105 Ways to Give a Book

Thoughts from the Comment Challenge

Why aren't people commenting on my blog? It's a common complaint, a question for the blogging ages. There are big picture answers that highlight content, engagement and connection. But today I want to focus on some concrete things I noticed as I was making my way through the Comment Challenge participants.

1. The commenting process is difficult. At this point, most bloggers are using some sort of filter that keeps spambots out. But I've noticed that some commenting systems are harder than others. For instance, I have no problem with the ones that want a Google ID, but I shy away if a Facebook login is requested. And I'm not even sure what Disqus is. A lot of this isn't in your control, but might be worth knowing.

2. The content isn't updated. I'm one to talk after my pathetic January posting schedule, but fresh content does matter. As I visited blogs during the Comment Challenge, I commented on the post that drew my attention most - and if I didn't have much to choose from then sometimes I didn't comment. There it is.

3. The content isn't varied enough. Maybe you are focused on branding your reviewer/illustrator/writer blog, but give yourself a little room to play in the bigger world of KidLit/YA literature. Throw in something personal, book recommendations, movie tie-ins, Kidlitosphere news - just something different from your norm to engage more people.

4. The post doesn't invite comments. I've struggled with asking questions at the end of a post, and generally avoided it myself for fear of leaving it dangling out there, unanswered. But what I'm thinking of is posts that give little to latch onto. Okay, an example is posting illustrations alone. Other than "Lovely," what have you given me to say?" But add to that posting where the idea came from, what you struggled to capture... whatever went into it that gives me a way to relate.

5. The blog is continuous self-promotion. Obviously, your blog will have some self-promotion for your achievements, but if that's all your posts are about then you are not inviting engagement. You're not even inviting return visits.


I'll be back soon with winners from the Comment Challenge. I apologize for the delay, but with SCWBI's conference, coordinating with Lee at the conference, and fighting a bad cold it just didn't happen. Soon.

16 comments:

Jim Randolph said...

My thoughts exactly. Even the blogger standard word verification is a pain if it's not necessary. I removed mine and will only put it back if I get tons of spam, which I don't for now. If someone is trying to sell something, I just delete the comment. This wouldn't work for a high-traffic blog but for us regular joes it's fine.

Blessy Mathew said...

Thanks for sharing your experience with Comment Challenge this month.

To expand on Disqus, it's a more powerful/user-friendly way to add commenting features to a Web site/Blog in my opinion. When I looked at the different options, Disqus seemed to be the best because people can make comments without having to create an account on my site. They could use their Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, or OpenID account. Plus they have a Like/Dislike feature. Disqus gave me the most options, and they just added Google accounts as well. Hope this make sense.

Miranda Paul said...

Great thoughts. I'd like to add that I generally follow blogs as long as there's a follow button, but hesitate on blogs where I have to enter my email to sign up and follow via newsletter. My email is cluttered enough, and I like reading them on my blogroll. Those bloggers generally don't get a follow.

J.L. Campbell said...

And on some blog, you really have to search to be able to find the comment thingy. I find that sometimes the comment aids are more hindrance than help. I put one on and some people complain that it won't allow them to comment. I wish blogger had come up with theirs sooner. I tried undoing the one I have, but that didn't go well, so it looks like I'm stuck with it.

Katie DeKoster said...

Great wrap up! I just wish blogger would make the "reply" button send an email to the commenter, so that they would know I read and responded to the comment that they took the time to write!

billkirkwrites said...

I agree with all these comments plus a note about Katie's comment. To me blog comments seem like some kind of random sticky notes on bulletin boards you happen to pass in the Internet hallway. There doesn't appear to be a good way for me to connect with the commenter except to track down their blog or website and leave a note in reply, which is pretty inefficient. In fact, I blogged about this very subject on my blog today: http://billkirkwrites.blogspot.com if you wish to swing by....

Charlotte said...

What you said! I found it very very frustrating to visit blogs with the intent to comment, only to find the same post still up, or a post that left no room for meaningful response....

(I hope my blog is easy to comment on....(is anxious) )

Sally said...

Thanks for the thoughts. I am checking my blog to make sure leaving comments is easy as pie, that I am not only promoting myself, and that I have a wide range of Kidlit.

Christy Rush-Levine said...

I found nothing about the commenting process frustrating. I loved the opportunity to check out new blogs. When I found one that didn't suit me or didn't have fresh material often enough, I found that there were plenty others to keep me busy! Thanks again for hosting.

The Pen and Ink Blog said...

Welll after a spurt of commenting ...The thursday after the challenge ended my son called me to say they wer at the hospital and the baby was coming. I flew from Honolulu to Portage Mi and between the baby and jet lag i haven't commented very much.

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

Hi Pam, again many thanks for hosting this challenge. Had a blast! :)

Melanie said...

I don't like having to sign into anything. I like simply being able to leave my name/email/blog address on WP, or Name/URL on blogger. Simple and to the point. Having to visit 3 different pages to leave one comment feels excessive.

Helena Juhasz said...

Thank you so much for the insight.

Annie said...

Absolutely delighted to have had the chance to participate here and meet so many creative and talented people.

As a peep hole into so many new worlds the challenge is magnificent.

Agreed some blogs were not so easy to comment on as others but the reflections here are a great way to sort us all out for next year.

And I shall still be visiting and commenting throughout the year. I'm tortoise slow but now a determined blog comment addict.

sm said...

yup, i won't continue if asked for my FB login. no way. it's none of FB's business what i read, even if they don't post it on my wall

hsw said...

I read mainly from my phone so ease of commenting is HUGE. Blogger is awful in that category, there are so many hoops to jump through and the word verification often doesn't go through. I use wordpress and filter spam on my end a lot but it makes for easier commenting at least.

The posts that get comments surprise me, I forget to invite questions often and since I blog recipes I don't expect comments for the most part, but I find people like to chime in when they're entertained. Another high comment area for me would be how to or diy posts - people ask questions and the answers turn into a resource for other people to join in on the conversation.

I comment more now that I stopped using Google Reader (they changed their sharing features) because I click through to posts I see mentioned on twitter.

Sorry to ramble, great list!

(edited to add that I'm doing the captcha again on this comment, hoping it goes through this time!)