I received a question by email from a user asking me how I value commentors feedback.

First of all I would like to say I value everyone who comments on this blog. Even so much so that I have somewhat designed the site to encourage people to comment. There also is a lot of value for users to comment on this site. In addition to making the top commentators list just commenting on a blog with this much traffic is sure to you get *some hits*. Just the other day a young lady wrote me and said shoemoney.com was the #1 refer of traffic to her site and she had only been commenting on my posts for a couple weeks. Course there are people that try to game the top commentators system for SEO value but we etch them out pretty quickly. We check sites in that list and if its not something we feel comfortable linking to or the anchor/spammy text we make a editorial decision not to show it. I would say we blacklist 1 per day from being able to show up on the top commentators list.

This post is more about keeping commentators in perspective though… or at least that was the intent. Each post on this site receives about 35k unique visitors on average total. Being that the most commented post on shoemoney.com has about 300 comments so that means for that post about .85% people who actually read the post comment. Thats right less then 1%. From my analytics I even show that the most dedicated readers of shoemoney.com have never left a comment… ever… Even more to put it into perspective its like speaking to a room of 100 people and only hearing feedback from 1 person.

I think only considering feedback from comments in changing your site is one of the worst things you can do. I think the downfall of Digg is a prime example. I used to really like digg but the more they catered to there commentators the worse it got for the masses.

Don’t be fooled. 1 person can make 25 accounts through a proxy and make it look like the masses feel one way. The real story is in the analytics. On shoemoney I have had people give me many suggestions for the site and many I implemented but then I watched very closely to see the results of those suggestions. Most of the time the result by the masses was the opposite of this lone voice. So I reverted back.

One of the neatest analytics on shoemoney.com is most of its loyal readers never comment at all.

So in closing my suggestion would be to value your commentators feedback. After all you are living in the monkey house. But watch closely the analytics of the changes and make sure the lone voice is in tune with the masses.

By Jeremy Schoemaker

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of ShoeMoney Media Group, and to date has sold 6 companies and done over 10 million in affiliate revenue. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 International Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. You can read more about Jeremy on his wikipedia page here.

62 thoughts on “Keeping Commenters in perspective”
  1. That is a great point and one I have to admit that I haven’t closely monitored to see how the vocal people’s suggestions are received by those that aren’t actively commenting. Thanks for the tip.

  2. That is amazing 35 k for each blog post. Your write convincingly that is why i read it and I guess trust it.

  3. “First of all I would like to say I value everyone who comments on this blog.”
    thanks for that. many bloggers don’t do that. ciao from romania.

  4. I get a little traffic from my few comments, but if you are that person’s #1 source they are either getting very little traffic or posting a lot on your site.

  5. Is there a chance you would like to release the top commentors plugin you wrote? It would be nice using it on one of our sites.

  6. You know, to an extent, as long as the comments keep coming (positive or negative), you probably don’t have to change too much on the site. I mean, after all, the readers are obviously not only coming, but participating, and that’s what a blog is all about.

  7. What a wonderful article. I was afraid you’re giving up the website cause you were not writing everyday, but I see you care about your readers.
    Why some blogs like JC change the value of top commentator everyday?

  8. I too have noticed that I have a lot of repeat readers that do not leave a comment. At one point it kind of ticked me off, but them I realized at least they stop by to visit and sometimes they even linked to a post or two. So even though they don’t want to voice an opinion in my comment section I still know they like something about my blog.

    I also receive email requests for particular information to be added to a page and I add it for the benefit of all even if the request only came from one. If over time it does not show to be of value to others or my blog I make the adjustment and notify the original requester of the change. “Can’t please all of the people all of the time”

    I recently started hanging out here on Shoemoney.com and have been in the top commentator section, several times. I hope my comments are worthy and of value 🙂

  9. Agree with you totally on digg. I hate digg now, top diggs are just funny images which i’ve already seen on mixx or reddit.

  10. I have always thought the opposite: If one person has actually bothered to get in touch / request somthing, there must be 100’s who cannot be bothered but would like the same features. My site, which gets about 30k visitors a day, every time someone requests somthing, i make it for them — on a new page. I link to it from the homepage, and some of the new features/ideas suggested by visitors have become more popular then original pages. So i wouldnt agree 100% and i would say atleast try peoples ideas — but if you can, not on your original page.

  11. You make a great point about the value of analytics. That’s something I definitely fail at – really keeping track and “reading” the numbers.

  12. I also get very little traffic from my comments and my personal opinionis that readers do not click on the links from the Top Commentators list.

  13. There is the plus that you interact with commenters on the site. I feel that adds value and it’s a good practice others can learn from. Interesting to see what value the gravatars may add. I’ve noticed them across many sites now and it’s easy to view a post and see if you know others that are participating.

