Tuesday, May 24, 2011

7 Reasons Why I Comment on Your Blog

I've already talked about 5 reasons why I read your blog, so now I want to touch on why I would want to comment on your blog. The first post was mainly written because I have a friend wanting to start a blog, but this one is more geared to something I've heard several blogger friends discuss: comments. Once again, thinking through why I leave comments helps me understand why others might (or might not) leave comments on my own blog.
First though, I think it's important to think about why you want comments. There can be a lot of different reasons for wanting comments -both good and bad, but I think spending a moment to think this through could help. I like the thoughts in the second half of this short article regarding finding your voice and validation in blogging (#5 here is also good).

So why would I want to I comment on your blog?
1) I have time. Well, that's easy to understand. Everybody's busy, right? While I love to read blogs and work on my own, they are not the top priorities in my life -by a long shot. So they fit into the free time I have, which can be more or less on any given day. I know I'm not alone here! I will confess to having a handful of blogs I make a priority because I like them a lot, but most posts sit in my Google Reader files until I have time to go through them. Time is a biggie!
2) You asked. Lots of times posts end with questions that directly ask people to comment, whether it's "Do you like A or B better?" or "What are you doing this weekend?". It's pretty simple, but asking a question prompts a response. Sometimes I'll make the effort to make my response a comment.
3) I have something to add. Well, duh, right? But not all posts end in a question. Maybe you wrote about your birthday -so I'll add "Happy Birthday!" to the comments, maybe you wrote about a controversial subject that bothered you and I want to add my 2 cents, maybe you're writing about considering an Ikea kitchen and since I have one myself, I'll comment about my experience. If I connect to your post in some way, I'm more likely to comment.

I suppose the question is: how do you get readers to connect with your content? I think you have to work backwards to answer that. I think you have to write what you care about (to sustain your blogging) and then people will come along over time who get excited about the same stuff. Might that take time? Yes, but I'd rather have readers who like me for me, then me wondering what they want. Read more about that here and here in English and here in German.
4) You create community. Not all blogs want to create community, and that's ok. Not all would-be commenters want community -and I don't always want it either- and that's ok. Personally, I like the atmosphere that community creates and it makes me more likely to comment. Here are 4 ways to create community on a blog:

a) I can subscribe to comments/receive comments by email. This is so awesome for those blog posts that are meant to inspire discussion. I will likely forget to to go back to your blog and see the updates, so getting them via email is great. Firefox also has a habit of periodically eating my saved tabs, so email is a guarantee. It's also nice when there's a post on, say, 'reader suggestions for favorite shops in Helsinki' and I'm planning on going there, so I sign up for the comments. Then I have the list in my inbox, bonus!

b) When the you periodically jump into the comments to respond. The time factor is huge here, but when I ask a question, chances are that I'm not the only one with that question. Answering publicly means the you only answer it once and you still connected to your readers, which is cool.

c) When you reply to my comment via personal email. Again, this is a time factor issue, but it's such a friendly touch, even if it's only occasionally possible. Also, if I signed up to receive comments via email, you usually only have to hit 'reply' to write me back. Handy.

d) CommentLuv is enabled to show the commenter's last post title on their own blog. This thing is so cool, have you seen it? I've seen this on blogs like Holly's and need to make it happen on my own. I have found some cool posts/blogs/people after seeing something interesting on a CommentLuv comment. It's a little vanity incentive for the would-be commenter, too, right? ha! It's an easy plugin for Wordpress users and there's also a version for Blogger folks. Check the CommentLuv site if you're on a different blogging platform. This is totally on my to-do list for the blog this year.
5) You make it easy. Word verification stinks and those security words make me not want to comment because it's an extra step. Please, I beg of you, just try a few days without the word verification! In the last year and a half, Blogger has gotten really awesome about catching spam comments. I only use word verification on posts older than 1 week and that has been great. Sometimes a spam comment will come to my inbox, but when I click over to the post itself, it's already gone because Blogger cleaned it up. I've also heard that Wordpress has some nice free plug-ins for keeping spam out, so check it out and just try it for a while and see what you think. Your would-be commenters will thank you!

