Massive Blog Growth: Do You Really Have the Time it Takes?

by Marcus Sheridan

blog time dedicationI can remember well in Nov of 2009 just how I felt when I published my first blog article here on TSL. It was without question such an exciting and invigorating experience. With boundless enthusiasm, I could see massive comments and a thriving community forming in no time. But after a couple of arduous months of little to no success, the reality of my situation became clear—The comments were few and far between, and I had no community.

But as I’ve explained in other articles, eventually I started to understand principles of blog commenting, networking, and relationships. I found my voice as a writer and now, roughly 18 months later, the Sales Lion community is rich with a thoughtful and active network of thinkers, movers, and shakers.

The Yearning for Comments

What so interesting about my mindset those many months ago was my general obsession with comments. I’m not ashamed to say I yearned to be recognized. I wanted so badly to feel that my readers appreciated the things I was teaching. And more than anything, I WANTED MORE COMMENTS!!

I was talking to John Falchetto recently about this need for commenting. Shortly after our conversation, he felt inspired to write an excellent post asking readers why some comment and others simply do not. Well, the article ended up being hugely successful for John, and after writing tons of replies for two straight days, he emailed me and jokingly said, “Marcus, Remind me to never write a post about comments again! ;-)”

Now obviously John was thrilled to have so much interaction, but with such interaction comes a few ‘drawbacks’, and this is what this article is all about. I want to take a real look at the time investment it takes to establish a thriving blog community.  Truth be told, although every new blogger seems to dream of the days when they’re getting 50 and 60 comments per post, I don’t think most understand just what this will mean in terms of time, dedication, and hard work.

The Reality of Success

Earlier this week (Monday)I wrote an article about 9 lessons I learned from the biggest blogging jerk ever. And although I knew when I published the article it would likely do well, I did not know that it would be one of the most popular articles I’ve ever written in terms of number of comments. As of today (Friday), it has around 180. In fact, with this article The Sales Lion now has received a total of over 5,000 comments (non-spam of course) since its inception.

For some, this number may seem inconceivable. For others it may be common-place. As for me, I think it’s a testament to hours of hard work. It’s also exactly what I signed up for, but here are some facts about this week’s article you may find interesting:

1. The article itself is about 1400 words.

2. From start to finish, it took about 45 minutes to write.

3. Once written, it took about another 45 minutes to prepare and publish.

4. By Monday evening, the article had about 35 comments, many of which were amazing and quite thought-provoking (which means my responses are going to be longer as well). After getting off my elliptical around 11:30pm that night and settling into my desk, I answered the last comment and email from my community just before 3am.

5. On Tuesday, the article actually picked up traction. In fact, it got more hits Tuesday than it did on Monday. Just as with the night before, I started answering comments around 12:00am, and by 2:05am, I was done.

6. Although Wednesday was a lighter day, another 15 or so comments came in. I also took this time to thank some people on Twitter for all their help in sharing the article, plus a few other direct emails to some of my great friends in the blogosphere. Thus, only about 1.5 hours were needed on this day to tend to the community.

As you can already see, the easy part to writing this article was the 1.5 hours of time spent writing and publishing it. But the tough part(in terms of time) has been the roughly 7 hours of replies, conversation, etc. In fact, even though the article was only 14oo words, my replies to all the comments were just a hair under 5000 words.

I want to stress here that I’m not complaining. No, not at all, but with greater community comes greater responsibility.

Other Great People

Ingrid Abboud from NittyGriddy recently did a massive ‘report’ about blog posting schedules. Essentially, she invited everyone in her community to submit to her their blog posting schedule and she would then combine everything into one complete report. As you can probably imagine, Ingrid’s ‘communal’ idea was a huge success, but because she takes the time to reply to every comment, the project itself took hours upon hours of hard work to complete (even with Brankica’s help). With a total of 269 comments on the post and well over 20 hours of time invested, by the end Ingrid’s hands/fingers had literally swollen greatly because of the fact that she’d been typing for so many hours(and no I’m not kidding about this). Simply put, this was one of the best examples of a ‘labor of love’ towards one’s community that I’ve ever seen.

