Why do you follow or unfollow a blog?

I recently asked on Twitter what reasons anyone has for unfollowing a blog. I’m interested to see how the number of followers fluctuates almost every time I publish a blog post. It’s not predictable either – sometimes I lose followers for posts I think will be popular, and sometimes the reverse happens. Nobody answered my question, so I’m going to discuss it here and if you have any more reasons to add, please do comment.

Why do I follow a blog?

  • I enjoy the content, which appeals to my taste in books (for example) and is well-written.
  • The owner of a blog has reached out to me (perhaps by engaging with me on my blog or other media) and we have tastes in common.
  • The owner of a blog is very approachable and pleasant to interact with, usually replying to my comments.
  • There is a variety of content on the blog – I really enjoy variety, so my favourite blogs have a mixture of book reviews from different genres, discussion pieces and non-book posts.

Why do I unfollow a blog? This rarely happens, but when I do, here is why:

  • The blog appears to be inactive and was never one I interacted much with in the first place.
  • I become fed up with the blog owner ignoring my comments, especially when my comments are questions. If you’d prefer people not to interact with you, then it’s a good idea to turn your comments facility off.
  • The blog’s main purpose changes, for example it becomes more about product placement or has a lot of guest posts which are not on subjects that interest me.
  • A book blogger never gives their own opinions about the books they review, instead just repeating the blurbs and promoting the authors. This has a purpose, but it’s not content that appeals to me.

Some things that don’t affect whether I follow or unfollow a blog:

  • The aesthetic. I know some blog owners work very hard on how their sites look, but nearly all of my blog viewing is through the WordPress Reader, which levels the playing field, as it were.
  • Tags or shared themes which many bloggers join in with. I don’t take part in these myself and they aren’t my favourite kind of posts to read, but if the blog has other content too, I’m not unfollowing.
  • The number of followers a blog has. It doesn’t always correlate to the quality of the content, and besides, everyone starts from zero followers. It matters more to me that I enjoy the content and that the blogger is likely to interact.
  • ‘Unpopular’ opinions. It’s better to have any kind of opinion than none at all. Unless I encounter opinions that I find offensive, I’m not going to unfollow.
  • Frequency of blog posts – unless they are so infrequent that the blog seems inactive, then I don’t mind how often the posts are published.
  • Use of images or gifs. I think it’s nice to have at least one image per blog post but wouldn’t say it’s essential for my enjoyment. I prefer images that aren’t too large, or else the page can be slow to load.

I hope this post has been of interest. Are any of these reasons yours too?

32 thoughts on “Why do you follow or unfollow a blog?”

  1. I definitely don’t allocate enough time to read blogs – which is rather shameful as I know how much time people spend on them – but I rarely unfollow blogs. Nice post.

    1. I think the lack of time is a problem for everyone! There is so much content out there and not enough time to read and interact with it. I try to keep up with the blogs I follow, every few days, but I’ll only interact with a small number of them. Thanks for your comment πŸ™‚

  2. Interesting post! I actually hardly ever unfollow blogs but usually follow them because I like what they post about or as you say they have reached out to me and regularly interact with my blog. It’s the best part about blogging!

    1. Thanks! πŸ™‚ I agree the interactivity is the best thing, for me too, although not all blogs invite it – I think some are just to get their thoughts out there without wanting to interact.

  3. Interesting post. You brought up things I’ve thought about, including the point that sometimes when one writes a comment they hope the blogger will respond to it. I’ve commented on a few, and most have replied, but one blogger never replies, so I stopped. But I didn’t unfollow because I enjoy his blog, particularly his basic platform.

    Like Louise wrote, I don’t spend enough time reading the blogs I follow, either. I think I subscribe to too many, so some days try to get the highlights of posts I can’t spend too much time on. I mostly subscribe to blogs which are about things I love: literature in all forms (books, writers, book clubs, etc.); science (earth, space, the body, etc.) and more. Some days I like it light; others, I prefer some depth. Hence, sometimes the full on commitment to reading the blogs I subscribe to and then other times only a passing glance. (Does this make any sense? Help?)

    I’ve only unfollowed blogs I realized I never read, either because they just didn’t “speak” to me or rarely wrote anything that made me feel it was time well spent. I work to not let a blog’s format annoy me too much as we all have our constraints, but when a blog has overwhelming clutter (ads, particularly), it can affect my desire to read it.

    Thanks for the post. I do enjoy reading what you have to say, especially about books!

