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Attracting Comments 103

OrangeToday (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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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
    demographic.
  3. 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)
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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)
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Acknowledge your commenters, I prefer to do it in the comments section, but others like to send an email.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Don’t try to guilt anyone into commenting, no-one likes to be pressured. Tell me what you think.
  14. 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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50 Responses

  1. OMG, am I first?!!

  2. Oh, that was exciting for me – thanks WT. BTW, thanks for the award, that’s what I am doing here…I came back to get my award!

  3. Well, according to you, I’m a liar, I write boring, longwinded posts that are always the same, I’m insulting, and I’m judgemental because I use the word lurker. Score!

    Happy mofo delurk day! 😉

  4. Well, I actually came by to lurk but I reckon that notion’s out the door now, huh?

  5. i tried to look at that link but the guy’s teeth stopped me cold.

  6. Great. Now you tell me. :::snort:::

  7. Thanks for the tips. Only half a handful of people read my blogs. But I’m also a lot more interesting in real life than I am on my page. Maybe I should start saying what I really feel on here. lol

  8. Damn! I guess I’m a lurker, although I may have commented here once or twice. I should think you would realize that if someone comes back to read again and again what you’ve written that there’s a lotta “like” involved. By the time I get to your blog most of the worthwhile comments have already been posted so what’s left? Crazymaking repetition and/or embarassing inanities? Please give me permission to “skulk” or “lurk”.

  9. Altaglow – That’s the whole point of the post. It’s up to the individual to decide if they want to comment or not, it’s not up to me or anyone else to tell them they have to. And that’s as it should be.

    I may occasionally whine about readers not commenting, but it’s just a joke.

  10. Well I think I must fit in with Melissa, boring, boring, boring. But boy am I glad to be back home again and reading all these Boring posts. My opinion is, its my blog and I’ll whinge or be boring if I want to! And Im sure my camping posts will be boring too but I can’t tell about all the naughty stuff I saw there now can I, my mum might read it!

  11. Okay, I guess its time I delurked here. What the heck. I’ll finally comment. HA!

  12. Low end of commenting? Dude – have you noticed my comment box?

    Good suggestions, though. (and p.s. I can always find something to say on pet posts)

  13. OKAY…I’ll try getting rid of word verification. But if I get one more damn Viagra spam you’re gonna hear about it.

  14. Ewwww, you really did mean it about not being for the faint-hearted.

    Thank you, thank you, for the word verification tip. I may have travel to Australia just to kiss you. But then, I lack social skills and have few friends.

  15. mmmm 🙂 I appreciate the peeps that do not use word verification. Thank you!

  16. Willowtree, Thank you.

    I like to think that when I visit I’m welcome–comment or not. I’ve become a bit attached to your particular form of commication. I like it. give me more.

  17. Also the next is…. Listen to this and tell me if it isn’t the best.

  18. Altaglow – I’ve been an Eva Cassidy fan for years, in fact I’ve even sent that clip to a few people myself. I really like her rendition of Fields of Gold, but there’s no footage of her singing it.

    Do you like Katie Melua too? The sound seems a bit out of sync in the clip, but I’ve got the DVD and it’s fine on that, she’s not miming it.

  19. Willowtree,

    There is tape of Cassidy and Fields of Gold if you go to Youtube and seach for Cassidy. You’ll find there a wealth (not really but because she died so young) but a lot. Youtube has fields of Gold, Bridge Over Troubled Water, a couple of others and my favorite “Autumn Leaves”. She was a consumate artist.

    I saw the Katie Melua TV thing. that’s on Youtube also. What a strange idea to have duets between living and dead artists! And, after saying all that the duet was actually very beautiful and quite well done.

    Eva’s voice, styling and complete control of the lyric almost always brings me to tears. God love her!

  20. Also,
    I never had the chance to hear Eva Cassidy live. Did you?

  21. AG – No, she was gone before I was aware of her talent, plus practically on-one outside DC got to see her perform live.

    The Fields of Gold clip on Youtube is a composite, it is of her singing Time After Time with FoG dubbed over it, what I meant was there’s no footage of her actually performing Fields of Gold.

    That link I gave isn’t to the Duet (which is a bit kitsch for my tastes, ditto the Coles and the Presleys), that was more of a tribute as Katie Melua cites her as one of her major influences. The link was to a live performance.

  22. I’m going to try it and see what happens.

  23. So Wiwwotwee, what’s your comment to wurker watio? I don’t get awot of commenters,nor do I normally have many ‘hits’ but my wurkers, well . . . who cares, and I’m not wying. If I piss them off enough for them to write something wheelie wheelie wude, I’ll pwobabwy dewete it anyway.(that has its certain swatisfwactions too).

