Wednesday, August 26, 2015

How to Survive a Viscous Comment Count

I don’t know if there are any other bloggers out there who compulsively check their emails daily hourly every five minutes to see if anyone has commented on their latest post, but if you are one such blogger, then you are not alone.

I check my email CONSTANTLY.

via ShortList
It’s kind of silly. More than other forms of writing, blogging comes with a sense of immediate dispersal and immediate feedback, and more and more, I find that I am living for that feedback. I shouldn’t—but I do.

Inevitably, not every post gets the same response, and when you’re used to getting semi-immediate feedback, a post that goes on for days without a response kind of feels like a failure. After all, popular posts are filled with comments.

I am here to (hypocritically) tell you not to freak out. Or maybe to tell myself not to freak out. Because, as I write this, I’m worried about my latest post—and you know what? I shouldn’t. Here are a few things we can do instead.

via Her Campus

1. Be Patient

Not everyone can get to blog posts immediately, myself included. Though I may only get two or three comments the first day I publish a post, by the time I respond to comments at the end of the week, that number has often doubled or tripled. Be patient; give people a few days to read and respond.

via blippo-kawaii

2. Go Comment

Here is a correlation for you: when I don’t comment on other blogs, I don’t receive as many, either. Going out into the blogosphere is not just a way to get your mind off of things, but a way to surreptitiously invite people back to your blog as well. Get to networking!

via Buzzfeed

3. Take a Hit

Readers don’t read everything. I tend to skim book reviews and rarely comment, not because I think they’re bad—I just don’t use them to find my reading material. Even if your readers decide to skip one of your posts, it isn’t a gauge of your blog’s entire quality. You may just have to try again with another post.

via the-jellicle-cats

4. Remember Other Wins

Sometimes it can be tricky to tell how well a post is going to go over—but being the blog-master you are, you have the power to look at stats of posts that went over well a long time ago. It’s worth studying your successful posts, not just because they’re something to be proud of, but because you can learn from them, and perhaps replicate them at a later date. There is always room for approval.

via Kill the Rats

5. Put Your Egocentrism in the Corner

I love to talk about the things I love. I do! But people read blog posts because the blogger and reader share a mutual concern. My religious posts will always have a smaller readership, as will my book and movie reviews. It’s not that I can’t or won’t talk about those things, but connecting with others often means considering what my readers want to get out of my posts before I put in what I want to say.

via Giphy

6. Consider Success

Some bloggers use their comment count as a measure of overall success—I’ve even seen bloggers give out prizes for those who will write the fiftieth, hundredth, whatever comment. That is way too much work for me. Here at Sometimes I’m a Story, my success is in reaching out to my peers, discussing our mutual interests of reading, writing, and blogging, and having fun in my beloved blogging community. Consider the same for your blog—what does success mean for you?


I checked my email during the first drafting of this email, but not during the second, so kudos to me. I can take my own medicine. Sometimes.

Tell me: how do you gauge your blog’s success? Does a post’s comment count factor into that definition? How do you avoid obsessing over the numbers?


22 comments :

  1. Great post--I'm one of those check-their-email-every-ten-seconds types, too. Which is super silly, so thanks for the tips! I think it's important to remember that not everybody will respond to the same post in the same way, but that doesn't mean you've failed at blogging.

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    1. I'm glad to know that I'm not alone! I agree with you—blogging isn't an equal-circumstances enterprise. Thanks for reading, Alex!

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  2. Ah, this post was therapy. I worry so much about the reaction to my posts every time I hit the publish button. When I don't get comments, I feel like a failure. I don't know if that is good or not, but it is the plain ol truth.

    Anyhow, your tips are helpful - particularly the bit about studying past successes, not to wallow in pride but to really figure out what it was that struck a cord with readers so that you can give more of that in the future.

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    1. That's something I'm glad to hear. It's hard to gauge how we feel about our posts sometimes if we don't know how other people feel, too. It's a truth in our lives, I think, but even so, it is what we make of it.

      *nods* Study your successes and become even more awesome. I think that's something I could work on, too. Thanks for reading, Susanna!

