Tag Archive | "Comments"

Try This System to Manage Your Blog Comments Faster (and with Less Stress)

I think the best way to introduce the topic of this post is to remind you that my favorite word is No. At the risk of sounding no-fun, I like rules. If you’re in a position to set rules for any given situation, they can help you reach solutions to issues faster and avoid future
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The post Try This System to Manage Your Blog Comments Faster (and with Less Stress) appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Facebook Comments Can Now Include Video

You can now add video to Facebook comments or a video can simply be the comment. This feature is now available to Facebook users worldwide. According to Facebook, “You can upload them as replies to posts by people and pages, as well as within groups and events. It’s supported on desktop web, iOS, and Android. To try it out, click the camera icon next to the comment field!”

Baldwin also announced it via video from the new Facebook Seattle offices. We tried to embed it in the article, but it appears that the embed function for videos in comments is buggy. (Update – Bob Baldwin replied to our comment about this saying, “As I said in a different comment, we’re rolling out over the next few days. Thanks!”)

Bob Baldwin, a product engineer at Facebook, said:

At Facebook’s 50th Hackathon early this year, we prototyped the ability to upload a video into comments and replies on posts, because we wanted enable more engaging and immersive conversations. This adds to the suite of multimedia features within comments including: links, photos, stickers, emoji, and starting this week video.

At the hackathon, we coded as quickly as we could all day, and by the evening we could feel the pieces starting to come together. A little past midnight, we had the feature mostly working on both desktop and mobile apps. And when we demoed our hack to fellow employees the following week, they absolutely loved it! Over the past few months, we continued to refine and stabilize it, as a side project we all were eager to ship.

This was no small feat to add support across interfaces and within two heavy traffic services, like comments and videos. That’d be a challenge in a month, let alone a single day. We were fortunate to have enough shared interest from the ideal engineers to get the it done.

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 4.34.24 PM

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Did Comments Cause This Site To Get Hit By Google Panda 4.1?

Shortly after Google released the Google Panda 4.1 update, I asked if this site was hit by the almighty Panda algorithm. It clearly looked like it was and I believe it was hit by Panda. Nothing has changed since. Not to this site, not to the content…


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Popular Science Disables Comments, Says They’re ‘Undermining Bedrock Scientific Doctrine’

At what point do internet comments, whether they are civil or uncivil, begin to undermine the entire purpose of the site on which they are hosted? Whatever that point is, Popular Science has apparently reached it.

In an article appearing on the site, Online Content Director Suzanne LaBarre leaves little question as to why the long-running magazine has decided to shut down all commenting on online articles.

Basically, comment sections have become a breeding ground for scientific ignorance and it’s bad for the publication and bad for scientific progress in general.

Here’s the most pertinent segment of LaBarre’s explanation:

A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to “debate” on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.

LaBarre quotes research that suggests that “even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader’s perception of a story.”

“Another, similarly designed study found that even just firmly worded (but not uncivil) disagreements between commenters impacted readers’ perception of science,” she writes. “If you carry out those results to their logical end–commenters shape public opinion; public opinion shapes public policy; public policy shapes how and whether and what research gets funded–you start to see why we feel compelled to hit the ‘off’ switch.”

In other words, comments that undermine accepted science are bad for the articles on which they appear and bad for scientific progress. One troll’s comment could butterfly effect all the way to U.S. scientific policy. The stakes are high.

If there were comments enabled on LaBarre’s article, you would probably see a bunch of people riled up, claiming that Popular Science is stifling dissent.

But it seems that Popular Science is sure in its course. To the publication, “bedrock scientific doctrine” is best served in a forum free of political motivations. “We’re committed to fostering lively, intellectual debate,” says LaBarre, “as we are to spreading the word of science far and wide. The problem is when trolls and spambots overwhelm the former, diminishing our ability to do the latter.”

The magazine says that they’ll open up comments for some articles, but for the majority of new articles will have them disabled.


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7 Ways to Manage Comments on Your Site (Without Losing Your Mind)

Image of Microphone in Front of Audience

Comments.

For some bloggers, they are the fuel that keeps their content creation engines running. For others, they are a nuisance and a hassle — something they try to deal with quickly in order to get to the “real” business of creating content.

As a content creator, dealing with comments is part of your job. And I believe that comments are an incredibly important part of creating (and growing) an engaged online community.

But how do you maintain healthy boundaries on your site while still encouraging lively and engaging discussion? What are the best ways to manage comments in the blogging world today, and what do you need to think about when creating your own comment policies?

