Good day Class,

Back for a return appearance as substitute teacher (guest writer) is Alex Fayle, our friend and fellow blogger from Someday Syndrome, home of the human “lab rats” experiments. In his previous lesson Alex taught, How Your Comment Response Policy Can Change The Dynamics Of Your Community, and got a huge response.

To tag onto his previous lesson, Alex is here to continue discussing the topic of comments, pointing out an aspect many of us forget to consider.

Welcome again, Alex. It’s great to have you back. The floor is yours.

How To Write For Blog Lurkers

Hello class. Good to see you again.

Today I’d like those of you who are the most vocal here in class to remember that you’re not the only ones here.

The classroom is also full of other students — the ones who don’t raise their hands and who don’t contribute to the conversation on a daily basis like you do.

These silent classmates represent a large portion of any blog’s readership and just because we don’t hear from them it doesn’t mean their opinions don’t matter.

Because of their size their opinions actually matter more.

Today’s Lesson

All the time we hear that blogging is a community which we create through conversations with the people who comment. However, if your blog is anything like mine, over 90% of your readers never comment, not even once. That’s not a community — that’s an online column.

So how do you connect with these lurkers?

Just keep doing exactly what you have been doing.

These people come read your blog because they connect with you somehow. They read your words and identify with them in a way that brings them back every time you post something new.

It’s very easy, however, to forget about this silent majority and bit by bit change your blog so that you’re writing just to those who do comment. However when you do that, you create a clique that says: unless you comment, I don’t care about you. And then reader by reader you lose the lurkers until you’re left with just a few people hanging out at a private party.

Remember, as well, if you are monetizing your blogs, often many of your customers come from this silent majority. The last thing you want to do is alienate them.

How to reach the silent majority:

1. Don’t try to make them get involved. They choose the level they’re comfortable with – don’t try to drag them into the conversation or you’ll just scare them away.

2. Focus on writing great content aimed at your ideal customer. You don’t know what your ideal customer is? Then create one and write to that person, especially if you want to earn money from the blog because if you don’t know who you’re selling to you won’t sell anything. Even if your blog doesn’t sell anything, you should still know who your typical reader is or you’ll have trouble drawing in the raving fans that will help you grow your blog.

Today’s Assignment

What percentage of your blog readers don’t participate (via feed stats or unique visitors)?

Do you have any idea who your non-commentors are?

What do you do to write to these people?

Finally, if you are someone who reads blogs but doesn’t comment, could you break your silence and tell us why you don’t normally comment?

Raise your hand and share your thoughts.


Alex FayleAlex Fayle is the creator and author of Someday Syndrome, a site that cures you of procrastination. When he’s not helping others follow their dreams, he’s coaching his clients how how to find happiness and fulfillment in their lives and writing great books such as Someday My Ship Will Come In. You can also follow Alex on Twitter.


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Look Who's Talking
  1. Dan MirandaNo Gravatar says:

    This post oozes greatness, Alex! I find I can connect with this because here on BWAB, I’m not the most often commentator, not even close. However I always tune into the lessons Barbara and her guests pump out because they are invaluable tools that help me as a blogger.

    Because Barbara kept doing what she is good at, I finally decided to drop by and add to the discussion. (Oh, and also you commented on my blog. An eye for an eye.)

    Dan Miranda´s last blog post..30 Reasons To Believe In Yourself

  2. MegNo Gravatar says:

    Nice post!

    Sadly (for me) I mostly have lurkers on my blog. Comments engender great rejoicing on my part 🙂 Not that I hold it against my readers (surprisingly I have quite a few! . . . really lol) . . . I tend to be a lurker myself.

    One of the main reasons I don’t comment is that what I want to say has been said already by other commentors, or simply that I have nothing to add to the conversation other than a ‘great post’ or ‘me too’. I have read so many times that that is frowned upon in the blogosphere that I don’t say anything. Although, truth be known, I love it when I get comments like that. After all, in real life conversations we get little ‘me toos’ – non-verbal or otherwise as we talk. Why is it considered such a no-no in the blogging world?