Over the last 6 months in the blogosphere, I have watched comment trends come and go. On this subject alone, I could speak for hours. Heck, even Stuart Mills wrote an excellent article on ‘The Best Commentors in the Blogoshphere’ recently. But along with Stuart, I want to point out that there are some amazing people out there like Ingrid that take their time commitment  and love of community very, very seriously.

Although I could name dozens of great folks—like Mark Harai, Danny Brown, Mark Schaefer, Gini Dietrich, Davina Brewer, Bill Dorman, Elena Patrice, Kristi Hines and the Great JK Hustle—I’ll simply say I’m not alone at all in terms of understanding the time investment community takes. Again, a true commitment to community takes a major labor of love, and to the persons that are doing it, I say– ‘Well done!’

What’s It All Mean?

If I may be introspective for a moment, all the excitement that comes with communal growth has its fearful side as well. To me, this ‘fear’ is derived from my clear understanding that I’m not going to always be able to give the one-on-one that I’d like to with others. I care about so many people in the blogosphere and I know I’m simply not going to be able to read as many other articles as I’d like. I’m not going to be able to comment on as many sites as I’d like. I’m not going to be able to personally email as many people as I’d like.

I’m sure some of you understand exactly what I’m saying right now. Others might think I’m crying the blues. But please know this is not my intention. I’m simply observing the byproduct of what happens to a blogger when he or she reaches high community and traffic levels with their site.

In conjunction with this though, I know some things in my life are going to have to give in order to make this work. For example, with so much success with TSL, coaching, and speaking—I’m going to have to soon walk away from my swimming pool company. When will this be? I’m not entirely sure, but it won’t be too far down the road, less than 2 years I’m sure. Owning that company has been the springboard to all of this, but I can now clearly hear the inner whisper saying, ‘Marcus, it’s time’.

Once this occurs, it’s my hope that I’ll find better balance (as we all are striving for in life) in terms of growing TSL and other areas of my life to their potential. It’s also my hope to further my relationships with more great people. As to when this will all happen, only time will tell. But be rest assured, you’ll be the first to know about it. ;-)

Is it in you??

So to all you bloggers out there right now that are dying to grow your community and comment numbers, I wish you all the success. Whether your goal is 10, 50, or 100 comments per post, I hope you soon reach that goal. But along this journey, please know, as I said before, where much is given, much is also required. And it’s important to look within yourself and ask, “Is this truly what I want and what am I willing to pay for it?” Only you can answer that question, and in reality the answer may change for you many times over the coming months. But hey, the joy is found within the journey, and not the destination, so just keep that in mind as you walk the amazing path known as ‘blogging’.

Your Turn

I’ve got a few questions I’d like to pose to the community here and am very, very curious to hear your answers. First of all, if you’re a newer blogger, what are your goals for comments and community? For some of the more seasoned veterans, how have you dealt with the time demands of community? What are you doing in your life to have balance and allow for optimal interaction?

Please jump in folks, the conversation starts now……

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{ 171 comments… read them below or add one }

Thomas May 6, 2011 at

Hi Marcus
I see you point. I have only been blogging for about 4 months and don’t get that many comments on my posts yet, but it is slowly increasing and I love that. I get maybe 2-3 comments a day and have no problem with keeping up with that. I am only blogging for a hobby and of cause I don’t have many hours to spend on blogging every day. If my comments should increase and be too time consuming for me I think I would have to make a time schedule for how much time to use on answering comments each day.

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

Hi Thomas, I haven’t seen you in these parts before and I’m thrilled you stopped by. :-)

Good luck getting your blog up and going. After 4 months, I was pretty clueless, so just by the fact that you’re visiting other blogs and participating in ‘the conversation’ shows your maturity.

Come back again soon!

Marcus

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Brankica | How to blog May 6, 2011 at

I will only say that it takes me more time to network and maintain the community than anything else related to my blog. I had no idea what I was getting into especially that the blog was started as a personal one. Now, look at that monster :)

I guess we better get ready to “suffer” more. Great one Marcus.

