Friend Friday: Me! Me! Me! The Pitfalls of Self-Promotion

Nobody likes a braggart. Or an ass-kisser. We all know that.

We also know there is truth in the saying, if you don’t toot your own horn, nobody else will. It’s kind of like the squeaky wheel gets the grease. But again, a healthy helping of hubris often leaves a bad taste in others’ mouths.

So when it comes to blogging and building a readership, how much is too much? What is “good” promotion? What smacks of self-importance? That’s what we’re pondering in this week’s Friend Friday* topic.

How do you promote your blog?

OK, first, let me say this. I’m a horn-tooter—but I’m a gracious horn-tooter—I try to toot other people’s horns as much as I toot my own. As a writer, having clips and a portfolio and pushing my work is just ingrained. And there is a certain amount of hubris inherent in writers (I’ve got a SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION tab up there!); we really do like to see our names in a byline, we really do document our growth and our careers through our clips—and I don’t see a damn thing wrong with that. It’s good to own your achievements, as long as you also own your shortcomings.

I take the same approach with my blog…I am building a body of work, a portfolio that I am proud of, whether I ever make a dime off it or not. To promote G&G, I:

  • Regularly participate in and contribute to Independent Fashion Bloggers (IFB).
  • Make it easy—and obvious—for readers to follow my blog via the method of their choice: RSS, Feedburner, Bloglovin’, Twitter, etc. I also make sure other sources (like Wikifashion and IFB) have links or buttons for the different ways one can follow G&G.
  • Publicize new posts, respond to or retweet interesting tweets from other bloggers, use hashtags when applicable, and give Follow Friday (#FF) shoutouts on Twitter to keep my connection with other bloggers.
  • Comment on blogs I like and interact with other bloggers.
  • Join related networks/communities like Blog Catalog, BonBon Rose Girls, Expat Exchange, Expat Blog, and more.
  • Participate in collective blogging efforts like Friend Friday and the associated Fashion Beauty Friend Friday Google Group.
  • Participate in interviews with other bloggers who ask to feature me on their sites.
  • Run an ad on other blogs through the Indie Style Media free ad exchange.
  • Hand out business cards to people in the fashion industry with whom I’ve become acquainted.
  • Contribute to other fashion-related sites. In the recent past, I was a regular contributor to In Their Closet and Ask Miss A.
Contributing to other fashion-related blogs builds your reputation with a different audience.

In your experience what has been the most effective form of self-promotion?

According to my Google Analytics report, most people find my blog through a direct link, which leads me to believe that links left on my comments on other blogs are the most effective form of promotion—in short, thoughtful, relevant comments elsewhere are huge traffic boosters. Google searches are next on the list, but I suspect that’s because people have seen my blog name elsewhere and have Googled me.

Twitter is the next largest source of my traffic, followed by IFB. That said, I feel like one of the best ways to promote G&G has been participating in and contributing to IFB. Writing for IFB gives people a taste of my voice and what I’m bringing to the table, if you will. Participating in polls and discussions there enables others to get to know me, and regularly updating my status and keeping my profile and contact info fresh has been  invaluable.

My Independent Fashion Bloggers profile page.

Another thing that is extremely valuable in terms of self-promotion, and I read this somewhere just the other day, is to be helpful to others. Tips, tricks, time-savers, and knowledge-sharing keeps people interested and coming back. My Build a Better Blog page, for example, is a reference resource I created to help other fashion bloggers improve their blogs, because Web content development happens to be what I do professionally. I also use it to promote other bloggers who have published useful information on this topic. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Do you think there is a wrong way to promote yourself and your blog?

Uh, yeah!

  • Disingenuous commenting. I cannot stand bloggers who come by and leave a generic comment and ask me to follow them or check out their blogs. I’m sure this is universally detested by seasoned bloggers, but apparently people still aren’t aware. So that’s a no. Not only does this approach ask something for nothing, but bloggers who do this assume that I’ve got nothing better to do with my time then click right over to their blogs for a look. It’s insulting, really. Where’s the value-add? What’s the draw? Bloggers need to remember that there are MILLIONS of blogs vying for human attention. You really need to be engaging and at least show me you’re interested in me before you ask me to take an interest in you. That’s what I do.
  • Promote a product or campaign you don’t believe in. I’d never participate in a generic, mass-advertising campaign for a company that I don’t personally like, or does not compensate me in some way. So what if a massive company is willing to add you to their list…if you’re one of hundreds, you’re a needle in a haystack. Jumping on every bandwagon coming your way diminishes credibility and is a waste of time. Unless it is a charity effort, there is adequate compensation, and the product and messaging align with me and G&G, it’ll never happen.
  • Offer giveaways too frequently. I’m getting extraordinarily tired of seeing giveaways every week on some blogs. It may drive traffic to a blog, but it is temporary. I read blogs because they are interesting visually and/or verbally, not for free stuff—if I wanted to see products, I’d go to an online shopping site, not a blog. Plus, most giveaways are crap because that’s all companies are willing to part with for free. I almost never participate because I almost never click out of my reader to the post.