    Meg´s last blog post..Do Your Home Work

  3. Hi,
    Very nice informative post.
    Thanks for the sharing.

    Seo Manchester´s last blog post..Ethical SEO Factors

  4. RibbonNo Gravatar says:

    Mostly I comment when I visit, but not always.
    Also the reasons for not commenting are not all the same either.

    Often when I visit photoblogs I’ll leave one or two comments, but I will look at dozens of photos just because they are so awesome.
    The same goes for reading some blogs that are worth spending a little more time with. I don’t necessarily comment on all the posts read.

    This was a great post.

    thank you… Ribbon

  5. I read blogs for a long time without commenting mostly because I thought that what I had to say didn’t really matter. Besides, for the most part I agreed with what was written so I’d just read, nod and enjoy. When I started making comments here and there and the bloggers responded, it made me feel part of their community so I’d return and comment some more. It became fun.

    I just hope that I offer some value to those who read my blog and don’t comment. I may never know for sure, but I can tell from my stats (kinda) that the readers return so I figure I’ve got to be doing something right.

    Thanks for the post, and the last one you wrote here too, I enjoyed them both.

    Laurie | Express Yourself to Success´s last blog post..Body Language Communicates

  6. Sunil PathakNo Gravatar says:

    Nice thoughts Alex

    but i dont agree with your 1st point

    Don’t try to make them get involved. They choose the level they’re comfortable with – don’t try to drag them into the conversation or you’ll just scare them away.”

    nearly 80% of blog readers are Passive reader who leave web page after gathering information they want(in our case they leave after reading blog post). you need to call them to action to do something be it comment on your post ,feed subscription or click on affiliate link.

    consistent writing is core ingredient of any blog but you need call to action is equally important to spice it up.

    Sunil Pathak´s last blog post..Do You Think Daniel Scocco of Daily Blog Tips is Losing His Authority and Popularity

  7. Chania GirlNo Gravatar says:

    I really enjoyed this post, Alex, and like that it expounded on an area that I have not seen discussed before: a lot of discussion is given over to the commenters but not the “lurkers.”

    I feel very fortunate because my blog is small and new, and I feel like I have a fairly good balance so far of having a good deal of followers who do feel comfortable enough to comment. I would say my ratio is probably 25%-30% of my readers commenting, which isn’t really a bad number.

    I am still trying to figure out, though, what my “lurkers” want. What I mean is, I have a good idea of what keeps my commenters commenting, but I am not so sure about my non-commenting readers.

    I tend to write in two voices that are both uniquely me (and are largely dependent on the day). There is my flippant, somewhat snarky, but still-sweet voice. And there is my reflective, contemplative voice. (I am actually a combo of both of these things most of the time). I am still trying to assess which voice most of my readers respond to, and I’m not sure I know yet. As I said, my blog is still young. And I also took 2 weeks off recently to deal with life issues, so I don’t know if my numbers went down for that reason or because people just didn’t like my last blog post.

    At any rate, I believe that as I continue to discover my voice and speak from the heart (authenticity is very important to me) my posts will resonate with my readers, whether they comment or not.

    Chania Girl´s last blog post..The Traveler: A Contemporary Folk Tale

  8. DotNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Alex, I just read four posts on four different blogs in my reader, and three of them were by you! This one was very interesting, because I’ve never seen anything written about the lurkers. I’d say about half my readers don’t comment. The remainder are a lively community, but now I realize I need to heed your advice and make sure I don’t just cater to that community.

