I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon in blogging. Over time, my number of unique visitors has increased, but the number of people leaving comments hasn’t gone up in the same proportion.
From time to time, I’ll chat with people via an email or twitter and discover they follow my blog but have never left a comment. Or occasionally someone will leave a comment and say something like, “I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and this is the first time I’ve commented.”
I’m sure the reasons vary from person to person for why they don’t leave blog comments. But to satisfy my curiosity, I decided to take a Facebook poll.
Here were the choices in answer to the question “If you read blog posts and do NOT leave comments, what's your MAIN reason for staying silent?”
• Have nothing new to add to what others have already said
• Too busy/Not enough time
• The post didn't resonate/wasn't engaging enough
• Too many comments already/blogger seems untouchable because of popularity
• Don't know much about the subject
• If I read, I always comment
• Too shy to comment
• Prefer reading blogs for information rather for socializing
I thought for sure the main answer would be that people are just too busy. But I was surprised to discover the top reason the majority (48%) of people don’t leave comments is because they have nothing new to add to what others have already said. Only 17% answered that they’re too busy. (Hop over to my FB page, scroll down to check out the rest of the results, and make sure you click on the question itself to see all of the options.)
Not commenting because of lack of time is one thing—it can be a valid excuse. But if we have time and don’t comment because we have nothing new to say, that’s another issue altogether. It’s an excuse I would encourage all of us to toss out and here’s why:
We’re writers. It’s our job to find things to “say.”
Blogging is a great way to hone our writing skills, learn to write tightly, and get initial feedback on our writing. When we write our posts AND comments, we learn how to think quickly, formulate our thoughts coherently, and share our opinions succinctly. All of that practice can translate over into our books.
Besides, if someone else has already left a comment saying what we would have, then it’s great practice for us to find a way to put a new spin on the thought, delve a little deeper, and add our unique twist. Once again, the practice can help us in doing the same in our books.
In the blogging world, it’s okay to keep our comments simple.
When a post hits home, bloggers tend to leave longer comments—which is great and I love when that happens. But just because the post resonated with some people and they pour out their hearts into their comments, doesn’t mean everyone has to leave a long comment every time.
In fact, sometimes it’s okay to say just a few words, to keep it brief, and to say something like, “I agree” or “Thanks for the tips.” Of course, it’s ideal when a blogger can pick out something specific within the post to comment about. But most of the time it’s better to say something small, than to say nothing at all, because . . .
When we don’t join in the discussion, our silence could hurt our blogging efforts.
If we're actively trying to build up our blog followings, then neglecting to comment could hurt our efforts. When we leave a comment, we’re spreading our social presence. Others will begin to see our names and pictures around cyberland. Not only does the blogger get to know us, but other commenters will begin to recognize us and our names as well.
Many times, those bloggers will reciprocate visits and followings. When they see us often enough, they may follow the comment link back to our blogs (which is why it’s important to leave your link within your username!) Early in my blogging career, I found leaving comments to be one of the best ways to meet new people and gain new followers.
My Summary: If we’re actively seeking to build our platforms and broaden our online presence, then staying silent on social media sites is NOT the best strategy. Instead, we should look for ways to get off the sidelines and join in the discussion. We make our names more visible, people begin to recognize us, and we get to know others more personally.
What about you? If you don’t leave blog comments, what’s your main reason from those listed above? And if you do comment regularly, how has commenting benefitted you?