PS I am so not subscribing to comments on this blog anymore, my inbox died several times this week because of you :)

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Marcus Sheridan May 7, 2011 at

So I blew up your inbox Bran???? Sweeeet!!! :-)

I know if anyone understands what I mean about hard work and dedication to one’s blog, it’s you.

But at the end of the day, the love and passion for our communities and what we do makes everything worth it.

Thanks for being such a fun support and friend Bran.

Have a great weekend and try to get a little sleep, will ya?? ;-)

Marcus

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Bill Dorman May 6, 2011 at

Yes my friend, you have created a monster.

I am nowhere close to your level and already struggling with it. There are certain areas of my presence/engagement that could be automated to create more efficiencies and I probably need to start figuring it out.

I went into this w/ just the opposite expectations. I knew some people who had niche blogs that might get 5-7 responses so I thought I could easily roll mine out and stay virtually invisible. Not for any reason other than I thought this was what you were supposed to do I started bringing my link w/ me when I commented. I still thought I would be lucky to have 5-7 comments.

I was totally astonished with a recent post that had 60 comments…….yikes…….now what do I do? I know I have a crappy site. I’ve had people tell me to clean it up and I’ve had people say don’t worry about it. I’m in a quandary, because in the big scheme of things does it really matter? I guess ultimately it depends on where I’m going with it.

It’s not a mystery to me how it happened; it was through the engagement with others. That’s the other time commitment you need to think about as well if you are going down this road.

I love ya man and I’m so happy for your success; if your replies become twitter replies; 142 characters or less, I’ll know why.

Thanks so much for mentioning me so I guess that means I’m not so invisible after all, huh? And I will ditto Brankica’s comment; I do NOT want to be notified of comments via e-mail, you are blowin’ up my e-mail too. I’ll just come back to the site from now on.

I hope you have a great weekend buddy.
The sales lion……….er, uh the invisible blogger……………..:)

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Davina K. Brewer May 7, 2011 at

Bill, I think you’re sweating the little stuff a little too much right now. Nothing at all wrong with your site: it’s clean and easy to read. Only things I could think of to take it to that next level are a few plugins for easier social sharing, the obligatory ‘follow on Twitter’ link the sidebar, maybe a blogroll page that includes me. ;-)

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

Haha Bill, looks like all that dang funny-talk and conversation is leading to visibility after all??!!

It was inevitable man. You simply give to much value to the conversation in other people’s houses not to have them want to come back to yours. I know you’ve really spent a ton of time making it happen, but you’ve exploded on the scene, and now you’re really going to have to answer for yourself what you want to get out of this whole blogging experience.

Personally, I can tell you that I think you’ve got a bunch of talent and to run with it ;-)

Looking forward to watching how it unfolds for your Bill.

Have a great week man.

Marcus

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing May 6, 2011 at

Very wise post, Marcus – this is the side of blogging that nobody likes to publicize.

And I’m with you – I love blogging (a lot more than I thought I would, truth be told), and it’s great to engage with our audience, but as the blog grows and the time demands increase, it gets more challenging!

So far, I’ve just been putting more and more time into Firepole Marketing, and that’s what I’ll continue to do – I don’t know how scalable this eventually will be, but the expectation is that revenues will grow enough to justify scaling back some of my other work, and create some balance.

That’s the scary side of growth – that you can grow beyond the point of manageability within the context that you want to be working. There’s a great book about this that I’m reading right now called “Small Giants: Companies That Choose To Be Great Instead of Big”, and it’s really making me think…

Thanks, as always, for getting that hamster in my head back on his treadmill, Marcus! :)

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

Wonderful comment Danny. I’m sure glad you’ve elected to make TSL one of your normal stops man, as your stuff has induced quite a few ‘mind hamsters’ as well ;-)

But you’re so right. This isn’t a subject most want to talk about. They’re likely afraid it will make them look imperfect or vulnerable. I say forget that man. I’m here to keep it real– with the good, the bad, and the ugly. The thing about this post, is that it’s all three. It’s great that I have a community. But it’s bad that I might not be able to always interact with said community as much as I’d like. But hey, we’ll see how it goes.

