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Why Don’t More People Comment On Blogs?

Posted by on Aug 17, 2008

Though this blog doesn’t get as many overall visitors as my business blog, at least for the moment, it’s ranked higher on Technorati, and, in general, some of the posts here get much higher readership that most of my posts there.

What is amazing to me is just how many posts get either no or very few comments. One would think that, with so many readers, you’d have a certain percentage who would make some kind of comment. But no, it just doesn’t happen.

For my business blog, every once in awhile I post something that I feel is an important topic that I want to share with a good number of my friends. So, I’ll send them the link to the blog, giving them a brief synopsis of what it’s about, hoping that they’ll add their opinion to it. I know many of them go to it because I always see the spike in visitors for those posts, but many times not one of them will post a comment on the blog. They will send me comments back through email, though, and when I ask them why they didn’t put it on the blog, they often say they’re too self conscious to put something out there for everyone to see.

That’s kind of an odd concept in the internet world of 2008, people not wanting someone else to possibly poke fun at something they wrote. Whereas I can understand why people wouldn’t ever want to be ridiculed, and understand that’s why many people never start blogs unless they can remain anonymous, truth be told, there are almost 90 million blogs out here, and I would bet that probably 88 million of them lie dormant, or will be dormant within a month or two, because people tend to start blogging, then either get self conscious or lose the motivation, and just leave their blogs to sit forever on the blogosphere.

Well, if people aren’t writing in their own blogs, then what makes us think they should write in ours? Because people still visit, that’s why. However, if you’ve been online for any period of time, and have done anything with social networking, you know that’s just how it is. I used to run my own group on Ryze some years ago, and I had almost 160 subscribers to the group. However, I may have had 4 people who consistently commented or wrote an original post, and probably 140 of those subscribers never said a word. I don’t even know if they came by to read everything either, but one can check statistics on a post to see how many reads it got, and sometimes a post got a good number of readers, but no one would comment on it. Strange.

Or is it? I subscribe to almost 160 blogs, and yesterday I spent a few hours catching up on all of them. And I posted on a good number of them, on topics I felt I had something to say, but at the end of the day I might have posted on 12 or 13 posts, though I perused or read well over 200 posts (I speed read, so I can tell pretty quickly whether I need to put more time into something or not). That’s not a high ratio, and of course it helps bump up the readership numbers on the blogs of those folks I visited, but since most of them didn’t get any feedback from me they don’t know it was me who visited, and therefore aren’t sure whether they gave me any value or not. And, for me, I can get value and not comment many times, so if it works that way for me, why wouldn’t it work that way for others?

I think that’s why many of us are amazed at bloggers like Problogger, because it seems he can pop in a throwaway post and get 75 people to write something; not that he does that, by the way, but if you take a look back at some of his posts, you see high numbers of commenters on most of his posts. I guess that’s how you become a millionaire by blogging, right?

Anyway, I don’t have any definitive answers, but I do know this. Hopefully I’ll continue writing content as good as I can make it, and entertaining as much as I can, and hopefully, on both blogs, people will start feeling more and more comfortable, and will share with me their thoughts and feelings. And, at least here, if you click on something every once in awhile, I won’t be mad at you. 🙂

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John Dilbeck:

Hi Mitch,

I think there may be a lot of reasons someone won’t comment on a blog post.

For the last couple of years, I was so stretched for time that I barely had time to write to my blogs, skim the blogs to which I was subscribed, and answer all my email.

It would take a really exceptional post for me to put off everything else and comment. I don’t think I’ve even commented on Problogger for quite a while.

But, my situation has changed. Last Monday, Mom was admitted to the hospital and now she’s in the nursing home for rehab, and – while I hate this has happened to her – I now have time to actually read the blogs I like, rather than just skim them. Last week I would have thought about commenting on this topic, but this week I have the time to actually do it.

I also think bloggers are more likely to comment than non-bloggers, because we want a link back to our blogs or sites. Now that you’ve added CommentLuv, we get two links for the price of one – which is, of course, commenting on your thoughts.

So, it’s somewhat self-serving to comment.

On blogs with SezWho installed, we get even more benefit by commenting.

So, we have a higher incentive to take the time to comment.

In most groups, in my experience, about 10% – 15% will be active contributors and the others will do what they’re asked and/or just lurk in the background. I think those percentages hold true for people who read blogs as compared to those who read and comment.