When it comes to others pushing their product, what annoys you?

Everything I mentioned in the question above. I’m so over the giveaway phenomenon. Truly. And if the first time you ever contact me, all you write is that you want me to follow you or exchange links, you can pretty much bet I will not. Thinly veiled compliments and typical in-your-face sponsor-pushing is insipid. At least ask me a riddle, or tease me with a headline or something, for crying out loud! Be creative!

This is why knowing your objective is crucial: do you want to blog, or do you want to turn your blog into a storefront, a full-blown money-making machine? It’s OK to be a blogger with a separate online store and occasionally cross-reference the two; that’s smart (and modern) business.  Jeweler and blogger Wendy Brandes does this exceedingly well—she weaves stories about people who have commissioned a custom piece around the mechanics of the piece, as well as her creative process and business practices. Her recent post, Custom Wedding Band for Iron Man Thom, is an excellent example of the clever way she uses her blog to soft-sell her services and toot her horn about the lengths to which she’ll go to ensure stellar customer service and a flawless finished product.

In Dressful’s post on this topic she wrote, “It’s impossible to respect someone who wants all the attention, but  adds nothing worthwhile to the conversation.” Do you agree?

I agree 150%! That’s essentially what I meant by disingenuous commenting. Blogging is a conversation, and a conversation is a verbal exchange between at least two parties. If I’m the only one talking, or you’re the only one talking, it’s not a conversation—it’s a soliloquy. And that, my lovelies, only works in theatre.

*The Friend Friday project by Modly Chic is a way for fashion bloggers to share more about themselves and create a friendly connection with other bloggers. Join the conversation by joining the Fashion Beauty Friend Friday Google Group.

113 comments

  1. You’re right on with this post, V! I completely agree with your annoyances about blogs. I hardly ever find blogs interesting that sit there and comment only with a “hey check out my blog thanks”. NOT interested.

    I couldn’t like Dressful’s statement any more, too! This is true not only in blogging, but also in real life. Who wants to talk to someone who insists on doing all the talking and being the center of attention? Yes, we get you have an opinion, but so does everyone else. That’s often what people forget, in any kind of conversation.

    My desire through my blog is that my readers, or should I now say friends :), come to know me as a person and learn my personality because of the way I am conversing with them through my writing. If I only have 50 followers, but that’s what they see through my blog, then I’m content.

    Loved this post!
    XXXO,
    M

  2. It does seem as if there are giveaways everywhere I turn these days. I’ve entered in one once, but in general I don’t enter because they’re not for me, nor do I believe will I ever offer one because I don’t want that kind of pressure nor see any point in doing so, as I don’t want to buy my audience’s attention… bribery, in fact. There’s more respect in earning it, in my opinion.

    As for why I blog, one of the reasons I do is to get my name and voice out there in the hopes that, somehow, someway, someday, I’ll eventually have a few paying gigs to take me out of my current day job. That said, I do not foresee my blog being monetized to the point where I can leave; I still have to figure out what works, to begin with, for that matter.

    And for self-promotion, I use Twitter a lot and comment on the blogs I visit, though in the latter, I just stick to commenting on the post; the readers can click on my name to see my blog if they want, as opposed to some who put the URL at the end of their comments, which more or less defeats the point of entering the URL into the space provided when first making said comments.

    Great post as always, madame. Merci.

    1. Hi Cameron, thanks for your comment. I think it’s crucial for bloggers to know their INTENT…as you do…because it informs the approach one should take. Bloggers like you who are looking to transition to full-time/pro blogging have a different agenda, and should be reading and doing everything they can to improve their blogs and leverage other social media to push it. That said, I don’t see including one’s URL—or any other identifier—in the comments section as redundant. Actually, I think it is a very good idea, it’s like an email signature. I created my “comment signature” for a few reasons:

      1. It reveals my URL, which promotes my blog and reinforces my blog name.
      2. Including my Twitter name lets people know that they can find me there immediately. And the more engaged followers I have, the more they are likely to be interested in a tweet about a new post.
      3. My signature is distinctive and subtly eye-catching, so it not only grabs others’ attention, when I go back and scroll through comments to see the bloggers response, I can easily find my comment.

