Here We Go: Blog Comments
I get a lot of questions from friends, readers, and people on Twitter about blogging. I try to answer them all through email or give them a quick explanation but I feel like I never get to really address some of the issues or questions. This new series titled, HERE WE GO, will be a way for me to dive into some of these issues in greater detail (while also getting some feedback and advice from other amazing bloggers who have much more experience than I do!) I don’t have all the answers so I hope that this series facilitates conversation and that I learn just as much as you. Speaking of conversation…
Today’s blogging issue is centered around comments. I received the following Tweet the other day:
I’m not a beginner [blogger] but even still it seems getting people to interact (comment) is something lots have trouble with.
This is something that I still wonder about. How do you get people to comment? I don’t think I realized how awesome blog comments are until I started blogging regularly. Even when I was sporadically blogging, I wasn’t making an effort to comment on other peoples’ blogs. I was taking more of the “watching from afar” approach. I honestly didn’t see an increase in blog comments until I started hosting photo challenges. I really do believe that once I started using this blog to foster a community, it gave people the opportunity to say something. Before, I would often re-blog fun images or share fun things that I had found on the internet. I’m sure some readers enjoyed glancing at my post but would about that really prompts someone to take the time to comment? I came up with a few things that I do weekly in order to stay involved in the blogging community (which I think greatly affects others’ willingness to stay active in your blog):
- What makes you comment on a post? Starting thinking about this when you’re scheduling or posting onto your own blog.
- Actively comment on the blogs that you read! If a blog does a good job of creating a community, other commenters will probably read yours and will click over.
- Take a look back on your last 15 posts. Which posts got the most comments? Figure out why. Was it the topic? The time it was posted? Did you tweet about it a lot?
- Link in your posts (give people credit!) I can see when someone links to my blog and I always like to check it out and say thanks.
- Is it EASY for people to comment on your blog? Don’t make them jump through hoops.
I’ve gathered some other thoughts about comments from three amazing bloggers. Here’s what they have to say:
Engagement and interaction are extremely challenging to achieve if you’re not approaching your audience in the right way. The key to triggering a response, no matter if it’s in the comments section of your blog or anywhere else in social media, is to create with your community in mind from start to finish, speaking with them and not at them. The more conversational, whether opinions are asked, questions are posed, or it’s just an all-around attention-grabbing topic, the more likely you’ll have a reader chime in with their two cents and be a more engaged reader.
– Amy of Savvy Sexy Social
One of the best things about blogging is being able to receive comments. It lets us know that people took the time to read a post and it also helps to create a community on your website. Interaction with readers is always a welcome thing! Something to keep in mind, the number of comments a post on your blog receives doesn’t necessarily indicate how popular your blog is or how many readers you have.Today, as bloggers, we have access to a whole host of social media outlets in addition to our blogs, and this plays a huge role in creating interaction with blog readers. My food blog has been up and running for almost four years now and the majority of my posts don’t generate a high comment amount. Most of my blog readers choose to interact with me via Twitter. I always make sure to link to my most recent post on Twitter and that generates the most feedback. My readers enjoy commenting and chatting with me on Twitter verses leaving a comment on my blog.And this is okay! As bloggers, one of our goals is to generate interaction with our readers. It doesn’t matter if that comes in the form of Twitter replies or a Facebook comment because the outcome is the same. Your readers are taking the time to chat with you and respond to something you wrote. Goal achieved! Don’t get bummed out or disappointed if a post you wrote doesn’t result in a lot of comments. If five people chatted with you on Twitter or Facebook about that post, that’s the same as five comments on your blog. You’re chatting with your readers, that is success!– Andrea of Food Embrace
Be a real person. There are 3 zillion companies and bloggers and spammers who are doing all the “professional” things necessary to steal your readers. Let them know that you’re a human being. Have a voice. Say something. You’re a real person talking to real people. Act like it.
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@Andrea. Great reminder to consider both Facebook & twitter engagement instead of just focusing on blog commenting. Very wise.
@Amy. The piece of speaking “WITH” not “AT” your audience is pure gold.
Nice post! I’ve come to the same realization that I’m a total “lurker” when it comes to the blog world. I read a decent amount of blogs within my field (student ministry and contemporary worship) but rarely comment on them or interact (in the comments section or other social media forums). I blog often, have a good amount of traffic, people tend to linger on my blog and click around…just don’t comment.
The idea of building community is the key I think. In everything we do, life, business, church, family etc. The question is, “what community do I want to create”. That’s a tough question when blogging about multiple interests/topics.
I also think it is important to make commenting easy. I used to follow a couple blogs – but the comments were based on user id and I did not belong to that platform, and I did not want to sign up…
I too am a lurker or more likely to comment via twitter or Facebook.
Great post! I agree with the varying viewpoints from the bloggers you interviewed and feel as though you offered many valuable tips.
Sometimes I create posts with the assumption that they won’t attract many comments simply because I feel the need to blog about something in the manner I wish to blog about it. Most of the time, however, I do try to do service to the reader and the most service-y of all usually result in the most comments.
Great tips everyone! I love that Amy reminds us to write like we are having a conversation with our readers. It is important to remember to not talk at someone, no one wants that.
Adam’s reminder to be authentic is key! Readers definitely pick up on that and can tell if you’re trying to be something you’re not.
I think all the advice given by Amy, Andrea, and Adam is VERY valuable to bloggers. A lot of food for thought – thank you for this post and this series, Allie. Very excited to read it and learn from it!
Yay, so glad to see this!
I don’t know. I mean, I often ask questions in my posts but I also get answers on Twitter (mostly from Cbus friends). I’m so so on that. I’d prefer that people leave a comment (also because if I’m looking for recommendations or advice, it’s easy to have it centralized on one post as opposed to the insanity known as my @ replies). I’m also trying to build an engaging blog that gets discussion going about style, so I’d like to keep that going there.
I do agree that tweeting (and posting to my personal Facebook page) tends to get more traffic (and commenting) in general. When mentioning other blogs, companies, etc., it’s interesting to see who responds and who doesn’t.
Can’t wait to see what’s next in the series!
For stats, I really like statcounter.com. It’s free and it drills down to show you specifics including IPs of people visiting your site, what posts are popular, where people came from, etc. Google Analytics has that but statcounter gives a little bit more detail. I use both because I want to know overall stats but I also want to know where people are coming from and where they are viewing my site from.
I had to get used to the fact that people comment via twitter and it took some time. Like Jess, it was nice having that feedback and discussion all in one place. However people also like instant gratification and Twitter provides that and fills that need for them.
I got a lot of great ideas and help from this post while very recently starting up my own blog! Really good ideas everyone!
This has helped me in many ways to see different view points.
Hi there – just found your blog and I LOVE this series. As a new blogger (Jan 2012) I am having a blast getting my feet wet and learning from other bloggers. I wonder if you might consider doing a post within this series about tips to grow a new blog? I know that I shouldn’t focus on numbers and hits, but sometimes I can lose my steam when it feels like I am talking to the wall. Did you ever get frustrated in the beginning when it felt like no one was reading? Thanks so much. Look forward to following your blog.
Great tips and a good ongoing segment. I’m struggling with viewers myself and all this reaffirms that I’m on the right track, I just need to engage more.
Keep up the excellent work, because I love coming here and seeing what you have to say.