Friday, July 15, 2011

No Comment

Writers blog. Authors blog. What used to be a fad has become a necessity for an online identity, and therefore, a mandatory part of self-promotion. One measure of a blog's success is the number of comments - the replies of readers to the individual posts. 

New bloggers face a long, dry spell of inactivity before word spreads about their existence, and hopefully, the quality posts. Word of mouth takes time, and blogging is all about WOM. Expert bloggers, those guys and gals who start blogs and sell them eighteen months later for five and six figures, say it takes a solid year of consistent posting and marketing before a blog ripens. So we silently, steadily endure the nonexistence until one day, we see comments.

Ah, comments. Once we start receiving them, we worship them. But most people don't bother. They are such a hurry racing from one blog to another, gathering information and news, that they just keep moving on, leaving no footprint they were there.

Shame on people who do not leave comments on blogs. Frankly, it's not very smart to race through blogs without leaving your calling card.

Why you need to leave a comment on each blog post you read:

1. Good manners. 
The blog owner spent time to entertain, inform and educate you. The least you can do is say thanks.

2. Breadcrumbs.
Leave a comment, leave your name, and leave your website/blog. If your remarks are remarkable enough, other readers will gravitate to your site, intrigued about who and what you are. There, they read your posts, and hopefully leave their comments on your site.

3. Networking.
You  never know who's reading a blog because most do not leave a sign they've been there. Therefore, you never know who will see your posted comment and get in touch. My blog has led to increased Facebook friends, Twitter followers and FundsforWriters readers. Leave comments on agent, publisher, editor and conference blogs, and you  never know who will ask to see your work, or offer a gig, or consider you for a guest post.

4. Public Display.
Every writer is an expert, or trying to be an expert. YA author, journalist, poet, crime writer, food critic, literary scribe. Blog comments are free advertisement of your skills. Here you leave savvy remarks, challenge an opinion, offer another view, or praise the stance made in the post. You flex your verbal  muscle, and in doing so, attract others to follow you home to your site.

So, from now on, don't pass up the opportunity to post a comment. Not only is it wise, but it's the proper move to make. many of you have the guts to leave a remark below? Remember, leave your name, email and website/blog. You want people to know who you are.

And I thank you in advance.


Sarah Tokeley said...

I don't usually leave my blog address on comments because of the clickable link on my name, but today I will :)

Lane Diamond said...

Ah yes, the blogger's lament. I've found that if a blog post attracts one comment, it will likely draw many. On the other hand, it often appears that no one wants to be the ice-breaker. And so, I offer my chisel.

Kathleen@so much to say said...

I've been guilty of blog-hopping without leaving comments...but I usually try, because I know how much it means to me when random people I don't know stop by to share their thoughts and, as you say, leave a footprint.

I wonder how many comments you'll get on this post? Hmmmmm....!

Carol J. Alexander said...

This a.m. I was scrolling down through my Google reader and choosing a few blog posts to read. After reading them in the reader this little voice in my head said, "Hope says you have to comment." So I would open up those pages so that I could say something. THEN, this post came up. But you are right. I can get down when no one comments on my blog for a while. "Do unto others..."

Sioux Roslawski said...

I agree. I know/suspect/hope that more than 3 or 4 people have read my post, even though there are only a few comments.

And I HAVE gotten new followers because of the comments I left. The bloggers who like what they see stay; the rest take a gander and leave without a trace.

But you're right. It's good PR to leave comments--a digital business card.

Cheryl Barker said...

You're right, Hope. I know from personal experience how encouraging it is to get comments on my blog posts. Amazing how online friendships/networking can develop that way also. Here's to commenting! :)

Nancy said...

I agree wholeheartedly with your blog post today, Hope. I do get comments on my blog, but not nearly as many as I'd like to see.

The posts that receive comments are ones I look at carefully to see what prompted them Was it because it was a terrific post or was it because I ruffled somebody's feathers? Either way, I'd like to know.

In our 'hurry-up' world, people are not taking time to interact with others like they once did. Kind of sad.

Thanks for spotlighting the comment issue.

Nancy said...

I'm laughing as I write this because I wrote a lengthy comment to your post agreeing with all you said regarding comments. And then, my comment did not go through! Maybe this is one (of many) reasons bloggers don't get as many comments as they'd like.

I look carefully at my posts that receive comments. I want to determine if it's because it was an especially good one of if I perhaps ruffled somebody's feathers. Either way, I need to know.

In our 'hurry-up' world, I find it a bit sad that people don't take the time to interact like they once did. That old telephone company slogan might say it best "Reach out and touch someone."

Arlee Bird said...

You are so right about this. I've also been trying to educate other bloggers about the importance of leaving some kind of comment and a clear way to get back to them for anyone who is interested.

