Encouraging Blog Comments
One of the best things about blogging is the dialog and conversation that develops within the comment portions of the blog posts. I have made new friends because they have taken the time to comment here or because I commented over at their place.
Blog comments are one of the features that make blogs more powerful than traditional web sites. That dynamic back and forth is completely missing from most business web sites (and scares the jeebies out of many business owners).
Comments also add tremendous value as far as the search engines are concerned because they add new content to the pages of your blog that is chock full of words that make your blog show up better in the search engine rankings.
As a business blogger I want to be doing everything I can to encourage comments here. So far my efforts have included making it easy for people to see their comments show up right away (no comment moderation so far), being kind to those who disagree with what I post and treating them respectfully, and intentionally responding to each comment quickly and personally as best I can.
But could I be doing more to encourage comments?
I’ve considered adding a “Recent Comments” section to my sidebar, but that one just didn’t resonate with me for some reason. I’m not sure why.
But this week I discovered something that I think really fits here.
Top Commentors Plugin
In that post Tony pointed out a WordPress plugin that he added to his blog called Show Top Commentors. (Why the author chose that spelling is beyond me. But I suppose someone who adds an extra “E” every time he writes “CREEations” should probably get over it.)
This morning I added this feature to the sidebar over at the left. So now it will show everyone who is engaging in conversation here at SuccessCREEations. I’ve set it to reset at the beginning of each month so that it is emphasizing more current conversations.
Click on the links to go over to their blogs. Chances are if they are adding to the conversation over here they have lots of great stuff to say at home too!
I’ve also set it to count that link back to your blog so when you show up in the side bar Technorati should be counting that link when they calculate your ranking there!
So if you want to see your name rise on the sidebar, comment away.
Of course like Tony I’ve got to tack on an caveat to that. My intention is to stimulate quality interaction. So I recommend you don’t just add a comment that says something like “Hi!”, “Nice Post!” or “I Agree!” just to boost your ranking (or just to get on the list in the first place.) That gets to be looking a little too much like comment spam which, as you can see quite graphically from that link, is a huge problem. I delete comments like that every day already.
If you do try something like that I will probably just delete your comment initially. But if you keep it up, I will start marking your comments as spam and then you will likely get trapped in Askimet hell and have trouble commenting most anywhere.
I hate to have to do that. 99% of the people out there are wonderful and get it. But there are just a few that are trying to ruin it for everyone.
Links Like Money
I’ve heard it said that links are the currency of the internet.
They are one of the main ways people find new and interesting web content. I find something interesting, mention it in a post, provide a link and you can go off and see for yourself if what I said has merit or if I’m completely off my nut.
The other thing is that links are how the search engines like Google find all that stuff they want to index to have information for us human folk to be able to get back in our search results.
Because they are so valuable, they are like money.
But here’s the best part. It doesn’t cost me anything to give link-money to someone else. That’s why I set the Top Commenters to count the links in the sidebar.
Someone else gets value for something I can give but costs me nothing. For me that seems like a no brainer. Link away!
NoFollow No More
Which brings me to the other change here at SuccessCREEations.
They bring up a good point. The NoFollow attribute is added to some links so that the search engines ignore that link. WordPress makes it the default attribute to (at least some) links in the comment section of WordPress blogs.
The original intention at WordPress was to take away the incentive for spammers by removing the search engine credit they got when they posted their spam comments.
It is a typical solution attempt when a large organization faces a tough problem. Often the easiest answer is to penalize everyone because the bad people are so bad.
In this case that particular solution didn’t do much good. Comment spam is worse than ever and worse than when they added NoFollow as a default.
If it’s not working as intended then why should I be penalizing all the wonderful folks who link here?
I installed the plugin and fired it up.
So, as of this morning, SuccessCREEations is now a supercharged Link-a-palooza spreading link love far and wide!
Feel the love!
A Comment Policy
Of course all this new link love means it is high time I formalize a comment policy for this place. I promise it is on my to-do list.
But until I get that deep down my list, here are a few expectations that I have for folks comments here.
1. Be Nice
2. Don’t use profanity
3. If you must, disagree with ideas, don’t attack people
4. Don’t spam
5. Don’t link to nastiness
That’s about it. How I deal with comments that run afoul of those guidelines varies. But if you stick to them you should be OK.
Bottom line is SuccessCREEations is my house. I have a responsibility to protect it regardless of who may not appreciate my efforts.
The good news is I haven’t had a problem here yet.
And that’s because y’all are wonderful folks!
Hope you have an inspiring day. Comment away!