      1. Okay. When you put it that way, having a comment signature is okay; it’s just another way to get your name out there and attract more followers, more readers, and maybe, just maybe, an advertiser now and again. Je comprends.

      2. I see what you’re saying! Basically you’re answering three questions in your comment signature:

        Who is this person?
        Where’s her website?
        How can I learn more about her?

        Done done AND done.

  3. we’re totally on the same page, practically answered the same way to the questions, lol. promotion is good when done in GOOD FAITH but senselessly throwing your link around with no regard for even considering reading the post that you just spammed? not cool! At least read what you are commenting on and leave a thoughtful post, have your link be in your signature as an ENDING, not as the entire comment!

    1. Hey Vonnie…OMG, you have my name! Well, kind of. Everyone tries to spell my name like your name, and I’m sure you get called “Bonnie” as much as I do!

      Anyway, thanks for your comment, doll!

      1. Ok Ladies – I am curious. Is Vonnie your given name or is it a nickname for Yvonne? HMM? My given name is Yvonne and I get called everything.
        So yeah – this comment wasn’t necessarily about the content of the article so allow me to ammend:
        Thank you for this post. I am new to blogging and trying to find my way around the blogging world without being offensive, annoying or completely narcissistic. This will help me avoid the “traps” 🙂

  4. I’ve only been blogging 3-4 months and have been the recipient of some excellent and unsolicited plugs. Each time it happens, I’m stunned…because I don’t think I’ve yet fully framed my purpose in blogging. I have no plans to “monetize” and I often wonder at those who are so intent on self-promotion. I ponder what their purpose might be. One that I’ve become aware of are those trying to get into a fashion program or design school…and I’m perfectly willing to be one of their followers. But they seem so dense. I chalk it up to their youth.

    It’s like looking in a mirror and seeing no reflection.

    1. Terri, you have had some KILLER plugs (uh, FORBES!)…and maybe that’s because you’ve already found your niche sort of accidentally. But then again, not. You are blogging from your unique perspective and you are a blogger who is outside the typical demographic. So maybe that’s why you and Beverly of Style Underdog have grabbed national attention: people want more original, content like yours!

      Youth does play into a lot of the mistakes made in blogging. But that only goes so far, you know? I believe that whether you intend to monetize or not, you should always put your best face forward. Maybe younger bloggers will eventually get this!

  5. Insightful and interesting as always. I completely agree with Dressful’s comment -so true! Oh, giveaways. I used to (naively) think it was a nice way to thank your blogging friends and give something back, but it very rarely seems to turn out that way. It’s something I’ll give a lot of thought to if I ever do one again.

  6. Yet again amazing Friend Friday answers V.
    I couldn’t agree more.
    I really dislike the giveaway thing too, I’ve only entered one and that was because the blogger picked the items specially to celebrate reaching 50 followers.
    Hope you have a great weekend xo

  7. I do not offer giveaways myself. If there is something I fancy I go out and purchase it.
    I loathe it when people leave comments on my blog promoting their giveaways – how incredibly shameless!!
    Excellent post here;-)

  8. As usual, you say everything I am feeling but in a much better way! I’m going to go back and edit my latest post to link to you – I hope you don’t mind if I quote a few lines from this article, too?

  9. “If I’m the only one talking, or you’re the only one talking, it’s not a conversation—it’s a soliloquy. And that, my lovelies, only works in theatre.”
    Bang on!
    I agree with everything you’ve said. To be fair though when I first joined IFB I recall seeing some articles of the “drive more traffic to your blog” ilk in which commenting and leaving your link was recommended as a way of driving traffic. The disingenuous commenting situation however has gotten so out of hand, as you have eloquently pointed out, that it has now become a form of spamming. You should post this to Links a la Mode, people need to hear the effect they are having on other bloggers by doing this kind of thing and that it doesn’t actually work in their favour.

  10. Totally agree with all of your points here V!

    I think that all too often I have been expecting comments with substance and not giving anything back to those who leave them – so am now on a mission to reply to comments as often as possible and where appropriate. It should be a conversation but I can’t berate others who don’t contribute to it in the comments on my blog if I’m not willing to continue the two-way discourse.

    1. Thank you Emily. I appreciate your honesty here, too. It’s true…we really can’t expect other people to do what we’re not at least doing ourselves. It’s so good of you to recognize that, own it, and move on. Good for you!

