Discussion Post: The Struggles of Blog Commenting and Why We Should Do It Anyway

 

Two of my biggest struggles since I started blogging have been coming up with topics for discussion posts and commenting on blog posts.  This week I decided to kill two birds with one stone and write a discussion post to share my thoughts on commenting on blog posts.  Smart thinking, right? LOL!

An incident this past weekend with my husband is what has inspired this post.  I was spending some time Saturday morning getting caught up on replying to everyone who had commented on my blog posts that week and then paying return visits to their blogs to see what they’ve posted since my last visit.  My husband, eager to get on with the rest of our weekend plans, was hovering and pacing and asking me why I was spending so much time doing what I was doing:  “Do you do this every week? For everyone who comments on your blog?  Why? That just seems like too much work.”

Why Commenting is so Important

Well yeah, he’s right (Shhh, don’t tell him I said that!).  Commenting is a lot of work and it does take a lot of time. But that said, unless you are just blogging for yourself and have no interest in becoming a part of the blogging community, I think it’s also one of the most important things that bloggers do.  It’s important, not just because it’s a way to show support to your fellow bloggers, but also because the more you comment and put yourself out there, the more your own blog is visible to others in the community.

I don’t mean to make that sound self-serving though; I just mean that there are a TON of blogs out there.  Unless you are extremely lucky, you can’t just start a blog and expect a Field of Dreams “If you build it, they will come” moment.  No, with so many blogs out there, you have to do something to let people know that you’re out there too because it’s just so easy to get overlooked.  Commenting is a great way to put yourself out there and start building a rapport with your fellow bloggers.  It helps to build a sense of community rather than competition and I think that sense of community is important to many of us.

Arguments Against Commenting (And Why They’re Wrong):

 

  1. I don’t have time to comment on blogs. I’m too busy.

Although I can completely relate to this one, sorry, nope.  Because of the reasons above, you have to make the time, no matter how busy you are.  I’ll freely admit that, depending on how crazy my week is, sometimes it does take me a few days to reply to comments and pay that return visit to a commenter’s blog.  But aren’t we all busy?  I’m happy whenever I get comments back from fellow bloggers, whether it’s days or even weeks later, and I don’t think there are any bloggers out there who hold it against me if I don’t immediately reply to their comments either.

To help facilitate my blog commenting, I’ve actually started blocking out time for it on my calendar.  I try to do 30 minutes a night at least twice during the week and then I’ll spend up to an hour on Saturday getting caught up the rest of the way.  I used to just haphazardly comment here and there whenever I had a few minutes, but I feel more efficient and organized if I just build it into my daily routine.

I also prioritize when I comment. If you’re a regular visitor/commenter on my blog, you’re the first one I’m going to reply to and pay that return visit.

This is probably petty of me, but I will also stop commenting on a blog if I pay several visits and that blogger doesn’t reply to my comments or ever pay that return visit to my blog.  It takes me a while to get to that point, usually weeks or even months since I know people are busy, but it does occasionally happen.  It’s like I said above, there are just too many blogs out there and bloggers who want the interaction for me to waste my time on someone who clearly has no interest in me.  I remember when I first started blogging, I was regularly visiting a very popular blog and no matter how many times I commented on her posts, she never once acknowledged me.  I was also following her on twitter and I remember replying to a couple of her tweets and watching her go down the list of replies and skip right over mine to reply to her friends.  That elitist/clique-like mentality was a real turnoff for me so I unfollowed her everywhere and haven’t visited her blog since.

 

  1. I never know what to say on other people’s blogs.

As a socially awkward person, I can totally relate to this one as well. But that said, is there really a wrong kind of comment to make on someone’s blog? (Okay, well obviously you wouldn’t want to blatantly insult someone and call them the worst blogger on the planet, haha), but other than that, it seems like the field is wide open for you to say anything that pops into your head.  Well thought out comments are always nice, of course, but it’s just about being supportive so, for me, even a simple comment makes me happy.

 

  1. I don’t want to be the first one to comment on someone’s post.

I don’t subscribe to this idea, but I remember reading somewhere that people don’t generally like to be the first person to comment.  Maybe it’s just the way my blog is set up, but my first thought was ‘How would I even know if I’m the first or not?’ Because of all of the ridiculous spam out there, my blog is set to ‘moderate’ comments so that I can screen for spam and approve the legit comments.  For that reason, you might think you’re the first commenter but it really just means I haven’t had time to go in and approve any comments yet.

