There have been several blog posts and discussions online lately about the state and value of having and reading quilting blogs. I believe that the conversation has actually been going on for some time, and recently I realized that I have some thoughts and insights that were finally worth writing down. So, forgive me for not linking to some of the earlier discussions, but I think that what I have to say here is slightly different.
In one way or another, I have been a part of the New Quilt Bloggers blog hop for the past 3 years (2014-2016). There were significantly fewer “new bloggers” this year compared to the two previous years, but participation was still great among those who signed up. Suggestions as to the timing of the hop have been noted (although time will tell if schedule adjustments will be possible and improve participation in the future). (Note: The number of participants this year was still more than in many years prior to my involvement.)
I have also noticed a decline in the number of blog posts in my reader feed each morning. Now, that is carefully worded: I tend to wake up and go through my feed first thing in the morning, but I do also check in several times during the day. Overall, some bloggers that I follow have definitely had some life circumstances arise which have lead to them blogging less, but in general I think the biggest trend I see is that there is less consistency on when blogs are being published. If I take a break for a day or two, it is still overwhelming how fast I can get to 99+ unread blog posts in my feed.
I will also say that over the years I have unfollowed blogs. Content changes (I am fine with blog posts about other topics, but I am primarily a quilter and interested in reading about quilts. If a blog becomes more about bag making or garment sewing, I will eventually lose interest.) and lack of responsiveness from the blogger (if I leave comments but never hear back, I will stop commenting, then stop reading, and then unfollow) are the biggest two reasons I will unfollow a blog.
Also, I am an active blogger and I continue to add blogs to follow. Clearly the new quilt bloggers blog hop is one great way for me to find and follow blogs, and as some of the older blogs I follow become less active (life happens!), I still have plenty of blog reading to do because I am continuing to add new blogs to read.
Which leads me to another observation: some of the weekly link parties that used to be active social interactions have been discontinued and/or are being posted less consistently. When I started blogging, I had a weekly goal to post for WIP Wednesday, or a post to share a finish for one on the Friday finish link ups, or linking up new purchases with Sunday Stash. I completely understand the amount of hard work that Lee @Freshly Pieced put into running WIP Wednesday for 5 years, but there are other active and thriving link ups like Let’s Bee Social by Lorna @Sew Fresh Quilts, the Friday link ups are still going strong, and so is Molli Sparkles’ Sunday Stash.
Linking up to link up parties does not seem to generate more comments on my blog posts, though. Honestly, it never really did. I almost always seem to get a bump in traffic to my blog, but what I am interested in is the interaction, which comes from comments. Which brings me to the heart of what I want to talk about today: blog comments.
I think that the heart and soul of a blog is the community that is found, formed, and cultivated in a blog’s comments. It is what keeps me blogging, and interacting with other bloggers is what keeps me visiting their blogs. I know that when first starting out it can seem confusing, overwhelming, and lonely. Will anyone ever read my blog? Will anyone ever leave a comment? So here are my thoughts on how to have good blog comment etiquette which will help cultivate your own community.
- If you enjoy a blog post, leave a comment. Learning to leave comments is hard, but even just acknowledging that you think their quilt is pretty or that you like the fabric they used is a place to start. The more you practice leaving comments, the easier it becomes. If you value a blog and want to see it continue, your best support will be leaving a comment. You don’t have to comment on every post, but occasionally checking in means a lot. You don’t have to have a blog to leave a comment, either.
- When you receive a comment on your blog, reply via email. Yes, email. I am never going to go back to your blog to see if you respond to my comment on your blog post. There is nothing that will cause readership to stop leaving comments and then stop visiting a blog faster than never getting a reply. Yes, email the response even if you just say thank you. (And yes, send an email to just say thank you.)
- To level up your email comment reply (aka to earn bonus points or gold stars or whatever motivates you), use the person’s name in the reply. Most comment forms require that they leave their name anyway: “Thank you, Sue!” You never know when a touch of personalization will make a connection or spark a deeper response.
