It’s been a few years since I wrote on this blog, about copywriting, twitter and social media. Much has happened in the last few years, however the big thing is that while I still write from time to time and while I use social media my focus has definitely shifted. I now have Jive Nation Toronto which I started in April 2010 (I created the site, thank you WordPress and Genesis, you are amazing) and I went back to my other love: photography. I have a body of work on Flickr (I have had mixed feelings about their recent changes, but I love the variety, scope and talent and my friends there and haven’t been able to leave it even though it’s not what it was when I signed up for it) as well as a couple of other photo hosting sites.
My plan is to turn this site into a photo-blogging site, where I can post my photos and wax lyrical when the fancy takes me. That means this site is going to change radically, for the better. Photography is about connection, it’s about telling stories with no words, a few words or many words. It’s something different for everyone and this is going to be a good place for me to explore my love for photography.
On May 30th I lost my father and it’s been a very weird time to say the least. He loved taking photos… usually of his kids. Through this difficult time ( to my amazement I wanted to take photos even more (I generally shoot something every day if I can, or at least every weekend). Taking photos became my constant, I could take pictures when I was sad as well as when I was happy. And when I look at each and every photo taken during this time I remember exactly what I was thinking and feeling when I took it. That’s a story for another time… maybe. For now, things are going to change around here.
Getting regular comments on your blog is hard work. When it comes to blogging, persistence, passion and patience will keep you going until the comments start coming.
I was going to talk about tools in this post, however I’ll defer that for a follow up post. For now let’s look at some of the reasons people don’t comment – and what you can do about it.
1. They don’t know your blog exists
If no-one knows you exist, they can’t visit your blog. Your blog is one among millions of blogs. It takes time to become visible and recognized, so you need to do everything effectively promote your blog so that people know you exist. You can:
- Use Twitter and other Social Networking sites (to share when you create new posts)
- Join Communities (like My BlogLog, BlogCatalog) and take part in Blog Carnivals.
- Include your blog url in your email
- Join and genuinely contribute to forums
- Comment on other blogs
- Spread “Comment love” by commenting on other blogs as we’ve discussed
- Use plugins like “Comment Luv” to give back to commentators on your own blog
2. They read your blog using their RSS reader
Timethief touched on this point, but it’s worth repeating. Ensure you have an RSS feed on your blog as it makes it easier for people to subscribe to your blog without having to visit it. But therein lies the problem. If you offer full posts, there’s no longer any need to visit (unless your post is extremely compelling). This lowers the likelihood of comments
3. They don’t feel their comments matter to you
Tell people you’d like comments. If you get people who send you comments by email (unless it’s of a personal nature) consider saying you’d love them to comment on the blog so that everyone can benefit from their thoughts. Encourage comments by asking for opinions, feedback and their thoughts. And use open questions.
4. They feel intimidated
Some people are just wary of commenting on an open forum. Some worry their email will become spammed or shared. Re-assure them their comments are welcome and their email won’t be displayed or shared. Most blog comment boxes include text to say email won’t be displayed. You can also reassure them on your blog that their email won’t be shared with anyone else.
5. They’re busy
We’re all time challenged and as much as we’d like to it’s almost impossible to comment on all the blogs we enjoy. Composing a thoughtful comment on a blog can take time and sometimes it’s as much as people can do to take time and read the post. They may feel they want to explore your blog further and come back later. They may not comment then, but they will quite likely return.
Once you’ve built a readership you’ll find some will become regular commentators as well. Building a readership takes time, remember. So keep on blogging, and building your profile in communities you’re interested in. Focus on building traffic to your blog.
6. They planned to return and forgot
There’s not a lot you can do about this one. However you can make it easy for people to bookmark your blog by making it easy to subscribe to and bookmark your blog.
7. They want to get used to you first
Many blog readers will “blurk” (blog lurk) for quite some time before they comment. Sometimes it’s because they just want to read and don’t wish to comment. Just the other day I had the following comment on my blog…
“ I’ve been lurking for the past year and just decided to comment… by the way I love your blog, it’s been such a support to me…”
or how about this one:
“I discovered your blog about nine months ago and I’ve been happily going through your archives…”
These are not unusual. And by the time you get them you may have been getting plenty of comments. Many of my readers have “blurked” for years before they comment and some may never comment. And that’s ok. I always get a warm feeling when I see comments like this though ( Well. who doesn’t like compliments?) It’s a reminder not to focus on comments and not take a lack of comments personally.
Focus instead on creating interesting posts and content, getting found, making Google your best friend, and driving traffic to your blog.
Over to you. What’s your view on why people don’t comment? What else would you add to the list?