What I’m trying to say here is whether you’re the first or the 51st comment if you want to comment.  And so what if you are the first?  What’s wrong with being the first one?  If it’s someone new to the community or just someone who doesn’t get a lot of comments, you’re probably going to make their day. And I personally love the thought of making someone’s day. 🙂

 

  1. I don’t want to comment just to comment.

I find this relatable as well in the sense that not all blog posts easily lend themselves to comment, but you can still pretty easily work around this. In cases like this, however, unless I’m really crunched for time, I simply look around the person’s blog until I find a post that works better for me.

 

* * * * *

So there you have it, folks. My rambling, jumbled thoughts about commenting on blogs and why it’s such a crucial part of the blogging experience.  Now, since this is a post about commenting, how about you leave me a comment and share your thoughts on the subject. J

41 replies
  1. Diana
    Diana says:

    Great post and very important topic. Commenting is usually hard for the reasons that you mentioned. It can be very time consuming and also, sometimes, we may not know what to say. There are blogs that I visit, read posts and just look around since I am not sure if I have anything to add to the discussion. This happens a lot with reviews of books in genres that I don’t read.

    That said, it is a very important part of blogging. Interacting with other bloggers is almost as important as posting. So, having a schedule and contributing even when you are not sure that you have the right words, is the way to go 🙂

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Thanks and I know what you mean. Sometimes I wish there were more hours in the day so that I could devote more time to it and still get everything else done that I need to.

      Reply
  2. Angela
    Angela says:

    Great post, Suzanne! I think this is a topic we all need to think about sometimes. If you want to be an active member of the book blogging community, commenting is the best way to do that. I get so excited when people comment on my posts, because it means they really connected with something I said. So I try to comment on other blogs as much as I can, to support my fellow bloggers.

    I always make sure to reply to comments on my own blog. I can understand not being able to reply to all comments all the time, but, like you, if I see that a blogger never replies to my comments, it’s a little disheartening and makes me wonder why they even allow comments.

    I’ve found that commenting back and forth has helped me develop somewhat of a rapport with certain bloggers; it’s nice to know that there are people out there who want to support each other and enjoy each other’s work. If the commenting is always one-sided (like they never visit my blog or comment no matter how many times I comment on their blog), it makes me feel awkward.

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Thanks, Angela! And yes, I’m the same way. I’m always thrilled when people comment on my posts and so I definitely want to reciprocate those good feelings. And like you say, it just gets awkward and disheartening if it feels like the support is completely one-sided. I wouldn’t want to ever make someone feel that way.

      Reply
  3. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    This post! I have been tossing around the idea of a post like this for a while. But then that socially awkward thing hits. I used to be in the mindframe of ‘my stuff isn’t interesting enough for comments’ which thankfully I’ve gotten over. Very slowly though.

    Also I’ve found participating in TTT has helped. Books, I have no problem talking books with strangers.

    Reply
  4. ShootingStarsMag
    ShootingStarsMag says:

    I totally agree with this whole post! I don’t always comment back ON my blog – though I do sometimes if I have something to add, or someone asked a question. This is mainly because I know I don’t personally see all my replies when I comment on other blogs, so I’d rather just visit the person’s blog and comment on one of their posts. I like making relationships this week and it is a great way to get noticed and show people what you are doing on your own blog. There are some bloggers out there who never seem to reply – yet they do to all these other people, so I think it’s a “friends only” thing and that’s not cool so I eventually just stop reading/writing. I’d rather follow other bloggers!

    -Lauren

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Yes, I really enjoy the relationship building aspect. It’s nice to build up a rapport with other bloggers as we visit each other’s sites. Even though it’s time consuming and can be challenging at times, in that sense I think it’s one of the most rewarding parts of blogging.

      Reply
  5. Jordan Rose
    Jordan Rose says:

    I could not agree more with every single point you make on this post! Commenting is something that I take very seriously and I always try to reply, but it sometimes ends up being a few days after the fact, which I tend to feel bad about. Commenting is just such a valuable, supportive, and all-around positive thing to do that, although extremely time-consuming, is relatively simple to do and only tends to produce positive results.
    I’ve met some fantastic people as a result of commenting and it has definitely helped me to feel more at home in the book community – I don’t know where I’d be without it! I really like your idea of scheduling specific time for commenting, and I really think that that’s something that I need to try to implement in my own schedule so that I can actually keep up and not fall so far behind! Fantastic discussion post! 🙂

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Exactly. Even though it takes a lot of time, I find it to be one of the most rewarding parts of blogging because of the relationships I’ve made along the way. Scheduling times to comments has worked pretty well for me so far, so if you try it, I hope it works for you too. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Jenea's Book Obsession
    Jenea's Book Obsession says:

