How to Deal With Insane, Hateful, & Batshit Crazy Blog Commenters

The other day I had the pleasure of chatting via email with a good bloggy friend who I don’t chat with nearly enough these days (she knows who she is), and we got into a discussion about blog commenters who leave messages on posts that are either certifiably insane, over-the-top crazy, or so freakin’ nasty that you almost have to do a double take to make sure you’re actually reading what you think you’re reading.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve received some pretty amazing, uplifting, and inspirational comments since I started blogging back in October of 2009, but let me just say that I’ve had more than my fair share of the negative shit too. I’ve been called a bitch more times than I can count, and I’ve even seen the dreaded “C” word thrown around once or twice. I’ve also been told I’m about as intelligent as a 13-year old, completely and hopelessly ignorant, and my own, personal favorite — someone once told me that my son is going to be a serial killer when he grows up for having such a bitch for a mother. (True story.)

Sadly, those negative-Nellies aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Haters LOVE to hate — and the only thing they hate more than whatever it is they happen to be disagreeing with is not having a platform to voice their opinion and be heard.

And THAT my friends is exactly why not every comment we receive is sweet, encouraging, and rosy. Blogs offer people a place to be heard where they can throw out insults, derogatory remarks, and messages of pure hate and evil simply BECAUSE THEY CAN DO IT WITHOUT HAVING TO REVEAL THEIR IDENTITY. (Translation: They’d never have the balls to say that shit to your face.)

But I’m one step ahead of these freaks, because I grew a really thick skin a long ass time ago. However, I wasn’t always tough, and when I first began my blogging journey, mean-spirited commenters almost broke me a time or two. On that note, I thought it might be helpful to put out a list of advice & tips on how to deal with negative commenters if you aren’t quite to the point where you can laugh off what they said and move on.

1. Silence is GOLDEN – If someone leaves you a horrible comment, the absolute WORST thing you can do is acknowledge it, or heaven forbid actually REPLY to it. Haters WANT a reaction from you — that’s their main goal — to get under your skin and make you question your words. Trust me — the best way to defend yourself is to ignore them completely. That’ll hurt them way worse than anything you might have to say.

2. Turn on comment moderation – Ok, so I know comment moderation can be kind of annoying when you’re the commenter, but remember that your blog is YOUR blog. It’s YOUR own personal space, and you have the right to decide what does and does not get published in your comment field. If you are noticing a trend of more and more negative comments coming in, it might be time to do a little damage control by turning it on. (Why do you think mine’s been on for like 2 years?!)

3. Change your way of thinking – And by this, I mean instead of taking a negative comment personally, view it as a total win for that particular post. Even though someone is disagreeing with you — you still struck a chord with them and got them thinking. Isn’t that why we blog in the first place?

4. Accept & Realize what blogging means – You are putting your thoughts, opinions, and personal emotions out there for the world to see every single time you hit publish, so you’re kind of setting yourself up for people to challenge you on occasion. No matter how much you believe in what you are saying, someone is going to disagree with you, and that’s OK. Not everyone in cyber-space is going to like you or want to be your friend — and that’s OK too. Focus on the people & commenters who do lift your spirit and boost your confidence instead of the ones who are shamelessly trying to tear it down.

5. Breathe in, Breathe out, Move on — (Yes, I stole that line from one of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs.) It’s kind of been my mantra over the past couple years, and believe me — repeating that statement in my mind has gotten me through more than one major life challenge. It’s only natural to be hurt by someone who makes hateful remarks towards you — but don’t let it get you so upset that you dwell on it for too terribly long. The next time someone offends you — just repeat “Breathe in, Breathe out, Move on” in your head. I promise you’ll feel better.

And if all else fails, just send anyone who’s hating on you my way and tell them to pick on me instead. I’m totally used to it, and I’ll gladly kick their ass for you.

What is the worst comment you’ve ever received?

10 Tips For How To Survive Two Years Of Blogging

Yesterday was a very big day for me, as I turned two-years old! Well…at least my blog did. Although I think that I look pretty damn good for 34 if I do say so myself. Not that I’m conceited or anything.

October 23rd, 2011 was the two-year anniversary of the day I published my very first post on The Mommyologist. Would you guys believe that I got the idea for this blog AND started it the very same day?

