Good day Class,
Today we have the honor of having Alex Fayle from Someday Syndrome as our substitute teacher (guest writer).
Alex has been analyzing the comment sections of blogs and made an amazing discovery. He’s here to share his findings.
Please take your seats.
The floor is yours.
Let’s start the class with a change in perceptions. Everyone trade seats with the person beside you.
Ready? Let’s begin.
You want visitors, you must comment on other blogs, right?
But what about your own blog? Do you respond to comments?
My research finds how you respond to comments creates different types of community. If you’re not aware of your comment-response habits, then you’re not in control of the community you’re creating.
1) No Comments
This is a lecture style blog. This works for IttyBiz, but only because Naomi had already developed a following and had shown that she knew hers stuff, so people have stuck around.
This isn’t recommended for most blogs, especially new ones.
2) No Response
Readers of blogs with hundreds of post comments, like Zen Habits, aren’t looking for a conversation. The comments exist as an exit poll with people giving their impressions of each post.
Most of us, however, don’t have 50,000 subscribers or more. With smaller blogs, not responding to comments tells your readers that you’re not really interested in their thoughts.
I used to rarely respond, totally unaware of the consequences. Few people ever commented and of those who did, few commented more than a couple of times.
3) Selected Responses
With selected responses, you play a popularity game. That’s fine if you want to create a clique with exclusive readership. But if you want to grow your blog and create an inclusive environment, this is probably the worst tactic you can take.
Unfortunately many bloggers do this without thinking, which is why it’s important to pay attention to how you respond to comments.
4) Batch Responses
This is probably the most popular tactic. The blogger responds to comments with one or more comments of their own using @name to indicate who the response is directed to. It’s not true conversation but it does encourage readers to continue commenting.
I’m in Europe with most of my readers in North America, meaning that most people comment while I’m working or asleep. So, I respond to comments once a day, making sure I don’t miss anyone.
5) Ongoing Individual Responses
Responding to each comment as it comes in often creates wildly off-topic conversations, but they are usually a whole lot of fun. Maximum Customer Experience is a good example of this type of conversation.
Although I will sometimes respond in this manner, I try to avoid doing so. I’m just not good at multitasking.
6) Mixing It Up
Of course you can mix and match any of the above tactics. Be aware of your choices, however and watch what happens with the responses. Try not to alternate tactics too much. After all, people are creatures of habit and if you bounce about you’ll just end up confusing people.
Do you have a comment response policy? If so, which one do you use?
When you visit other blogs, do you see how the handling of comments creates a different type of community?
As a blogger, which comment response policy do you prefer?
Raise your hand and share your thoughts.
Alex 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 can be found at Super Eco or on Twitter.
Photo Credit: “The Last Conversation” by cliff1066