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Blogging Equations

Quality content + regular posting + engaging style + social media engagement = increase in readers

Increase in readers + quality content + regular posting + enaging style + social media engagement = increase in comments, community, conversation

= blogging success

(In some people’s eyes)

Increase in comments = feedback + ideas + inspiration + motivation

Feedback + ideas + inspiration + motivation = regular supply of engaging posts = increase in readers + increase in participation + increase in comments

Increase in comments = more time to respond

Increase in time to respond = less time to write, read, create, play, live


We need to do something to that equation.

But changing the formula = what?

The options unfold.  Different bloggers approach the challenge in different ways.  (I’ve seen them.  Even seen some people stop.)  What might be possible?

Answer comments in batches.

Stop replying to comments.

Switch commenting off.

Write in a way that doesn’t invite and engage.

Post less.

Each option changes the dynamic.  Changes the relationship between you and your reader.  Or changes the relationship between you and your blog.

It’s a question I’m working with just now as I find myself getting later and later in responding to your comments, and feeling bad about it at times, but also loving, cherishing, the comments you leave and the opportunity that presents for us to connect and engage and for me to learn a little more about how you are writing with confidence.

And I know I don’t want to stop replying to each of those comments with kindness and care.

But I also know that the way I respond to those comments is part of a bigger blogging equation.  And that if I don’t change that bit, something else will instead need to change.

And I know I’m not alone in this, and I’d like us to learn how we support each other not just to ‘get comments’ in the early days of blogging but then also how to live with the comments we get when our blogs flourish and grow.

I have a feeling this is a question I’m going to keep coming back to over the next few weeks and I’d love your input.

How do you manage these tricky parts of the blogging equation?  Have you found a formula that works?

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  1. Julia says:

    What ever you decide you should be consistent. You definetly dont want to turn your coments off. Blogging is about the conversation with your readers. Posting less should not be an option because people will forget to check back. People can continue to comment on old posts. The only thing that can be changed is how often you respond. some comments do not require a comment back such as “nice blog” or ” I agree completely” Others will require more attention.
    .-= Julia´s last blog ..5 Tips to Stop Writer’s Block =-.

  2. Brad Shorr says:

    Joanna, Perhaps answering comments in batches and/or reducing the number of posts are the lesser evils. Changing post style or shutting down comments would take away the essence of what makes your blog so appealing. Julia may be right about readers tuning out if fewer posts are published, but I follow many blogs and pay little attention to posting frequency: I’ve got other things to worry about. As a matter of fact, sometimes when bloggers post less, I’m interested in reading them more - I look forward to their occasional treats.
    .-= Brad Shorr´s last blog ..Elevate Your Mood with Food =-.

  3. Alex Lim says:

    I have noticed that when a blog tends to get too busy due to outpouring comments, the author just stop replying. I don’t know weather it’s the idea of being fair to everybody. Instead of replying to the first few comments, they tend not to reply at all.

    We have to go back with the idea that relationship matters and one way of cultivating it is through sincere response. You have to continue what you have started, or else members of the community might drop out one by one. It’s difficult in the author’s part.

    Maybe, there are other ways aside from replying on each comment in order to show appreciation with commenter. I’ve seen a blog featuring the top 5 comments of the week regularly. My comment had been one them so I felt good and appreciated. Others, feature a blog post that is inspired by a comment from an original post.
    .-= Alex Lim´s last blog ..Before You Purchase A Domain Name Availability =-.

  4. Bo Mackison says:

    Interesting problem. We get what we think we want - not only a string of readers leaving comments, but comments which been written with care, meaningful comments - but the time crunch problem begins to feel awful. If you were getting comments like “great ideas” or “I like your blog” you could more easily ignore them. The problem as I see it (and it’s a great problem to have as it speaks of the community you’ve fostered and watched grow) is that very few of your comments are throw off comments.

    As far as solutions: a big part of your blog is the reader interaction. I’m sure I’m not alone in coming back to read the other comments, I’m interested in not only what you write, but in other people’s reactions and even in your responses. One big conversation. a big time suck for you, but a big part of the appeal of your blog. The word that keeps coming back to me - community.

