Interacting with Your Blog Readers – Choices, Practices and Benefits

One of the reasons to choose a blog over a traditional website is the ability to interact with visitors via comments. However, you don’t have to activate comments. In fact, sometimes it’s a good idea to turn your commenting feature off.

What are the Benefits of Commenting?

Many people judge the success of their blog by the number of comments they receive. And it’s true that an active blog does tend to draw more numbers. The more visitors and subscribers you have the more potential there is for profit. And an active blog is a fun blog.

However, commenting doesn’t always mean success you can have a very successful blog that doesn’t receive many comments at all.

What Are the Options?

You can turn off comments – Many blog owners decide to turn off the comments completely. The goal for them isn’t to generate interaction but rather to establish credibility or to simply provide information.

You can turn them off, for now – Some other blog owners decide to turn off comments until the blog has a certain number of subscribers. Then they make commenting a possibility. This strategy can prevent the image of the lonely blogger and instead let you focus on simply providing quality content.

You can turn on the comments – Most bloggers enable comments. If you choose this option then consider:

* Installing a spam filter like Askimet
* Requiring people to register before they can comment
* Giving them the ability to link to their blog or website during the registration process
* Allowing an avatar or a photo
* How much time you have to reply to comments. It’s important if you allow commenting on your website to make it an interactive process. You want to respond to their comment or at least thank them for it.
* Creating content that motivates a discussion. Ask readers for their opinion. Say something controversial and start a discussion. Ask for experience or advice.
* Give CommentLuv. Consider using a plug-in that tracks and displays comments from others. It can really get the comment section of your blog active. In fact, this little plug-in can motivate more comments.
* Policies – Do you have a language or content policy? For example, do your commenters have to keep their comments PG for approval? If so, you will want to display your comment policy on your blog.

How does commenting play into your goals, purpose and vision? Make your decisions based on how you can provide the best blog possible. If comments aren’t a part of your user experience then turn them off. No one says you have to enable comments on your blog. It’s your decision.

Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Director of Communications for Our Milk Money, the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of Buy By Mom and Buy By Mom Blog. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.

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