Yeah…I’m not a planner. I’m more of a spontaneous kind of gal, and I tend to do things when they just “feel right,” or some shit like that. I’m about as far away from Type-A as a person can get. I more like Type-Z or something. And I dig it.

The past two years have been somewhat of a whirlwind, and I won’t sit here and lie and tell you that my journey has been an easy one, or that I haven’t had days where I wondered why in the hell I’m doing this or what my end goal with The Mommyologist is.

The truth is that I really don’t know where I’m going…but I’m definitely on my way.

If you are curious as to how I survived two years of blogging without losing my mind or throwing in the towel, I’ve put together a list of do’s and don’t's for you as far as what I’ve learned about the whole blogging gig.

Ok, I feel like I need some sort of disclosure here…

*Please note that all opinions expressed in these tips are purely my own, and may or may not apply to you and your philosophies on blogging. This is only advice, not a “how-to” guide to blogging or anything remotely similar to that. This is a list of what worked for me, so don’t go all postal on my ass if you read this and decide to quit blogging. And please forgive me for deviating from my humorous tone for this particular list. Some things have to just get said without being funny.

 

How To Survive Two Years of Blogging and Still Want To Keep Doing It

 

1. DO know your mission and your brand and DO NOT try to be somebody else. Quit worrying about what other bloggers are doing with their blogs and focus on what YOU are doing with YOUR blog. People will return to your blog because you are unique and different from everyone else, which is what you want to strive to be every day.

2. DO NOT let the success of other bloggers intimidate you or make you feel like you are doing something wrong, or that you or your blog “just aren’t good enough.” That is NOT TRUE. There will ALWAYS be someone who gets more opportunities than you and is more well known than you are. But remember that they are not YOU, and you are special and worthy and have SO MUCH to offer people with your blog. And remember that there are plenty of bloggers who look at YOU as “that blogger” who they’d love to be like someday.

3. DO let yourself be motivated by people instead of being motivated by money and numbers. The minute I take my focus away from striving to help women and make them laugh and shift it to trying to make my paycheck bigger each month, I find myself losing my voice. This also happens to me when I get too caught up in my numbers and worry about how many followers and subscribers I have, etc. I actually only check my stats now about once a month, and money is not a reason for why I hit the publish button on my posts every week. I get paid when someone leaves me a comment, or sends me an email or tweet telling me that they read something I wrote and it inspired them to get out of bed, take a shower, put on a cute outfit and makeup, and rock their Mom Sexy that day. You just can’t put a price on helping other women remember their worth.

4. DO NOT get upset or worry if there are people who don’t like you. It’s OKAY if not everyone likes you. Always remember that you can’t please everyone, and imagine just how boring life would be if everyone liked you. Think about some of the people you most admire in blogging, or just in general, as far as being successful goes. Now take a good look at that person and think hard. Does everyone like him/her? I didn’t think so. Not everyone is going to agree with what you’ve got to say…and that is OK. Haters are a good thing.

5. DO the best you can with your blog each week, and let that be good enough for you. Remember that it is OK to have a life outside of your computer. What on earth would you blog about if you didn’t? There are some weeks when I post three times, others where I only post once. And I’m OK with that. I do the best I can when I can do it, and that is good enough for me. We have enough guilt in our lives and should not put any more on ourselves. Stop being your own worst enemy, and remember that YOU are in control of your blog. YOU say when and how often you post, and the only person who can give you a hard time about it is yourself. QUIT beating yourself up for having a LIFE.

6. DO step out of your comfort zone as often as you can if you want to continue to learn and grow with your blog. Yes, you will be nervous, but that’s the whole idea. The first time I ever interviewed a celebrity, I was nervous. The first time I ever went on the radio, I was nervous. The first vlog I ever recorded, I was nervous. The first TV segment I was featured on, I was nervous. But you know what? EVERYONE who has ever done any of those things for the very first time was nervous. If you don’t get over your nerves and try new things, you’ll never get used to doing them. Take that leap!

7. DO NOT let anyone undermine your success or your blog in any way. Sadly, there are people who either don’t want to be happy for you, or just don’t get the whole blogging thing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “How did you get invited to that?”, or “How can blogging be a job?”, etc. Instead of letting those people get under my skin and make me question my self-worth, I instead choose to focus my energy on people in my life who support my blogging journey, because there are plenty of them. THOSE people deserve my time…not those “other” folks.

