Rather than posting for every day of the 31 Day Comment Challenge, I’m summarizing multiple tasks into one post as I did for tasks 2 through 8. Tasks 9 through 12 all seem to be about the atmosphere for commenting on your blog, so I’m combining these into one post.
Day 9: Should We Be Commenting on Blogs?
I think if the goal of the blog is learning, then yes, we should be commenting on blogs and allowing comments on our own. Allowing and even encouraging comments doesn’t prevent other forms of conversations (like linked blog posts) from happening. It does, however, allow people who don’t have a blog to participate in the conversations. I think commenting can also encourage interaction outside our usual niches. For example, one of my friends is a web programmer. He has his own site, but it’s very much focused on what he does. He has commented here before when he felt he could add to the conversation. However, his comment wouldn’t have fit with the content of his own site.
For purposes of learning, I think leaving it open to comments is very valuable. However, I do understand that people use blogs for other purposes where commenting wouldn’t make as much sense. Just because this is what’s best for me doesn’t mean it’s best for others. People are entitled to create a different atmosphere on their own blogs; it’s their space!
Day 10: Do a Comment Audit on Your Own Blog
In this task, we’re asked to look at six reasons why people might not comment on your blog.
1. You sound like a press release.
Nope, I don’t think I do this one. I certainly have seen it though. Blogs that sound like press releases don’t just discourage me from commenting, they discourage me from even subscribing.
2. You sound like an infomercial.
In my normal posts, no, I don’t think I sound like an infomercial. Sometimes when I’m excited about a tool I wonder if I do sound that way though. What do you think–do posts like Diigo’s New Release or my Synergy feature overview sound too much like a sales pitch?
3. You sound like a know-it-all.
This is something I know I do sometimes in real life, so it’s the one thing on this list that most concerns me. Michele noted that she gets more comments when she gives incomplete answers and asks questions. I’m looking forward to Task 18 where we try to look for patterns in what generates comments because I wonder if I’ll see the same thing. Without actually doing the analysis yet, my guess (or at least my hope) is that I sounded more know-it-all early in my blog writing. I’m much more comfortable blogging now, and that makes it easier to ask questions and put half-formed thoughts out there.
4. You haven’t showed them how.
I hadn’t done this until today. I copied Tony Karrer’s First Time Visitor’s Guide idea and included some directions there. It will be interesting to see if I get more comments that way. That idea worked really well for our team blog, where most of our audience (other employees in the company) isn’t familiar with blogs. After six months, the guide is still the most popular page.
5. You haven’t created the right atmosphere.
This is something I think I’ve improved over time, although maybe it’s just the issue of a blog needing time to build up readers and a community. I didn’t participate in the 31 Day Build a Better Blog challenge, but I did pick up tips from others who did complete it. One of those was emailing new commenters. That technique alone has done wonders for improving conversations and getting people to comment more than once.
6. You just don’t seem that into it.
Nope, not a problem. I think people can see that I’m a geek and that I enjoy all of this without any trouble. 🙂
What do you think?
For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while and those of you who have just recently discovered it, how do you think I’m doing in these six areas? Have I been honest in my self-assessment?
Day 11: Write a Blog Comment Policy
Done, and included in my new First Time Visitor’s Guide.
Day 12: Make Sure Your Blog Technology is “Comment Friendly”
No captcha, no moderation. Akismet is pretty terrific at picking up the spam, so I don’t need it. It does occasionally flag things as spam that aren’t, usually because a comment has too many links. I do ask for email addresses, but I use those to contact new commenters.