At the Murray Bridge Golf Club yesterday, I got to talk about blogging with business people from all over the region at The Shift, an event organised by the Regional Development Authority of the Murraylands and Riverland.
One of the most popular questions was, if I start blogging and turn comments on, do I need to answer all of them and will I get overrun by them?
I conjured up the image of Benny Hill in a golf cart being chased around a course!
It’s a great question and I’d like to share a few thoughts.
Where’s the problem?
My first response is to consider where the problem is.
One of the most crucial things in the life of all (or most) businesses is the lifeblood of new enquiries.
Therefore, I would argue that having content that inspires people to engage with you should be viewed as the Holy Grail.
Not all the commenters will be sales prospects, but they might be connected to some; either way, each new comment reminds Google your story/blog exists and is worth sharing with others.
As a result of this position, I do fall on the side of leaving comments on.
The reality of blogs and comments
The reality for most of us, if we are crafting good, sensible content that turns up in search when it is relevant to our target market, is that they will found our articles, weigh up our messages and either contact us or move on.
The reality is that most Australians are lurkers.
This means, most Aussies visiting a blog article, even if they like it, will NOT be inclined to comment upon it.
So this means that even having a blog that is kicking goals with your marketing objectives can still have few or even no comments. The important thing is, that is OKAY.
The bloggers who fish for comments are often those who have advertising that earns them money the more you click around on their websites; they’ll do anything to seed comments.
But in the small to medium business world, our typical focus will be on getting found and being useful to our target market so they can engage us or buy from us in the ‘real world’.
The netiquette of responding to blog comments
In my opinion, if someone does take the time to comment on your blog (either on your website, or in the comment field on Facebook if you have shared a link to your blog post there), it is good netiquette to respond.
Think of it this way. Somebody has taken time to ask you a question or comment on your business content despite being under no obligation to.
Some of these people will not expect a response and feel quite touched when you do acknowledge them, either with a thank you or an answer to their question.
Either way, your simple act should be viewed as one more mechanism to give someone a fresh story ABOUT YOU to share with their friends or colleagues.
So, in summary, while you certainly can turn comments off, I would suggest leaving them on because the benefits outweigh the risks and should prove to be easily manageable
If I am wrong, and you do get run off your feet with people wanting to talk with you about your business/passion – where’s the problem?