Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Quality, content, connection, community ... why comment on blogs?

I'm back from a beautiful walk along a newly discovered trail in the woods with JOTS.  She's on my lap now, content to have sniffed through tall stands of ferns, clambering along a leaning tree covered with moss making it easy to reach great heights. 

We were out on the trails because I needed distance from a difficult question:  "What makes you comment?  Or, more specifically "Why do I get so few comments on the blog(s)?"  I've been blogging for two years and four months (and who's counting ha?). 

I've been brainstorming ways to refresh and reinvent my writing, feeling the need to  have more community and conversation on the blog (this one or a new one).  This post from Pen and Prosper describes "7 Reasons Why People Don't Comment"  and it's got me thinking about what I'm doing, or not doing.
Jennifer Brown Banks of Pen and Prosper calls these the7 'Deadly Sins' 

1. They have to jump through hoops!

          2.  There are too many comments.

3. There are too few comments.  
4. You're asleep at the wheel. Your content is not "connecting."
          5. You didn't ask for input. For instance, there was no question posed at the end of your post. Or
          there was no problem to be solved, or no "ah-ha" moment of which to relate.
6. You're not cultivating good karma in the blogosphere. From my experience, when you stop by and say hi at other sites, typically folks will reciprocate. But not always.

7. There's not enough "take-away" value. Consider--Did you make them laugh? Teach something

 I talked with Elsa P. from behind the scenes about why people do or don't comment on blogs. She posted a question to her Boards.
 It's so helpful to get feedback.
Do any of the reasons for not commenting resonate with you?  Which ones?


Liberty said...

this is such a complex blog problem and it's so hard to know why people don't comment.

my own biggest reasons for NOT commenting on blogs are:
-energy (figuring out how to put my thoughts or feelings into words is ***exhausting***)
-difficulty(I rarely comment on non-blogger blogs because I don't want to have to make a gravatar or another account, I hate when I have to fill in those darn captcha phrases to prove I am not spam)
-I didn't understand the writing well enough to comment
-if there are tons of comments already or if I feel I'd just be repeating what someone else said
-the post had no meaning for me

reasons I DO comment include:
-I was moved or inspired in some way and want to let the author know
-it's also easy to do
-if it is a post by another blogger who often comments on my blog, I feel good will toward them and am more likely to comment
-since having brain fog, I am far, far more likely to read a blog post all the way thru if it has photos interspersed and does not have huge, unbroken pieces of text. I see those and my mind shuts down and I can't focus. I think this is a big issue if our readers are people with MCS, FM, CFS etc.

A very important reason for no comments is not in the Pen and Prosper list... having very few or no readers, "traffic", visitors.
This is a really important issue.
When I began my MCS blog, the only people who read my blog were friends or other bloggers with MCS-related blogs who had found me through a search. As I learned more about blogging, I made sure my blog was indexed by Google and always included relevant, simple tags that would fit what search terms I thought those with MCS would use. I also tried to have my post titles be very clear and related to what the post was about.
All of those things helped but what helped most was visiting various MCS places around the internet and leaving comments, making posts and always having my name link to my blog. Or if I had a profile on a social site, I always listed my blog.
I can tell from analytics that I have steady traffic now though not as many comments as I'd like.
I think the main reason for this is because my posts on that blog are not emotional, not personal. So I'm not actually creating a relationship with my readers.

On my poetry blog I get almost zero visitors/traffic. and pretty much zero comments. I haven't advertised it anywhere. I'm sure if I was part of a writing blog community, it would be different. but it takes so much energy to comment and thus become part of a community and I'd rather focus my energy elsewhere :)

On my creativity blog, I get the most comments which I attribute to having joined a creativity challenge community that shows links of who is involved. I make sure to keep my link posted (they have check ins weekly). Most of my readers are others involved in that challenge. I get the most comments there by people who I have taken the time to comment on their blogs.

At the same time, I have noticed that some posts which I think will have many comments... have none. And vice versa! So it can be a mystery sometimes.

I definitely am more likely to get a comment if I have shared some genuine emotions and ended with a question that really engages the reader. Or an invitation for them to share themselves.
The questions you ended this post with were great!

p.s. final tidbit thought: I changed my artsy blog comments to be moderated so that all comments must be approved before they show. this meant I could get rid of the word verification thing. I got more comments after that.

Mokihana and Pete said...


Thank you for the full and detailed comment. I have tried to break up the content and add pictures again, so I was glad to hear your comment on easier viewing for the MCS, EI readers.

I appreciate how much energy it takes with MCS to think and write the thoughts that come.

Traffic here has increased substantially over the year, and it does have to do with being able to have a computer (ya gotta love it:)) and visit sites/leave comments.

Leaving questions that invite comments ... I appreciate your feedback and what a comment. Thank you, and I'll be over to your recent post about 'peeling an orange.'

I'll take your comments to heart.