Experimenting with Comments and Subscribers

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been experimenting a bit with some of the features here at Bookmark Bliss. For starters, we’ve made a real effort to increase our subscribers by making our subscription options more prevalent in all our posts and by making our main subscription widget a little more easy on the eyes. We’ve also made a few changes on the commenting front. For starters, we’ve removed the NoFollow attribute from all our links and added MyBlogLog images to our comments. Our goal for all of these changes was to make Bookmark Bliss a friendlier place for new visitors and also make it as straight forward as possible for potential readers to subscribe to our content.

Now that all of these changes have had a chance to be active for at least a couple of weeks, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look back and see what kind of effect these improvements have made.

Lets start first with the subscriptions. Since announcing our changes, we’ve seen our subscription base nearly triple in just over 3 weeks. While I’m sure this has something to do with our site getting more and more exposure over the weeks I think a lot also has to do with our changes as well. Users can quickly subscribe to our feeds from any post here on the site and our welcome box at the top of the green toolbar makes much more sense to the tech unsavvy. Hopefully this trend continues throughout the rest of the month but it definitely appears we are well on our way to meeting and beating our April subscriber goal.

As for the comment changes, I am happy to report success on this front as well. These changes have not been active as long as our subscriber changes, but already we’ve seen our average comments per post jump from 2 to 6. Even better, we’ve managed to attract some great new readers whose contributions to discussions have made our site that much better. The one negative is a very slight increase in spam and a few more “linkbait” comments than usual. Nothing Akismet and I haven’t been able to handle easily. I rule with an iron fist when it comes to garbage comments and I have no problems removing them when they show up.

So overall, I think our experiment with changes here at the site has been very successful even in such a short period of time. I look forward to following this up again in a few months time to see if these trends have continued throughout.

For all of you out there who’ve tried similar changes to your own sites, whats been your experience with the results? What changes do you think we need to make here at Bookmark Bliss to make our site even more accessible?

5 thoughts on “Experimenting with Comments and Subscribers”

  1. Very interesting post…thanks for sharing your progress with us. On average how many automated spam comments do you see per day? Also, when you say linkbait comments I think I know what you’re talking about but can you confirm my understanding? “Linkbait = comment entered by a real human that includes a link to some sort of spam site. Also, the comment is usually generic and adds no value to the discussion.” I ask because I have seen a couple of those on my site and was torn a little bit about deleting them. In the end, I did delete them because they were clearly unrelated and were aimed at drawing people to some other site.

  2. On average I get between 25-50 spam comments a day that are almost always blocked by Akismet. When I say linkbait I usually mean someone who posts a comment that is obviously just looking for the free link. Usually its things like “Great Post!” or “I like this Site!”

    They might be sincere, but really their comments don’t add much to the discussion and I would rather give the links out to people who contribute more meaningfully.

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