You have to make innumerable decisions before you can formally launch your blog. And even once your blog is up and running, the decision-making never stops, because you can always change things for the better. You can always tweak and update. What theme should I use? What color scheme should I use? How can I best promote sharing on social media?
The other day, one of my good friends shared one of his blog posts via Facebook. He has a day job and the blog is just something that he does on the side. Understandably, his blog doesn’t have the same kind of glossy sheen that you might find on a much larger blog with a much larger audience and budget, and that’s okay. We all have to start somewhere and he’s mostly just interested in sharing his thoughts with the world.
The blog post that he shared was a review of a restaurant that I had actually been meaning to try. Since I had a question I wanted to ask him, I went down to the bottom of the post looking for where I could post a comment. And I couldn’t find it. There wasn’t even a notice saying that “comments are closed” on this post. The comment section was missing altogether.
Yes, I could have asked him this question in private via instant messenger or I could have commented on his Facebook post instead, but I wanted to help him expand the discussion and grow the community on his actual blog itself. After all, I appreciate it when people comment on my blog posts too, because it gives this sense of community and connection.
So, I asked him what happened to the comment section on his blog. He told me that he purposely disabled commenting clear across his blog. Baffled, I inquired further. Why would he disable the comments?
His response was essentially two-fold. First, he noted that since his blog was relatively small and didn’t attract huge amounts of traffic, it wasn’t attracting too many comments in the first place. Many of his blog posts had zero comments and he felt embarrassed about it.
Second, he said that some of the comments that he had received in the past were either straight up spam or they came from Internet trolls, trying to elicit a rise out of him. And, as we’ve been told so many times before, we should never feed the trolls.
You see, but here’s the thing.
A blog is not a newspaper, a newsletter or a magazine. It was never meant to be a true broadcast channel where the communication only happens in one direction. A big part of blogging has to do with connecting and engaging with your audience and this means that the discussion can and should happen both ways.
True, the discussion can happen away from your blog too, but you shouldn’t actively try to prevent people from engaging with your content right on the site itself. If anything, you should make it easier. If anything, you should encourage it. Especially in this age of social media where everyone is seemingly connected to everyone else, your blog provides a very powerful channel for open, bidirectional communication.
It can absolutely be embarrassing when your blog posts don’t get as many comments as you would have hoped (or any at all, for that matter). But you’ve got to start somewhere. Give your readers a reason to feel like they are a part of your community, like you value their input and feedback.
Unless you really do see your blog like old world traditional media, as a broadcast channel for one-way communication. But you don’t. Right?