393466886_93a4a580b0_m.jpg

It’s been another busy week here at BWAB and for me in my real life. As the week comes to a close, it’s time to recap what we’ve learned.

This week’s posts included:

1) A.S.K. Liz – How do You Inspire Your Readers To Join Your Community
2) New Blog Of The Week – Writer Dad
3) Parties, Spam and Hanging Chads
4) Self Promotion From The Archives

Behind the scenes I’ve been experimenting with the following plugins.

1) Liz Strauss’ Comment Count Badge See mine in the right sidebar.

It’s an easy plugin to download, use and configure. For details and screen shots, check out Lorelle’s blog post titled:My Comment Count Is Bigger Than Your Comment Count

2) The What Would Seth Godin Do (WWSGD) plugin is shown on the top of each post.

It’s a typical download, and once activated the message in the rectangular box and easily be changed. To witness how other bloggers are using this plugin, check out Catherine Lawson’s great ideas.

3) Ozh’s Absolute Comments lets you reply to comments directly from your “comments” screen.

With this plugin you can answer one comment at a time. If you choose to answer more than one, the only way I’ve found to accomplish that is by entering your replies directly on the post screen.

To read more on comments, check our Joanna Young’s post titled: 10 Practical Ways To Boost Blog Comments and Conversation

Today’s Assignment

To start off this weeks “Open Mic”, I have two questions for all of you.

1) Are you more apt to read a blog if the RSS feed reader count shows a high number?

2) With the introduction of Liz’s Comment Count Plugin, would the display of comment counts influence you to join in on the conversations?

The floor is yours. You know the rules.

Questions, comments and concerns are welcome.

Have Fun!

Keep it Clean!

And don’t forget to either check the “subscribe to comments on this post” box, or subscribe to my comments RSS feed (upper right sidebar), so you can follow along.


Photo Credit: El Conde!’s photostream

Related Posts with Thumbnails
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Look Who's Talking
  1. Scott McIntyreNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve been reading a lot recently about how the subscriber numbers on Feedburner can be hacked, Barbara.

    This means that it is techically possible to artificially inflate subscriber counts. I think that the credibility of these numbers is slightly dubious now.

    Personally, therefore, the number of subscribers doesn’t influence me. What’s the point of having an impressive numerical diplay of subscribers but an empty comment section?

    However, a healthy comments section most certainly does.

    If it continues to be shown as reliable, then the number of comments will attract me.

    On saying that actually displaying numbers doesn’t really matter if I actually can see lots of comments left for each post.

  2. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Scott:

    Like you, I’ve read that, too. Now when I see Feed numbers, they don’t hold much weight. Plus, how does someone verify that? It’s all behind the scenes.

    Comments are different. We can see them for ourselves.

    I’m guessing you’ll use a comment counter on your blog, yeah?

  3. Scott McIntyreNo Gravatar says:

    I think so… I’m all for anything that makes the blog experience more community based- and anything to do with comments interests me πŸ™‚

  4. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara.

    The feed reader count doesn’t influence whether I read a blog or not. Nor would the displayed comment count influence whether I make a comment.

    I might be tempted to install this plugin once I move to a hosted site (I know I keep saying that, but it will be soon πŸ™‚ ) even just to see if it has an impact on my comment count.

    Davina’s last blog post..Does Misery Really Love Company?

  5. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Davina,

    This is an interesting plugin. I’m waiting to see if it has any impact on my comments. When I set it up, I didn’t realize I had so many, so that was a nice surprise.

    I’ll be watching for yours to go up on your hosted site. πŸ™‚

  6. Alex FayleNo Gravatar says:

    Neither RSS numbers nor comment numbers interest me, although on sites where there are on average 100 comments or more (e.g., Problogger), I won’t comment. I prefer the mid-range blogs for commenting where I feel I can become a part of the community.

    I read for content and if the content connects with me I comment.

