In December 1997, Jorn Barger of Robot Wisdom coined the term “weblog.” It combined the word “web” and “log,” and at the time such “weblogs” were incredibly basic. There were no push button services at the time, and not just anyone could start plugging away. Eventually, “weblog” got shortened to “blog” sometime around the year 2000, and we have seen massive changes ever since. WordPress, Blogger, Typepad and others have made it super easy for anyone to start creating content, helping to make their voice heard.
As blogs started to evolve, so did the level of interaction around them. The rise of search engines made content easy to discover for the first time ever, and commenting systems made it so that posts were no longer one-sided. Now, thanks to the age of social media, search engines are no longer the main source of discovery. Despite getting my start at blogging around 2008 when Facebook and Twitter were really beginning to gain traction, I always valued comments.
I would see other blogs with lots of comments, and by putting two and two together, assumed that comments are a good measure of a blog’s success. However, as the years went by, and averaging around 2,500 visitors per month when I was very active, comments just never did flood in as I had hoped. In fact, there were more than a handful of posts that did not receive a single comment, yet did okay traffic wise.
Paying attention to what other bloggers were doing, I asked open ended questions, and made it easy for anyone to leave a comment, also ditching the standard commenting system that comes with WordPress. Little seemed to work, and that assumption ended up turning into feelings of failure. Eventually, I reached a simple, yet very important conclusion…
It Doesn’t Matter How Many Comments Your Posts Receive. What Matters Is The Total Impact Your Posts Have On Others. (Tweet This)
With social media, replies, comments and shares would come in from several different avenues. Occasionally, I would get messages or emails from those who enjoyed a particular post or what I had to say, and ultimately, would land new business. Sometimes through learning from others, we pick up thoughts or set expectations that just aren’t accurate.
Comments or no comments, we should focus more on delivering our best work possible. As times have changed, so has the measure of a blog’s success and there is no real true measure since everyone has a different definition of success. Maybe it is traffic, X amount of email subscribers or so many ebook sales.
Today’s blogging platforms have created a better experience for everyone, and commenting systems like Livefyre make standard setups look like they were built in 1995. While, yes, creating new content and getting it out there is easier than ever, just because you are not getting tens of comments every post or 50 Facebook shares, does not make your blog posts not successful. Sometimes, it is not all about numbers.
Are your expectations accurate, or are you relying on preconceived notions?
Photo credit: premasagar
Mike Stenger is a writer with a love of all things technology.