Group Post: Building Comments/Community On Your Blog

1 post. 7 bloggers. 1 paragraph each. I introduce to you the group post.

I had an idea for a unique post. As a blogger I love learning from other bloggers. What if I could gather some of my favorite bloggers into one post? A Group post. I asked some of my favorites to write one paragraph about the exact same subject. How to build comments/community. Each bring a unique perspective to the table. Each have a great community at their site. Each collect a lot of comments on a daily basis. I love the results. I hope that you will not only learn from these ninja bloggers but that you will also check out their sites. Each has a high quality blog that I love! Enjoy…
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Clay Morgan

How do you get comments? Nothing is ever a substitute for good content, but even good content won’t matter if no one knows you exist. Find other bloggers and interact with them on their sites and through Twitter. They’ll come find you if they play the game properly. The idea of building community is a much larger question even though Rob told me I had to come up with answers in only a paragraph or he’d make a voodoo doll version of my website and spam it. Community = people hanging out. Where do people hang? Where it’s fun and interesting. Create events and get readers involved. Most of all though, ask people what they think about the topic you just wrote on. I try to always engage readers by leaving a relevant question to guide the discussion. That’s how conversations build in the comments sections and community is formed.

Clay Morgan blogs at Educlaytion

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Leanne Shirtliffe

I didn’t always get many comments on my blog. Even ten months after I started, I’d maybe get 12 and a few of those were my own (yes, I talk to myself respond to others). Last October, I was Freshly Pressed. That increased my comment count for two days. Yup, 48 hours. It wasn’t until four months later that I began to be more strategic. This is what I did:

  • I started reading and commenting sincerely on a lot of other blogs (hint: use a reader so your inbox doesn’t become your enemy). I’d also read the comments on these blogs and click through to meet new writers (and I’d comment on their blog).
  • I asked an interesting and relatable (and often humorous) question at the end of my posts.
  • I responded to each comment.
  • I befriended Clay Morgan, who seems to be the internet’s Mr. Six-Degrees-of-Separation.
  • I started using Tweetdeck and organized a column (which I keep private) called “My Faves” (I know Rob’s sweating about his own membership status ;). This enables me to keep track of and participate in what my community (my tribe?) is doing and saying and retweeting.
  • I took some of my blogging relationships to the next level: Facebook, email, instant messaging, and Skype.
  • I read Kristen Lamb’s blog and her book We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media.

Leanne Shirtliffe blogs at Ironic Mom

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Moe

By nature we are emotional people. We react when our emotions are triggered. So what I do is write posts that will trigger some sort of emotion such as laughter, sadness, anger. I also like to put myself in situations. Give a first person view of the story. This has worked well with my Usual Suspects series.  I’ve found that when this happens people are more likely to respond with their perspective. When they do, I begin to ask them questions and build relationships with them. If they are on Twitter, I send them tweets and I begin to invest in their lives. Some of these people have become very good friends. I Skype with some of them and done some face to face meet ups.

Moe blogs at Beta Christian

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Tamara Lunardo

I think that most bloggers would tell you the two best ways to build comments are to ask a related question at the end of each post for people to respond to (or better, a few questions to open up ways people might prefer to engage) and to then respond thoughtfully to each comment. And although these methods work, to me, they’re not the most important factor. Whether I ask questions or respond to every comment, I’ve found this to be true: If I write a post that resonates deeply with people, they want to talk about it. If I write a post that makes them snort their coffee, they want to talk about it. If I write a post that people deem particularly well crafted, regardless of topic or tone, they want to talk about it. So I think the very best way to build comments is to give people something worth commenting on.

Tamara Lunardo blogs at Tamara Out Loud

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Michael Perkins

Experts would say if you want to build a blogging community you should:  Write short posts, ask a question at the end, write a lot of guest posts, and blah, blah, blah.

It’s actually a lot simpler than that.

If you want to build community on your blog you need to start caring about the readers more than you care about growing your platform.  Blogging IS about giving and adding value.  And NOT about what can we get from the reader. (comments, RT’s, & Likes)  When readers see that we are givers and not takers, community is born.

Michael Perkins blogs at Untitled by Michael Perkins.

