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How to Make More Time to Comment on Blogs

After the last post (Ten Common Blogging Mistakes), I realized nearly every blogger struggles with a common issue: we don't have enough time to comment on all of the blogs we follow.

If we're building a web presence and signing up to follow more and more blogs, then we may start to feel overwhelmed by the number of postings that show up in our dashboards or google readers.

If you're like me, you may wonder, how in the world can I keep up with all of these interesting, entertaining, and instructive blogs? How can I possibly comment on each of them and do so in a genuine way?

We're torn. We know commenting on other blogs is what draws readers to ours. But making those comments often takes a huge time commitment that detracts from other writing endeavors.

So, what should we do? Here are just a few choices:

1. Abandon the effort. This might be a very valid option for some writers who need or want to devote their time to working on their novels or learning the craft. A terrific blogging friend, Michelle Argyle (aka Lady Glamis), has chosen to back off from blogging for that very reason. I admire her determination to spend more time working on her novel. Sometimes, commenting on blogs has to take a back seat to other things.

2. Prioritize blogs. I think in the blogging community, it boils down to loyalty. When we're crunched for time we tend to gravitate toward the blogs of our most loyal followers or the blogs we find the most helpful. Here are a couple of other suggestions from last post's comments:
  • Eileen Astels Watson: "I limit the ones that I comment on every post to those who consistently comment on mine."
  • Jeanette Levellie: "I usually make a list of who comments on my blog posts, then try to connect up to their blogs that same day or the next."
3. Schedule time, but use it wisely. Lately I've tried to limit my blog reading and commenting time to a couple of times a day. I give myself a set amount of time in the morning and then again after lunch. I try to maximize that time by reading through my priority blogs first (usually loyal followers and those who've commented on my most recent blog post.) Then if I have time, and only if I have leftover time, I visit other blogs. Here are a couple other commenter's thoughts:

  • Donna Kohlstrom: "I try to set aside time daily to read other posts and comment. . . sincerely."
  • Keli Gywn: "We make time for what's important to us. I've given visiting blogs and leaving comments higher priority lately, and I've been blessed as a result. Not only am I learning from other bloggers, but I'm also getting to know some awesome people."
4. Help One Another. We can all make a conscious effort to respect one another's limited blogging time in several ways. Keep our posts short and simple. Ask an easy but engaging question. Encourage short but thoughtful answers. I generally don't have the time to comment if the post: requires me to "write" something, asks me to post an excerpt of my books, or links to another post to read or watch.

What kind of posts discourage you from leaving comments? And how are you making more time to comment: are you cutting back on commenting, prioritizing blogs, scheduling time, helping other bloggers, or something else?

57 comments:

  1. I do things a bit differently. I have a very small handful of blogs that I go to EVERY morning. I only have maybe five or ten minutes in the morning for this, so really this is limited to a few people who I KNOW their schedule. Everyone else, I wait until the evening, and I don't do it every day. With my schedule there really really just isn't time. I also follow blog links on twitter for my friends who post a little tid bit and a link there.

    Someday I'll be more dilligent. But right now, where my life is, I just can't do more without comprimising family time and writing time.

    As far as commenting... I agree, blogs that are more interesting, are not long paragraph after long paragraph that would take me ten minute to read, are more likely to get a comment from me. A catchy title for the post is also good sometimes, too!

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  2. I love a great title. I love a post that makes me laugh. I love a blog that makes me forget I really only have a few minutes to visit their site. I respect the fact that others are busy and don't expect that people will be commenting all the time on my blog.

    Jody, I also linked to your blog today as one I love to follow. Thanks for consistent informative posts. :)

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  3. Gooooooood suggestions. I've learned a lot from your blogging techniques. I really like Eileen's suggestion, too.

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  4. My question is how do others physically prioritize their blog reading? Do you use Blogger Dashboard or Google Reader? Or maybe some other reader? Some people have blog posts emailed to them.

