About ten days ago I wrote a couple of posts about commenting on blogs.  More specifically, I was curious about what it was that turned a reader into a commenter.  Both posts generated a lot of discussion – here on the blog, on my Facebook page and on Twitter.

Here is what I learnt from that discussion:

  1. If you want to get comments and traffic for your blog – write about blogging and commenting!
  2. As Allison Tait, from Life in the Pink Fibro, pointed out in her post about the difference between writing and blogging, blogging is as much about engaging with our readers as it is about the actual writing itself.  Us bloggers like to hear back from our readers about what we write.  We want to engage our readers in conversation.  We want to connect with the rest of the human race.
  3. There is more than one way to engage with your readers, so take advantage of as many of them as you can.  A lot of blog post conversations take place on Twitter, while others generate discussion on Facebook.  Some of your readers may want to email you instead of commenting on your post, so make it easy for them to find your email address.
  4. Commenting on other blogs does not necessarily mean that you are going to get comments back on yours.  I think it depends on which blogs you choose to comment on and what you say.  For me it’s a question of finding (and continue looking for) blogs that I love, blogs that really speak to me on some level and going back to them to read and comment on most posts. Just like Allison writes, I try to be “neighbourly”, as in, “I’m here, I’m reading, I understand, thank you for making me laugh”. I used to be pretty random with my commenting, but in the last week or so, I have been reading less and commenting more.
  5. For me, comments on my blog help me see that I am connected to others and that’s why I treasure them.  Sometimes, they represent the only adult conversation I might have all day.  (I know – I need to get a life….)
  6. It helps if your friends and/or family are bloggers too.  They understand your need to connect with others through comments and will generously comment on your blog, just as you will on theirs.  You could think about finding a Blogging Buddy or three.
  7. Finally, you need to give readers something to comment on.  You need to create an emotional connection with your audience.  I don’t have a magic formula for that.  Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t.  Asking a question at the end of your post can sometimes help to generate comments, but again, that emotional connection needs to be there.  Whether your post is sad, or funny, or angry, if your words are able to convey that emotion to the reader, you will most likely get some very thoughtful comments.
So, those are my conclusions.
For me, comments are important. For others, not so much.
I write because I want to, because I need to get the stuff out of my head, because I need to “talk” to someone.  Sometimes I write really well, sometimes I don’t.
I keep pushing myself.  I keep trying different things.  Writing about different topics.  You, my readers, respond really well to some posts and are probably bored by others.  That’s OK.  You don’t have to tell me you love me all the time.  I’ll be happy with the occasional “hello”…
What about you?  What have you learnt about commenting in your blogging career?