Also, if you use some kind of external login feature for comments like Disqus, that's another turnoff for me. Most people have accounts with Blogger or Wordpress, so if you want them to comment, make it easy for them. Don't require them to create yet another account somewhere else or force them to figure out some strange new interface.
6) You're a friend. Yes, this counts. I try to always comment on my friends' posts, or at least their bigger-effort posts. If it's a private family blog that gets updated twice a year or a public blog that gets tons of page views, I will comment because I'm your friend. I don't expect all of my friends to do the same, but it's something I like to do just because I do!
7) I'm giving you a high-five because your post was awesome. Maybe a blog has 25,000 hits a day and it gets 100+ comments per post...do I comment? Well, if it isn't hitting any of the points above, probably not, but sometimes it's just awesome and if I have time I try to give kudos where kudos are due. Blogs are like free magazines and I think the least we can do is leave a comment when something is truly awesome -whether the blog is large or small. Not all posts on a blog are awesome, but maybe think about the posts that garnered the most comments in the past; what did you do there?

I know that's a long list and most of us can't provide everything there, but the more of that list I see in a post/blog, the more likely I am to comment. I definitely would like to improve in some of these areas myself.

Oh, Hello Friend! recently had a post discussing comments (read the comments, too!), but I have to say I though, Joanna nailed it in her recent post on Liebesbotschaft (alles auf Deutsch geschrieben) and I think it's totally worth reading if you can read German/sort through Google's translation. She talks about knowing your motivation to blog, being authentic, not comparing yourself, ignoring critics, and -shocker- not everybody is a blogger, and that's ok.

What about you? Why do you comment on a blog post? Why would you not comment on a blog post?
*bonus: I comment on your blog because I'm actually reading it. Here's 5 reasons why I would read your blog.


Monica said...

Another great post. Do let us know how you make out with ComLuv. I had been thinking about trying it out too, but from what I understand it takes over the whole commenting system from blogger. Not sure about that.

In general I comment for the same reasons that you do. I do tend to comment more on certain blogs though. Probably because I feel some sort of connection to the person writing the blog.

Thanks again for this post.

P.S. I will give it a try and remove the word verification.

Carolyn said...

Well said!

Kelly said...

You are on a roll right now! This is another awesome and very down-to-earth post. I need to look into the word verification thing. I'm not even sure what my blog is asking people for, and that's not cool. Thank you!

Katie @ makingthishome.com said...

Another awesome list! I like these, Juliette. I back out of posting comments when I have to deal with the word verification about 50% of the time. I have to really, really want to say something to deal with those.

Here's another you could potentially add... that person has commented on your blog before. It's the thing I'm worst at, but it's also so very special to do.


Jul said...

Back when I used Blogger (switched about a year ago), the word verification was basically the only protection against spam that was offered. I'm guessing that's why so many bloggers still use it now. Good to hear that they have added spam filters!

Juliette said...

Yes, Blogger has definitely improved over time, thank goodness!

@Monica - shoot, if CommentLuv takes over the comments I may not do that here. It looks like it was primarily designed for Wordpress blogs, so maybe it works better for them than for us Blogger folks. I'll definitely have to look into it!

Tanja @ Postmodern Hostess said...

Hi there -- New to your blog and appreciate this thoughtful post! Can't wait to explore your blog some more. :-)

Sharybary said...

Hi! I came over for FMF. I'm rather new to the group and have written about "write" yet, but I am getting inspired. I am a comment addict. I love them so much, and I am trying to decide if that is good, bad, or even okay. I always comment on anything that kept my attention. I so respect people who write, and I've read some of the most amazing things since I've been blogging. Yours was no exception. This on comments was such practical and encouraging advice. The idea of working backwards about why I comment. I think I'm looking for some nice people who want to encourage others and hope they stop by and see me. If you happen to come see me, please let me know what I could do to improve my blog. I want to publish a book sometime, and I have a lot to learn. The best to you.

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