Comments and Analysis

Just a short one since it’s getting late and I have a lot to do in the morning. I have spent some time today reading a variety of blog posts on improving blogs and getting more comments. For example, Problogger had a challenge in September: 31 Days to Building a Better Blog. Every day there were tips posted, and I am making my way through them, although I have not followed all the advice yet! I did do Day 8: Comment on a Blog you’ve never commented on before, and have just being following the advice given on Day 11: Dig into your Blog’s statistics. I realised I have Google Analytics installed, so had a nosey around to see what I could discover. Well, I learnt that there had been 119 visits where the person only visited once and did not return, compared to 34 visitors who apparently have visited over 201 times … could this be me, with a roaming ISP address or something? These figures don’t seem to tally with other figures I have … 56.41% of my visits are from returning visitors (welcome back, over half of you reading this!), with the remainder (obviously) being the first time visitors mentioned above (welcome, to those of you just popping by today – please do call again soon!). The average time a visitor spends on the site is 4:16 minutes, which I suppose is long enough to read a couple of posts! My bounce rate is 55.31%, which I presume is the number of people who call by accident and immediately hit the return key. As to content, other than the home page, the most commonly read posts and pages were:

1) What’s the difference between blogging and writing? (33 pageviews) (6:59 mins average on page)
2) About Me (25) (2:07)
3) The Jive Talker or How to Get a British Passport (14) (1:55)
4) A List of the Software I’ve Used (14) (0:45)
5) Trying to use ICT in the Classroom (11) (3:48)

As for referring sites, I’m delighted to announce that the top source for referrals to my blog goes to … (drum roll) … Ben Annett, so thanks for that, Ben! Twitter is also up there, and I got 5 visits via Terry Freedman’s comments site, which is also why the post on blogging and writing is so high up. I presume.

So, what should I do with all those statistics? Well, I think I’ll need to spend some time later on following ProBlogger’s advice on How to Keep First Time Readers to Your Blog! However, I think many of his tips are aimed more at people who are professional bloggers and therefore in some way “need” to have more visitors, whereas I am probably more interested in “quality” rather than “quantity”! (Anyone reading this obviously counts as quality!) Although these statistics are interesting, I am more interested in the social aspect of blogging, and the sharing aspect, rather than the numbers. Which brings me round in a circle to the starting point, which is by far the most interesting: commenting.

The blog which lead me to ProBlogger was the Bamboo Project, more specifically the post, Six Reasons People aren’t Commenting on Your Blog. In turn, Michele Martin was inspired by Chris Brogan‘s commenting challenge, where instead of writing a post, he encouraged his readers to read and comment on the comments in the comments box. I have to say, it is inspiring reading the comments on other people’s blogs … it would be lovely to have just a few of them (thanks Ben and Zak for your comments today on my animation!), but I understand it is a perennial blogger’s problem. (On the other hand, occasionally on a popular blog there seem to be too many, and I don’t read them all!) (Oh dear, I’ve just started browsing Chris’ site a bit more and found a post featuring 50 Online Applications – just my sort of post!) Right. Sorry for that interruption. (As you can see, this is more stream of consciousness blogging rather than planned and edited writing, Terry, if you’re reading!!) Back to Michele Martin. I found her blog through Diigo, and bookmarked it for future reference. These are her reasons why people don’t comment on blogs, as well as my reflections on my own blog:

1) You sound like a press release. Well, of all the things I sound like, I hope it’s not a press release! Except, perhaps, when I add to Samson’s book reviews.

2) You sound like an infomercial. Hmmm. Perhaps at times I post short posts with links to interesting sites … but I don’t think I sound as if I am trying to get any money out of them, for example!

3) You sound like a know-it-all. Well, I certainly don’t know it all, which is why I post here – I like finding new things then sharing them probably mainly so that I can come back and find them later! However, perhaps I don’t ask enough questions do engage the reader and show that I need your advice, feedback and comments – what do you think?