8. DO realize that it’s OK to say no to people. You know how precious your time is, and you know that there is only so much that you can put on your plate at any given point during the day. You DO NOT have to post something because someone sent you a really nice email and wants you to promote their shit for free. You DO NOT have to accept every single product that is offered to you for a review/giveaway just because the person addressed you by your first name and told you how much they love your blog. (NEWS FLASH: They “loved” about 100 other blogs that day too). And you DO NOT have to cater to each and every single request from each and every single person in your life each and every single day. You are only one person, and there are only so many hours in a day. LEARN TO SAY “NO” and be alright with it.

9. DO NOT throw a hissy fit and assume that you’ve failed the first time you hit a valley in blogging. Blogging is a series of peaks and valleys, and my entire two-year adventure has been a total up-and-down whirlwind. There are times when I really feel like I’m rockin’ and rollin’ and have an incredible groove going on, and then there are other times where I feel like I’m totally out of the loop and wonder how on earth I’m going to keep moving forward and grow my blog any further. Ride the peaks when you have them, and gather the strength to climb out of the valleys when you find yourself at the bottom of those. The only person who can declare that your blog has “failed” is YOU.

10. DO develop relationships and friendships with other bloggers and people in the social media space, and DO NOT be afraid to ask them for help or inspiration when you need it. I would never be where I am if there had not been people willing to answer my questions and show me the ropes along the way, and I strive to give that back to others whenever I can. I won’t lie…there are people out there who are “non-sharers” and are afraid that they’ll let out the freakin’ blogging secret of the century by answering a question from another blogger. If you encounter a non-sharer, just move on and ask someone else. There is ALWAYS someone who is willing to help. (For the record, I am one of those people, so you can always feel free to email me if you have questions. I will do my best to answer them without sounding like an asshole).

 

Stay tuned for next year’s survival post on my THREE year anniversary. Yes, I plan on making it that far.

 

The Untyped Comment

This morning, I read a blog post that got to my heart. And yes, I know that this post is completely out of character for me, as I like to primarily stick to humor on The Mommyologist, but this is something that needs to be said, and I feel that it’s something bloggers need to hear. Plus, it’s my friend Shell’s one year anniversary of her Pour Your Heart Out link up, and I’d be a shitty friend if I didn’t participate.

Back to that blog post that I read not even thirty minutes ago…but still can’t get out of my head.

As I read this particular post, I found myself nodding my head the whole way through reading it. I found myself taking deep breaths in and out and feeling validated after hearing this woman’s experiences. And I found myself wanting to reach through my computer and hug this woman, simply because SHE GETS IT.

I won’t go into any of the reasons why, but I just could not leave a comment on this amazing post today. But even though I did not comment, that post potentially changed my life. It resonated with me. It made me feel like I’m worth it. It gave me a little bit of peace. And I cannot thank this blogger who I shall not name enough for writing it.

Too often as bloggers, we let the number of comments we receive on a post determine whether or not we think the post was good, or whether or not anyone enjoyed it. And after my experience this morning, I feel the need to tell bloggers everywhere to keep on writing from their hearts…because you NEVER know who is silently reading along and feeling less isolated because you were brave enough to hit the publish button.

Be grateful for the untyped comment. Because the untyped comments are the most important ones you will ever receive.

You ARE making a difference. NEVER question that.

10 Reasons Why Blogging Is The Best Job Ever

Do you ever feel like you are part of some sort of secret society when it comes to blogging?  I honestly think that it’s one of those things that you just don’t really “get” until you do it yourself.

C’mon…you all know what I’m talking about. I’m referring to the people you know outside of the blogosphere who think that there is no way in hell that you can possibly make a career out of it…or even have your blog be considered a job.

You all know how much I love Facebook, (yes, I’m being sarcastic), and the other night, I had someone mock what I’m doing with the whole blog thing.  This person basically told me that what I’m doing is “cute and fun”, but that it will never amount to more than that. Yes…I know that she’s just jealous of me, because I’ve pretty much realized that when people try and cut you down, it’s because they are unhappy with their own lives, and it makes them feel better to pretend that what you are doing is not as great as it sounds. For the record, it is. It’s just as awesome as I make it out to be.