    Bwogging is the one space where I can wite whatsoever I choose. Air my pwejudices, write powemics, and awienate entire demographics. My astwology post is a favouwite of mine wherein I got to insult absowutewy eveweebody. That was fun. Nobody’s paying me to do this, so its good to not weally give a stuff. Its nice to meet people though. Er having said that I am yet to meet a blogger who was anything like what they seemed on their blog. Commenters can also be bwoody annoying too eh? Bit like famiwee

  24. I get you about the word verification but I do believe I was asked the other day on your blog, I think I commeneted on two or three posts and the last one asked for verification!

  25. Caroline – Thank you for providing the “No” case for Do you want people to comment!

  26. So don’t do everything that I do in other words.
    I’ve posted on 4 of my blogs and don’t expect any comments on 3 of them. I’ve done the whole popular the new flavour of the month bit and now I do blog for myself, two people mentioned how one of my pictures wasn’t safe for work, I mentioned that I don’t blog at work so it doesn’t concern me.

    Courting comments is too much like work and I do have dial up and lots of links so the children have to make do with what they get.

    Having recently been spammed for 3 weeks straight (fellow bloggers) I just removed moderation, I shall keep word verification on as you can’t just keep hitting the button and filling up the comment box which slows it doon to a stop. You know yer big when the others try to take you doon.

  27. Eeh, Caroline, shouldn’t that be “entire demogwaphics?”

    Just checking …

  28. I don’t always have to do the word verification thing but haven’t really worked out why (is it where I am remembered?). I do enjoy comments I will not pretend otherwise but as I don’t always comment on all the blogs I read I accept others do the same.

    I noted the comments about Eva Cassidy (I have the fields of gold CD and love it) and they have just played a new Katie Melua’s on the radio prog I am listening to.

  29. Dear willowtree. Well, you’ve given me an excuse to stop lurking, as I’ve done all summer. Well, I think you were the only person I commented on even occasionally. I didn’t want to visit, but the beans you gave me propelled me in this direction.

  30. #14 is too funny! I have also found that talking about the goofy ass things your kids do can piss people off big time. Especially if your life seems to be a revolving door of goofy ass things like water balloon fights in the house…

  31. My name is Fianna. I am a lurker and a mofo. And I talk about my pets, I use alot of photos, I am judgmental. I hate following rules.

  32. Thanks Willowtree that was a really useful post, now I have to go and see if I am ABLE to turn the word verification off!

  33. Wha??? This post is too long. I forgot what I was going to say.

  34. Okay, I turned the word verification off (if it bothered you, why didn’t you say something sooner?), but I’m hoping to avoid the spam. Really.

    As for the rest…I’m not sure I’d know what to do if a hundred people started commenting on my blog. I might go into hiding.

  35. Is Caroline an alias for Elmer Fudd or is she that British female correspondant on NPR?

  36. Okay okay. I’ve turned off the word verification! I kept meaning too, but….anyway it’s done now.

  37. This motherfucking lurker just wants to say hi and have a nice day!! (okay, so I’m not a lurker. shut up.)

  38. I am just a fucker and a mother…Robocop is a motherfucker. 😀

    I did get rid of my word verification. All spam I will send to you….just to up the number of post you get. 😛

    happy mofo delurk day.

  39. i took word verification off a long time ago. so i get spammed now and then. big deal. i just delete it.

  40. I took my word verify off not that long ago! I am ahead of the curve!!Woo Hoo!
    Here’s hoping you break your comment record today…you comment whore!

  41. “Be as regular as you can manage”

    Blogging was not the first thing I thought of when I read this sentence.

  42. (whispering) hi WT, um, #8 scares me. are you one of those? okay, you didn’t see me on here. bye.

  43. What’s a lurker if they’re not a lurker? I mean I think I’d rather lurk than MOFO.

  44. Great post! Loved it!

  45. did you come up with all of that yourself?

  46. Willowtree,

    I didn’t know the history behind the word “lurker”. Interesting!

    Hey, about comments… how do you put a link into a comment. Is that just something typepad allows? Do you know if it is possible in blogger?

    Hmmmm…. that would be helpful.

  47. I just hate people who think they can tell everyone else what to do! This is not a rant! I’m serious!

  48. yeah the low end of comments my ass.. sure wt *rolls eyes*

  49. I took these 14 items as very helpful tips. I do not think WT was telling us what to do. WT may not actually care what we his adoring public do with our personal blogs. Perhaps, as a fairly successful blogger, he is merely offering advice.

    Not Molly Funicello DeLurka

  50. Thank you. Thank you for especially the tip about the word verification box. I have to go to a different browser to comment on those sites.
    This is my first comment on your site, so I guess I’m not just a sight seer now;)

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