The Top 6 Reasons Why I May Not Be Commenting On Your Blog
Today I’m going to get straight into the topic at hand:
Your blog and the top 6 reasons why I may not be commenting on it.
Buckle up, I’m going to be shooting straight here!
Now here’s the thing. I’m a big advocate of blogging and utilising it to establish yourself, brand yourself, get your message out there, connect with other people, build your list and all that good stuff. Yet, there are blogs that I simply won’t comment on.
No, I don’t mean that I’m sabotaging anything! Rather, it could be you yourself who is sabotaging your blog!
Why on earth would anyone sabotage their blog?
I’m sure that no-one would sabotage their blog intentionally, but during my time blogging I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers who really aren’t doing themselves any favours. The disturbing thing is, this trend seems to be on the increase, at least in my observations.
Let’s establish something here from the outset:
You don’t want to be doing anything that will put people off visiting your blog and interacting once they get there. Now, of course your blog won’t appeal to everyone. You’re an individual and your visitors are all individuals. You will all have different viewpoints, tastes and opinions, so there are bound to be people with whom you just won’t resonate. And that’s fine.
However, there’s much that you can do to lessen the potential for frustration among your visitors.
You see, comment activity on your blog is its lifeblood. But, without realising it, your blog may be haemorrhaging.
Let’s consider a few of the things that I’ve noticed personally on my blogging travels and are the make or break factors as to whether or not I leave a comment.
1) Commenting is Disabled
This is an obvious one – if your comments are disabled then no-one will be able to comment. Now, there could be different reasons for this. Why someone wouldn’t want comments on their blog beats the heck out of me. But then, I suppose it depends on what the purpose of your blog is.
You may not feel that you need the commenting element and you are getting on just fine without it. Okay, but I would always recommend having them enabled if and when possible.
Don’t underestimate the relationships that can be built solely on the strength of interacting with people who visit your blog and vice versa.
One reason I’ve come across is that the blogger is a newbie and they simply haven’t realised that commenting is turned off. Perhaps it’s been done by a plugin, a theme or simply by their inadvertently turning it off in their settings. But if you’re a newbie, you’re doing everything else correctly and after a quite a long while you still aren’t getting comments, it might be an idea just to check that you do actually have the facility enabled.
2) Your Blog is Confusing
What do I mean by “confusing”? I mean blogs that have submenu within submenu within submenu, 98% of which are unnecessary. Column after column after column. About 1982098737 categories. No search option. No clear way to work out which part of the site is actually the blog part and, once you get a clue, you’re not sure how to find the latest post.
Now, I know that some people may argue that a more complex, interconnected site can be good for SEO and can keep people there for longer, which is also good for SEO.
But all the SEO in the world doesn’t count for much if the people who land on your site aren’t actually doing much to connect with you once there.
If I come across a good blog with good content, that’s easy to navigate and is active, I will be sure to put it into my RSS reader to be kept abreast of updates so I can visit again. But if I land on your blog and can’t work out where things are and where I’m supposed to be going, I’m just going to think, “Oh, I just can’t be bothered!”
In a nutshell: don’t make things unnecessarily difficult for your visitors. (See point number 6.)
3) Your Blog isn’t Engaging
As mentioned in point number 1, you want people to comment on your blog. But you should also be replying to their comments. And, when possible, return the favour by visiting the blog of someone who’s commented and be sure to share their content and leave a comment on one of their posts.
If I visit a blog and it’s deserted then I’ll be less inclined to leave a comment. Not always, but it’s definitely more attractive to get involved in an active blog rather than feel that yours is a solo voice reverberating around a ghost town.
Of course, if people aren’t leaving comments in the first place, you won’t have anything to reply to!
So, what if you have comments enabled, your blog isn’t confusing and you are prepared to interact with your visitors, yet you aren’t getting any comments?
Well, the next two points could answer this:
4) I Don’t Know Your Blog Exists
Yes, you could be doing everything by the book on your blog, but still you’re not getting comments. Well, here’s a question for you: what are you doing to bring traffic to your blog? Notice that I didn’t say “drive”. Rather, I said “bring”. Yes, you need to get out there and actively bring and attract visitors to your blog. How can you do this?
Simply put, get yourself out there and involved on forums and/or other people’s blogs. Make your presence known by giving valuable help and leaving valuable comments. If you have a signature at the bottom of your forum posts or are able to leave a link back to your blog in the comments you leave on other people’s blogs, then you WILL get people clicking on those links and checking out your blog.
