I had a post all ready to go for today on making sure you own your name on all the big networks BUT I’ve pushed that to Saturday for the following reasons:
- I seem to have struck a nerve when it comes to the topic of comments — should I leave them open or close them?
- I wanted to convey my limitless and tremendous love for all of you who stopped by and offered your feedback (and for your amazing words of support).
- I got an email from the fabulous Tanya of InTheGym.net, who offered her perspective on closing comments, and I thought it was worth continuing the conversation.
Before I turn it over to Tanya — I just want to invite you to check out the discussion at the bottom of my post: “Why I Almost Closed Comments.” THAT is why I love blogging. THAT is why comments are staying on. THAT is what I hope to see on your blogs!
I hope to reach out to each and every one of you, but from the bottom of my heart…thanks for reading.
Hi – I’m Tanya and I run the blog IntheGym.net which features workout music playlists. I loved Katy’s post on “Why I Almost Closed Comments (But Didn’t)” and wanted to share my experience with Why I Closed Comments.
First, I do consider IntheGym.net to be a blog, comments or no comments, because I’m updating content regularly (3-4x per week), and it’s also my personal opinion with opportunity for others to give feedback on every post. I decided to no longer include comments as a feedback mechanism for 3 main reasons.
- I did not receive a lot of comments, but I was sure that many people were reading because of the number of monthly visitors, pageviews, average time spent on the site per user, and the low bounce rate (for those not clear on this, it’s the percentage of users who enter the site and “bounce” (i.e. leave the site) rather than continue viewing other pages within the same site).
- When I really thought about it, I just didn’t think that my content lent itself well to commenting for a number of reasons, but mostly because it already takes quite some time to listen to a playlist, which has 12 songs. And if, as I thought, readers were moving on to check out another playlist or 2, then they probably wouldn’t be commenting as well.
- I found what I think are better ways for my readers to provide feedback. And this was really what led me to close commenting – which by the way, has not decreased readership at all.
Here are the ways that people can now leave feedback.
- There is now a 5 star rating system. I think it is much easier for people to use the 1 click rating, and honestly, this feedback is very useful to me as well as it lets me know what playlists people are reacting strongly to – either like or don’t like. One way I might use this is to make the next playlist with a few of the same songs; or I might not use any of the songs on a low rated playlist in the future.
- I implemented a “Facebook Like” button. This doesn’t get used as often as the rating system, but when it does, I know that the playlist was a total hit. For people who are very active on Facebook, this method will work really well. Tony from the blog The Antijared had no commenting system until recently and used Facebook to it’s full potential with a ton of Facebook comments per post.
- This one is such a surprise to me. All the playlists are also on iTunes as iMixes, but recently they started a new social service called Ping which is integrated into iTunes. This replaces iMixes, which at first I thought was a royal pain as I now have to re-publish all the playlists to my Ping profile (Tanya Patrice for anyone interested) – it’s not hard, just time consuming. BUT I put my user-name on my blog – below every entry – and all of a sudden, I have 138 followers. Now, anyone can leave me a message, which I’m sure to see – like when a follower requested I re-publish the Best of the Best in Workout Music: The 2009 Rock Edition – it was super easy and quick to get it to her via this medium, as I have all past playlists on my dektop iTunes.
- Finally, my email address is below every post. Readers can email me with any requests or any problems and I do get a few emails per day related to workout music.
So for me, not having comments has been great. I no longer have tons of entries showing “0 comments” which to me, made it seem like my content wasn’t as good as I thought it was. Oh — and Katy’s article just reminded me to actually open comments on my race recaps, which I only recently started putting on IntheGym.net, and which is where I feel more people will interact with me if they want to.
I asked Katy to do this guest post because I wanted to share with other bloggers that there are quite a few ways to interact with your blog readers other than commenting. Plus, if your goal is to drive readers to your blog, it helps to carry on the conversation AWAY from your blog, whether it be on general social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter; or places more specialized for your topic of interest, such as a particular forum or another community (I’m very active on DailyMile.com, which has a lot of runners, cyclists, swimmers etc).
So let’s hear it from you — where are you active on the ‘net? Do you “think less of” a blog if it doesn’t have comments?