When I first started blogging I didn't get any comments other than from occasional friends or family members. When I started leaving comments on other blogs people began to gravitate toward mine and leave comments. It works. If bloggers want the comments on their blogs then they have to invest time in some networking and developing relationships.

You gave good advice that I hope your readers will heed if they aren't doing so already.

Tossing It Out

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Linda Cardella said...

I just started reading your blog this week after I saw and ordered your Shy Writer book. I'm looking forward to reading all of your posts. Thank you for what you share.

Val said...

Guilty as charged! I read your blog daily, but seldom leave a comment. Mainly because I don't know much about writing, and feel like I don't have anything meaningful to offer. I don't want to be somebody who only comments in an effort to draw people to my blog.

My son says the comments on my blog are better than the posts. In my defense, sixteen-year-old boys are not my target audience.

Hope Clark said...

Val, writing is for readers. Readers' comments are wonderful. Writers read like writers. Readers read like readers. All types of comments are welcomed. I sat that to my critique groups as well.

Hope Clark said...

Frankly, as many blogs as I read, I realized I comment on only a fraction of them. I read so fast. So I slowed down today and commented on each and every one. It's also a prompt to write, if you think about it. I just had to comment on Malcolm Gladwell's mantra that it takes working in a realm 10,000 hours before you can be considered an expert. Made me think.

D.G. Hudson said...

Thank you for this post, Hope. It's so much like talking to a wall when no one comments on your blog. When there is a comment, I feel my spirits lift (we're so easily cheered sometimes). To the author it means that post has reached at least one person.

I try to check that person's blog if they have a link, and leave a comment. A reply is courtesy too, and endears that blogger to me.

Courtesy seems too easily forgotten in our rush sometimes. I'm glad you noticed.

My blogs: (writing blog) and (women and their daily issues blog)

Someone recently said (on another blog) that the trend now is to look but not comment because they could use the time saved by not commenting to absorb more content. This seems to forget that most of us (especially writers) need a little nurturing of our creative spirit.

Excellent post.

J.M. Lacey said...

Hi Hope,

I agree with leaving comments, especially if you enjoy the post from the hard working writer that wrote it. The unfortunate issue with my own blog is that I do receive a ton of comments, but they're left in LinkedIn or sent to me via e-mail. So readers that view my posts see "0" comments, even though I may have read through several posted elsewhere. At least I know people are reading it!

This is my comment-less blog:

healthlit said...

Good points! I started my blog just a month ago, but didnt' realize I was guilty of the same thing. - boating and vacation tales,
and, coming soon about interesting trends in health and diet.

Karen Lange said...

I agree; I normally comment when I stop at a blog, even if it is brief. To me, it is a simple courtesy and goes along with the principle of sowing and reaping.

Thanks, Hope. :)

Linda Hoye said...

Guilty. I trymto comment because i appreciate comments on my own posts but I confess to sometimes (too often) reading and clicking on to the next blog. Thank you for reminding me how important it ismto leave evidence of my visit.

Linda Hoye said...

And after all that I didn't leave the right link to my own blog....

Becky Mushko said...

If I left a comment on every blog I read, I wouldn't have time to read all the blogs I don't leave a comment on. Or something like that.

But thanks for posting the reasons we should leave comments.

Amy said...

I was reading blogs tonight and feeling guilty about not commenting enough - then realized that I hadn't even commented on this post this morning. You guilted me into it, Hope - but you're right. I just started a blog and I'm still waiting hopefully for my first comment! (Reading that it typically takes a year to "take off" was really heartening, so thank you for sharing that.)

Ellie Kuykendall said...

I never thought about leaving comments on your blog, Hope. I read every one you send and am constantly amazed at how many different topics you come up with. So kudos to you - not that you need them. Don't you know that we all love you to death? :)

Ellie, whose blog is:

Donna Collins Tinsley said...

I can never make up for all I have read from you that has helped me and given me writer's markets to try out for, but I do thank you.

I have always wished more people would comment or "follow" my blog. Here it is and blessings to your day.
Y'all come!
Donna Collins Tinsley

Jake Henegan said...

My problem with this is that sometimes (many times) I have nothing to add. I don't like making a comment that adds no value, if you know what I mean.

Vicki said...

I have to agree with Jake, above. I'm not into commenting on anything - blog, news article, or other writing - unless I feel I have something worthwhile to add. And I feel that to suggest that one should comment on every blog post they read just because they read it is like suggesting one should also comment on every piece of entertainment or education they take in. I prefer that people only comment on my stuff when they feel compelled to. And it's my job as the content creator to compel them. :-) As for the networking aspect of commenting, my two cents aren't worth much on that...that's definitely an area I need improvement in!