    Close comments - not such a great idea from my viewpoint, because the comments are an integral part.
    Not respond - but that’s one of the things your return readers appreciate, one of the building blocks of your blog.
    Write in a way that doesn’t invite and engage - do you want to write that kind of blog?
    Post less - that’s probably doable. In this age when there are so many blogs worth a visit, cutting out one post a week would probably make little difference. Would that free up enough time?

    I’m not one bit consistent with my approach to responding to comments. It’s something I try to work at, but my blog is a different sort of blog. I respond to an occasional comment on my blog, and always if a question is asked. And I respond by visiting the blogs of those who comment and leaving a comment there. It doesn’t build a community the way Confident Writing has, but many of my frequent readers now visit many of the blogs I visit. So it is a community in a way - just different dynamics.

    It comes back to basics. Why are you writing a blog? What are you getting from it, both personally and from a business point of view? How important is this experience to you now? Are you giving up something you would rather be doing to keep the blog as it is? All interesting questions, worthy of reflection, for sure.
    .-= Bo Mackison´s last blog ..First Frost =-.

  5. Karen Swim
    Twitter: karenswim

    Joanna, I am so excited that you posted this that I am finding it hard to make a sentence! In the early days of blogging, there is so much advice about building your community but over time those same rules have not worked for me. As I experiment and make adjustments (posting scheduled, how I comment, reading others blogs and commenting) it shifts another part of the equation. There are days I don’t publish posts because I know I’ll be too busy to comment, and others when I publish and yes cherish the comments but am later responding. I have wrestled with everything you mentioned and feel that I have failed miserably. However, your post gives me perspective. I love this blog and community and it has not mattered to me how often you post or how quick you are to comment. I know that you cherish your readers and your content has consistently reflected that. In fact, I have applauded you making adjustments for I know it reflects a balancing of your whole life. So, when I think of it, I wonder why I don’t extend the same grace to myself. Hmm…
    .-= Karen Swim´s last blog ..FTC Guidelines on Endorsements and Testimonials =-.

  6. --Deb says:

    It’s such a dreadful dilemma to have, isn’t it?

    I still find the whole comment/answer question fascinating because it’s handled completely differently in my two, separate online “circles.” Writing blogs tend to respond to comments in the comments; knitting bloggers respond via email-which makes what works for one group anathema to the other.

    Regardless of HOW it’s being answered, though, I think that in an ideal world all or most of the comments should get a response … but no, it’s not always possible. I would never give up answering at all, though-and that’s the advantage to responding in the comments. You can just check in once in a while and leave another, general-ish comment to the group rather than one directed specifically at specific comments. (If you’re answering comments via email, this obviously is not an option-though you can get away with a short, “Thanks” if you have to, which looks ridiculous in a comment stream.)
    .-= -Deb´s last blog ..Autumn is a Breath of Fresh Air =-.

  7. Tom Wanek says:

    It’s a very good question. And it appears that folks like Seth Godin have reached a point where they moved to a fan based model and turned commenting off. I’ve read that Gary Vaynerchuk is also struggling with this issue.
    .-= Tom Wanek´s last blog ..Bucking Conventional Wisdom =-.

  8. Jan Scott says:

    Joanna, what a thought-provoking post and, as you know, so relevant to my own wee journey.
    It seems to me that you (as in YOU) can get away with posting a little less frequently but in order to sustain and build your great community you need to continue to add in your personal responses.
    I’m with Brad on this one; I certainly have my favourite blogs and am always pleased when there’s something new to read, but am really not bothered at all if that is once a day, or once every three, four or even seven days.
    Other people’s comments are fascinating, and serve as an invitation to open the door into THEIR world and learn yet more.
    People are drawn into this community by both the quality of what you give, in terms of posts which allow for responses, and the thoughtfulness of your replies. Not, I would argue, by the frequency of your posts. (Though I appreciate that at the outset it may be necessary to post regularly to get noticed.)
    .-= Jan Scott´s last blog ..sad =-.

