Unless you're a major news site, you may have noticed how hard it is to get comments on your blog. Even if you are part of a major news site, you may notice. Every year, I see the number of comments dwindle. Massive blogs that used to receive 600 comments a post now receive 50. Blogs that received 50 now receive 15. If you've got a small site like I do, then what may have one been 10-20 comments per post now rings in at less than a handful.
And yet… we all believe that comments have value in blogging. And they do! So maybe it's time to put our best foot forward for 2014, and bring back comments. Why should we… ?
Comments are the basis of community.
As a blogger, you're trying to build a community, right? An active, engaged community… it's what we all fantasize about. Lots of traffic is great, but no one sees those numbers. They're faceless, nameless persons who came, saw, and left our sites. But our readers… those who leave comments… they're gold.
So how do you feel when you don't receive comments? Without them, you don't know whether your community is around. You can't gauge what they're responding to, or what they want to see. Realistically, comments are the foundation of a community, and community doesn't just exist on your site. Being a part of community means taking your voice & thoughts to the blogs of others and sharing it! With a comment, of course.
Comments force you to slow down, read, & ENGAGE with content.
How easy is it to skim through blogs – via email, via your feed reader, and never actually absorb the content? Your eyes glaze over and it's just about getting through the 300+ posts that have accumulated in the last day.
But really… what good is that doing you or the bloggers you follow?
Take the time to stop just endlessly consuming information and make time to INTERACT with it. If you think that's impossible to do when you follow hundreds of blogs, cull your blog reader. Focus on certain sites each day of the week. Actually READ the post. Think about what the blogger said. Can you respond to it? (If it's complicated or controversial, step away for 20 minutes.) Formulate thoughts, and share them.
You may find that you're more inspired by what you're reading… and who doesn't love a good dose of inspiration!
Comments represent you, your content, & your site.
That thoughtful comment you just left? It represents your site. It represents YOU.
Every line we write online is a digital footprint back to us and our sites. Your thoughtful, engaged comment isn't just seen by the author; it's seen by all of their fans. If that's the first comment you've left for a blog, this is your chance at a great first impression – for the blogger and their readers.
Make it count.
Relationships begin in the comments.
Relationships – that's what blogging is about. If community is the foundation of a great blog, relationships are the glue that hold it together and keep it strong.
Building relationships with other bloggers, and comments are a natural way to build that relationship. A relationship isn't built by leaving one comment, nor is a new fan found that way. It comes from continually reaching out and having something valid to say. It grows from there – to email, social media sites, and more.
But if you're really looking to build your relationships with other bloggers, start with a comment.
Comments show you care.
There are a lot of bloggers who don't respond to their comments. (I'm guilty of this – I went through a phase where where I couldn't keep up with my comments because of my day job.)
Making the time to respond, even to a few readers? It shows you care about what your readers have to say. It tells your readers, “Hey! You're golden. Thank you for responding, and I know you're there. I can't do this without you. Your support means everything.” And wow… isn't that just amazing to think about? How much your readers care for you and what you have to say? It kind of blows my mind.
As you're writing up goals & resolutions for 2014, put this one towards the top of your list. Be a better commenter. Rediscover the joy of connecting with your community. It's an easy part of blogging for us to put by the wayside. It also becomes the part of blogging we miss most quickly.
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