  11. And you do it again! Another fabulous post! Can’t say I disagree with anything. I do feel the same way about Giveaways and Commenting. But I need to get more regular on IFB … I tend to get lazy! Have a great weekend, V!

  12. Santa Vhani! I love you honesty..
    It helps a lot of people out there to promote themselves in a better way.
    I find odd when I see comments on my blog like “nice post”… that doesn’t make me to go to theirs. And I won’t.
    Blogs are very different..
    You write great stories about different things.. and you can’t expect a simple comment like “awesome post”..
    You know..”relax… enjoy the reading”…
    In my case.. I don’t right a lot.. I go for more photography.. and that ‘s how I connect with other blogs.. it to find my opposite
    They must read or at least be interested in what you writing.. if not.. “thanks for popping by” ..

    ps.. going to check that blog “in their closet”.. you are a celebrity..!
    LOx

  13. I LOVE your FF post so much. So many important points here.
    I also HATE it when people just randomly write on my comment: FOLLOW ME, and I’ll follow you back, I REALLY CAN’T STAND THAT!!!, so Peeps, please take note, and YES, I sometimes feel that give away actually doesn’t really work, I think it’s just so overused. Having said that I am currently sponsored for a give away :), so I think I will do a give away if I really the sponsored product/ company 🙂

    I hope you’re having a fabulous friday my friend

    LOVE
    J
    xoxo

  14. i couldn’t agree more. i get really really weary of too much self-promotion. i get it, we’re bloggers, we have to – but to an extent! and like you point out, there are so many ways to do it that don’t reek so much of desperation and complete self-involvement. when i was a brand new blogger and had no idea how this whole thing worked, i confess, i was guilty of messaging people on IFB and saying, hey let’s follow each other. granted, i was offering a follow in return, but i realized very quickly that it’s a pretty piss-poor way of gaining a follower. we would end up following each other and then never heard from each other again. another problem was my blogroll list. when i was new people would message me and say, hey let’s exchange links on each other’s blogrolls. and out of sheer joy and excitement i would say yes, only to find that in reality i wasn’t drawn to that person’s blog, and though they said they read mine, i never received comments and we didn’t engage each other in conversation via comments.

    so i removed my blogroll as a start over and a cleansing. when i repost it one day it will reflect my *true* blogroll and i will be proud of it. and when people message me to follow them, i honestly tell them they shouldn’t do that and advise them of better ways they can go about promoting themselves.

    and now i will be saving this link to direct them here so they can read this. i can’t tell you how many times i’ve directed someone to your blog for information. and they always come back and thank me. =)

    1. I love how much you listen and try new things with your blog, Kristy. I so appreciate when you and other bloggers recognize a weakness and stop, refocus, improve, and go forward. It’s a testament to your commitment and personality!

      Thanks for your comment, doll, as always.

  15. I totally agree with you! I like that you express your views in an honest and polite way! Something that really bothers me me in blogging is the “follow me and I’ll follow you” thing…! I mean I do follow blogs as a return of their following me, but I like this “follow me back” thing to be done in a more quiet, kinder way! People are not stupid! Honesty is what stays in their minds at the end of the day!

    Take care, Lena!

  16. Shit! I came over here to say, “so cute! follow me back! xoxo” Damn….

    I have mixed feelings about giveaways. I like giving my readers a chance to win something that I would like to have myself. And we’ve tried to have giveaways for milestones and have sought after Etsy vendors and people like Wendy to sponsor our giveaways. I don’t really care about it bringing more or less traffic to the blog because I do this as a hobby and almost never check our stats.

    1. HAAAAAAAAAAAA!

      I think giveaways are good in small doses, you know?! And I understand supporting partners and vendors…I just think too many young, inexperienced bloggers go overboard with it and forget the original purpose and direction of their blogs.

      Thanks for commenting!

  17. Interesting as usual. I try not to self promote, although in the beginning I was at a loss for how to get some readers of my blog. I don’t have sponsors, and I have mixed feelings about giveaways. I think they can be cool, but after a few months of reading fashion blogs, I decided not to participate in them, because I’m not reading blogs to get free stuff (as I already have the means to get the stuff I want, and I am trying to cut back on accumulating material good). I dislike it when blogs read only like commercials, but that’s just my preference. I know that everyone reads blogs for different reasons. I like it when bloggers talk about products they’ve bought and tried with their own money, since my decision to buy/try something with also require my own resources.