An important point here: ignore the naysayers. This strategy DOES work and it works well. For those whom it doesn’t, well they’re doing it wrong.
5) Your Content is Drivel
Yes, that’s right. It could be that your content is complete and utter garbage. If you’ve just scraped some bits and pieces of articles and lumped them together in a post that comprises of two or three paragraphs of sterile, unoriginal content, with each post following the same format, then I’m going to spot that a mile off and this will give me no motivation to comment.
If your ‘post’ is nothing more than a thinly-veiled plug for an opportunity or product that you have linked at the bottom then again, I’ll spot this a mile off and I’ll have no motivation to comment. Now, I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t take the opportunity to promote things, of course. But it has to be done in the right way.
If your post has the depth of a puddle and is nothing more than a, “I’m doing this. I want to you to buy it too. Here’s a link.” type of post then how can you expect people to get involved in a discussion? I mean, what is there to actually discuss on a post like that?
I appreciate that not everyone finds writing easy, but be honest – you know if your content truly stinks or not.
You need good, solid, value-packed, actionable, thought-provoking, original, well thought-out content that makes people think, “That was great! I want to add my thoughts to this!”. Augment this with well-placed, strategic calls-to-action.
But if you listen to all the hype about ‘this’ and ‘that’ piece of auto-scraping, spinning and posting software, or listen to what your ‘opportunity’ tells you about slapping up practically any old blog post so long as you lead into the offer, then chances are your content stinks. I’m willing to admit there may be exceptions, but those will be few and far between.
Write for people, not for SEO or sales.
6) You’re Forcing People to Comment Using a Third-Party Commenting System
Bottom line: if the only means of leaving a comment is by using something like Disqus, LiveFyre, Facebook or basically anything that involves me having to use a third-party account, I am not going to comment, plain and simple.
It doesn’t matter how awesome your content is, how fantastic your blog is or how wonderful you are as a person, if I can’t comment easily then I won’t comment.
It’s nothing personal, but it’s just too much of a hassle. Or it could be that I don’t want my personal social media linked up in this way. Or perhaps I don’t want all and sundry seeing everything I do because a third-party platform links everything together and makes it publicly viewable.
The built-in WordPress commenting system is more than adequate and you do not need anything else. If you wish to have something in addition to that which gives people an option, then fine. I’ve seen some bloggers do this and it seems to work for them. What I have noticed in these cases, though, is that the number of comments using the WordPress system usually far outweighs the number using the third-party system.
Surely that should tell you something.
Here’s the thing: why would you want to do anything that you know will alienate a segment of your potential audience? I know that if I used something like Disqus, there would be those who wouldn’t use it and therefore wouldn’t comment, perhaps not even bothering to come back.
But I’ve yet to hear of anyone who won’t comment because there is only the default WordPress system and there ISN’T a third-party system in place!
Think of it like this: a particular TV show could be really good, with great acting, gripping storylines and engaging characters. Now, this TV show doesn’t feature any X-rated language. Do you think that there would be anyone who would say, “Oh, this show’s great and I love the stories, but I’m offended because there isn’t any bad language, so I’m not going to watch it!”.
I doubt it!
A TV show without bad language can appeal to a broad section of people. But if that same TV show was full of bad language then sure, there would be those who wouldn’t care, yet there would be a lot who would find that offensive and not watch it.
So my point is, why put people off commenting on your blog? The fact of the matter is that third-party platforms do exactly this. Yet the default system allows any and all to comment.
Dita Irvine wrote what I feel to be one of the best lowdowns on the drawbacks of using third-party commenting systems. I recommend you check it out, it’s a very interesting read.
Another excellent post about this subject was written by Gary Korisko. He wrote specifically about Disqus and the reasons why he was forced to drop it. Again, it’s an interesting read and contains some insightful points from the point of view of someone who was using Disqus but realised the need for change.
Why Make Things Difficult?
When all is said and done, it can be a big enough challenge in itself to get comments on our blog. So why make it more difficult?
Why place obstacles in the way that needn’t be there?
At the end of the day, it’s your blog and your rules. You can run it any way you wish and that’s how it should be, of course. But remember – your blog isn’t worth a jot if you’re ticking off your visitors or making them jump through hoops just to leave a comment.
Yes it’s your blog, but the people are your audience. And you need to take care of that audience.
Take care of your visitors and they’ll take care of you.
I’ll leave you with that little profundity. 😉