- Be nice. This should be fairly self-evident, but there are definitely ways of approaching topics (like this post) respectfully while offering a counter point. I do not want to discourage free speech and different view points; in fact, I think it is important to have that! But my motto and suggestion is still: be nice; be respectful.
- If you join a link up party, visit and comment on others who have linked up, and don’t forget to comment on the blog post of the host. They are doing work providing a forum for connection. Again, you don’t have to comment every time you link up, but letting the host know you appreciate them is a good idea if you like the link party and want to see it continued! (And if you host or want to host a link party: visit and comment on those who link up and check out my Tips for Hosting a Successful Link Party post.)
- If someone visits your blog and leaves a comment, consider visiting them back and leaving a comment on their blog.
- It is OK to choose a core group of blogs that you comment and interact with. Don’t take on more than you can follow through with, and the amount of time you have for online activities will fluctuate over time. That is completely normal. You can and will find your “tribe” by following this process, and they will understand and help you when you come across the inevitable life/quilting hurdle. You can’t say yes to everything, still have time for yourself, your quilting, your family, and sleep.
- Have grace for yourself and others: these are suggestions and not laws or things to be used to berate yourself. Vacations, social media breaks, and general life happenings can (and will) disrupt your best intentions at times.
So, what happens if you are doing all these things and you still are not getting comments on your blog or new blog followers?
- Consider how long you have been blogging. Be consistent and stick with it. It took bigger blogs years to cultivate their communities. It does not happen over night.
- Be timely in your email comment responses. Sometimes I will not publish a particular blog post until I know I will be able to respond in a timely fashion. You get to set the rule for what timely means to you and your blog, but the internet and social media move quickly these days: I would suggest a time period closer to a day or two and not a week.
- Cultivate your photography and thumbnail pictures you use for link up parties. The better the image, the more enticing it will be for someone to click through to see what you are doing.
- Look at your blog posts: which type of posts get the most comments? Think about how to write or schedule more posts like them.
- Have you written any tutorials? Personally, when I focused on writing tutorials for a year, that is when I saw the largest growth in my comments and community.
- Consider sharing your ups and downs, lessons learned, behind the scenes, and process. I don’t even like writing a “ta da” finished post without sharing details. How long did it take you? Do you know how much thread you used for quilting (1 large spool of 50wt Aurifil thread is equivalent to 0.89 miles!)?
- Tag manufacturers and designers if you used their thread / fabric / quilt pattern and share your posts on other social media platforms. I would love to share finishes of people who make quilts using my patterns, which can be a great way for you to get exposure to other readership (be sure to comment and interact in return to engage that readership! The same comment etiquette goes for Instagram and Facebook and…).
All this being said: I have a wonderful community here, and I am thankful to be continuing to find my tribe, my voice, and my quilting style. Thanks for coming along with me on the journey.
So what do you think? Is this total hogwash? Does something else work even better for you? Leave a comment and let’s have a discussion!
103 thoughts on “Thoughts on Quilting Blogs”
You have a really great post here. I really need to cull my “blogs I follow” list, because I like to read all the posts and I just started to get horribly overwhelmed by the number of unread posts when I looked at Bloglovin’. I’m challenged by the reading on the phone and needing to be logged in to comment parts. I don’t spend as much time at my laptop as I used to. Oh, another thing, since I do spend time on Instagram. I’m always pleased when I see someone reference their blog post there, because it draws me over to read the post many times. Um, like this post. That’s how I ended up here. I also enjoyed reading the comments by others as well. (You may have noticed. ;-))
Hi Yvonne. It’s been really interesting for me to read this post. I’m fairly new to the whole quilting world, but I really have learnt so much from reading blogs – including yours!. My idea of a good start to the day is to read blogs while I sip my cup of tea! I also love the quick-comment-style-of-blogging on instagram, but of course you don’t tend to get the same quality of written content with instagram posts. I do admire your commitment to blogging consistently and maintaining such a high quality – thank you!
Thanks for this post.
