Thursday, 21 April 2011

Blog Comments 101



Over the past few days I have been immersed in the world of blog comments.

 It seems that comments make the blog world go around, with most, if not all, bloggers telling me that they are "very partial to comments". It seems that "comments feed the blogging soul" and comments validate in so many ways. Blog comments tell us that there is, happily, "someone out there reading".

 We all want comments on our blogs. We know that. (I can only think of a tiny minority of bloggers who turn comments off permanently - usually huge massive money spinning bloggers.)

My blogging friend Allison (of Pink Fibro fame) wondered if I could post a 'difinitive guide' to blog commenting. Sadly not.
But, I will share with you what I have found:

Bloggers -

Love comments
Want comments
Thrive on comments
Need comments

Commenters -
  • Are pushed for time
  • Are often reading from an iPhone or Crackberry, so find it easy to read, but frustratingly tricky to comment.
  • Are dragged away from reading and subsequent commenting, by children, husbands, shiny things and real life. (Real life, getting in the way of blog commenting? Imagine!) 
Sometimes a bloggers ability to comment regularly, feels almost like a chore. Between real life, and actually writing your own blog, commenting can begin to feel a little like "work". The pressure is on to comment. And that in itself draining and anti-intuitive.

 So you retreat for a while, and your commenting falls off. You don't lose blogging friends, because you chat with them via Twitter and Facebook anyway. So it's OK. But they maybe miss the affinity they felt from your regular comments, and in turn don't comment so much on your blog...

 Twitter and Facebook are complimentary to blogging. But it's the comments that miss out as a result. Stand alone bloggers (IE those who do not tweet and do not engage on Facebook) seem to still enjoy a higher volume of comments.

 Blogging and blogging commenters are cyclical it seems.

 The life cycle of a blog (and its commenting audience too) is well outlined here.

 Faithful commenters come and go. Faithful readers seem to stay.

 This, I am lead to believe, is a result, not of the blog itself, but of relationships. We find affinity. We start the relationship via blogs, then get close via Twitter and email and Skype and even real life. And then we take the blogging relationships off the blog, and sometimes for granted, perhaps? The impetus to comment on the blog of a friend is less? Who needs to impress when you're already wed, kind of analogy?

 There are a whole host of practicalities that may mean comments fall away - the time of day seems to make an impact. If you are blogging at the same time every day, and Tweeting links at the same time, comments from "regulars" become, err, regular. For a while. Until your blogging routine, or theirs, change.

 I follow a few US blogs. I notice their early morning blogs coincide with my bedtime. As soon as daylight savings kicks in, however, it all becomes confused. I go to bed BEFORE their posts hit my reader. And by the time I get to them the next day, all relevant comments seem to already have been made...so I don't bother...slackness kicks in...

 In reality, the majority of bloggers are commenters, and the majority of commenters are bloggers. We are mostly both. Supply and demand.

We all want connections, and a real sense of community. We all crave positive affirmation. And we all want our blogs to have a large and engaged audience.

You won't get that without putting out.

Give as good as you get.

You get out as much as your are prepared to put in.

Give consistently good blog content, wonderful posts, and share of yourself and engage your readers by making them think, and you will generate comments.

Visit other blogs and genuinely contribute to their conversations generously, and comment.

Yes, you will run out of time. Yes, real life is more important. If it feels like work, step back.

But if comments are what drive you in this wonderful blogging world we find ourselves a part of, party on, and comment...




50 comments:

  1. You're a clever chick. I just "commented" a blog post over at E. You just get a line. Sorry. I'm warn out ....

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  2. keepcatebusy (Cate)April 21, 2011

    Right, well I think you've confirmed I need to learn about facebook and twitter. But I definietly think you're right about bloggers are commenters and commenters are bloggers. I don't know that I've ever had a comment from anyone who wasn't a blogger (besides family or personal friends).
    And of course, yes I too love comments - which I why I comment...because I figure others like getting them too...yes Lucy - we *are* reading :-)
    xxxCate

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  3. Thank you for reminding me to be a good blog reader... I usually just lurk, but I will from now on comment to give people positive encouragement that their posts, no matter how random, mean something to me.

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  4. Have a Twitter account I haven't logged into in ages, and I've never done Facebook...Some interesting findings, Lucy. I guess at the end of the day we all like to be acknowledged. I have fun with my Stats, because there are obviously a lot more people reading me out there than I think - they just don't comment (yet)
    xoxox

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  5. WanderlustApril 21, 2011

    Luce, you said it all so well. We all LOVE comments, yet we are have other things fighting for our time and attention when it comes to leaving them. So true. If I could spend my whole day reading blogs and leaving comments, I probably would. There are so many blogs I haven't been by in a while and I miss them, I miss knowing what's going on in the lives of my bloggy friends. But the time, the time... xx

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  6. yesyesyesyesyesyes!  Yes.

    Of course, it's not a finite set of findings. I know there are people out there who diligently comment everywhere and get only a little 'love' in return. There are those who don't have Twitter or FB accounts for their blog and they DON'T have high numbers of commenters, even though they diligently comment everywhere. Genuinely comment...

