writers / writing

#IWSG–The Importance of Comments

writers groupThis post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out). The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

This month’s insecurity: If I don’t get comments on my blog, does that mean it’s irrelevant?

I have two main blogs–I have four in all, but that’s a different topic. One of them (this one–WordDreams) gets lots of comments. I love the community. I learn from my readers. It’s what I dreamt of when I started blogging: a cerebral sharing of ideas. The other blog (my teacher blog, Ask a Tech Teacher) gets almost no comments. That always makes me sad because I spend a lot of time on those posts. I’ve tried the typical suggestions–ask for reader input, close with a question, include a scintillating headline–but nothing works.

But then I look at the metric of hits. That blog that no one comments on gets 2-3 times as much traffic and is shared much more often.

What do you think about that? Is there something I can do to motivate more comments or should I be OK with the traffic?

More IWSG articles:

What Should I Do This Summer?

When do you use first or last names in novels?

#IWSG–Am I a Storyteller?


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of dozens of books on integrating tech into education, webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, adjunct professor of technology in education, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her book at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning. 

54 thoughts on “#IWSG–The Importance of Comments

  1. Pingback: #IWSG–Should I Continue My Newsletter? | WordDreams...

  2. Actually, I find that really interesting. More traffic (less comments) vs Less less comments +more traffec. I really think (I read the article but not all the comments) that it has to do with the nature of the readers. The artistic ones are more sensitive, more inclined to respond and show their appreciation, more wanting in a artist – artist relationship–more supportive etc.
    The teachers, on the other hand, are more likely to just ‘take’ the info, share it, and move on (Thank you very much!) — in the nature of the teacher… While the traffic is nice, the question is: would they ever buy stuff online? Or just keep taking the free info?

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    • Interestingly enough, that non-commented teacher blog contributes more to the website where I publish my books than any other source (it’s a co-op with other teacher writers). That’s a good thing. I know, though, from the online classes I teach, that teachers have lots of questions about tech. Somehow, I’d love to motivate them to add them to my blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi. I’m visiting from Melissa’s blog. I’ve been tagged for the 777 Chalelnge too and I’m visiting the people who share my faith 😉

    Comments are the blood and breath of any blogger, I think. I don’t think people who doesn’t blog realise this, or they would leave a sign of their passage more often.
    I understand your sadness at seeing a blog which is heavily trafficed and no comments is left. I think that’s maybe because it is perceived as more of a reference blog than a personal blog, so maybe people don’t really think about connecting.

    But I think resharing is also a strong sign of appreciation 🙂

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  4. That’s a great question. I get a lot more comments on Facebook to my posts then WordPress. I suppose it takes time for people to enter their email etc… But if they’re hitting like and coming back then you know your audience is there. Maybe they’re more tech oriented and don’t want to write as much? (That was a big generalization.)

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  5. One of the most interesting aspects of running more than one blog is that the number of comments per number of views is often very different for different communities. I’ve never had a blog that brought in comments like Jacqui’s on a regular basis, but, truth told, the relationship between shares, comments, and views is surprisingly fluid.

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    • That’s interesting, Connor. I have several other topic-specific blogs, but Worddreams has the most active community. I am thankful for that because I learn so much from readers.

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  6. I always try to leave comments and really do enjoy receiving them. I think they’re important because they let the blogger know they’ve reached you in some way. 🙂

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  7. Do you have your Ask a Tech Teacher blog set up to notify facebook and twitter about each post that’s written. If not, set it up. It’s right above where you click to publish on the original editing page off the dashboard. Although I don’t really get a lot of comments myself, I do know that these two media sites have help with how many followers I have. One leads to the other eventually.

    What Timothy said make sense too. Also, I’m more likely to comment on a more personal-type blog, which is what your WordDream one is.

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    • I do, although I’ve been told that’s a bad idea. Something about not being personal enough for the search engines. I tried to do it the long way for about… well… five minutes, and then I went back to clicking the boxes.

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  8. Jacqui I have enough trouble maintaining one blog. I am impressed by your energy and workload. I do like comments but sharing is very important. It means your hard work is getting out to more people.

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  9. When I’m Googling and researching, I read many blogs that I don’t comment on–I’m talking non-writing subjects like skincare, culture, and numerous other things. I comment on writer and reviewer blogs, while the other blogs are for perusing, rather than building a rapport with the blogger.

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    • That’s interesting. I’m either reading in my PLN or reading books in my genre. I have no idea how you have time for the ‘other’ reading, Medeia–you read more in your genre than I do!

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  10. I can’t imagine running more than one blog! I pour my concentration into just one which generates more comments I believe:) The comment above about the “classroom” seems so fitting!