Not hogwash at all! I’m a fairly new quilt blogger, and all of this is great information for me. I’d like to second the point you made about tagging pattern and fabric designers when you use their creative output. It’s easy to think, especially as a newbie, “Oh, they are a big name and have lots of other people using that pattern.” But no one really knows how much positive feedback another person gets, and it’s so easy to be kind and inclusive. So why not share the love?
Thanks for taking the time to write up your extensive thoughts on the whole blogging subject. I’m sure this post will be referred to for a long time and a great “how to” article!
Great post, Yvonne! I feel like I say that to you a lot 🙂 I am absolutely with you on unfollowing people who never respond to my comments. I could do a better job of replying quickly to comments on my blog…sometimes it’s two days or so before I get back to people. I’ll definitely work on that. I also find it challenging that I get a lot of no-reply comments. I know that’s a Blogger issue, but it bugs me when I can’t easily reply by email. I do try to leave a reply on their comment, but I don’t always remember to do that…and I wonder if they ever come back to check (I wouldn’t!).
I’ll lose interest in a blog if every post is trying to sell me something, too. I understand that some people make their living by quilting (I want to get there too, eventually!), but I read blogs to share in the excitement and joy of making quilts. If everything someone posts is just to get me to buy something, then it doesn’t feel like there’s much excitement or joy about the making part.
My favourite blogs are the ones written by people who come across as real people. Sometimes that means they share the occasional picture of their family/garden/travels/whatever. Sometimes it means sharing little stories about what else is going on in their lives as they’re working on their quilts. Sometimes it’s just the voice of the blogger. Whatever it is, the more real a person feels to me, the more likely I am to follow them.
I do love IG because it’s quick and easy, but blogs allow for much more depth, so it feels more like I know a blogger. It’s funny, on IG I can’t always remember a person’s real name (I often only know them by their IG handle) but when I follow a blog I always know the blogger’s actual name.
Thanks for another thought-provoking post. Thanks too for all you do to encourage your fellow bloggers (myself included!). I know I always appreciate your comments 🙂
Really appreciate this article…not hogwash at all! And I really like #7…find your tribe. I think that is the main reason I blog!
Great blog post Yvonne! I have a pretty short blog list and I try to leave comments on most of them, even when I get really busy. Your blog post made me think about why I follow the blogs I do and I realized I really love the blogs that teach me something. Not necessarily through a tutorial, but through explaining their process or choices. And then I realized I probably don’t do enough of that on my own blog. I don’t share enough details or talk about my choices, process, etc. I hope to do better in the future. Thanks for always making us think and reflect! 🙂
Thanks for putting this all into words. And that’s the point I think about blogs–the language that goes along with the quilts. I was late to instagram because I didn’t have a device to share with, but now that I have an iphone, I have started using it. But here’s the thing: Instagram is quick and visual. Maybe there’s a snippet of sharing in words, but it’s a little blip. I quickly look at something and move on. I’m sure I don’t use Instagram the “right” way, but I could never begin to comment on or respond to the flow of traffic there. It’s not a place to build relationships–for me anyway. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with blogging–especially when I want to follow and respond to every blog I come across. But I have come to learn that it’s okay (and wonderful) to have a small group of bloggers to have a more in-depth relationship with. I didn’t think of it that way until you said it so succinctly to find your tribe, but it did calm me down to realize that I could keep touch with a lot of people while focusing more on a few. I struggle with writing, but the richness of language and stories along with the quilts are what keep me trying to write and enjoying what others are writing.
Ironically, I read this right after sending out my newsletter, where I touched on some of the very same issues! I’d like to link to this fantastic post next issue. One comment goes a long way – that’s how I always think of it. I also miss some of those linky parties but I’m glad these exist! Great post!!
This is such a well-written post, and from the looks of the comments, it struck a chord with your readers!
Interesting post. I have been comments on blogs and try to do so when I see something that I really like or can identify with. If someone isn’t getting comments perhaps they could ask for comments. I tend to leave comments on what I want to say rather than asnswering a question but if someone said they wondered why people weren’t commenting or something similar, I would leave a comment. Before doing so, I would go to their site and look at their posts so i would hope my comment would be appropiate. You have thanked me as have some other quilters – each time I’m surprised but pleased!