    I am finally learning to organize my blogs in Google Reader by using folders. I can now go straight to the folder that holds the blogs I want to hit first (which are usually the ones who visit my blog regularly). Then I move to the folder that holds the blogs that might not visit mine regularly, but are additional blogs that inspire and teach me (and ones that I hope will visit me some day).

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  5. Excellent post!!
    I love reading everyone's blogs everyday, and often sacrifice leaving comments in order to read all the blog posts. But I really am reading every day. Kind of like a silent stalker :)

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  6. Well, I try to read all posts, but I can't always comment if it's a too thought provoking question.
    Time restraints and all that. :)

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  7. Jody: As always, you touched on what's uppermost in our minds: using time wisely. Thanks for knowing what we need, and addressing it. Also thanks for the link! You're a keeper.

    I, like you, allow myself a set amount of time on blogs. It's easier for me to discipline myself, since I work outside my home.

    The blogs that turn me off? Too long posts which will take up all my blog time just to read one. I may glance, but never gaze at them. I also cannot tolerate blogs with any kind of profanity in them. This group never uses foul language, but i've stumbled onto a few that do, and it repluses me worse than a potato bug! If you've never seen one, google it and you'll know why I get the willies when i encounter one!

    One thing I've done lately is to pray, asking the Lord to direct me to the blogs I need to read and those who need a comment from me. My goal? To encourage.

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  8. I agree with a lot of this. The question at the end is SO important if we want comments, because otherwise, I'm not quite sure what to comment.

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  9. When I have time to open my dashboard I try to read the five to ten most recent posts and then I stop. That way (I think) I will eventually rotate around to the various blogs I follow.

    I created a post last night that has an activity and would be really fun for people to participate in - trouble is - it will take a lot of time for them to do so. I don't think I will get many takers. Lesson Learned!

    Jenna

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  10. I have several favorite blogs that I read every day. Other blogs I follow, but the title or topic has to catch me before I go to those. If I read a blog I try to comment, but I have to be able to come up with something better than "Great post!" I also have to be able to come up with something that does not merely echo what everyone else says. Otherwise I may enjoy the post, but I won't comment. I'm not a "me too" type of person!

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  11. What I tend to do on days when I'm pressed for time is go to the last couple of days' blogs and comment everyone who commented mine on those days. Then when time isn't quite as pressing, I go to my dashboard and catch the others.

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  12. I was just thinking about this topic! I am continually adding to my collection of blogs and sometimes feel pressured to read and comment on all of them. Then again, I tend to make unrealistic pressures for myself in every area of my life!

    You're right that we should prioritize our blog commenting (reading and posting). Our first priority should be our writing, but we don't need to neglect that other platform: blogging.

    Thank you for this timely advice. Think I'll put it into practice starting today :)

    Jen

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  13. This is so difficult because I want to be respectful of others and thoughtful in my comments. I am making my comments a bit shorter and scheduling time, but it gets harder as I find more wonderful blogs to visit. Thanks for talking about something so close to all our hearts and minds.
    Karen

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  14. This is TOTALLY my problem! :) LOL Sometimes I barely have time to crack out thoughts on my own blog. But I MISS everyone's blogs when I can't get to them - which is far too often. I was considering quitting my job but I didn't see that on your list of options ... hmmm ... ;)

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  15. Thank you for this advice Jody. I was just thinking that this whole commenting thing is getting harder and harder as I follow more blogs (and continue trying to write my novel as well)!

    I like Jeanette's idea of making a list of who's commenting on my blog and trying to connect to those blogs that day. I guess from there I would just go on to the blogs that I LOVE, then LIKE, etc.

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  16. I've been having to limit my blogging lately because I know writing is a priority. However, developing a web presence is a priority as well so I am trying to figure out how to do it the most effectively. I try to visit almost all the blogs I follow but if I can't, I comment specifically on the ones that follow me. If I'm running even shorter on time, I'll still read through the post but only leave a comment if I feel I have something worthwhile to say.

    As far as actually posting on my own blog, I try to keep my posts relatively short. I stick to a schedule MWF. My post for Wednesdays has the same theme each week. Mondays and Fridays I try to alternate between something helpful for writers and something I've learned or has helped me on my writing journey. I feel I'm much more effective in blogging this way.

