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Dear bloggers – if you want interaction, make it easy…

Henry Elliss
Henry Elliss
Managing Director
11 August 2010

As somebody who spends a fair bit of time reading and research industry news for my job – as well as commenting on blogs in my spare time too – I get very frustrated about how difficult some bloggers make this process. Considering one of the defining features of a blog is the ability to comment on stories (as opposed to just acting as a newsfeed) I don’t understand why people want to make people jump through so many hoops to do this.

Nothing frustrates me more (in blog-commenting terms…!) than having to register for a website before I can write a comment. Everybody knows this is just a glorified way of gathering my vital statistics so you can market to me, so either make that an optional extra or don’t be too surprised when people don’t take the time to have a conversation with you.

As I work ‘in’ social media, I spend a lot of my time explaining to brands how openess and conversation are the key to getting consumers to converse more with you. So it’s very frustrating when sites that should know better don’t practise what they preach. I won’t name names, but I’m sure you could all think of a few examples.

If you want to give visitors an alternative but don’t know where to start, there are many good places to start your journey of discovery. Some of my top-tips would be:

  • Disqus – a comment-and-moderation system used by thousands of blogs. Users can sign-up for a single profile which works across many different platforms, with the option to automatically tweet and update facebook (amongst others) when they comment on blogs.
  • Google Profile – many blogs, particularly the Google-owner ‘Blogger’ platform, allow you to post comments using your Google account. I’d recommend allowing this if you can, and also setting up a profile of your own. Unless you’re paranoid about Google universal, of course!
  • Gravatar – one of my personal favourites, Gravatar allows you to supply a universal profile photo, which gets used (along with the profile details you choose to share) on any blog with the gravatar plugin. WordPress makes gravatar functionality very easy to add, as do many other common platforms.
  • OpedID – this system claims to remove the need for your to remember multiple logins across multiple websites, instead allowing users to own and track comments they make across a variety of platforms. It’s worth a look…

With so many great (and free!) systems out there, I can’t see any reason why bloggers and website owners shouldn’t try to make it easier for people to interact with them…

And of COURSE, I’d more than welcome your comments on this post…!

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