  9. Dave Doolin | Website In A Weekend says:

    Joanna, you have a very high quality problem here. I hope to have this problem myself, soon. At the moment, I’m replying to all comments myself. But that doesn’t scale!

    Here’s a technique I have other popular bloggers use with success:
    Pick 3-4 of the best of 10 comments, reply to each in a single reply, like this:

    @ Karen Swim, I’m looking at your blog right now and I’m sad you postpone posts because you feel bad about having time for comments. Maybe this technique could work for you?

    @ Deb, agreed in an ideal world, we could carry on these conversations in depth and detail. What a world that would be! Our time doesn’t scale though. :(

    @ Brad, your suggestion is pretty close to what I’m demonstrating here, I think.

    In any case, please don’t reduce quality! In the long term, quality is the only thing that counts. Of course, quantity does have a quality of it’s own… but I think that’s a different discussion.
    .-= Dave Doolin | Website In A Weekend´s last blog ..WordPress Gotcha! Find Out If Your RSS Feed is Helping or Hurting =-.

  10. Omar says:

    I’m not at this stage yet. My blog is fairly new. But I’m interesting in gaining insight so when I reach this plateau I know what course of action to take.
    .-= Omar´s last blog ..A Big Thank You =-.

  11. Peta says:

    Hi Joanna,

    Interesting thoughts and certainly makes sense. Reducing posting or removing comments or not replying could pose a quandary. I think as bloggers we need to maintain posts of quality more than quantity, and reply as we can. In a perfect blogging world we would post often and reply just as often. I try to always reply to questions, my reader wants an opinion, otherwise if it is more of a statement or exclamation I may not always follow up with a reply for each.

    ‘Of course I also like to write in pencil because it is easy to erase and write something new’ - mslilPeta ;)
    .-= Peta´s last blog ..I love my iPhone… =-.

  12. Robin Dickinson says:

    Hi Joanna,

    Thanks for this excellent article. The content and the comments raise many important issues and ideas.

    I would add…I guess it boils down to why you are blogging. For example:


    If you are blogging to build valuable relationships with people, then the top priority is the interaction - the two-way dialogue.

    Here, comments and your response to comments ARE the blog to the extent that your content is aimed at facilitating this interaction - this exchange of value via relationship-building actions.

    To leave switch-off, be too busy to answer, “bulk” answer or ignore comments wouldn’t make sense here.


    If you are blogging to distribute valuable ideas to people, then the top priority is the dissemination - the one-way broadcasting of information.

    Here, comments and your response to comments are a lower priority, to be reduced if they interrupt the posting/flow of fresh content.

    To leave switch-off, be too busy to answer, “bulk” answer or ignore comments does make sense here.


    The key here is to make a decision as to what your primary focus is. Trying to do both with equal priority leads to the dilemma that so many people in the comments describe.

    For example, I have chosen a relationship-focus because my business is 100% referral and depends totally on building outstanding relationships with people.

    For me, every comment is a seed, pregnant with the possibility of a thriving, life-long relationship that is mutually valuable.

    In this situation, responding to comments is always a higher priority than posting new content.

    Once you make a choice, the rest is easy.

    Best to you and your readers,

    .-= Robin Dickinson´s last blog ..The time-life switch: peak productivity in an instant =-.

  13. Wilson Pon says:

    I’m sorry, Joanna. I’m not good in equation forms, all I knew is what’s goes around comes around… Lol

  14. Karen Wallace
    Twitter: karenwallace

    Joanna - oh to have all the time in the world to do what we love to do! I love the circularity of your argument/logic equations.

    So, what are you going to do with all this wonderful advice? ;)

    This is such a timely discussion as blogs explode and communities abound - I’m really curious to see where it leads. Somehow we’ve got to find a way to make it all work as part of our life, not instead of a life.
    .-= Karen Wallace´s last blog ..Add beauty to your life =-.

  15. elmot says:

    Wow, that was a roller-coaster blogging equation.

    I do not really have answer for that one. All I know is that I just blog and enjoy doing it over and over again. Reply to comments with consistency and warmth (unless there is a freak who wants a fist fight with me on my comment form), comment on other blogs.