As far as commenting on Problogger, it is fun to do because he posts so many very interesting and useful posts. Plus, he’s on the A-list of bloggers, so commenting on his posts may very well bring new visitors to our own blogs.

Finally, with so many active blogs, there are many bloggers and readers who don’t understand the nature of the blogosphere. Blogging should be a conversation, not just standing on a mountain and shouting into the clouds.

While it is useful to write on your own blog, it is much more rewarding and challenging to have people agree with you or challenge your point of view.

This leads to conversations and further learning.

By commenting on posts, we are joining in the tradition of the original bloggers who built communities and took the time to interact with their readers – if those readers would take a few moments and just say something.

Act on your dream!


August 18th, 2008 | 1:22 AM

Hi John. Personally, I don’t mind someone being self serving as long as their responses are somewhat legitimate and on point with the topic. And yes, sometimes we don’t have time to comment on everything.

Still, I find that people who aren’t as comfortable with the web, and that’s still the overwhelming majority of people, don’t want to comment because they’re afraid of being put out there. I even remember being at a seminar when a guy said to me that he’d post if he knew he could write stuff that produced no emotion whatsoever; what would the point be, then?

August 18th, 2008 | 9:16 AM
John Dilbeck:

I agree.

What would be the point of writing something that produces no emotion?

We all know that we are strongly drawn to things with which we strongly agree or strongly disagree. Most things in the middle that produce no emotion also produce no attraction or stimulus to respond.

Just as most of us would rather drink a cold drink or a hot drink instead of something that is lukewarm or tepid, most people will respond to something that reinforces their self-concept or attacks it vigorously.

Writing for no emotion is a complete waste of time.

At one time in my life, I was strongly attracted to people whose views were very different from mine. I don’t know how much time I wasted listening to Rush Limbaugh. As much as I disagreed with what he was saying, I was interested because it challenged my own viewpoints and beliefs.

These days, I’m more interested in people and views with which I agree.

Maybe I’m just getting lazy or set in my ways. I don’t know.

Still, I recognize in my own writing that I tend to just present facts or news rather than taking positions and defending them. Perhaps I’m unconsciously aiming for producing no emotion myself. If so, it’s something I need to change.

What about you?

Act on your dream!


August 18th, 2008 | 11:04 PM
Jake Jacob:

one word – time
Good writing!
Here’s the truth.
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August 19th, 2008 | 12:30 AM

I will comment if I have something to say that will add to the post. A lot of the times it’s a blank and so I go on to the next one. As for Problogger, he gets so many comments because he has such a huge readership, that and like John says people try to get the exposure from their comment.

Sires last blog post..Joining The Crazy Blogging For Money Train

August 20th, 2008 | 4:50 AM

I think a large readership wouldn’t depress me all that much, because all of us knows that the more people visit, the more money you make through some sort of advertising. Not only that, but all of us like knowing that someone out there appreciates what we have to say. I wish there was a good way to track some of the people, but Google Analytics will have to do for now.

August 20th, 2008 | 8:39 PM

John, I told the guy the same thing; if you’re not going to have an emotional investment, then what encourages the visitor to keep coming back. Good content can only get one so far when it comes to blogs; if that’s all we wanted, we’d all just have webpages.

August 20th, 2008 | 8:40 PM

I’ve been monitoring probloggers comments and the majority of them seem to have a lot lacking in quality and so I reckon they are looking for exposure. They certainly won’t get any linkluv because he uses the nofollow rule.

Sires last blog post..The F Word, When No Other Word Will Do

August 20th, 2008 | 11:58 PM

I make it point to comment on whoever has given me a comment but at a topic or post I can benefit from. Interestingly there are bloggers who have chosen not to accept comments on their blogs. One of them I believe is Seth Godin and another I read in Sire’s blog.

Peter Lee

Work At Home Ideas´s last blog post..The Easiest Way To Get Backlinks Starts Here

October 18th, 2008 | 4:25 AM

Yes, I talk about Seth Godin and his no comment policy all the time. Still, he has a bunch of followers, and obviously he doesn’t care about feedback, so that’s fine with me. I just won’t be one of those people going to his blog to read his thoughts; not that I don’t see them anyway, since people feel compelled to send them to me via email all the time.

October 18th, 2008 | 9:41 AM

Lol. Nice post. Let me share you a fact:
Another name for a Microsoft Windows tutorial is ‘Crash Course’!

February 27th, 2009 | 10:11 PM

Boo! Bad pun, but I love it, Bob!

February 27th, 2009 | 11:06 PM