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Six Reasons People Aren't Commenting On Your Blog

Comments As part of his Social Media 100 series, Chris Brogan is exploring the power of blog commenting by "writing" his post through comments. (OK, I'm a day late in seeing this in my feed reader). It's an interesting experiment that has me thinking some more about commenting, a topic I've explored previously.

Many of the commenters in Chris's thread are complaining that they don't get comments on their blogs, something bloggers eternally discuss. It got me to thinking about how some people create an environment that invites conversation and some people don't. Since a major reason to blog is for that give-and-take, obviously a lack of comments causes a problem.

Some of the reasons for a lack of comments go back to things like the 1% rule or the fact that you may be operating in a really tiny niche that doesn't generate a lot of interest.  But after clicking through  to some of the blogs in Chris's comments thread,  I began to see a pattern of behaviors that I think may be contributing to the lack of comments and therefore are extremely instructive. The result is:

Six Reasons People Aren't Commenting on Your Blog

1. You sound like a press release.
This is a particular problem when a blog is either being run by an organization or by an individual who's trying to generate business and isn't getting the informal, authentic nature of the blogging culture. The problem is that a press release is not something that's designed to invite conversation. It sounds like what it is--a way to get coverage from newspapers or magazines. It has its place in a marketing mix, but it doesn't belong on your blog.

Let me show you what I mean.  This is a press release. Read it and then then let me know how drawn into a conversation you might feel if you saw this or some version of this on a blog. Right. I didn't think so.

2. You sound like an infomercial.
This is closely related to problem 1. Blogs that come across as thinly-veiled sales pitches don't invite comments. I would argue that they don't invite a lot of readership either, but that might just be me.

Certainly having some individual posts that are related to "selling" something can be OK, but I wouldn't expect a lot of comments on them. And I definitely wouldn't expect to create a big sense of community on your blog if most of your posts are geared towards pitching your products or organization. There are ways to do this, but you have to be adding value separate from anything you're trying to sell. I think that the Rapid E-Learning Blog is an excellent example of the "soft-sell" approach that works best in the blogosphere.

  3. You sound like a know-it-all.
I've been running an informal experiment here for the past few months, trying to see which blog posts generate the most comments. Hands-down they are the posts where I ask a lot of questions and where I give incomplete answers on topics that interest me. I think this works for two reasons. First, no one is attracted to a know-it-all. Oh, we may want to bookmark their stuff, but that doesn't mean we want to talk to them. I also think it's because by asking questions and not having all the answers, we leave space for comments to happen. As a reader, it feels like there's more that could be said on the topic, so I'm more inclined to comment. Questions are the lifeblood of conversation . They need to be a regular part of posts. 

4. You haven't showed them how.
If you're blogging for bloggers or for people who are comfortable with the conventions of blogging, then explaining what comments are and how to comment isn't necessary. But if you're blogging for people who are new to the blogosphere or who aren't that proficient with the technology, you definitely need to make commenting easy to do. This is something I learned during the 31 Day Challenge and have seen a substantial increase in comments since then.

5. You haven't created the right atmosphere.Comment_thread_3
You know how you go to some gatherings where the hosts make you feel right at home? Even if you don't know everyone there, they do a great job of introducing people to each other and creating an environment that invites people to settle in for a chat. It's the same dynamic with blogs. Some blogs make you WANT to talk to the author and to other commenters. Some blogs--not so much.

My personal feeling is that a lot of it has to do with "tone." If someone's writing seems warm, inviting, authentic and transparent, then I want to join the conversation. If they sound "institutional" or distant, the conversation will have to be pretty darn interesting for me to be drawn into commenting.

I've also found that I'm reluctant to comment if it feels like I may be breaking into someone's "clique." Not that you won't have regular commenters, but sometimes there can be a problem with having an "in-crowd" that emerges over time, making newcomers less likely to share their thoughts.

6. You just don't seem that into it.
I LOVE talking to people who are really passionate about a topic and are incredibly excited to share their ideas with me. I'm less thrilled to talk to people who aren't that into the conversation. Same thing with bloggers. The ones who are passionate about their topic--and allow that passion to shine through--they're the bloggers we want to talk to. But if your posts feel like you're slogging through them, unless it's a post on how you're slogging through posting, you probably won't get the conversation started. Blogging is about passion and about sharing your excitement about a topic. It's those posts that tend to generate conversation, not the ones where you're going through the motions.

So those are my six reasons for why I think that people may not be commenting on your blog. What would you add to the list?

Photos via premasager and ario_j

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Comments

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Hi Clare, I would definitely use the 'moderation' facility because I have had a reasonable amount of 'spam' which I have been able to deal with by 'moderation'. Sarah

Sorry Sarah, I have the opposite opinion and the reality is enabling or disabling comment moderate is personal preference.

My reasons for not using Comment Moderation is you can always delete spam comments later. For a new person, comment moderation is just one more obstacle; leaving them wondering if they have actually posted a comment or what is going on. Also comments that post instantly give the reader an immediate sense of their own value. My vote is to make adding comments as simple as possible; reduce any barriers so that it is easy to post comments. If spamming suddenly becomes a problem you can switch moderation back on.

