It’s the comments, stupid!

Nov 26, 2006   //   by Stephan Spencer   //   Blogging, Community  //  18 Comments

Ok, I admit it. I haven’t been walking my own talk. I say how important it is to comment on others’ blogs, that a blogger should spend as much time commenting on others’ blogs as posting on their own blog. You might have read my (hopefully compelling) case for this here or here. Yet, ashamedly, I have been terribly lax in commenting in the blogosphere. I’ve been, for the most part, a lurker. My excuse — “I’m busy enough as it is just trying to keep up with my blog” — isn’t going to wash any more. It’s about time I get out more.

As of the past few days, I’ve made a conscious effort to start chiming in. For example, I commented on the personal blog of a well-respected WordPress code contributor and plugin author. I commented on Google engineer Adam Lasnik’s blog to inform him of a typo in one of his links that was sending link juice to a domain squatter. Why bother you ask? Because it helps build relationships! Being successful in the blogosphere is as much about relationships as it is about content. Heck, being successful in LIFE is about relationships. For instance… what SEO in his/her right mind WOULDN’T want to nurture a great relationship with “Mini-Matt”?! (Mini-Matt is the nickname affectionately used by some SEOs to refer to Adam Lasnik. Matt being Matt Cutts.)

Another thing I’m going to do RIGHT NOW (as soon as I hit the “Publish” button on this post), is turn off moderation. Yep, that’s right. Call me crazy, but I’m going to risk having some comment spams (those that sneak past the excellent Akismet plugin) showing up temporarily (until I discover ‘em and nuke ‘em) on my blog. The reason being: I want this blog to give instant gratification to commenters. Having to wait a day for the blog author (me) to approve your comment is a let-down. It’s not conducive to an intensively participatory blog. I’m going to remove that barrier.

Care to comment? :-)


  • Stephan, I’ll take you up on the comment, and let you know I’ll be curious to see the results of your experiment :)

  • You are brave, turning off moderation!?

    Well, anyway. Nice posting.

    I do agree that life is about relationships. All of the social networking “tools” that we have, as well as blogging cannot replace face-to-face talks, especially over a good Milwaukee beer, however, the tools do facilitate new connections, and deeper relationships, especially over long distances.

  • Well, let me be the first to say.. well done, you’re a brave man! I have moderation on my blogs, except my personal one which is still running Movable Type 3 (I know, I know.. it’s sooo out of date). I find if you turn off commenting on posts that are more than, say, 30 days old, then you don’t run into many problems, even with no Akismet.

  • Uh oh.. it still says “Your comment is awaiting moderation”. I loaded up this post with another browser, and it seems moderation is still on :)

  • [...] I’ve read a few of Stephen Spencer’s posts lately about the importance of commenting on blogs for bloggers and other online marketers.  In a nutshell, he argues that (legitimate, thoughtful) comments are as important as posting one’s own blog posts, in that they help build relationships.  I wanted to share my comment on his post: [...]

  • absolutely agree, commeting to others website to contribute building the relationship.

  • And I’ve been sitting in the dark naked and alone waiting all thia time for you to comment on my site, Stephen.

  • You shouldn’t scare Stephan like that Shel!!!

  • OK, David. I put my clothes back on.

  • I totally agree with making commenting as easy as possible and also about the importance of comments to a blog’s success. I have my blog set to moderate only the first comment from a person, too. This seems to work out pretty well as long as I stay on top of it. Thank God for Akismet! Without it, I would be deleting about a hundred spam comments a day.

  • [...] Stephan Spencer has a great reminder about the importance of commenting: It’s the comments, stupid! I couldn’t agree more with what he’s saying. If you want to have an open discussion with your readers, obviously, you have to make commenting as easy as possible. [...]

  • Shel, ha ha! Are you using reverse psychology to mess with my head?

  • Heh. I guess I’ve been foiled again.

  • What about commenting on posts that are 6 months old ? Any good ?

  • Hey Old Vic, you got my attention. You must have a really ugly back up in your feed reader.

  • Hi Shel,

    Yup I really should do one of those speed reading courses – these blog posts are appearing faster than I can read ‘em !

  • CEO, not SEO, Stephan

  • No, I meant SEO. As in search engine optimizer.

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