Thursday, September 15, 2005

So You Want to Get Comments

I've remained silent on this topic long enough. Several members here have stated they want more comments on their blogs, followed by others who have given their advice on how to get them, followed by others telling them to stop begging for traffic, followed by others stating they also get no comments, but 'here's how to do it'. I could've answered. I should have. But I needed to make sure I would give you accurate info.

So I gathered I a crack team of Internet marketing specialists, mathematicians, psychologists specializing in human behaviour, prominent religious leaders, several of my unemployed relatives, and my seventh-grade Home Ec teacher, Mrs. Evers. Their mission? To analyze all the posts on my blog to fully understand and explain why some of my posts receive several comments and others just a few. To what end? To answer the very important question: How does one attract comments to one's blog?

Progress was going well for about a week. Pie charts were drawn up, graphs were made, numbers and statistics were fed into the supercomputer on loan to us from MIT. But then, discussions broke down into a debate about whether Paula Abdul really did have an affair with that kid from American Idol. One particularly nerdy mathematician took great offense at Mrs. Ever's description of Paula as "trashy-looking".

My cousin Johnny Bob kept saying, "I don't care what you'ns say, that Abdul feller was a great basketball player."

Attempts to explain to Johnny Bob that the group was talking about Paula Abdul, and not Kareem Abdul Jabar proved fruitless.

After several days of this, the Paula debate was put to rest when one of the rabbis suggested we 'leave it to history to judge'. That seemed to appease everyone and heal the rift that had formed. Then the group got back to work and progress resumed nicely.

So after weeks of intense analysis, study, and discussion, the best minds in the country have come up with this list of things that will bring comments to your blog:

Things That Will Attract Comments to Your Blog
1. Any mention of farting or the passing of gas.
2. Any mention of food, specifically gassy food.
3. That silly, silly Kenobi.
4. Kenobi with gas.
5. Pictures of monkeys.
6. Pictures of monkeys with gas.
7. Making fun of Oprah.
8. Any mention of Oprah in connection with gas.
9. Fart jokes.
10. Bennifer! (Especially fart jokes about Bennifer.)

We all put our heads together, but could not find a common thread among the various items on that list. Try as we might, we just could not come up with a pattern. Anyway, I hope this list is useful.

But seriously, I would like to share what I may have learned from what little experience I have. I would also like to make a bold move here and state what may be a controversial opinion -

I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting lots of traffic and comments for your blog.

There, I've said it. In fact, I think that blogging is *gasp* more fun when you have a lot of traffic and comments. Let's face it, if I were just doing this for the fun of writing in itself, I would not have posted it on the Internet where people all over the world can see it. I would've kept my work on my home computer for my wife to read. Besides, if you've worked hard on something and are proud of it, why not let the world know about it? It seems only natural to want others to read your work and offer feedback.

Don't get me wrong. I have great respect for my peers who have stated on this blog an opinion somewhat different than the one above. That's why I haven't said anything beforehand. Further, there is absolutely nothing wrong with not wanting more traffic or comments. Writing can be a rewarding experience in itself, as can the interaction we have with each other.

My point, and I do have one, is that there is room for both types of bloggers within our group and we can probably put up with a little self-promotion among some of our members. That is, as long as that self-promotion is done in a balanced, unobtrusive, and non-begging manner. I say post here about your blog if you wish, especially right after you've updated it. But don't post about it every day. And give me a good reason to come to your blog besides "no one's reading it". Personally, as someone who does not use a newsreader (we're not supposed to intall software on our computers at work), I appreciate postings like the ones by Jon, the Intergalactic Gladiator that inform me of an update. I try to get to everyone's blog, but it is hard since there's so many now.

Now that I've succeeded in alienating everyone, on to the helpful part, at least for those of you who want more traffic and comments -


Things That Might Actually Drive Traffic and Attract Comments to Your Blog

1. Do not rely on us Star Wars geeks for traffic. In addition to commenting on our blogs, comment on blogs by people who aren't a part of our group. More people than you would think will click on that little link above your comment to look at your profile, and then go to your blog, especially if that little profile picture is of a Star Wars character.

2. Find forums where you're allowed to post links and tell people about your blog. Of course, don't spam forums. And only post your link where it would be truly relevant.

3. Make your blog appealing to a wide demographic beyond us Star Wars geeks. This is the reason I often (though not always) put Yoda in situations that most people face in their daily lives. In a bizarre way, people can sometimes relate to what the tiny green monkey is going through. It's also why I don't go so deep into the Star Wars mythology so as to lose the average reader. Some blogger who was reviewing the Yoda blog as part of a college project said that a reader can understand it even if they have only "a casual understanding of the movies". I was glad to read that as that's exactly what I've been going for.