  7. To be honest, if I were to stumble upon a blog with 1,000 subscribers and another with only 10, then I would be 10 times more likely to subscribe to the first one. As for the comment count, I’m not really effected by that (e.g. Shoemoney’s blog has tons of comments yet that doesn’t seem to interest me).

    I guess it’s just something to do with how people think, like if I see people crowded around something, I would obviously go and see what the commotion was all about.

    But when I know that my comment will definitely be answered, that will usually be enough to make me comment πŸ™‚

  8. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    good morning barbara

    no, i’m not influenced by high numbers, but when i see 1 or 0 subscribers, my insides cringe and i’m close to subscribing, but i don’t.

    no on the other question too. i will most likely leave a comment if i have something to say or add, that’s all.

    enjoy the “long” weekend. rest up a bit, catch your breath.

  9. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    The feed reader count does not really influence what I will read. I base what I read upon what I’m interested in. As well, the comments count does not influence if I’ll jump into a conversation. I’ll comment if I think I have something I can add.

    Lance’s last blog post..Dreams For Our World

  10. Al at 7PNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    The feed size would make me look at a blog more closely to see if it’s worth subscribing to. It would not be a deciding factor by itself though, and lately I’ve paid less attention to it.

    The Absolute Comments plugin is brilliant! I’m going to be checking that one out.

    Oh, and have a good weekend!

    Al at 7P’s last blog post..The Criminally-Minded Approach for Achieving Goals

  11. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – thank you very much for the link. Isn’t it an excellent plugin? I love looking for quotes and stuff to put in mine each day.

    Have you worked out how the comment plugin counts things yet? Looking at my stats in wordpress, it seems as though it cuts out the bloggers own comment. You are beating me by 470 comments. I need to get people to talk more.

    I think a comment counter might encourage me to join in the conversation. I think it gives the impression of a friendlier blog if there’s a lot of discussion going on.

    But I’m really cynical about the folks that publish huge subscriber numbers – especially the ones in the tens of thousands. They just don’t tally up against their other stats, or number of comments at all. So I’m more often put off by the huge subscriber numbers and am inclined to avoid commenting on those type of blogs.

  12. MelvinNo Gravatar says:

    hmmm. you have a pretty intresting site especially with the way you give your readers value,.,, πŸ˜‰

  13. Writer DadNo Gravatar says:

    I think I want to try out both comment count and what would seth godin do. That’s what weekends are for.

    Writer Dad’s last blog post..No, No, No! I said, β€œI Didn’t Want to be a Chooch.”

  14. I am more likely to think that a blog is more legitimate with a high RSS count, but that doesn’t mean I will subscribe. It just gives the blog a better chance.

    I’m not sure that the comment plug-in would spur me to leave a comment. I usually only comment when the article grabs me to say something.

  15. Nope, don’t even look at numbers. I like what I like. The site can have hundreds of comments or very little. If I moved to say something, I will say it regardless.

  16. I see a lot of talk about plugins so let me just throw this out there:

    The more plugins you have, the more options someone has to hack your system.

    Of course Barbara you know right now I’m running a series on my blog on how to better secure your WordPress blog from intruders and this point about having too many plugins I am going to make in my next article.

    Plus they slow down your website’s load time (even the ones that aren’t activated).

    Just some food for thought……

    As for feed counts, like Scott said, many times they are over inflated and to take it one step further, sometimes the huge RSS number might actually be real, but only half or so of those people actually subscribed. Unfortunately, some products come with a bundle of RSS subscriptions which skew those true numbers.

    A huge number for the readers usually makes me think, “Hey, this person might know something because a lot of other people like it. Let me take a closer look.” But the deciding factor if I will read a blog or not is usually the content.

    As for comments count, I don’t think that would matter much to me, though I’m impressed by your large count, Barbara. Congrats on that!

    @ Davina – Don’t wait too long to switch to a hosted environment. The longer you wait, the more popular your free account becomes and when you make a switch, all those links you’ve attracted to your free account will no longer be pointing to you on your new account. So start building now.