    “Don’t try to make them get involved.” I agree. If people can’t stay in their comfort zone when they’re home reading blogs, where can they? Also, some people are just interested in the information presented, not the discussion. Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

    Dot´s last blog post..Creating a Household Notebook

  9. You are addressing one of my most common frustrations. It almost seems like nobody cares when people choose not to comment, but I guess I’ll have to accept some people prefer not to speak. It might be harder to me to judge how good my posts are, but then my readers don’t work for me 🙂

    Miguel de Luis´s last blog post..Thursday Haiku: Dreams and Hopes

  10. I don’t lurk.

    I always comment (unless I have nothing of value to add – ok sometimes I get it wrong). I always comment because I choose blogs that interest me. I have time to read and comment because I don’t visit more blogs than I can handle or have time for.

    If a community is too close-knit – like they don’t need anything else then I move on. There’s a place for everyone.

    Paisley (Paisley Thoughts)´s last blog post..The Last Word

  11. @Dan
    There are a lot of blogs like that for me – I read them, get something great out of them and that’s it – no need to comment. Thanks for coming out and adding to the conversation today!

    @Ribbon
    If we commented on every post we saw we wouldn’t have any time left in the day, eh?

    @Laurie
    I often struggle with finding something to say other than “great post” – because that’s not contributing, but when a post does move me to write something more, I feel more included when the blogger does respond, for sure.

    @Sunil
    Yes, of course! Thanks for adding that – my goal as well as giving people great content is getting them to buy from me, so while I don’t want to force readers to comment or get involved in any other way, I do hope to entice people enough to click on the links that will get them buying…

    @Chania Girl
    I too have a few voices on my blog – for example, today’s post over on my blog is a High School Musical video! I think that’s okay as long as you have the same readers in mind when you do so.

    @Dot
    I’m everywhere!!! And that’s exactly it – I don’t want to make people uncomfortable for not commenting. I’m happy to have readers at whatever level of interaction.

    @Miguel de Luis
    As much as we might want to say “tell me what you think of the post, dammit!” as you say, readers don’t work for us, so we can’t. I just take that they keep coming back (as evinced by my Google stats) as proof that I’m doing the right thing.

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome´s last blog post..Break Free with High School Musical

  12. @Paisley
    I get that feeling on some blogs and I find I don’t read them that much. It’s like walking into a public bar and finding everyone there a good friend not interested in welcoming newcomers – too uncomfortable to hang around in.

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome´s last blog post..Break Free with High School Musical

  13. SaraNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara — Thanks for inviting Alex. You always use interesting substitute teachers. I really like the way you’ve set up your blog and the exchange of ideas:~)

    Alex — Not long ago I wrote a post about lurkers and letting them be…so I was all prepared to be suitably annoyed when you told me to go after my lurkers. You proved me wrong.

    I liked what you said about not pushing them into involvement, but creating content that is geared to your ideal reader and then inviting them to participate. Thanks for this excellent post:~)

    Sara´s last blog post..Favorite Places: My Swiss Meadow

  14. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    I have plenty of lurkers and they just seem to enjoy coming by and reading. I have yet to discover how to get them to buy or even click on the monetization I have done. So, it is like a gray area between the two.

    Linda´s last blog post..Earth’s Solar Women

  15. I think the important thing is enjoying and being true to yourself in what you write. If you spent too much time thinking about what others might like to read you’d probably lose your authenticity, which no doubt is what’s re-attracting readers, lurkers and commenters alike.

    Jannie Funster´s last blog post..Another chance!

  16. @Meg
    They “me too” comments are frowned upon because all too often spammy-type people use that comment to leave a link on the blog hoping people will follow back to their site when they haven’t read the post or care about the topic. I’ve learned to take the “me too” one step further by including an experience of my own related to the post. Of course I don’t do that with every blog or that would exhaust me!

    @Sara
    I hope you enjoyed the little emotional rollercoaster I provided for you. 😉 It’s a good way to start the weekend- the blood racing then calming again.

    @Linda
    Very few people are actual buyers on the web, especially regular readers – they’re tire kickers and window shoppers. I was recently told that the ones who buy are those who are already looking for what we sell and it’s our job to have what we’re selling super clear and really easy to buy. I’m currently reworking my site to do just that.