    You reap what you sow.
    .-= elmot´s last blog ..Stop Tweeting Political Stuffs, Bro. Seriously. =-.

  16. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Julia hello, and thank you for the comments. I agree consistency is important, because that’s a foundation for the relationship. I do try and answer each comment even the very short ones, because sometimes that’s how people start out commenting and a little bit of encouragement adds confidence… I realise from reading these comments and my responses to them that I am trying to build relationships and that does take effort… but also builds rewards…

    Brad at the moment the posting less option seems the most sensible route. As a reader I also often feel grateful that someone is posting less, so maybe you’ll all feel the same way too! I am slowly shifting to twice a week posting, but perhaps I’ll need to slow it down further still

    Alex I agree it’s good to make the people commenting feel welcome, which is why I try and respond to each comment individually - also to highlight comments in round up posts and celebrate those who comment the most often. But all of those things take time and energy, and I need to be clear how that fits with other things I’m trying to do.

  17. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Bo your comment is a perfect example of the thoughtful comments I so enjoy here :-) Those are great questions at the end, just what I need to be thinking about. Thank you.

    Karen one of the reasons I wrote this was because I felt sure others would be in the same boat and I felt we might be able to learn and share together some of the possible ways forward. I think for me the question links to other thoughts I have on how the blog fits with what I’m doing (or want to be doing) - it’s just the conversation element that is bringing it to a head. I’m glad it’s been some use to you and yes, please do extend grace to yourself!

    -Deb so interesting about the difference in culture and expectations between those communities. Email responses would seem very weird to me! I totally agree about needing to respond - there’s no way I can leave comments unresponded to, it would feel heartless and rude… I’d need to turn off the commenting option rather than do that.

  18. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Tom yes, Seth is an interesting example. I think he’s always had comments off actually, as a deliberate choice, knowing he didn’t have time to comment. He chooses to explore ideas in his blog (I don’t think it’s just a broadcasting to fans model, more an opportunity to think and reflect) rather than engage in conversation. I know some people would say his is not a true blog because it’s not conversational. I don’t think so - in fact I think we need to keep on making blogs whatever they need to be, for us - it’s our space, and the less rules the better. Thanks for chipping in.

    Jan indeed, I think it was one of the questions I asked you that got me travelling along this line of thought… :-) I think posting less is probably the answer because there’s no way I want to stop responding and commenting. It’s a huge part of how I grow and learn. Thanks for your input and perspective, as ever

    Dave thanks for that suggestion and illustration :-) I appreciate the reminder that quality is what counts. The only thing about replying to one or two comments… you’re only replying to one or two people… and I enjoy the personal connection with everyone who chooses to comment here. Yes, I know, that does sound like I want to have my cake and eat it too ;-)

  19. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Peta that’s a good point about responding to questions… I do enjoy replying to each person, but maybe over time I’ll need to give up that luxury. We’ll see. I do so enjoy getting to know you all!

    Robin hello and thanks for chipping in with such thoughtful analysis. You’re right, it does come back to what we’re trying to do with our blogs, and what role a blog plays in our life / creativity / business. I realise from your comment that there are different bits of my brain playing into this - there’s the part that wants to create and share - and that part drives the content creation. Perhaps I need to find a different channel for that so I create enough time and space to continue with the conversations and relationships which I so enjoy. Thanks!

    Wilson straight to the point as ever, thank you my friend :-)

    Karen what am I going to do??? Well, isn’t that the million dollar question! We’ll see. Lots to think about, and lots of great perspectives in the comments. For now I’m going to mull it all over… There’s an answer out there, I know it.

  20. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Omar sorry to have jumped over you. I think it’s useful to explore these issues, even at the early days - because it’ll help you to go in the direction you want to go in for the long term. I hope so anyway. There’s certainly lots of good blogging advice in evidence in the comments from readers!

    elmot you reap what you sow… a good equation if ever there was one. It’s a good reminder to be thoughtful in what you sow in the first place :-)

  21. Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach says:

    I just give myself permission to realize I’m just one human bean…and cannot do everything, every day, every minute of every hour.

