the same as 'Following'.
I'll expand on this more below.

Don't Try to Force Followers
Ever gone into a store and been besieged by salespeople? Or have you gotten solicitors at your door? Most often your immediate reaction is "I'm not interested, GO AWAY!" Trying to force people to follow you just makes them that much more eager to say 'no'.

Follow Your Interests
If you can't stand Romance, why follow someone who only reviews Romance? You'll never actually read their posts, and that just defeats the purpose of following in the first place! It's like someone handing out all their pamphlets only to discover they've all been thrown in the trashcan around the corner. Be honest about what you'll read.

And in the same respect, don't expect people to follow your blog if it doesn't interest them.

4. Organize Your Reader
If you're like me, and you may have overshot your bounds, be smart about how you read things. Don't spend hours trying to sort through things you may not want to read... I dumped ALL Book Blogs into ONE folder, so it took forever to sort through it all.

Set Up Genre Folders
That way you can hit certain blogs when you're in the mood, or save others for another time.

Set Up a Probationary List
If you did select too many blogs to follow, put some in a folder that you can browse at your leisure to see if you really do like their writing style. Give it a couple weeks. If you can't remember liking anything of theirs in that time, it's probably best that you un-follow them.

5. Review and Make New Goals
After it's all over take into account what you did and what results you got.
How many did you visit?
How many did you like?
How many will you follow?
What was your blog's visiting rate?

As for me, I visited over 200 blogs and got around 80 visits.
I had a lot of fun, but I also overexerted myself.
Next time (yes, I will do this again) I probably won't visit (or follow) every single blog I find. I'll definitely be more selective in my genres, and I'll stop when I feel like stopping.

Big thanks to Crazy-for-Books for hosting this weekend's Hop.
I hope you all enjoyed your own hopping.

Until next time...