I love checking the blog stats: number of views, visitors, and everyone’s favourite, like buttons.
However, my stat numbers do not love me back…most of the time.
I typically work on blog posts in several different steps: research, outline, very rough draft, rough draft, edit, edit some more, then finally, the publish button!
Of course, the work does not end there. After the publish button, the whole different set of work shows up: the waiting game.
I check the stats to see If anyone is reading the post. Constantly checking and rechecking for the stat numbers to validate my blog post by view numbers, likes and thumbs up buttons.
I am sure I’m not the only blogger who cares about this superficial but all-important aspect of blogging.
It is a sign of a quality blog, right?
It indicates well-written, researched, engaging, and worthwhile reading materials for readers to spend time on, right?
The overarching direction of my blog was to share design and life stories from a personal and genuine angle. I wanted to be open with each topic, including difficulties and challenges I face in and outside work (hence, life outside the design studio).
There are many design blogs out there with much similar design tip information. I admit I have some of those myself…
While struggling with content writing and stat numbers, I realized another element in my blogging journey: readers’ comments.
A year into blogging work, I finally received my “legitimate” comment…not the kinds with a happy face or the thumbs-up symbols. The comment was certainly not my first one…I have been getting those “love the post,” “good job,” or even the thumbs up buttons.
However, this particular comment made me question my views. The comment person shared which specific point in the blog he disagrees with…
It was my blogging aha moment.
I realized that comments like his with thoughtful observations matter more than other numeric measurements. It is the most insightful way to learn about how the readers are engaged with the blog post; my views and observations about all things from a design angle.
Like the comment I received on that fateful day, here are my top 5 blog comments in my blogging journey.
1. Compliment always works
I love getting compliments.
I love those coming with thoughtful and analytical reasons to support those flattering remarks even more.
I received such a comment recently from a stranger on the piece about writing difficulties. It is one of the skills that did not come naturally for me…I struggle with it a lot.
Looking back, my decision on the blogging journey has a lot to do with writing difficulty and its avoidance. Through years of plugging away on this challenging task, I am somewhat getting “comfortable” (if not improving) with the writing process.
Recently, I received validation in the form of a comment from a fellow blogger.
Am I a consumer or a creator? was the blog post triggered a complimentary “spot on” comment. He wrote:
“Spot on about consumption helping with creation. But there is also the danger of information overload, which we’re all very vulnerable to, since it only takes a few more scrolls to end up spending an hour longer than we planned to. Anyway, thanks for this post“!Stuart DanKer, www.stuartdanker.com
After reading the comment, I went over to his blog and learned that he is a writer and gets many comments from other bloggers. Reading through those comments, I can see they value his writings and wanted to share their thoughts on his post.
Momentarily, I had one of those green monster feelings: envy.
However, that negative feeling was quickly replaced by happiness; someone I was envious of wrote the ‘spot on” comment on my post.
Maybe, my writing is getting better…
2. Chance meeting a blogger with a similar interest
Instant connection happens when we meet people with similar interests. It works the same way in the blogging world.
Recognizing the similar interest in other bloggers creates the instant connection that elevates the status of being a stranger to a friend. (even in the digital world).
Prachi Srivastava is the blogger who made the connection through her comments on the post, Why certain podcasts are better than others.
Very well written… Even my podcast listening journey started on one of “those days” and now I myself host a podcast. Been a fulfilling journey!Prachi Srivastava, closettocurtains.com
Checking out her blog and learning about her interior design interest made me appreciate more about her views.
3. Reconnecting with an old friend
Writing a blog post (as opposed to writing an email message to a friend) allows the complete honesty I usually would not dare.
Sharing my honest views on friendship with my friends would not be easy. However, sharing it with perfect strangers about those friendships does make the process easier.
remembering old times
After publishing the post, one of my old friends from graduate school days contacted me in the form of comments!
My blog post, reviving old female friendship, found me an old friend from my graduate school days.
My old friend, Yolisa, showed up in the blog post’s comment section. Although she did not have the photo attached to her comment, there was no mistake in my old friend’s voice in her remarks.
