I suppose, upon reflection, this isn’t advice – it’s more of a discussion, but I decided to include it in my blog series as I hope that it will promote conversation and assist with any questions that newer bloggers may have…
One of the most controversial blogging features appears to be the ‘like’ button at the bottom of a post. The like option is used throughout all forms of social media, and was introduced to WordPress in 2010. When I first began this blog, it was this function that I deemed the most useful when gauging the popularity and integrity of another blogger – the more likes I saw on a post, the better I assumed the author was. In my frequent ‘blog wanking’ (thanks Gene’O – great phrase) posts in which I proudly shouted my little achievements at regular intervals, I always included the number of likes a post had received. We all like to be liked… Or do we?
Two years later, the like button is something that I pay the least attention to. This is not to say that I don’t appreciate them – I am grateful for anyone who gives their time to interact with my blog, but I don’t focus on them in the same way that I do the comments I receive. There are a number of reasons for this:
- The number of likes does not directly correlate with the number of times a post is viewed.
- A ‘like’ does not mean that a post has necessarily been read at all. I know of several bloggers that regularly like my posts within about 10 seconds of them being published. Some of these posts have been over a thousand words long – even the quickest of readers could not have read it in that time. However, this doesn’t bother or offend me in the slightest, even though I know that some bloggers get very upset by this.
- A ‘like’ does not give any information as to what the reader thought about the post. They liked it? Why?
In the past I have tried little experiments on a number of occasions where I check my number of views against the likes I have received within the first twenty minutes. It used to work out that the likes would exceed the views. Now, it is the other way around, mainly due to the number of email and social media followers that I now have, lots of whom aren’t on WordPress.
However, I contradict myself at this point, because of the way I use the like button on other blogs. I limit the number of blogs that I follow simply because I enjoy them and want to be able to read all of them, even if I don’t read every post. However, when I only have a short amount of time, I will like a post to acknowledge that I have read and enjoyed it, and I will do the same if I have read something via Twitter and plan to retweet it. I know that many others do the same, and this is why I usually avoid conversations about the like button – we’re all busy people with our own lives outside of this little online bubble that we have created for ourselves, and it isn’t possible to spend hours commenting on every post that we read.
So, now I’ve potentially confused you with my hypocrisy – here are a few points to remember when thinking about the amount of likes you gain on your blog.
- The number of likes a post receives is not a reflection of how good a post actually is and how competent the writer is. Instead, it is more of a representation of how much the post has been seen by other WordPress bloggers. If you have spent hours crafting the most wonderful, insightful piece of writing that you’ve ever done, don’t feel disheartened and start to doubt your own abilities if it doesn’t attract the number of likes you feel it deserves. Instead, work on promoting your blog to others and increasing your traffic.
- If someone likes your post and clearly hasn’t read it, move on. Don’t get your proverbial knickers in a twist about it – use your time instead to respond to comments from others.
- Use the like button particularly when you don’t have time to leave a comment, but try and comment where possible.
It is not a popularity contest. I follow a blog if I like it, not because of the amount of followers they have or likes they gain on their posts. I follow bloggers that have three times the amount of followers I have, and I follow bloggers that have only been writing since the beginning of the year. Each are enjoyable and unique… And I like them all!
What do you think of the like button? Do you value it? Do you use it?
You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to visit my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks and give me a cheeky… like!