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  3. Comment getting can really affect my ego (and considering how many followers we have, we don't get that many comments) and this was a helpful post, so thank you, Heather. I do like to remind myself of successful posts when I'm feeling down, but compared to our first few months of blogging, we get sooo many comments, which is great. Helpful post!

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    1. *nods* Followers often don't correspond with how many followers you get, I'm afraid. :P It's good to know that your blog keeps growing, and I hope that continues for you this year! :) Thanks for commenting, Shar!

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  4. I'm right there with you on the compulsive email checking train...thing. Sometimes I'll get myself out of that rut, and I'll be doing good and all, and then I'll slip back in. For instance, a few days ago, every time I checked my email I had at least one new comment--so obviously, it was a really exciting day, and I got an all-time high comment count on one of my posts. But then the next day, I found myself checking my email even more often and being rather disappointed to find that the comments didn't keep coming in. So it's so difficult to strike a balance and then maintain that balance. I need to keep reminding myself why comments are great--because I can interact with my readers and see what they have to say, not because I can gauge how popular/talented/well-loved I am.

    I know it's hard not to compare my average comment counts with other bloggers. I can see how long they've been blogging and wonder if I'm "doing it wrong"--or I can be a little smug and think, "oh, well they don't have as many comments as me. *smirky-smirk*" Which is totally not okay. *slaps self* So it's important for me to recognize that problem in my pride (because I feel insecurity is a form of pride). And I think my book reviews have been good for me in that way. Maybe not as many people are as interested in reading them, and it's important for me to be okay with the lower comment count on those. I enjoy writing them, and the comments I do get can lead to some interesting discussions as readers share they're varying viewpoints/impressions, like with my Mockingjay post. So I think it's important for me to appreciate that sometimes the smaller packages--fewer comments--can be just as encouraging and fun as the larger packages--more comments but maybe less in depth sometimes.

    I think this could also apply to the number of followers. I see so many people with way more followers than me, and I can wonder what I'm doing wrong. I can start to live for that moment when I'll get a few more. (It's funny, because I get way more page views each week than the number of followers I have, so it shouldn't even be an issue).

    Anyway, this comment is getting kind of long, so I'll stop yammering. But yeah, I really appreciate this post--thanks for sharing and being willing to open up to us about your struggles. :)

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    1. YAY I LOVE LONG COMMENTS! :D

      I think your anecdote is really why checking your email can end up feeling so damaging. The fact that responses can be so inconsistent means that you can end up with inconsistent feelings, too. But you're totally right! Comments aren't about receiving praise, they're about our ability to interact with our readers, and that's an important thing we should never forget. Heck, I need to remember that more days than not.

      I feel exactly the same. Especially because I'm going on almost two years of blogging and I only have thirty followers and usually 6-11 comments on my posts, and there are bloggers who have been at it for less than a year and yet have SO MUCH MORE. But you're right, there's something to be said about being prideful that I need to cut down on, too, and that the things I enjoy don't have to be popular for them to be awesome. *nods seriously* I agree with you, though. This comment makes me happy just because you put so much thought into it, and I'll appreciate it more than perhaps my most-commented-on posts, where a lot of strangers tell me sweet nothings. So we are in agreement here.

      And yeah, followers. *sigh* I don't know how to get followers, but that's okay. I just be me and people show up and that's all I can ask of them.

      Thanks for sharing YOUR perspective, Liz, and putting so much thought into your response! :)

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  5. Since I use Wordpress.com, comment and like count are both important factors that I use to measure my blog's success. And you're right, it's really not worth the stress of worrying over posts, but it's insanely hard not to. I'm a super competitive person, so when I don't get as many likes and comments as I used to, I tend to get worried that I'm doing something wrong. I love your tips, though! Thanks for the advice.

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    1. *nods* Definitely one of the hardest parts of being a blogger, I'd say. We put so much value in statistics that we almost seem to devalue everything else valuable about our blogs. I feel that way too sometimes, though, so don't feel alone! Thanks for reading, Precious. :)

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  6. Ughhhh this is the hardest thing about blogging for me. *mopes* I think I'm getting better at realizing that my blog is for getting my thoughts and feelings out into the world, and not for everyone to comment on, but it's still discouraging sometimes. Still, I try to comment on lots of blogs and be an encouragement to other bloggers, which really does help. (and a lot of the time, I stress over pageviews more than comments.)