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome´s last blog post..Break Free with High School Musical

  17. @Janine
    Great summary of the lesson – stay authentic!

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome´s last blog post..Break Free with High School Musical

  18. ValerieNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you for this post. I have a small readership but most of them are not commenters. Sigh. I’d welcome feedback from any of you reading this, (via email please) regarding my blog and why my readership isn’t growing. It’s a “personal” life blog and I’m not expecting a huge following. But I follow a number of personal blogs and they get dozens of commenters. What am I doing wrong? Again, please give me this feedback via my “email me” link on my blog and not in my comment section. I don’t want my readers knowing I’m whining to you all. 🙂

  19. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you Alex for being on my blog today too.

    I am one of those folks who disappeared in a classroom or a lecture and people do not see me when I am present.

    I love the lurkers….but I am working at getting my opinions and ideas out on my blog – that I have 500-600 readers a week just brings me such joy – and although I get very few comments on my posts all the comments truly add to the post and the read – even if it is just more joy.

    Now some of those lurkers are starting to make donations to my writing, this is encouraging too.
    Lots of power in blog writing especially when one uses their own words.

    Patricia´s last blog post..How We Met Entry #3

  20. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Good Morning Teach,

    I am thoroughly enjoying this lesson and the conversation.

    When I started blogging, I lurked for a long time. For one thing, I lacked the confidence to even know what to say without sounding stupid, and secondly, I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. ( I later realized I wouldn’t have had to leave my real name nor a site URL.)

    I remember the first time I commented on Problogger. I left a link in my comment back to this blog (said I was a new blogger, blah, blah, blah plus at that time, I didn’t know a link was automatically created in the submit form). Shortly thereafter, someone commented on this blog saying my comment on Problogger was spammy because of the link and that I had also made a mistake in typing the URL. Hearing that deterred me from commenting on other blogs for awhile, but then I realized if Darren approved my comment, it must have been okay. For that reason, I have openly stated that if someone wants to leave a link to their blog in the comment section, I’m okay with that. The CommnetLuv plugin is a great tool for that, too, as that’s how bloggers often find each other.

    Tagging onto what Paisley and you wrote about some blogs being too “clicky”, I have to agree. Some comment sections feel/look like a forum of a handful of close friends. If I don’t “feel” welcome, I leave.

    In answer to your question; this blog gets has a lot of readers that don’t comment. Knowing how I felt in the beginning (about commenting), I totally understand and just keep doing what I do. I hope they enjoy the posts and conversation and when and if they feel comfortable commenting, they will. If they don’t, that’s okay, too. I’m thankful for each and every reader whether they participate or not.

    I also think the “tone” of our writing can encourage or discourage comments. If we write too authoritative, we can drive commenters away. It’s like we’re saying, “It’s my way, or the highway”. Whereas, if we write and don’t come across like we know it all, others will step us and share what they’ve learned.

    Thank you again, Alex.

  21. Great post. I’ve never really given much thought to my non-commenters, and, to be honest, I have no idea who they are. I’m actually very curious about this now…

    Positively Present´s last blog post..25 totally awesome ways to boost your mood

  22. Hello Alex…I am glad you wrote about this. On my own site, almost 100% of the readers/members do not comment. I keep writing to the audience I can imagine, though, as opposed to just the few who do comment. To answer your questions:

    What percentage of your blog readers don’t participate (via feed stats or unique visitors)? Nearly 100%

    Do you have any idea who your non-commentors are? I imagine they are people, who like me, are striving to build a positive life

    What do you do to write to these people? The same things that I write to the few who do comment. Since my topic is pretty much a universal subject, the things I write remain consistent with the theme, building a positive life.

    Finally, if you are someone who reads blogs but doesn’t comment, could you break your silence and tell us why you don’t normally comment? I don’t comment as much as I wish I could, sometimes purely for the lack of time, since I read and enjoy many blogs, but I am trying to do better with that. Most of the blogs I read regularly, well the author deserves to know how much I appreciate the time they put into their insights, and the value I receive from their knowledge.

