I'm always wary about posting about things like commenting, I worry it'll sound desperate - but here goes! I'll try to steer away from the desperate... Richard Hooper over at WPProject makes a post about comments:

One of the greatest rewards you can give a blogger in appreciation of providing content that suits your needs, is to leave your thoughts in the comments section at the end of a post.

Leave a comment

If you’re a blogger, I know you’ll agree with me. There’s no greater reward. Sure, it’s nice to monetize, publicize and so on, but when your readers participate, leaving related comments, suggestions, and even criticism, you really appreciate that. We all do.

Without question, getting comments from interested readers is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of blogging.

~ Chris Pearson

Jai, over at Blog Oh Blog lists a few reasons why we should leave comments below the posts that we read and enjoy.

This blog is relatively new and isn’t getting a great deal of comments just yet, but in due time if I continue to provide valued content, comments will grow. Comments are almost guaranteed when bloggers “regularly” provide top notch content that their readers or subscriber base are tuned into. It’s automatic.

Now, I mostly put this site together for me, for example, my posts about my trip to India recently came in handy as someone asked me for information and it was easy to give it to them. Despite this, at times I have wondered why I keep writing in a public way if nobody is reading? Am I really that chap standing on the street corner babbling to himself?

Occasionally, an article gets a load of traffic, like these ones, but very few comments. This is a shame - it is always nice to get comments. As I posted on the original article:

I love comments - I don’t get nearly enough of them… but then, I don’t post in a niche, I post on whatever concerns me when I post…. this is probably the cause of the ‘not nearly enough’!

Of course, other reasons could be that what I'm writing is without merit (some will be, I hope that it's only some!) - it could be that when I write a big article, I've covered all the bases and there is little left to add.

Nevertheless, at a guess, I'd say it's because I'm chopping and changing topics - it's harder to 'build and audience'. For this reason, at times I've toyed with the idea of separating out the various topics which I'm interested in into their own sites - but would that be too restricting? Would I generate the content to keep each one fed? Probably not.

Perhaps I should 'theme' each category page and so produce sub-blogs, but that'd be a real pain to set up with the categories I have. I like the freedom of a general site, but would like the interaction one would get by having a site on a given topic which builds an audience. It's a bind. A catch-22.... but I would like more comments, they're nice.

Perhaps the first step is to restrict the categories - I have way too many, then I could theme the category pages more readily for the 'sub-blog' solution. The categories were made before tags became part of WordPress, so contain too much information, so the first step would be to take the current categories for all my posts and turn them into tags - how could I do this? Does the cat2tag feature remove the category info? Then I could remove categories, re-assigning deleted categories wholesale and create a few broad categories for my posts. Perhaps: Cycling, Art, Politics, Travel, Entertainment. It's a plan, I suppose. Doesn't sound like a fast change - and there may be broken links caused (a big item on my to-do list already is to fix links in old posts which remain broken from my change from movable type to WordPress!)

Before I commit to trying to improve the commenting situation by radically altering the structure of my categories, I'd really like to garner some opinions - is my analysis reasonable? Do I not get many comments due to the chop-change nature of this site, or is it something else? Perhaps it's simply that what I write isn't worth a comment?... or it's so good a comment would be superfluous?

(This could be an interesting experiment, how many comments will I get on a post about a lack of comments?)

So, there's my post about commenting. Did I manage to keep away from the desperate?

Update: The Cat2Tags feature does remove category info. Glad I saw this post. I'd want to make tags of categories without destroying the categories (I'd want to destroy them manually!)