    John Hoff – eVentureBiz’s last blog post..Securing Your WordPress Blog: Post 4 – Setting Up .htaccess

  17. RSS feed reader count does not impact my decision to read a blog but (assuming it’s an authentic number) I do look at blog with high RSS feed numbers to generate ideas on how to increase my RSS feed number.

    I’m not sold on the idea that the comment count plugin would increase comments on my blog. I will, however, look into the Liz’s plugin to learn more.

    Stacey / CreateaBalance’s last blog post..I’m Afraid of the Tooth Fairy

  18. The WWSGD plugin looks like a great way to tell people you’ll be away. Once I had a new visitor find an old post of mine and leave a comment, and since I wasn’t there to approve it, he left another comment a few days later that sounded kind of angry. I had written a post saying I was leaving for vacation, but since he wasn’t a regular reader, he didn’t know.

    However, I see some blogs using that plugin that say “Hi, it looks like you’re new here,” when in fact I’m not new. It might have something to do with my browser settings.

  19. hyrcanNo Gravatar says:

    1) Are you more apt to read a blog if the RSS feed reader count shows a high number?

    Nah, I don’t care how many people are reading. I look for content that’s unique, funny, or enlightening.

    2) With the introduction of Liz’s Comment Count Plugin, would the display of comment counts influence you to join in on the conversations?

    Comment counts, do influence me I think. I’ve read blogs with hundreds of comments on each post and I find that it’s really hard to get into the conversation that late in the game. Not because people are ignoring me, just that it may be an old post that no one comes back to check, or there’s so many other people posting comments that new comments from people out side the thread are hard to find.

    I like sites that put *new* or something next to comments, or like Drupal’s Tracking page which shows all the activity across the site, and how many new posts etc there are.

    Total comments on the whole blog, while a nice bit of trivia isn’t exactly helpful, how long did it take to get those comments, are they substantial comments or a bunch of *first* posts?

    @John Hoff: I’m going to parrot what John says, because it is that important…

    The more plugins you have, the more options someone has to hack your system.

    Think of it this way, for each plugin you install, you put nearly unlimited powers to your website in the hands of whomever wrote it. Do you know the author of that last plugin you installed? Would you give him the log-in information to your site? Makes you think doesn’t it.

    Not only that but with any new bit of code you use there may be a flaw in it, unintentional as it is, that just happens. The problem is that flaw may open up the doors to someone being malicious.

    Now, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with basic WordPress, authors of plugins build up a trust with the community, and the community that uses the plugins do the testing and often bring any flaws they find back to the author so they can fix it. So it’s a good idea to look for plugins that are established and have active authors.

    As web site managers you need to think about, and you ARE web site managers if you have your own blog. Hosted or not, custom or plain. You’re responsible for what gets put on it. (so update those resumes!)

    I highly recommend reading John’s blog to get tips on making sure you’re little slice of the internet goes unmolested.

  20. hyrcanNo Gravatar says:

    Oh, and my replies might get a little slow over the weekend… I’ve decided to spend 12+ hours cramped up with a couple hundred strangers traveling to a some place where I can read anything for two and a half weeks.

    hyrcan’s last blog post..Some May Say I’m Impulsive (Wordless… Friday?)

  21. hyrcanNo Gravatar says:

    er… some place where I can’t read anything

  22. RyanNo Gravatar says:

    Personally, I don’t much like sites with tons of comments–it’s annoying, and I don’t have time to read all the comments … which means no one has time to read mine. So, what’s the point? I enjoy smaller sites, where maybe the same 5 people posts many comments, replying to comments, etc. Only then is it a real conversation. When you get 30 different people commenting, it’s only slightly more effective than having 30 people yell different directions to you at the same time. You’re still lost.

  23. @ Hunter – that’s a great use for that plugin!

    @ hyrcan – hey I’m flattered to be quoted and thanks for suggesting people to read my latest articles. You make a great point about “who knows who coded these things.”

    All it takes is a little line of code and that plugin could leave you open to spam, intruders, or if the code is written poorly enough, create a long load time.