  18. Girl you nail it every single question. I really thought I was the only one who wasn’t crazy about doing giveaways on my blog. It’s always been something I wasn’t really into doing and the two times I have done it, it felt more of a chore than fun.

    Insincere comments is a BIGGIE for me too. I’d rather have one meaningful comment ,than a bunch of “that’s nice, see my blog”. That annoys me to no end! When you’re a blogger, you are a needle in a haystack and the best way to stand out from the crowd is to really be yourself and engage. Because really, no one else out there is exactly like you, so you have to use your own uniqueness to set you apart.

    Posting your content on other sites and forums is an excellent way to promote your blog! That was one of the first things I did early on with mine and the results are amazing!

    1. MJ, thank you! I love reading your perspective, and you are just so right: we should all use our own uniqueness to set us apart! So many bloggers don’t get this!

  19. Great responses as usual! We both bullet pointed the first question.
    I like hosting giveaways because more often than not my frequent readers win the item and it does bring a couple additional followers. But I agree with the too frequent thing… I tried that for a couple weeks are realized it wasn’t working out the way I had thought it would. (I suppose a lot of blogging is a product of trial and error.) Now I hope to have one a month. But I am firm in only doing a giveaway in the products that I actually like and own, have tried, would try. And I HATE when people leave comments that end with ‘check out my giveaway. My immediate response – no thanks.
    – Katy

  20. First, let me say I love this blog, especially the tag line “Style. Shoes. Food. Not necessarily in that order.”

    Second, I am soooooooooo with you on the giveaways. I think that people do it because they want to attract a lot of attention to the blog and nothing grabs attention like the word “Free” or in this case “GiveAway” 🙂

    Michelle

  21. So well stated. I am all for self-promotion (heck, as a reader, if you got covered somewhere else or received some honor–I want to know so I can congratulate you!!). But I do think the key is sharing and pointing out other successes as well. I don’t really see giveaways as self-promotion–it’s just another type of post that I’m not really interested in, but if someone has the opportunity to do a giveaway, yay for the lucky recipient!

    You are so spot on–conversation is key! We’re a community, not just an audience.

  22. Man. I wanted to tell how that your shoes are cute then leave. 🙂

    Seriously, you know how much I love what you write and how you write it. You always seem to sum up what everyone else is thinking, in the most eloquent ways.

    I can teach you to make coffee, you you’re on your own for math and singing 🙂

    1. HAAAAAA! Thank you so much for linking back, and for your super sweet words! I’m honestly so very flattered.

      And yeah, I can’t make brewed coffee to save my life! So I could use some pointers!

  23. I know I’ve said this in your comments section before, but I’m SO with you on the giveaways. There’s just too many of them now, and they’ve also started to combine themselves with the disingenuous comment, so I get loads of comments which say absolutely nothing about my post, just “Hi, please enter my giveaway!” And I think, “I went to all this trouble to write a post and take photos etc, and you just want to make it all about you and your giveway? Gah.” Nothing is less likely to make me want to visit someone’s blog, and ditto with the “Hi, please follow me!” comments. I will definitely NOT follow someone who comments only to beg me to follow them. I’m twisted like that 🙂

  24. Brilliant post, I’m with you on this one and such great pointers too!
    I did lol at one bit about the ‘thinly veiled compliments… for crying out loud be creative’ bit, because just the other day someone left me a comment, complimenting me then asked for a collaboration… I left my e-mail for all of 24hrs (then deleted it) thinking that they’d get in touch… God i’m so easily tickled! DOH!
    I have the same feeling with comments which say ‘I like your blog, follow me’…and similar views as Amber above about entering a giveaway. I know i’ve said this over and over again but it does wind me up big time. I will tab/bookmark blogs which do interest me though.
    Like Kristy, I will also be saving this link and directing others who continue to leave those comments, hopefully they’ll learn soon!

    Thanks for such a fab post again!

    x.o.x.o

  25. First, I have to say I miss seeing your beautiful face (and coveting whatever it is you are wearing!) in your Friend Friday VLOG. That being said, I can understand why you wrote this instead of VLOGed it… there is so much to say about this topic, and there is no doubt you are passionate about this subject.

    I missed this FF because I was knee-deep in finishing that tutorial, but if I had participated, I would have said much the same. I agree 150% with everything that you said. Even un-seasoned bloggers like myself can see right through the “hi – love your blog – follow me please!” comments. I love the idea others have mentioned of responding to those types of comments with a link to this post. I think I may follow suit and do that as well.