Thanks for that suggestion, Sue. I think I'll give it a go and see how I get on without moderation. cheers Sarah

Hi Michelle,

I happen to come across your post on commenting here. Very helpful to me as I'm new to this blogging thing. I found that I really like it, but I have a lot to learn. Definitely I will visit back here for more tips/good articles! :-)

Keep up the good work!

Thanks!
Amos

Great post, Ilove it alot of good tips. Some I may have over looked with my blog...Some very good things to cincider here.

I found this really helpful thanks. I've been blogging for a while and now realise that I'm not alone in wondering why my blogs weren't getting many comments. I think you explained really clearly about making space for them to comment. I think I've been so conscious of trying to sound professional and knowledgeable in my posts (for fear of sounding stupid!) that I forgot to converse and ask many questions to stimulate debate. Thanks for making me think - I'm not going to take the 31 Day challenge to learn more.

Thanks for this list. I realize that I write a blog like it is a journal. Then I am a little sy about having people read it, and at the same time disappointed that no one does, or that no one comments on it. I am going to think carefully about this as I continue to develop as a blogger. Thanks again!

Thanks for this info. I have a small school blog and a personal books that I'm reading blog. I don't get too many comments and I understand that my school blog is sometimes for kids sometimes for teacers. I've used it more as a newsletter.

I've been wondering if people are put off by whatever particular sign-in requirements a site may have to avoid anonymous commenters: e.g., registering with the platform or remembering your password, typing letters in some security image, etc.

Which category do you think:

http://JohnStack.spaces.live.com fits in?

I liked your summary a great deal!

Submitting your site to Blog Directories is usually free, however in some cases you are required to link back to them somewhere on your site or in a post. But let me briefly explain how submitting to Blog Directories could benefit your weblog. First of all, your listing would of course generate some degree traffic for your blog. But also, a relevant link is seen by the search engines as a recommendation, a“ vote” if you will, for your site. By gaining more“ votes”, your rankings in the search results of...

some bloggers would like to comment or share whats on their mind but, it may be lessen or their potential on commenting will be decreased if they first saw rules on commenting before they do. It seems that their freedom of expressing or commenting was limited. that makes a blogger think (" am I good on blogging?") before they went on commenting.

if a comment was recieved on what was posted, it makes the author feel that his doing great because he caught the attention of the readers and on the readers, it was interesting or they encountered it already or was happenning to them or it makes them aware about the topic or they want some information, etc. so its really great if they commented on your post coz its a challenge if you really caught the attention of the readers, making you a good blogger.

I have just written a somewhat long post on my blog inspired by this post. I probably blog mainly to remind myself of the interesting things that I learn as I browse the blogs of others, and as a teacher I enjoy sharing the resources that I find, so in some ways it should not really matter if I don't have many comments - however, some of my best posts have been in reply to interesting comments and questions asked by visitors, and I do enjoy a good conversation! It will be interesting to see if I get any more comments from today's blog ... thanks for highlighting the issue here!

I'm new here, just wanted to say hello and introduce myself.

I have found interesting sources for search in rapida ( myfilefind.com or myrapida.com ) and would like to give the benefit of my experience to you.

Do you mind looking at my blog (the URL I listed with my comment) and telling me, via email, why you think my blog doesn't get many comments? It already seems to fall into at least a few of the six categories you listed, but I'm wondering if there is anything I can do in your opinion to increase comments.

I would greatly appreciate it, as I've often found that I'm my own worst judge when I'm trying to find my flaws (aren't we all?) lol

Thanks so much.

Hi Michelle
Thanks for these great ideas. I think you are right and I will work on your suggestions. I think it is a two- way street - I am hoping that people read and comment on my blog, but I also notice that I spend a lot of time reading other people's blogs and not commenting. So I will start with that first and comment more and lurk less. I also agree with your comment about passion. For me, it is finding a way to translate the passion and enthusiasm that I feel, into words for my blog. I will keep trying to improve this one.
kind regards
Helen

I agree with the point you made about not being into the blog. It really is like a conversation that is boring and does not motivate you in anyway. If you are not interested in what you have to say, why should others be?

Wow, no one has commented on this since Dec 2007. That's crazy. Comment moderation has little to do with anything. The commenter doesn't even know it's being moderated until after they submit the comment. On the article, great article. I shall take these things into consideration.

Oops, it would help if I payed attention. I see a comment from July.

I was glad to find this post early on in my blogging experience. I think you are probably right about the need for a guide on how to make comments.

Also, I teach online college classes and we drill the students over and over with the college's policy of "posts like 'I agree' or 'That was a good post' do not count towards your participation grade. You MUST be adding something to the discussion." So, I know for myself, I am reluctant to post a comment to a blog of "That's right!"

But after reading your post, I thought about myself and thought, "Would you want someone to post 'that's right!' to your blog?" My answer was a resonding "Of course I would!"

So, I think that included in the guide on how to do the mechanics of posting, we should also let people know that a simple "I agree" is welcome and even desired.

Thanks for the article.

Somehow, embarassingly enough, it never occurred to me that maybe I should ask some questions!

Thanks for the tips! I appreciate it greatly.

:) I saw that the last comment was 4 years ago and I very nearly navigated away! My bad. Now I'm curious to see if anyone else will see this comment.

I have a similar problem. messages and emails to say you liked it are nice, but why not comment right there?

Chatting about this on Twitter gave me some insight. People said they have a 1:80 average, so it's not an unusual issue. The tips here are good food for thought. Thanks.

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