Suz's love for COWS + Allan's work with LASERS = one unique blog name! Welcome to our blog filled with race recaps, pictures of our labs, and everything else we share with blogland!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

All Things Blogging

After reading Vanessa's posts (here and here) and Beth's post (and leaving small stories for comments) I decided it was time that I did a post on how I feel about blogging, following, commenting, giveaways, etc. Basically I'm going to hit all the high points on all things blogging that matter to me. I am going to try not to be too wordy but please take the time to read this and comment so we know how you feel too!

  • Hands up if you came across more than one blog that you read because of a giveaway. My hand is up. If you look on your twitter feed or facebook news feed right now there will probably be at least one post from someone about a giveaway that another blogger has going on. I came across a lot of great blogs via giveaways and after reading a couple of their other posts I knew they would be ones I would enjoy coming back to read so I entered and  most of those blogs I still read today.
  • Hosting giveaways: I love to host giveaways and with the exception of this recent CLICK giveaway we have bought every single item that we have given away. I look for things that I think you guys will genuinely enjoy receiving but I also never buy anything that I wouldn't keep for myself. Translated: we buy things in pairs OFTEN! One of the reasons that we haven't had more sponsored giveaways is based on the fact that I will not host a giveaway for an item I haven't tried or don't like. Until I've tried something and know if it's a brand I will stand behind I won't consider doing a giveaway.
  • Entering giveaways: Having 10 different ways to earn entries into a giveaway can be a hassle and I'm sorry if any of our giveaways have ever annoyed you when I gave you all several options on how to earn entries. I feel like people think they stand a greater chance to win if they have more ways to earn entries but apparently most people just find it annoying. I've decided from here on out when we host a giveaway things will be different (haven't decided exactly how different yet) for a couple of reasons:
    1. People can't follow directions. Please leave each entry as a separate comment apparently means write one comment with everything you've done. Must be a public follower means comment that you follow publicly (but you don't) and leave no way to reach you. 
    2. We do NOT host giveaways so we can get more followers. I can honestly say that I don't look at numbers unless I'm being asked to report them to someone else. I did when I first started blogging and it takes the enjoyment out of blogging. I started the blog to tell our story and share our lives not to chase numbers. We want you guys to follow our blog because you like what we have to say not because you have to for a giveaway.

  • I follow A LOT of blogs (my google reader was over 1000 last Friday and I had it down to 200 by Saturday night but now I'm afraid to see what it's back up to). I always follow people back that follow our blog or people who follow me on twitter (unless they seem like spam on twitter). **If I'm not following your blog or following you on twitter please tell me so I can!
  • There are several blogs that I followed and for months I read them and commented and never heard anything back from those bloggers. They never commented on our blog posts or even replied to my comments on their blogs. I am no longer reading those blogs because in the blogging world there are too many great blogs to read to waste time on ones who don't value their readers. One blogger did a post saying (and I'm paraphrasing) "Bloggers with little blogs will learn as their blogs get larger that you simply can't reply to comments or follow back those who are following you." Needless to say I immediately stopped following this blog because I felt like they didn't care whether or not I was reading.
  • I reply to every comment we receive as long as reply back via email is an option. If someone has it set up where I can't reply back to their comment then I don't reply. Sometimes I will go back and comment on our blog but I know that I don't go back to people's blogs to see if they replied to my comment there so I don't expect people to come back to our blog looking for a reply to their comments.

  •  I try to blog Monday-Friday but life gets in the way and I don't always have something to say.
  • When life isn't a crazy mess I read blogs every day and comment often. Usually I won't comment if I don't have anything to add or if several other people have already left a comment saying what I would.
  • Sometimes I schedule posts that I write in advance but most of the time I write, read over it to catch errors, and post. This is why my posts are not at the same time each day and probably why I sound all over the place at times.
***I am STILL catching up on blog reading so I apologize if I am behind on yours and if I bombard your email with my comments.****

I say all of this to say that at the end of the day you have to stay true to yourself and stand behind what you believe. None of us answer to anyone else in the blogging world so don't compare yourself to others. Write what interests you and not what you think people want to hear. Blogging is what you make of it just as anything else in this world is.

Giveaways: I've thought about ordering a pair of Aspaeris Pivot Shorts to give away if people would be interested or a Handful bra. Would you be interested or is there something else you'd like to see in a giveaway? Do you hate lots of ways to earn entries in a giveaway? (Be honest!)

Following/Commenting: If we aren't following your blog what's your blog address? Do you have your email address in your blogger profile or where people can reply to your comments on their posts via email?