  14. Derek,

    I think Shoe nailed it with the “lone voice”. I have seen it time and time again on my own blog – the most vocal person is not necessary the voice of the masses. Tracking and analysis is a must as it generally turns out that only the dissatisfied 1% speaks loudly while the happy 99% simply enjoy the information.

    Cheers.

  15. Analytics are definitely the best way to track your traffic through your site and to put things in perspective. Less than 1% sounds really neglible, but seeing the bigger picture via analytics sure shows what works and what doesn’t on one’s website. As a matter of interest, Jeremy, where do you get most of your traffic from?

  16. I believe that people should stick to the original purpose of the comments section – to give constructive comments to the owner of the blog. While they may have ulterior motives for placing comments, it may be wise to actually READ the blog post first before commenting. Comments such as “Great post!”, etc, don’t really mean much at all. Thus, these comments aren’t worth putting up in the first place.

    Cheers, Samantha
    What Sells Online

  17. I disagree here, I feel a majority of serious bloggers value their commentors, after all readers are the lifeblood of a blog..

  18. I think you nailed it on the head there. For me its around 3 or 4% commenting and most being my most loyal readers. This being said I think that radically shifts when your blog goes from being smaller (less than 250 readers) to a medium (more than 250), to a large (more than 1000 readers) in size.

  19. Great post (of course) and I agree. I get tired of the ‘spammers’ who just leave the one line comment of “hey nice post” with a url. Yet, then again a lot of people on other projects I work on I get ideas from posters as well.

  20. Jeremy,

    I use analytics to determine which blogs I add to my network – and rely on that data far more than what commenters ask for.

    That being said, I did rely heavily on feedback from readers in comments and on Twitter when I went through my rebrand. They opened my eyes to a lot of ideas and drastically changed the direction of the naming process – for the better. In that case, I solicited that feedback directly and it was a pretty unique circumstance, so it’s probably an exception to your rule 🙂

  21. you know honestly, i dont see any reasons for commenting in all posts… I mean not all readers are intrstd in your stuffs and obviously you just find comments there like “nice post” which isnot bad but doesnt really make sense…

  22. Top commentators are like 12 yr olds who always butt into conversations. “Hey dad, dad. Dad. Look at me. Hey dad. Look at this. Hey dad.”

    Endearingly annoying.

  23. I’ve been reading for quite some time but sometimes I don’t have much to add so there’s no sense in leaving a comment :).

  24. I don’t know if you can paint so broad a brush, but I think that people who comment for the sole purpose of getting on those lists (and they’re obvious) do get annoying.

  25. lol…true. now u made me write my first comment ….. tricky tricky 🙂

  26. Wow, if that post wasn’t sculpted to get people to comment I don’t know what was. But I’m not going to bite, you won’t get me to comment. No way.

    But if I did comment, I’d say that I need to incentivize people to leave comments on my own blog. I love seeing more interaction with readers.

  27. When I first started blogging it was difficult for me to post. I mean we are putting our name and website to what we say. I still struggle with some blogs, like SEOMoz, I would like to comment yet sometimes feel intimidated and don’t

    Do you think many bloggers dont post because of that. I mean less then 1% dont post, or is it just me.

  28. My blog is only small, probably a couple of hundred regular readers but I do notice that it’s the same 8 or 9 people that leave comments all the time. I guess the others are just happy to read whatever rubbish I write without feeling the need to add anything. When I first started I wanted comments, I’m not all that botehred now, I’m just happy to have visitors.

  29. Dang, I wish I could get 35k visitors to every post, I settle for one tenth of that.

  30. Hi, i really like your site layout. I will continue reading here, so i subscribed! Maybe you could check out my site, and even subscribe if you like. Thanks, Zach.

  31. Great info in this post, especially about % visitors that leave comment.

  32. I happen to be part of the 99%. I love reading your blog Shoe, often I’ll print out your posts and read them later. Thanks for providing an endless amount of truthful, how to info to a noob like myself.

  33. How true it is. .85% of the visitors comment, that isn’t anywhere near a number to go back to make major changes to the site.

  34. Jer, thanks for taking the time to tell your commenters and loyal readers that you value their input and recognize their “non-input”. Sometimes I don’t comment on blogs because it because a huge flame-fest and I don’t have the time to try to defend the reputation.

  35. I tend to find comments come from mostly the same group of people and the rest of my readers just continue to read. I’ve tried to engage readers more but some just aren’t going to speak up.

    But it is often true that someone who is extremely vocal over an issue isn’t speaking the thoughts of the majority. A bit like politics really.