    Ideally, I get time to accomplish all that I’d like, but if not, these things happen. So far, it’s been working well for me.
    .-= Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach´s last blog ..Internet Marketing for Your Mom (what YOU need to know!) =-.

  22. Jannie Funster says:

    Hi Joanna! Great to see you again. Your blog is looking good.

    For me it’s all manageable by posting less often, every 3 days on average.

    My missing part of the equation seems to be social medial. I need to find some way to jump successfully into the”double-dutch” of Tweeting. Remember double-dutch on the playground? Two girls facing each other, spinning those two jumping ropes and you had to time it just right to not only get in there, but STAY in there and not get tripped up.

    Ahhh, but after Oct 25th I shall be freed up significantly from a big project, so that’s my date to change my equation, or at least get started on it!
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..Goin’ For The Page Rank Juice =-.

  23. Barbara the Virtual Coach's Journal - Page 19 says:

    [...] Blogging Equations | Confident Writing [...]

  24. Michelle Mangen says:

    Like others that have commented here, my blog is still in infant stages…I have just recently gotten up to two or three posts per week. I will admit I’m a comment junkie and like the thought of having to spend time responding to comments.

    I’m looking forward to your future posts.

    .-= Michelle Mangen´s last blog ..Are you going to do that all by yourself? =-.

  25. Leah Pauls says:

    May I add to your burden with yet another post?
    This article of yours is invaluable to me as I have not yet started my blog (I’m trying to determine the best way to do it-Free or paid- and trying to make sense of my time). I’m new to blogs, period, and have wondered, of late, how the time is found to respond to everyone.

    Here are some of my ideas: Maybe there can be a box for responders to check if they expect or desire a response. Or maybe a “no response needed” box. Or maybe a new rule of blogging etiquette should be that commentors (new word?) say “thank you, no response is necessary.”

    Or perhaps, the blogger can organize responses by theme, and reply to groups with one response. This would cut down on redundancy. For example, “John, Paul, George and Ringo, thank you for your comments on ____. I mostly agree, but sometimes… blah blah blah blah blah. ” Or, “Marge, Maggie and Lisa, thank you for your support.” This will also eliminate the seconds wasted waiting for the computer to respond to each command.

    Then again, who am I to offer suggestions about something I know nothing about…yet.

  26. Lillie Ammann says:

    Interesting conversation, Joanna. I sometimes find it difficult to keep up with responding to every comment, but it’s important to me to do so.

    As others have suggested, I’d rather see less frequent posts and the community interaction than any of the other alternatives.
    .-= Lillie Ammann´s last blog ..Freelance Rates Survey Reminder =-.

  27. Leah Pauls says:

    It’s really cool to step back and watch this conversation unfold. It is a new cultural phenomenon.
    (Just an observation, you don’t have to respond)

  28. Cath Lawson says:

    Hi Joanna - I still struggle with this. I tend to try to reply to comments on the most recent post or two but if I get new comments on older posts, I don’t always get round to it.

    And instead of reading other blogs every day, I now try to limit myself to reading some every two or three days - I just can’t keep up.

    I like what Mike Goad did while he was still posting, but on a road trip in his RV. When he returned - he answered comments and questions in a blog post - it worked really well.

  29. Aprill Allen says:

    I don’t often respond to comments and as a commenter, I don’t expect a response.

    I view blogging as a one-way protocol. I say what I want to say and if people like enough to comment that’s wonderful, but blogging is a self-satisfying gesture and I don’t continue producing it for the comments. I guess if I had written something inflammatory that invited many comments I’d be coming back to defend myself but that’s not something I do.

    Similarly, when I comment on another’s blog, I don’t come back to check for a reply, and I certainly don’t add comment threads to my already busy RSS reader.

    Perhaps I would have a different view if I was blogging to sell something.