1. Moderate your comments.

All of the big blogging platforms allow you to moderate your comments. Adjust your blog settings so your comments come straight to your email inbox, so you can approve them before they get published on the site. That’s the easiest way to keep strict control over the conversation, and make sure things stay civilized.

We’ve all seen sites where the comments are clearly not maintained or controlled in any way, and we’ve seen how quickly the conversation can go from civil to disrespectful, and unwelcoming to flat-out abusive.

Moderate your community conversation, so your blog is a safe and respectful place for people to give their opinions or ask questions.

2. Use a strong spam filter.

Make your job easier by using a strong spam filter. Spam filters keep the creepies and spammers out of your blog (and inbox) and sequestered in a spam folder. Filters don’t catch everything, but they’ll snag most obvious spam comments. Use one, and your comment moderation life will become infinitely easier.

Akismet is my favorite spam filter plugin for WordPress, and it’s built into every default installation.

3. Have a comment policy.

Decide what you will and won’t allow in the discussion on your site, and write it down. Even if the document is just for you, take the time to sit down and write out your thoughts before you open the floodgates.

Consider sharing your policy on your blog, if appropriate. Michael Hyatt and the Huffington Post both have clear comment policies published on their sites, and those policies are enforced.

We also have a published comment policy here at Copyblogger, and those rules are enforced by the editorial team monitoring the comments on each post.

You can also choose the short and concise route — as Tim Ferriss does — and add a short “be cool” section in the footer of each post. Of course, you need to add a line or two describing what “being cool” means to you and your community.

4. Do your best to respond to questions from your audience.

I’m still working on managing this, but Sonia Simone is an absolute pro at it.

She seems to manage to answer every question in a timely and interesting way, and I love reading her comment responses.

She even takes the time to pull out interesting and relevant comments and puts them in standalone Q&A posts — a fantastic way to serve your audience with even more content .

Do you need to respond to every single comment? There are different schools of thought on this question. Some say it’s important to acknowledge every single comment you receive, even if it’s just a quick “Thank you” as a response. Others say it’s okay NOT to respond to every comment, unless the comment includes a question or other remark that really begs a response.

You need to decide what your policy is on answering comments. Keep in mind that your thoughts on this subject may change as your blog audience grows — as you get more comments, you may find you don’t have enough time to respond to every single one.

5. Have limits on what advice you’re willing to give away for free.

If you’re a coach, consultant or other service provider, you need to be clear about how much advice you’re willing to give for free when someone asks a how-to question in the comments section of your site.

You may decide that you’re willing to address questions that dip into your service provider knowledge, as long as the question is relevant and useful for your entire audience. Or you might decide not to give away any advice that your clients would normally pay for.

But either way, you’ll need to figure out a diplomatic way to refer people to your “Contact” or “Services” page when it’s time to take the discussion offline (and possibly set up a consultation or coaching appointment with you).

As with everything in comment moderation (and in life) — decide what your boundaries are, and stick with them.

6. Don’t put up with trolls, bullies, abusive language or threats.

It’s your site, and you decide what you will and will not allow someone to publish on your posts. You are under NO obligation to publish every single comment that people submit, and you needn’t allow anyone to bully, harass, or push you around.

That said, a little healthy discussion is a good thing, so you shouldn’t arbitrarily delete any commenter who disagrees with you. If they make their point in a respectful way, it’s okay to have a little contention on your site. It might even be a good thing.

In other words, embrace thoughtful, respectful criticism.

Our post on grammar mistakes, 15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly, received a healthy amount of debate and discourse in the comments — and it’s also the all-time most popular post on our site. So don’t be afraid of a little heated discussion on your blog.

7. Take care of your guest authors.

Set each guest up as a user in WordPress, and have WordPress email that guest each time one of their posts receives a new comment. It’s an easy way to let your guest writers engage with their posts (and keep track of which comments they have replied to).

When you invite guest bloggers to publish posts on your site, it’s also your job to make sure no one abuses them. One of the things I love about Copyblogger (especially back in my guest posting days, when I was nervous about answering hyper-critical or trollish comments) is that Brian and Sonia would jump in on the rare occasion that a commenter was disrespectful or rude.

Your policy should always be to militantly protect your guest authors — they are your guests, after all.

Over to you …

Hopefully you’ve gotten some ideas for coming up with your own policies and rules about managing the discussion on your site (and I’ve made it a little easier for you to moderate your comments in a way that works for you AND your community.