I tried to leave a comment earlier behind DeborahGun but for some reason it didn’t take so getting to my pc I am trying again – how’s that for making an effort. I second what everyone says about reading more on the ipad/phone and commenting on the pc where I have an actual keypad! I think it does make a difference. The other thing is I very rarely leave comments on posts trying to sell me things – If there is a new pattern that I like and its presented with some behind the scenes I will leave a comment but if its a buy this now post I skip over it. One of the things we were told in sales training is that people like to buy but they don’t want to be sold to! Blogs that don’t engage in the process or give back with links to to other things I might be interested in I will unfollow. I too find the number of posts a bit overwhelming too from time to time – how many blogs is it reasonable to expect to follow I wonder? I think I have too much coming at me some days and then there is IG calling!
Lots of good points, Yvonne!
Before I quit blogging altogether, I started leaving fewer and fewer comments because of the issue I had where Blogger doesn’t like Yahoo email addresses (which is a problem when most blogs I read were on blogger). Even though my comments were on the blog, they just weren’t being emailed to the blogger, and it was obvious there was no blog maintenance being done to check for missed things like this because I would rarely receive replies. (Surely Blogger has a section that collates all comments like WP…?). And it just came down to – why bother leaving a comment if it’s not even going to be seen to begin with? I might as well save that time and do something else. I always checked my comment section in the dashboard for comments because there were the odd comment that wouldn’t get emailed or goes to the spam folder for no reason so I’d like to keep on top of it.
These days I catch up on blogs on my phone so have the problem others mentioned with it being difficult to leave comments jumping through the BL app. And I still have the same email address so will still have the same above problem anyway.
I’m contemplating starting my blog again, or making a new one, and seeing how I go and if I can be bothered to build a readership again but there were various reasons why I stopped blogging and I don’t know if I want to get involved with that again :/ sometimes I miss it though.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts as eloquently as ever Yvonne. The comments make interesting reading too. Duh! After two years of blogging I was glad to read your reminder to reply by e-mail not on the blog page, I’d forgotten about that! I do sometimes feel disappointed when my posts don’t generate many comments but there is a flipside to that as I know when I read a post which has 30 or more comments I’m less likely to read them all or comment myself – after all other people have already shared reactions similar to my own. That’s where the LIKE button comes in handy, just to let the writer know you’ve touched base and appreciate their post. I am frustrated with the Blogger issue as I feel there are bloggers I’d like to converse with more but all those ‘e-mail not accepted’ messages are inhibiting. I guess some bloggers have been lost to IG but apart from not having a suitable device it doesn’t appeal to me – I like pictures to be surrounded with words that reveal a more subtle and detailed insight into the character and thinking of the writer.
Great post Yvonne, I really agree with everything you have written here. My main purpose for starting a blog was to be able to connect with other quilters and feel like part of the community. I just wish that it was easier to leave comments from the Bloglovin app on my phone, I find that it is much easier to add comments with a computer and full keyboard 🙂
Yvonne, I think each and every point you made is so true. Commenting consistently takes time and effort and we don’t always reap the benefits right away, but it does eventually pay off in the end. Not getting responses to my comments is my #1 reason for eventually unfollowing a blogger. I always try to give the person the benefit of the doubt but after a while I feel like it’s a one-sided conversation. Thanks for the reminder to leave a comment for the host of a link party. I sometimes forget that, and you’re right – that person is working hard to cultivate a sense of community and that should be acknowledged as well.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You make some excellent points and it’s great to refresh my brain about blog comments. I feel as though blogs are currently going through a little bit of a transition right now and overall it’s just part of growth and moving forward. 🙂
Well at least I am consistently inconsistent with when my blog posts are being published, haha! I think one of the biggest reasons I stopped linking up as much was because it took a lot of time and the payoff was so low–most people didn’t respond and/or come comment on my blog. And now linky parties get significantly less traffic/comments/likes than using the same photo to share my blog post on IG. I feel like for me blogging is an uphill battle sometimes–there is so much time put into the blog post and not a lot that I get out of it, and doing it for the linky parties isn’t worth it at all anymore. That is probably why most of my blog posts in the last year have been finished quilts–because I want to chronicle them, and finished projects get the most feedback. I feel like I’ve gone off on a Tangent. So, anyway, I think my biggest regret is that I did not stop and get any coffee at the Human Bean.
