10 June 2014

Blogging tips: What do bloggers owe their readers?

I occasionally read blog posts where the blogger is apologising to their readers for either not blogging for a while or for taking a new direction. I don't think there's any need to apologise. It's your space, for your own pace, your own race. That's the beauty of a blog - it can be anything you want it to be.

You don't have to blog every day or even every week. You can blog as much or as little as your time affords. When you don't want to blog because you're tired, you've got stuff happening in your life, you can take time out. If you really want to commit to producing a post regularly, batch write or keep some posts in draft form so you have some up your sleeve.

And you can take your blog into a new direction. Think of where you were when you started out and where your blog is today. Are you the same person you were when you wrote the first post? Probably not.

When I started out in this space, my blog was a mish-mash of posts about life events, a diary I guess. It detailed what I'd been doing. And then I became focused, writing for the love and development of writing, and concentrating mostly on what it's like to look different. And my writing has improved too. My blog is far away from that first post. Who would have thought I'd ever be writing about planning a wedding now!

As your interests change or grow, and your writing voice develops, your blog might do too. You might start off having no children and then becoming a parent blogger. Or you may choose to reveal less of your children's lives online. Your job may require you to curtail the amount of information you reveal about yourself, or you may go from blogging under a pseudonym to revealing your real name. If you want to take your blog from an online diary to social commentary, do it! You don't have to give all of yourself either. Embrace that change!

I think the only thing bloggers owe their readers is respect. And my Twitter friends agree.

Respect when it comes to checking the spelling and grammar, making sure the blog is easy and a pleasure to read.

Respect when it comes to the comment space - turn off captcha to show respect to loyal readers and moderate comments for spam (captcha makes me not want to comment on blogs). And open up anonymous comments - I find them so rich because anonymous readers are willing to open up about their own experiences and beliefs. Sure there may be a few hateful anon comments, but the good outweigh the bad tenfold.

Respect when it comes to sponsored posts. Disclose up front if you were paid to write about a product, given a product or have included affiliate links. It's so hard to tell these days what is a gifted product or what a blogger has paid for. I'd like to know the blogger has been paid in some form before I read the post.

And respect when it comes to thanking readers for reading commenting and sharing our blog posts.

Life is a journey and so is your blog.

It's your blog, do what you want, unapologetically. It can be anything you want it to be.

What do you think bloggers owe their readers?

I recently wrote pieces for Problogger and Kidspot that are relevant to this and may be useful. Problogger's post is about how success doesn't have to be the number of visits to your blog; and Kidspot's post is about setting boundaries as a blogger.

Read more of my blogging tips here.



  1. Inspiring and motivating as always, Carly!

    SSG xxx

  2. Thanks for sharing this Carly. I recently took a break from blogging due to personal commitments, and I did feel a need to apologise for it. I'm also at a point where I'm about to start changing direction, which is a very conscious decision about where I want the blog to go, and I've been concerned about the consequences of it and was wondering whether I needed to explain myself before/when I did it. I now think the answer to that is "no". Instead I'll just do it and continue to respect my readers.

  3. I completely agree that we don't need to apologise. I often find it quite strange when a blogger apologises excessively for not posting for a while.

  4. Carly this was so refreshing for me to read. You are right, it's your blog and your space, write what you are passionate about and take your readers on a journey as you change with your writing too. :)

  5. I agree totally about captchas - I've had regular readers who are blind and they wouldn't have been able to comment if I'd used them (I'm not convinced of how accessible or comprehensible the audio captchas are). As for anonymous commenters, I've always allowed them, but I totally understand those who don't - anonymity often allows people to be unbridled and to abuse and accuse with abandon.

    As for keeping the blog up, nobody owes their readers that. Sometimes you run out of time to write, or just the motivation. I drive trucks for a living, and long hours (especially with early starts) aren't exactly helpful in being able to think clearly enough to write a cogent blog entry. I often think of things to write about when I'm driving along, but by the time I can get to my computer, I don't have the energy. (And sometimes your job explicitly demands that you stop writing.)

  6. Great post - couldn't agree more, especially about the not apologising. There are ways to explain an absence through sharing your story. I firmly believe that the first person you should blog for is you, and when that changes you risk losing authenticity. My blog is changing a fair bit as my opinions and philosophies change as I get older and grow. Good to know it's not just me!

  7. Completely agree with everything here! Great post! No matter how personal or otherwise a blog is I think it will always evolve and change over time. "I think the only thing bloggers owe their readers is respect" - YES! :)

    (Also - captcha makes me want to throw my laptop at the wall...I really wish it wasn't offered as an option...)

  8. I agree wholeheartedly!
    I had a thriving blog, with sporadic posts, tried to push myself to post regularly but it just wasn't how I write... Then I went through a traumatic time with my husband, left him and got divorced. I couldn't continue on my same blog with all of the painful history, and for some reason I found myself apologising to my readers for giving it up. Instead of writing, I focused on healing and now I am so grateful to escape that self-inflicted pressure of owing my readers posts, apologies and explanations.
    I love what you have written here, it is so assuring, reminding me that my blog is really mine.

  9. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and advice. As a new blogger I appreciate the wisdom of those more experienced.

  10. Carly, I respect you on writing this post. I stopped being apologetic about myself along time ago but then I have a blog, I started again unknowingly at first. You're right I'm making my blog mine, no apology.


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