    In saying that, I've learned to relax (I used to beat myself up over not getting around to everyone's blogs who comment on mine):  some blogs you're naturally drawn to, time and again, others not so much so you're not as inclined to remember to seek them out. ?? I don't know. I tend to look on blogging as an extension of my 'real life' - if I think I wouldn't be comfortable sitting at a table chatting with a blogger, I pretty soon back away. I've probably lost myself many opportunities to make a new friend that way, though... 

    God. Rambling. Going! xx

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  7. MultipleMumApril 21, 2011

    I struggle with commenting. I tend to comment on the same blogs all the time and respond to those who comment on mine. I am not good at 'spreading my wings' so to speak. I am like that in real life too - not good at small talk x

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  8. Joni LlanoraApril 21, 2011

    What a very honest statement you made there. It's true that we readers often lack time to comment to each post we like. I do set a time to do that as I know & appreciate comments too.

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  9. I feel I have to comment on this... you know, cos it would be weird not to comment on a post about comments.

    I try to comment left, right and centre and I try to make it a proper comment not just a "cool" or whatever.

    I try to give comment lovin' back to those who give it to me, but if they've signed in to my comment platform with a different email address that I don't recognize, haven't put their URL or twitter handle so I can quickly find who they are, then I don't. Sometimes, if it's a great comment I'll try to join the dots, but often I get distracted by something shiney.

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  10. That is such a relevant point - enabling your email and your correct blog profile in your comment is VITAL to get return love!

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  11. You ARE good to chat to though....xx

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  12. 10/10 Cate. xx

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  13. Reading & lurking are OK....but commenting makes you real......

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  14. You are so right! I definately love finding other blogs, reading them, but find it hard once I've done so to find the time to stick around and comment! This is me, trying harder :)

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  15. Ask questions...that is the quickest way to elicit a response?

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  16. What you say is so true, I often find commenting quite hard and I am making a conscious effort now to try. When I blogged previously comments were our little communities only way of staying in touch - then came facebook, the comments dwindled away and eventually so did our blogs. It can be hard enough to find time to post on your own blog with young kids and work getting in the way, adding twitter and facebook to the mix can start to interfere to much with 'real life' - and without that, what do we blog about?

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  17. Daisy, thank you! blogging is delicious and addictive but so time consuming...

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  18. I am thinking I need to literally plan my blog commenting....

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  19. I am thinking I may have to set aside time too, instead of winging it, which is what I do now...at the detriment of my sleep...

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  20. I love your ramblings  - they make sense...xx

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  21. I am stealing time from work today. Naughty!

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  22. I am not suprised. Frazzled. xx

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  23. I try really hard to comment but I also know I can't be everywhere all at once. I am also quite often struck by the "but what if they think my comment is stupid" paralysis and sometimes that makes me step back without commenting, especially on blogs that are very popular or whose writer I really admire. I love receiving comments, especially the ones that make me think even more deeply about what I have written. Love your work Lucy as always xx

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  24. I absolutely love your blog Lucy, and go to it first most nights after the kids are in bed - this and design files and a few others I have found through yours.  I don't have a blog, don't use facebook or twitter, and therefore rarely comment.  More because I am not really part of it and the comments seem to move so fast... I get stuck jumping from blog to blog and already spend way too much time on my computer (according to hubby)! Anyway - just loving your blog and glad you have got back on the daily stats and weight loss ticker. I have 12kgs to go to be REALLY healthy, after 26kgs off over the last 18 months - so am using you for extra motivation! Your approach really resonates with me - keep up the great work.  And I'll try to comment more often after reading these comments!

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  25. Thank you so much Jane! I have a post scheduled for after Easter too, about enabling your email for blog replies... 

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  26. Suz my love - Don't get stuck by that thought. You are so articulate and honest - none of your comments would ever be percieved as stupid. xx

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  27. Thank you Sarah. 26kg gone is AMAZING! Well done! I wish you did have a blog so I could check out before and after shots!

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  28. I've started to try to comment more on blogs, and also start to follow a few more as well.  Whilst I'm time poor, some nights I do find that commenting on different blogs can leave me feeling just as satisfied as a good blog writing session.  Having said that though, I'm such a tiny tiny tiny fish that I can afford to not feel the pressure to be blogging every day.  Unlike you Lucy - we all wait to see what lovely offerings you have for us each and every day! xx

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  29. PS. I love the new blog font. (Yes, you know I'm a dedicated follower when I notice a little detail like that.) xx

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  30. And on that note, I tell you I am having a break over Easter. I am feeling a little blogged down....

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  31. I am still unsure - some of the symbols are a bit dicky...but I do like it...

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  32. Don't we all love comments?  I'm still trying to find the magic formula that would elicit more comments.  I think a lot of it boils down to the relationships that you develop with your readers.  I know that there are a lot of people who read my blog, but don't comment, but most of those are not bloggers and so they don't see the need to engage.  At least not on my blog.  I tend to "talk" to them more on Facebook.

    I always make an effort to comment on blogs I find interesting, or those that don't have any comments, but should.  A great way to find new blogs is to go through the blogrolls of the blogs I'm reading.  Often a very distracting strategy and the reason my kids are always trying to get me away from the computer.

