Jan 22 2013

Time to comment

Posted by     54 Comments    Posted under: The Snug





Me in the mirror

Commenting on blogs takes up a lot of my time and not for one second do I feel it is a waste of time. I feel like if someone goes to the effort of writing a thoughtful (or thought provoking) piece and I have taken the time to read it because it interests me  …. then it usually deserves a head-nod of some sort.

Another thing that takes up a lot of my time is drafting and writing a blog post of course, because (him) cooking and (me) shooting the food, editing the recipes, re-writitng the first draft because I ‘got it wrong’ (according to my more knowledgeable partner in crime) all takes quite a bit of time. So, I will be the first one to sit around and hope and pray that I get a few of those comments floating about. I have put the work in and I like the feedback.

Now – since my big win late last year and seeing as I hold the title(s) for these blog awards I felt it was time to throw a few answers at all the ‘Frequently asked questions’ I get; and there are many.

Some questions come in the form of comments themselves, which I believe I have already answered. FYI – WordPress tells me I have responded to over 1500 comments on just my blog since 2010. Time well spent, in my opinion.

Other FAQ come in the form of emails and the ones I like the best are from the anonymous faceless trolls that troll the internet looking to start a fight. Needless to say, these are hardly worth a mention, because we cannot highlight from where they have originated, but maybe I will throw a few out there for good measure and to give y’all a giggle.

Incidentally – RIGHT after publishing this blog post … I did get an anonymous comment (I never publish ‘anon’ comments) so I am sharing this with you just so you see that sometimes getting ‘comments’ is not all that exciting.

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 11.39.08

But moving on from all that, er, drivel??

The most Frequently Asked Question is invariably ‘How do I get more people to comment on my blog’ …

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 10.21.56


One of my favourite sites (Write-on-Track) gets asked this question all the time too.

So, how do you get readers engaged, keep them coming back to read your blog and (eventually) drop you a minute of their time in the form of a comment?

1.  Write engaging (and relevant) stories for your blog. This might seem easy or simple but if you look at the blogs from your peers right now there is a lot of complaining and suffering going on (Ok – we all get the January blues!) and it is just not what I want to read. I am hip to current affairs and what is happening in the global and local news. I watch the news on TV (morning and evening) and read the newspapers online. If you are a news blogger – then I will come to you for the news. If you are a food blogger I will stop reading you if you keep reiterating the doomsday news and blues.

2.  Run the occasional give-away. This draws (quiet) readers out of the woodwork and it is one of my biggest delights to see how many readers never miss a blog post. (MailChimp (a free service) tells me I have a higher than average ‘open-rate’ for all our updates received by email. This makes my heart sing! The reports (at first) can be a little daunting because you see how many readers are ‘not’ opening your emails – but hey – only makes a gal work harder! )

On a side note regarding giveaways … I get  A LOT of crap from readers about the giveaways. ‘Why are you always doing giveaways‘, ‘you would never have any commenters on your blog if it weren’t for the giveaways‘ … Sigh. yes. I get all this free stuff like Mauviel Copper Pots, Oxo kitchen gadgets, Le Creuset cast iron cookware, and even a few hotel city breaks (including dinner!) and you are right – faceless troll – I should be greedy, and keep it all for myself and just blog about the fact that I have all these goodies and you don’t.

Double sigh. Giving and receiving …. pure joy.

3.  Stop trying to copy your peers. There is no ‘real’ formula for successful (food) blogging. It is all in your voice. If you come across as open, humorous, loving, intelligent, caring and have tried and tested your recipes … then readers will find you. One of the ways I knew our blog was becoming popular was people started emailing me questions about the recipes. Sometimes they find an error with a recipe (I totally hang the Chef for these) and others were asking of they could substitute one ingredient for another. They might not have been ‘commenting’ but the readers are there and already eating the food we have shared. On the flip side, if you are a bit cranky or fly off the handle on every trendy topic trying to garner more traffic for your site  (because it is relevant in the media ‘right now’) then you need to quit blogging and become a newscaster.

4.  Be the expert on only one or two things. David Leite does this so well; He is the expert on Love. I love David’s Bhlag because his stories are filled-to-the-brim about the food he cooks for those that he loves. Do not strive to be the expert on everything. You only dilute yourself.

