Imagine going up to a deep well that you have never seen before and pitched a rock in. For a few seconds you might hear the rock hitting the sides. After a few more seconds, you might actually hear a splash. What if, however, you threw your rock in and heard nothing? Where did it go? Did it get stuck on something before it hit the bottom? You’ll never know. The well — to a large extent — keeps all that is thrown in.
Now imagine a reader coming to a blog and leaving a comment or e-mail and then nothing. There is no feedback. The comment didn’t show up for some reason, or the e-mail was never responded to. The reader in essence threw a rock into the well that was a blog and heard nothing. All the reader can do is stare into the black abyss and hope the next rock (if there is another one) makes a sound.
Is a humble blogger one that responds to comments and e-mails? I say that’s a good start. However, a true humble blogger has the readers at the forefront. The blog doesn’t scream of arrogance or intimidation. Readers aren’t dismissed as being thirteen year-olds because they disagree with a post. A humble blogger lays out the welcome mat and makes everyone feel at home. Listed below are six points that I feel show that a blogger is humble.
You’re Never Too Kingly For Your Readers
I truly admire Darren Rowse of ProBlogger. I don’t know of any other person (offline or online) that makes a six figure salary that will respond to my e-mails (every single one I’ve sent him) in less than a day. Who am I to receive such service? Nobody. I have a cozy little personal blog and that’s about it.
You Keep Readers First
Chris Garrett — whom I personally remember from Performancing — wrote a really thoughtful post thanking his top commentators. I found this extremely selfless. Chris has some amazing credentials, yet still takes the time to thank and acknowledge the people making his blog possible.
Admit Your Mistakes
Brian Clark from copyblogger recently found out his contact form had been broken for months. Rather than cover up the mess, Brian decided to write a post asking for forgiveness from his readers and explained that the situation was unacceptable. Brian Clark made the smart move and admitted a mistake and corrected this mistake in a humble fashion.
Link to B, C, D-Listers
Robert Scoble asked in January if A-Listers have an obligation to link to other blogs. While I don’t think A-Listers have an obligation to pass out links, I would hope that the A-List blogger remembers his or her roots. Not all blogs are a success overnight. Somebody helped those blogs out at one time. Scoble admits that his blog was found because other people linked to him.
Respond to Comments
Darren Rowse wrote a post at ProBlogger about turning off comments on a blog. Although I don’t agree with this (because I believe it kills community), I can think of a few reasons why a blog would turn off comments.
For blogs that do allow comments, however, it is crucial to respond to your readers. Just like bloggers don’t like talking to a brick wall, readers don’t either.
Respond to E-mails
It seems inevitable that readers of a blog will e-mail in questions or comments (especially if comments are turned off). I realize that many bloggers are too busy to respond to each and every piece of e-mail. If you are too busy to respond to e-mail, at least set up an auto-responder that assures the reader that every piece of e-mail will be read. No reader expects to be responded to every time, especially by a blogger that gets hundreds (if not thousands) of e-mails a day. However, your reader should know that the e-mail did get to you and that you are going to read it. That’s half the battle.
The points I covered are not exhaustive, but they are a start towards becoming a more humble blogger. If you have any more examples of bloggers being humble, please respond in the comments. I will update this post with your examples (with credit given).