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  17. Hey, Jody. Here's something to think about... If all bloggers followed each other to create a bigger web presence, but then didn't go to that blog again because they didn't have enough time to get to everyone's blog, how is this really creating a bigger web presence? Doing this may increase one's number of followers, but if the reader doesn't visit your blog on a regular basis, how are they going to get to know you? How will they learn about your book when it is released?

    On the other hand, following numerous people does get your face out there. Some people check out who follows the blogs they follow and find new blogs to read that way. If your face isn't there, how will they discover you?

    Hummmm... So many questions.

    Lynnette Labelle
    http://lynnettelabelle.blogspot.com

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  18. Great advice. I needed to hear this. I have been feeling a bit crunched for time lately and sadly, my blogging has been reduced because of it.

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  19. very true, very true. felt like i gave up after being so overwhelmed, but then i'd find an hour or so here and there and go through everything in my dashboard...and i really enjoy commenting on blogs when i have time for it.

    as for posts that are less likely for me to comment on...definitely long ones. it's kind of hard for me doing character therapist assessments to keep them short...and as a result, i know a lot of people don't read the long tuesday posts and i don't get a lot of comments...but then it's for one particular person on that day, i suppose. :)

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  20. Hmm. I agree with some of the others on the dilemma of coming up with something new to say. By the time I get to my computer and read blogs, there can be 20 other comments already.

    I hate to say "ditto" just to put my name out there. I'd rather have something to contribute to the discussion. Therefore, I might not comment on that day's blog.

    As far as time, I think I need to set a timer for my blog-checking. And, then make myself get to work. Who knows? Maybe the ticking clock will make me hustle to get to more blogs in that set amount of time?

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  21. I like to scroll through my blogger dashboard and usually click on the titles that catch my attention. Then, I make certain to visit everyone who has taken the time to visit my blog that day. It really only takes one hour in the am before the day gets going and another hour at night after the kiddos go down.

    One of my least fav things is when people publicly complain about blogging to their blogging friends. It stings a little...like when your friend tells you they can't stand people who call them, right after you just called them ;)

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  22. I don't leave a comment if I can't figure out how to do it. Some of the blogs are complicated in that way. I prioritize my comments to the list of people I have grown fond of and learn from, and I try to visit a few new people each week.

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  23. Good post!

    But I don't think of myself as having abandoned the effort by any means. I still read blogs, and I still comment on a great many of them. I just don't follow most of them publicly, and therefore eased the stress I had in the back of my mind that I had to comment on everything I had "publicly" committed to.

    Reading and commenting on blogs is a relaxing thing for me now. It's a way I can unwind after I've written a lot on my novel. And I'm still learning so much from blogs too!

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  24. I have loved reading the comments this morning:) How do I choose who to respond to? First, I have the bloggers who first started commenting on my blog. I try to remain loyal to them. Then I always comment back to anyone who commented that day on my post. Over the weekend, I might try to catch up on some of the others because I am not busy writing a post them either.
    If we are all experiencing the same problem, too little time, then I hope none of us is offended if we don't post on a blog as often or miss some days etc.
    I know that if someone needs me for something or vice-versa, I can always email them to ask:)

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  25. I'm like you where I alot a specific time in the morning and late afternoon to visit other blogs. I comment on my favorites first and if time try to comment on those of interest. I find I skip over the posts that are lengthy or require me to visit other sites to take tests, etc.

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  26. The days I blog, Mon/Wed/Fri, I mostly just stick to blogging. The days I don't blog, I try to read & comment. However, today I'm attempting to do both. lol

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  27. I scan most blog posts in Google Reader. Those that catch my eye, I'll take the time to read. I generally only comment on my favorite blogs, which are those of my writing pals.

    I think reading blogs is a great lesson in how to write well. In order to attract visitors, posts need catchy titles, tight writing and interesting content from beginning to end. If a post bores a reader, one quick click and s/he's gone.

