How to Help Your Blogging Buddy

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There are innumerable articles and blog pieces that offer advice on increasing blog traffic and readership. They vary wildly in quality of both writing and content. While there are enough This Simple Trick Will Increase Your Traffic Eleventy-Gajillion Percent! headlines to make you want to scream, there are plenty of guides filled with quality tips and tricks. This is not one of those articles. This one is meant for people who read blogs, though a good chunk of what’s in here could be applied to just about any website.

A Friend Who Proofread’s a Friend Indeed

When you read something and notice a mistake in grammar or punctuation you’ll probably keep it to yourself and continue on. You may think of it as a kindness. You’re practically the Mother Theresa of the blogosphere with all the ugly typos you pass by without so much as a comment. But, you’re not really helping anyone. Send the writer a message. “Hey. I found a typo on page X of your site.” They will likely be slightly embarrassed, but will almost certainly appreciate the help.

Having good content includes spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Mistakes can not only have a negative impact on readers’ perceptions, but also effect a page’s rank in search results. This applies to more than just blogs. Make sure to tell your friend the amateur taxidermist that they misspelled something on their Etsy listing. They’ll appreciate it.

Sharing is Caring

Everyone likes likes and loves on their posts to social media. That little bit of validation that tells us our thoughts have been noticed by someone out there in this dark, inhospitable world. Truly, we are not alone. We are seen. We have left a mark. We will not be forgotten.

Search engines love them, too. They use those likes to measure engagement and to know what’s popular, pushing pages up in search results. Know what search engines love even more? Shares, posts, retweets, repins, whatever. They indicate a greater level of engagement amongst page visitors and have a greater effect.This is, of course, in addition to the primary benefit; more shares equals more exposure, which means more people visiting. Again, this also applies to pretty much any website.

Even better than simple shares are targeted ones. You’re on a “Hippy Moms” Facebook group? That’s an awesome place to share your friend’s review of an herbal stain remover. The gaming subreddit you frequent might also appreciate that satirical post about Batman’s alignment in the new movie.

This, of course, all only applies if you actually think the work is good. If it’s garbage, please don’t embarrass your friends by spreading their shame.

Where Can Matter As Much As What You Say

Whether you want to leave a positive or negative comment (or a like) on something a friend’s posted, where you leave it matters. Generally speaking, leaving a comment directly on the page will have a more profound effect than having a discussion on social media. It means that your comment is actually attached to the post (if you’re talking about a store, leaving a product review is a really big deal) can be seen by anyone who looks at the page. That both shows engagement and inspires other visitors to leave comments. There’s a reason so many blog posts and articles end with something along the lines of “Tell us what you think in the comments”.  It’s a call to action.

Comments left directly have a particularly strong effect on in-platform metrics. Most blogs run on one of the big platforms like WordPress, Blogger, or Tumblr, which have their own tracking and try to foster “communities” in their user bases. Getting a lot of traffic and engagement on a post will bring it to the platform’s attention and can get the post or blog featured. Anyone who uses Reddit, where upvotes can directly increase exposure, is familiar with how this works.

Not sure where you should hit like? Why not both!

If Your Ideas are So Great Get Your Own Damned Blog

Your friend’s site is ok, you guess, but it’d be so much better if they wrote about completely different things in a completely different style, with a completely different tone. And had more pictures with fewer words. I mean, you could help. You’ve got a ton of great photos and ideas. You’re just going to tell them what they should be doing.

You could do that, but it’ll make you kind of a jerk. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t ask someone what their opinion is on something, or tell them that you think it’d be interesting if they wrote about a particular subject, but that’s really only cool if it fits in any themes they might be trying to hold to. Don’t try to ghostwrite your own blog through them. Create you’re own. I’m living proof that any idiot can do it!

I Don’t Understand Gender Identity

notsmartI’ve never understood it when I’ve read or heard someone say they identify as just about anything. It’s always seemed foreign to me when a person seems to define their identity around a single aspect of their character or a lone interest.  Is it related to a need to belong to a community? If so, that may explain why I’ve never really felt as though I belonged in one. I don’t think I’ve ever really known what it feels like to “be” anything. I mean, I’ve felt hungry. And happy. And sad, hurt, grateful, worried, and the whole gamut of emotions and inputs. But, when someone says they believe they were born the wrong gender, I don’t get it. I have no idea what someone born with ladyparts means when they say that they feel like a man.

In the little world inside my skull, I know that I am male. I know this not because of anything I feel, but because of what I see when I take my clothes off and because I have a Y chromosome. And to me, that’s all gender really is; some physical characteristics. Everything else that gets assigned based on gender is a construct or side effect of such. And I don’t understand someone born with guyjunk who says they feel like a woman. What the hell does that mean? I’m not sure if my perplexity is indicative of ignorance or enlightenment(I always hope for the latter, but it’s nearly always the former). Gender is a physical characteristic. I am tall, I am right-handed, I have blue eyes, I have large feet, I am male.

Do they mean they don’t like the way their junk looks and/or feels to the touch? Because, to me, that’s the same thing as not liking your hair color. I’m down with people making whatever modifications to their body they want. Their choice.

Does it mean they want to wear clothes that are traditionally worn by women? Do it! Wear whatever the hell you want. If you don’t like tuxedos get a LBD and some pumps for the next black tie affair you’re invited to. They want to wear makeup? Go for it. The only things you should get made fun of for are how poorly those brows are penciled in and how crooked that catseye looks. These are just things people put on. Women aren’t dresses and makeup.

Is it tied to the way women are traditionally treated? The romanticized notion that women are the fairer sex, more demure and poised than men?. Is it because they’d like to be treated softly? Want to take part in activities that tradition dictates belong to women? I can wrap my head around all of those things.

I don’t understand. And I want to. I recognize that no one owes me any sort of explanation, and I’m not expecting one. You be you. You wanna’ refer to yourself as he, she, trans, modified, whatever I don’t care. That’s cool, and I’ll stick to the pronoun you introduce yourself as. Past introductions, I’ll try to remember, but honestly won’t beat myself up over it if I forget every once in a while. Nothing personal. I’ve got a family member who changed their name near 20 years ago, but still keep on using her old one. Just because that’s what’s in my brain. You change your name from Paul to Paula, odds are pretty good I’ll keep using Paul. Not because I’m dismissive or as a statement against your change, but because that’s how I’ve learned to think of you. I ascribe to Shakespeare’s thought on roses. I’ve known dudes who were Kelly and Shannon and women who were Alex. Continuing to refer to you as Carl isn’t a hate crime.

Here’s the thing, though. I don’t have to understand. It doesn’t concern me how someone else dresses or how they refer to themselves. If I’m not trying to undress someone and touch their junk, it makes absolutely no difference to me what’s in their pants or up their skirt. The outcry and the bigotry rearing its ugly head have me absolutely baffled. Why the hell does anyone give a shit?

Is it that people are trying to reason out why someone would want to dress as the opposite gender? If that’s the case, and the first/only answer they come up with is “to rape someone” that says a whole lot to me. I’m more frightened of people who think that way than any dude in a dress. It’s about as appropriate a reaction as believing someone who shaves their head must be a sexual predator. It’s so they can’t leave hair behind, you know.