5.  Ask questions. Best to finish the blog post with a weighty question if you want a flurry of comments . . Dianne Jacob is the queen of this. As a matter of fact, if you want to be a better blogger, then just take a few weeks of work, read back over her blog posts (and buy her book) and emerge knowing how to ‘do it right’.

Now that you have a few tips and tricks up your sleeve to garner more comments on your blog – which seems to be what A LOT of bloggers want, I have two questions for you, and this is something you should have already asked yourself.

1. WHY do you want more people commenting on your blog?

2. Once they do actually comment, are you going to respond?

Again, from David Leite …. ‘No comment left behind‘ … RESPOND to every comment please, and for the life of me, do not tell me you do not have time. Turn off your TV and take care of your readers. Engage with them if you want them to do the same.

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today …


PS – and because there was chat of a giveaway … if you are thinking ahead and planning to come to Galway for the Annual Galway Food Festival (you should be!) on Easter weekend (March 28th – April 1st) then please make sure you check back here next week or sign up for email updates.

Hotel Meyrick has VERY generously given us a two-night break (including dinner for two on one night, and breakfast both mornings) for our readers. This is a gorgeous hotel and even those of you living in our beautiful city could take advantage of this one and invite some friends down for the festivities over the Easter holidays. Sign up for email updates right here (and send the link to your friends and family if you do not want them staying with you – ha ha!)


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54 Comments + Add Comment

  • I like spam the best of all!

    Undeniably believe that that you stated. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the web the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed even as people consider issues that they plainly don’t know about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the highest as smartly as outlined out the whole thing with no need side-effects, folks could take a signal. Will probably be again to get more. Thanks

    Feel free to surf my weblog: real blackjack

    • Ha ha … it took me a minute of ‘actual’ reading there to realise you were just spamming me!
      Thanks my dear xx

  • Thanks for sharing your tips Mona. Great post, once again. I would have never imagined people complaining about giveaways. Very odd. Some people are just never happy.

    • I know … but that is one of the points of this whole exercise … once people do start to comment, it ain’t always pretty!
      Thanks for your kind words :0)

  • Hi Mona!

    Question: On the subject of replying to every comment,There have been a few blogs that just will not reply back to me, I’ve just attributed it to the fact that I don’t blog. Is this the ‘unwritten rule’?

    Thanks for always replying 🙂

    • OH – My – God … I have heard it all Robert.

      You know, I never thought about it … but of course that might be why you
      do not get a response … some bloggers probably feel, that without a blog, you cannot help them garner anymore traffic by way
      of links (in or out) …. I think that it is shocking …. but I know a lot of bloggers that are quite happy stating they do not have time to respond…

  • Love the humanness of a response. Sometimes a smiley face will do just to know someone has read a comment makes me feel important and we all like to feel important. I do like questions to be answered though and blogs where no one replies don’t get my time again
    Keep up the good work Mona
    Will learn how to cook something one of these days as well 😉

    • That’s it exactly Niamh…it makes it personal..and I love that connection too.
      Te cooking part is a doddle xx Hope all is well with school and the homefront x

  • Regarding replying, I reply to all comments, whether they have a blog or not. I tend not to leave comments on blogs where they never reply, and there are quite a few of those! That’s my bugbear!

    • I know you do reply Colette..you are very tuned in to your readers :0)
      And it shows! Love that it is a pet peeve of yours too!

  • I loved reading this. Thank you for your thoughtful words!

    I am a new blogger, and I decided to try, for the month of January, to comment more, on more blogs. I did this selfishly, I admit, to share my blog with a wider audience.
    However, I’ve learned over the weeks that the more I comment, the easier it is for me to write a thoughtful comment, to give a piece of myself in my comment, so that the blogger has something to respond to and we can have a real conversation. An exchange of ideas.
    I’m finding out about so many interesting blogs and new recipes this way, and I’m so glad I’ve done this.

    You’re quite right–it’s but the work of a moment (to quote Rowan Atkinson’s character in Love, Actually) to comment, and to reply to a comment.
    Thank you!