General: Is there anything I missed that you have a question about or that you would have addressed?


  1. I love this; so much of what you said here is spot on! I've found myself including a zillion ways to win a giveaway (for the same reason you mentioned) but I realized last week that if a blog wants me to do that, I find it annoying and don't even bother...I have a giveaway coming up and it's definitely going to require less work!

  2. I have to agree with Heather, spot on with what you have said.
    I am fairly new to blogging and try to do what is asked when entering for a giveaway, but know sometimes it might not be the right way.
    I like the idea of Aspaeris Pivot short give away.

  3. When I first started Blogging I followed soo many blogs that now i have so many to always sort through. I end up missing so many posts bc of it. I like either of those items for a giveaway! Congrats again on making up your 13.1! If u shoot me an email abt it, ill include it in the month end hardcore wrap up :)

  4. What a great post! People have such different opinions on all of these things but I love what you said and agree with just about all of it. :)

    I would love to try the shorts or the handful bra (although I am not sure if I "quite" have a true "handful") :) and have heard great things about both!

  5. I love all giveaways. I am surprised by people that say they don't like them. It's a chance to try a new product/flavor/style without forking out the money to try it. If it's a great product, you will buy it again! What isn't there to love?!

  6. gosh, i can relate to so many of your feelings/thoughts in this post! i have a hard time commenting on all the blogs i want to comment on - i read a lot of them from my phone and in bits and pieces when i can snag the time. i try to comment as much as i can though. one of the biggest reasons why i started blogging was because i wanted to connect with all the awesome people whose blogs i was reading - the community of bloggers is really supportive and wonderful. i am often frustrated with Blogger and think of converting to Wordpress because i think they make commenting and replying to comments so much easier. have you ever thought of that? i'm totally intimidated by it, since i am not "tech-y" at all ... but wonder if it would be a huge improvement!?
    ps - handful bra sounds awesome!

  7. Great post - I so agree with so many of your points! The whole commenting/reply thing has been really frustrating for me lately and like Jessica I'm giving serious thought to converting to Wordpress so I can have more back and forth with people.

  8. Great post lots of good points. As far as giveaways I usually have about 5 to 6 ways to enter and I don't mind giveaways with alot of entries I don't always do all of them but it doesnt bother me what does kind of irk me a little is word verification I understand while some people choose to use it but I'm lazy and that extra isnt always so easy on my cell.

  9. I love reading other people thoughts about blogging! I totally agree with you about giveaways! I get annoyed with a million ways to enter and in my last giveaway, I just asked for a comment. My intention from her on out is to keep it simple :)

  10. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this Suz! I love doing giveaways because I feel like it's giving back to readers. Plus, I love winning giveaways so I'm sure everyone else does too! I wanted to say to you though - if you agree to a giveaway with a company but then turn out NOT to like the product, there really is nothing wrong with sending it back. I have done that before because, like you, I don't want to give away a product I don't stand behind.

  11. Suz,just wanted you to know that although I don't always comment, I love reading what you have to say. As a novice runner, I particularly enjoy reading of your running trials and tribulations. Keep up the great work!

  12. It's so interesting to hear what people think on this subject. I really reevaluated at the beginning of the year about why I blog and what my purpose is in doing it. I felt like it was taking a lot of time away from my children, and that is the LAST thing in the world I want. So, I no longer read blogs that I'm not interested in- even if they are followers of mine. Although I do truly love all of my readers, I really love my family more. If I find extra time, then I try to catch up on people.

    I've learned that if I don't have something that I really want to say, I don't comment on that post. It's just the way it is. It's another time saver I guess.

    I don't love giveaways. MOST of the time they feel so fake and I'm not sure the person has really had the time to try out the item before swearing that they LOVE it. You know? I can tell when that isn't the case and that's when I'm more inclined to enter. I also have stopped entering myself in giveaways just for the sake of entering. (For example, you did the CLICK giveaway and I didn't enter because I'm not a coffee drinker and I try not to drink any caffeine (I wasn't sure if it was caffeinated or not). I didn't want to waste an entry on myself when there was a good chance someone else that really wanted it could win.)

    However, I have some products that I totally love that I got from giveaways or heard about from reviews- CEP compression sleeves, Handful bra (amazing!), and the Aspaeris Pivot Shorts. So, take that for what you will.

    I was a Fitfluential Ambassador but I quit because I felt like there was all this pressure to make myself into a brand, and that is not why I blog. I blog for a running journal so I can look back and see what works. I blog to get advice and to learn from others. I blog for FUN.

