How Important are Comments on Your Blog?

October 12, 2011

Every once in a while, as I’m planning my blog posts for the upcoming week, I’ll think to myself, “You haven’t had a post lately with a lot of comments. Which of the posts in your queue will solicit a lot of feedback?”

Because what blogger doesn’t like feedback? Comments are proof that someone’s actually reading what you put out there. Comments sometimes take the post to the next level. And, for better or for worse, we often use comments to validate our worth as bloggers.

Am I right?

But the truth is, some topics lend themselves to comments more than others. You can always encourage comments by ending your post with a question, but whether your readers feel passionate enough to respond often depends on the topic and how you write about it.

While comments show your blog is alive, they aren’t the only measure of success. None of my recent posts have received more than 25 comments, but my blog traffic is up, my blog subscriptions are increasing and my newsletter‘s growing consistently. So should I really be looking at comments to determine whether this blog has been a success this month?

Just remind yourself next time you’re beating yourself up over comments that it’s only one piece of the success pie.

How heavily do you weigh comments when evaluating the success of your blog?

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26 Replies to “How Important are Comments on Your Blog?”

  • Sigh…this is something I think about a lot. I hate when I write what I think will be a really interactive post (and it takes me a really long time to write) and it only gets a few comments. Kind of frustrating.

    I do wonder though if asking questions at the end of the post really helps. I usually do ask questions at the end of any kind of discussion post, but I’ve never really measured to see if it gets more traction than if I didn’t.

  • Sarah says:

    I hear you, Jessica! I’ve spent hours putting together certain blog posts I think will resonate with people and…crickets! Then I spend 1/2 hour (or less) whipping something up and…several comments! It’s tricky. I totally agree with Alexis that comments are only one measure, but if people aren’t commenting, it’s hard to know what readers like – and what they don’t like. Sometimes it’s just trial and error!

  • Tamara Epps says:

    I am in complete agreement. I very rarely get comments and I do ask questions at the end, I always have to remember that they aren’t the most important part of my blog (although they are very important) – actually writing good blog posts should be at the front of my mind, not whether or not they will receive lots of comments.

  • Andrea says:

    I like Tamara’s comment!

    What a great topic — my readership is about 10 times to 20 times greater than the comments I get on a given post. So, I’ll get three comments in a day, but 60 people actually visited. So I know that most people don’t comment and yet — I love discussion! I love debate!

    I’ve found that people are shy. I like to write thought-provoking posts and sometimes, they are so much that people email me their comments rather than putting something public.

    So my biggest concern about low-comments is not internal — I know my blog has readers — but external. I wonder if the readers know that there’s a community out there? Or do they think I’m shouting to the wind?

  • I know SO many people that devour blogs, but have never once left a comment. I don’t get that at all! I love love love getting comments from people and interacting with them, however I totally agree it’s just a part of the pie. 🙂

  • Lee Cart says:

    Comments are great to receive and I realize I write more blog posts and more interesting content when I get feedback–it lets me know someone out there is paying attention to my little spot on the web.
    It’s frustrating to write posts and not get feedback but I am as guilty of not responding as the next reader–there’s only so much time in the day 🙂 so I think measuring traffic by other means is a good indication of one’s success.

  • Emma says:

    I’ve never been able to predict which posts will inspire a lot of comments. There seems to be little correlation between the quality of the writing and how many people add their two cents. I’ve started to put a lot less stock in my comment numbers!

  • I enjoy comments, but don’t get freaked out either way. It’s funny what spurs people to comment on Twitter, Blogs or Facebook. If I put up a picture of a cupcake, I can get lots of comments. From my journo days, I think sometimes people will comment only if they are mad. If they are happy, not so much. My comments have increased just by asking a question at the end of posts. I tend to comment when asked a question.

  • I find that most of the people who leave comments are bloggers themselves. I mean, look at this comments thread! These people have already decided that their name, photo, and ideas should have a place on the Internet. I know a lot of people who read my blog but would never leave a comment. One friend is a lawyer and he’s really cagey about having his name attached to specific opinions because his clients might see it. Others are more comfortable with responding via email. My dad (a pretty tech-savvy guy) thought it was weird that WordPress needed me to approve his comment, and he said I could edit it if I wanted.

  • I tend to give far too much weight to comments – echoing the other comments above, I see! Sometimes I have to remind myself that lots of folks read who don’t comment – and that comments are only one measure of a post. But it’s tough – since comments are the most visible form of that “instant” feedback we bloggers crave.

