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.
I hope this first HERE WE GO post sparks conversation (no pun intended)! Feel free to Tweet, message or comment below with other blogging discussions that you’d like to see here weekly. I’m aiming at every Wednesday so I’m all ears!

February 29, 2012