4. Make your blog really good. That seems simplistic for a tip, but people need a reason to come to your blog. You supply that reason by making a high-quality blog. But there are different kinds of "quality". Take the Darthside, for instance. It received tons of comments with every single post. Why? Because it was written so darn well. That author didn't always go for the funny, though he would often skillfully weave dry humor in with riveting prose. But he didn't have to be funny all the time. His strength laid in his writing style and he played to that. Me? I go straight for the funny, because I think that's where my strengths lie in this venue. I don't get near the comments Darthside received, but I don't think I do too badly. Whatever you do, figure out what you do really well and play to that.

5. Post often and regularly. Posting every day is rather extreme, and were it not for reasons which are my own, I would not post daily on the Yoda blog. But the more you post, the more traffic you receive, and the more traffic you receive, the more comments are posted on your blog. (This is not directly proportional. For example, I received almost two hundred more hits today than yesterday, yet yesterday's post yielded over twice as many comments.) Of course, don't post so much as to sacrifice the quality of your blog or to burn yourself out. In addition, regularity is important. If you post once a week, post the same day every week. If you post every other day, don't skip days here and there. Post in a regular pattern.

6. Optimize your blog for the search engines. There's tips all over the Internet on how to do this. The search engines are an important source of traffic, so don't overlook this tip.

That's all I have for now. If you wish, I'll post more tips if any come to mind.

23 Comments:

Blogger owenlars said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

September 16, 2005 12:23 AM  
Blogger Master Yoda said...

OwenLars wrote at 9:23 pm (the slightly cleaned up version) -

WOW! Thanks for finally coming out of the proverbial shell, Bill! It must have taken quite a bit of guts to do this while your counterpart/master in Japan watched over in master stance...

Gimme a break, dude. Traffic? Hits? Counters? Unique hits? PEOPLE WHO UNDERSTAND YOUR MESSAGE (ASSUMING THAT YOU'RE NOT SELLING OUT, AS I KNOW YOU ARE)Are hypnotized by your posts because they are clever and they are SAFE! Safe, Bill...Is that what your writing is? To me, it's become quite obvious that it is, and forever shall be. R.I.P. Once Good Writer! I used to respect you... f***ing Jedi Master...

September 16, 2005 1:46 AM  
Blogger Master Yoda said...

Were the above comment directed at anyone other than myself, I would've deleted it as abusive.

Except when standing up for someone else, I usually ignore comments from trolls (which is what Javie has become now) left on my blog or this one. But what the heck, I think I'll respond this time.

1) My 'counterpart in Japan', Phoenix/Han, is not the type of person to lash out at someone over a different viewpoint. We've disagreed on things before. It's no big deal.
Phoenix is out-spoken, frank, and yet civil. As far as Javie/Owen on the other hand, well two out of three isn't bad.

2) "Gimme a break, dude. Traffic? Hits? Counters? ...ASSUMING THAT YOU'RE NOT SELLING OUT, AS I KNOW YOU ARE"
You're right, Javie. Here I was, doing stuff like posting on this site begging for people to visit my blog...no, wait. That wasn't me.
Well, at least you're not tracking your stats...wait, what's that at the very bottom of your blog?

3) "Safe, Bill...Is that what your writing is?"
Darn-tootin'! (Excuse my French) If by 'safe' you mean I try to keep it clean and attempt to use good-taste, then yes, guilty as charged. If by 'safe' you mean I don't broach subjects that are controversial, then you're also right. I guess I could talk about things that offend and alienate people. Yes, on a Yoda blog. Wouldn't that be fun?
Or I could follow your example and talk about such deep and profound things as detailed descriptions of human excrement or rotting corpses. ...Nah, I think I'll stick with being entertaining instead.

4) "R.I.P. Once Good Writer!"
This is the funniest part of the whole comment. My writing was no less 'safe' when I began the Yoda blog than it is now. All of my posts are there in the archives. See for yourself.

This was fun, mainly because it was so easy. It was kind of like bobbing for water.

September 16, 2005 2:18 AM  
Blogger Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Nice entry, Yoda/Bill, and you made good points.

I like to go over to http://www.micheleagnew.com/main/, she gets a lot of traffic and has lots of games and such that you can play. I get a little bit of traffic from over there, but not a lot. If there are sites like this that you find, participate in those.

I don't like coming over here and begging people to read my blog, but I do reference my blog in my posts here. When I do reference my blog, I like to point out something that's going on with it (like Jo Jo's contest), as opposed to just saying "read my blog." I don't quite get Cardbored Night, but I'm glad he pointed us to his movie, that things was cool. (Although anyone else watching it might say "Why's that cartoon cowboy in with all those Star Wars characters?")

And yes, I have no problem with being "safe." I can be the swearing smartenheimer on the barstool next to you, or I can be a dad talking to a 3-year-old. I just prefer to do stuff in my blog that won't turn anyone away from it. Believe me, I've done some (and still do) crazy things that are not kid-friendly or PC. I just don't want to write anything like "today I sat my bare buns on a block of ice and chugged a beer." Would anyone really want to read that?