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, I appreciate it! Anyone who follows blogs for a while will realise that just because a blog has comments enabled, that doesn’t mean the blogger will respond – they may only respond to certain people, or the first few comments, or to no one ever. It seems harsh to unfollow them because of that, but I primarily follow blogs for the interaction and the sense of a community of people who have the same interests – I apply the same thing to people I follow on Twitter and Instagram too. If I don’t love their content enough, and they never reply to me, then I may unfollow them. I subscribe to about 400 blogs I think, it’s not possible to keep up with everything so I just skim the latest posts on my feed and interact with a few. It’s easy to feel bad about not reading enough blog posts but there simply isn’t the time and I think we all accept that. That’s an interesting point about time well spent – feeling that the content was worth reading. Thank you, I’ glad you enjoy reading my stuff πŸ˜€

  4. We match on why we follow and unfollow, but I do care a bit about aesthetics… what I mean by that is I’ve seen blogs where they use violent purple as background and then black in the text or so many pictures and gifs that I can’t really find the content. Sadly, if I can’t read your blog or doing it feels like ploughing through a sea of gifs, I will unfollow.

    However, it’s not something I actively do. I only look through whom I follow when I notice that I don’t really relate to my feed anymore.

    1. Yes, being able to read and navigate a blog easily is important – as I most often view them through the Reader, I don’t see what they look like originally, except maybe when I first find them. If I don’t like the aesthetics I might not follow but it wouldn’t be a major factor in my decision. Thanks for your thoughts! πŸ™‚

  5. My reasons for following or unfollowing are similar to yours. I rarely unfollow, but pick and choose which posts I read.
    I’m holding on to several inactive blogs because I’m hoping they will restart!

    1. I understand that – we can’t read everything, it’s not possible! It’s not easy to tell if a blog is inactive; you’re right, they might start up again. I rarely go through the list of blogs I follow to see if any are inactive.

  6. I guess like most people the problem is having the time to view all the content out there. I follow very few blogs and of the majority of those I skim much of the content. And I only follow one book tube channel. But I don’t think time is the main issue for me. The personality of the blogger is important but the main issue is whether the blogger reads and reviews a range of books. I read across most genres (don’t do horror, not sure why) and both fiction and non-fiction so people who do the same I find more interesting than others!! So, there you go, you’re book blogging royalty!! LOL!! [OMG, I just realised I don’t actually follow your blog, I just check your twitter links for your latest reviews! LOL! LOL! Hmmm, must correct that….]

    1. I’m flattered to be royalty πŸ˜€ Thanks very much! I don’t follow BookTube at all, I use YT for music only. I feel that I already follow enough bookish content through blogs, Twitter and Instagram. I agree it’s more interesting when blogs have a variety of content, although I think the most popular ones seem to be those that stick to a niche. Well, you’re not obliged to follow my blog, but if you do then I will appreciate it πŸ˜‰

  7. My reasons are very similar to yours, both for why I follow and unfollow. I occasionally go through the blogs I follow and unfollow them if they haven’t posted for six months. If they come back to the blogosphere and “like” or comment on my blog (thus drawing my attention to the fact they’re back), then I re-follow. Otherwise my reasons for unfollowing are expressing an opinion I find offensive, or repeatedly banging on about their particular political opinion as if we all ought to share it (even though I may occasionally be guilty of doing that myself!), or swearing – I must admit I often unfollow blogs where the blogger regularly swears. Then there’s the mystery unfollows – where I think I’m following a blog and then discover I’m not. I’m sure there’s a WP glitch that causes this to happen from time to time.

    People who don’t answer comments are a particular annoyance of mine too. As you say, they could just turn comments off if they don’t want to interact. Mostly I blog for the interaction, so I’m grateful for everyone who takes the time to leave a comment. I appreciate reading and commenting on blogs can be time-consuming, though, and that not everyone has as much free time for blogging as I do, being retired.

    1. Thanks for your comments – great points there! πŸ™‚ That seems reasonable about unfollowing blogs which have been inactive for while and then re-following them when they have woken up again. There are a few blogs I know of where the blogger posts nothing for ages, then comes back with a lot of activity, then goes away again… I know they’ll be back! I’m not keen on swearing in the blogs I follow (and I try not to let any slip on to my own blog) but I wouldn’t unfollow unless I considered it excessive. I get the mystery unfollow thing too! Either it is a glitch, or I accidentally click the unfollow button. I really admire bloggers who have the time and dedication to read/comment/share lots of content, it does seem like an excellent thing to do in your retirement πŸ™‚

  8. Great post! I agree more or less with your reasons. I never unfollow because someone is inactive. Sometimes, they come back again (and I don’t see any harm in following someone who doesn’t post?) I have on a few occasions unfollowed someone, because they posted too much and actually spammed my reader, which made it difficult to find the posts, I really wanted to read.

