September 29, 2020
September’s Blog Audit Challenge 2020
This year I’m participating in Blog Audit Challenge 2020 hosted by Jo Linsdell. The plan is to work on making our blogs even better and setting our goals for the coming months. Each month will have its own challenge to work through. Join us!
I hope that if you are reading this that you continue to be well and that your area is opening up for business and recreation with social distancing precautions. Our county is off the state’s watch list due to a decrease in COVOD-19 cases. Hoping we can stay that way! Stay safe, blogging buddies!
September’s Challenge Focus: Developing Readership
Which is more important to develop readership, views or comments?
Over the last few months, the challenges have allowed me to improve content and design.
We looked at content gaps in August and now September’s challenge will focus on Developing Readership. We see our visitor and follower stats, but how do we know who is reading and engaging with our content? Is there a way to develop readership?
Our host for this challenge, suggests that comments help develop readership.
In my early days of blogging, I gradually grew braver in my ability to comment on the blogs I follow. I found that it started a conversation that was continued on my own blog as they reciprocated and commented on my blog. Gradually, I found blogs that I had a great deal in common with: 1. open to conversation, 2. enjoyment of similar genres, 3. perhaps in the same life stage/age group, 4. taking the connection one step further to share a post on Twitter, and 5. linking to each other’s content.
Commenting is one of the most practical ways to support your favorite blogger! Every comment brings me joy and is a tried and true strategy for developing readership and increasing engagement!
1. Optimize Comment System
- In order for this to work, commenting needs to be easy. I’ve certainly experienced frustration in trying to comment on a blog post and it just won’t work for some reason. Commenting as a WordPress blogger on another WordPress blog is certainly the easiest. Although there is one WordPress blog I follow that I cannot comment on when I try and comment from the email notification. The comment appears to go through but it never shows up on her end. But when I comment from the WordPress Reader, my comment always goes through. I had about given up when I stumbled on the solution of using the WordPress Reader rather than my email for the point of origin.
- Other times, I will enter all the required information to comment and the processing icon spins and spins and never seems to go through.
- Sometimes, the blog will require you to sign in using FB, Twitter, or Google.
- My tip for bloggers is to keep the commenting process as simple as possible! However, how do we know what the commenting process is like on our own blogs? Maybe an idea would be to set up a group of ten random friends to make a comment on your blog and report back on the process.
- If you have difficulty commenting on my blog, would you let me know?
2. Reply to All Comments
- Honestly, for me the joy of blogging is found in the comment section! The conversation that happens shows that visitors are engaging with your content. When you engage with your commenters, you develop a relationship that encourages commenters to become followers or to return again and again.
- In addition, it’s good manners to reply to someone who takes time to make a comment.
- I try my very best to reply to each comment. If I haven’t replied or your comment doesn’t show up, it’s likely that it has been sent to spam. I try to check my spam folder occasionally, but it’s daunting because hundreds of spam comments are filtered every week into the spam folder. This week I have 700 spam comments to review.
3. SEO and Comments
The host of the Blogging Challenge reminds us that comments become part of our blog content (counts as part of our overall word count) and thus is a part of SEO.
- Keywords: Just like you use keywords in your post, you want to carry through those key words in your comments. Commenters can help you out by using key words, but our reply certainly needs to contain key words. Honestly, I’m so excited to have a comment and to interact that keywords are not on my mind. I need to grow in this area. So for example, a reader might comment, “Great post!” (note no key words). However, when I reply I can use keywords from the post’s title, for example: “I’m happy you found September’s Blog Challenge helpful!” And to encourage the conversation (which also helps SEO), I could add “Do you utilize comments to develop readership?”
- When I comment on other posts, I can do better in remembering to include keywords from the title of their post in my comment because it will be a way to help their SEO.
- If my points here are confusing you, just remember that any comment is gold for the blogger!
- See my entire post on SEO and Keywords here.
4. Stats: Comments Versus Views?
- In my fourth year of blogging, I have decided to pay more attention to the number of blog comments rather than daily/weekly/monthly views. I think engagement is a more true indicator of a blog’s success. Simply because someone has visited your blog doesn’t mean he/she has read your content. Do you agree?
5. Caution: Don’t Be a Link Dropper
- I caution commenters not to be a link dropper. If dropping a link to your own blog is the only reason you are commenting, then it is not an authentic comment and I will not approve the comment. ***Edit to add: Marianne from Let’s Read wonders (in comments) whether leaving a link to your own review of the book being reviewed in the post is appropriate. This certainly is a definite reason to leave a link. I would probably approve the comment if I recognize the blogger from previous comments. This way, I’m assured that the commenter’s main motivation is to add to the conversation and not only to drop a link. Thanks for this question Marianne! Sometimes bloggers request that readers drop links, so it would be acceptable in that case. For Top Ten Tuesdays, it is generally accepted that commenters will drop links to their own TTT post. Sometimes I also request that “own voices” reviewers drop their links in comments. To be a considerate guest, the general rule is don’t drop links unless asked!
- Your blog site should be linked to your avatar, so I can always choose to visit your blog and return the comment. Logging in to comment also gives me the link to your blog. Thanks again to Marianne from Let’s Read for noticing a few months ago that my avatar wasn’t correctly linking to my blog and sticking with me during the troubleshooting process. The blogging community is the best!
October’s Challenge will focus on Social Networking.