  36. Me too!
    I think all of us who visit here could use a few more visitors and could use a few more commentators too 😉
    I have visited a bunch of sites I’ve seen on here and elsewhere. I may not be able to comment everywhere, but I like to check out other blogs and see what people have to offer.
    ~Terry

  37. One thing I find pretty interesting is that in bloglines your feed always says that this post has 7 comments on it. Every time.

    Weird.

  38. I just started reading your blog, and I promise I will keep posting my feedback! You are a legend in the blogging world 😉

  39. I get 1000 views per post average and 25-30 comments in one of my blogs. Conversion into comments is high but that is all for top commentators position in my view.. Very few people genuinely comment.

  40. Shoe, is my site blacklisted?
    I thought top commentators was designed in order to attract users in SEO value, not traffic or something else, wasn’t it?

  41. I leave comments for two reasons, first I want to feel a part of the discussion when I see a great post, that is relevant and interesting to me or maybe i just want to answer someones question in a comment , or ask a question myself AND second I like to give back to the person that posted especially if I feel like they have given me invaluable information. AND in those cases I always make a comment, even if it’s just to say thanks for the post!

    I have read many blogs, BUT I have only commented on 3! There are so many blogs out there with worthless unreadable crap and when I find a great one, I will participate to the fullest.

    As a an added bonus, something which I never really expected I was able to network with some people who had relevant sites to mine, that found me through the link in my comment and that was a BIG bonus, as well as being able to get some traffic to my site which is always NICE!

    So once again, thanks Shoe and I’ll see you on twitter!

    Olga

  42. If you have 15k readers or just one hundred, there’s always just one procent commenters . I think it’s an issue on most blogs, luckely for you not all 15k readers do comment. 😉

  43. I totally agree that comments/feedback has to be looked at in conjunction with website analytics. Even on the biggest sites, active commentators normally number about 5%, and sites like Wikipedia etc are all based around 7% of contributors (and Digg, as you rightly pointed out).

    But I do think there’s an additional reason to encourage and respond to comments, and that’s that fact that the other 99% of people will perceive a site to be more interesting and popular if they see lots of comments, and give it more authority etc.

  44. I see quality comments as being as valuable as quality content….of the kind that you don’t need to generate yourself for your website. The more quality comments one can garner on a good post, the more successful one’s message is being broadcast, disseminated and spoken about. At the same time your point is well taken, Jeremy…..analytics don’t lie, and they tell exactly what folks were up to on one’s site, so a better yardstick can’t be found. Until next time, keep them posts coming!

  45. So interesting! I too am a long-time reader, yet this is my first comment here, and it seems there are many more like me who just like to read your stuff!

  46. The Edsel was developed based on what potential car buyers *said* they wanted … excessive power, over-wrought styling and gadgets.

    Turned out that when their pocketbooks voted, the only survey that mattered came out differently.

    Which is not to say that a site should change solely with an eye toward what makes more money in the short term. That invites homogeneity among sites, which will result in an opportunity for someone to make *a lot* of money by distinguishing themselves. Better to be true to your own vision.

  47. I think you’re absolutely right. It’s like in so many places. Those that speak the loudest aren’t always speaking for the majority. Sometimes the wisest voices are the ones that keep quiet and observe a lot and only offer their opinion when asked. Consider comments, but make sure and realize what percentage they make up of your real customers.

  48. From a guy who doesn’t get any comments on his blog, I got to tell you that it’s fun and kind of exciting to get know that people are reading and partaking in a conversation about “what you just said” When I do get a comment, it feels as if something I wrote actually has meaning to somebody else.

  49. Just curious…is this why comments on posts seem to be closing early now?

  50. […] Shoemoney, a master at search marketing doesn’t take his commenters that seriously, I know many of those who have commented, I have a high degree of trust for my […]

  51. Hi Chetan

    There is great SEO benefit in the top commentators list. Remember there are 1000’s of blogs with this feature so those that post are posting because you have something more to offer then just a commentators list. Time, time, time, so rather concentrate on those blogs that actually offer value then just posts.

  52. I know where you are coming from.

    Sometimes, I see different nicks giving comments but they all come from the same IP address.

  53. […] love commentators and think they are important to a blog. You always want to keep commentators in perspective and be careful of […]

  54. […] love commentators and think they are important to a blog. You always want to keep commentators in perspective and be careful of […]

  55. […] love commentators and think they are important to a blog. You always want to keep commentators in perspective and be careful of […]

  56. […] love commentators and think they are important to a blog. You always want to keep commentators in perspective and be careful of […]

  57. […] love commentators and think they are important to a blog. You always want to keep commentators in perspective and be careful of […]

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