“My always dear… this is Yolisa. I tried to reach you since we left NYC. Finally Luis found you, I am so happy I couldn’t wait to write to.Yolisa
My days @CU were wonderful and you make them fun with your unique sense of humor.
I hope we can talk soon.
Big big big hug“
I could not have imagined this unexpected but wonderful surprise when I started writing blogs years ago. Writing a piece sharing my somewhat uncomfortable feelings about the friendship brought the incredible gift I would not have imagined.
The post was about how I lost touch with some of my female friends for various reasons. They range from laziness to keeping in touch to mutual avoidance of sharing our life struggles.
As the saying goes, it was messy and complicated throughout the writing process. What was not complicated was that I missed my friends, and going through the pandemic strengthened that feeling.
With the initial connection made by her comment, we scheduled our phone call. I wanted to recreate the same old close friendship once we had, and we both promised each other that we would put more effort into keeping in touch in the future.
Of course, our promise has been once again lost during the busyness of life. I am hoping she would just show up on my comment section one day again…
4. Professional colleague agreeing with my (negative) sentiment about our profession
Acknowledgement from professional colleagues (instead of personal friends) brings a different kind of happiness…the kind you feel after coming up with an idea you and team members have been struggling with.
I received such recognition one day from an architect in Florida.
It was one of those days… lots of work, not making any progress on those work, and it was already dinner time. While copying the same to-do lists for the following day, I heard the blog notification sound.
I expected a typical like button or short comments about promoting their blogs. However, it was an entirely different kind of notification. It was from an architect in Florida who commented on my post, Why design is not valued, but the execution is
“You have written something very true. I have spent thirty years designing luxury homes in the Orlando/Florida market. In Orlando, the builders are pretty much in charge and they promote their work without including the architect’s names. It is amazing to me. These people have a ‘cartel’ in their local organization. The AIA does not have a competitive edge. Many of the other points you make are experienced in the design fields, from interior to exterior architecture. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.“John C Henry
He agreed with all the points I made on why everyone’s entitlement about being designers. He also commented that he appreciated my honesty in sharing our profession, especially about the opposing side. He also indicated that he experienced such points in his professional experience being an architect in his city, Florida.
I must admit I like getting ALL comments…including the thumbs-ups and happy face ones.
However, this particular comment from a stranger who happens to be in the same profession agreeing with me was the validation I did not think I craved.
5. My BFF (best female friend) ‘s very long comment
The best friend who had seen many of your best and worst life moments together gives unique and valuable perspectives strangers cannot match.
Anne, one of my oldest friends from our university years, has many “unique” perspectives about me and my quirks.
After weeks of twisting her arms, it was her chance(?) to write the comment.
She finally delivered on her promise. She wrote her comment on one of my early posts. The only instruction I gave her was to compose lengthy comments, and it was time to fill some blank space with written words like in other blogs….
I knew she would be a great person for the job since I knew the level of writing work she produced in the past. Here is what she wrote:
Hello Onah (my FRIEND!);
To be honest, I always liked the color white. The brighter, the purer, the better.
However, growing up in a very traditional Asian household, I quickly learned that white was not encouraged in any ensemble, except one: funeral garb…moreAnne
Getting my first and well-written comments in my otherwise very bare comment section, I felt I was finally a blogger who could evoke some thoughts/opinions of readers…even if the reader is a friend, who was threatened to fill up the comment section…
Over the years, my blogging strategy/ purpose has changed…or I should say maybe, I changed.
I believe the quality of blog posts can be measured by both numbers ( I still care a lot) and the quality of comments. (Of course, I am not counting those spammy, self-promoting kinds).
Instead of focusing on the stats (views, visitors, likes), I am much more focused on the quality of the writings.
Instead of thinking about what the readers would like to read, I now focus on what I would like to think and write about.
I am sure some bloggers might disagree with a somewhat naive approach. However, with this new approach to writing, I find myself getting connected to bloggers with a deeper level of interest/opinions.
I wonder how many, or better yet, how strongly the readers would comment on this blog?