    • It is but a minute that is needed to share a quick hello and how are you on a blog.
      It is nice for the writer to know there is someone out there :0) and I think equally as nice for the
      commenter to know that the comment has been received with thanks.
      Glad you are discovering new blogs…that is what it is all about!

  • Thanks for the blog post Mona it is really informative. One thing I did notice was that you comment on every person who leaves a comment for a competition. This is something I didn’t do in my latest competition I just made general comments on how great all the responses were so this is definitly something I will take into account next time.

    • I do… But it is one of those things… I like to connect with the readers and sometimes this
      is a fast and easy way to just say a quick hello … I am quite chatty you know :0)
      You are doing a great job Kat. Keep it up!

  • Thanks for all the tips 🙂 . I find I have the time to just about read my favourite blogs and then run out of time to comment I think I will make it a new to do this year :). I love give aways , the hope that you might win :).

    • Yes..I know, time is hard to come by …. But I am sure you will manage…
      Give a busy woman a job to do and all that …..
      Love the lamb by the way! Is he due for the freezer this year Elaine?

  • Clap clap clap! Stand up for you Mona!:)

    • Wow.. A standing ovation. Thank you!

  • Hi Mona , always enjoy your posts even if my email subscription disappears every now & again. I plan on working out what causes that as its happened on a few others. As a non blogger I think it’s lovely to get a response and would say those who do respond to comments are the exception rather than the rule. Rosemarie

    • Hi Rosemarie,
      I have made a (hopefully) final switch to MailChimp for my RSS feed and email delivery of blog posts.
      I think Feedburner acts up and makes it very difficult for new subscribers to sign up and stay on a list.
      You are right…there are not a lot of bloggers that respond to comments which is what prompted me to
      write about it. I hate listening to others wanting more comments from readers and then just sitting back and
      not acknowledging them! Thanks for the visit x

  • Some great tips there Mona and I’ll re-read this again. I do comment on lots of posts weekly though maybe gardeners just don’t comment as much as food bloggers, or my content needs working on :/ agree with Write onTrack though, excellent tips.

    • You know Dee… In general, Irish people are not that great when it comes to
      commenting. I was teaching a blog class at NUIG before Christmas and many of the students stated they
      did not like to comment because they were not confident in their grammar or sentence structure.
      It was easier for them to stay silent. I told them to start writing!

  • thanks a mill for the shoutout for Write on Track Mona, I hope you’ll join in with the #blogchatie on Thursday night – great suggestions here re commenting 🙂

    • My pleasure…yes, I will do my best to join in with #blogchatIE
      but filming all day Friday/Saturday for the reality show…
      so might be cleaning floors and doing emergency painting on Thursday night!

  • A great post – full of many home truths!! I know we are constantly being told not to measure ourself by the number of comments we get, but OMG it gets depressing broadcasting content all the time and getting no feedback of any kind. I have less and less time to comment on other blogs these days, but I still do the rounds when I can, and now that I am on WordPress, replying to comments is so ridiculously easy(c ompared to Typepad) that it is a pleasure :)) As for the trolls…. where do they crawl out of. One told me this year that he/she sincerely hoped I was not writing or planning a book as I was so wanky, self-important and DULL (their capitalisation, not mine) that a book would be unbearable. BEAT THAT!! ;o)

    • Jeanne! What a great idea. We should out together a book on ‘faceless troll comments’ …
      I know.. There is nothing worse really than when the mind begins to wander and wonder as to where all the
      comments are … Yes, WordPress is just a delight and I have found since switching to that it has made it easier for readers to comment (with no hoops to jump through) and easier for me to respond from any device!
      iPad / iPhone / iMac … iReply xx

  • Great tips/advice Mona. While I do comment on a lot of blogs, I do not comment on my own site when people leave comments. However, if they do ask a question on a particular post, I do respond to them via email. I have noticed in my blog reading that a lot of writers do comment on their site to their readers…you always do and most others do it quite often. Perhaps it is a practice that I should being doing. Do you find that people come back to your site to see your personal comments after they have read the post? Just curious.