I actually want to take a moment and thank this person, because her little jealous hissy fit made me understand even more just how much I love my job.

As bloggers, we know that blogging is the BEST JOB EVER…and here are 10 reasons why:

1. It may take some time, but if you are dedicated and treat your blog as your job, it does eventually pay off. I’m making a nice little salary for myself now from my gig over at Babble, and I never would’ve gotten that job if it weren’t for what I’ve accomplished with The Mommyologist. I’m also getting some pretty cool swag from THIS blog…and you can’t put a price on that. For all bloggers…even bloggers who are just starting out, I can’t stress this to you enough: STICK WITH IT!!  Always see your blog as a stepping stone to bigger things. Because it is. It’s a resume in itself.

2. I have the BEST co-workers in the world. I worked in many office settings before deciding to stay home with my son, and I can honestly say that I’ve never had better co-workers than the other amazing bloggers I connect with on a daily basis. And we ARE co-workers, because we support each other, sometimes we even team up on projects, and we share information about our company (blogging) in order to help it succeed.

3. The water cooler gossip totally can’t be beat. But the best part is that we never gossip about each other.  Whether it’s talking about celebrities’ twitter accounts, blog conferences, or the latest social media platform, the conversation never gets old.

4. You really can’t beat the office dress code.  Most mornings, I work in my pajamas while having coffee, and over this summer, I’ve even worked in my bathing suit.

5. Since pretty much everything we do is online, we never have to make copies, send faxes, etc. Just think about how many trees we save!  Who knew that blogging could be so green, right?

6. Social media is where it’s at, people.  And as bloggers, we are one step ahead of the game, because our jobs revolve around it. Even if your blog is just a hobby, you are gaining valuable skills that will be a complete and total necessity in the next few years, and you’re having fun doing it.  (See how much this job rocks)?

7. I’m sure there are a few exceptions, but for the most part, there are no cubicles involved in blogging. And our office chairs are way comfier…and some days even come in the form of a couch.

8. The coffee at my house is way cheaper than Starbucks. I’m saving money by not having to stop there on my way to work.

9. As a blogger, never forget how many people you help on a daily basis with the content you provide. By sharing our challenges, struggles, and achievements with others, we have the ability to connect with other people going through the same things. Sometimes just hearing someone else’s story is enough to make any obstacle seem a whole lot easier to conquer. And to any of you who think that your blog is small and hasn’t reached or touched anyone, you are wrong. You never know who is reading your blog, and you never know whose life you made a little bit easier with your posts.

10. They say that if you are doing something you love, you will never work a day in your life.  And that is how I feel about blogging. I love every single second of it and cannot even believe how much it has enriched my life since I started doing it last October.  It hasn’t even been a year, and I’ve done things I never would’ve dreamed I’d get to take part in.  And I just can’t wait to see where this journey takes me next.  Thank you to all of you who make blogging the BEST job in the world!

I LOVE MY JOB!!!

Six Months of Blog Wisdom

Today, is Friday, April 23rd, which is the last day of Spring Break, which is a complete and total relief to me because my Zumba classes can resume as usual tomorrow morning and I can finally get the ass-shakin’ fix that I’ve been missing all week.  And not only is today the last day of the out-of-my-control Zumba hiatus, but coincidentally it is also The Mommyologist’s six month anniversary!

I started this blog on October 23rd, 2009, and here I sit exactly six months later typing my 103rd post.  And I can’t even believe where this journey has taken me in that short duration.  I am not sure what exactly I expected to happen after I hit that publish button for the very first time, but I can guarantee that I never anticipated becoming this addicted to the wonderful world of the blogosphere.  And now that it’s got a hold of me, I know that it will never loosen its grip.  And even if it tries to kick me to the curb someday, it better know that this ass-shakin’ diva will hold on for dear life and absolutely refuse to let go.

I thought that a great way to celebrate my half-year anniversary would be to share a few things that I’ve learned along the way that I never could’ve known about blogging when I wrote my very first post.  And I’m not talking about the technical stuff here. I’m talking about the more personal aspects of putting your heart and soul into your little corner of cyberspace. Because PERSONAL is exactly what a blog IS.  It is YOUR BABY, and it is YOUR JOB to protect and love that child and watch it grow up.