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Tony Alicea

Over the course of blogging for the past year, I developed my community in two ways. First was through comments. I still respond to every comment. Not just a “Thanks for commenting!” but an actual thoughtful reply. I also like to ask questions to further the discussion. It makes people feel like their opinion is valued and heard. Secondly, I’ve opened up my platform to my community. I’ve had about 15 people guest post on my blog. It’s a great way to add a unique voice to the topics I write about. It also offers a way for my readers to connect with each other. My strategy for community is about making it bigger than me. I’m just a host to discuss the topics we’re all passionate about.

Tony Alicea blogs at Expect The Exceptional

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Matt Cannon
First let me say that I am glad this is about building a sense of community and not something more tangible like a birdhouse. I’ve built a few of those in the past. A couple of birds could build a better one in half the time if they could find hammers small enough for them to handle. And if they could stop conspiring to poop on my truck every few minutes long enough to get it done. As for building community, it really isn’t tremendously difficult as long as you have a little bit of patience and realize that to be a friend you must show yourself friendly (Proverbs 18:24). It also helps not to poop on anyone’s vehicle. I have no friends who are birds.
Matt Cannon blogs at The Seeking Pastor


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Rob Shepherd

I am the full-time husband of a wonderful woman! I love being married! We are proud parents to twins, Hayden and Reese. In my spare time I am the pastor of Next Level Church. I have a relationship with God and it is an adventure. Oh and I wrote a book. It's called Even If You Were Perfect Someone Would Crucify You.

64 Comments

  1. September 16, 2011

    My only concern upon reading today’s post is having Matt Cannon be one of your seven bloggers. That causes me to truly question your judgment. Of course I’m just kidding as Matt is one of my dearest friends who also has a hard head as evidenced by events that took place in a bathroom stall over a decade ago.

    Reply
    • September 16, 2011

      Larry, I want to hear about this bathroom stall episode. Can you blog about that?

      Reply
      • September 16, 2011

        It involved a coat hook on the stall door, my head, a lot of blood, and 6 staples. It wasn’t pretty.

        Reply
  2. September 16, 2011

    a lot of truth in that it comes down to relationship…no one wants to be in a one sided conversation so you have to interact…you have to give to get…

    Reply
    • September 16, 2011

      Brian, it’s so true. I made the mistake when I started this blog of not responding to comments. It takes time and I didn’t make it. I regret it now.

      Reply
  3. September 16, 2011

    Good stuff here from folks who have been somewhat successful in this venue. Maybe I will start to follow their advice. What do you think? (see I ended my comment with a question to engage the readers and give them something to respond to)

    Reply
    • September 16, 2011

      Daniel, I think you do a good job of responding to comments on your blog. And I think you do an even better job of leaving comments on mine. I look forward to your comments each day.

      Reply
  4. September 16, 2011

    The best quote in here is care about community. We should be doing this online and off.

    Reply
    • September 16, 2011

      Karenzach, thank you for stopping by. I agree completely. It takes work to build community online and off, but it’s worth it. We were created to need other people.

      Reply
  5. September 16, 2011

    Rob, I’m sincerely humbled/honored to have been asked to be par to of this.

    Reply
    • September 16, 2011

      Michael, I’m honored that you agreed to post. Your blog is one of my favorites!

      Reply
  6. September 16, 2011

    Rob, thanks for sharing. I found these posts encouraging and insightful; and makes me want to read their blogs. Good stuff!

    Reply
    • September 16, 2011

      Thanks Dale. Your bio on your blog is funny. I love that type of humor.

      Reply
  7. September 16, 2011

    Thanks for having the willingness to put this together. Thank you also for asking. You are the man (I knew you were a man, it’s just an expression that means you are above all man. Not really above them as in on top of their shoulders, it’s just… Oh never mind).

    Great weekend to you Rob. Thanks again!

    Reply
    • September 16, 2011

      Thanks Moe. Sorry I don’t know your last name. I couldn’t find it on your blog either. I kind of like that. It’s like Prince or Madonna but for bloggers. One name. Thanks for being a part of this!

      Reply
      • September 16, 2011

        LOL. Hilarious. Vivas! as is Viva las Vegas, except with an “s” at the end.

        Reply
        • September 16, 2011

          Now I know and as G.I. Joe taught me that’s half the battle.

          Reply
  8. September 16, 2011

    Wow…This was a really great idea…

    and a great read rob…

    thanks for putting it together…nicely done…

    Reply
    • September 16, 2011

      Thanks Arny! The bloggers did a fantastic job!