4) You haven’t shown them how. This one might be true. After all, I started blogging on a course which most of the other participants also had to blog on, and many only put up a few posts and haven’t written anything since. So perhaps my other readers have enough knowledge and understanding of the web to find my site, but the comments button (well, it’s hardly a button) is too small to be obvious. So I’ll need to think about making the commenting easier. Perhaps I could start by posting a link to Tessa’s excellent and clear instructions on how to post a comment? This might also be an appropriate place to point out that I do moderate comments, so please don’t be put off if your comment does not appear immediately. Also, I think – I must check this out! – that you have to enter an email address. Don’t worry, this won’t appear on the blog, although I may send you an email depending on the nature of the enquiry!

5) You haven’t created the right atmosphere. I’d like to apologise if anyone has felt put off commenting because you thought you shouldn’t! I would love to hear from anyone who drops by – whether or not you are involved in education, in ICT, enjoy reading books, have an interest in Malawi, like reflecting on life … Whoever you are, please let me know that you dropped in, perhaps tell me how you found the blog or the post, and add any questions you might have, comments or reflections on what I have written, share examples of how you might have used the applications I talk about, agree or disagree with my views … You are welcome! (Oh dear, I hope I haven’t gone over the top now and sounded all needy!)

6) You just don’t seem that into it. Apparently the blogger needs to sound passionate about their subject. That’s a tough one … do I get that passion and enthusiasm for ICT in eduction, for RE and for life in general across in my posts? I hope so, but I need you, my faithful readers, to let me know if I am succeeding or not!

Michele’s readers have left many comments on her post in relation to these suggestions. I think I may go and leave one of my own now … and hope that some of you might do the same here! I look forward to being overwhelmed with comments!

(Finally … I have also signed up to CoComment which should track my own comments in order to see the conversations I am involved in. You could probably find me there or follow me on Twitter, if you are interested. I quite like Twitter! More on that later, though!)

NOTE: I’ve just realised that I started this post by saying “Just a short one” … I think it may be my longest so far!! Really must go to bed now … 🙂

7 thoughts on “Comments and Analysis

  1. Hi Susan–glad to see that you’re going through Darren’s Building a Better Blog challenge activities. When our group did the project last year, we learned SO much and connected with a ton of people from around the world in the process. It also led to our Comment Challenge in May, which was another great success.

    Like you, going through the Better Blog challenge forced us to look at why we were blogging and what we hoped to get out of it. Most of the participants were teachers and they came to the same conclusion you have, which is that they were primarily interested in the social aspect of blogging as a way to connect to other people, rather than doing it to make money or have a ton of readers. I think it’s good to go through these activities, though, because they do help you get more focus and even if you’re in it for the social part, we can still do things to make our blogs better for connecting. Hope you enjoy the rest of the activities!

  2. I’ve been very suspicious of the numbers generated by Google Analytics. They seem far too high!

    I feel strangely satisfied about my mention on your blog. It was you, of course, who initially introduced me to blogging on the TTP course. It’s been a fantastically useful tool – I’m very grateful!

  3. Michele – Thank you for passing by and leaving a comment! I have just started reading another post from you about commenting, and am going to try and challenge myself to comment more widely, to encourage others, and to make sure I am engaging my brain more, and not just reading then forgetting!

    Ben – I do agree, the numbers are very high! I notice this on my other stats counter as well – I got very excited to see over 40 hits this morning, then realised that about 30 of them were from me, since I was going backwards and forwards on my blog last night writing the above post! And when you see that almost 200 visitors passed through and seemed to spend 0:00 minutes on the blog – well, that puts it into perspective! But sometimes you can tell that there have been real people, who have spent a couple of minutes reading a post, and they have come from a place where I know I might have been mentioned, or have posted a comment in the past – and that makes it seem all worthwhile!

    Above all, Ben, I am glad that you have found blogging to be useful – and, I hope enjoyable – that was what I hoped for with the TTP programme. It’s also nice to see that others are reading and being inspired by your blog! Great news!

  4. Thanks for the link Sue – no danger of your enthusiasm (issue number 6) not coming across – it constantly amazes me how much time and effort you continue to put into this blog! Hope you’re having something resembling a holiday at the same time…

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