Week 6: Encourage your visitors to talk.

Friday, August 12

Do you ever get the feeling you're talking to yourself?

I get that feeling all the time. Honestly, when I first started this blog I got that feeling every time I posted something! The thing that keeps me blogging is my love of what I'm writing about - I want to tell the whole world about the books I've read. I get this niggling feeling in my head that someone out in the world would love this book as much as I do. The flipside of that coin is thinking someone might wish they hadn't wasted their time with a book, as much as I do. And then, half way through my review I inevitably think: what if nobody is listening?

That all changed when I got my first comment.

On a smaller scale, it all changed when I got my first +1 ... but nothing compared to the first time I saw this notification:


I called my friends. I screenshot it on my phone and sent it to my BFF in Messenger. I told my mum. I pinned it. Had it not been a Wednesday, I probably would have thrown a dinner to celebrate it.

I want every blogger to feel the same jubilation I did when they start blogging, and that is where this week's tip was born.

Before we talk about commenting for Blogger...

This is specifically for Blogger because I use Blogger. If you are interested in why I chose Blogger, you can read more about it here. But to cut a long story short: I did it because it's free, it's simple, it has good capabilities and I don't mind that technically, Google owns my blog.

There are a few things that put me off commenting on other peoples' blogs, and they all come down to ease of use.

Can I only comment if I have a Disqus login? Then in all honesty, my comment probably isn't that important. I'll just go about my business, keeping my contribution to myself.

Do I have to type in some random Captcha phrase? I'll do it, but I'll remember not to comment on that blog again. (On that note - why does Captcha make it so damned hard to see the letters? Is it just me, or are they trying to trick me with their combinations of l-1-I)  

Dear Captcha-rers: Can you just have a picture of an animal and give me multiple choices? And don't make the choices llama V. alpaca, you smartass.

Credit: Image from imgur.com


Are comments not even enabled? I know that some hugely successful blogs disable commenting, but (for me, anyway) blogging is about community. About building something with people who share your passions. So I can't think of anything enjoyable about talking at my visitors, and never letting them get a word in. It's like when people visit me at home - we get together for the banter, the laughs, the camaraderie. They don't come to listen to me deliver a speech.

This is getting long, so let's get into it.

How to make commenting easy in Blogger

The first thing you want to do is navigate to Posts, comments and sharing on your Blogger Dashboard. From your Dashboard, click the down arrow beside 
and select Settings.

 
Once you get into your settings, select Posts, comments and sharing from the left panel.


And if my directions in a blog are even marginally better than my directions in a car, you should be here:


I've numbered the boxes so it's clear what we're dealing with. By the way, if you're wondering what comment location - embedded means, it means your readers can reply to other readers' comments.

Let's start at number 1.

1
Who can comment?

I want anybody to feel welcome to comment, from whatever forum or comment system they use. Including Anonymous commenters. My logic is: my blog is small. I'm going to read every comment I get, and if it turns out to be a spammy one - I'll delete it. No harm, no foul. You can select what you want from this menu - I'm just showing you what I'm doing.

There are pros and cons to all the options, namely your control as the blogger, and your tolerance level for offensive, spammy, or generally negative comments. My tolerance is high, because I mostly post book reviews. Not everyone agrees with my opinion on every book I read, so I'm used to challenging, or contrary opinions. I welcome them. Do you welcome them? Your answer to that will dictate how strict you want to be on allowing comments.

2
Comment moderation?

Again, this comes down to how much control you want to exercise over your blog. I don't moderate my comments, for much the same reason I allow Anonymous commenters. Because I don't moderate, they show on my blog post immediately.

If you choose to moderate sometimes, you can then select how often you want to review comments, and you'll see a link on your Dashboard to let you know there are comments awaiting moderation. Comments will show on your blog post once they are approved by you.

If you choose to moderate always, no comments will show on your blog until you approve them.

3
Show word verification?

This is Captcha. The pros: it helps prevent spam. The cons: it also acts as yet another step when someone tries to comment on your page. For me, it comes down to a very simple logic - do I want to save my visitors time and hassle, or save myself time and hassle? In about 2 minutes I'm going to choose to save my visitors time and hassle, even if (as above) I have to go through and delete the odd comment.

4
Show backlinks?

Backlinks are links from other sites to your blog. I clicked show as a sharing is caring type thing. If you link to me, I won't hide you away like the dirty cousin.

Overall…

There you go - that's how to enable commenting in Blogger. Hope it helped. If it didn't, feel free to comment below - from any platform - and tell me how you feel.

Thanks for reading :)
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