    Blogging is really about being part of a community, and there is a way to do that while promoting yourself and your fellow bloggers. That is what makes this gratifying. That is what makes this worthwhile. When it turns into a “me me me” extravaganza people stop caring. Most importantly – they stop listening. What is the point of blogging if no one listens?

    1. Aw, thanks, B! I guess another vlog will come soon. I like to mix it up, you know?!

      On those tutorials…they ROCK! I need to add the others to my BABB page. Been swamped myself. Thank God for scheduled posts. And you are right: what’s the point of blogging if no one listens?!

  26. I could not agree more with your paragraph about giveaways. Unless its something huge and major I can’t buy myself I’m not inclined to enter a giveaway. I visit blogs because I like there content, they have something to offer me that I can’t get elsewhere, the bloggers perspective and how THEY see the world. If I’m reading the discussion within comments and come across “nice outfit, check out my giveaway at www . whatever” it interrupts the discussion, and its ANNOYING!

    I have noticed on certain blogs that foster a lot of discussions around a post (ex Tavi’s, Dead Fleurettes) there doesn’t seem to be a lot of spammy comments. I assume this is because of the content their producing, for whatever reason it doesn’t attract a lot of spam. Not sure how to translate that into my blog… personally, I’d rather get 0 comments on a post than 50 “check out my giveaway at xxx. Com”

    ~Em K

    PS. Your blogging related articles are a really useful resource. Thanks!

  27. Wow! You, my friend, are certainly on a roll with these amazing posts!! I guess it’s hard not to toot your own horn when most bloggers are writing about their lives and what they do. Although I thoroughly support your efforts of spreading the blogger love, and am going to be doing more of that on my blog! 🙂
    As for giveaways, I’m sure i’ve said this to you before, but I really don’t see the point in them at all! But the blogging world is free, so they can do whatever they like to do on their blog, I just don’t visit it after seeing giveaways on them!
    Like Kristy, I direct a lot of people to your blog when they ask for help as you have some amazing tips here that everyone can learn from!! They, too, thank me because it’s such a valuable tool and so easy to navigate through!
    And one final thing, if someone doesn’t bother conversing through their blog or even answering comments on the posts, then they really shouldn’t bother having one to be honest! lol
    Hope to see more of your vlogs again soon! 🙂
    Take care!
    xoxo
    Meg

    1. Aw, thanks Meg! And thanks for pointing people in my direction. I appreciate that and I do hope I can be helpful to others.

      I’m sure I’ll do a vlog again soon…makes me feel good to know at least a couple people like them!

  28. I’m pretty bad at self-promotion but then I’ve known that for a while now. Having said that, blogging is of course self-promotion to the max. Putting yourself out there through outfit posts or through posting articles is a form of self-promotion. Re: giveaways, I’ve only done one, to mark 6 months in the blogosphere but I assume they must be popular else why would so many blogs hold weekly giveaways?

    1. Agreed!

      RE: Giveaways. Yes, they are popular, because people love free stuff! But most people who come to a blog or follow only for a giveaway fade away once it’s over. So it is often a lot of work for not that much in return. However, the occasional giveaway isn’t a bad thing; it’s all the tasks required (follow me, tweet this, comment here, go to the site and comment about what you want, etc.) and doing them too often that offends people.

  29. I swear I have such different ideas from everyone else on this subject. Honestly I don’t like unthoughtful comments, but I don’t see it as a bad thing either. Anyways, I’m posting my answers tonight.
    Your answers are always so well thought out! It is impressive. How long have you been blogging?
    I’ve never thought of giveaway’s that way…
    Lastly, I love that when I post it automatically adds my latest post. How do you do that? Is that a special feature on your blog only?
    Have a wonderful day V.
    xoxo Annie

    1. Annie, thank you, hon! I’ve been blogging for about four years now.

      RE: Comment Luv. It’s a WordPress.org plugin, but I bet it’s available for WordPress.com too. Look it up by clicking Add New in your plugins section.

  30. I agree with a lot of what you’re saying here. I admit that I’m not really opposed to giveaways sometimes. I don’t like when it’s something that seems inconsistent with a person’s style. I also think it really depends on how the giveaway post is written, sometimes they just come off as so insincere. I have no interest reading posts hawking cheap crap. I also get annoyed with them when they’re like, every third post on a site. But I think they can be done well.

    Wonderful job with FF, as always!

    1. Hey Ashley, thanks for commenting. You’re right…a giveaway here and there, done right, is good. But the ones that make you do ten things and follow and all that B.S., like every other week, not so much!