      Reply
  9. September 16, 2011

    Great post. I feel you really led with your strength here by putting me first. 🙂 Good advice all around and Matt cracked me up at the end!

    Reply
    • September 16, 2011

      Clay, thanks. It may or may not have had something to do with the fact that you are punctual and sent yours in first. It is a great paragraph as well!

      Reply
      • September 16, 2011

        If that’s the case that means that I wasn’t the last one to send mine in. Now I feel better.

        Reply
        • September 16, 2011

          You should. One person still hasn’t sent theirs in. It was going to be 8 bloggers.

          Reply
        • September 16, 2011

          Procrastinator’s unite…tomorrow.

          Reply
  10. September 16, 2011

    This was awesome, Rob. I loved seeing all the different perspectives. They are all right because there are no hard, fast rules to making this thing work. It’s about being yourself and finding what works for you.

    I’d love to see more stuff like this as opposed to one person writing their “expert” advice.

    Reply
    • September 16, 2011

      Tony, thanks for being a part of it. I hope to do this again soon. I love seeing other people’s perspectives.

      Reply
  11. September 16, 2011

    Thanks for letting me be a part of this; truly honored. Now back to washing the bird poop off my truck.

    Reply
    • September 16, 2011

      Matt, your post was really funny. I love having your perspective as a part of this.

      Reply
  12. September 16, 2011

    Oh, Matt. If there were a book or a show with just a running stream of what’s going on in your head, I’d be addicted.

    Great advice from everyone. Thanks, Rob!

    Reply
  13. September 16, 2011

    I think I stretched the definition of a “paragraph.” Oh well, I’m an English teacher; we like to break the rules.

    And I’m honoured to be a part of this group. Happy weekend and happy community building, everyone!

    Reply
    • September 16, 2011

      Leanne, I figured it was just a cultural difference. What a paragraph is in America might not be what a paragraph is in Canada. I kid, I kid.

      Reply
  14. September 16, 2011

    And why does my avatar not show up here? (Maybe I’m having a gray day?) 😉

    Reply
    • September 16, 2011

      My avatar doesn’t show up when I’m logged into wordpress. I don’t know if I need a different one for that or what.

      Reply
    • September 16, 2011

      Try this for the avatar:

      http://en.gravatar.com/

      Reply
      • September 16, 2011

        Aha. I had only one email registered with the universal gravatar thingie. Now they both are.

        Thanks Tony. I’m not glaring at you. Really.

        Reply
        • September 16, 2011

          Hmm. My avatar shows up in the “Leave a Reply” box, but when I click “submit comment” it switches to gray. Is there a problem at the Canada-US border?

          Reply
          • September 16, 2011

            It’s there now. I put a call in to border patrol. I’m sure that resolved the issue.

            Reply
  15. September 16, 2011

    To preface my comment: I know very little about attracting blog comments because it’s not a concern of mine. I say that not because I don’t like comments — I do like comments! — but because my blog is focused primarily on the actual physical community of the city of Chelsea and is a complement to my Chelsea-based real-life business, so I get mostly real-life comments when I’m around town. I appreciate whatever non-Chelsea online comments I get, but I know my blog’s appeal can be pretty limited, so I don’t expect outside comments.

    That said, I agree wholeheartedly with Leanne: read and comment on other blogs. That way the other bloggers and their readers can see you’re a real interactive person who doesn’t have his head buried in the sand of his own blog. You’ll make good blog friends who will become regular commenters and will tell their friends to read that awesome blog.

    I will say one other thing: whatever you do, don’t do things solely or primarily for the purpose of gaining comments. That’s a hollow goal that will always leave you disappointed. If you blog for really good reasons (and if you’re good at it), comments likely will follow.

    Also on that note, when you comment on other blogs, comment because you have something to say — not just because you want to drive traffic and comments to your blog. Be a real part of the blog, not just a self-promoter.

    Reply
    • September 16, 2011

      Great point! Sometimes though I comment just to let the blogger know I was there. I don’t have anything great to add but I want them to know that I read it. Plus I know how much I like comments so even a “great post” is good to see.

      Reply
  16. September 16, 2011

    You got it. Writing it in my mind as we speak. Edifying for sure. Just not for Matt.

    Reply
  17. September 16, 2011

    It’s fun to see everyone’s great responses. Thanks so much for inviting me to participate, Rob. But maybe next time don’t put me next to Moe– he picks on me.