Some popular bloggers have recently decided to drop public comments from their posts. Others keep them open, but employ a strict moderation policy that leaves no room for bullies or trolls.

What are your rules about comments on your site (and what stories do you have to share about commenting gone awry?)

See you in the comments?

About the Author: Beth Hayden is a Senior Staff Writer for Copyblogger Media. Get more from Beth on Twitter and Pinterest.

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7 Ways to Manage Comments on Your Site (Without Losing Your Mind)

Image of Microphone in Front of Audience

Comments.

For some bloggers, they are the fuel that keeps their content creation engines running. For others, they are a nuisance and a hassle — something they try to deal with quickly in order to get to the “real” business of creating content.

As a content creator, dealing with comments is part of your job. And I believe that comments are an incredibly important part of creating (and growing) an engaged online community.

But how do you maintain healthy boundaries on your site while still encouraging lively and engaging discussion? What are the best ways to manage comments in the blogging world today, and what do you need to think about when creating your own comment policies?

1. Moderate your comments.

All of the big blogging platforms allow you to moderate your comments. Adjust your blog settings so your comments come straight to your email inbox, so you can approve them before they get published on the site. That’s the easiest way to keep strict control over the conversation, and make sure things stay civilized.

We’ve all seen sites where the comments are clearly not maintained or controlled in any way, and we’ve seen how quickly the conversation can go from civil to disrespectful, and unwelcoming to flat-out abusive.

Moderate your community conversation, so your blog is a safe and respectful place for people to give their opinions or ask questions.

2. Use a strong spam filter.

Make your job easier by using a strong spam filter. Spam filters keep the creepies and spammers out of your blog (and inbox) and sequestered in a spam folder. Filters don’t catch everything, but they’ll snag most obvious spam comments. Use one, and your comment moderation life will become infinitely easier.

Akismet is my favorite spam filter plugin for WordPress, and it’s built into every default installation.

3. Have a comment policy.

Decide what you will and won’t allow in the discussion on your site, and write it down. Even if the document is just for you, take the time to sit down and write out your thoughts before you open the floodgates.

Consider sharing your policy on your blog, if appropriate. Michael Hyatt and the Huffington Post both have clear comment policies published on their sites, and those policies are enforced.

We also have a published comment policy here at Copyblogger, and those rules are enforced by the editorial team monitoring the comments on each post.

You can also choose the short and concise route — as Tim Ferriss does — and add a short “be cool” section in the footer of each post. Of course, you need to add a line or two describing what “being cool” means to you and your community.

4. Do your best to respond to questions from your audience.

I’m still working on managing this, but Sonia Simone is an absolute pro at it.

She seems to manage to answer every question in a timely and interesting way, and I love reading her comment responses.

She even takes the time to pull out interesting and relevant comments and puts them in standalone Q&A posts — a fantastic way to serve your audience with even more content .

Do you need to respond to every single comment? There are different schools of thought on this question. Some say it’s important to acknowledge every single comment you receive, even if it’s just a quick “Thank you” as a response. Others say it’s okay NOT to respond to every comment, unless the comment includes a question or other remark that really begs a response.

You need to decide what your policy is on answering comments. Keep in mind that your thoughts on this subject may change as your blog audience grows — as you get more comments, you may find you don’t have enough time to respond to every single one.

5. Have limits on what advice you’re willing to give away for free.

If you’re a coach, consultant or other service provider, you need to be clear about how much advice you’re willing to give for free when someone asks a how-to question in the comments section of your site.

You may decide that you’re willing to address questions that dip into your service provider knowledge, as long as the question is relevant and useful for your entire audience. Or you might decide not to give away any advice that your clients would normally pay for.

But either way, you’ll need to figure out a diplomatic way to refer people to your “Contact” or “Services” page when it’s time to take the discussion offline (and possibly set up a consultation or coaching appointment with you).

As with everything in comment moderation (and in life) — decide what your boundaries are, and stick with them.

6. Don’t put up with trolls, bullies, abusive language or threats.

It’s your site, and you decide what you will and will not allow someone to publish on your posts. You are under NO obligation to publish every single comment that people submit, and you needn’t allow anyone to bully, harass, or push you around.

That said, a little healthy discussion is a good thing, so you shouldn’t arbitrarily delete any commenter who disagrees with you. If they make their point in a respectful way, it’s okay to have a little contention on your site. It might even be a good thing.

In other words, embrace thoughtful, respectful criticism.

