One of the advantages of a blog over a more static website is the ability to interact with your readers through comments. Most bloggers love to get comments and many make it a policy to at least take a look at your blog when you comment and maybe even respond in return. I know I do.
One of the most frustrating thing for me when I try to encourage conversation by returning the favor are the bloggers who are so frightened of spam they make me jump through hoops to participate.
At least I guess they’re afraid of spam. I can’t think why else they’d set it up to make it hard for me to respond to a post.
There are all sorts of anti-spam schemes out there and each one is also designed to make it more difficult for your reader to participate in the conversation. Some make me register, some make me try and figure out a weird series of letters. One I recently found wanted me to log in with one of my social media accounts – I want to be able to at least list my blog for crying out loud. Some ask me to add up numbers, and others want me to check a box to prove I’m human.
Checking a box is probably the least offensive except it’s awfully easy to miss, meaning I get an error when I submit, making it tempting just to abandon my efforts to participate in that blog.
The most popular bloggers put up barriers
The most popular bloggers don’t put such barriers between their blog and their readers.
Respond to a post over at Problogger.net, (Darren is a 7 figure blogger) and you don’t even have to verify that you’re human. I suspect that’s one of the reasons he’s been so successful.
Most bloggers use Akismet to prevent much of the spam that shows up in blog comments. It doesn’t eliminate it all, but it does make doing your own screening almost easy.
CommentLuv, which will show commenters recent blog posts, now allows you to delete the post link if you think it’s spam or inappropriate. Spammers are getting more and more clever and sometimes I can’t be sure what is spam and what isn’t. When I can’t be sure I’ll do that and so far none of them have come back because I’ve defeated their purpose in creating links.
Treat your readers like guests
If you want more readers treat them like guests.
You don’t make your house guests perform tricks before they can come into your home do you? That’s what I thought.
I want my blog to be as hospitable as I can make it. I want to encourage your to join the conversation – that’s why there are no barriers here.
Sure a bit of spam slips through – so I delete it, just like I wash the dishes after serving dinner to friends.
My suggestion is you try removing all the barriers and see what happens. If you get a ton of spam, implement the easiest-for-your-reader solution you can find. Until you experiment you’re protecting yourself against something that may not even happen.
What do you think? Am I right? Or not? Let’s talk about it.