    1. Thank you! πŸ™‚ You’re right, if someone isn’t posting then they’re not going to appear on the feed. I will only unfollow if I look at the list of blogs I’m currently following and see ones I was never that interested in to begin with (I did follow a lot of blogs at the start of my blogging journey before finding I couldn’t keep up with them all) and which seemed to have stopped posting – I figure that we will not miss each other! That’s interesting about unfollowing because of too many posts – I wonder how many is too many? More than once a day?

      1. Yeah, it was sometimes blocks with 10 posts just after each other (how can you even write so many posts)? I think it’s fine if bloggers post once a day or so, even if I probably won’t be reading all the posts.

  9. I follow a good mixture of blogs–plenty of reader/writer blogs (like ours) but also more lifestyle/travel, too. If it’s a great blog with great writing, I won’t mind when my comments go unanswered, but I have to be getting a lot out of it, outside of the interaction. (I mean, blogging is about interacting, or should be.) When blogs go real commercial, yeah, that’s when I’m out. I’m fine with people selling their talents or wares but when it becomes the whole focus, I don’t enjoy it. Again, the interaction factor. For instance, a travel blog becomes a Disney commercial. That said, I have to admit to following fewer travel blogs (not unfollowing, really, just kind of ignoring) during the pandemic–like salt in the wound!

    1. That’s a fair point – if a blog can’t be interacted with but it’s still a great read and unique content, then it’s worth your time. I would follow more blogs on a variety of subjects but it can be difficult to find them – I’ve found the majority of those I follow through the bookish community, usually via Twitter. Some blogs have sponsored posts and that’s fine but the content still needs to be original and not just an advert. Yes, must be a tough time for travel bloggers! Or anyone who makes a living from travel. I rarely go anywhere, even in a non pandemic situation. But yes, good point that one’s interest in a particular type of blog or content might depend on whether it feels right for the current situation.

  10. I agree with all the reasons you put, particularly interaction, I find it so frustrating if I leave a comment and it goes ignored. I also find it frustrating if I comment something that needs, or at least invites an answer and the blogger just likes my comment rather than respond – to me it’s lazy and that puts me off.

    With regards why I follow, for me it’s less about type of posts (even though bookish posts are my favourite), and more about writing style and voice. I also like individuality, I respect people that post what they want to rather than what may be popular at the time just to gain followers/likes.

    Interesting post, I enjoyed reading it 😊

    1. Some great points there, thank you! πŸ™‚ We can’t know the reasons for bloggers not replying to comments but really if I didn’t want interaction then I wouldn’t enable the comments in the first place. Yes the individuality is important and the fact that people are writing what they want to, rather than what they think will be popular. Thanks for your thoughts!

  11. I agree with a lot of this! I rarely unfollow blogs unless they are inactive for a long period of time. Like you I mainly use the WordPress reader so the aesthetic has no real bearing. Great post!

    1. Probably 90% of my blog viewing is through the Reader so I don’t even know what most of the blogs look like outside of that! So yes, the appearance doesn’t matter so much to me. I should probably tinker with my blog’s appearance more, as at least half of my views are from search engines, but really it’s at the bottom of my list of things to do. Thanks! πŸ™‚

    1. That’s great we agree! Not everyone will want to interact but I prefer the blogs that do!

  12. You definitely have some good points especially regarding unfollowing inactive blogs and blogs that never interact with their readers. As a new blogger what’s been mind boggling for me though is why some people will follow and then unsubscribe right away

    1. Thank you! It’s weird and pointless to follow and then quickly unfollow but it seems to be common across all social media.

  13. Your post is timely as I had a big follow on my WP reader, I only unfollowed inactive sites (not posting for more than two years) and some hadn’t posted in over 3 years so it was about time.
    Other than that I agree with pretty much all you said.

    1. Thanks, I’m glad you agree! πŸ™‚ I think it’s difficult to find blogs I want to follow now – not just because they are not always findable, but I might find one that interests me but then they post so irregularly it doesn’t seem worth following.

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