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The honest truth about blog comments

honest truth about blog comments
Written by Paul Steinbrueck

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honest truth about blog commentsCan we be real with each other for a few moments?

One of my biggest frustrations with regards to this blog is the lack of comments and meaningful discussion on most of the posts here.

It’s frustrating for two reasons.

First, I really, really, really want this blog to be a place where we are all helping each other to understand how to most effectively use Internet technology in ministry.  I am not by any stretch of the imagination the smartest guy on this topic or the best writer nor do I have all the answers.  This blog is not reaching its full potential because it lacks your insight and observations, your experience and perspective.

Second, commenting on this blog is a fantastic and very easy opportunity for you to help your ministry grow.  Comments can give you credibility, links, and new visitors.  I can’t for the life of me understand why more people don’t comment more often.

So, here’s the deal.  I am going to lay out as clearly as I possibly can the benefits of commenting.  Then I’d like you to give me the honest truth as to why you haven’t commented more often and tell me how to make this blog more engaging.

If it’s because I suck as a writer or have been writing on boring topics, that’s fine.  I just want to know so I can try to make the blog better.  You can be anonymous.

As I sat back and thought about why more people don’t comment on this blog, one possible reason I thought of is that perhaps some people just don’t understand all the benefits.  So, let me list them.

6 reasons to comment on blogs

  1. It gives you a link to your site.  Links help your site’s search rankings.
  2. It gives you new visitors.  People click on your link, and visit your site.
  3. It gives you credibility.  If you post insightful comments, people will take note and take your blog/site more seriously.
  4. It gives you insight.  If you post your perspective in a comment, it gives others the opportunity to respond to it helping to grow your understanding.
  5. It builds relationships.  If you comment regularly, you’ll get to now other commenter, they will get to know you, and it could lead to other opportunities in the future.
  6. It’s fast.  You don’t have to post a 6 paragraph response.  Sometimes a sentence or two is perfect.

Of course these benefits don’t apply only to this blog but all blogs.  If you have a blog or website commenting on blogs is one of the fastest, easiest ways to build your audience.  I know you’re busy, but I believe it’s really worth your time.

But do you?

Humbly seeking honest feedback

Like I said before, I am just not satisfied with this blog.  And honestly, I don’t know what I need to do to make it better.  I need your help to better understand my own personal limitations as well as any technical issues that may be limiting the value and conversation of this blog.

So, could you take a few seconds and give me your honest, anonymous feedback and tell why you don’t comment more often?  Here are some possible reasons I came up with.

  • The posts are not usually on topics that really interest you.
  • The writing is not engaging and interesting.
  • The writing just doesn’t provoke me to post my thoughts.
  • The blog takes too long to load.
  • There are other technical issues.
  • You still don’t think it’s worth your time to comment despite the benefits listed above.
  • You’re afraid to post comments because of what other readers might think.
  • Something else?

What could we do to encourage you to contribute to the conversation more often with comments?

Thanks!

[image by Tojosan]


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About the author

Paul Steinbrueck

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck.

27 Comments

  • I’ve tried to comment when I feel that I have something to add. And I’ve tried to avoid commenting just to comment.

    When I don’t have anything meaningful to contribute, I usually don’t write, although I do know that bloggers need some encouragement now and again.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer

  • I am in the same boat as Tim Archer. “I’ve tried to comment when I feel that I have something to add. And I’ve tried to avoid commenting just to comment. When I don’t have anything meaningful to contribute, I usually don’t write, although I do know that bloggers need some encouragement now and again.”

    Plus, I don’t exactly have time to read blogs and respond to them very often. I am a single mom of an 8-yr-old boy and twin infant daughters. I have a family and a home to take care of and two businesses to run, plus getting my son to his extracurriculars. I also run a ministry Web site and take an online Biblical studies course. What time I have left is usually for personal hygeine, sleeping or finding a few minutes to talk to Mom, etc.

