Today (Oct 3rd) has been declared "the Great Mofo Delurk" day, hmm kinda strange name if you ask me. Even if they just lost the ‘the’ it would sound ok, losing mofo would be even better. Anyway, in keeping with the theme (hey I just noticed that theme is the and me, cool!) of the day, I’ll be giving a short lecture on attracting comments. (not that I get that many, I’m on the low end of the scale)
Comments are the lifeblood of blogging, and despite lying, delusional, narcissistic bloggers claiming that they only blog for themselves (yeah sure), no-one would continue to blog if they never received any comments (except for an certain unnamed wannabe comedian, who’s blog title is similar to the title of this post except for the Attracting Comments bit, and who has had only a half a dozen comments in a year of blogging).
In an effort to help those of you who wish you had more (or even some) comments, here’s what I’ve learned over my period (he he, you said period) of blogging.
*Update thanks to Melissa. I knew there was something else that I wanted to say (and this is where I had intended to put it) but I couldn’t remember what it was, kinda like when you pack for a trip and you just know you’ve left something out of your luggage. If you think any of these points are about to you, it’s because you think they apply to you, not because I’ve written them about you. Thanks Melissa.
- Don’t start all your posts with "I hate it when" [fill in the blank], or just plain "I hate" [insert peeve here]. People are looking for a diversion, a story that lifts their spirits, or something they can relate to, not tales of how the world is always against you. There are a lot more positive folks around than negative ones (and the positive ones are better commenters). Plus we’ve all got our own problems anyway.
- Avoid being insulting or judgemental. It’s really hard to come up with a comment to a post that has just
insulted an entire demographic, particularly of you are part of that
- If you are going to do a rant, make sure you get across fairly early in the piece that it is a rant. You do this by saying something that is so unbelievably outrageous that it’s almost impossible to take seriously. (I say almost as there’s always someone who will think you’re for real)
- Posting too many pictures in the one post, will lose all the dialup people, and there’s still quite a lot of them out there. If you do need a lot of pictures for the post, try reducing the size so they will load faster.
- Now pay attention, this is important…Get rid of your damn Word Verification! You may stop 5-10 spam comments in a month (I don’t get more than one or two), but in the mean time, you’ve pissed of 100 bloggers (read potential commenters). Take it off for a month and see how many spam comments you actually do get. Most spam is on older posts anyway, so why not just close the comments on anything older than, say, three weeks.
- Try not to post about the same thing all the time, your kids and your pets are fantastic, no-one is suggesting otherwise, but it’s hard to come up with new comments when the posts are consistently the same, just with different dates and titles. (I know I’m guilty of this)
- Be as regular as you can manage, you want to become part of peoples’ routines. There’s over 80 million blogs out there to choose from so no-one is going to keep coming back if there’s rarely a new post. This doesn’t count for blog buddies, they will always come back, I’m talking about new(ish) readers.
- Where possible, write posts that appeal to those who lack in social skills and have few friends, they are more likely to try to communicate through the ether.
- Keep your posts to a reasonable length, too short and folks won’t think it deserves their effort to comment, too long and they’ve forgotten what it was bout anyway. Blogging is more like reading a magazine than a book.
- Acknowledge your commenters, I prefer to do it in the comments section, but others like to send an email.
- Periodically offer prizes, bloggers must all be descended from Native Americans, because they sure like shiny trinkets. (ahh WT, please refer to Point #2) I have seen a blog get 1500 comments on one post because the prize was way better than I’ve ever offered.
- Don’t refer to non commenting readers as lurkers. This is a derogatory term that goes back to the alt.binaries newsgroup days when people who only looked at the dirty pictures and didn’t post their own, were called lurkers. Although it has taken on a less sordid meaning these days, but it’s still a bit rude. They are all readers, some comment, some don’t. Don’t forget, you’re trying to get them to comment, and insulting them may not be the best way achieve that goal.
- Don’t try to guilt anyone into commenting, no-one likes to be pressured. Tell me what you think.
- Finally, try to refrain from calling non commenting readers "mother fucking lurkers". Specially if you are designing a button for an international day devoted to getting people to comment.
Now if you would like to read more about the mechanics of blogging, you might like to read this post, but before you click the link I have to warn you it’s not for the faint hearted, and it’s definitely R rated.
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