4 Ways to Make It Easy to Interact With You, or at Least to Say Thank You
I try my best to thank people that share my blog posts – even if sometimes it takes a bit of time for me to find the pingback, tweet, Like, etc. I also usually follow them, since if they like what I have to say, often times I’ll be interested in what they have to say. Now let me share a recent experience about how hard one person made it for me to thank him – it helped me realize that there is room for improvement in my own blog, too.
The story begins with me wanting to thank someone for linking to my blog post from their blog and saying that it was a “very good article.” His words warmed my heart and I wanted to let him know that I really appreciated it.
I started with the simple approach, looking him up on twitter, intending to write an @reply. No dice – he doesn’t use twitter, at least not under his real name. I can relate to that – I do have a twitter account, which I occasionally update, but it’s not one of my favorite day-to-day tools – I just haven’t found a good way to stay on top of it without it crowding out just about everything else I have to do in a given time frame.
OK, so I visited his blog where he’d linked to my post. Nice blog. Lots of interesting content. How about I simply write a comment on the blog post where he linked to my post. Sounds easy enough. So I scrolled to the bottom of the post to where it says “leave a reply.” It says, “You must be logged in to leave a comment.” The site gives 2 options – log in via a WordPress account, or login via OpenID. I don’t have either of those login options, since most sites today allow you to log in (if they require login at all) with Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. WordPress login means the commenter has to be a WordPress.com user, which basically limits you to other bloggers that use one very specific platform. OpenID is theoretically broader than that, but it is a little passe, in my opinion. Possibly still going strong in certain security-oriented communities, which may be why this blogger decided to use it, but I still think it’s worth adding either an anonymous commenting option, or if login is a MUST, then add some of the popular social networks as login possibilities. You can do it easily with tools like SocialSignIn, Gigya, and about a half-dozen others. Or you could just implement an easy-to-use commenting platform like Disqus (that’s what I use on this blog).
OK, what to do? I still am on a thankless thanking mission, and the blog isn’t letting me write a comment. I know – I’ll send him an email. On the contact page, there is no contact info besides a way to phone him via Google (sounds cool, but I really wasn’t looking for a phone conversation right now – just a quick thank you. Cool tool, though). However, there is a “contact me” form that I can fill out. This looks like my answer. I started to fill out the form, even wrote a little note in the comments section.
Tried to submit the form, but it turns out that this person wants to block spammers from sending him junk forms. Understandable, since everyone hates letting spammers abuse their web site forms and generate tons of junk mail. So he has a captcha – one of those random letters/numbers that you have to input in order to prove that you are a human being. Only in order to see the captcha, I have to install a plugin called “Really Simple Captcha.” Now I’m a bit conservative about installing things I don’t know anything about. And I really don’t like installing things I will probably only use once. I also don’t like installing things that are pointless. There are dozens of captcha options available for bloggers or Web sites that don’t require the user to install something on their own computer. One that I particularly like is called “reCAPTCHA,” that uses people typing in captchas to help digitize old books.
*Sigh*. 15 minutes wasted and no thank you to show for it. Luckily he’s pretty well-known and has a somewhat unusual name, so I found him on LinkedIn via a Google search, and I plan to reach out that way. Hopefully he’ll accept my thank you graciously along with this rant, er, constructive criticism about his blog.
It just seems to me that if you’re going to take the time to share your thoughts in a blog, and invite people to interact with those thoughts, why not make it easy for them? The person who wants to interact with you may not be a spammer, may not want to sell you something…may just, in fact, want to say thank you.
1) Consider allowing anonymous commenting on your blog. If you’re worried you’ll get lots of junk comments, just moderate the comments closely.
2) If you don’t want to allow anonymous commenting, then use a popular way of identifying users, such as one of the social sign in plug ins, or one of the popular commenting platforms such as Disqus.
3) Don’t require the user to download something just to get in touch with you (like a captcha tool).
4) Consider including links to your social profiles since people may want to reach out to you there (BTW nobody’s perfect – It turns out I didn’t have links to my social profiles on my own blog. Added links to my contact page & footer before posting this blog post 😉
Image from Disqus blog: http://blog.disqus.com/post/25017922977/the-new-disqus-2012