Engagement Or…

A few days ago I came across a blog written by Robert Dempsey of Dempsey Marketing and read a post titled Is A Blog Really Meant For Engagement? His overall premise was that blogs indeed were for engagement and that social media offers many ways to help create that engagement and that it can be measured using Google Analytics through one of their new options titled, appropriately enough, Engagement.

No, we don’t mean this lol

As it figures, the first bit of irony I came across is that you have to log in to leave a comment on his blog, and that took me 3 or 4 minutes to find. So much for easy engagement, since y’all know I don’t log in to anything to leave an opinion.

First, you have to find it. It’s listed under Audience, then social, and it’s your first choice. What you’ll immediately notice is that it looks just like the overview page; what the hey? Well, that tells us nothing. Under mine for this blog there are two listings, one saying “not socially engaged” and the other saying “socially engaged”; that one has only 19 visits under it, while the other is well over 6,500.

That meant nothing to me so I clicked on the one that said socially engaged to see what that 19 represented. What came up is a listing of just what socially engaged meant, and it meant that 19 people either liked it or gave it a +1, as it’s associated with Google Plus. So, it’s not counting Twitter or Facebook or anyone else? Okay…

I went back and clicked on the not socially engaged link and nothing comes up. Actually that’s not quite true; it says it has no information to share with me. The actual words are “There is no data for this view.” Four years worth of data and it has nothing?

I went back to the socially engaged group because there are other stats you can glean from them. If you click on a tab that says “secondary dimension” it gives you choices of stuff you can find out about the folks you’re engaged with. Mine says these people average around 25 minutes on my site; oh yeah! And my bounce rate is only around 34%; not bad. Finally, those 19 people visit an average of 3.3 pages on every visit; not depressing.

But it’s skewed. For one, it’s including me somehow, even though I’ve never come to my own site via G+; just wouldn’t make sense. Then someone from Abuja (where?) came by, looked at 2 pages, and stayed for more than 2 hours. That kind of thing will really play with one’s numbers. And I couldn’t figure out what anyone had viewed; ugh.

So, let’s start with this. Engagement is pretty fancy for “look at how Google+ is helping you… or not.” That doesn’t quite help.

Next, let’s talk about the topic in general, that being engagement and whether it’s what we want. Of course it’s what we want; if not, I wouldn’t write all those posts about making it easy to comment on your blog! I wouldn’t talk about comment systems. I wouldn’t bust on Seth Godin so much if I didn’t believe in engagement. I wouldn’t have given love to so many people if I didn’t believe in engagement.

Is there anyone, other than Seth Godin (heck, I did it again), who doesn’t believe in engagement when it comes to blogging?

11 thoughts on “Engagement Or…”

  1. Are there specific places where Set has said not to engage in blogging? With his thoughts on engagement and building a tribe, I would be surprised if he is actively posting that people should not engage their readership.

    Am I missing something obvious?

    1. Two obvious things. One, he doesn’t accept comments on his blog; two, he doesn’t comment on blogs. Can’t have engagement on blogs without either of those things.

  2. You probably can tell by now that I visit your blog regularly. I enjoy reading your posts and am learning a lot from them. Keep up the good work.

    About Seth, I read one of his books a long time back. I didn’t like it and did not bother to read everything else he wrote.

  3. Michael Gray from Graywolfs SEO is probably one of the bigger names that has turned off comments on his blog.

    According to Michael, “I’m not building a community, I’m not looking to hand out gold stars, trophies or make people feel better, special or that they belong. I’m a thought leader, I have my views, opinions, messages that I want to spread, and vision of where I want my blog to go.”

    He does continue that comments aren’t 100% useless, but in his unique situation they were just holding him back.

    Personally, I don’t have the comments turned on on a few of my niche sites because it just doesn’t fit into the goal of that particular site. I want conversions, clicks on ads, not conversation. However, I also have a few sites that thrive off community and user interaction. It just depends on the objective.

    1. Thanks for your info Tory, and based on Michael’s own words, he’s not looking for engagement, so his turning off comments works for him. That’s the same with you on some of your other blogs. Now, my belief is that when folks do that it’s not really blogging, that’s article writing. Nothing wrong with that based on one’s objection but it’s pretty much the same as adding articles to one’s website, only through blogging software.

      For my purposes I want engagement. I want people to visit and I want them to leave comments so I can talk to them, like I’m talking to you now. If I ever decide to do otherwise, I won’t consider it true blogging; kind of like the articles page I have on one of my business websites. Its purpose isn’t for engagement, it’s to help build my website’s SEO presence.

      1. As long as you’re sharing your personal writing, opinions, experiences, etc, then it’s still blogging by definition – comments or not. But, I agree, turning off comments makes a blog no different than a static article site.

  4. It is all about engagement in blogging, this is the personal touch of products/services for businesses and personal thoughts at individual blogs.

    I personally don’t like websites that ask even for joining newsletters on commenting and sending me 3 emails with useless ebooks after every comment.

    About G+, well I do share about 30% of my articles on G+, in terms of traffic, well probably not helping for now, but I am sure that in near future it will play pretty important role. Actually I figure out that I can use Google pluses as good competitor analysis way.

    1. Carl, I’m slowly sharing certain articles on G+ but I find it incredible that most people share things other than what they produce themselves. Overall, engagement seems like it should be most important to both blog writers and people on G+ or elsewhere that share information, but only blogs seem to get it for the most part. Not that it depresses me, since I’m always trying to get more engagement.

      1. You are making another good point, Mitch. Actually I am a bit surprised what is actually shared on one of my circles and to be honest, I don’t really see any traffic from G+, however it seems that people that gave me plus seems to appear as direct traffic at GA. Honesty, I am surprised from another thing. Big blogs, those top earners seems to appear with less or no comments at all.

  5. Troy you made some very good points and i like the way you stick to your guns. Mitch you have a useful take on the idea.
    I now have some investigation to do on those point you have both mentioned. I too want to build the SEO business and i am looking into the social networking sites to see if it is worthy.

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