I’ve noticed over the months that there is a select group of people that seem to comment across the blogs in the Higher Education arena. I’m assuming that there are more individuals following the conversation as BlogHighEd is reporting over 250 RSS subscribers on their site and I’ve got slightly over 75 on a good day so somebody must be reading this along with the rest of the Higher Education blogs. What I enjoy most about reading blogs is the ability to toss my 2¢ into the discussion. I’ll admit that I have a tendency to be a little outspoken.
Please Leave Your Comments Here
One of the golden rules to becoming a good blogger is to be a good commenter and therefor contributor. Why is this you ask? Because if you leave meaningful comments on other blogs it might poke someone reading the comment to click on your name and visit your blog. So with that mind set, then leaving a comment is only beneficial to bloggers as it’s a form of link-building. I challenge this! Comments provide great conversation and a lot of times what the blogger posted is incomplete and there are other details that can be added. A great example of this is my recent postTest Results: Comparing 11 Free Analytic Services. In this post I tested and rated quite a few free web analytic applications. Some comments suggested additional applications to test that I hadn’t even thought of or knew about. Although I’ll admit that I haven’t tested them yet, I do plan to, the conversation was continued and additional information was shared.
I am addicted to knowledge and love to learn. One excellent way to learn is through communication and sharing ideas and knowledge.
So what happens if you read a post and you have nothing to add, but you did gain from it or enjoyed the content? In my opinion commenting “great post”, “thanks for sharing”,or “I totally agree” isn’t really worth anything unless you follow this up with more detail. Although those are warm fuzzes for the writer what does it really accomplish? I tend to stay away from these sort of comments. Of course that’s just my opinion, and just like anyone else I like to have “nice post” comments. In the big picture isn’t it more satisfying if someone votes up your content than writes a comment that doesn’t add to the conversation? Well this is what social media is all about. There are lots of times that I read a post and I don’t have anything to add, but it was a good post so I’ll give it a Stumble thumb up (if I really like it a short review), and depending on what kind of content it is submit it to the appropriate social network to share. Each network is a little different and each has a slightly different audience, but all good content falls into worthy of Del.icio.us, StumbleUpon, Mixx, Digg, or Sphinn sometimes multiple and sometimes Twitter worthy. Human beings are social creatures after all.
As a blogger there are a few things that you can do to make this as easy as possible for your readers.
- Setup a subscribe to comments option or an RSS feed of your comments definitely helps. WordPress has a great plug-in that I use that will let users Subscribe to Comments and this is definitely the easiest way to allow the conversation to continue. Co.mments.com is a nice service that allows you to track comments on blog posts by adding a java toolbar. A while back Brad Ward did a How To Tuesday explaining co.mments in more detail. The bottom line is this is an additional barrier that a reader has to know about to keep up with the conversation. There have been times when I haven’t left a comment because I was looking for more insight and being honest with myself I wasn’t going to come back to the post to check for a response.
- Setup a social bookmarking widget is the easiest way to allow visitors to submit your content to social media sites. There are lots of WordPress plug-ins that will help you with this, but the two that really stand out above the pack are ShareThis and AddThis. Having one of these is as important to a blog site as setting up Feedburner! I also know for a fact that ShareThis and AddThis also have widgets for Typepad. Personally I’d go with ShareThis if you are split between the two and just want a decision made for you. If your visitor is tech savvy then they most likely have a social bookmarking toolbar such as Shareaholic, but once again this is an additional barrier that doesn’t make your site user friendly.
So to all bloggers out there who lack the above mentioned functionality. I challenge you to step up and make your site more user friendly to encourage the conversation.
And to readers lets discuss and support the bloggers. Now that they have done their part to lower the barriers of communication let’s learn from each other.
Great post, thanks for sharing, I totally agree.
[insert warm fuzzy here]
Even though I don’t post blogs very often, I have hasd several people visit my site because of comments I’ve made elsewhere. I appreciate the helpful hints on making my blog more user-friendly. Great post!
I post comments infrequently, aiming for something substantive.
I use co.mments.com but am more likely to return to a blog where I can click a box to be e-mailed about follow-up comments. That sometimes leads to a second post as the conversation grows. For bloggers truly interested in comments, this is a great feature.
