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Deciding If Your Blog Needs Comments To Succeed (5 Questions To Ask Yourself) – No. 2 of 4

Written by Tayo Solagbade

Topics: Writing/Blogging

This is the second post in the series I began last week. The first post titled " Should You Worry About Getting Blog Comments? argued that you need to determine if your blog needs comments to succeed – instead of worrying about what others say. Note that I refer specifically to blogging for business purposes, with emphasis on earning income via sales of products and services.

Why this series? There’s a lot of debate surrounding the value of comments. Many blog owners are not sure what to think or do as a result. This series offers ideas to help interested blog owners decide if their kind of blog needs (or does not need) comments to succeed – and steps to take in either case.

In this second post, I suggest you find your own answers to the following five questions, to help you decide if your blog needs comments to succeed.

1. Will Comments Help You Achieve Your Performance Goals?

As already stated, I’m talking blogging as a strategy to facilitate earning financially rewarding returns for products and service you offer. Traditional indices for measuring business progress apply here. Marketplace name/brand recognition, leads generation, and sales are examples.

If getting blog comments will significantly improve the results you record for the above indices, then it could mean your blog needs them to succeed.

2. What Is Your Target Audience’s Preference?

Is your target audience the openly "chatty" kind? Or are they mostly people who prefer not to be visible (even though they appreciate the content your “serve”)?

The latter usually favour communicating less publicly e.g. via email or phone. Examples are corporate types in sensitive positions who need your "consulting" know how to enhance their work performance. But they do not wish to draw undue attention to themselves, or their employers, by engaging you "publicly".

Your answer(s) will influence your decision about how to “chase” comments.

Defining your target audience profile is a basic requirement in business. Even if you’re not worried about comments, you need to do this. It will guide you in creating new, targetted content to attract pre-qualified prospects traffic.

In addition, knowledge of your target audience can help you decide how to present your sales offers. People react to being sold differently. Also, what you’re selling may sometmes influence how you sell.

Once you understand your audience, you’ll have a feel for how best to engage them. Of course there will always be need to try new things, and even test old ones, to ensure you’re getting the best possible results.

The above reasoning applies to comments as well.

3. How Are Other Blogs (In Your Niche) Doing With Comments?

Study other blogs in your chosen niche. Take care to ensure you’re comparing like with like. Otherwise, you’re likely to arrive at misleading impressions.

Who are the owners? 

If the blog you are comparing yours with, is owned by a celebrity of some sort, be careful. What you see may not represent a normal situation. Except of course you’re one as well (in which case I’d be truly at a loss as to why you’d possibly need to read this post!)

How long have the other blogs been around? 

An older blog may have started out with "quiet" followers who over time became clients/customer via sales facilitated by email and telephone interaction.The owner may then have over time subtly used the established trust to encourage them to comment visibly on the blog. Even then, comments volume on this kind of blog may still be low – though possibly high quality in nature. 

Now, even if you find blogs in your niche boasting volumes of comments, you still need to ascertain IF (and how) getting those comments benefits them.

If "popularity" or the impression of "busy-ness " is the main benefit they seem to be getting from having many comments, you should pass!

4. What Will Managing Comments Cost You?

Your answer to this will depends on the kind of work you do. Like I said earlier, some people (me, for example) run blogs to complement other marketing they do both on and off the web. Some may lack time that can be devoted to managing high volume of comments, if such a situation develops.

The above becomes pertinent in light of a "rule" in the blogosphere that recommends responding to every comment posted – to at least say "thanks!".

Doing so can however become a demanding maintenance chore at some point, especially if/when comments volume grows. For those with other legitimate business building tasks to attend to, a conflict emerges about how to prioritize.

If blog comments do not directly generate a potentially beneficial return for you, managing them becomes a productivity drain you can do without.

You could of course hire someone to do it…but that option would only be viable, if the cost of doing so, can be justified by the ROI you expect to reap.

If Steve Pavlina’s published reasons for closing comments on his site some time ago are anything to go by, you’ll probably want to think carefully over this one!

5. Will Comments On Your Blog Be (Directly or Indirectly) Cashable?

Can you set your blog up in a way that attracts visitors to post (a) request for your order page URL or account details to make payment or (b) testimonials/useful buying advice for other intending buyers? If YES, then comments on your blog could be considered “cashable”.

I recently visited a popular expert’s blog, and noticed something like the above. Some visitors posted enquiries that prompted him to insert a link to his book’s sales page, or to recommend they signup for a paid consultation or coaching.

Interestingly, others who followed read the earlier entries, and promptly commented that they would also be registering for the expert’s coaching or buying his books. In this case, the commenting system inadvertently facilitated sales for the blog’s owner. Whether you can reliably control the outcome of that process on your blog is, of course, an entirely different matter!

Final Words

At the end of the day, it’s really all about strategy. Technology was made for us, and not the other way round. We just need to establish what works for us. So, think carefully about what you currently offer (or plan to) on your blog, based on this post’s five questions. Then decide how comments fit into the picture.

Next Post: Six Potentially Useful Measures of Your Blog’s Performance (Hint: Comments Vs. Five Others) – Coming on Saturday 20th October 2012

Blog Comments Multi-Post Series – Table of Contents

Post 1: Should You Worry About Getting Blog Comments?
Post 2: Deciding If Your Blog Needs Comments To Succeed (5 Questions To Ask Yourself)
Post 3: Six Potentially Useful Measures of Your Blog’s Performance (Hint: Comments Vs. Five Others)

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Tayo earns multiple streams of income providing clients with personal development training/coaching, custom MS Excel-VB solutions, web marketing systems, freelance writing services, and best practice extension support services (for farm business owners).

[IMPORTANT: This blog's contents are being updated following the transfer to www.tayosolagbade.com from my former domain - Spontaneousdevelopment.com. As a result, some parts of it may not work properly for now. Quick Tip: If a link contains "spontaneousdevelopment.com", simply change it to "tayosolagbade.com" - and it should work. This applies to article links as well as image links. Work continues to update the links(in over 500 articles). Tayo K. Solagbade.]

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