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:
Thrive on comments
- 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!)
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...