The Ultimate Guide To Making Your Blog More Comment Friendly

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I just participated in an exciting, pay-it-forwrd Blogelina comment-fest of herculean proportions!

It was…blogelicious!

I attracted oodles of new visitors, discovered scads of scrumdillyicious new blogs, and made gaggles of new FBriends.

My rating for Blogelina?  Five stars + 203 new commenters!

Go, Blogelina!

Howeverrrrr…

In spite of the overall splendiferous experience, I am writing this post out of pure frustration. A frustration borne from dozens and dozens (and dozens!) of diligent attempts to leave well thought-out comments on Fort Knox-protected posts.

Yes, though I made wonderful new friends and followers during this yummy event, sadly, I also made one lifelong enemy.

  • CAPTCHA.

I knew we’d never last after the 7th attempt on the 47th blog to type in the squiggly, warped letters, that – no matter which letters you think they are, they’re not – teased and taunted me until I went from “Oh, darn!” to “Oh, #%@&!!”

CAPTCHA is Comments barbwire.

And, trust me when I tell you, there’s an enormous community of commenters who believe that scaling barbed wire is not a fun sport!

Besides, who wants to be pricked for trying to show love?

But, in the spirit of 100 comments, I put my heart on my sleeve, threw my schedule to the wind, and spent hours scaling some of the most prickly barbwire in the blogosphere.

Even when I managed to get a comment through, and had the desire to leave more comments on other delicious posts, that was never going to happen.

No waaaay would I crawl through those steel thorns again…and again….and again, and again – no matter how many posts I adore!

So sad.

So mad!

Such a perfect name for a tricky spider that CAPTCHAs you in a web of frustration!

What if I have exactly 6 minutes before leaving to pick up my kids from school, and I choose to spend those precious free minutes commenting on one of your delightful posts – but instead end up wanting to strangle rather than follow you because of the CAPTCHA Joker laughing at me from your Comments box?

And CAPTCHA wasn’t the only thing that kept my Comments at bay.

There were many other Joker grins that sent me packing.

  • Like this one:

This is the Comments box drop down where you select a choice for your profile.

Most people are already registered with at least 2 to 3 of these choices. And, of course, everyone should be able to easily apply the last 2 choices if they are not registered with any of the others.

Mwaaa-haaa-haaa-haaaaaaa! goes the next Joker grin.

Many Blogger blogs required me to sign up for a Blogger account in order to leave a comment. I don’t want a Blogger account. I don’t need a Blogger account. I have plenty of other accounts that your dropdown says I should be able choose from.

Why is your dropdown lying to me? Why is your Comments Joker grinning evilly at me? I just want to leave a comment on your amazing post, and I’m too strapped for time to see the humor!

How many busy visitors do you think will sacrifice extra time to register for an account they don’t need? Maybe a few. But wouldn’t you like more than a few comments?

Oh, the embrace of a blog whose Comment section welcomes me with open arms and Joker-free smiles!

Sigh.

Many of the emails exchanged between new Blogelina friends made during this event, became mutual Joker-smile fallout support sessions: “No, don’t give up!” “Tow the line! We promised 100 comments!” “We can do it!” “Think of all the wonderful Joker-smile-free blogs we’re discovering! It’s a gold mine out there!”

The consensus was that, on many blogs, our experiences went something like this:

  • a. Write your well thought-out, wordy comment.
  • b. Re-read it, check for errors
  • c. click ‘Submit’
  • d. Choose your profile i.d.
  • e. Repeatedly enter and re-enter CAPTCHA (or, on occasion, cheer vociferously because no CAPTCHA!)
  • f. Click ‘Submit’
  • g, h, i, j, and k. Nothing happens. Wait, wait, wait, wait, and wait…
  • l. Click ‘Submit’ again.
  • m, n, o, p, q, r, and s. Wait, wait…wait! It flickered! Yep! There it goes…hang on…it flickered back to an empty comment box. Did my comment go thru? Don’t see it…no moderation message….wtf?
  • t. Re-write comment. Shorter & less sweetly.
  • u. Click ‘Submit.’ Again. Choose I.D. Repeatedly enter and re-enter CAPTCHA. Again.
  • v, w, x. Wait, wait, wait…
  • y. Click ‘Submit.’ Again. And again. And againandagainandagain, dammit!
  • z. Wait. Nothing. Spew expletives. Close out!

