Dear Blog Author

We need to talk.

You may not know me, but I’m one of your readers.  You’ve become part of my routine.  I really like your stuff, but I’ve never really said anything until now.  I don’t want to leave a comment, because there’s not really a place in your blog to leave comments like this.  I know I could email you directly, but I’m too shy.

There’s a few things you could do that would really get me more involved in your blog.

Make it easy for me to leave a comment. Every now and then, I like (or dislike) one of your posts so much that I want to leave a comment. I want to just start typing right below the blog post.  If your blog says “anonymous comments are disabled” and directs me to sign up for an account to something, odds are I’m just going to close my browser and go on to the next blog.  You might have made the signup process really easy, but I’ve been through enough signups-from-hell that I don’t even want to bother anymore.

Respond to my comments. Most of my comments are questions to you, the author.  I’m hoping that you answer my question or respond to my opinion.  I’d be so excited if you took the time to answer back.  Even if I’m not leaving a question, just knowing that you acknowledged me gives me a little rush, because I’m new to this whole blogging thing, and bloggers seem like celebrities.

Email me when new comments are added. After I leave a comment, I don’t usually think to bookmark the page and come back to it later to see if anything’s changed.  If you’re using WordPress, all you have to do is install the plugin Subscribe to Comments, and I get a nice little checkbox when I leave a comment.  All new comments are emailed to me, and as soon as I see one, I’ll come back to your site again to keep the conversation going.  I’ll even start responding to other people’s comments, and next thing you know, your blog is a lively discussion.

(Not really.)

(But not like that.)

If you write a series, make links between posts. If I happen to stumble across one of your posts in a series, I might want to read the other parts too.  In each post, include links to the other posts in the series.  The more posts I read, the more likely I am to leave a comment thanking you for your work.

Include the full post in your RSS feed. I know, you really want lots of hits on your blog.  You think that if you give me just a little taste in my RSS reader, I’m going to come to your blog to read the full article.  Sometimes I will – but sometimes I won’t.  That means I’m going to read less of your stuff.  If you insist on taking this approach, you had better put one hell of a lot of work into the first 2 sentences of each post, because that’s your only chance to capture my attention.

Before you give up on me, think differently. If you’re frustrated about why I’m not leaving comments, start approaching your blog differently.  Ask questions.  Take polls.  Say crazy things that challenge my complacency.  Beg me for help.  Start a meme.  Run a contest.  There’s a million things you can do to get me more involved, and for more inspiration, check out Problogger.

Believe me – I leave plenty of comments on other blogs.  The problem isn’t me – it’s you.

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16 Comments. Leave new

  • I had noticed that I have read quite a few blog posts in the last couple of months and only left a handful of comments, not even so much as a ‘good job’ or a ‘thanks this helped’.

    So thanks putting this out there to prod readers a little and give us bloggers some ideas on how to make the situation easier on our readers. 🙂

    Reply
    • You’re welcome! And thank you for getting involved, heh. I don’t usually miss the comments myself – I’d blog in the dark by myself, and heck, I did that for a few years. It’s fun now that you people showed up though, hahaha.

      Reply
  • Great post, thanks!
    I am totally going to implement these tips in SQLServer.co.il.

    Out of many SQL blogs i read – your blog is one of the few that i almost always click from my RSS reader. great work!

    Reply
  • Shawn Melton
    March 1, 2010 8:11 am

    Inspired to leave a comment.

    RSS feeds…Using Google Reader is very handy and convenient…if I have to click on the header to read the full blog, you only have about a 35% chance that I will actually follow the link. It does not really matter what you put in that first paragraph or synopsis. Google Reader is used to read all those blog post quickly and easily, if I don’t read it there not much of a chance I will read it back at your blog unless I am familiar with your writings.

    Reply
  • Hmm… yep nice summary, for everyone, to be or not to be online with his/her Blog!

    Thanks for some tips there and suggestions!

    Reply
  • hear hear !
    I get very frustrated with the points that you raise, and am most unlikely to register just to leave a comment on a blog.

    Reply
  • Brent, you have one of the few blogs which I am subscribed to through my RSS gadget. Good job on the content of your blog and on the quick responses I have always received from you.
    Props!

    Reply
  • 1. I like the new blog look. I tend to change mine often. I think I am about to do it again as well.

    2. The thing that struck home the most was about putting your entire article into the rss feed. I actually had the summary plugin selected in feedburner but I mainly read everything out of google reader. Somewhat hypocritical on my part. Just changed my settings.

    Reply
    • Yeah, I try to be super-vigilant about stuff like that, but then I went and screwed up the new theme so you can’t see multiple posts at a time in the archives. I wanna thank Gail Shaw for pointing that one out to me.

      Reply
  • Just wanted to echo Aaron Nelson’s point that I don’t add comments as often as I should do. I like the new format and will definitely aim to respond more often.

    PS – Got your new book Brent … its a great addition to the my library.

    Reply
  • Brent, didn’t you tweet the other day that you feel like punching some of your blog commenters sometimes? *Ducks*

    Reply
  • another excellent article. and great new look to your site! i miss the old one though.

    which reminds me .. time to update my blog now ..

    Reply
  • Well, you must be doing something right, cos yours is the *only* blog I’ve subscribed to. Like, ever.

    Reply

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