One of the things that I’m passionate about at Site Sketch 101 is being able to connect with real people. You’ll often here me refer to the blog here as an ongoing conversation. I like to think of it as a dialogue between myself and my readers.
I don’t write articles here simply to gain recognition or just to make money. I don’t mind enjoying a little bit of either but that’s not the main point of this blog. In my mind blogging is about connecting with real people by providing uniquely engaging content, brilliant designs, and genuine creativity. In fact, if you look down at the author note at the bottom of my posts you’ll see that it says that about me.
I have always said that comments are the life-blood of a good blog. They are the pulse that reveals the vibrant, living conversation between the author and the readers.
I want users to engage me in the comments at this blog and I think that it’s probably safe to assume that most of you want people to engage you at your sites. Why else would you be reading this article?
So as I sat back in my favorite thinking chair I began to brainstorm about the qualities at other blogs that have inspired me to join their conversations in their comment sections. If you want me and others like me to leave comments on your site here’s the things that you need to take care of.
Provide a personal, genuine reply to every comment.
This is the most important point that I can make. The purpose of comments is to build a conversation between the author and the readers. If I leave a comment on your blog and you don’t reply then I’m going to assume that you are ignoring me and I’m going to return the favor.
When I see that you reply to my comments and other comments then I have an incentive to return to your site and see if you’ve answered me. I’ve been having an ongoing discussion with Seth over at Blogussion in the comments section of his article. He engages me with genuine conversation and that keeps me coming back.
Make it as easy as possible to post a comment.
Don’t require a login – If you require me to login at your site then you can safely assume that I’ll not be back. I’ve heard this sentiment expressed many times across the greater blogosphere.
Don’t use a captcha system – You know those annoying little things that make you type in some goofy letters and numbers to prove that your human and not some random spam bot. They’re annoying. I hate them. I don’t use one here and if you do use one then your content had better be absolutely unspeakably fantastic to get me to go through the hassle of leaving a comment.
Use a spam filter like Akismet to keep it clean. If that doesn’t work then require moderation. That’s hardly a hassle for you and and it’s one less obstacle for you readers when trying to engage you in conversation.
Whatever your solution might be just make sure that you are making it as easy as possible for readers to get in on the action.
Reward those who participate in the conversation.
I recently wrote an article entitled I Stopped Using Nofollow & You Should Too! Nofollow stops page rank from flowing to the site that you link to. When you get rid of that tag then every person that leaves a comment gets a little bit of page rank for the site that they put in the website field of the comment form. In other words, they get rewarded every time they leave a comment. That will keep me coming back!
Get the ball rolling with other authors.
You want me to comment on your site? Then stop just looking at Site Sketch 101 and leave some comments here. If you don’t stop and engage me here then I’ll never even find out about your site. Stop by here and get the ball rolling by leaving a comment at my site.
Of course, I hope you understand that I’m not just shamelessly promoting my own comments section by saying this. I want you to get out, visit other blogs, and start leaving some comments.