    I loved hearing your thoughts and I agreed with so many of them!

  13. Interesting thoughts!

    I don't mind entering giveaways (I haven't done one myself), but I will only do it for products that I think I would like to try. The multiple ways to enter aren't that annoying, except I don't have twitter (yet) so I can never participate that way.

    I just checked my blogger profile, which I thought I had made public but I guess not. I now have my email address available there, but it is also on my blog.

    When I read blog posts sometimes I don't comment because I don't have much to say or I am hurrying at work/home to catch up and then forget to comment! I always try to comment on someone's blog if they come to mine and comment, though.

  14. I really enjoyed reading this post and I too can relate to many of your feelings regarding blogging. I follow a lot of blogs too and I often read from my iPhone so I don't always comment and I won't comment if I don't have something to worthwhile to add. I try to reply to all comments via email also and often there are some that don't have their email so I can't respond. I really enjoy blogging because I like to write and I like to record the on-goings in my day-to-day life ... for me, blogging is like journaling which I really enjoy.

  15. I follow a lot of blogs and try to make a point to get to the people and read their blogs when they take the time and effort to read and comment on mine. That said as you know there are just not enough hours in the day sometimes to read and comment on everyone's I have stopped reading some that never made the effort in return.

    I hate entering giveaways when there are more than 20 ways to enter and comment, Rafflecoptor ones are really nice and so much easier!

  16. I agree with so much of what you have so eloquently written!

    I don't like to have to do umpteen things to enter a giveaway. One or two is adequate. It is so time consuming. Having said that, if it is something I really want I will jump through all the hoops I can to win it!

    I read more than I comment lately. And I have stopped reading some that don't ever seem to read or comment on mine and yes, there are some I only read if they are giving away a product I want.

    Loved this post - thanks for taking the time to write it. I will be back to read more comments, too.

  17. Great post! I don't see why people hate on giveaways. They're a great way for us all to get/give stuff and who doesn't love packages in the mail? that's something i don't think i'll ever grow out of!
    as long as you have some integrity i don't see what the big deal is. i recently turned down a product because they basically made it clear that i was to write nothing negative.

    i have about 10-15 blogs that i comment on regularly. i read a lot of others but rarely comment unless i really have something to say.

  18. I love Handful bras. Love.
    this is a great post and I have to say, I always wonder how many regular followers I have because if they are like me, they lurk. I have a hard time commenting on every post.

  19. Great post! Reading blogs is how I start my day (that and a cup of coffee), sometimes (like now) I find time to read at night. I love giveaways, and I don't always do everything for every single entry. I LOVE getting comments on my posts, and I do need to start responding to them. I suppose I need to figure out how to do that...
    I vote for the shorts for a giveway:)

  20. Thanks for the post. I will just straight up say - sorry that I dont comment more. I know you are a reader of my blog & comment quite a lot, and I hardly ever/never comment on yours.

    Giveaways - I don't like the ones that have tons of ways to enter. It is a hassle. I love giveaways & I'm impressed that you buy the stuff rather than have them sponsored. That's blog love!

    Thanks again for the post. Made me think.

  21. I really like this post... it's so honest and I agree with so much of it! I love blogging and stalking other blogs. I don't always have oodles of time to do it (lately, I have!) but I value the friends that I've made through blogging and love reading them as much as I love seeing comments from them. Then it really feels personal and like we have a friendship going, not just a "hey come read my blog" and that's it. I don't look at stats or numbers either. I thought they were fun and interesting at first, but then the blog started to feel like some stressful business that I wasn't getting paid for... stupid! I'd rather just have it be friends connecting and learning from each other! I've found blogging to be such a positive thing... all the comments are uplifting and encouraging and the posts are informational! Why turn something so great into something not fun?

    I'm a fan of giveaways also, we've done a few and I loved doing it! It's like Christmas! But I don't love the billions of options for entries... I really only do one option and stop there. I haven't won one yet, and that's probably why, but I don't mind... I still think they're fun. :)

    I love your blog and I'm glad that we're buds! Thanks for your always sweet comments on our posts! That's what it's all about! :)

  22. Beautiful post! Well said, and I love your attitude toward really valuing your readers. I think that's very important, and a way to help you blog grow.

    I love giveaways but I never enter if I have to go "like" a company on facebook. I hate that. :(

  23. Always interesting to me to read other's views about commenting, giveaways, etc.

    Personally, I can't read everyone's blog every single day and I find I go manic when I try so with that in mind, I only post once a week because that is about all I can go to each blog I like to read: once a week.