    In college when I learned how to program in C++ (a programming language like Java), we learned there are many ways to write a program that does the same thing. One way might take 30 seconds to perform a function while another one which is coded intelligently, only takes 3 seconds. Yup. That big of a difference.

    @ hyrcan again – have fun on your “getaway”!

    John Hoff – eVentureBiz’s last blog post..Securing Your WordPress Blog: Post 4 – Setting Up .htaccess

  24. JenniferNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with Scott. I don’t know that displaying a number of comments would encourage me to comment. The quality of the post and other comments I see are more likely to influence me to do so.

    The number of subscriber might have some bearing on me, but most of the blogs I comment on don’t have that displayed.

    Thanks for letting us know about all the plugins you are adding. There’s some really good one’s there.

    Jennifer’s last blog post..Change Your Life – One Thought at a Time – Part 3

  25. JodithNo Gravatar says:

    I really could care less how many subscribers and commenters a blog has. After all, the fact that hundreds of stupid people like someone’s stupid content, doesn’t mean that it isn’t stupid content. I read those that I find interesting and any that I read more than twice go into my RSS feed for a trial run.

    Actually, I’m more likely to get involved in a blog if they have *less* comments, because I have neither the time nor the inclination to go through hundreds of comments to see what people are saying. But then, I’m basically anti-social. *laughs*

  26. Ari KoinumaNo Gravatar says:

    The number of subscribers: if it’s high, I’ll look at the blog and analyze it, see if there are any tips and observations I can make about its success. It won’t make me read it, though — naturally, well-established blogs tend to be competently written, but it’s totally a different issue from whether it’s my cup of tea or not.

    The number of comments: again, it doesn’t influence my reading decisions. If the number is high, I am less likely to comment, to be honest. In fact, Barbara, your posting timing and my visit is a bit out of synch for my liking — by the time I get here, there are dozens of comments! I have to tell myself “oh yeah, this is about community” and jump in — if it’s any other blog I wouldn’t comment if it has more than a dozen or so comments.

    ari

    Ari Koinuma’s last blog post..Congratulations! You Failed.

  27. VeredNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t care about the numbers. I care about the author’s personality.

    I do care about my own numbers, because it’s part of my marketing efforts.

    Off to read John’s advice. πŸ™‚

  28. MiguelNo Gravatar says:

    No to both questions, I subscribe when I find a blog useful after a few visits and that’s all.

  29. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Alex,

    You do bring up a good point, it is about the content, isn’t it?

    Hi Rajaie,

    Yes, recognition for a comment is important. For those who are building their communities, comments mean everything.

    Hi Natural,

    Good day to you, too.

    Ironically, I like to find the blogs with zero or low subscriber numbers. If they have good content, I’ll follow them for awhile and see if they would make a good candidate for my New Blog of the Week series.

    Hi Lance,

    I agree, we normally comment if we feel we have something to add. I also will comment to let the author know I’m supporting their efforts.

    Hi Al,

    Yes, this Comment plugin is fascinating. I’ll be keeping on eye on how popular it becomes.

    Hi Catherine,

    You’re welcome. I don’t believe it eliminates the author’s comments. Thus, if an author answered each comment individually, the counts would increase faster.

    That’s possible that a higher comment count would mean a blog is friendlier. It would entice me to check out the comment section.

    Hi Melvin,

    Welcome to the BWAB community.

    Thank you for your kind words. πŸ™‚

    Hi Writer Dad,

    Yes, weekends are a good time to test plugins and work behind the scenes.

    Hi Karl,

    High RSS counts do say something, however, it’s also a known fact feed counts can be manipulated, so I get a little skeptical.

    Hi Urban Panther,

    ***smiles***. It goes back to content, doesn’t it?

    Hi John,

    Thank you.

    Yes, I’ve read that, too about plugins exposing our blogs. That’s why I love your series on how to protect our blogs from hackers. You’re dishing out GREAT advice.

    That’s a good reminder for us to delete plugins we’re not using. Load time is a huge issue.