Yeah. That was tedious, right? Imagine doing it rather than reading about it. :?

Here were some other Joker-smiles:

  •  How about an offer to ‘Leave a Comment,’ but no box to enter your info!

I tried typing everywhere in this box, but no dice. I would love to have alerted the blogger, because it was a great blog, but there’s no way to get in touch with her.  🙁

  • This message says, “Your comment was a bit too short. Please go back and try again.

My comment was 3 paragraphs long. Of course, when I went back it was gone. So, I re-typed it and copy/pasted it repeatedly to make sure it was long enough (6 paragraphs long now).

Guess what?

You guessed it! Same message!

Good times!

  •  This message is not in English.

I have no idea what it says, but it was very insistent. It popped up each time I clicked ‘Submit.’

Did my comment go through?

No idea!

  • I was already signed into my Google account, but:

Logged out, signed in again. And again.

No dice.

  • And no contact info for the blogger.

When CAPTCHA wouldn’t accept my letters after multi-tries, or my comments didn’t budge after multi-clicks, I really wanted to contact the bloggers of scrumdillyicious blogs to let them know. If it were my blog, I’d want to know that visitors were bleeding out in my Barbed wire Comments section!

But, here again, Joker smiles.

No Contact page. No email provided. Not an FB friend, so couldn’t leave helpful info in a private message there either. Definitely didn’t want to leave a message in a public forum saying, “Hey! Your blog’s not working!

How many busy visitors do you suppose will take the time to hunt you down?

Real-world answer? Almost none.

Reading blogs is supposed to be fun. Not frustrating.

Wouldn’t it be great if all our blogs welcomed our visitors’ comments rather than bleeding them out with barbwire?

Join me on my blog, and let’s see how we can “Kill the Joker & Kick CAPTCHA to the Curb!

Sylver Blaque is a writer, documentarist and world traveler. Her blog takes readers on travels through foreign minds – from that impossible coworker in the next cube, to cannibalistic tribes on the other side of the world. Via essays & stories, world news & music, historic time travel, and a diverse community of visitor commentary, layers of culture peel away to expose the visceral belief we all share…the belief that WE are, in fact, the ‘normal’ ones.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Share your comment input in the comments below!

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58 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide To Making Your Blog More Comment Friendly”

  1. Oh, I so hear you on that CAPTCHA frustration!!! I participated in a blog comment a thon (probably the same one) ….and had similar thoughts. Many went through without a quirk but there are some which I am just not sure if they went through at all, even though I tried and tried! I wonder/hope if my blog is comment friendly….will try to figure that out! Cute post!

    Reply
    • Jamie – just be sure that when you’re testing your own blog that you are logged out of your blog account so that you really get a feel of what readers are seeing when they visit your blog. Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  2. I’m glad I only had to deal with the first issues during the comment event because I thought they were enough of a pain. I especially hated the drop down box that didn’t give me the option to just sign with my name and url which I prefer to do since my blog isn’t on Blogger. Normally I don’t comment on blogs that don’t give that option, but I did for the event. Thanks for sharing! It’s good to have a reminder about what turns readers away.

    Reply
    • Hi, Diana. Yeah, it was a little frustrating at times. That’s why I wrote this post to infuse some humor into it & hopefully help out those with Comment issues. But I’m so happy to have participated in the event, and hope there’s more to come!

      Reply
  3. I can empathise with you… and thanks for picking up the issue…
    I faced a lot of problems when I used internet explorer… then I switched on to chrome which is far far better… I feel.

    Reply
    • I agree, Deepthi. IE is a little problematic for commenting on some blogs & everyone seems to prefer Chrome. I dream of the day that blog tech is uniform across platforms. But until then, we’re lucky we’ve got Blogelina & events like this to help us out!

      Reply
  4. I hope I’m not the only one who checked to make sure I wasn’t doing any of these things!

