Do you comment?

Interview Angel aka Brent Peterson’s interview with Gini Dietrich from Spin Sucks reminded me of a question I have always had about comments on blogs as I continue to explore the role of blogs in a job search.

See what Gini had to say and read the rest here:

What are the top 3 recommendations you have for someone just starting out with a new blog?


1. Comment on other blogs
2. Write about current events
3. Don’t be afraid to post your opinion or be steadfast in your beliefs – this actually drives traffic really well

So why do most blogs have few comments?

I can guarantee that I have more readers of my blog than I have people who comment. I can also guarantee that I read many blog posts that I never comment on. However, I comment more than the average blog reader.

I am not sure what motivates commenting. Good content is critical and controversy tends to generate more comments than other less compelling posts. I have had many posts with 10 or more comments but my top commented post was the one in which I shared why I left Wausau Whitewater, called End of the Era. It drew in people who might not normally read my blog but did because they wanted to know why I was leaving and some wanted to leave their well wishes.

As a blogger, you might think that who you are as a person doesn’t matter as much as the brilliant way you string words together but I have seen comments grow rapidly on posts that share something personal about the blogger. When Danny Brown had health issues and wrote a post called Taking time out for health reasons, 114 comments were left to wish him well. His community stepped up to say that they cared. Danny talks more about commenting in his post, Mining for Gold in Blog Comments.

Jim Connolly spoke about ways to get more blog comments here. And he got 48 comments on that post. His top commented post had 700 comments.You’ll have to ask Jim why.

There are other blogs that have communities that bring in commentors regularly, like Barbara Swafford’s Blogging without a Blog or Davina Haisell’s Shades of Crimson. Christine Livingston’s A Different Kind of Work generates comments frequently because of topics she covers and the provocative way that she involves the reader.

I could list many other bloggers that pull in volumes of comments but my question is:

What stops you from commenting?

This is now your space. Tell me why you don’t comment or what makes you comment and what makes you feel like you shouldn’t comment.

Your turn.

Photo Credit


  1. Brent Peterson on August 5, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Hi Julie.

    Thanks for the mention. I concur with Melissa and Christine’s comments. It is usually a time issue for me but I am going to follow Gini’s advice and comment more.

    I also find that a lot of people post comments to posts in LinkedIn. The comments unfortunately stay within the LI group.

    • Julie Walraven on August 5, 2010 at 8:23 am

      Hi Brent and thanks for stopping by, especially since you started the whole conversation.

      You open another can of worms when you talk about people commenting on someplace other than the blog. I wrote that post once a long time ago which was more of a rant, which said in part: When you comment on Facebook, the conversation moves off the blog and onto the Facebook page and some of that community gets lost.

  2. Melissa Cooley on August 5, 2010 at 7:29 am

    When I post to a blog, I like to add value for the blogger and for other readers. I don’t like doing “hit-and-run” comments (“Great post!” “I agree!”) because it does nothing to explain to the blogger why what they said resonated with me or to get anyone reading to think a little more.

    Sometimes it just boils down to the time factor — do I have enough time to leave a thoughtful comment? Other times, if it’s a very popular blog that tends to get lots of comments, I refrain from commenting because what I’ve been thinking has already been said. There doesn’t seem to be a need to simply post “Ditto!” (another hit-and-run). And then there are those times that I have such a long response that, instead of putting something in the comments section, I turn it into a post for my blog and reference the inspiration post.

    • Julie Walraven on August 5, 2010 at 7:39 am

      Good thoughts, Melissa and I totally agree. You however, developed an early blog-commenting strategy that worked to bring people into your blog and created innovative strategies to make you a better source for your potential client.

      Some people read and NEVER comment. Do you think they are afraid the blogger will bite?

      • Melissa Cooley on August 5, 2010 at 2:38 pm

        Depending on the person, some might 😉 And there are some who are still intensely private and don’t want to put their name out there. Of course, we know the mistake that is in terms of creating a digital footprint.