THERE WILL BE PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE WHO JUST DON’T “GET” THE WHOLE BLOGGING THING

I don’t know about you, but when I started my blog, I couldn’t wait to run and tell all of my family and friends about it.  I emailed the link to everyone on my contact list and posted it to my Facebook page at least a half a dozen times.  And for some reason it shocked the hell out of me when every single person in my life didn’t jump for joy and shout from the rooftops that I had somehow stumbled upon greatness and now deserved the title of, well…you know…the “most awesome writer EVER.”  (Not that I really thought that then or think that about myself now, but it’s still nice to hear even if it isn’t 100% true).

And it wasn’t that I got any initial criticism from family and friends, it’s just that some of them really just didn’t acknowledge my new “baby” in the slightest.  It took me a couple of months to realize that there are definitely people out there who just really don’t understand the whole blog thing. And that doesn’t mean that they don’t care about you or what you are doing, it’s just that since they don’t have a blog, they don’t understand the appeal of it.  And that is OK.  Because for each person who doesn’t “get it” there is someone in your life who truly DOES “get it”, and those are the people who you need to surround yourself with and turn to for positive influence.

I have a few people in my life (you know who you are) who absolutely 100% support me and take an interest in my pursuits no matter WHAT I am doing.  And I’d like to take a minute to thank those awesome people for realizing just how important The Mommyologist is to me and for making an effort to embrace my little venture wholeheartedly.  Because whenever I have one of those “not-so-sure-about-things” kind of days (we all have them), these incredible people are the ones who make me feel like a superstar.  And I love each and every one of them for it.

My advice to my readers is not to get upset about the “non-getters” in your life, because they still care about you and love you.  It’s just that they don’t comprehend the allure of writing a blog.  And if they ever do break down and get a blog, support them for sure. Because then they’ll totally understand and they’ll need that camaraderie from someone “in the know.”

SOMETIMES PEOPLE JUST AREN’T GOING TO AGREE WITH YOU

This was a tough one for me, ladies and gentlemen!  I don’t know why it never dawned on me at first that by putting myself out there and expressing my opinions on motherhood and life in general, I was pretty much setting myself up for the naysayers to try and knock me down off my high-horse.  The first time that I received criticism about The Mommyologist, I went into full on defense mode.  And that’s the NICE way of saying exactly how I behaved.

As hard as it is to digest, when you are putting your thoughts and feelings out there for the world to see, there are just bound to be some people who don’t like what you have to say.  And if you completely obsess over their negativity (like I did at first), it can put you in a really bad place. I know that when it first happened to me, I doubted myself.  I questioned the decision to write this blog. And at times I even pondered the quality of my character a little.  But then I remember why I started The Mommyologist, and I remembered that my goal of making people laugh and eliminating feelings of isolation among mothers was just way too important to let my vision fall to the wayside because of one snarky comment. And I realized that as a writer, I am just bound to encounter some criticism along the way.

Negative feedback and comments can be so hard to take sometimes, but the best thing that you can do for yourself is to see those remarks as a POSITIVE thing, because it means that what you said actually evoked emotion in people, even if that emotion wasn’t necessarily good.  It made them THINK.  It made them REACT.  And that means that your voice was HEARD.  Use those dissenting opinions to your advantage and let them give you a CONFIDENCE BOOST.

That is exactly what I do every time that someone leaves a negative comment on my posts.  And I usually email them to thank them for boosting my ego and reminding me what an awesome writer I am.  And I always feel empowered after I do that.  Because I took their negative energy and threw positive right back at them. And positive always triumphs over negative.  Try it, it WORKS!

BLOGGING IS MY JOB…EVEN IF I DON’T GET PAID FOR IT.  AND YES, FINDING A BALANCE CAN BE TOUGH!

About a week or so ago, I was pumping gas at the station at the bottom of our hill, and I noticed a chalkboard on the outside of the building with the words, “Powerball Jackpot 240 million” (or some other insanely large number) written on it.  As I waited for my tank to fill up, I thought about what it would be like to win all that money and not have to worry about anything anymore.  My lottery day dreams typically start the same way, and that is with me buying some ginormous house on the coast somewhere, but my second thought in this particular dream surprised me a little.  I thought to myself, “We could pick up and move to the coast and then I’d have all the money in the world and could work on my blog all day long!”