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  11. My initial thoughts relate to the academic nature of the blog, and the fact sometimes readers are happy to stop by and learn from the content, enjoy the information and use it to benefit their own development. There is value in that. But at the same time they may feel nervous about commenting. I say this only because I follow an interpreting blog and readers really enjoy it, but feel resistant to putting their thoughts out there. That’s a shame, because I agree with your other commenters. It’s nice just to show encouragement and say how much you enjoyed a post. I’m not sure if that’s the reason, or even how to resolve it, other than stating that you welcome comments, even if it’s to say great post, and thanks for the information. I’m sure you do that already though 😀

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  12. Though I love comments too, I look at it like a classroom. You know there are always only two or three students who regularly speak up and the majority stay mum on the curriculum all year long! But, most of those quiet ones pass their tests, so they are obviously getting what they need out of it. 🙂

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  13. After thinking about closing down my blog on several occasions I began looking at patterns on my blog (and other people’s blogs).

    My observation is that it’s ALMOST exclusively other bloggers who routinely leave comments or even “likes” on my blog. My guess is that people who do not blog don’t understand how lonely it is throwing content into the black hole of cyber-space while bloggers are much more in tune to trying to support other bloggers via comments & likes.

    I have no idea if my very best friends even read my blog!

    Shari B-P is right on the mark in her comment about those who just read for information. I know that I would not be leaving comments on your blog if I didn’t know you personally. The only blogs that I comment on or “like” are those where I have established a personal connection or I want to reciprocally support them as a fellow blogger.

    I love the people who comment on my blog because they almost always have something interesting, encouraging or funny to say about a post. However, I think if I got too many comments it could become overwhelming to answer them all.

    I wish that the LIKE buttons were labeled as “I visited”.

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    • I agree with you, Judy. For example, in my group of real-world friends, those who aren’t bloggers never come by my blog to visit or ‘like’ (with one exception). Even when they’re writers they don’t. I find that interesting.

      There is an ‘I visited’ button. It’s the ‘hits’ on your stats page!

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      • I still would like an “I visited” button so I could see the picture of who it was – the stats page-people are like “secret valentines” – nice to get an declaration of love but I want a “kiss”!

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  14. Great post. I love comments. I only do a couple of things to encourage comments: comment on other people’s blogs and answer every comment left on my blog. Seems to be working, since I’ve been doing both regularly, I’ve seen and marked increase in comments. Now, you’ve inspired me to write my own blog post on the subject. 😉

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    • Hehe. Glad to be of assistance. Seriously, though, I think that’s the best approach–responding to comments and visiting blogs. Sometimes, it takes me a long while to get the gist of a writer’s blog, but then I do. It’s usually worth the investment.

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  15. Teachers go online to get info they can use in their classrooms, and they share the better bits with their teaching team. Always in a hurry, they have little time for social interaction and likely see the online materials as a “business,” i.e., not an individual who would like to be thanked. At least that’s what I noticed at my last school.
    This blog generates as much interest for us readers within the comments as it does in your posts. I enjoy reading what your other followers have to say, and I learn even more by reading their comments after reading your article. I wouldn’t care much about additional comments if what I wanted was useful classroom materials.

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    • I fear they do think they don’t know enough to add a comment. Me, I would love to hear their take on an issue because on that blog, I’m a teacher. The more I know about what stops people from using the tech, the better I am!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I use my blog as a social platform these days, so I enjoy comments… although too many comments can be overwhelming, which was the case on my old blog. I consider myself to be a niche blogger 🙂
    Sx

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    • Now that I work out of my house, I don’t have a problem with too many comments. When I had to go into work, and ostensibly NOT use social media during work hours, it was difficult.

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  17. That’s a great question. I’m not sure we should put so much weight on comments (even though I love them) – if you are getting the traffic, that’s a sign of success. I think people get distracted or are rushed, trying to do too much so don’t comment. That doesn’t mean what they read isn’t wonderful. I will be interested to see what others say here. Have a good IWSG day!

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    • Sometimes, readers of my other blog actually search out my email address and send me a note telling me how much they love the tips. Rather than post it as a comment. Interesting, innit? Maybe that has to do with privacy.

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  18. I agree comments are encouraging and stimulate conversation so you don’t feel your ‘talking’ into a void. Sometimes, if I’m not sure about a subject or it doesn’t grab me, I try to leave at least a short comment.
    Sounds like you’re doing everything right on the other blog, Are academics different from our blog world here?

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  19. I dropped in for a look at Ask a Tech Teacher, and it seemed to be a team blog. That may make it harder for people to relate one on one, and less likely to comment. Also, it seems to be a source for expertise, which can be intimidating. Different styles of blog (I have three) generate different kinds of interaction. You say AaTT gets shared lots, take comfort in that.

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    • I hadn’t thought of that, Tim. It is a group, even though often it’s me, and I feel the same way about group blogs I comment on. Plus–as you say–it’s intended to be expertise. Tech is intimidating which is why I started the blog, but it probably does frighten people off from commenting for fear they’ll say something wrong.

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  20. I am all for comments. In my view, it demonstrates engagement with the subject and respect for the writer. I make an effort to leave a comment on posts I read. In cases where I don’t know enough about the subject, but am connected with the blogger, I leave a “Like” unless I disagree with what is being said.

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