    I would love to be able to reach more people with the word of God, but I am finding it hard to find the means.

    Yours in Christ,

    Stacie Sandall

  • This is the first time I’ve ever contributed to a blog, and I’m thinking it might also be the last time. It’s not that I’m against blogging, but rather it has to do with the fact that I already have enough people in my life. I find it hard enough to maintain my relationships with family, friends and church. I avoid getting involved in something that might generate “new” relationships, especially if it’s with somebody that I’ll probably never meet (I do look to develop new relationships in the community I live in). I know there are “virtual” communities, but to me that’s one step removed from real communities. Not that there is no value in virtual communities, but for me the value isn’t great enough to give up time with my wife and our five kids, my extended family, my neighbors, or the people in our church. As a matter of fact, it’s time to go help my wife with supper, and then coach soccer. God bless you all!

  • As I am reading the initial blog and the posted responses, I was trying to find a underlying common ground, but was having trouble doing that. Then I really started to analyze the responses and found that even though they appear to be varied, they did have something in common: They all responded because of things they were passionate about (family, social networking, community involvement). I think that there are many different reasons that people do not comment on blogs or other social networking. But what I have noticed is that typically it is the more emotion provoking posts that get the replies. This may mean that they comment because they strongly agree with what the author writes or feel called out to defend a position they believe in, but it they don’t have a strong opinion on a topic, most readers will not comment.

  • I think you’re trying to be too scientific in your analytics.

    You seem very boxed in to the idea that there is something YOU can do to provoke more comments, or that there’s something wrong with what YOU’RE doing, or that you need to do (A) to stimulate us into doing (B). That’s a little narcisistic (you you you) and way too mathematical. Sorry.

    It’s not YOU or YOUR blog or the way YOU write or what YOU write. It’s US. We have lives and family and GOD that come before bloggers and Internet. We’re trying to survive out here — trying to balance our love for our family while battling the harsh reality of the economy and it’s effect on us.

    It’s really very simple… We’re busy with life – no time for things that aren’t necessary to function in our busy daily lives. And those who might have time don’t comment because they value their time and might actually want to soak in a tub for a few minutes before life reins them back in.

    There are people out there who do have the time and WANT to do it. There are those out there that NEED to in order to fulfill their goals, jobs, etc. Value them instead of trying to cattle prod the rest of us.

    I only stopped to comment because I thought you were way off base… and I’m waiting for something to load on my computer. Ah… It’s done.

  • @John – I agree the blog is due for a redesign, but do you think people would comment more just because the site looks better? Would you?
    @Stacie – I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to give some feedback today. I’m curious through, you said you run a ministry website. Is commenting on blogs related to your ministry part of your strategy? If not, how are you getting new people to your site?
    @Brian – Appreciate your honest feedback. Do you read any blogs in order to continue to improve your understanding of how to run a church website? If so, do you ever get to the end of the article and have a quick question or idea? I think it’d be in your best interest to post it for the 6 reasons listed in the article.
    @Allison – Thanks for your comment here & the social networking round table. Good stuff.
    @Edward – “I can tell you from looking at site metrics, just because a blog isn’t being commented on, doesn’t mean it’s not being read.”

    That’s absolutely true. I am just not a big fan of monologues. I think people learn best when there are multiple perspectives and ideas are challenged.

    Mostly though, I think a lot of people don’t how quick and easy it is to comment and how huge the benefits are. I don’t want anyone to comment as a favor to me or OCC (except in this one instance to help me understand where we need to improve). I’m suggesting if you have a website, it’s in your self-interest to comment on related sites.

    Thanks everyone! Really appreciate the feedback! Keep it coming!

  • @Mark – Good observation. I think you’re on to something.
    @Anashta – ok, I guess I struck a nerve there. I agree it’s about you, the reader. It’s for that very reason I also think there is something I can do to provoke more comments. The better the blog, the more inclined readers will be to comment. Right?

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