Thanks, Hope!

Julia Munroe Martin said...

Hi Hope, I couldn't agree more! I love comments and I greatly look forward to them after posting a blog -- I've developed wonderful friendships with other bloggers/tweeters this way! In fact, I came over here to visit you blog after you left a comment on one of my posts (about the influence my grandmother had in my life). I'm delighted to find that your most recent post is about commenting on blogs! Nice to meet you! I love your blog & newsletter too!
Julia Munroe Martin

Wren Andre said...

I always appreciate your sincere efforts to inform writers. I look forward to your newsletters every week as a shining ray of hope in my own writer struggles. Thank you! Wren

Valerie Stasik said...

Hope, I always find your blogs, articles and information in your newsletters pithy and very helpful. Thank you for all your help. I will be emailing you for permission to use one of your articles sometime soon. Keep writing and helping the rest of us. I feature your URLs on my blog and website so that others may have the pleasure of your wisdom.
Valerie Stasik
(Valerie Stasik's Pen Central)

Anonymous said...

I'm guilty as well for not leaving comments. Starting now, I'm going to try and comment on each blog I visit!


A Writer and Her Adolescent Muse

Anonymous said...

I'm guilty as well for not leaving comments. Starting now, I'm going to try and comment on each blog I visit!


A Writer and Her Adolescent Muse

quietspirit said...

I try to leave a comment. But sometimes, I am in a hurry or have gotten too tired.

Krissy Brady, Writer said...

Great post, as usual! :) I love commenting and taking part in discussions. I think it's important, especially as a blogger myself, to keep in touch with the bloggers who inspire me, as well as those who are just starting out. I have a Favourites folder and specifically keep track of those bloggers who have commented on mine--you never know where it will lead!

Hope Clark said...

This is what I'm talking about! See? It wasn't hard. Some of you left solid footprints, maybe grabbing new readers of your own blog. I've been following my own advice and leaving comments all over the place. Did you know that this is one part of Amanda Hocking's self-promotion that landed her so many sales?

Keep it up, y'all. And thanks!

Amanda Kendle said...

Unfortunately I don't have time to read all these comments (great that they're there, though) but I absolutely agree, Hope. I'm pretty sure I comment on at least 50% of the posts I read - like you say, it's polite! That's my first reason for doing so but you never know the impact leaving that "breadcrumb trail" will have - I left a comment on a (to me unknown) blog recently and readers of that post clicked through to my blog at an astonishing rate, I had an extra 2,000 visitors in just a day or so!

Benjamin Simms said...

Karma! Whether you believe in it in a spiritual way or just a logical way, karma seems to work it's way back around in life. I've often said that old sayings become old sayings because of their inherent truth. "God helps those who help themselves", "a penny saved is a penny earned", or in this case, "every little bit helps". A good gardener cares about all gardens, not just his or her own. Success breeds success. Help those around you and the blessing will return. Karma!

MissMarie said...

I understand what you mean. I have a blog that the stats say is getting traffic, but without any comment I wonder if real people are reading it. It is frustrating.
But, this nips me in the bud to post a little more to it.

Kimberly Kinrade said...

Of course I would HAVE to leave a comment on this blog! Not to mention I am now very recently your biggest fan. It is wonderful to connect with other writers and find REAL resources for writers that aren't scams. Thank you for existing! I shall spread the word to my writerly friends of your epic awesomeness.

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Team Dragovich said...

Thank you, Hope, for this post. You're words always encourage and educate; allowing me some exhale breaths while building that platform-- it seems so high and I am simply trying to get out of the kiddie pool!

I started our blog while in process to adopt two children from Ethiopia. Now that I've begun freelancing, I'm working on building a new blog, broader in scope where I have the upmost opportunity to practice writing well. I'm not sure why, but it's been painstaking! I'll get there, though... right? :)

All that, and really I just mean... thank you.

Anonymous said...

I’m often guilty of this myself – reading a blog quickly and then forgetting to leave even a small comment! I must take care of this henceforth. Thanks for the good advice as usual, Hope!

Ellie Kuykendall said...

I've enjoyed reading everyone's comment and forgot to leave my "solid footprint," as Hope called them. Here it is:

Let me add that this is not a blog about writing. It's a blog I started to get me writing after a long two years of illness and hard times. I welcome any comments, and hope you will enjoy reading some of my writing!


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wsbhark said...


Thank you so much for writing on this topic. I feel better now.

I have been writing a blog for less than a year - about 6 months actually. It is building a fairly steady readership, but comments are very few and far between. Member count is low, though maybe not for 6 months of existence. It's at least comforting to know that drive-by readers are common for others as well, and that it doesn't mean the writing is giving off negative vibes.

Thank you for putting it into perspective for me!