    I will navigate the choice drop down box (I usually just pick name/URL for simplicity) but most of the rest will stop my regular visits unless the content is beyond the best ever.

    Reply
  5. Thank you! I wholeheartedly agree with all of this!
    In the interest of fairness, the Blogger/Google login issue is truly a Blogger/Google issue, not the fault of the individual blogger. Bloggers can avoid this, though by changing the comments from “embedded below post” to either pop-up or “new window”. Readers will still see all the comments below the post. This setting only affects how people leave comments. And now they’ll actually be *able* to leave comments. This was actually one of the main reasons I switched from Blogger to WordPress.
    Something else that encourages discussion, and therefore more comments, is to give readers the option of following the comments via email. It’s also nice to know if the blogger bothered to respond to my (or any) comments. If not, I probably won’t bother to waste my time again. I’m not sure where to turn that on, but it must be somewhere as some Blogger blogs have it, and some don’t.

    Reply
    • These are great tips, Amanda. I’m glad you chimed in – thank you. I agree with your sentiment about comment responses; it does feel like wasted time to write out a thoughtful comment, but receive no response. It’s all about community and, beyond that, it’s just much more fun to comment on blogs whose bloggers show some love! ; – >

      Reply
  6. I ran into many of the same frustrations. And like you, I was motivated to write about it. What amazed me were the people who commented on my post downright refusing to drop moderation etc. I think we have a long way to go to make blogs more user friendly. Until then, we’re going to have bloggers complaining about a lack of comments! http://dakotapam.com/comment-tips/

    Reply
  7. Oh I so agree! That captcha thing is hopeless! But on a positive note, after the Blogelina event, Blogger seems to have changed their commenting system and I have fewer problems now with the drop down ID chooser. I was thinking there is a blogger-> wordpress war going on because it would never accept my WP information. But now it does. Yay!

    The foreign comment is Dutch and says “Stopped possible spam attempt. Go back.” I think foreign blogs are often in their own language (or partially). Of course if you tried lots of times, you would have been considered a spammer. Although you never got anything posted. 🙂

    Reply
    • Dutch! Thank you, Judith! I was on the wrong German track. ; – >
      You know, I’ve been hearing repeatedly about a WordPress/Blogger war. Wasn’t sure about its veracity until nearly every Blogger blog I tried to comment on would not accept my WordPress profile. So glad to hear its been addressed, thanks to the Blogelina event. I’ll bet Blogger’s systems exploded with all of our attempted comments (with so many of us being WP bloggers), and Blogger was forced to wave the while flag!

      Reply
      • Ha ha, let’s assume it was because of all of us keeping the Blogger servers busy with our comments.

        I didn’t hear of anyone who had the same problems (to the same extent) as I did with commenting on Blogger blogs so it’s good to hear I wasn’t alone. Apparently, just as this is solved, WordPress has added some silly log-in thing to their commenting system, so now everyone else is complaining!

        Reply
  8. I know I shouldn’t be laughing ~ I know you were exasperated … but you are so darn clever and wise and write with such delight that all I could do was keep smiling (oh, and now that song is in my head and probably will never leave (… keep smiling, keep shining, knowing you will ….) … but I digress … thank you for the smile and for alerting me to what I should never have on my blog ~ EVER!

    Reply
  9. I was frustrated on the event with some blogs where I needed a blogger account. I signed into my google account but then had to add more info to be able to post on the blogger blogs. Then after all that sometimes I still couldn’t comment or my comment would come up as anonymous. At least some blogs had a name/URL to add in and that is what I filled in. I did not realize until this event how hard it is to leave comments sometimes.

    Reply
    • Yeah, lots of us seemed to have been thwarted by Blogger Jokers. But, hopefully, they’ve responded by ending the rumored Blogger/WP war, making it easier to comment on Blogger blogs. This Blogelina event was beneficial in more ways than expected!

      Reply
    • I never thought of that, Cari, but it did kind of feel like having your mouth duct-taped, lol! But I think this Blogelina event is going to help kill the Joker, rip off the tape, and set a whole world of commenters free! 🙂

      Reply
  10. Well, CAPTCHAs don’t deter me that much, I usually read them easily — but they’re a time waster, that’s for sure. This Blogger thing, on the other hand… When the comments section had this Name/URL option, it was great; I didn’t comment on the rest.