The book you’re reading sounds really, really interesting. Thanks for the recommend and continued success to you bud with your incredible growth. Happy for you man.

Marcus

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Dino Dogan May 6, 2011 at

As I was reading this, my adrenaline driven, mail-ego brain kicked in and I immediately checked to see the most commented post on my blog. 65 comments. So I was like “oh, its on Marcus…lets dance”, but then as I was reading further so much of it reminded me of how true everything you said really is. And so I told myself “nah…who needs that kinda work” lol

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Marcus Sheridan May 7, 2011 at

Dino, your comments are like the best box of chocolates the blogosphere has to offer– you certainly never know what you’re going to get ;-)

Glad you stopped by brother and I hope you have a great weekend.

Best,

Marcus

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Elena Patrice May 9, 2011 at

Love both of your replys! Perfect discriptive Marcus!

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Jk Allen May 6, 2011 at

Marcus – this was sincere and it was timely for me. Big time!

Over the past couple of months I’ve been trying to figure out how you’ve managed to keep up with the crazy growth you’ve experienced. I know firsthand how much time it takes to not only reply to comments…but to read them first. And my volume is only a fraction of yours at best.

I’ve been struggling massively as of late trying to figure out how in the world I can better maximize the time I spend on my blogging efforts. Anymore, much of my time is spent on replying to comments on my blog. I’ve dropped my sleep time down to 3-4 hours as of late, just to keep up with the growth…and so I can work on getting out of corporate America some how! To be honest, the sleeping part isn’t a big deal because I’m an alien[slash]hustler. ;)

I think the growth is awesome, don’t get me wrong – but what has happened is that I’m losing the time I once had to comment on others sites…and since my reach has expanded, I’m trying to figure out how to make time for new folks that I meet.

I want to give back to those who are giving to me..but finding the time anymore is getting a bit tricky. I love getting off my site; reading and learning from others and sharing my opinions and appreciation.

I’ve been watching your comments and trying to figure out how in the world you reply to them all. I mean geeze…it’s time consuming. And you post one to two more times per week than I do.

I have no plan to change a thing now..but it’s been something on my heart as of late…and my eyelids on some late nights!

I applaud your success and the moves you need to make to be successful at what you do. When we hit certain levels – things have to change. Or, growth can’t continue.

PEACE- have a great weekend!

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

JK, I thought quite a bit about you when I wrote this post. You are such an amazing community guy. Your ability to get around the blogosphere and leave profound comments, that always add to the discussion, is unmatched. This is why I’ve always wondered how you’re able to keep up your crazy pace. And be careful about the 3-4 hours of sleep man. Even machines like JK Allen can get exhausted ;-) ..

But just as I wish for myself JK, I hope you find the balance you’re looking for, and the success that you envision as well. But with your endless enthusiasm for self improvement, I absolutely know it will happen.

Have an awesome week my friend and thanks so much for stopping by.

Marcus

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Jk Allen May 10, 2011 at

I hear you on the sleeping thing Marcus. Last night I went to bed at 11 and didn’t wake up until 5:15. That’s a long night sleep for me.

I can’t usually gauge when my body needs extra rest by the way I perform during my workouts. If I’m feeling sluggish, and “not in the mood”…I know my body has been deprived. When that happens, I change my patter a bit and get back into a better routine. So, I’m out of my 3-4 hours..back to my standard 5!

Thanks for looking out buddy!

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Marcus Sheridan May 10, 2011 at

Glad to hear you’re back to being semi-human JK ;-)

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john Falchetto May 6, 2011 at

Hi Bud,

Yep no more posts on comments…until the next one :)

Now more seriously, it goes back to this question: when do you get too many comments to be able to stop really engaging fully with your tribe?
Thanks for asking this great question. I see how Seth Godin has dealt with it (by closing them) and I also see many A-list bloggers who should just close them because they barely answer their comments.

