Reading other blogs was one big reason I started this blog. If other people could do it, I sure as heck could too!
I still love blogs. On them, everyday people share their lives and their thoughts. I think we all lead interesting lives and I’m deeply curious about yours. But I won’t just come up to you and ask you to tell me your stories. When you have a blog, I can come visit and get to know you.
Sometimes, a post really touches, moves, amuses, or otherwise impresses me and I leave a comment. It is always a little disappointing when it is ignored. It is flat out frustrating when I want to leave a comment, but the blog doesn’t accept them.
I get it, I don’t have a Constitutional right to comment, and nobody owes me a response. But my frustration and disappointment led me to set a policy when I started my blog (way back in 2007): I would allow comments, and I would respond to every comment.
That was easy at first, as few people read what I wrote. By 2015 this blog was getting about 2,500 comments a year, and sometimes comments would turn into long threads going back and forth. It became a little challenging to keep up. So I modified my policy: I’d respond to every initial comment, but I didn’t have to have the last word in every thread.
I think that my reply policy is why this blog gets so many comments, and why the overwhelming majority of comments are of good quality. People really like the interaction.
Having conversations with you in the comments has turned out to be enriching for me, as well. I learn so much from you. Just this morning someone commented on one of my recent Michigan Road posts having done some research with old maps, finding an old alignment of the road I had missed. When I taught myself to develop and scan black-and-white film, several of you offered meaningful advice that shortened my learning curve considerably. And when my oldest child died, your condolences really did help me grieve.
Because of this, I don’t understand bloggers who ignore comments or don’t accept them in the first place.
I make an exception for bloggers who are well known. For whatever reason, commenters come out of the woodwork with axes to grind. But most of the bloggers I follow are everyday people with small followings. My blog gets about a quarter million pageviews a year, which ain’t bad, but that still places it in the “small following” category.
If you blog but don’t allow comments, try turning them on. Try responding to comments. I believe it attracts loyal readers.
I do have a comment policy, finally implemented last year when a couple comment threads got out of hand. Read it here.