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Blog Tip 34 - Getting Comments

3 June, 2004 5:40 PM

What is your experience with Blog Comments? Do you use them? How do they enhance or hinder your blogging experience? How do you suggest bloggers starting out approach the issue?...

The remainder of this blog tip has been relocated to Pro Blogger - Getting Comments.



I'd add to the list

get involved
ive definately found that bloggers are a community in themselves, particularly communities like livejournal, blogger and xanga are full of people wanting to make connections.

you can sit there and write till your face goes blue without getting any comments. but expecting people to comment for teh sake of commenting is silly, i dont expect someone on the street to start having a conversation with me simply becaise im wearing a cool hat.

i have to be involved in the community, and this takes time. in livejournal for example, do some searches, read peoples posts, add a comment here n there, add them as "friends" or to your blogroll...

if you have comments you need to be in relationship with people, if you're not prepared to get into the community and interact yourself then remove the comments alltogether.

on my personal blog for example ive decided to remove the comments alltogether, the livejournal i keep is commented regularly by my "friends" that i interact with and the new hymnal thing, well thats an experiment unto its own...



Darren » 3 June, 2004 6:08 PM

Thanks Darren (gets confusing with all us Darren's around here - there were three at last count).

I think you're right about the interactivity thing - its something that I worked very hard on when I first started blogging. My theory is that if you spend more people on others people's blogs than your own building genuine relationships that you'll eventually find people will visit yours out of genuine interest in what you've got to say. Takes time though.

Darren Rowse » 3 June, 2004 8:58 PM

Darren R - I think #4 is most important. If people comment, they expect a response. We (bloggers) write to write. Blog readers comment to be heard and acknowledged.

Other Darren - this is a great point. Any blogger who wants more comments should just get involved in a community (even if it is just a small chuck of the blogosphere). It seems that the more Blogs I visit and comment on myself, the more comments I get.

My own thoughts... With the emergence of RSS aggregators, I think commenting is on a downswing. Now, don't get me wrong -- I love my aggregator! :) But, when I sit at my computer and read Blogs (without ever needing to visit the actal Blog in a browser), my likelyhood of clicking a link and leaving a comment is getting less and less. I hate saying this, but if I'm not hooked into a story within the first few sentences, I will move on (let alone comment on it).

timsamoff » 3 June, 2004 10:54 PM

I use RSS feeds a lot and find myself clicking in to the site to leave comments. Of course, that may have to do with my lack of restraint on commenting or some other character flaw, but I have to agree that the post has to grab my attention in the first few sentences or I will click on by.

By the way, that Bleeding Edge site is down. Perhaps they are revising it. Having to log in to make comments is so archaic. That's the way forums work and they are not known for great traffic in most cases.

David » 4 June, 2004 1:49 AM

RSS feeds...

Ive tried to get into the news readers, but I just can't. I need to look at the design and the images of the blogs rather than just the text.

I find that my blogroll is more helpful tool than the RSS readers, after i checked a few out i found myself really missing the old way of doing the blogging thing, bu visiting their sites and reading the posts when i have te time It feels more personal that way.

Perhaps I'm a traditionalist, but I just dont see how the RSS feeds/newsreaders are of help to me as a blogger, perhaps its helpful to people who just are reading...

timsamoff's right, perhaps commenting is down because of aggregators... is this a good thing or a bad thing?


The Other Darren » 4 June, 2004 1:59 AM

Re: "I need to look at the design and the images of the blogs rather than just the text."

My RSS-Full Feed contains images, links, and CSS (i.e., the design of my site is viewable in most aggreagators).

Re: "perhaps commenting is down because of aggregators... is this a good thing or a bad thing?"

This is a good question. I think that when RSS/Atom becomes more widely used (even by regular, non-Blog websites), then we will see. I don't know if aggregators will ever replace browsers, but, fo me, they come pretty close -- and I'm a web designer!

But, in reponse to your question (even though I can't answer it), I've debated putting a "comments" link in my RSS feed (or maybe even the comments form!).

timsamoff » 4 June, 2004 2:51 AM

I'm very grateful for all the Darrens' (and timsamoff's etc) insights.

I'm pretty sure that my interest in attracting comments (and commenting on the comments) was inspired by the fact that I grew up hanging around my mother's hairdressing salons.

I loved the way women would chat about things. Men tend to dismiss this stuff as idle gossip, but it's far more significant than that.

And of course my mother's family were Irish, with a wicked sense of humour, and the comments she made were often so hilarious you'd be pissing yourself laughing half the time.

All of us tend to write turgid, or half-arsed stuff a lot of the time, but good comments can inform and enliven the dullest material.

I'd like to be as comment-friendly as possible. To me that means: Don't get defensive. Try to keep the conversation lively.

And try to make it easy to post. IN fact you don't have to register at Bleeblog to comment. You only have to register to post in a forum. But it doesn't have this easy facility to insert name, email address and URL. Have to do something about that.

Charles Wright » 4 June, 2004 10:05 AM

ive actually also realised that blogger doesnt have a space to enter your url, which is not a handy thing... niether does livejournal, but in most cases i assume thats to try and encourage people to use their product over another...

in lj you dont leave a url, but you do leave your username which links to your journal... making community and comunication easy.

so charles, would you like to cut my hair? (and would it be amusing to say my last name is also wright)


The Other Darren » 4 June, 2004 4:04 PM

Sorry. Cannot cut hair. Can type. Can talk.

PostNuke didn't have space to enter an URL either, but we managed to re-educate it. I based it on the way TypePad does it.

I put my wife on to TypePad for her blog, and it's great for her. Admittedly I don't have the time to tinker with it much. Is there some way, in the Pro version, of limiting long posts, so that you can read the rest of it by clicking on a More link?

Charles Wright » 7 June, 2004 2:51 PM

typepad is able to let you do that... blogger you cant (which is annoying me with the hymnal, but I'll live). it seems that there are four functions that seperate blog clients from each other:

rss/atom feeds
Comments (options)
the "cut" feature
ease of altering the format/style

anyhow... the code seems to be (replace brackets with greaterthan-less than symbols)

(p class="extended")(a href="http://url/file.html#more")Continue reading "post title"(/a)(/p)

not that i use typepad... so i still hold the right to be completely incorrect... good luck

The Other Darren » 7 June, 2004 4:24 PM

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