Why aren’t there enough commenters?
One of the areas I investigated into was what stops people from commenting on blogs? I also came across another interesting fact: only about 10% of blog readers actually bother to comment, and of those 1% do so regularly.
There is definitely a lot of people who are happy enough to want to read blogs, but don’t feel the need to add their penny’s-worth to what they have read. Are they scared of contributing, worried about what others will think of what they have written, or feel they aren’t qualified to have their say? Sometimes being the first to ‘break the ice’ is too much for nervous readers, which is a shame because reading comments encourages others to contribute too!
Commenting isn’t that difficult
There is definitely a mindset required to write comments on blogs, but I don’t think it’s that hard to acquire. Most of it is just common sense, combined with courtesy, willingness to show appreciation and a desire to continue the conversation.
But I notice this trait is not second nature to many, and this is more noticeable in the UK and Europe, as we don’t seem to have the same attitude as our cousins from across the pond who are much more obliging and outgoing in their opinions. It’s a pity this American phenomenon of expressing thoughts online for everyone to read has a much more guarded approach over here.
Things can get in the way
The trouble is, not every blog makes it easy for people to leave comments. Sometimes the text field for the comment is not easily found (or has to be searched for at the bottom of a lot of other comments), the ‘checking in’ method is off-putting (most ask for your name, email and web address, but others ask you to log in via your social media platforms which can be confusing for the non-technical), or there may be other confusing options the commenter has to go through (like coping with a CAPTCHA system that checks you are human and not a spammer).
The last example is a problem. Spam is a big nuisance, and blogs do get swamped with absolute rubbish in their comment moderation boxes. It’s a shame that people who spam have absolutely no qualms about leaving a comment, especially since this is now accomplished by armies of humans now the automated robot systems have been thwarted.
There’s no incentive
Sometimes the content of the post doesn’t provide sufficient opportunities to compel readers to have a go at commenting on blogs. Perhaps the post had covered everything and there was nothing left to add, the content wasn’t inspiring enough to induce a desire to leave an opinion, or there simply wasn’t a request to leave a comment at the end of the post.
Simply asking for comments can have a most satisfying result. If the author encourages their readers to contribute, makes them feel welcome and wanted in a community-like ambience within the blog, then there will be more compunction for readers to have their say, especially if the author is on hand to answer every comment and keep the conversation going.
Technology takes over
During my investigations for my e-book (see above) I came across the phenomenon that the process of reading blogs on smart phones and tablets has caused a decline in commenting on blogs. This is mainly due to the design of such devices, as their keyboards are not suitable for composing extensive responses.
The key pads are too small (especially for ‘fat fingers’), it’s not easy to check what you’ve written, it requires thumbs or two fingers rather than touch-typing, when you’re out and about it’s more difficult to respond, and sometimes the process of emailing the link back to yourself to be ‘dealt with’ later is sometimes too much bother.
Surely it’s not that bad?
Actually, I think what is needed is a change in mindset once people have learned more about how commenting on blogs can make a difference, and that’s why I wrote my e-book (see above). The more understanding their is about the power of blog commenting, hopefully people will feel more compelled to go out there and start interacting, on whatever device you have to hand. Let’s prize us Brits out of our shells and get them to leave their opinions all over the place – wow, that would get things buzzing!
What do you think about this?
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