    I try to comment back to everyone who visits. Even if it isn’t the same day, I will catch up. I want the people who visit to know I appreciate the time they take to stop by. This has also been a way to find new blog and people to communicate about books with. As for commenting on other blogs, I try and comment about the post I’ve read, even though I might have enjoyed the same book as them, or something like that, I still comment. It can time consuming, but I enjoy it. 🙂

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Yes, for me, it’s rare that I have the time to reply the same day but I try to do it within a day or 2 so that I don’t fall way behind with my comments. And I agree, it’s a nice way to find new book-loving people to chat with. It takes a lot of time, but I think it’s worth it. 🙂

      Reply
  7. Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog
    Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog says:

    Yes to this whole post. Commenting is essential to this community I think. It gets you and your blog out there but also I love to read other people’s stuff. I always try to reply and comment back to as many people as I can. I have gotten behind and overwhelmed and started fresh going forward as not to get bogged down. But yeah commenting is important 🙂

    Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog recently posted: Top Ten Tuesday My Fall TBR
    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Yes, I agree. Sometimes it takes me a while to find a post that I can easily comment on, particularly if the blogger reads genres that aren’t of interest to me. Thankfully that doesn’t happen too often since my reading tastes are pretty eclectic.

      Reply
  8. Meghan
    Meghan says:

    I always enjoy reading people’s blogs on commenting because in general they all relate to me, although I have never heard of not commenting because your the first comment; that is bizarre to me. What is there to be afraid of? I actually like being the first because then I know I’m not repeating what anyone else said!
    Sometimes I just don’t have time to comment, but I try my hardest to comment most of the time. I also try to blog hop every night when I get home from work for a half hour to an hour! I really enjoyed this post! 🙂

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I’m so glad you said that. I love being the first commenter for that exact same reason. Sometimes if I’m late seeing a post, as I’m scrolling down past other comments, it feels like everyone else has already said what I was planning to say.

      Reply
  9. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    What a great post! I feel so many of these things on a regular basis, but I love being a part of a community so I comment frequently and search out new blogs all the time. It’s so much fun reading other people’s opinions on books, too. I try my hardest to comment back every time someone leaves me a comment on my blog – I mean if they spent the time leaving me a comment or talking about a book with me, of course I’m going to put that time in for them, too. The only time I don’t comment is if I’m sick or incredibly busy, but then I usually let my notifications pile up and get around to them later.

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Yes, being a part of such a great community has become one of my favorite parts about having a blog. Real life commitments can definitely make it challenging, but it’s all so worth it in the end. 🙂

      Reply
  10. Greg Hill
    Greg Hill says:

    I agree with all of this. I sometimes wonder why I spend so much time blog hopping, but I actually enjoy it and it feels like being part of the community, so I wouldn’t want to give it up. And I think it can be hard sometimes for non- bloggers to understand the time it takes! Looking at it from the outside I would probably feel the same way! Like why are you doing all that lol!!

    #2 is big too. I used to think leaving a generic comment was bad, so I would try to say something substantive, and I still do, but if I absolutely cannot I still might leave a comment that’s not super original, just so they know I WAS there and care about their content, even if my brain is incapable of saying anything intelligent at the moment.

    Great post . I have a lot of trouble with discussion post topics too.

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Haha, I quite often have those ‘My brain isn’t working’ moments when I try to come up with something intelligent to say. I think it’s because I comment too early in the morning and too late at night. I should probably do it while properly caffeinated, lol.

      Reply
  11. Destiny @ Howling Libraries
    Destiny @ Howling Libraries says:

    Great post! Very inspiring, actually. I used to try to comment on other blogs everyday, but when this semester started up for me, I lost track for a few weeks and I’m just now getting my feet back under me, so to speak. I feel so bad because there were some bloggers who really stuck in there and kept commenting on my posts despite only getting short (and DELAYED) replies from me! I’m trying to make it up to them now and the most helpful thing I’ve found is that I changed all of my email subscriptions to “instant” instead of “daily”, so that I can comment on a few here and there throughout the day instead of saving them all for once a day and getting overwhelmed (I receive usually 100-150 blog post updates per day in my email).

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Yeah, those real life commitments can really get in the way. I really wish I had more time throughout my day so that I could more easily reply to comments and post as soon as they show up. It’s a tricky balance but it’s definitely worth all of the effort we all put into it. What a great community we have 🙂

      Reply
  12. Wendy @ Birdie Bookworm
    Wendy @ Birdie Bookworm says:

    I love this topic, and I wholeheartedly agree with you. Commenting and interaction is so important in the blogging world. It does help get you out there, and it helps to make friends and build a community. I try to interact as much as I can. I respond (almost right away) to all comments. And while I’m not so great about immediately commenting back, I do at least try to follow people (with email notifications) that seem to want to interact so I can read all their blog posts and strike up an online friendship.