I know you make a point of answering every single comment and I am the same. But you are right, where is the tipping point?
I guess some of the most experienced bloggers will be able to tell us.

Now regarding the numbers and although having a big community is great what you failed to mention Marcus is how tightly connected the community is.
These are not 180+ drive by comments of people who are fishing for backlinks.
When I see big bloggers with 200 or 300 comments I often think that many people who comment there with amazing insights like ‘wow, great post. This is epic writing” are obviously not bringing that much.

Here on TSL the numbers have weight, nobody is drive-by commenting for the back-link, and this matters.

I agree with Brankica, not subscribing to comments my inbox imploded this week :)

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Davina K. Brewer May 7, 2011 at

John, I think you’re right about a tipping point, not just in the comments but posts themselves. Big sites get big numbers, whether the quality is there or not. IDK.. I do see a lot of those “this was helpful, thanks” comments and have to suspect they’re doing it for the link, maybe to be one of the first few commenters so others will see their name/face, etc. I think that is where the blogger can take a pass or – dare I suggest it – staff some of that to the well-trained intern. Hit those comments with a ‘like’ or have someone just ‘thanks for your support’ replies, or do a group reply to several people at once, etc. Streamline some of that stuff.

People here want this kind of discussion, which leads to some quality comments. Some of those other larger blogs don’t; they want clicks, views, subscriptions, tweets and enough comments to look credible, but not sure how many really want to have this kind of debate.. not all blogs do; different strokes. FWIW.

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

Hey John, great points, as always my friend. You mentioned I think what was in many way the key question to all of this’—What is the tipping point with comments?

Although I’m sure this number varies from blogger to blogger, it’s a question that inevitably must be answered by those that experience success.

And regarding the quality of comments, again, you’ve nailed it. Just look at the comments on this post. They’re AMAZING. The 80 comments here are more words than 250 comments on an ‘A-list’ post. This is discussion and interaction at its finest, and some of the things people say really just blows me away.

I’m sure we’ll be coming back to this again and again John. Thanks for all.

Marcus

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Annie Andre May 6, 2011 at

I can definitely see the value in what you say. But, life is funny. We all have this need and want to experience things. Like a passage of rights. I think wanting more comments is like that. Until it happens to me, and i get burnt out by it, I’m going to want it to happen. I’m perfectly ok with that and know that it might not be sustainable to spend hours responding to each comment but until that happens, i’ll still want more blog comments:) I can’t help it….. :)
p.s. Thanks for the post.

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Marcus Sheridan May 7, 2011 at

This comment made me smile Annie— and good for you for wanting comments. Heck, even after 5,000, it’s still nice for me to watch an article turn into a snowball rolling down a hill and lead to major conversation and interaction.

And like you said, just let things come as they may. I always wished for the day when I’d be inundated with comments. Now that I’m often there, I never think to myself, “Why am I doing this?” In fact, I love it and it has been a major blessing in my life…it just takes a little time ;-)

Have a wonderful weekend Annie. Hope you’ve subscribed and will be coming back often.

Cheers,

Marcus

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Nancy Davis May 6, 2011 at

I am just starting out. My blog is not even a month old. I am just now starting to get into the swing of things, but can always use (gentle) guidance where appropriate.

I have been lucky. I have pretty good readership already. The few comments I get are very good. I am grateful that anyone takes the time to comment.

Sometimes posts take on a life of their own with no real rhyme or reason as to why. This is something I am still trying to figure out a bit. That will come in time I guess.

In the meantime, I comment on blogs, and try not to push too hard. I figure that if I am in enough places, my readers will find me.

Thank you for this post Marcus. I am going to bookmark this one!