    • Paula,

      You are right of course, I like to write (and chat) so of course want more of it on my
      blog and I am sure many writers feel the same. With WordPress, readers can be alerted to the
      ‘Reply’ comments which sometimes results in a bit of a banter with a few more comments back and forth ;0)
      I also respond via e,ail, especially if it is recipe related so I can amend the recipe as per the chefs instructions relating to the specific question :0) I have also noticed that many of our readers come back to read other people’s comments … Because sometimes, depending on the blog post, that is where the real story lies xx

  • I am still laughing at Amee above. I am also worried I don’t get any faceless trolls making rude comments so is this a measure of success? When I eventually get one I will do laps of honour ;-))

    • Ha ha . I know! She is a right messer and I am a slow reader so it took me a few minutes to realise she was ‘messing’ …
      Shortly after the blog post went live yesterday I got a shitty comment – I have just inserted into the blog post for all to see – but as a rule I never publish ‘anon’ comments …if they want to remain faceless – then I have no interest in displaying their train of thought on their behalf :0)
      And yes – an increase in SPAM and hurtful or hateful comments is usually par for the course I’m afraid … when readership increases.
      Ya can’t please everyone Maggie x

  • Really got me thinking Mona! I read and comment on a fair few sites alright. I don’t reply to every comment made on my blog though as it became so time consuming as the numbers grew (I was a wreck!) Instead I follow people around the blogosphere either commenting back on their blogs or tweeting or emailing them. You get to know people this way too, it’s great. I aways answer questions which I get through my contact page, I get a good few about photography. It can be very hard trying to juggle the producer/consumer sides of blogging? I reckon I need to focus more on my production and making my work up to standard, I think my commenters and followers get that, I hope so anyway!!! I still don’t quite know how you do it all Mona……but keep going and more of the sharing of your wisdom about blogging please…….you have a lot to teach!!

    • Hi Catherine,

      I think I will blog a bit more about blogging or maybe have a section on the blog for all the questions I get.
      I spend a lot of time answering emails too – on food questions and on writing/blogging.
      I like that people ask me for advice and hope to always give good sound advice – as I am sure you do too.
      It can be a lot and I know you get massive amounts of readers/viewers and commenters … hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
      I like to flit around the internet too reading and saying hi – but am limited for time these days as I am in the final stretch of my undergrad ….
      once released from class in May – I will be back in full force and cannot wait!

  • Hi Móna, great tips above, will try out Mailchimp again. It was annoying me first time round and you’re point about feedburner is important one. I don’t get many comments but I totally agree with you about answering each one individually. Not sure if it’s because I get so few and am so delighted. What I’m hoping is that it’s because I value each comment and want to show appreciation for the person who took the time to comment.

    When I have nothing to say, as it’s all been said in the earlier comments, I just like a post. My way of letting the blogger know I like it.

    • I know – Marian – I tried MailChimp for a few weeks last year and HATED it – but I have just recently reinvested some time in it and
      I have to say it has rewarded me with so much interesting data about the opening rate of emails/updates that it has changed the way I blog/tweet/update on FB – all round.
      I always hit ‘like’ too when I like a post – because I do think it is important that the blogger knows I was ‘there’ for a glimpse xx

  • Ah some people are never happy! You can’t please them all!!! Blogging is too be enjoyed.!

    • I hear ya Peggy – I have a much more relaxed attitude about it actually. I love the DELETE button!

  • That’s a great post Mona, my blog is still only a baby and I really appreciate suggestions so I will try to put your points above into action!

    I love competitions! I love winning! (just in case you having trouble choosing a winner for the Fitzwilliam Hotel competition I’d like to let you know that I wont complain!)

    • Thanks so much! I love competitions too..and have been lucky enough to win a few myself,
      But if you are not in ya can’t win! Best of luck for the Fitzwilliam hotel giveaway x

  • Commenting is something that I struggle with. I browse most blogs on the phone and limit the time I have on the PC – often I simply blog and that’s it. The phone makes it dreadfully difficult to comment and so I’ve resolved to invest more time in commenting.
    I have to say the number of blogs that make you jump through hoops to comment (and I know that spam/hideous comments are rife) make me more reluctant to return. So if there’s any other bloggers around please, please, please don’t make it too complicated to comment! Remember an awful lot of our traffic comes from mobile devices so the more friendly it is to the likes of touch screens the better.
    Since you moved to WordPress Móna the blog has become very easy to read on the phone.