  3. Christine Livingston on August 5, 2010 at 7:54 am

    Hey, Julie

    First, thanks for the link here. It’s much appreciated!

    The question of why I comment or not is a good one. I like to comment on blogs where there’s a good resonance between my niche topic and the bloggers, and there’s something to add to the conversation. Or when something is outside of my niche but of personal or professional interest. We both comment on Jim’s Marketing Blog, for example: although I’m not a marketer it’s critical to be sharp in that area as a business person.

    I don’t comment when I know the blogger doesn’t at least occasionally comment back. I can’t stand being one of 200 also-ran comments that look like unanswered fan-mail!! Or where the post content doesn’t somehow lend itself to dialogue. Or is just another of the same post.

    Interesting question!

    • Julie Walraven on August 5, 2010 at 8:15 am

      You too build community wherever you go, Christine and your comments are always spot-on!

      I understand Seth Godin’s strategy of no comments but I don’t understand bloggers who invite and get comments and don’t talk back. I have to assume people who comment frequently in that environment are like the folks at the special event or gala ball who have a thought that if they are seen there, it elevates them to the level of the important folks…

      Thanks for always keeping it interesting!

    • Michelle on August 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm

      Oh, I hate that when they never answer. There’s a blog I read and continue to read because he has interesting posts on community building. But he never answers his comments and I finally gave up writing anything there. I find it ironic considering it’s a community building blog… LOL!


  4. Michelle on August 5, 2010 at 8:49 am

    I often read blogs while doing things like eating where it’s hard for me to do a lot of typing. If my hands are free, I’m generally typing, not browsing. So that cuts down quite a bit on my commenting.

    I also only comment when I feel I have something to add. I don’t do the “nice post” comments because I know when I get those comments I tend to be cynical and figure it’s someone just trying to get their link out.

    On that note, I am more inclined to comment places where I think other commenters or the blogger might be interested in my site. It’s a value-add for me, then. 🙂 But I still follow the rule of only commenting if I have something to say because I don’t want to be a spammer.


    • Julie Walraven on August 5, 2010 at 8:56 am

      Those are good rules, Michele and I do tend to multi-task, eat and read too. And salad dressing or ketch-up on the keys is so hard to clean up 🙂

      Yes, I agree, the atta-boy with no value-added isn’t even value added for the blogger.

      But as a blogger, you do want to know that you made an impact on the reader. I never write for SEO. I write to teach, to inspire, and sometimes to rant. So if I get the feeling I am writing in the air, I start second-guessing me and wondering if I am boring people or they don’t feel welcome or something.

      Thank you, Michele! I hope all is well in the Coulee and LaCrosse area. Your site has really changed!
      Say hi to Melissa… she lives near Madison!

      • Michelle on August 5, 2010 at 1:11 pm

        Yeah, I keep working on it so it’s changing all the time. 🙂

        I know what you mean about wondering if you’re talking to yourself. I’m not much of a blogger so don’t expect to have much of an audience there but it gets real hard to keep working on Coulee Region Online when people aren’t posting and visitors are down and I wonder if I’m doing it for nothing.

        I guess that’s another reason there why I comment. I know how it feels to write and get no response so I try to respond to encourage.


        • Julie Walraven on August 5, 2010 at 2:07 pm

          Good plan, Michele… I guess you need to develop a target audience of faithful people who need your content but I will tell you that websites with a blog attached are more likely to be loyal.

          • Michelle on August 5, 2010 at 6:19 pm

            I do have a blog on it but I’m horribly sporadic with posting. The site is still massively under construction so it’s a juggling act between building infrastructure and adding content. Once the site is completely built, I can focus more on adding content on a regular basis.

            Anyway, I think I’ve pulled this completely off topic. Sorry about that. 🙁


      • Melissa Cooley on August 5, 2010 at 2:44 pm

        Julie, thanks for the intro to Michelle.