    At first, I was unsuspecting and innocent; I had the zeal of a neophyte and I really thought out (most of) my comments. Then, after a few failed attempts where I repeatedly tried to pass the fances, I changed to Survival Mode. No easy commenting? Well, it’s been nice meeting you, but — Bye bye, sweetie!

    Reply
    • You are so funny, Eleni! I hear you – there’s only so much time in a day or patience in a busy gal to crawl through barbwire. That’s why I wrote this post, to help bloggers become aware of the Jokers haunting their blogs. I think most bloggers don’t realize the difficulties commenters have communicating with them. But once they’re made aware of it, I’m sure they’ll happily change things to make it easier for their visitors. And that’ll make us all happy! 🙂

      Reply
  11. I definitely agree with you on the blogger CAPTCHA. When I was blogging on blogger, I found that blogger was very good about zapping spam comments without my help, and I also had comment moderation enabled for posts over a certain age which is where most of the spam comments came from.
    HOWEVER, now that I have a self-hosted blog, I don’t have blogger there to zap comments for me and I’m afraid NoT to have a CAPTCHA. I only hope that the word/number combination is easy enough that it doesn’t scare off potential commenters.

    Reply
  12. I understand your frustration. My own mother was discouraged from commenting for that reason. I de-activated Captcha. I get more spam posts, but it’s still worth it. Happy Sunday! (http chatonsworld.blogspot.com)

    Reply
  13. Hi, Chaton. Good move. Tanya had the great suggestion of adjusting your settings to ‘Moderate Comments’ in order to keep spam from posting. Give it shot, see how that works for you. Happy blogging! 🙂

    Reply
  14. Another blog nemesis: discus. I really didn’t want to make a discus account. Why can’t I just leave my name and address and website? I don’t want to sign into an account every time I leave a comment! I have so many accounts and can never remember which one goes where. And those blogs that only let you comment from your FB account. I don’t need every one of my FB friends seeing comments that I make on blogs. Last pain in the butt for comments: link to comments at the top of the blog entry instead of the bottom. I don’t know about the rest of you but I generally read posts from the top down and then want to comment. If I have to scroll back up to try to find the comment button, I’m probably just going to leave.

    Reply
  15. I am so happy to hear that these are common occurrences! All this time I thought it was my phone, sun spots interfering with the airwaves, or my fat fingers hitting the wrong buttons! I’m a wannabe blogger and these posts are so great to learn what not to do – especially when you’ve written it in such a humorous style – thank you!

    Reply
  16. HA! I laughed my way through this article, because just about all of these commenting blocks have happened to me!! I love to comment, but I just don’t have the time (or energy) to try and try and try! 🙂

    Reply
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  18. I love this post. I get questions about it all the time from local business owners about why thought ought to leave comments. I have to remind them not just any comment but one that adds value to the post and extends an opportunity at a conversation.

    I agree with ALL of your points. In fact, I have made several blogging friends and been introduced to some new strategic business partners that all started with a comment I left on blog.

    It really cements a reason for a blogger to also engage with me and share me with their audience when I’ve had the opportunity over time to show them how much value I can bring to both them and their audience.

    It’s not spam, it’s not asking for a single thing… it’s just having a conversation around the topic.

    Thank you so much

    Reply
  19. Hi,

    I hate captcha and won’t even take the time to comment on those blogs. I also won’t comment on the blogs that ask you to create an account with Blogspot.

    Blog commenting is a great way to network with other bloggers and has helped me meet some amazing bloggers.

    However, I don’t have a lot of time to devote to commenting. If the blogger makes me jump through hoops or barbed wire, I just move on.

    It’s not worth my time to spend several minutes just to get a comment on a blog. After all, most likely the blogger really doesn’t care about comments on their blog.

    Thanks for sharing this and it’s so true. If bloggers want to get more comments on their blogs, they need to make it as easy as possible for people to comment.

    Have a great day 🙂

    Susan

    Reply

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