    Thank you for also explaining how code is written in different ways.

    Hi Stacey,

    The comment plugin is well worth looking at. Whether it will inspire more comments, the verdict is still out.

    Hi Hunter,

    You’re right! The WWSGD plugin would be great for informing readers you’ll be away. What I also like about it is that you can deactivate it if you don’t want to display a message.

    The plugin has a second message box for returning visitors (after 5 visits), but I’m using the same message for both. It uses cookies.

    Hi Hyrcan,

    Yes, the comment count could be misleading. This one goes back to when the blog author first started receiving comments. If an author doesn’t want to show the badge, the information is also on the setting page + a conversion rate. (posts vs comments).

    You bring up a good point on the validity of the plugins and their authors. I’ve tested some that created errors and when I went to the plugin author’s site, they weren’t answering the concerns of the users. Those I delete.

    Have a great trip.

    Hi Ryan,

    Yes, it can get confusing if lots of people are commenting, however, what I find is often the commenters are adding so much value to the post, the comment section ends up being where the “meat” is at.

    Hi Jennifer,

    Yup, another vote for quality/value in the post and comments. πŸ™‚

    Hi Jodith,

    Your comment made me wonder how many people read all of the comments before leaving one. If I’m under a time crunch, I reply to the post and don’t read what others wrote.

    Hi Ari,

    Yes, a high subscriber count does make us wonder what the attraction is, but if it’s a subject that doesn’t interest us, we move on.

    Re: my posting time. I’m catering to readers from all over the world, and with readers in the UK, Australia, and Guam, they are 7-12 hours ahead of me (I’m on PST). I’ve put a lot of thought into when I publish, and this seems to work the best.

    Yes, it is about community, and I’m so happy you join in. Others will see your comment if they’re subscribing in the reader (to comments) or to email updates. And, you know me, I will answer your comment. πŸ™‚

    Hi Vered,

    You’re right. The author’s personality does come through, doesn’t it. That is VERY important.

    And yes, for marketing, we best know what our own numbers are.

  30. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Miguel,

    Welcome to the BWAB community.

    Your comment was in moderation, so I missed it as I was answering the other comments.

    Yes, if a blog doesn’t hold value for us, there’s no sense subscribing.

  31. ChrisNo Gravatar says:

    I’m with Vered. Blog subscribers don’t really impress me, it’s the author and content that keeps comming back. Although it’s mighty impressive though to see gazillion subscribers on a blog.

  32. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    I’m not too bothered by feed counts. The blog may be new but if it has interesting content, I’d subscribe right away. I’m more keen to read content with info that I’m seeking on. If the blogger is giving me what I need, who cares how many other people are seeking for the same info?!

    On the other hand, if the feedcount is high, I’d be interested in studying what makes that blog tick! I’d want to determine if it is a strategy that I would like to incorporate.

    Evelyn Lim’s last blog post..68 Seconds Of Pure Thought: Visualize In 4 Creative Ways

  33. Oooh, I love these questions! A high feed count will intrigue me, but the only way to get me to subscribe is to have 3+ posts that actually connect with me. So it does come down to content in the end; feed count may catch my eye more quickly, though.

    For comment count, I actually prefer to comment on a low count post. If there’s a bajillion comments, I feel like just another face in the crowd, not a real contributor. At the same time, the high comment count shows me that this writer is doing something right, which makes me more like to peruse the rest of the site further.

  34. MarelisaNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t think I’m going to add the comments count plug-in just yet, although it’s something to think about. My first reaction was to think: “yes, I want this”, but then I read John’s comment that with every plug-in it takes longer for your blog to load so I guess I’m going to pick and choose my plug-ins more carefully. The Seth Godin plug-in looks promising.

    I’ve been meaning to ask you Barbara: how do I get the “about” plug-in?

    Have a great long weekend!

    Marelisa’s last blog post..How to Create a Swipe File to Jump Start Your Creativity

  35. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Chris,

    I agree, we do have to give a blogger credit when they have tens of thousand of RSS feed subscribers. They’re doing something right.