They say that if you are doing something you love, you will never work a day in your life again.  And that is how I feel about this blog.  Even if I won hundreds of millions of dollars, I’d still want to log onto my computer and write every single day.  And I’d still continue to grow and develop The Mommyologist into something bigger…even though I’m not exactly sure what “bigger” means at this point.

I guess that blogging and being a mom pretty much go hand in hand, because both of these things are my full-time jobs that I don’t get paid for. Well, at least I don’t get paid in CASH.  My son pays me everyday in cuddles and kisses, and unconditional love, and you really just can’t put a price on that.  And this blog?  It pays me in ways that I never could have imagined, with the connections I’ve made with other bloggers being the highest reward, along with the satisfaction of knowing that I’ve made people laugh or feel better about themselves.  Once again, totally priceless.

With all that being said, having these two jobs makes it pretty difficult to find a balance sometimes because I don’t want to neglect either of them. My son is my absolute highest priority in my life, and sometimes that means that building Lego “space vehicles” just has to take precedent over blog hopping and tweeting.  And I know that I haven’t been as good about reading other blogs and returning comments these days, but as my blog has grown, so has my workload, and sometimes I just find it impossible to write good content, answer emails, keep up with tweets, and still give my son all of the attention that he so rightly deserves all at the same time.

I love my readers.  I love my bloggy friends.  And I hope you all know just how much I appreciate you taking a few minutes out of your day to check in and see what The Mommyologist has to say.  This blog would be nothing without you.

And I really can’t wait to see what the next six months bring!

ps – Don’t forget that this coming Monday, April 26th is Mom Sexy day!!  I can’t wait to tell all of you about my latest efforts to bring Mom Sexy back!

A Bloggy Boot Camp Crash Course

Ok, so I’ve only been back from my whirlwind weekend in Baltimore for about 15 hours and I’m already chomping at the bit to implement all of the knowledge that I gained!  I seriously have a nervous feeling in my stomach right now because I’m fully aware that I need to put this stuff in place while it is still fresh in my brain.  I’m also fully aware that my total-stud of a four year old is ALSO fully aware that his mama was away for the entire weekend and he absolutely intends to cram every single minute of Lego action that I missed the past two days into these first few morning hours.  I’m hoping I can squeeze this post out before he decides that he’s totally had it with me and dumps all of the contents of his Lego bin onto the floor in order to prove a point.

First and foremost, this past weekend was nothing short of incredible.  All blog-related tips aside, the absolute best part of the trip for me was finally getting to meet some of the amazing women who I’ve formed such great connections with since I started blogging in October.  I’m resisting the urge to go into some big long hoopla about each and every person I met and how they fully lived up to their awesomeness (and don’t even get me started on my bloggy sister).  Instead, I’m applying one of the first things that I learned at boot camp.  If I want people to actually read my entire post instead of giving up after the first paragraph, then I need to quit trying to write a novel with every post and use the space bar a little more often.

Since it wasn’t that long ago that I was a newbie blogger, I thought that the best way to go about this post was to highlight the key topics that I think are most beneficial to bloggers who are just starting out.  I’m hoping to take some of the guess work out of blogging for those people who know that they want to move forward and dive a little deeper into the blogosphere but aren’t sure what they are supposed to do and what they are not supposed to do.

Here goes nothin’.

KNOW THE EFFECTIVE WAY TO COMMENT

This one may have taken me a few months to get the hang of when I first started blogging, and after this weekend I was so pleased to learn that I had figured it out somewhere along the way.  Basically, here’s the lowdown.

- It’s a total give and take. If you want to get comments, you have to give comments.  You can’t just start a blog and throw a post up and expect for people to come out of the woodwork and discover you.  You have to visit other blogs, follow other blogs, and leave comments regularly on those other blogger’s posts if you want to see some love in return. Reciprocity is key in the blog world.