        As it turns out, Michelle, La Crosse is my old stomping grounds! Beautiful part of Wisconsin with the Mississippi River, Grandad Bluff, Hixon Forest, the marsh… 🙂

        • Michelle on August 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm

          Whoops, and here I forgot to say hi. Sorry about that. Another aspect of commenting is I’m often doing it in a chaotic house owned by 5 and 3 year old boys. 🙂

          That’s cool that you used to live here. Yeah, it is quite beautiful. I’m from Sheboygan, originally, and do miss the lake sometimes but this area really just blows it away on the beauty scale.


          • Julie Walraven on August 5, 2010 at 7:11 pm

            Melissa can relate to little people too. She has a boy and a girl! So lots in common. I have cousins in LaCrosse so I have been there in the past but not recently.

  5. Michael Lunsford on August 5, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Commenting is an investment, it really is. It means you agree (or not) and you have an opinion on the subject. I don’t comment as often as I’d like, but I don’t read as any blogs as I would like either. I once setup an RSS reader to notify me of all the blog updates I wanted to keep up with. I get like ten a day and just struggle to find time to read them all… I tend to read yours more because your post frequency makes it much more visible to me via Twitter.

    • Julie Walraven on August 5, 2010 at 12:11 pm

      Thanks for coming to visit, Michael. It is an investment but it is an investment in the blogger’s product (thank you) and also in your own search-ability through Google. When I was playing a Google game with a class, I realized how much my comments were affecting my Google listings for Julie Walraven. Job seekers who want to be seen as intelligent candidates by employers when they Google them should strategically comment on blogs that will portray them as valuable. If you commented on a cooking or food blog, it might have value, but not as much as if your profession was as a chef or food and beverage manager.

      I post frequently because I want to build community and because there is so much in my head that needs to come out… I like blogging. It fulfills a basic need in me to write more than resumes. I like commenting for the same reason.

  6. Anna Bavido on August 5, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    One reason I typically don’t comment is that someone has already said what I think. Like Melissa, Christine, and Michelle said I want to actually add something to the conversation, not just a ditto.

    On the flip side sometimes I will have lots to say about a blog post, but won’t comment because it would be a very long comment. I worry that the comment will derail the blog post onto a totally different topic. I worry that no one will read a long comment. I worry that I will start a firestorm of comments that will turn into an argument with a bunch of stupid questions.

    • Julie Walraven on August 5, 2010 at 2:04 pm

      Interesting Anna, there is something to not being seen as repetitive. I do leave long comments sometimes and as you can see, I answer my commentors with long comments too sometimes.

      Keeping your comment on topic is important and to some bloggers, if you are way off topic and especially if you create a firestorm, you might get flack from the blogger. But I think you should spend a little time and think through your comment and maybe reread the post, I find myself going back up to read multiple times when I am commenting and that helps keep on task.

      If you indeed feel it is too long of a comment, follow Melissa’s suggestion and write your own post and you can always link to the post providing you inspiration, like I did with Brent today.

  7. Gini Dietrich on August 8, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Julie – it’s so great to have met you on Brent’s blog and thank you for the addition here! I’ve found a tool that is SUPER effective in commenting on others blogs. If you have the iPad, download the Reeder app. This pulls your Google Reader into one place and allows you to easily tweet, email, or bookmark from there. I subscribe to about 200 blogs and I can get through all of them, including commenting, in about an hour a day. Not that I do it every day, but I do try to make a point of it before I go to bed each night.

    • Julie Walraven on August 8, 2010 at 8:58 pm

      You’re welcome, Gina! This post wouldn’t have come together without the post between you and Brent. I don’t have an iPad, there might be a time in the future I get one but there are many other goals first. But I can see how that would make things go faster.

      One of the guys in a Christian Business Leader breakfast meeting I go to has been bringing his with him. I tease him about his new toy… But he’s in IT and it makes sense for him.

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