    Hi Evelyn,

    You have a good point. We can often learn from the bloggers who have high reader counts. Sometimes they share how they did it. That’s something well worth listening to if our goal is to increase our reader count.

    Hi Sara,

    That’s a great way to do it. Find three posts and see if it’s a blog you want to frequent. We can tell pretty fast if it’s a site we want to follow.

    Hi Marelisa,

    Yes, John’s advice is solid. In fact, after reading that, I went behind the scenes and deleted all plugins I’m not using. I certainly don’t want to expose my blog to hackers.

    Re: the “About”. It’s not a plugin. It’s a script(code) in my sidebar php file. It’s in that file I typed what you see.

    To you and everyone else, have a great weekend, too. πŸ™‚

  36. DaminNo Gravatar says:

    Yeah I agree also, someone with a lot of feed readers is doing something right. Interestingly enough, i personally have never really bothered to pay attention to a count. There is just no way that I would really want to read every new post on all the different blogs that I come across, so I am just naturally a non subscriber, just a guy passing by πŸ™‚

    Damin’s last blog post..Cotton Lavender Eye Pillow Blue

  37. @ Marelisa – There’s a program called WP Super Cache which will help speed up your website some. It’ll help to limit the number of times your blog requests information from your web hosting’s server – which slows things down.

    @ Barbara – hope your weekend is going well. πŸ™‚

    John Hoff – eVentureBiz’s last blog post..Securing Your WordPress Blog: Post 4 – Setting Up .htaccess

  38. I really don’t discriminate by subscriber or comment count. I do however shy away from Blogger blogs because they are such a pain in the ass to comment on and blogs with very long posts. I don’t need to know the top 10 ways to do anything. Just tell me your best way and I’m happy.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Work’s last blog post..Time to Walk Away?

  39. In my particular case, only about one third of my readers actually visit my site πŸ™‚ rest are purely on RSS. I syndicate my full post (and not excerpt) and hence the higher percentage of RSS readers.

    As a reader, I prefer reading my favorite blogs by RSS but will soon proceed from the reader (before reading completely on the reader) to the site if I already know that I am going to ‘participate’ in the discussion.

    Personally speaking, I feel that the numbers do matter! People tend to read posts/blogs that have more comments/RSS readers (with those numbers proudly displayed)

    Cheers,
    Ajith

    Ajith Edassery’s last blog post..Blog Monetization – Is Pay-Per-Read (PPR) the next thing?

  40. What I think when I go to a blog for the first time, from the first thought when I get there to the last one when I leave:
    1-The name and tag line of the blog. Is it something of interest to me?
    2-The design and layout. Is it easy enough to get around and view the different content?
    3-How old the blog is and how many comments. If there are zero comments but the blog is a few weeks old I won’t think much of it. But if it’s a few months old or more and has zero or even one or two comments I will be likely to leave. I can’t help but assume that it must not be that good. At this point, I will only continue if the subject REALLY interests me.
    4-If it’s available, the RSS count compared to the number of comments. If the RSS is high but the comments are low I think to myself that it might be fixed or it’s at least not a community based site. If it’s low but the comments are decent than is don’t really care about the RSS at that point.
    So you can see that comments mean more to me than RSS. But no comments make you just feel like the site must have a disease or something.
    This, of course, is why it can be hard to get a new blog off the ground. It’s places like these that help new bloggers by putting some of the focus on them and giving them a chance. I think you’re blog is a great ballance of all of the above. By putting the focus on the readers you build a very welcoming atmosphere and I’m glad you are doing well with it. Eric.

  41. 1) I’m sure it would influence me to some extent. This is why I think it’s a much better idea not to show your subscriber count unless it is over at least 1,000. If you get a lot of comments and your subscriber count is low, people will never think that! But if you show them your count, now they know and what’s the point of that?

    2) Honestly, no. I can just see the comments given for the most recent entry and that paints the picture for me.

