Okay. Your genealogy blog is not a store. And you don't own a store. [Or maybe you do. *shrugs*] However, your blog is like a store, and you are like a store owner. Many people will look through the window to see what you have. These are your readers.
And some? Some will open the door and come on in. Your comment interrogation system [Oops, I mean your comment information system. ;) ] is the door and when a reader leaves a comment, well, that's them 'coming on in'. [After they've successfully managed the Captcha hurdle, that is.] They're willing to engage.
They'll take the time out of their busy day to see what you have. They'll compliment you on your merchandise [blog content] and your shop [blog design]. And they may even buy something. [A purchase for cousin hunters would be like a cousin contacting you; for genealogical societies, this may be a membership sign-up; and for professional genealogists and genealogy-related businesses, this IS you.]
And what will you do? Ignore them?
If you're a smart shopkeeper, you won't. It's important to get to know your potential customer.
Just as it's important to get to know your readers, your commenters, and your potential return visitors to your blog.
You're blogging with purpose, and a part of that purpose is to create a community. And you can't do that if you're ignoring your commenters.
Each comment needs to be read, and each comment needs to be replied to as well.
I think we've all been guilty of not being smart about this and ignoring our commenters. [I certainly have. I'm going back to check and fix that...] These are missed opportunities at creating community and fostering relationships.
However, it's never too late to start, or re-start.
Start making your readers feel welcomed and comfortable because make no mistake. People are reading your blog, they're reading the comments left by your readers, and they're reading your responses to those comments.
What message are you sending?
"You're not welcome in my shop. Don't come back."
"Thanks for coming into my shop. I appreciate it. Please come back." [and if you're from Texas, there's a "y'all" at the end. ;) ]
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