  31. thank you so much for your supportive comment Vahni, really means a lot to me! This was yet another interesting read from you, I love your mind, your honesty and integrity. I want to start doing the friend friday again, just have to way of organizing my life to fit it in 🙂 it is such a good thing that Katy Rose is doing, and wonderful to see more and more bloggers taking part. I take your advice to heart, I trust you. Hope you are having a good weekend!

    <3 Anika
    http://www.sweetfacedstyle.blogspot.com
    Twitter: @AnikaSweetface

  32. A fashion blog that full of substance & most importantly fill my hunger need to work on kick ass glamour in corporate world – that’s my first impression when I visited your blog today! I can’t wait to run through all your previous posts!

    Kudos to Corporate Glamour!

  33. Thank youuuuuu! I found you from shop-girl who said youd written good things about this topic and I replied saying I agree with the short comments point. I always bring something to the person I comment, telling them my story or what i think in longer words than ‘thats nice’. its more interesting for everyone!
    Im so pleased that you’ve said ways to generate more readers.. I just dont get enough time to comment all the time so these other methods may work better for me. I feel that promotion is the only way. People just wont find me otherwise which is such a shame because I want to share my topics which people!
    thanks again xxxxxxx

  34. This post is sooooooo very right. I agree with everything. I found myself nodding my head. And it also inspired me. I want lots of people to read my information and take something away from it–something that lasts longer than a few minutes.

    Anyway, I really loved this. And be assured that I took something away from it. I will remember this post, dear!

    ~Zabrinah

  35. I tend to do a lot of the things mentioned in your post. I love IFB and that has definitely helped me get more traffic. I also love finding new blog and helping other bloggers out. They say if you give value then you’ll get it returned. There are however some people that tend to just take and never really reciprocate. I also found reddit worked for me for a short period of time although they can be rather fickle on there.

    http://www.arashmazinani.com

    1. Hi Arash, thanks for sharing your thoughts here. We’re in agreement…some bloggers do NOT reciprocate the love. And after a period of time, I reciprocate by removing them from my blog and reading lists!

  36. Love your FF posts, as always. They are extremely insightful and candid. Agree re the meaningless comments. . there is nothing more transparent than those. And now I’m off to check out your Sunday links 🙂 Have a great week ahead

    P of Devilishly Pleasurable

  37. Yes, I confess…I did indeed discover you through InTheirCloset! I still venture to ITC for some great celebrity fashion snapshots. As for your site, I return to it for “What Vahni Wore” and “Friend Fridays.” Your posts are so personal and eye-opening…I simply love your blog!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Alyssa…had no idea that’s how you discovered me! Thanks for your readership/support, and for letting me know what you like here, too. It’s very helpful.

  38. Oh my gosh V, I swear I could spend my whole entire afternoon on your blog and make probably a To Do list with 100 things to do! Well, I will start with a few anyways! I love all of the advice and it really helps me to see things in a different light esp still being somewhat new to blogging. Thanks for sharing all of your info and what works for you etc! Plus I have a million links to click on for more info!! All in all, I would say reading your posts KEEPS ME BUSY!!
    Hugs!

    1. Well thank you so much, Angela! I really, truly appreciate your kind words, interest in G&G, and readership. Knowing that someone out there is gaining something from my blog makes it a labor of love that is worthwhile. Thanks for taking the time to let me know. It means a lot!

  39. “Bloggers need to remember that there are MILLIONS of blogs vying for human attention. You really need to be engaging and at least show me you’re interested in me before you ask me to take an interest in you. That’s what I do.”

    Can I get me an Amen. Amen! Yes you do.

    Giveaways: mixed. mostly don’t like. but feel like I should get one going on, to celebrate my uh, 150th follower. Because I just want to share a bit more of myself with those who are sharing with me. But personally giveaways don’t move me much. Especially when there’s a bunch of tasks required of me to win.

    Blogging vs journalism vs marketing. It’s a bit of a hybrid, and I’m trying to find a balance between what is is, what it could be and what I like. Still working on that.

    But here you are, rocking the fuck out of a good Friend Friday, and inspiring as always. Always.

    1. HA! Thank you Bella. I just love your take-no-prisoners, no-B.S. approach to life. I laughed at loud at the way you wrapped that up. Love it. Thanks again, doll.