I love you Yvonne, and everything you’ve said here is right on target. It should come naturally, but it does not and we need to cultivate our online friendships. It’s been said that your comments are always thoughtful, and I’ve found that to be true. You say what you mean but in a very nice inviting way. No wonder you have so many comments for this post! You go, girl!
I enjoyed reading this blog post so much, Yvonne. I have ups and downs with my blog in that sometimes I just feel it is a record of my quilt making and basically taking the place of that time when I used to do actual paper scrapbooking. I find that I have cut down on blog reading more as IG has taken a larger part of my life. And while I love the immediacy of IG, even with the change in algorithm, I love the sense of community that can be built through interacting on blogs. I have made some of my best friends through blogging. Thanks for the very well thought out and written post.
I think you might have struck a chord with this post! 😉 I have been absent from QBL for awhile and you might have just given me the spark to get back to it. I love, love, love quilting blogs. I read them all the time, even over the past several months, I have been reading all of my favorite blogs (you are high on that list) but I have not been commenting, mostly because I have been reading on my phone and then not getting back to the computer to leave comments. Part of that is why I haven’t posted on my blog as well. I totally agree that this community is just that, a community and being a part of it, for me, means being active not only posting my blog but commenting on other people’s blogs. I’ve been trying to find a sweet spot between sewing and computer time. . . I might have swung a little too far to the sewing side 😉
Thanks for your insight. I have let my blog languish for months now but I have a desire to pick it up again. My MIL and sister miss it and sharing with family was one of my motivations to start blogging. I haven’t been a consistent reader either. The community has changed so much. The active blogger mix is so different. I really enjoy the dynamics of the IG quilt community but I’m not ready to give up on the blog scene yet.
This is a great post! Many of us are still out here blogging and what you have done to bring new bloggers into the fold is great. Also great tips for people looking to reach out. You are also the BEST commenter on my blog so this post was great coming from you 🙂
Thanks for such a thoughtful–and thought-provoking–post! As a brand-spankin’-new blogger, some of the chatter I’ve been reading about interest in blogs/blog readership and engagement being down has me wondering if I’m just too late to the party. Ultimately, my blog is a fun creative outlet for me…but I talk to myself enough as it is. 😉
That being said, I know that I have some work to do on my end in terms of engaging with other bloggers and participating in link parties, etc. It’s all a bit overwhelming at first, trying to find blogs that resonate with me, spend time reading and responding, preparing content for my own blog, and–oh yeah–sewing! 😉 But I love the “find your tribe” sentiment. IG has more quickly helped me identify the people I want to follow…now I have to take the next step and spend a little more time on their blogs and not just focus on their IG feeds!
I’m a little late to the party, but I agree with everything you’ve written about!!! One of the rules I set myself when writing and publishing my blogposts is to never publish a post until I have replied to comments from my last one! Keeps me accountable to my followers and commenters.
Thank you for putting your thoughts down…..I am just beginning to follow a few blogs and admit that if I thought my comment was read and considered I would be motivated to go back…..I also think that if there was more 2 way communication more thought would go into the initial comment…..
Thank you for such a well written post. Much food for thought here.
Loved to read you! Thanks!
These are great tips! I reply to most comments via email but didn’t think about adding names to personalize them. I’ll start doing that today 🙂
Loved your post. I’ve experienced how true the commenting back and forth is on my own blog. Make it more personal!
Before I started blogging, if I didn’t see a reply to a comment I assumed the blogger was too busy to respond- I never realized they could’ve responded by email. As a blogger, I now have a plugin that leaves the comment for others to see and also emails the reader. Win win!