    Karen

    Karen Chaffee´s last blog post..Gold Comes In Many Forms

  23. A very high percentage of readers never comment but we are reaching them and I think it’s up to us to offer other ways to connect like email newsletters and teleclasses. Of course you have lurkers there as well.

    I’ve lurked on phone classes when others have asked my question and I really have nothing to add. It’s not a bad thing. Look how many folks by newspapers and how few have ever written a letter to the editor. Or look how few folks call into a talk show that they’ve listened to for years.

    I say just be grateful for what we have and keep inviting them to play.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s last blog post..Too Good & Challenging To Miss

  24. It used to drive me crazy – knowing so many of my readers never comment – but not anymore. As you say, they like my blog and feel connected enough to subscribe. Not everyone feels the need to constantly chat and speak their mind like we bloggers do. 🙂 Some people just like to absorb information.

    Vered – MomGrind´s last blog post..10 Ways To Love Yourself As A Woman

  25. Two WishesNo Gravatar says:

    Though I’ve never done it (bad blogger!), I’m a big believer in the occasional “Hey lurkers, say hi” or “Hey readers, what do you want to read?” post.

    When I first started reading blogs, for the first few months I felt blogs were somehow a close-knit insider community that wouldn’t welcome hearing from little old me. But one blogger’s self-proclaimed De-Lurk Day was all it took to learn that commenting was OK. Better still if it includes a giveaway, as hers did — positive reinforcement!

    Despite all this, I’m still likely just to lurk if a blog is popular. When a post already has 30+ comments, I figure the author doesn’t much care what I have to say in addition to the crowd. I’ll only comment if there’s something I’m *really* dying to add.

    Two Wishes´s last blog post..Exorcist Scene, or This Week at Our House?

  26. EvitaNo Gravatar says:

    This was such a good lesson Alex! And Barbara thanks for having Alex again 🙂

    It is soooo good for me to hear this, because as I have 3 blogs the dynamics on them are so different it is incredible!

    On one the traffic is low and the comments are sometimes in as high as a 3:1 ratio (visitors to commentators)

    On another blog, the comments are just like you said, 90% not there while the traffic is high.

    So yes, very good to be reminded of this, to not skew the writing to the commentators. I know sometimes we as bloggers may look at comment numbers and judge a blogs worth by that – but I have learned by now, that that is a big, no no 🙂

  27. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara and Alex. I’m pleased with my blog and the commenters that participate. It’s good to know their thoughts and feelings and good for them to know one another through their comments. I agree completely with Jannie about being authentic. I just write what message comes to me and trust that the people who need to read it will.

    Davina´s last blog post..Mindful Melancholy

  28. KellyNo Gravatar says:

    “Just keep doing exactly what you are doing.”

    Alex,

    I love that advice. If you were attracting them yesterday, and you keep up the good work, you’ll be attracting them tomorrow, too. An excellent reminder!

    Regards,

    Kelly

    Kelly´s last blog post..Can You Make Me LOL?

  29. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    I definitely know that my own friends lurk around my blog. One or two do comment eventually. They even follow the links from my sites to other bloggers and then comment on the sites of others. However, these are small numbers compared to the vast majority who are interested in what others have to say but don’t wish to share their thoughts. I agree that some people feel as if they have nothing important to contribute.

    Evelyn Lim´s last blog post..Madness Is Just a Disguise

  30. jan geronimoNo Gravatar says:

    Oh, you can usually count on me to comment when I feel like it. Just yesterday, I read a lovely post by David of BloggerDad. In my excitement, I called him Sean. Bummer.

    Sometimes, when a post resonates with me well I can be counted upon to leave a looong comment. That goes as well to posts that get my goat. But mainly, I conserve my energy.

    Sometimes, I just lurk and nod in silent agreement. Or utter under my breath, “What insufferable freak, this bloke.” And stomp my way out there.

