Hits vs Dialogue

Like many bloggers, I have a hit counter on my page to measure the traffic. Hit counters are a great thing since they let you know how many people come to your blog, where they are from, what hours receive the most traffic, and it helps you identify trends. And while I get a special thrill from seeing a new high on my daily count or watching my average daily hits trend upwards, it is the dialogue that comes from your comments that makes blogging really special for me.

In my blog travels I see a lot of blogs with post after post with no comments and I wonder what keeps them writing. While they may have thousands of hits, where is the reward of feedback that comes from a comment that lets you know that your post has inspired... or resonated... or even angered?

I know for the "big" blogs, commenting and responding to comments may be a burden. Hell, it is time-consuming even for this little missal. But to me, creating a community is what blogging is about. I make a special effort when I go to a blog with very few comments to find a post where I can leave a comment, because I remember how special it was to get a comment when they were few and far between. And when people take time to leave a comment on my blog, I always try to answer quickly, trying to hold up my end of the cyber-conversation. And I appreciate when others do the same. I am often disappointed when I ask a question on a blog and it seems to go into a black hole. While commenting and responding to comments does take time, even the more famous bloggers (Ruhlman!) realize the importance of keeping the dialogue alive. After all, if all blog readers wanted was to read, they could look at a book, or magazine, or column.

So for those of you who visit and comment... Thank you! It is what keeps blogging interesting not only for me but for other readers, and I will respond in spades to you. And if you stop by (not only this blog, but others), take a moment and leave a comment. Blogging is meant to be more of a contact sport than a spectator sport!


I know just what you mean. My family laughs at how excited I get about comments. It shows that your work meant something to somebody and you're not just posting out into a void.

BTW - my stress food is homemade chocolate chip cookies. Baking them is part of the therapy; eating them is just a bonus.
Deborah Dowd said…
Lynn- It is exciting! Like having a friend drop by unexpectedly!
Barbara said…
Lynn and I are on the same page. I get excited to see someone's left me a comment. Plus no matter the number of comments, I enjoy posting to my blog and that's why I do it.
Deborah Dowd said…
Barbara- Unless you are a famous foodie, you blog because you love it, but comments are great validation that you are reaching poeple!
Megan said…
Comments are pretty exciting. Personally I just blog away, and if someone finds my 'stuff' then that is a great bonus. This is a fun community, for sure!
Sara said…
I agree with both of your big points. First, no matter how many hits my blog might get in a day, the comments are what makes me happy. This is how you know that people like, agree, disagree, appreciate, are inspired by what you are writing about. On the other side, I have so many sites marked in my links, del.icio.us, feed reader, and bookmarks that sometimes going thru them all feels more like a chore than a treat.
Margaret said…
A well written piece and I agree with your sentiments wholeheartedly. On a personal level, I would like to get more constructive comments.
Deborah Dowd said…
Megan- I agree that it is rewarding just to write and see your words in print... but to get comments from someone lets you know that what you've written is appreciated.

Sara- You are right! Blogging is a lot of work, like any relationship, but worth the trouble, in my opinion (I at least start by tracking back to any comments I have gotten!)

Margaret- Constructive comments do help you fine tune your blog and its contents!
Deborah,I get so excited when I check email and see a notification of a comment. Good post.
Deb Schiff said…
Hi Deborah,
As one of those blogs with not-so-many comments, I was very happy to see yours on my blog this morning.

I really don't mind if folks don't comment. My reasons for starting the thing were to keep in touch with family and friends, as well as to keep writing, cooking and snapping photos. One of my mentors once said, "Real writers write every day." So, if blogging counts as writing, I know that I'm writing at least regularly, if not every day.

Thanks again for stopping by. I really like your blog.
C'tina said…
I enjoy many food blogs, it's great that y'all take the time to put up sites and share your experiences. I've found that occasionally when I leave a comment on other blogs, it goes unposted. I've never left a comment that was distasteful or even negative. Just didn't make 'the cut'. I get the feeling those sites are 'snobby', but maybe there is another explaination for why a comment gets 'lost in cyberspace'. No drama...regardless I enjoy reading!
mooncrazy said…
At Peanut Butter Etouffee
we had a similar post and we got more people responding to that than any of our food post. I think food blogging is a bit different. I usually comment when I have something to say or maybe ask a question.

So when someone does comment on a food blog I think we appreciate it all that much more.
Deborah Dowd said…
CFG- The best blogs and posts make you want to comment!

Deb- You are absolutely right! That was one of the things that was the impetus for my blog- doing something just for me- comments are a bonus!

C'tina- I am not sure why some comments are screened. I have only thrown away one and that was because it said something a bit controversial that did not add to the dialogue. Yet others end up with spam posts!

Mooncrazy- Even though the focus is food- I am often surprised at how controversial and opinionated people can be about food! While it is not religion or politics, food is integral to people's lives and their feelings are very strognly held and personal. I love it when people share their own family or personal food experiences.
tinabeans said…
just dropped by to say thank you for leaving a comment on my blog! i found yours through the comment and have definitely bookmarked it. thank you for blogging and sharing your food insights and expertise with the world!

ps: getting comments are definitely a perk for me too.. hope this one brightens your day as yours did mine =)
Susan said…
Well said, Deborah. The dialogue does make blogging unique, and I especially appreciate when people ask questions or share their experiences with me.
Deborah Dowd said…
Tinabeans- I love exploring new sites and your's was a real treat! Thanks for stopping by.

Susan- I always try to let someone know if I have made their recipe because I know I enjoy hearing that someone has successfully tried one of mine.
Ronnie said…
Deborah, you are so right on with the thoughts in this post. I have been traveling like crazy these past few weeks and have not been able to write my blog or read my favorites. I really miss my new friends!
Mansi Desai said…
Hi Deborah,

Thanks for visiting my blog, and I sooooooo agree with you that Comments and feedback is what keeps us bloggers running!!

I like your blog, will surely be back for more!!