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Marcus Sheridan May 7, 2011 at

Hey Nancy, so glad you stopped in today to share this. The fact that your blog is young yet you have good readership already is really amazing. Very impressive! But your approach seems to have a great balance Nancy, and I hope you are able to keep it up and ultimately get out of your blog what you’re looking for. :-)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Marcus

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Lori Gosselin May 6, 2011 at

Hey Marcus,
I’ve been struggling with balance lately. It’s not so much the volume of comments, but the many other things I have TO DO! Like you, blogging isn’t my only activity. I love it though, which means I WILL find a way to balance it. In time.
I love interacting with the community , that and visiting other blogs. That’s my problem – I sometimes have to close my Reader so I won’t be tempted to see who else has posted what!
Good luck with that – you’ve got a lot on your hands Marcus! When you figure out how to balance it let us know! ;-)
Lori

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Marcus Sheridan May 7, 2011 at

Exactly Nancy— the commenting isn’t the problem, it’s fitting in everything else that can make for major traffic jams of ‘to-dos’. Between my wife and 4 kids, church, pool company, web coaching company, and TSL—that’s a lot of stuff. :-) But I guess it’s better to be busier than laid out on the couch eating potato chips and watching soaps ;-)

And btw Lori, it’s obvious that you love interacting with your community. This is something that shows with every article you write on LFI. You’ve really got a gift for this.

Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for stopping by,

Marcus

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Robert Dempsey May 7, 2011 at

Sounds like you need some partners Marcus. Chris Brogan has a lot of partnerships in place to handle a huge amount of projects. He’s involved but he isn’t doing all the work, or taking all the credit. I use him as an example all the time as he’s someone I really look up to and try to emulate.

There comes a point where you just need some help and have to let go of things to a certain extent.

While not asked for, that’s one thing you could with your pool company…

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Erica Allison May 6, 2011 at

AMEN!!! The thoughts: Careful what you wish for! Prepare for Success – not just for Failure! come to mind for me here.

I am quite happy with the pace of my blog and while I would love to keep moving it towards a growing, active community, I’m not sure I have the time to put into a massive blog like yours here. I understand this is your business and it must be run as such. It shows the amount of work you put into it! When it gets that big, something (as you said) has to give! :)

I also have a business; I have a blog; but the blog is not my business. The blog supports my business or enhances my business. The blog also feeds my personal growth and development.

There is such a delicate balance between the two…blogging can take a LOT of time. I stay up many a night putting posts together, researching the right photo, making sure I’ve given credit, embedding links, etc. Doing my video posts takes twice as much time. So, why do I do them? Because they bring me referrals and business and because I like it. :) You’ll notice however, that I will let the blog schedule become a bit lax if I have client demands that must be met. It’s a no-brainer at that point. My clients pay me; the blog, so far, does not (at least not directly).

I also think the interaction throughout the blogosphere is a huge part of this equation…I slowed my posting pace so that I would be able to comment on other blogs and interact with the folks who regularly visit my blog. If I don’t interact and form true relationships with folks, there is no blog community.

I know you’ll continue to make sound choices Marcus when it comes to your growth here and I’ll be here among the group supporting you along the way. Rock on!

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Marcus Sheridan May 7, 2011 at

This was such a wonderful comment Erica. I’m really blown away.

First let me say how impressed I am with your solid approach to growth. You seem to have an understanding of what you are and are not capable of, and you also seem to have a great grasp on where your priorities lie. No question, paying customers must come before the none paying ones. Unfortunately, there are times when bloggers forget this.

I think you were smart to slow your posting schedule down. I used to do 3-4 posts a week. Now it’s usually 2, with an occasional 3rd, and it gives me so much more time to interact, comment, etc…plus my traffic is higher than ever. This is what amazes me with people like Gini Dietrich in the fact that she posts almost every day. It’s crazy watching her do all she does.

I’m so glad we’ve connected Erica. You’ve really got a lot of wisdom to share with others.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Marcus

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Davina K. Brewer May 7, 2011 at

What she said.

Seriously Erika, same boat though I’m sure your’s is much nicer, you’re not bailing out water all the time, searching for those biting fish. ;-) My blog is the marketing for my biz, the whitepaper on MY approach to PR, social media, etc. It’s professional development and more, WYSIWYG.