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    1. It is hard, isn't it? :P I think it's most discouraging because sometimes it feels like you're stuck wondering if people don't care about the things you like or if they simply don't care about YOU. And those are depressing thoughts to nurse. Nonetheless, I agree—when I try to encourage others, I tend to feel better about my posts, too. :) (Ugh, don't even get me started on pageviews...)

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  7. I'm not too worried about it except for on my serial posts. Yesterday, I had my brother looking at some technical things on my blog and he mentioned that I get pretty decent traffic. I'm just like "oh, really?" Didn't even notice. I figure, as long as I have some engagement on each post, I'm happy. :) Great advice on here if I ever start going all obsessive on it!

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    1. *nods* It's engaging with our peers that really matters. I like your positive attitude! And, of course, I'm glad that you're getting good traffic. Thanks for stopping by, Madilyn! :)

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  8. Yes, I am a constant email checker as well. I'm sensing a trend in the blogging community... And thanks for some great advice!

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    1. Funny how we all feel this way, right? XD Still, it's good we're not all alone in our bad habits and desires. :)

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  9. I'm not the only one! I pretty much measure everything about my blog by comments. It's terrible :/ You've got some great advise though :)

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    1. *high fives* Welcome to our club. It's definitely something hard, but hopefully we'll manage to get through this all, and soon. Thanks for stopping by, Opal!

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  10. Yeah... I totally do this. Constantly. :p As I comment right now, I desperately want to check my own count on my latest post, but I am restraining myself, lol.

    Anyways, great post! I really like that last tip because I haven't thought too much recently about what I think success is--at least on my blog. I think for now, I consider it a success if I continue to grow and learn, reach out to people, and have fun in the blogging community. That's an awesome question, though. Definitely something I want to think about more. :)

    BTW, I tagged you for some blog awards! Don't feel obligated to do them, but here's the link if you want to. :) http://thessalexa.blogspot.com/2015/08/tag-week-versatile-blogger-award-and.html


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbositybookreviews.wordpress.com

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    1. Well, you keep restraining yourself! It's a good thing you're doing.

      I hadn't thought of success, either, but recent events suddenly made it crystal clear to me what my blog is about, and that gave me a lot of insight into what I'm here for. Those are awesome parameters you've set for yourself, though, and I hope the answers continue to be relevant for you!

      Thanks for tagging me! I'm afraid I've already done them, but I appreciate the gesture. :)

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  11. Oh god, this post seems to speak to me on so many levels it's not even funny. Because if I have disappeared from the blogosphere for a while and not regularly commented on a few blogs, it feels like if I publish a post, the minute comment count is a value of my self worth. Which is stupid. Because I shouldn't, but it happens and I feel like taking the post down or some other drastic measure like that.

    I've been blogging for a while, but I'll see these bloggers who've only been blogging for a month and are already one of of the most commented on out there, and I'll wonder how they managed to get done what took me almost a year to realize. So yeah, I do get jealous sometimes, but lately I've decided to take things easy, because hey, this blog is just a blog after all, and I should look at the fun side of blogging - the reason I started.

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    1. Well, worry not—it seems like we're not alone. Comment counts can be so depressing, just because they seem to represent us, not just our blogs, and that's so frustrating. But we can't give in like that.

      And yes! I have no idea how they do that stuff, or where they get all their followers, or anything like that... But yes, you're right. Jealousy isn't going to get us anywhere, and so we really ought to focus on the other parts of blogging! Thanks for your thoughts, Nirvana!

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Check it out, comments and stuff. I love to hear from readers, and I always respond to commenters! Here's the fun part—if you leave a link to your blog I'll show up and comment back. I have just one rule down here: Don't Be a Problem. This spans the entire umbrella of rudeness and crudeness, so I reiterate: Don't Be a Problem. Thanks for stopping by!