    So it depends on my current state of mind. A bracing cup of good coffee always insures that I’d be on my best behavior that day. But the bottom line, of course, is that I have to be won over. Seduce me if you will. Leave me gasping for more. Make me feel alive.

    I might talk. Or I might not. But you know, sometimes there’s more meaning to a long, loving look than a bunch of meaningless small talk.

  31. I’d wager that 80 percent or more of my visitors fall into the “lurker” category. As it’s a mortgage blog, this make sense. Folks are just looking for good and useful information. What I typically find is that I’ll get a request for information via one of my comment forms, because folks don’t like to expose their personal financial situations to the world.

    Still, I am conscious of the lurker factor – and I do try to provide a wide range of blog post topics so that there’s something there for everyone.

    Kevin Sandridge´s last blog post..Fort Myers and Cape Coral Real Estate Home Buyer Information

  32. janiceNo Gravatar says:

    One way I connect to my readers – and most of mine don’t comment – is that I never, never call them lurkers. I hate the word. It’s unpleasant and it doesn’t mean the same as someone who enjoys reading without commenting. I speak to everyone in my posts – reach out with every, single word. I end every post with a variety of questions to appeal to all kinds of readers. But I never make anyone feel they have to comment. I actually reassure them that if they don’t, I still value the gift of their presence. I thank my silent community often and sincerely. As a new blogger, it still thrills me that I actually have any subscribers. In a blogging world full of wonderful blogs, I’m grateful to every single person who visits.

    In my comments, I speak to everyone individually, I refer back to previous commenters and I still reach out to those who may be silently reading comments or following the comment thread.

    I ask people often what they’ve enjoyed and what they’d like to see more of. I refer to other people’s blogs in my comments and add extra information and links so that the comments are a blog within a blog where my visitors can write as little or as much as they like.

    Paisley, above, made a great point: “If a community is too close-knit – like they don’t need anything else then I move on. There’s a place for everyone.” That’s one of my fears, that people may forget that there are a lot more people reading than commenting and feel their voices aren’t necessary if there’s a conversation going on in the comments already.

    On big blogs, that can also translate as folk not wanting to be the 70th person to leave a comment saying much the same as the others.

    I’ve enjoyed lots of what you’ve written, Alex, on lots of blogs; I enjoy building up a jigsaw of people by reading comments as well as posts. I simply don’t have time to write meaningful comments everywhere I visit and most people tell me they hate to see comments that simply say “Great post!” all the time.

    Thank you for a great, thought provoking post and to Barbara for choosing it.

    janice´s last blog post..Something for the Weekend

  33. @Valerie
    Building numbers is one of the most difficult things out there. The way I did it was commenting on a tonne of blogs. For a month or so I even did up to four hours a day of blog commenting. Basically people need to know we’re out there for them to come find us.

    @Patricia
    Thank you for publishing my story. I used to think that if people weren’t commenting then I was doing something wrong, but have since come to think the same way as you do – that any readers are a blessing no matter how the choose to interact with the blog.

    @Barbara
    It’s amazing how some people can be so discouraging, eh? Glad to hear that you decided to continue commenting and for using that negative experience to come up with a policy for your own blog.

    @Positively Present
    It’s like newspapers knowing that their readers belong to x-demographic and buy y-types of things. I suppose we could learn that too but it would take a lot more money than us small bloggers can afford.

    @Karen
    When I’m particularly moved by a post but don’t have anything to contribute I will leave a “great post” type comment because I too like to let the author know how much I got out of the post.

    @Tom
    That’s how I feel – that blogs to most people are like newspapers and very few people actually interact with their daily newspaper.

    @Vered
    I would compare the comments on my blog with comments on other blogs and think I was a bad blogger because I wasn’t getting the same numbers, but then realized that a) comparisons are bad and b) the fact that people were coming back to read more was more than enough validation.

