Is the lack of comments on my blog because readers are actually prevented from commenting in the first place?
This is quite a big deal. In my mind, the process needs so be made as simple as possible, otherwise nothing will happen.
Also I wonder how many potential comments could have been contributed if it was much easier to do so?
Look at it from the reader’s point of view
Consider this scenario. I pour my heart and soul into a comment, only to have it disappear into the ether, never to be seen again. How would you feel if this happened to you?
This was exactly the case when I last commented on my iPad. It crashed at the last moment, just as my finger was poised above the publish button. All my efforts were wasted.
And it wasn’t that easy, either. Especially after battling with the iPad’s notoriously twitchy keyboard, irritating predictive text and fiddly presentation.
My poor brain had had to be racked for mypassword, so I could log in as an identity. Then I had to prove I was a human and not a spammer, troll, automated commenting robot or whatever.
I had even re-read my comment to make sure it wasn’t saying anything stupid, derogatory, inflammatory, upsetting or anything like that. But what I hadn’t done was to copy my comment before publishing it.
And now it had gone. Disappeared. Vamoosh. Goodbye.
Where’s the incentive?
No wonder commenting has migrated to social media. All this hassle is such a turn-off. Your readers will be prevented from commenting if there are too many barriers, as well as the limited technology on hand-held devices. They end up abandoning this function like rats off a sinking ship.
Any process that is too difficult and unnecessarily complicated won’t get used. Especially if there is an easier alternative which responds in real time and delivers instant replies. Even without any precautions in place that keep spammers at bay, guess which will be the preferred choice.
This is very distressing. People have forgotten that blogs were originally designed to be commented on. After all this is what makes them different from ordinary, static websites.
Is spam at fault?
Yes, spammers have certainly contributed towards the demise in blog commenting.
Too much spam flinging around the blogosphere means that many blog moderation systems have become over-saturated. As a result blog readers are now subjected to CAPTCHA mechanisms to prove their humanity. Now the poor readers have to squint at letters and numbers to reproduce them exactly before they can submit anything:
Unfortunately without something like CAPTCHA in place, blogs are ending up bursting at the seams with ridiculous and unsuitable comments that are uninvited, unwanted and despised.
And this is in spite of activating Akismet and other similar spam eaters, designed specifically to cleanse our blogs of this invasion.
What about distractions?
Writing a comment is usually a spontaneous reaction to what the reader has just read, resulting from the spur of the moment.
This means any purposefulness that is generated from reading the post could easily evaporate if distractions divert that reader’s attention elsewhere.
And one such distraction is not being able to find where to comment quickly and easily. For example, if the commenting box is hiding underneath existing comments. Lots of comments could be considered an incentive, as these show off the blog’s popularity. But this can also be off-putting, resulting in readers prevented from commenting.
And business blogs’ commenting areas are usually located underneath other digital marketing incentives. These may have been strategically placed to capture the readers’ attention to get subscriptions or to suggest relevant posts. But this doesn’t provide an enticing invitation to readers to leave a comment.
Consider your user experience
You are inspired to leave a comment, and even manage to find the comment box. But this hard-won achievement may still prevent you from commenting if you are confronted with more hurdles that need to be overcome. A hurdle such as the process of logging into a platform in order to claim your identity before you can publish your comment.
The simplest, and therefore the most effective, comment box requires the reader to enter their name, email address and blog web address in order to qualify:
But the problem is, some comment boxes now offer a myriad of options to the reader to prove who they are:
And this proof requires remembering a username and password. However, the act of purely remembering a password (or searching for it) can diminish, nay take away, any spontaneity for blog commenting.
The process of having to log into another blogging platform, in order to provide a blogging identity with your gravatar, is enough to destroy any inkling of blog commenting desire there ever was.
A reader’s thought processes should be allowed to focus on writing a comment, not hindered with unnecessary barriers. Login procedures are one of the main reasons why readers are prevented from commenting.
And then the technology fails!
The ultimate act of despondency! Nothing is better at killing the satisfaction of having successfully written a comment, only to experience its untimely demise before its waiting public have had a chance to read it!
If this makes me wonder why I bother, so will my readers think the same thing. This means a lot of other comments potentially never got to see the light of day. The blog’s author never got to know how much their post was appreciated. Readers lost the opportunity to enthuse other readers with scintillating content.
This is not the first time that mobile devices have prevented from commenting. But because I didn’t copy my contribution first (as a protection element to safeguard against such disasters), it is unlikely I, or any other reader for that matter, would want to repeat the whole blog commenting process again.
What do you think?
Have you experienced the same things I’ve mentioned in this post? What else has stopped you from leaving a comment on a blog? Let us know in the comment box below.