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  28. I have my handful of blogs where I am a "regular", and then I also do a periodic scan of the updates for ALL the blogs I follow on my Blogger dashboard, and I go visit when one of those short post summaries seems particularly interesting.

    And then I comment if: thoughts have been specifically solicited (like you do, Jodi!), or if I think I have something fresh to say, or if no one else has said anything yet ("0 Comments" is awful for a blogger, so I try to fix it!), or if the topic is so good that I have to weigh in, no matter what.

    What kinds of posts discourages me from commenting? Ones that I disagree with strongly, who don't seem open to discussion on the matter. In those cases, it's usually not worth engaging.

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  29. I think commenting is an important part of blog interaction so I try to do it as much as possible. I definitely prioritize, though. I can't comment on every blog, so I have my favorites (I didn't just say that) that I go to first. If I have time later, I'll visit others. I only comment if something worthwhile pops into my head. If I have to think too much about what to say, I move on.

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  30. Thanks so much for this series, Jody. I struggle with time issues and blogging too.

    I skip any post that features a book review. I never used to, but I always do now. I barely have time to read the books in my to-be-read pile, and frankly, am not interested in reviews. I subscribe to Romantic Times BOOKreview for that.

    I'm going to check out your Friday's post, because I missed it!

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  31. I tend to shy away from posting if the content is disturbing in nature or has little to do with the writing world. I'm never sure if the blog is set up primarily for friends and family or what the general purpose is. If that's the case I hate to feel like an interloper lol.

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  32. I usually try to spend about an hour or so reading and commenting on blogs. However, I also give myself the occasional day off and know that I can just catch up the next day and that it will not be the end of the world if I miss commenting on one or two posts.

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  33. What a great post. Blogging sounded like a great idea, and I do enjoy it, but the whole process involves manners. You want comments, you must interact with other bloggers and be as generous with your time as they have been with theirs. I do my best, but it isn't easy.

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  34. Great post. I try to comment on the blogs of people who leave comments on mine. I open most of the blogs in my reader daily, but don't always read each one through. The topic has to catch my eye or the question has to be interesting for me to comment.

    Long posts (something I'm guilty of creating at times btw) usually don't get fully read. Also, as much as I like writing exercises, I don't have time to do them on other's blogs. It's just too much.

    And I like book reviews to be short and sweet. I don't need a regurgitated synopsis of the story (the backcover copy is fine). Give me your opinion on whether or not you liked it and if you recommend it.

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  35. I try to limit the number of blogs I visit regularly, and link them in the sidebar of my blog. And I usually try to visit them in the morning. Sometimes life gets in the way and I don't get blogs checked until later in the day (like today.)

    I like blogs with pictures. :) and ones that have a fairly easy question that I feel is pertinent, one that sparks some discussion or thought.

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  36. Jody,
    Yes - my daughter is 7th grade this year. I do hope we can find a good routine that works for all of us. We did really well with our first day - got most of work done by lunch and then had to do the science experiment this afternoon. We will finish up music this evening hopefully. I'll be back later to read your post here. I'm really enjoying this series. So much good information you have for us!

    Take care,
    Karen

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  37. Awesome post again! Thanks for including those comments from some of the bloggers I love. :-)

    I don't like having to post excerpts or follow links, or even watch videos. I just don't have time. I'm a very fast reader though and that's why I read blogs. :-) They're fun and they're quick and they give me a little connection to someone. :-)

    Have a great night!

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  38. You always seem to post just what is on my mind. I use Google Reader and skim through, stopping to read my favorites and commenting when I can. With my work load right now, I am cutting back, and I am okay with that. I am commenting on those who comment on mine at this point. I'll do more next month, when time allows.
    Thanks for a great post!

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  40. We need more hours in the day. I barely have enough time to even stress about if I'm commenting or reading enough. I'm too busy stressing about revisions, beta reading, day job, etc. Blogging time is just like a mini-vacation. Never long enough and wish I had more of them! :)

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  41. I'm still developing in the way I handle my blogs. I used to visit blogs I liked when I could. Now, I'm making a consciuos to visit blogs where I'm learning and feel welcome and then try to learn from those who do blogging better than I do.