I’ve seen a big change in link parties over the five years I’ve been blogging. Many hosts are concentrating on size, rather than a friendly atmosphere, and this in turn can lead those adding projects to link and run. A great post and very timely in today’s it’s all about ME world. Found your post via Abby’s newsletter.
Great post! I’ve been finding it overwhelming to keep up with blog reading lately, and especially since I took a few weeks’ vacation back in July. Lots of great information and advice. Thanks.
This is a very helpful post Yvonne. Lots of people seem to strictly use Instagram now but I will always prefer blogs for getting to know someone. I have always done my best to reply to anyone who leaves a comment on my blog and leave comments on the blogs I follow on a somewhat regular basis. This summer though, I have struggled with all things blog related. Perhaps it was good to take a break. The hardest part for me is keeping up with reading and commenting. There are ones I follow regularly and others I scan now and then. I have definitely noticed that fewer people comment these days. I think it’s the sheer volume of social media outlets that becomes overwhelming. Thanks for the thoughtful post. Well done.
Not total hogwash at all. I have had to focus on ‘my tribe’, in spite of all the other temptingly beautiful and creative blogs out there, and it was reassuring to see you describe what I do.
I will stick with the blog of someone I feel I know even if they make things that are not my style. Inspiring ideas are great, but I respond most strongly to inspiring people.
Life happens, as you say. I simply cannot read everything. After two weeks away without Internet access, my feed is totally out of control!
Such a well written post, Yvonne. I have always wondered what is the best approach to responding to blog comments. While I make it a point to respond to each comment left on my posts, I’ve never emailed my response back, not from laziness, but from fear of annoying my readership with too many emails! You’ve made me look at it from a completely different point of view, which I really appreciate. Thank you!
Well, that was very interesting. Thanks for going to all that trouble! Are you actually going to email 90 people thanking them for their comments? That is dedication! You inspire me – I email all my commenters but I’m only new so only getting a few for each post.
I am just getting started blogging and this post really helps decode some of the mysteries for me. Thank you!
Yvonne, I read lots of blogs but don’t comment often. Most of the time I am reading days or weeks after the blog post was published so it seems like I’m too late to comment. What do you think? Is it annoying to get comments on a post when you’ve moved on to other things?
I enjoy your work! Thanks for putting it out there for us.
I agree with everything you’ve said here! These are very good tips for others. I especially hate the replies on posts (no offense anyone). It’s very unlikely people will ever see the responses. Great post Yvonne!
Thanks for this food for thought. I blog as a way of journalling my quilting progress, but I do still enjoy the random comments on my sporadic blogging, even when they come much later. If commenters blog, I have fun checking out their work.
I found your post via Abby Glassenberg’s newsletter. Lots of great food for thought here. Admittedly, I myself have become a lazy reader, just scrolling through my blog reader as opposed to visiting the blog itself. Your post is making me think I really need to start busting out of my reader and commenting more often– particularly when I find myself actually reading. Like right now! Thank you for that. 🙂
OMG! I just read this post and it so resonates with me. I had been a constant at WIP Wednesdays and Lorna’s Lets be social; Sunday Stash is regular Sunday feature….these help me keep a schedule in mind and implement accordingly!
And thanks for putting down a post on comment etiquette…I have learnt so much from this one single post. greatly thankful 🙂
Yvonne, Really great post. Since I’ve moved from paper projects to fabric surface design, I’ve lost a lot of followers. Still one of my most popular posts is one I wouldn’t want to do again since it’s not where I’m headed and when I finally redesign my site, I’ll take it down. If I would continue to put up more posts like that one, I’m sure I would gain more followers. However, my goal is not necessarily to gain more followers (although I like that), my goal is to inspire my readers while keeping myself authentic. So to your #4 point, I’d add to make sure and stay authentic. Again, a great post!
Thanks for this post. I’m reading it late, but I just starting blogging my quilt stuff and this was interesting to read.