Our post on grammar mistakes, 15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly, received a healthy amount of debate and discourse in the comments — and it’s also the all-time most popular post on our site. So don’t be afraid of a little heated discussion on your blog.

7. Take care of your guest authors.

Set each guest up as a user in WordPress, and have WordPress email that guest each time one of their posts receives a new comment. It’s an easy way to let your guest writers engage with their posts (and keep track of which comments they have replied to).

When you invite guest bloggers to publish posts on your site, it’s also your job to make sure no one abuses them. One of the things I love about Copyblogger (especially back in my guest posting days, when I was nervous about answering hyper-critical or trollish comments) is that Brian and Sonia would jump in on the rare occasion that a commenter was disrespectful or rude.

Your policy should always be to militantly protect your guest authors — they are your guests, after all.

Over to you …

Hopefully you’ve gotten some ideas for coming up with your own policies and rules about managing the discussion on your site (and I’ve made it a little easier for you to moderate your comments in a way that works for you AND your community.

Some popular bloggers have recently decided to drop public comments from their posts. Others keep them open, but employ a strict moderation policy that leaves no room for bullies or trolls.

What are your rules about comments on your site (and what stories do you have to share about commenting gone awry?)

See you in the comments?

About the Author: Beth Hayden is a Senior Staff Writer for Copyblogger Media. Get more from Beth on Twitter and Pinterest.

Related Stories

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Facebook Rolling Out Photo Comments for Pages

A few weeks ago, Facebook made comment threads a lot more interesting – or a lot more annoying depending on who you ask.

The social network gave users the ability to post images in comments – via an “attach a photo” button inside the comment box. Before this feature, Facebook users had to post bulky links inside comment in order to generate a photo. This new option allows users to post photos directly from their computers. Neat.

Well, it looks like Facebook is finally expanding that feature to pages. Now, both page admins and page followers can respond to posts with photos.

Here’s what a Facebook spokesperson had to say about it in a statement:

For businesses, enabling photos in comments, both on Pages and elsewhere on the site, allows for conversations with customers to be more expressive and engaging than ever.

Photo comments for pages should be rolling out now. If you don’t see the ability on your page yet, just wait a bit.


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How To Get More Comments On Your Articles

Posted by Jacob Klein

If you've spent any amount of time reading up on content creation, you've most likely seen a post or two with a similar title to this one. In my experience, these articles are typically littered with buzz-phrases such as "have a call to action" or "write compelling content" and consist of 30+ overlapping ways to do either of those things. While asking your readers to comment and creating comment-worthy content are certainly important concepts to understand, I'm going to assume you're already on-board and looking for something a bit more actionable.

Why are comments important?

The benefits of user generated content are obvious to most. Not only are you generating additional unique, (hopefully) on-topic content for your pages, comments may even contribute to your article's freshness score. While it's debatable whether the number of comments on a page is directly correlated with higher rankings, we all understand the value of having more fresh, relevant content on a page to say nothing of user engagement and community building.

No matter how in-depth your keyword research is, you'll never be able to naturally incorporate every iteration of a key phrase onto your landing page – and you wouldn't want to anyhow. With user generated comments, you're able to get some of those alternate queries (long-tail or otherwise) without having to shoehorn them into your on-page copy. Let me give you an example of this in action:

The highlighted text isn't actual copy from the page itself. It's from one of the comments towards the bottom of the page. Google has determined that this page is relevant to the query in part because of a comment that includes text that the webmaster hadn't even thought to include on the page. Would the page have ranked without the comment? Possibly. But to me, an example like this shows that Google clearly uses comments to help determine page relevance. In a competitive space where most competing pages look startlingly similar, you're going to need any edge you can get.

I'm sure you've all had the experience of landing on an article after searching for something only to "ctrl + F" your way to the comments section to find your answer. Content from users can provide real value, and this article will arm you with tips to help increase your user comments.

Actionables

Okay, so maybe you didn't need much convincing as to the importance of user generated content. You're here because you want to read something you haven't read before about getting users to comment on your posts. Over the last 10 years, I've founded several fan community pages covering such nerd-tastic staples as Magic the Gathering, Nintendo, and Game of Thrones (yes, ladies, I am that cool). While building these communities, I've picked up a few tricks for attracting article comments that I thought I'd share with the Moz community.