    Bamboo Forest’s last blog post..How to Make a Better Future for Yourself

  42. Seeing a a lowly 14 on my Comment Count Badge would just make me sad. Perhaps I’ll wait while before adding that plugin… πŸ™

    self defense Rob’s last blog post..Keeping up with Kardashian Self Defense

  43. Mike FosterNo Gravatar says:

    Given that comments, recieved and returned, are such an integral part of blogging, I really appreciate your calling attention to this…and will try some of those new toys.

    peace,
    mike
    livelife365
    I Miss My Hair

  44. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    While it’s nice to know where the parties at, ultimately I go for the knowledge or the experience. I do like signs of life, but ultimately I want insight. In fact, today I subscribed to a pretty incredible blog that has no signs of life (that I could find).

    Ultimately, I look for intrinsic value over market value. I’m on a quest for the best.

    For knowledge blogs, they have to pass my ART test (accurate, relevant, timeley). For personality blogs, they have to make me think or make me feel.

  45. I have to say, I am not influenced by either counters. For me to subscribe there has to be a reason I would add the blog to my already overflowing reader. It has to be unique in some way and the writing has to be good, the posts not too long and the blogger needs to have a sense of humour, a warmth to their blog. This is hard to explain, but I know it when I see it.

    As for commenting, I don’t usually comment when there are over 40 comments already. I prefer blogs where I am part of a community and I am pressed for time some weeks so I always comment on my friends’ blogs first, then my favourite reads. And as I’ve said to you before, if I feel I have nothing interesting to say I won’t usually comment on a post.

    Feed counters make me think of the sheep mentality – I’ll just follow the herd regardless – and I’ve never been a very good sheep so I don’t pay them any mind at all. πŸ™‚

    Kelly

  46. Joanna YoungNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara

    I think RSS numbers have influenced me in the past though not so much now – I tend only to add things to my feed if the content is original, thoughtful or quirky – or meets a need for some information I’m looking for.

    I don’t think the number of comments would influence my decision to comment – more the tone of the post – and the tone of the comments.

    But I do like the plug in as a blog owner: I’m very proud of my comment count and think it’s fun to show off.

    Thanks for highlighting my post – it was an interesting way to share perspective and experiences on ‘what works’

    Joanna

  47. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Damin,

    Welcome to the BWAB community.

    Thank you for passing by, and leaving a comment. πŸ™‚

    Hi John,

    Yup! I’m having a great and fun weekend.

    Hi Tom,

    “Just tell me your best way and I’m happy.” If only it was that easy. πŸ™‚

    Hi Ajith,

    You bring up a good point. Those with high counts have a reason to be proud. Why not show off the numbers, hey?

    Hi Eric,

    Thank you for your kind words.

    Comments on new blogs are often slow to build. A “typical” visitor may not know they can comment, or how to comment, but if we can get other bloggers to visit, we’re more apt to see them participate in the discussion.

    As community builds, so do comments. If I find a new blog with little to no comments, I will almost always leave one, just to let the blogger know their work is being read. Supporting others is part of blogging responsibly, plus builds good karma. πŸ™‚

    Hi Bamboo,

    Showing low RSS counts may discourage others from sticking around, however, the way I see it is, we all started with 0.

    Hi Rob,

    Welcome to the BWAB community.

    Like I mentioned to Bamboo, we all start at 0, so hang in there, and watch your comments increase. πŸ™‚

    Hi Mike,

    Have fun trying the new plugins. Let me know if you have any additional questions.

    Hi J. D.

    First off, I see you’re now linking to your newly created WordPresss blog, which, by the way, looks awesome.

    I like your ART test (accurate, relevant and timely). That’s a great way to measure a blog’s value.

    Hi Kelly,

    You’ve hit on a good point. With most of us already following so many blogs, a new one must be outstanding to get added. Let’s face it, we only have so much time in a day for blogging activities.

    Hi Joanna,

    You’re welcome.