September 16, 2005 8:15 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Wow! Thank you Master Yoda for a most informative and entertaining start to my day. {Off to Senate meetings...}

September 16, 2005 9:10 AM  
Blogger JawaJuice said...

Well said, Bill.
(And your humorous intro to the subject only reminded me how much I enjoy your personal blog.)
It’s not easy being the voice of reason sometimes, but time and time again you come out, you lay it out, and it just makes sense.
Kudos for you compassion and understanding in almost every situation here in this SW blog-o-sphere

September 16, 2005 10:36 AM  
Blogger Master Yoda said...

Thanks Eric.

September 16, 2005 11:10 AM  
Blogger owenlars said...

Man, you sounded just like Han there, Bill. He's really rubbed off on you, hasn't he? And I don't feel like I have to write about cutsie things. I don't fear the dark side as you do. That's what being a fearless writer is all about. No fear.

See ya, Bill. And remember, safety first!

Lars- out!

September 16, 2005 2:49 PM  
Blogger Leia said...

Great post, Bill. Everyone should read this.

All right, Javie, keep writin' about scratchin' your butt and all that crap. After all, all the best writers are fearless, eh?

September 16, 2005 4:37 PM  
Blogger Jedi Katt said...

Wow~ it's really useful and it's absolutely GREAT! I gotta read it again...

September 16, 2005 10:48 PM  
Blogger Master Yoda said...

"Man, you sounded just like Han"

Thanks! Han's a smart guy. I mean, sure, I was going for Dickens or Cromwell in that comment, but Han will do I guess.

Keep on courageously writing about bodily functions there, O Fearless One. You are the wind beneath my wings, man.

September 17, 2005 12:10 AM  
Blogger owenlars said...

Oh, great fallen one...my 100th post is nigh at hand, and I will make sure that a great evil befalls your character, just because of that last comment.

I can't have you die, as this would go against the existing SW storyline, but I shall torture my brain for an alternate, maybe even MORE horrible solution.

Did you ever see, "Deliverance," Master Yoda?

Your lack of faith disturbs me...I mean, how could I have been so wrong about you? You're nothing but a cheap drone.

Your writing is wasted on a thumb-sucking audience, don't you see that? I guess you don't, since you're blinded by mindless adulation in the form of comments from 14 year old girls pretending to be boys. Can anyone say, "Crying Game?" You're sick, Bill. So very, very, very sick.

Lars- out!

September 17, 2005 1:54 AM  
Blogger Master Yoda said...

"my 100th post is nigh at hand, and I will make sure that a great evil befalls your character...

I can't have you die, [blah, blah, blah], but I shall torture my brain for an alternate, maybe even MORE horrible solution."


Ooooh, I'm scared. Please, please have mercy on my make-believe character.

September 17, 2005 2:18 AM  
Blogger JawaJuice said...

I will make sure that a great evil befalls your character, just because of that last comment.

Jeez..What are you in thrid grade or something?
Next thing you know,you'll be waiting after school to beat us up for some lunch money.

September 17, 2005 12:10 PM  
Blogger owenlars said...

J.J.: What does thrid mean? Is that some imagined grade between third and fourth? Because you're in your forties, I expect better spelling from you. ]

So, none of you fear me as of yet? I doubt that highly! But the newest benefactor of my wrath is one Bill Johnson of Orlando, a person who came to me as a friend and left me to die as a rabid animal. Those lesser than me and Bill, who seem empowered by his stance, here, will be forgotten by their pint-sized master when the going gets tough. And it will, very soon...

Distance yourselves, Twister players, for the reckoning will soon be upon ye.

At that point, arrogant bloggers will have to answer...And those who first appeared as sheep, although they were wolves, will SUFFER the most!

You have been duly served...

September 18, 2005 12:49 AM  
Blogger JawaJuice said...

That’s funny.
You’re best shot is going after a typo then ranting on like some kid playing D&D.
I take it all back…you are a funny guy.

September 18, 2005 11:51 AM  
Blogger Master Yoda said...

If you plan to exact your wrath upon us by boring us to death with rambling comments filled with vague threats, then I am afraid - very afraid.

Thanks for warning us beforehand. That was very thoughtful of you.

September 18, 2005 12:33 PM  
Blogger Jar Jar Binks said...

You know what, Javie? Leave us alone. Go away. This doesn't have to be a long, drawn out fight between you and our group, and it only will be if you make it so.

September 19, 2005 12:42 AM  
Blogger owenlars said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

September 20, 2005 12:52 AM  
Blogger Master Yoda said...

Psychopathic comments won't be tolerated either.

September 20, 2005 8:16 AM  
Blogger owenlars said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

September 21, 2005 12:29 AM  
Blogger Leia said...

You wanted to quit this blog, so why do you keep coming back? Are you trying to prove a point here?

September 21, 2005 9:21 PM  
Blogger Jar Jar Binks said...

Sorry, what happened? I wasn't listening.

September 22, 2005 6:35 AM  

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