Friday, May 16, 2008

31 Day Comment Challenge - Day 10

I am trying to catch up with the Comment Challenge so here goes with the activity for Day 10. Today I have to do an audit of my blog looking at what encourages people to comment here, and what puts people off. My guide for this exercise is Michele Martin's 'Six reasons people aren't commenting on your blog'.

1. You sound like a press release
I do have a range of posts on this blog. Some posts aim to deliver information in a factual way that are not meant to engage discussion. Some posts are a personal statement from me and whilst it is nice to hear people's opinions on the post, it is not the post's primary function. But the majority of my posts are personal comments that aim to start discussion and I usually end them with a question that hopefully encourages interaction from the reader.

2. You sound like an infomercial
I do not use this blog to sell products but I do like to advertise my own activities such as the free midwifery web seminars that I am trying to promote. But I am confident that these posts are minimal.

3. You sound like a know-it-all
Umm. I don't think I do. I know I might be a little didactic at times but this is 'my' blog so I am allowed to voiced my own opinions. But I am open to challenge and I think I am very honest about my feelings and thoughts so I do not think this is a problem.

4. You haven't showed them how
I have developed an information page about making comments as a result of my learning from the 31 Day Blog Challenge. I am not sure how many people look at the page but the feedback on the page itself has been that it is clear, detailed information. Have a look and tell me what you think.

5. You haven't created the right atmosphere
I don't think that is a problem and I do take deliberate measures to create an inviting atmosphere such as adding personal information and photos that gives the readers a sense of who I am as an individual; make sure I add touches of humor; ask questions to engage readers and respond to all comments and emails.

6. You just don't seem that into it
I'm sure that is not a problem - I am passionate about midwifery, blogging and social networking. If anything, I am too into it!

I'd love to hear any feedback from you about these points and how I can encourage people to leave comments on this blog.

Image: 'Quaaaaack' tifotter


Sue Waters said...

Hi Sarah - as you know I think you are doing an excellent job with your blog. I can't think of anything more you can do to get people to leave comments.

Claire Thompson said...

Sarah, I agree that you set a friendly and welcoming tone. I read your 'About This Blog' page and you give straightforward information on the purpose of your blog and how to comment. I think the changes you've made to the appearance and layout of your blog over the last few months have made it easier for readers to navigate and get the information that they are looking for. Keep up the great work!

inpi said...

I was relieved to know that you too are trying to catch up with the Challenge; I was afraid to be the only one behind!
I hope you get late because you are dwelling with your professional inspiring activities, like midwifery.
I wish you a happy Challenge!

Lisa Barrett said...

I think the only thing that you could alter is the headings to your posts. Some of them wouldn't inspire readers. Jazzy catchy titles inspire people to read and comment. This is something I'm working on myself. Would would you suggest for me?

Sarah Stewart said...

I have to say, Lisa, that I think you have an extremely valid point. I find developing titles for posts to be the most difficult thing about blogging. I think there is a fine line between catching a reader's eye but at the same time informing them about the post. I think my problem is that I have a wide audience. A post title that would mean something to the e-learning reader would not necessarily catch the midwife and visa versa. So this is why I struggle with my post titles. Any suggestions will be gratefully received!

Just had another thought - I try to think about how my title will be found in a search. So I don't like to have too obscure a title because it is less likely to be found in a 'midwifery' or 'e-learning' search.

Sarah Stewart said...

Claire and Sue: thanks for your comments - its been your feedback & support over the months that has got this blog to where it is.

Ines, I'm sure we're not the only ones a little behind. I think I did the 31 day blog challenge in about 69 days. I think it is important that we don't rush our learning. So...have fun!

Michele Martin said...

Sarah, I think you do a great job of encouraging comments, including doing one of the key things that we haven't discussed--responding to your commenters. That makes people want to connect to you and come back to comment again because they feel like their comments were heard. And it also looks like that's paying off because it seems to me that you've definitely been seeing growth in the number of conversations going on here.

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Michele, I couldn't agree more - I did mention in my post that I make a deliberate point of responding to all comments and emails. This is a strategy that I learned from you and Sue Waters, and I have found a growth of comments on my blog which has been great. I know from personal experience that I am less likely to keeping reading a blog if there is no interaction between myself and the blogger. Thanks to you and Sue for role modeling that to me.