- When leaving a comment, make it authentic.  Basically, if you’re going to take the time to leave a comment, then take the time to READ THE POST FIRST.  If you say something along the lines of, “Great post!”, or “Thanks for stopping by MY blog!”, or “I’m here from such-and-such!”, without any sort of reference to the post you are commenting on, then you are pretty much giving away the fact that you have no idea what the actual post was about because you didn’t read it.  You are basically saying, “I really don’t care about your post and I don’t have time to actually read your post, but I DO want you to come back to my blog and leave a meaningful comment on MY post.” Again, it’s all about reciprocity people!  Honestly, I have left comments thanking people for stopping by my blog, but along with that I always include some feedback for the post in question.  I think a good rule of thumb is: If you can’t manage to come up with an authentic comment, then it’s best not to leave one.

- Turn off word verification! I can’t stress this one enough.  I had it for about a month on blogger, and then someone advised me to remove it.  And you know what?  I got WAY more comments after I took it off.  Don’t question this one.  Just DO IT!

KNOW YOUR BRAND

- Be clear on who you are. This is one area where I think I’m on the right track (or at least I hope I am)!  One thing that was too funny at boot camp was the fact that no one had any idea who I was when I introduced myself with my first and last name.  And I pretty much had no idea who anyone was when they introduced themselves with their first and last name either.  When you brought blog names into the mix however, it was a whole different story.  I heard a lot of, “OH YEAH!  I KNOW YOU!”  If people can immediately picture your blog in their head when you give them the name, then that is a good example of branding.

-Be clear on what you do. Make sure that when readers visit your blog, they easily get a sense of what exactly you write about.  Taglines or phrases in your header are an easy way to do this.  At the top of my blog, I have my title, The Mommyologist, and underneath I have my tagline: “Analyzing Motherhood with Laughter and Honesty, And Trying Not to Lose My Mind in the Process.”  This lets my potential readers know that I write about being a mom and that I use humor as my delivery method.  I think it’s pretty clear from my header that they aren’t going to find posts about gardening on my site.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  Gardening is great, and I wish I had the patience to do it.  But if I was going to write a gardening blog then I’d be the Flowerologist or something to that effect.

- Pick one or two Memes and stick with them. I won’t go into the whole debate over how the word Meme is actually pronounced (for the record, it rhymes with dream…Scary Mommy filled us in).  If you have one or two memes that you participate in on a consistent basis, then your readers know what to expect from you.  They will start to anticipate those posts and actually visit your blog without thinking about it because they are actually looking forward to your meme post.  I do What the Heck? Wednesday and I try to keep up with it every week when I can.  I even have a button for it now and I’m hoping more people jump on the bandwagon with me (hint, hint, wink, wink, shameless plug). I also have a new series that I’m working on that won’t be a weekly thing, but hopefully it will become something that people associate me with.

KNOW YOUR WORTH

- It’s ok to say NO. This was a big one for me.  I have just started to get into the whole review and giveaway thing on my blog, and to be honest it can be a little overwhelming at times.  It is so exciting when the emails from PR reps start rolling in and you start getting offers for giveaways and reviews.  I was so happy to finally be getting noticed that I found myself saying yes to pretty much every inquiry that I got.  And you know what?  I started to get stressed out.  I started to get overwhelmed.  I started to get snippy with the people around me as a result of being overwhelmed and stressed.  And that just isn’t good.  Blogging is supposed to be fun and it is supposed to be FOR YOU.  It is ok to set boundaries on what you will and won’t review and/or giveaway.  It is ok to speak up and ask for more when you feel as though you aren’t getting what you need in return for the advertising you are going to provide for a product.  And it is ok to say no.

KNOW THAT YOU HAVE SUPPORT

- There are plenty of people who are willing to help you. One of the very best things that I ever did as a blogger was to join SITS.  Putting that adorable leopard print button on my sidebar was one of the very first things that I did when I started my blog.  I didn’t even really know what it meant when I added it, but I do now.  I had the pleasure of meeting Tiffany, one of the SITS founders, this past weekend and her energy is absolutely contagious. She is truly passionate about what she does, and she offers an incredible support system for women bloggers.  The SITS motto is, “The Secret to Success is Support.”  I don’t think that it gets much more true than that.  If you aren’t a member of SITS yet, then head on over and join today.  You won’t believe the amazing connections you make.

Well, there you have it folks!  I didn’t touch on everything that was covered at Bloggy Boot Camp because that would’ve been virtually impossible to do if I ever intend on finishing this post.  With that being said, please feel free to email me at themommyologist(at)gmail(dot)com with any other questions you may have about what went on in Baltimore.  I am more than happy to share!