1. Make it as easy as possible to leave a comment

Does "website" really need to be a required field? Are your CAPTCHA images harder to solve than a Rubik's cube? Sometimes the effort it would take to comment on your blog outweighs the potential user benefits. Take a look at each field and ask yourself "is this a hoop I'd be willing to jump through to leave a comment on a blog I've never visited before?" Most users are wary about giving out an email address, so assure them that their data won't be used for anything other than unique identification or just let them login using Twitter of Facebook (more on that below). In the end, you should be mostly concerned with their username, email address (to distinguish their comments from others, gravatars etc), and the comment itself. Anything else is a barrier to entry that should be scrutinized and broken down wherever possible.

2. Comment placement

So many widgets, so little real estate. If I didn't know any better, I'd think that the end of a blog post is the hottest piece of property on the net these days. After you've pumped your full author bio, social buttons, "other articles you might like," opinion disclaimer, and multiple ad units, the comment section often ends up an entire page screen below the actual content. I know, I know, it's tough to demote any of these widgets because of course ad placement is important; of course, "related content" and extra pageviews are important, but if you're truly serious about getting the conversation going on your article, then you should consider giving the comment section a more prominent position on the page.

At the very least, give users an anchor jump at the end of the article that reads "Leave a Comment" or "Join the Conversation" and bumps them down to the appropriate level.

3. Social logins

If for whatever reason you simply must require users register for commenting (a rather large barrier to entry) consider allowing them to log in using the social media accounts they're already using. If you're running WordPress, this can be done by installing one or two plugins of your choice. Simple Facebook Connect will get the job done and the Twitter version will do the same. If you're looking for a more comprehensive solution (all social networks), try Social Login. Social logins on custom CMS' obviously vary and can be achieved using OAuth and following the developer instructions from Facebook and Twitter. There's also the all inclusive Disqus comment system that you've probably already seen in use on many blogs.

Not only does this offer users a 1-click login option for commenting and other community activities around your site; this option also gives your users an automatic avatar and social identity. Comments coming from a person with a traceable identity are almost surely of higher quality than those coming from completely anonymous users. And hey, once they're logged in with Twitter or Facebook, it stands to reason that the chances of someone sharing your page on one of those networks increases considerably.

4. Profiles, Awards, and Rankings

You've probably used (or been used by) a piece of ego bait in a link building campaign and the same principles of human nature apply to community building. In-depth profiles, award systems, and commenter rankings are great ways to encourage your contributors to keep coming back for more. A simple database comment count for each individual is all that is required for deployment. Attach fun titles such as "Youngling," "Aspirant," or "Padawan" to these values and you'll not only please current commenters, but you'll also give readers a way to gauge that person's standing within the community.

Grab the Top Contributors plugin for WordPress and show your top commenters some love. You could also display "X-Year Club" awards on user profiles or a "She's Over 9000aaaand!" badge for your most ambitious contributors. Anything you can do to give your loyal commenters a feeling of community and importance will encourage more comments.

5. Join the conversation

This one's a no-brainer. Respond to comments on your articles. You took the time to write the piece, so get in there and stand by it! Keep the conversation rolling with questions of your own and address things you may have glossed over in your initial publishing.

Try highlighting author comments so that they stand out a bit. This immediately communicates to readers that the author is paying attention and will most likely respond to their comment if they take the time to write one. The reality is that articles with comments get more comments. Articles without comments have trouble getting initial comments. The difference between 0 comments and a handful can mean everything. Who wants to be the first person to comment on a post? Each new user post offers an entry point for new lines of discussion. Help get the chain reaction going by helping the initial conversation to get started.

6. Email notification on reply

With great power comes great responsibility. If a loyal reader has given you their email address and contributes to your site on a regular basis, the last thing you want to do is lose their trust. You've got their email address but no one wants a "quarterly site update" or "Jan 1st Happy Birthday" email from every website they've ever commented on, right? But what most people would probably be okay with is a notification that their thoughtful comment has just received an equally thoughtful reply thus giving them the chance to respond.

Try Comment Reply Notification for WordPress if you're looking to add this feature to your blog. You can choose to alert everyone on the thread whenever anyone replies or limit it to personal replies. You could also allow users to choose for themselves with a simple checkbox as they reply. Disqus also offers this feature.

7. Tracking your progress

For many blogs it will be obvious when the influx of new commenters come in, but on larger sites it might be more difficult to track your progress. One simple and universal way to track your progress is to set up a Google Analytics goal associated with a new comment. Here are some instructions on how to do this. You can also easily set up GA event tracking any number of ways using the Raven GA config tool.

Have you found other effective methods of attracting commenters?  Try some of the above and leave a comment below!

Oh, and don't forget to have "create compelling content" and "a call to action."

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