  30. Leah Pauls says:

    As a commenter (I could swear it underlined “e” and “o”), as a writer, and as a human being, I am encouraged when someone responds to my efforts to communicate.
    Encouragement leads to confidence, and isn’t that what this site is all about?
    I get to enter into a conversation, listen to others, learn as much as I can, and respond to what moves me. Sometimes what I have to say encourages someone else, mostly I’m encouraged by what others have to say, and sometimes I’m made to feel like a fool. I’m sure that is not the purpose of this site.
    It’s all about inspiration, and so far, Joanna, you have inspired me.

  31. Davina says:

    Hi Joanna. I just don’t know! What I do know is there are only so many hours in a day and way more blogs to read than I can fit in. I’ve slowed down my blogging activities and have seen comparable reduction in commenters and traffic.

    Also, I’m seeing a pattern after having been blogging for almost a year and a half. A large percentage of bloggers disappear in batches or their appearance dwindles. Seems to go in waves and right now (maybe it’s my imagination), I see a slowdown in both blogging and twittering.
    .-= Davina´s last blog ..9. Thyme Out On A Mountain =-.

  32. Solid gold creativity says:

    Hi Joanna. As I see it, the question is academic. Because once the comments get above a certain threshold number, the issue resolves itself. It’s no longer feasible to reply. One of the most-commented on blogs I’ve come across is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s Yarn Harlot. She regularly gets several hundred comments per post, and on a famous day a little while ago, 4,400 comments. She couldn’t possibly reply to the comments, and never tries. Cheers.
    .-= Solid gold creativity´s last blog ..What would Sir Ernest do? =-.

  33. George Angus says:

    I think it’s probably because I’m no mathemagician, but I’ve not found a formula that works for me all of the time. In terms of comment responding, I do believe in responding to all who have taken the time to drop by and leave a thought. Sometimes I respond in batches, sometimes as they come in.

    Great comments here that should help light the way, though!

    .-= George Angus´s last blog ..10 Astounding Rare Book Covers =-.

  34. Leah Pauls says:

    Here I go, weighing in again. I’ve been thinking a lot about your situation, and wondering what I would do in the same circumstance. While washing dishes—because so much inspiration comes over the kitchen sink—I began to question the purpose of blogs. Some are for venting, some for gossiping, some are meant to inform, and some are created for genuine discussion…a classroom, if you will, with a RELATIONSHIP FOCUS, as Robin suggested.

    You, as coach, are the writing professor in front hundreds of students in this forum hall. Your desire (I assume) is to prepare your students for the work ahead, engage them in deep dialogue, and inspire them to create with their words.

    Your lectures touch many. You see nods of agreement; you hear laughter, when appropriate; some vocalize their appreciation, some, their dissent. There are those students who raise their hand and simply make an observation; you nod in acknowledgment, and continue to the next student with hand raised. Some students ask probing questions or courageously offer opinions. To those latter, you take time to explore a little further, dig a little deeper, not only for their sake, but for the sake of the entire class. Sometimes the dialogue turns on a tangent, but you skillfully redirect the conversation and the learning continues.

  35. Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome says:

    My blog seems to be different from most - I know that I have a whole lot of readers and yet I have next to no comments. I invite and ask questions, but very very few respond.

    Given the theme of my blog (anti-procrastination) it’s not surprising people don’t comment, but I also think people come to my blog as they do a newspaper or magazine - and so few people write letters to the editor! ;)
    .-= Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome´s last blog ..Measuring Success: The Lab Rats Review Their Progress =-.

  36. [...] hopelessly behind responding to your amazing comments, not least the comments on how to find time to respond to comments Thank you everyone for your contributions, I’ve been thinking about all of them and will [...]

  37. Terry says:

    I am considering a blog myself and I am concerned about the amount of time and effort it is likley to take up. I run my own small business and spend a lot of time physically working.

    Do you have a recommended requirement for managing and maintaining a blog? i.e. how many posts in a month/week, should I switch comments off.

    Any advice is appreciated.