I started at a slow pace and kept it that way, knowing that I would want the time to do this ‘right’ or right for me. That means reading and linking to others, replying and commenting, doing what I need to develop community. FWIW.

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Jack @ TheJackB May 6, 2011 at

Hi Marcus,

At the risk of sounding really obnoxious, I am a veteran at this. In a couple of weeks I’ll be able to say that I have been blogging for 7 years and I have seen quite a bit.

There is a reason why some “bigger bloggers” never comment on your blog and that is not because they are being arrogant, snotty or obnoxious- it is the time commitment.

It is hard to write solid posts, respond to comments and in turn go visit the bloggers that come by. And as Erica said if you have other responsibilities it becomes even more challenging which I think is part of why Twitter has become more of a focus for some people.

I have a home office and can track how busy I am by how engaged I am on my blog and without.

I don’t have a perfect answer or solution to this. What I do is try to make a point of engaging with all who visit. I may not always supply the best response to your comment on my blog but I try very hard to acknowledge you and to visit you on yours.

Ideally you recognize that I think that you have value and appreciate you. It is not foolproof and some people probably fall through the cracks, but it is what I have for now.

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

Hey Jack, you don’t sound arrogant at all, just being realistic, and I appreciate that. The fact that you’ve been blogging for seven years is very, very impressive.

I don’t feel negative towards ‘A-listers’ that don’t comment back. They are busy folks and need to provide for their families and after all, they’ve earned where they are. Notwithstanding, and similar to what you said, they still need to exercise kindness, that is a key.

Thanks so much for swinging by Jack. I hope you have a wonderful week.

Marcus

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Jack @ TheJackB May 10, 2011 at

after all, they’ve earned where they are.

I am not sure that I agree with you on that point. Blogging isn’t always ruled by logic or great content. Sometimes there is a lot of luck involved and a mysterious blend of charisma that makes people continue to visit.

That is not to disparage all of the bigger bloggers but some of them really aren’t very good. Some of them managed to build very large and active commenting communities and that is the reason for their success.

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Marcus Sheridan May 10, 2011 at

My statement is actually quite debatable Jack. ‘Earning’ —the word—always makes for a good debate. But the way I see it, if a blogger was able to take short cuts along the way– maybe because they knew someone or had special connections–and then had it handed to them– they still had to ‘earn’ the achievement. Notwithstanding, like you I could argue for the other side quite easily. ;-)

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Linda August 21, 2012 at

Good morning, Mr Sheridan.

I’m extremely fortunate (by the sound of things) that no-one comments on my posting. At first it bothered me – clearly no-one was reading. Then I discovered analytics and that there were regular readers taking the time to plough through a number of pages on each visit. But still no comments. Then the penny dropped, my posts are not the kind that warrant comments. What they do bring is bookings – so much better!

But the thing I would like to note is that the few comments I have received, have been from some of these A listers to which you refer. They have given time and shown kindness. Their contributions have been more than encouraging – I would classify it as constructive criticism. It’s been like having my own 1:1 with them given spontaneously, generously and most significantly, quietly.

Maybe because of profile and the attendant risk of opening flood gates, A listers prefer to exercise their kindness in subtle and covert ways. I am extremely grateful that they took the time to demonstrate their support and offer their guidance to me.

Whilst I know many others would benefit from similar experiences, I fully appreciate why A listers would not wish to broadcast such activity. How often these writers, business men and women show such kindness I have no idea, but I doubt very much that mine is a unique case.

Kind regards,
L

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Wim @ Sales Sells May 6, 2011 at

Hi Marcus,

What keeps me coming back to The Sales Lion is the quality of the comments really and the interaction that’s taking place. I’ve long been a reader instead of a participating member but I’m doing my best to make up for it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it would be a shame for the comments to disappear from your blog (like what happened on Seth Godin’s), even when you don’t find the time to answer all of them.

As my blog is nowhere near as popular as yours I never really thought about what it takes just to keep this going. I think I speak for everyone here when I say that we are truly thankful for the time and energy you put in.