    There are definitely bloggers out there whom I connect with on a more personal level and do try to read them more frequently...but those are just people I've meet and raced with.

    As for giveaways, I've done a few and they also make me manic, I don't really enjoy doing them and what I want MY blog to be about is my personal running journey so that someday my kids will have a history of what I did with my running career. Giveaways really don't say much about that, but I am all over trying to win something :).

    As for comments to comments, I never subscribe to follow up comments, again, because I can't keep up. I figure if someone has something they want to say to me about my comment, they can reply and I get an email back. A lot more personal and it keeps me from having to go back to every blog and see if I got a response. Just easier.

    If you can't tell, I'm a huge component of the "easy" route :). Too many blogs I love and just not enough time in the day to get them all in. Once a week is sufficient with me.

  24. I would just be grateful to have another follower:) I'm only a year old and I totally feel overwhelmed in the BLOG SCENE. I do my best. Check me out if you want, but absolutely no pressure.

  25. Awww I read every word....which is rare for me when there's really long posts ;) miss. ADD over here. I love giveaways. I also agree, next giveaway I host I'm just going to say - leave a comment!

    I love you Suz and I love blogging!!!!!! I totally know those "big" blogs you're talking about, they won't have followers for long

  26. Suz, I am SO WITH YOU on all of this!

    "I am no longer reading those blogs because in the blogging world there are too many great blogs to read to waste time on ones who don't value their readers."

    I blogged about this a while back! I had been following someone for over a year and thoughtfully commenting on her blog over and over. She NEVER replied back to my comments via email, nor did she stop by and say hi. So I dumped her. Sure, she was interesting, but like you said, there are SO MANY more bloggers that I can actually connect with. Why waste my time! Some people responded like your person did, that when your blog is bigger you don't have time to respond to everyone. And although my blog is not big, I can understand that, to a point. I try to respond via email if they have an address or to at least pop by their blog to say hi once in a while! Even if it's just once, at least I like to recognize that a person has been keeping up and participating in my blog (and life!)

    Whoa, now it's me who has written the book.

    One more thing, I am not sure why people don't put their email address on so I can email them back when they comment. It's easy to set up a separate address so it doesn't have to be connected to your personal life. The only thing I would say to bloggers is to Do This! It makes it easier to connect with each other!

  27. Love this post!! I say "hear-hear" and I agree with writing what matters to you vs what others want to hear. I don't know about anyone else but I've never made a penny off of my blog and I do it for the love of the running community, the stuff I've learned and to keep my own running honest.

    I can't tell you how much I appreciate you as someone who does read my blog. You always leave such great comments. I found you from your comments and I'm really enjoying following you too!

    I have a love/hate with the long entries. I understand why people do them (i have) and also like the multiple entries -- they can be annoying. Eh, if the prize is worth it, small price to pay for the chance to win something cool!

  28. Nice recap. I agree with so much of what you have listed. I hate having to follow people a million ways for a giveaway. Sometime I really like a product but I don't care for the style of the writer and I end up with a collections of blogs where my real friends are lost in between. Did that sound too mean?

  29. I am so impressed that you reply to every comment! It's really nice to hear from you. It does make me feel valued as a reader! I have tried, but I just can't keep up with it. I try to reply if the person asks a specific question, at least. Keeping up with reading blogs is impossible too! This is my last weekend before I start the new semester for grad school, so I'm try to catch up before I really get behind. With report cards due Monday though, last week involved very little blog reading. Great post!

  30. I can't even remember the last giveaway I entered. I used to - and I've won some really cool things. But really, I'm lazy and never have enough motivation to follow through and enter. I've hosted a couple, that was fun.

    I'm so behind on blogs. 309 my reader says. Every time I go out of town they just multiply and get out of control. *sigh* My trick is I break everybody up into groups. The smaller groups are the ones I check first, then hit the HUGE list if I have time during the day. Nowadays I can't even keep up with my small groups. I need a vacation to get caught up!

  31. I couldn't agree more with everything. I try hard to follow people back who take the time to read and comment on my blog. I eventually stop following blogs who don't interact with their readers.

    I've only done one giveaway. It was fun and I'll admit that I did it to get some activity on my blog. But, I've learned since then that's not why I blog.

    I follow blogs that host good giveaways, but eventually I'll unfollow if I'm not connecting with what they are talking about.

    My reader app on my phone gets up to the 800's occasionally and I get obsessive about cleaning it out. I break things up into groups, too.

    Excellent post.


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