    @Two Wishes
    I’ve considered doing a survey of some sort, but then thought: “if they don’t comment, what are the chances of them answering a survey?” 😉

    @Evita
    Three blogs? Wow! I have a hard enough time keeping up with one. Good for you. And good for you as well for noticing that every blog has its own unique mix of readers and commenters and it says nothing about the value of the blog.

    @Davina
    Feedback does certainly help keep us authentic, doesn’t it?

    @Kelly
    And thanks to your help, I’m focusing even more on my ideal client/reader and so will be attracting even more of the right people!

    @Evelyn
    My family and close friends also lurk without commenting. And yes, us loud ones in the crowd can sometimes forget that a lot of people don’t actually want to share their thoughts.

    @Jan
    I can see the Sean/David confusion happening. After all WriterDad and BloggerDad often mention each other. 😉 And I’m glad that this post seduced you enough to comment!

    @Kevin
    The reason for a bog will change the ratio, definitely – your blog is information, so fewere people will comment, exactly.

    @Janice
    “Lurker” does have a negative connotation. We’d never refer to people who don’t write letters to the editor but read newspapers “lurkers” so why do we do so on blogs? Good point! (erases “lurker” from vocabulary)

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome´s last blog post..Getting Out of My Own Way

  34. balaNo Gravatar says:

    Really Interesting one, I enjoyed so much.

  35. Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

    At my previous blog, I was one of many personal development bloggers and expected only so much traffic or commenters. As a part of Seth Godin’s ning site Triiibes.com awhile back, the discussion of non-commenters in the group came up, but after much bandying about, most of us realized some readers are out there solely to listen and learn, and they don’t want attention (or to be pigeonholed as holdouts, slackers, or lurkers). At my new blog, I will be attracting a whole new audience who may not even understand the blogging concept and who will visit solely for the tips, tutorials, and techniques. They may even be used to being lectured to instead of invited in to a discussion on the subject of self defense! It will make for an interesting study.

    Lori Hoeck´s last blog post..How would you face danger or disaster?

  36. MarelisaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Alex: I wrote an “it’s my birthday post” on May 2nd and several people who had never commented before left comments saying they were loyal readers, they loved my blog, and wishing me a happy birthday. Some people just don’t feel comfortable commenting regularly but it doesn’t mean that they’re any less involved with your blog than your regular commentators. I agree it’s very important to make sure that they feel included.

  37. In everything I write, I write with the intent of drawing new readers in. One – I actively engage them – I leave them with something they are going to WANT to respond to, often times objectively asking a question near the end of an article. The other thing I do, and would recommend to others to combat the ‘skimmers’ (we all do it) is to use sub headers throughout the post to break up sections or ideas (if you are writing a lengthier post). This keeps people invested and gives the reader a bookmark to remember if they get distracted and are going back and forth between reading your post and doing a million other things.

    Great blog Barbara – just subscribed. Cheers!

    Matt Cheuvront´s last blog post..The End [of the Beginning]

  38. BunnygotblogNo Gravatar says:

    Hello-

    I usually leave a comment if interested but I hate leaving a short one. A short comment just seems to be unappreciative of the content and the author.
    I have lurkers on my blog.
    I too- recently wrote a birthday article.Several viewed it but the regular commenter were the ones that left messages.
    Recently a new comment on an article said it was the first time that she had ever written a comment on a blog before.Very grateful she was touched by my article and was compelled to write her first comment..
    I think many people don’t comment because they aren’t sure what to say or feel their opinion wouldn’t matter to others.I say this because I had a follower who would always email me about articles but he felt inadequate to comment on my blog.
    He finally started commenting.
    Everyone has a voice and should use it.
    But getting that message to others isn’t always easy.
    Very informative article.Thank you

    Bunnygotblog´s last blog post..Under Pressure

  39. Dennis EdellNo Gravatar says:

    I think about this constantly. 250+ subscribers and who knows how many from SE’s and what not and I have the same core commenters every post…I love ’em of course, and I do add 1-2 more per week or so, but would really like to catch a few more.