  40. This is definitely my favorite article on this topic I’ve read. To be honest, some other’s I’ve stumbled across have left a bad taste in my mouth. To me, it made it seem like a blogger was in the wrong if they leave their url’s with a comment, or if you don’t leave a paragraph of comment text, you’re comment is “spam”. Not for nothing, but I’m a little guy in a sea of bloggers. Do I want to promote myself? Of course! But when I became a blogger, part of the appeal was that it seemed like a community of people who share a mutual interest, and encourage each other. Too often I’ve found that just the opposite is true. I’ve attended conferences where I’ve been faced with catty, cliquey girls who won’t speak to you or allow you in their circles because you’re new, and thusly can’t be cool. I’ve been faced with it on Twitter as well, and find that the same “high school lunch table” mentality holds true on other sites that I joined because I thought they were about supporting each other. Maybe it seems I’m getting off topic, but with all of this “self-promotion is a no-no” talk lately, I feel like the two go hand-in-hand to an extent. Am I guilty of not being as active with commenting or these other sites as much as I could or should? Sure I am, and I try to make a conscious effort to work on that, while juggling everything else in my life. I don’t comment on other people’s blog’s just to promote my own AT ALL, but when it’s a blog I’m new to commenting on, I find it as a way to sort of introduce myself. Almost like a, “Hi, I love your jacket and shoes! I think we have similar style! Check out my blog to see if I inspire you the way you inspire me! :)”, rather than the “Oh, I’m only writing this to promote myself” mentality some of these articles, to me, are making it seem. I don’t comment on my readers comments only because, well, I don’t know how to set that up (like what you have here), and I don’t expect readers to be checking back on my post just to see if I added a comment in response to their own, but I do go to the blogs that comment on mine, and if I see something I like, I leave them a comment.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, thank you for writing an article on this topic that does not make me feel like I’ve done something wrong; that leaving my blog url does not make me a spammer or dis-credible blogger. But I do promise I have never, and will never write the words “follow me” next to it! 🙂

    xo http://www.RavingFashionista.com

    1. Sarah, thank you so much for your lovely comment and for ringing in on this topic. I’m glad it was worthwhile for you.

      I want to respond to this part of what you wrote:

      I don’t comment on my readers comments only because, well, I don’t know how to set that up (like what you have here), and I don’t expect readers to be checking back on my post just to see if I added a comment in response to their own, but I do go to the blogs that comment on mine, and if I see something I like, I leave them a comment.

      You’re definitely doing the right thing by at least visiting the blogs of your commenters and commenting there yourself. However, one thing you may not have realized is that commenters/readers actually DO go back and see if you responded. I ran a survey a couple months ago that actually illustrates this. You might find it helpful as well:

      Survey Says: Original Content Really is Queen

  41. I have been thinking SO much about all of this lately, and really appreciate your honesty and advice. Thanks so much for sharing!

    I do have a question though: what are your thoughts on responding to a readers comment in the comment section (as you do here) VS. responding via email. I have mine setup so that every time I receive a comment, it send a notification to my email, and if I hit reply, it goes straight to their email that they used to sign in. The upside is that in many cases, it has generated some great conversations and even friendships that are generally easier to cultivate via email, but the downside seems to be that then my response is not visible making my seem, dare I say, unfriendly?! (*gasp*)

    Any thoughts you may have would be so appreciated! Thanks! -Jessie

    1. Eek! Jessie, so sorry. JUST seeing your comment.

      I prefer to respond to my readers on my blog, for a few reasons, but mostly because I don’t want it to appear that I am not responding at all. Also, I get so much email…I hate email auto-respond messages and I don’t want to add one more email to anyone’s inbox!

      Thanks for your question.

  42. Well put, V. I constantly refer to your site for helpful blogger info. Thanks for your raw, honest bits on how to further develop myself as a blogger/writer and remain respectful amidst this HUGE but at the same time very small blog community… Keep up the good work!

    Cheers from Amsterdam,
    Jeanelle

  43. What you said is so true!

    I also get annoyed with bloggers who send out mass emails asking you to follow or check their blogs and not have the courtesy to even visit yours. I’m a new blogger, and it’s insulting that some bloggers think that because i’m new they can bait me with a “follow me and i’ll follow you” mail/comment. It sends a message that your blog isn’t interesting and you can’t get followers by yourself.

    anyway, thanks a lot for really helpful posts (esp for a beginner like me)

    1. Hi Myunji…thanks for your comment! So nice to know you understand the benefits of mutual interest that isn’t spurned by “follow me!” messages!

      Welcome to G&G!

    1. Thanks, Chris! There’s lots more in my Build a Better Blog section (there’s a link at the top of the page) that you may find helpful.

      Happy blogging!

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