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  42. A huge time saver for me was adding the "most recently updated" feature to my blogroll list. Then I can make sure to catch everyone's latest relatively soon after they write it. I don't always comment on everyone else's - because some people come to expect it and become offended if readers don't...and sometimes because I truly just want to read and absorb and don't want to comment just to talk. Back when I had dial-up, a big obstacle for me was when people overwhelmed their blogs with cuteness and I couldn't get them them to load. Since I still have some friends on dial up, I try to be respectful of that when I redo the design on mine.

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  43. I guess I'm a blogaholic - just love to read and write and they are EZ with blogging.

    I don't commit to do any thing - I just read and write as time allows

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  44. Great post. I try to read as many blogs and comment as time allows. I also have a handful that read my blog daily, and I am sure to visit theirs as well. Its work but I laugh so hard reading not only their blogs, but the comments they leave me.

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  45. This is definitely something I'm finding is getting harder to keep up with. Now that we're doing school, my time is even more limited. I do try to stop by blogs of people who have left me comments on my blog during the day. But sometimes I just don't have the time to get right to it the same day. Right now, my strategy is to spend time on the weekend visiting blogs and commenting. If I have some time during the week (like right now) then I try to work on reading blogs that I follow and who follow me and make comments. I like what you have done by setting aside time throughout your day. I might try that as well.

    Hope you have a great day!
    Karen

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  46. Thank you for the thoughts. I feel that I do want to connect with more people but it is difficult to keep up.

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  47. Jody,
    My question for you is, now that you are garnering such a following, how do you have time to keep up with the comments in your own comment box? Do you read them all? I'd imagine you do, but I would imagine with very active blogs that, in itself, could be a full-time job! With every plus, there's a negative, too, I guess. We just have to keep plugging away to find the balance. You seem to do it very well, five kids, books in progress and all. Great job!

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  48. Jody,

    I simply read what engages me and comment when I feel moved or interested or learn something. I used to feel badly, not commenting on everything, but now I don't. I still visit and comment on blogs that call to me. Some have 3 followers, some 1000. I just love it. I think we have to or else it becomes a chore. If it becomes a chore, I'm out! ;)

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  49. I like to think my comments show that I've actually done more than look at the pictures and a hasty scan of the text.

    Sometimes I don't comment when I can't find anything unique to say - or worse yet (and I get torn by this) when the blog entry really has no relevance to me - say a clinical review (i.e., sans humor) of feminine products - and then I want to say "Hi - been here and read this - keep on writing!" but don't because its not a "real me" comment.

    I have to prioritize blogs - one thing I have done is cut way back on following people that post more than one entry a day - and I strive to never do that myself. A case of a little quality over quantity (such as it is).

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  50. I was just thinking about how in the world I'm going to catch up when I've been gone for 2 weeks! I'm trying to limit my time spent on the computer blogging or I know I'll be overwhelmed. Shorter posts and questions are great suggestions.

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  52. Great post, Jody.

    I struggle with this. I have a full time job, two children, AND I'm trying to be a pubbed writer on top of it! Sometimes there's just not time for all of it.

    I just hope and pray my blogging friends understand when I only catch their blogs once a month! ;)

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  53. Thank you for this post. I struggle with this as well. I have a lot of great blogs I follow, but find I can't comment on them everyday and still do my writing. I like your suggestions. They will certainly help.

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  54. Very good post. As is the one on Ten Blogging Mistakes. Once a week, I check to see who has visited Seekerville and visit their blogs and "try" to post a hello. That plan lol.

    I hadn't been following blogs until recently, now I go ahead and put myself out there.

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  55. Thanks Jody! Like some others, I'm pressed for time these days, but I DO think about commenting more on others blogs. I must, I will!, do better!

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  56. I agree with you on shying away from posts that require a lot of work to comment on. I much prefer a simple question to answer, or submit a thought that came to mind while reading the post. Having to search for something and cut and pasting an answer or entering a book giveaway with some neat "project" requirement is just too time consuming for me.

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