What is your experience with Blog Comments? Do you use them? How do they enhance or hinder your blogging experience? How do you suggest bloggers starting out approach the issue?
One of our citywide papers has a section on a Thursday dedicated to Media and Technology. One of the writers there has started his own blog – The Bleeding Edge. Its got some good posts on it and as with most new blogs its being updated many times per day.
Today they wrote a post about the lack of comments on their blog. As they put it, its a bit of a ‘No Comment Zone’. I decided to leave my thoughts and then after rambling on a bit decided to add them to my Blog Tip Collection.
Here is what I wrote…
No comments eh…. I remember that problem well. Can I make a few observations?
1. Your site is rather difficult to leave a comment on. Its just taken me 5 minutes to go through the process of registering, then finding I couldn’t have a space in my login name, re-registering, waiting for the email with my password, finding the post I wanted to comment on again, then after clicking ‘comments’ having to click another ‘post comments’ button. Now unless I really wanted to leave a comment and let you know that I’m enjoying your blog I would have given up on leaving my two cents worth long ago. The average person stays on a blog for less than 2 minutes (we found it was 96 seconds in this informal study). So if you want them to interact with you its got to be easy to do. Of course with ‘easy’ comes issues of spam comments – but I’d rather delete a few comments than not have any. I find sites that make people register to leave a comment generally don’t get as many unless their content is very controversial or they get a lot of traffic.
2. Different Content = Different Comment Levels – I’ve noticed in my own blogs that one gets a lot of comments (an average of 5 per post) and the other gets virtually none (1 comment for every 10 or so posts) despite it getting more traffic. Why? The nature of the content is different and will elicit different responses from readers. The one that gets a lot of comments is more personal, occasionally controversial, talks about ‘deeper issues’ and asks readers for input. The other one (with few comments) is technical in nature and gives more information that it asks for.
3. Sometimes it is better not to have comments at all. One of the ways a lot of blog readers gauge the value of a blog is to look at how many comments there are. If you blog says ‘0’ comments under each post its not that inspiring for your readers to want to interact.
4. If you’re interactive your Readers will be – I’ve found more people leave comments when they get a personal email or reply comment that engages with their comment. It gets a little hard when you have thousands of visitors coming to your site a day, but if you’re seen to be interactive then people will interact with you.
5. Give your readers some incentive to leave a comment. Blogs that let their readers make a comment with a link back to their own site give their readers not only a way to interact but also to do a little self promotion. Again this can lead to spam but there are ways around it if you use Moveable Type which has spam blocking features that don’t require registration.
By no means is the above all that can be said about blog comments – you might also want to check out some of my earlier Blog Comments Tips and some other tips on ways of making your blog more interactive. I’d love to get others thoughts on their experience with and tips on getting comments on their blog.