    You make a good point about commenting from smart phones - I know that Disqus isn't very good for that, although once you login, the phone should remember your settings.

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  33. My nails are too clacky to comment on my 'phone - I struggle with texting even...xx

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  34. Trying to comment and my comment keeps disappearing. Gah.

    Sorry if you get this a million times.

    I've found since getting my iphone that I comment less because I'm reading more blogs from it and it is just so very challenging to leave a comment via iphone. However I'm tweeting / leaving comments on facebook more in reply to blog posts than I used to.

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  35. You are 100 percent correct.  I notice that all of the bigger bloggers in our little neck of the bloggy world as profuse commentors and folllowers.  I'll laugh sometimes when I find a new little blog and see their pretty faces already there.  It's hard to keep up with thou - and life IRL must come first for me.   But yes - comments make the blog world turn.  I gotta say i love them :O)

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  36. Kristy at Pampers and PinotApril 22, 2011

     I love comments.  Whether it be on FB, in person, or on my blog.  I haven't gotten into Twitter yet.  I know I must be from the Stone Age or something.  So, I try to comment at others.  I enjoy it.  If I'm feeling stressed from it, I take a break.  Then, I'm back to it.  I have found, like others are saying, that certain commenters do come in waves, and I must admit - I wonder - what is going on?  Am I no longer on their "cycle?" 

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  37. I find commenting tricky as 90% of my blog reading is done on my iPhone, usually with a baby attached to me lol. But I know how much I love getting comments myself so I try my best. I reckon I comment on about half or more of the posts/blogs I read, and I love it when comments are acknowledged.

    And of course in turn I try to acknowledge all comments on my blog too, and then time gets shorter again ;)

    So worth it to feel part of a community though. I know for me being a SAHM with a partner that is away a lot can be very isolating at times. I so appreciate the connections I have made.

    Popping in from FYBF btw, and following along :D

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  38. And when you post a long comment and then lose it - that's frustrating too, LOL!

    I'll bet you get quite a few comments on this post!

    It's definitely a hot topic though, and something I've been thinking about a fair bit lately. I keep a close eye on my readership through my Feedjit feed, and so I'm reassured I have plenty of readers, but that just doesn't compare to comments, does it? Comments feels a bit like a popularity contest too, though...  It seems a bit like people comment on the popular blog to be 'popular by association' - I wonder what it would feel like to be the flavour of the month and then have that die down when someone else becomes the flavour of the month? Not great, I suspect. So, I think lots of comments are mixed blessings unless they are genuinely about a connection with the topic...

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  39. I love, love comments!!
    I have to say, while it's great people can connect via Twitter and Facebook too, I just want to cut and paste their comments onto my blog instead! LOL! Then, on days when I'm not getting much comment love and need it, I can flick back to an old post and feel everything's OK with the (bloggy) world again!
    I only started blogging in January, so I"ve been investing quite a bit of time into commenting on others' blogs. OK, so a heck of a lot of time!!! I also make an effort to comment on blogs who support my blog, which is helping build some really great friendships.
    Great post topic!
    PS. I'll be back to comment again soon. Adding you to my blogroll!! ;)

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  40. Thanks Kellie, for your input. I am giggling at the idea of cutting and pasteing from Facebook & Twitter back into the blog...I am the same...

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  41. Comments that get eaten is SO annoying - apologies if my commenting system did that to you - sometimes the very first time you comment on a blog/new comment system, its hungry!

    Sif, you make some very perceptive observations around comments and blogging popularity contests - something I find I am accutely aware of...so thank you.

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  42. Hey Kate, and welcome. Lack of time - it's the constant problem, isn't it. But, very very worth it to engage in the blogging community. Like most things, we get out what we put in...

    I wrote a post last week about my husband going away and then coming back. (He works away a fair bit.) You will empathise, I am sure.

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  43. Kristy! For some mad reason you have dropped off my blog roll (which, I have to admit, is my reader.....) Off to add you back on right now - I fear I have not commented on your blog for months.....see? We are a living example of the very behaviour we question...xx

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  44. IRL first, as always. And you are right - we are a profuse lot! xx

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  45. You are here - you and your funky pink hair, just the once, phew! xx

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  46. Im so new to this (just a couple of weeks in) and Im even struggling with posting a comment here! 

    I love the feedback that comments give you so it stands to reason that other people do too.

    Many of the blogs I read are from overseas and I do find I often want to say 'what she said' because someone has already said what I would have liked to say (although often more humourosly or intelligently). But I'll always say something even if it's just 'I enjoyed reading this'.

    I also always check out the blogs followed by the people Ive enjoyed reading. It stands to reason that if I like them, I'll like who they like.

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  47. you said this so nicely! im new to blogging but just made a post about my blog observations a few days ago. you said it much better though!!


    pizziadventures.blogspot.com

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  48. I agree, I take the time to read the blogs, but rarely have too much time to read through others comments. and sometimes i will have allot to say and others its just a quick, hey there i read your blog and your awesome..
    Hi there lucy, i read your blog and your awesome ;-)

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I am a comment addict. Thank you so much for your words...xx