  38. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Barbara that ability to be kind to yourself is priceless. Something I’m still learning how to do. Thanks for the reminder :-)

    Hi Jannie good to see you too :-) I think going down to twice a week is where I need to be at. If I can be disciplined enough to get there… Whereas I am quite good at spending time on Twitter (my social media of choice). I like your double dutch analogy… but would also reassure that you don’t have to get the timing just so perfectly right. The way I found my twitter feet was after reading a post on twitter being like an Italian roundabout. You can sit there for ever and wait for just the right moment. The trick was to *listen* for something where you saw / felt / heard any point of connection and then… just jump in :-) Do say hi as and when you’re tweeting…

    Michelle I’ve always been a comment junkie too :-) Still am in fact… though the time factor does start to shift the equation eventually. Thanks for saying hello (first time comments are always wonderful to get)

  39. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Leah who are you not to comment? ;-) Your suggestions are most helpful, thank you. I like the idea of the blogging etiquette too - ‘no response needed’ (and enjoyed seeing it in action too:-) ) Replying in themes / batches is certainly a possibility. The individual responses does take a lot of time, but then again that’s how the relationships build up, and that is the bit that really excites me.

    Lillie that’s pretty much where I’m at too. If I couldn’t respond to the comments I’d start to question why I was blogging at all.

    Leah :-)

    Cath I guess it’s a lot of suck it and see to find what works - in terms of both time and enjoyment. I’m afraid I still spend a lot of time reading blogs because I enjoy them so much… but less time commenting elsewhere than I used to.

    April thanks, that’s a useful reminder that not everyone sees comments in the same way that I do. I found it very puzzling when I started that I didn’t get replies on some blogs (and stopped reading / commenting there) but I found out that a lot of people don’t expect replies, or ever go back to look for them. It feels disconnected to me, but I do need to remember we all have different learning / reading / blogging styles.

  40. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Leah thanks so much for coming back and saying that. Yes, I do believe that encouragement leads to confidence, and yes, that is what this site is all about, and yes (note to self) that is why I invest the time in responding to comments. And you’re right, no-one will *ever* be allowed to feel foolish on this site. Thanks Leah, you have inspired me too.

    Davina it does go in cycles doesn’t it? Maybe it’s also because of the phases of the blogs we read - maybe others who started when we did and hit similar buffers. And something to do with the seasons of the year…

    solidgold thanks - I know what you mean, but I’m not sure it would resolve itself for me. The equation would have changed irrevocably if I couldn’t respond to the comments - I think I’d want to stop writing or start writing elsewhere to create the room for the conversation rather than continue in broadcast only mode. But I know that’s probably not a universal response - it’s just how blogging works for me.

    George me neither - which is why I asked, and am glad I did - I’ve learned so much from this conversation!

  41. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Leah can I quote you on this one some time? ;-) Great analogy thanks. And maybe the lesson to self is this - if I spent too much time on the comments I’m never going to get to the next part of the lecture ;-)

    Alex are they too busy procrastinating to respond? ;-) Only kidding. I wonder if it’s something you’re managing to do - write without the explicit invitation to comment - because what you’re actually inviting people to do is get moving and taking action on their ‘somedays’ - which is a more valuable call to action…

    Terry that’s a great question and one I know a lot of small business owners wonder about. I’d say you can get away with once a week posting. A regular supply is better than fits and bursts (in my opinion anyway). I wouldn’t switch comments off - you’re probably not going to get swamped unless you invite participation on a topic that’s relevant to lots of people and they want to engage in. I deliberately set out to invite comments and engage an active community but you don’t need to do that - just to be open to the comments people want to leave.

    You might find this post by my friend and colleague Brad Shorr on how to avoid blogging burnout - specifically for business bloggers. It’s part of a series on business blogging that you might well find of interest.

    Hope that helps


  42. Kerry Grier says:

    Be loyal to your loyal readers and gently weed out the ones who are not your target readership. Thank you for your inspirational and practical posts.
    .-= Kerry Grier´s last blog ..Dirty Laundry =-.

  43. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Kerry hello, and thanks for that contribution (and feedback). It’s an interesting point - if you write for too many people the pressure to try and ‘feed’ them will become unbearable. Writing for loyal readers feels more like writing for yourself… which is easy. And fun :-)

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