    Like you, I’m not influenced by counters. Show me you love your topic and are part of your community, and I’m “sold”.

  48. Ellen WilsonNo Gravatar says:

    I think many people view the RSS feeder count as a badge of worth. It’s not.

    I’m guilty of that, too. I think wow, what’s all this about. But like many people mentioned, it can be manipulated. And we all like honesty. We don’t want to be duped.

    I would check out a big RSS blog to see what all the hoopla was about.

    You can be a tiny blog and be great!

  49. CarlosNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t check plugins or RSS feeds. If a blog has good information I want to read and comment. I must say though that the looks matter, site has to be neat.

  50. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Ellen,

    You’re so right. “A tiny blog can be great”. (But, I bet it won’t be tiny for long) πŸ™‚

    Hi Carlos,

    Welcome to the BWAB community.

    Yes, a neat site is more welcoming than one that’s cluttered.

  51. Hi Barbara –

    1) Are you more apt to read a blog if the RSS feed reader count shows a high number? No, the reader count doesn’t effect whether I read a blog or not. It has to do with good content. Business related, personal related, it doesn’t matter to me as long as it’s worth reading, keeps me engaged somehow and makes a connection.

    2) With the introduction of Liz’s Comment Count Plugin, would the display of comment counts influence you to join in on the conversations? Again, no. I could really care less how many subscribers or commenters a person has. I read blog with 3 readers and blogs with hundreds. It simply depends on the writing and if I feel compelled to respond.

    Does the author tell stories I can relate to? Does the author speak at my level (not down to me or above me)? Does the author say something funny, interesting, practical, inspirational, motivational, or something else that keeps my interest? Does he/she speak to me as a reader, an equal? Do they make me think? Or wish? Or dream? Do they move me?

    These are the things that matter most to me. I’m more inclined to read a blog that does one or all of these things. Subscriber count is really of little interest to me.

    ~ Annie

  52. @Kelly – I totally agree with your sheep comment – “Feed counters make me think of the sheep mentality – I’ll just follow the herd regardless – and I’ve never been a very good sheep so I don’t pay them any mind at all. πŸ™‚ ”

    That’s about what I feel too.

    ~ Annie

  53. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Annie,

    You’ve hit on a very important aspect of blogging, i.e. “Does the author speak at my level (not down to me or above me)?”

    Just as in real life when we feel someone is talking down to us, the same thing can happen with blog posts/comments. When that happens (being talked down to), the readers we once thought were loyal may soon be hitting the “unsubscribe” button.

    So, just as RSS feed numbers can go up, they can also come down just as fast.

  54. Dr. CasonNo Gravatar says:

    A high RSS reader means to me that many people have thought it worthwhile. Which means if I’ve never seen the blog before then it might hold some weight.

    Others that I know and love I read regardless of the RSS reader number!

    The higher the number of comments the less chance that I will comment thinking it will get lost in the noise. Having said that, if I have something to say then I’ll comment just so the blog author gets it and not necessarily the community.

    Dr. Cason’s last blog post..Smiling Boy

  55. RitaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barb,

    Comment or audience counts are generally irrelevant to me. I was reading Writer Dad’s blog LONG before he had the voluminous comments. WHY? He wrote well, and I enjoyed his stories.

    I will frequently go to a person’s blog if I admire – or am interested in – a comment they left elsewhere. If I like the writing, I stay.

    We ALL started with few comments. Even when I took over my site from somebody else, I lost each and every commenter she had: not surprising, given our different styles and topics. Blogs like yours this weekend will often bring in comments that will make me want to look and see. It doesn’t matter to me if I’m their first commenter ever. Show me good writing skills anf interesting topics.. I’ll be on m way!

    Rita

  56. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Dr. Cason,

    You’re right. Often our comments can “get lost in the noise”. However, if we know the blog author acknowledges our presence, we may me more apt to have our say.

    Hi Rita,

    Yes, an interesting topic, or a well written post will bring in comments, whether the blog is brand new or an older one. It’s all about content, isn’t it?