Blogging can be a hobby, a pastime, a business or a a combination of all of them as a blog grows and changes. The important aspect is: Comments.
A few days ago, I had a serious discussion with a friend of mine who has been writing, and publishing a blog for as many years as I have. We’ve shared much of the same success, and challenges as the other, and we’ve faced the challenges which come from being writers who need a platform to build a readership for our books.
We love the art of writing, and we both have published a book, but there is a part which differs, and that is the trouble with blogging- or writing a good blog post.
On the surface, everything seems the same. On the surface we have roughly the same number of visitors the other has, and roughly the same income from all of our sources we have, which includes our blogs. We have both been working with our editors for about the same length of time as the other. Yet, in the past five months, we’ve noticed there is a small, but significant change in how people “see” our blogs.
While my blog is one that “feels” good to me, his is on the rise, and he has an energy to it mine does not currently seem to have. His is active in one area mine has yet to get- comments. Any one reading this might suggest that no comments is okay when it comes to most blogs, but this point of view is wrong.
Comments, or lack thereof, shows a potential reader a lot about a blog. It shows them something about the writer. The larger blogs out there all have one major thing in common before any of them became the “overnight hit.” The comment section was alive and active, and although some of the blog authors didn’t always respond, at least not in the comment section, there is always a related post.
A hobby blog probably won’t get a lot of comments, precisely because it is a hobby blog, but even then there is always a lot of room to expand and improve. Maybe it’s writing a post on the regular basis, or just getting a critique on your blog. It doesn’t matter, what matters is that people spend time and actually give a care about your writing.
Comments are not for the benefit of the blog alone, it is also for the benefit of the writer who publishes each post which gets comments. It tells them they are on the right track, it tells them something about the posts they have written, and it also tells them they have some sort of impact.
I took the time to look over some of my blog posts which have in the past, constantly done better than the others, and not only do they earn some income, but they also have one thing the others don’t: comments.
A writer’s life depends upon readers caring enough to do something with what they’ve just seen. If this means making a comment, then this is just a beginning. It is the blogger’s responsibility too respond to each comment, politely and with respect, and build that relationship further.
Now, there is one instance I would argue there shouldn’t be a response, and that is dealing with people who are simply there to hurt or harm the writer with personal attacks. That is, in many people’s point of view the time when there would be a loss of dignity for the writer, and this is where bullying might take root. Barring these instances, it is part of writing, to respond to readers and build a positive relationship with them.
Even critiques have a place. One comment simply said a picture bothered them, and I answered. Since this point, this reader and I have shared many conversations and emails. It was because I spent time building a foundation with them, improving my relationship with them, and also improving my blog in the process.
Even now I can see the positive thing writing, and responding to comments can mean to a blogger. Comments means people care, and after a while this builds a blog enough to help the blogger earn money. These are both the challenges a blogger, and a writer faces.