    🙂

    Reply
    • September 16, 2011

      Tamara, thanks. I would defend you but then I’d be scared that Moe would start picking on me. I already like Chipotle better then his restaurant, Moe’s.

      Reply
      • September 16, 2011

        I share the sentiment. And now I want cilantro lime rice.

        Reply
        • September 17, 2011

          Mmmm cilantro lime rice.

          Reply
  18. September 16, 2011

    I feel so lucky that I showed up around the same time as many of these people. I think it is telling that a bunch of you (us) are teachers and preachers, of sorts. We are generally looking to make connections with people. I’ve been friends with Clay from the start. He’s hilarious and smart and I don’t think he sleeps very much. I would rather call or Skype than send tweets, but I think as long as people reach out and try to connect with folks in some way, that shows we care, that’s the most important point. It’s hard when you start to get a lot of followers. I don’t know how people manage to visit so many blogs. I’m starting to worry about that. Great post!

    Reply
    • September 17, 2011

      Thanks Renee. Twitter definitely makes it easier to keep up with lists of people. I try to visit every person’s blog that leaves a comment. I may not add it to my reader but I stop by when they leave a comment. That helps. Thanks again for the comment.

      Reply
  19. September 16, 2011

    What a great idea, Rob to get these bloggers together. They’ve given some really good advice too. Unfortunately, now I have even more blogs to follow. Where am I going to find the time? 😉

    Reply
    • September 17, 2011

      Trish, that’s a great question. Do you read blogs with a reader? That helps me a lot. I also don’t get to read everyone’s blog every day but I’ll pull a catch up day when i have free time and read a bunch at once.

      Reply
  20. September 16, 2011

    *obligatory butt kissing of Moe, Michael, Matt and Tony*

    This was a cool idea for a posting. It’s really nice now and then to see an electronic roundtable with different perspectives on the same theme.

    Reply
    • September 17, 2011

      Why are you obligatory butt kissing those guys? And what about the girls?

      Reply
  21. September 17, 2011

    Cool idea, man! What a great collection paragraphs! Who needs Bryan Allain’s new book when we’ve got such sage advice here!

    I kid!

    Been doing the blog thing regularly for almost a year now, and I think I’m just now starting to get some community going. It’s really cool!

    Reply
    • September 17, 2011

      Randomlychad,

      It is really cool. A few months ago in excitement I blurted out to Monica, “I’m finally building community on my blog.” It’s taken a long time and a lot of mistakes on my part.

      Reply
  22. September 17, 2011

    Hello! I found you via Matt Cannon’s blog. This post was very helpful for me, and I love the format you put it in. What a cool idea to get several different opinions on the same topic! I may have to steal it one day. ;P

    Reply
    • September 17, 2011

      Lizzie, thanks for stopping by. Steal it any time.

      Reply
  23. September 17, 2011

    Rob – WOW! I love this idea of a group post. I’ve had 20+ guest posters, but never thought about combining sound bites like this. Brilliant.

    This is some great input and a topic that I’ve thought a lot about since starting to blog more intentionally. While I think community is more important I have fallen into the trap of getting caught up in the number of comments, replies, etc.

    While I agree with pretty much everything shared, Michael really nailed it on the head in regards to community. Readers have to see you as a giver and you need to really care about them. I’ve started to be more “strategic” in my replies to comments (like Tony) and continue the conversation.

    Reply
    • September 17, 2011

      Thanks That Guy KC! It’s hard to not get caught up in the comment game. Doing things just for comments and such. It’s been my dream to have more than just a lot of comments on the site. It’s not easy. How long have you been blogging?

      Reply
  24. September 18, 2011

    Great post Rob! I’ve got so much to do through the day and have been having a hard time lately putting my thoughts down lately, so as hard as I try sometimes I can’t think of anything to say. I also love to read other’s blogs, but don’t always get to them all.

    Reply
    • September 18, 2011

      Thanks Ed. I wondered what happened with you. I’ve missed seeing you around the comments. Thanks for stopping back by.

      Reply
  25. September 23, 2011

    Rob, this was a great idea. Just now catching up on some blog reading after a crazy first 3 weeks in Sept. I always enjoy reading things like this – very applicable, practical, etc. We all do things differently, so it’s cool to see how “successful” folks approach building community.

    Reply

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