I hope you are enjoying this Blog Challenge Series and finding it helpful! Please join the conversation in comments!
Have you thought about using comments to develop readership?
Comments or Questions?
Bloggers might be interested in my recent experience with the WordPress Block Editor:
A Week in the Life of the Block Editor and Me.
Find all the Blog Audit Challenge posts:
Find January’s Challenge Here.
Find February’s Challenge Here.
Happy Reading Book Buddies!
“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke
“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes
“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text
Let’s Get Social!
Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.
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***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.
Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.
Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.
Such an interesting post Carol! I loved reading these and always find something really helpful and learn something new! I’m not keen on links being dropped either but let them through if I’m in a good mood! 😂
Thanks Nicki! 🙌 I think it’s always fun to talk shop!
Great list. I totally agree, the comment section is the part where you reach out to other bloggers, I totally enjoy that.
I have a different opinion about the link dropping. I love when someone gives me a link. For example, if I review a book and someone mentions they reviewed it ages ago, I rather have the link to that exact review so I can see what they write than having to search through their page. Some people have an easy way to find a review but for others, it takes ages.
So, sorry if I have offended you from time to time by linking to my review, I only meant to be helpful.
Yes…I I agree! Links to previous reviews are helpful and NOT offensive! I find them interesting but I think I would only allow them or click them from a known commentor! Maybe I need to edit the post to clarify this a bit more! Thanks for commenting and I also should give you credit for helping me link my avatar! Later today I’ll work on editing the post a bit! Thanks for your valuable input Marianne!
Hey! I updated the post to include your comment and also to give you a shout out for troubleshooting my avatar! 🙌
Thanks a lot. And no problem with the avatar. We should always help each other out and that was also what my input to this post intended.
As I said, you have a nice “tag list” AND an A-Z list where I can find any of the books you ever reviewed (as do I) but not everyone does and sometimes it is hard to find their books. And if I’m not really that interested in a link, I don’t have to go there, right?
Anyway, glad we understand each other so well. It hasn’t been that long that we “met”.
Have a good day.
Thanks! And that reminds me I have to catch up my A-Z list! It’s always nice to chat with you Marianne!
Likewise, Carol. I try to update my A-Z list as soon as I write a review, otherwise I’d always forget. LOL.
I get to my end of month wrap up and think “oh no….it’s been a month!” 😱
I’m loving your takeaways from the Blog Audit Challenge. I personally like comments over page views as, like you pointed out, it shows people are actually reading the posts. It’s the part that makes blogging fun and gives the most satisfaction. Page views are just numbers but the comments section is where we connect with our people. Keep up the good work. You’re doing great!
Thanks for reading and commenting Jo! I appreciate your kind words! I can’t believe I was scared to leave comments for the longest time! It’s silly because the relationships that are established and the conversations supply the joy! I admire how you SEO’d your comment! I definitely need to get better at this!!! I’m usually giddy that someone read my post and commented and I forget all about SEO. Thanks for hosting the Blog Challenge!
My pleasure Carol. I’m glad you’re enjoying the challenge. A lot of readers don’t comment on blog posts for the very same reason. You are not alone. This is why including a CTA asking them a question related to the topic of the blog post can help. They don’t have to come up with a comment from nothing that way. The prompt is already there to help them get started. Also when readers see that you reply to comments left on the posts they are more likely to take the time to comment as they already know you will be listening to what they have to say. Blog posts where the host never replies to comments left are a big turn off as readers, quite rightly, ask themselves “what’s the point?” A reply also opens the path for the conversation to continue further… and gives you more opportunities to work on your SEO 😉
Knowing that the comment section counts toward your total blog content is huge motivation! I totally enjoy the relationships I’ve built through commenting! It’s a welcome break from the pressure of creating content and posting and promoting!
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Interesting Carol. I don’t think that I’m a link dropper, but have on occasion included a link to my review of the same book being discussed.
I had a very unsavory experience when I did just that. The woman got very angry and blocked me from her blog and from Twitter. I was distraught.
Oh no! I’m sorry that happened to you! It’s very understandable to want to drop a similar link!
I rarely drop links…but I did once and the blog owner kindly but pointedly told me that I clearly hadn’t read his commenting guidelines and he deleted the link before he approved my comment.
And, oh no, Carol! Honestly, that never happened to me. If someone isn’t interested in what others might have to say about a book, they’re only out to earn money with their blog. I’m here to communicate. 😉
Yes to the conversation and connection! Thanks Marianne!
This says more about the woman than about you, Fictionphile. I often include links to books that I also reviewed and most people happily respond and enjoy talking about the book. Don’t give up, you’re doing alright!
I have enjoyed reading your posts about your Blog Audit Challenge throughout the year. (see I read your post) This makes sense, especially responding to comments others make. I will try to use keywords in my comments when I remember. I don’t think I have included links in comments, but if someone does on my blog, I usually check it out. If it is inappropriate, then I delete it, but that has never happened.
Thanks for commenting and reading And SEOing your comment Carla! You’re the best! I’m usually so eager to chat I forget Keywords! The comment itself is gold though!
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[…] Find September’s Challenge Here. […]
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Thank you for the great advice on adding SEO to comments. That has never occurred to me🌺
You’re welcome! It’s the one thing I have the most difficult time remembering to do! I get too caught up in the joy of conversation! Have you done a blog audit challenge? Persistent attention to SEO seems to show results over time!
A blog audit challenge is officially on my to do list!🌺