    I find that when I try to go comment on a blog, prompted by a comment on mine, I tend to freeze up and it feels too forced. But I follow a lot of blogs and when I go read their posts I’ll just be struck with something to say. It feels far more natural for me.

    Wendy @ Birdie Bookworm recently posted: The Reading Vacation!
    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I know what you mean about feeling forced. I think I struggle the most to naturally come up with something to say when the blogger is someone who reads genres that don’t really interest me. That will usually send me scrolling for a post that isn’t a review.

      Reply
  13. Lindsey @ Lindsey Reads
    Lindsey @ Lindsey Reads says:

    Great post Suzanne! I completely agree, commenting is super important, and if you’re not just blogging for yourself it’s THE most important thing about blogging. And yes, it’s also probably the most time-consuming and most likely to get me feel like I’m not doing enough, but it’s also the most rewarding aspect about blogging in my view 🙂 I love how it makes me feel like a part of a community and I love every little comment I get on my blog and going out and talking to other bloggers who love books as much as I do. 🙂

    Reply
  14. Di @ Book Reviews by Di
    Di @ Book Reviews by Di says:

    Okay…. For the record I’m glad you added in ‘weeks’ in the time it can take people to respond! 😂 I’ve been truly horrendous lately because…. Life. However I’m making a serious effort to get back on top of things because I just love this hobby!

    This post is awesome – thanks for bringing up such a relatable discussion post!

    I agree with basically everything that you said. It IS so important to interact with everyone and I definitely lose heart when it comes to bloggers that don’t take the time to interact with me once I’ve taken the time to out myself out there a few times.

    I also prioritise my ‘friends’, and the reason that these friends come about is a continual responsive relationship and commenting/chats that turn into a real connection.

    There are so many things to love about book blogging, and one of the most celebrated aspects of this gig is the community – but it is only a great community because each and every one of us make it this way. So many of us take the time to share, respond and support each other and that sets us apart from the rest of the blogosphere! I may be slow and often fall behind, but I’m determined to be one of the ones who does that!

    And let’s face it, it’s not only about putting yourself out there and building a network – we just love to talk about the things that we love! The biggest book club I know is right here on the Internet! 🙂

    Di @ Book Reviews by Di recently posted: The Blog Squad: A Blogger Collaboration - Part XXIV
    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Haha! Yeah, I know life gets in the way. Like right now, I’m commenting on blog posts at 11:00 at night because today was my son’s birthday and it has been a crazy hectic day.

      So much YES to your last comment. I’m so happy to have found so many people who love to talk about books as much as I do. I can’t imagine not doing everything I can to facilitate that and keep the book community growing and thriving.

      Reply
  15. Lee @ Rally the Readers
    Lee @ Rally the Readers says:

    I love the idea of setting aside a block of time for commenting, and I totally need to start doing that! Not knowing what to say is something I struggle with, especially when there are already a lot of comments on a post, but I’ll still comment because it’s the interaction that makes this community so much fun to be a a part of!

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Scheduling that dedicated commenting time is working pretty well for me so far. It’s a little more challenging on busier days but it works better for me than trying to jump in and do a few here and there every time I have a few spare minutes. And I know what you mean. It’s so much easier to think of something to say when I’m one of the first ones to comment on a post. Otherwise I feel like I’m just rehashing what everyone else has already said. But yes, what a great community we have. I just love it. 🙂

      Reply
  16. Chrystal
    Chrystal says:

    I struggle with this too. From time to time I will binge comment.

    I read a lot of posts, but don’t always comment. Sometimes though I’ll bookmark the post to come back to later to leave a more meaningful comment so that I’m not just commenting to comment.

    And times it takes me weeks to reply to comments left on my blog. I’m tire at the end of the day and either fall asleep reading or just want to chill and watch mindlessTV.

    I’m going to make it a goal in 2018 to comment more because I’m hoping by then I’ll have you d my reading/blogging/working/mommy groove. Being a parent has dramatically changed everything about my reading and blogging life. It’s almost non-existent. LOL

    Great post and really made me think about my own commenting patterns.

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I know what you mean. The time factor was what really prompted me to just schedule a few short blocks of time during the week to comment. I don’t do it daily though since, like you, some nights I just want to do something mindless like binge watch something on Netflix.

      Reply
  17. Northwoman
    Northwoman says:

    Good topic. Time constraints can cause problems. I respond except when the comments are to be entered in s givraway and then I respond when the giveaway is finished. So there is a delay. Anne

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Definitely. I frequently find myself wishing for more hours in the day so that I have enough time to stay caught up on my comments and still get everything else done that I need to.

      Reply

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