    • Yes..I had to install a WOrdpress mobile friendly PlugIn
      Because I use all the same mobile devices – like you and thousands of
      Other busy readers. Thanks for popping in for a visit and the comment Caitríona…

  • Great post Mona. Good tips. For the record, I like your drivel. 😉

    I am guilty of not being an expert on one or two things on my blog – i tend to have a bit of everything on there. And I try to reply to most comments on my blog – just to let the person who commented know that I have been paying attention. It all takes time but I like reading other people’s reactions as much as I like commenting on other blogs.

    Keep up the drivel!

  • Hi Mona,
    Wise blogging words indeed. For me, the comments and interaction is what makes it worthwhile. Getting big numbers is flattering and for people who earn a living from it, essential. However, the depth of engagement is the true measure of the worth of what one is doing.
    Keep up the excellent work.

    • Hi Conor,
      I feel the exact same way…I am all for the chat and love the interaction.
      You are right, massive numbers, when blogging for cash from links and traffic is
      impressive if you choose to make a living from it…but a nice auld natter
      is where the real story unfolds :0)
      Thanks for the visit…next time we will have tea?

  • Great blog post! Sorry only getting around to reading & commenting now busy busy with 4 little ones under 6 years!! Very helpful tips there. I keep promising myself that I’m going to start a travel blog, maybe one day. As for the trolls they can stay under their bridges! Who really cares what they have to say?!

    • Hi Corinna,
      I hear ya on the for kids and keeping busy! Start the blog!
      I would love to read it. And yes…just like On Dora…the trolls can stay under the bridge!

  • I am back again after a very short but very, very sweet trip home ! There wasn’t even anytime to visit my beloved Galway but there will always be a next time. I love commenting on blogs but must admit I don’t do it enough, maybe it is because the bloggers don’t tend to respond ! I always comment here and come back again because I know you will reply….I like it that way. What is this reality filming you speak of and how have I missed this….thank goodness I have the iplayer ! Dying to be a fly on the wall in the Wise house.

    • AH . . .I know what you mean – a flying visit but well worth it!
      And I am dying to see your new shop Brenda. How exciting!!!
      Yes – I will have to email you about the TV show. All I can say is – if you have the chance to get involved in reality TV – do it.
      Such.fun.we.had. xx

  • That’s kind of funny that the person said “no one asked you for this….” It’s your blog after all.

    I, for one, enjoyed the few tips you gave out, and I feel you’re in a very strong position to do so. Afterall, those guys who blog about blogging, can do so because they’ve usually had successful blogs in some other niche.

    Best wishes,

    • You know Liam I get a lot of crazies out there responding to my blog posts.
      I only have time for the ones with names.
      I am, however, thinking about rearranging the blog tabs to include one ‘on blogging’ so the waters do not get too muddied :0)
      Thanks for popping in for a visit.

  • Wise Words indeed. But you know what I do if I get a bit depressed (like Jeanne) about the lack of comments? I hop over to a blog that I think is filled with mediocre (or worse) content: no writing to speak of, horrifying junk food recipes and lousy photos and just look at all the comments: “Wow!” “Amazing!” “Decadent!” and think to myself – “just a handful of thoughtful, meaningful comments that add to the discussion, in which readers interact and share are worth so much more. We all need to start thinking more in terms of quality instead of quantity. Or so I tell myself 🙂

    • I know! OMG … The amount of spam comments too Jamie…it is a great way to lift the spirits.
      I never let myself get to depressed with a lack of comments. I always feel that timing has a lot to do with it too … But it does make me work harder on the next post … and makes me consider posing a post in a different tone … More questioning perhaps … Anyway..you hardly have a thing to worry about!

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About Móna
I am a native Galway girl that seems to be drawn to professions that rhyme with 'err'. Writer, Mother, Restauranteur, Wedding Planner, Dishwasher, Grass cutter, Cocktail maker. I suppose you could say I am a well rounded entrepreneur.
You can find me here
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You might as well just come visit.
He prefers face to face communication.

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