Between comments.com and subscribing to comments, I appreciate it when bloggers do follow-up posts on a topic, and link to those posts in the comments of their original posts on a given topic.
And I don’t post comments to drive people to my blog (I don’t blog) or Web site. The link I typically use is meant to be satirical, and eventually I’ll toss in some text to make that more obvious…
I am one of those that read posts much more than I comment and that is mainly because I fall into the camp of “if I don’t have anything to add I don’t comment.”
I guess that I looked posting a “agree” or “nice post” comment, is like speaking up at a meeting to say “I agree with Todd”, when 4 others have already said the same thing. I hadn’t thought of the other reasons that those types of post might be welcomed.
Your post made me want to post this.
@Paula - Thanks for agreeing with me. I appreciate your comment on this post because I know you in the non-webbed world, so it was cool to see that you’re following a blog that I also follow.
@KyleJames - Since I now know that Paula is following this blog I will no longer be able to comment here — at least not with my real name.
So mark that up as one joining the conversation and one disjoining (is that a word?). I’m feeling torn about my roll as a blogger here. Just kidding. Paula I’m glad that you felt the need to comment!
@Tiffany - no problem, I’m hoping more blogs will add additional functionality to encourage the conversation.
One additional thing I should point out is that the Picture that displays next to comments is pulled from Gravatar or was it MyBlogLog? Either way lots of blogs pull this in so it’s something else to add.
Yes, we need more gravatars…no one wants to look at only me and Founder
I actually need to implement that on my own site. One more feature to add to the to-do list…
“Setup a subscribe to comments option or an RSS feed of your comments definitely helps.”
Can you believe that after 3 years of blogging, I only added this option about a month ago?!
I know some bloggers don’t like it, but I nearly always add a link to a relevant article of mine — like I have here.
And I totally agree with you on the rule of commenting.
My feeling is that if you’re going to comment, actually say something that’s going to add to the value of the article you’re commenting on.
Speak soon, Kyle…
Good post! thx for sharing!
Kyle, followed the link from Hubspot. I agree, and this kinda proves what you’re saying. You’ve gotten another unique to your site and the opportunity to convert to a subscriber. Without that link at Hubspot, I’d perhaps never have ever heard of you.
Comments are great way to expand your knowledge. Joining a conversation with people who may know quite a bit more than yourself is my favorite way of learning. And if I can add anything at all to the knowledge of someone else, what more could I ask for?
I’m glad I got you to follow the link AND join the conversation! Your exactly right about adding and sharing knowledge. And another thing about people leaving comments on blogs is most of the time the blogger is curious about who leaves comments and will check out those links. I got work to do!
hmmm…mb its true ,
Just wanted to say hellot
Mmmmm….this is something that’s been plaguing me for a while.
I “personal” blogged at Live Journal for a while and I really liked their way of handling comments. You can reply to the poster or to another commenter and then you can see the hierarchical structure of the comment stream. They also email all comments to the poster and to the commenter if someone comments on a specific comment. Really easy to manage.
I then opened up a new “personal” blog on WordPress because I felt it was more of a “professional” platform. Sadly they do not have the same nifty Live Journal feature.
And ever since I’ve been pondering on how to manage this more effectively.
I’ve also been getting around the blogging community more so now and noticing that there are very few platforms which have the nifty Live Journal functionality. And it’s really frustrating. I’m pretty sure I’m missing out on replies to my comments all over the place.
I, like one of your other commenters, LOVE the “email followup comments” option.
Anyways, thanks for this interesting and informative post!
Twitter is on fire talking about the new iPhone 3GS, so it’ll be interesting to see how much 3GS.com sells for this Thursday. Keep an eye on how much the site is going for here:
hello it is test. WinRAR provides the full RAR and ZIP file support, can decompress CAB, GZIP, ACE and other archive formats.
I saw something about this on TV last night. Might be up on youtube already was on channel 10.
join the conversation with twitter!
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I love the post.Comments are great way to expand your knowledge.
This was written in 2008. I am wondering if this is still true today.