At some point in the past year or so, there has been a major shift in the way we read blogs. Blog reading used to be an extension of our daily news, we used to follow our favorite blogs and wait with anticipation for their newest post. Eager and excited to see what new ideas they had to offer, or piece of themselves they were sharing with us that day. We would feel connected, as if we were talking with a friend, and would interact with one another on a personal basis. Over the past year I have noticed a shift in the DIY blogging community. We have gone from being friends, to being focused solely on content and Social media. In an effort to get reach, we have lost our personal touch. And I believe there are many reasons for this, with both the readers and the creators being to blame.
I started to think about this fact while driving my kids to school. I started to think about how excited I was over the last post I wrote that got actual ENGAGEMENT. People who were commenting, like…A LOT. I was like a junkie, checking the post every hour or so to see what people were writing so that I could respond. Like a kid in a candy shop, excited that people actually liked what I wrote and were responding to it in a positive manner. That people were READING my post.
So what happened?
Why are comments becoming increasingly rare as we move forward in the brave new world of DIY blogging?
Pinterest. Let’s start with the most obvious, mmmmkay. We as human beings are short on time. We are honored and humbled that someone even wanted to visit our blog in the first place, with the few moments of free time they had. That being said, we are a Pinterest nation. Pinterest has become the greatest way we catalog the various DIY projects we see. And once you have ‘pinned’ a beloved DIY post – we move on. We want to find more DIY posts to pin, more awesomeness to inspire us on a daily basis. And we have already seen your post, pinned it, and moved on. Pinterest has virtually replaced the need for readers to comment. Pinterest is the new comment.
With this shift in blog reading moving towards the almighty Pinterest Pin, we as bloggers have started gearing our posts towards Pinterest friendly images and DIY posts. Because of this we have lost….
Engagement. When all you care about is getting pinned, you lose your sense of self on the blog. You lose what people engage with and relate to in the first place. Pinterest friendly images (portrait with text) are all well and good, and needed in order to gain blog traffic, but if you want comments – you need to be REAL. You need to insert your own personality into the post, not just pretty pictures with instruction. A DIY rarely excites emotion, at least – not the lasting heart-string emotions that people connect with on a personal level. Emotion always gets people excited because they relate to it, they comment. You don’t pin emotion, you react to it.
Volume. The sheer number of DIY bloggers out there is staggering. There are literally hundreds of thousands of sewing, craft, home, hair, beauty, and fashion DIY bloggers…if not millions. And they are almost all awesome. But with increasing number, there becomes on overload. We have become desensitized to how much time, work, and effort goes into blogging. When all you see is awesome stuff on-line every day, and so many people are doing it, it must be easy…am I right? I believe this goes hand in hand with the fact that negative comments are also on the rise. After all, there is no WOW factor anymore.
Speaking of Volume. Take away all of the other craft bloggers, and focus on just your one blog alone. Are you putting out content on a daily basis, or is it more spread out? When you tend to post every day, like we do here at the Sewing Rabbit, it can be exhausting. We do it because we love it, but don’t expect every day to me monumental comment days because of it. People get tired of reading even the most AWESOME blog content. It can suddenly be refreshing to find a blog that posts once every few weeks because that blog is like a breath of fresh air, making you excited again to see a new blog post come through. Rather than skipping through the daily blog feed, looking at feature photo after feature photo.
Social Media. I know Pinterest was mentioned earlier, but let’s not forget about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like. Your readers are suddenly spread out all over the place – and once they see the photo on Facebook – they decide from there if they want to click over or not. But your readers are now going through an additional FILTER before they even get to your page. It may not seem like a lot, but getting someone to click through is an ART. There are classes you can take to learn how to catch someone’s attention through a title. Instagram doesn’t allow hyperlinks in comments, you need to pay to get Facebook fans to see your post, and on Twitter – now you see it, now you don’t. But our readers see it everywhere they look. They are literally bombarded with DIY posts all day long. It’s a catch 22 – if you don’t do it as a blog reader, nobody sees your content…and if you do, you are part of the rat race. With the absence of Google reader, a void has opened up in the blog reading world. We are left with BlogLovin’, which steals our content and traffic by putting it in their own iframes, or Feedly – which is only truly friendly for the fashion elite or paying bloggers. This leaves us promoting our content through Social media channels. Which is just another step away from that personal connection, and another hoop you are making your reader go through in order to even get to your content. You want comments too? Sheesh.
Disheartened. With all of these variables, I have watched so many blogging friends get disheartened with their blogs. They grow frustrated with the lack of response to their hard work, with the lack of funds, or the lack of creativity they are feeling. This disheartened feeling carries over into the work they are putting forth, and guess what – readers can always tell. Its like some invisible smoke screen that you think you are hiding behind, but readers can always see through the smoke to the truth of the matter. YOU aren’t feeling it.
Difficulty. Some blogs are just so dang difficult to leave comments on in the first place! You take the time, write a comment, hit ‘Add Comment’ and there it goes. Off to nowhere. Talk about frustration! Some platforms are simply unfriendly, and some platforms (like mine) – have been hit with so much spam that we had to put in extra measures for those leaving a comment for the first time to be ‘approved’ on the back end. In addition, the number of people reading blogs on their iPhones is drastically increasing, making it infinitely more difficult to leave comments (tiny little keyboard = major long comment typing frustration), and well…you get the point. You’ve got to really be committed to leave that comment if typing it on your smart phone. And don’t even get me started on trying to read those blurry little number in captcha.
The Take Away. As bloggers we used to judge how well a post was received by how many people commented. You need to get over that. Start checking your Pinterest source page, or google analytics for a better feel. Don’t know how to read your google analytics? I know…its like a foreign language. I found THIS tutorial on Social Media Examiner which should help.
Don’t let yourself become disheartened by lack of comments.
And don’t forget, there is an upside to this switch! Like longevity. Your post now has perpetuity like never before. Thanks to Pinterest and Google SEO, posts I have done years ago suddenly have new life, rather than being lost in a feed never to be seen again. Last year’s Halloween posts that saw little engagement, are suddenly going viral when people search ‘mermaid costume‘ or ‘Elsa dress‘ in Google search SEO. So just because it doesn’t take off right away, doesn’t mean it won’t in the future.
So just stop. Stop judging yourself based on comments. People are just tired of saying ‘this is awesome’ over and over again. I mean, aren’t you?
There are only so many words in the thesaurus that can replace ‘awesome’.
But just in case you needed something to help you comment on this post in particular…here are some to help.
So let’s remember to be thankful, and stop lamenting over how to get people to comment. Blogs are constantly changing and evolving, and the rules that go with them. There will always be new Social Media channels, new ways to get ‘likes’, the negative commenter which gets thrown in the trash bin and makes us doubt our entire self worth, and new ways to try to market yourself. But comments…I have heard of bloggers turning off the comments section altogether. GASP!
But if comments are important to you, then remember to be engaging. Be yourself, open up the conversation, and CONNECT with the thousands of people that are reading your page every day. They are so much more rewarding then Pinterest pins. From one comment junkie to another.