  • Melanie Jacobson says:

    I think smart phones are changing blog habits slightly. People are reading them as much as ever but it’s easy to do that from a phone and much harder to comment. if your site analytics let you, you should check to see what traffic is coming from phone browsers vs. other sources. It’s interesting.

  • Hmmm. Good question. I used to value them more but now that the stats button is up, I can see how people stop by but don’t comment. I personally like the interaction of comments, but at the same time, I realize sometimes we’re just too busy to write comments.

  • Thedesertrocks says:

    Great post. I never get over 15 comments but I have over 1500 views a month.
    The traffic is good–people are curious and shy. Some might just want to do what I ask them to do. Relax. My blog is an oasis–a type of shelter from all the mad tweeting, traffic and blog hops. In fact I don’t even like blog hops. They come and visit–quietly.

  • Sarah M. says:

    My blog is less than a month old so I’m always checking for comments, traffic, any and everything. I have to remind myself that the time I’m spending pouring over it is time that I could be spending writing more posts, posts that will attract more readers.

    • Alexis Grant says:

      Yes, yes! It’s great to interact with readers, but obsessing over comments and stats only takes up time you could use to create your next fabulous post. So glad you mentioned this!

      And best of luck with your new blog 🙂

  • Tam Linsey says:

    Like Jessica, I don’t worry too much about comments. I look at the analytics, instead, to see how many page views I had, how many people jumped to other pages on my site, etc. But overall, I try not to obsess about it too much 🙂

  • Bret Juliano says:

    Good article. This is something I am struggling with right now as a new blogger. I am trying to write quality articles and keep them consistently published, but I am not getting the feedback I seek.

    • Alexis Grant says:

      Keep truckin’, Bret! If you continue to produce quality content and help people find that content (via Twitter, Facebook, adding the link to your email signature, etc.), people will come.

  • Alexis–super post and much appreciated. I write often about brokenness and abuse, two topics which get a lot of reader hits, but few comments. I’ve found that hurting people need my blog posts, but that they find comfort in just the reading, without the obligation to post a response which might reveal too much of themselves. Sometimes, as writers, just touching a heart is enough, without the need to be “touched back,” so-to-speak. Thanks for this confirmation today!

  • Betty Bailey says:

    As writers, any validation we receive gives us a confidence boost, which helps stoke our creative fires. I just started a travel/fun column for a weekly paper”¦ only three stories so far but it sure means a lot when someone takes the time to post a comment.

    I’ve yet to receive a comment on my new blog, unless you count that one piece of grammatically incorrect hate mail that went directly to my spam filter, but there are only five postings so far, and I’ve done nothing to promote it, so I can’t complain.

  • Hope Clark says:

    Yes, comments are wonderful, and who doesn’t like receiving them? However, when I realize how many blogs I read and then think about how many I do NOT comment on, it brings the situation into perspective. I probably read 20-30 blogs daily, and there’s no way I can leave a meaningful comment on each one without eroding my work day. Also, I’ve learned through the occasional giveaway or very controversial post that I do have readers, because then the comments jump up to 30-50 posts. The readers are there. So I think the best balance is to provide one post a week (or per whatever your schedule is) that attracts comments, and let the readers have a pass the rest of the time. I also try to leave more comments (like this one) when I visit blogs I like. It’s a matter of respect, I think.

    Hope Clark
    FundsforWriters.com

  • Kim Lehnhoff says:

    I love comments, and find that if I leave comments at other blogs I read regularly, I get more comments back.

    I think I get a better view of whether my posts resonate by seeing the stats on visits, rather than on the number of comments.

    I don’t comment on every blog I read – only where I feel I have something worthwhile to add to the conversation – and I am assuming my readers do the same.

    I also have some readers who inquire about my son when I don’t post about him in a while – so I know the readers are reading what I write. I appreciate my readers!

  • I’m a little late in joining on this topic but wanted to see what everyone’s thoughts are for using Facebook as your “comment” section. For example, I have hundreds of blog readers who interact daily on my Facebook fan page. But most post messages there and not on the blog itself. I recently saw a blog that read at the bottom, “To post a comment, please visit my facebook page” and that seems like a much easier way to deal with this issue if you already have an active Facebook fan base. What are your thoughts?

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