    Dennis Edell´s last blog post..3 Tips For A Better Adsense CTR

  40. @bala
    Glad you enjoyed it – thanks for letting us know!

    @Lori
    As tempting as it is to judge non-commentors in a negative way, it’s so true that everyone has their own reasons for interacting with blogs in their own manner.

    @Marelisa
    I get emails like that – people who never comment drop me a note telling me that they’ve read the full archive and love it. I cherish moments like that.

    @Matt
    Those are great ways to getting people involved indeed. I often choose to keep my posts short so that people who are busy don’t have to commit too much time to read a single post as a way to encourage both commentors and non-commentors to keep coming back.

    @Bunnygotblog
    Interacting with newspaper or magazine articles is so rare that I think many people feel the same way about blogs – it’s just not in people’s habits to do so.

    @Dennis
    I used to get all worried that I wasn’t drawing in new commentors or that I was losing older ones, but I realized the whole thing is fluid and changes constantly, so for the sake my acidic stomach I gave up worrying. 😉

  41. ChristineNo Gravatar says:

    Very good points. Thank you. I also have to say that I read almost all the comments and got some great ideas from them too. My blog has mostly lurkers and while trying to entice them to comment, at the same time, I understand their hesitance. I am trying to leave more comments in my travels, but like so many people who commented here, I’m just not sure that I’m adding anything to the conversation. It’s an interesting predicament.

    Christine´s last blog post..Some of My (Current) Favorite PlugIns

  42. TracyNo Gravatar says:

    As a forum owner and blogger, I used to drive myself batty trying to figure out a way to coax out lurkers. While I still do all that I can to make sure that it’s clear that comments are welcomed and encouraged, I’ve come to the point where I no longer feel like something must be wrong if every person doesn’t leave a comment.

    It’s funny, there were many people I assumed never read my blog and it turns out they all do they just never thought to comment! And as others said, what percentage of people write letters to the editor?

    If you go by raw numbers, less than 1% of the visitors to my blog comment. Of course, that includes a couple of viral posts, so the numbers are skewed. I’d guess for an average post 5-10% would be a good page view to comment ratio for me.

    What I love is getting trackbacks and finding out some of those lurkers have gone on to share my post on facebook, twitter, their forums, etc. Heh, it’s funny, I’ve often felt a little sheepish sharing my fellow bloggers work on the forums because I know nearly all of my posters will comment about it on our forum and not on the blog post because I know how much most bloggers appreciate comments.

    Tracy´s last blog post..People who need pupa are the pluckiest people

  43. TracyNo Gravatar says:

    Oh, I forgot to say, thanks for the great reminder that our blog audience isn’t just the regulars in the comments section. It’s easy to forget!

    Tracy´s last blog post..People who need pupa are the pluckiest people

  44. @Christine
    Well, you definitely added something here – I love that you got ideas from the comments as well as from the post. Keep up the great commenting! 😉

    @Tracy
    Forums are even harder to maintain. Unless the topic self-generates many people (myself included) have discovered that it’s super-difficult to keep the conversation going.

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome´s last blog post..Are You Working Yourself Too Hard?

  45. Forrester did an interesting study last year (http://blogs.forrester.com/groundswell/2007/04/forresters_new_.html) that divided participators on the internet into different demographic categories that they created. “Lurkers” would be called “Spectators” and account for 33% of users. Among other things I do, I am acting Community Manager for http://SingularCity.com and my members are upscale, median 40 years old (unmarried, living in Los Angeles) which means they are primarily “spectators”. I find the best stimulus to lure them to comment is photo sharing.

    As a matter of fact, if you are on Twitter, have you ever noticed how quickly your followers will jump to a TwitPic you post?

    Note on the Forrester study that “critics” (actually comment on blogs) are a relatively small percentage of readers.

    Linda Sherman´s last blog post..Does Your View At Work Enhance Your Life?