As for your career path I can only say that you should listen to what you inner voice is telling you. Mine told me to leave the corporate world and focus on coaching and I’ve never been happier.

You’ve got the skills, the talent and the community. I can see big things in your future.

The best of luck,
Wim

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Marcus Sheridan May 6, 2011 at

You see Wim, it’s comments like these that put the biggest smile on my face. :-) To know that you’ve been a reader for a long time, and have now found it in you to start commenting is very rewarding to me. To know that you love the comments and interactions found herein is also a thrill. And more than anything, to know that you are grateful for the ‘stuff’ found on these pages brings me a huge smile on this side of the screen.

But you don’t have to worry Wim about the comments ever getting turned off here. That, I can assure you won’t happen. This article was really meant to address a subject most successful bloggers don’t ever want to talk about, but all have dealt with. Heck, we’re all struggling to find balance in our lives and I’ve never been afraid to show how very imperfect I am as a person, business owner, whatever.

By no means am I disheartened either. I’m really just thinking out loud and more than ever I’m excited with the direction of TSL. I also know that I’ll be able to give it more time in the future once I’m not so tied down with my swimming pool company.

So please keep stopping by Wim and I promise to deliver my best each and every week.

Cheers my friend and thanks so much,

Marcus

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Tisha | tMedia May 6, 2011 at

Hi Marcus!

These are great questions to raise and ones that, a year ago, I may have answered quite differently than I am going to now.

I started out with my first blog right around the same time you started TSL and I was SO eager to jump into this new medium (for me) because it was exciting and I could see so many possibilities for growing my coaching business. I got some good initial interaction, but in my mind it wasn’t enough to support my “BIG IDEAS” for dominating the blogosphere like so many people I had read about. So I began investigating to find out what everybody else was doing to build massive traffic….and long story short, I got lost. “Do This!!”, “Buy That!!”, “Go to This Convention!!” – I followed all these paths down the road to exhaustion and overwhelm.

I spent a lot of money and time, essentially running around in circles. Sure, I made some good connections and learned some useful information, but by far, the most valuable lesson for me was to turn down the volume on all the noise, and focus only on what feels organic and right TO ME. Ironically, I was spending all those hours that you mention (going to bed at 2am, spending hours online, etc.) without getting anywhere near the results you have experienced comments-wise. It was definitely time for me to stop and take stock of where I’d been, where I was and where I wanted to go.

So, here I am over a year later starting over with a new blog and sometimes I feel like I wasted a whole year going off in the wrong directions. But then I remember that some of the best opportunities to grow and learn come via the mistakes we make.

I have much more clarity than I did a year ago and I can answer the questions you ask today with a confidence I didn’t even know I was lacking back then.

1. What are your goals for comments and community?

My current goals for online community are quite simple: to connect with like-minded people with whom I can share information, learn and grow. Much the same way I do IRL. My mistake was in thinking that online connections worked differently, but relationships are relationships and whether there are 2 or 200 people in the room (or commenting on my blog), I want to build friendships based on love, honesty and mutual respect.

2. What are you doing in your life to have balance and allow for optimal interaction?

Well, this is another heavy lesson I’ve learned over the past year. If you’re serious about creating a successful blog, general or vague plans don’t work. Everything has to have a schedule which includes how much time you will devote to each aspect of blogging.

In the beginning, I thought I’d just write new posts whenever I had time or respond to comments and visit new blogs in between baseball practice and school drop-offs. Well, you can’t build a blog on the run! I’ve learned that, as with everything else, you get out of blogging what you put into it. So I’ve started making a schedule for myself – a realistic one that includes 7 hours sleep and breaks between activities. I used to be distracted all the time – when I was with my kids I was thinking about my To-Do list and when I was crossing things of my list I was thinking I should be with my kids. My new schedule allows me to focus on one thing at a time and even though I’ve had to cut down on some blogging activities, the time I do spend online now is more productive and meaningful. And most importantly the extra time I spend with my family is devoted more to enjoyable activities rather than distracted head nods and promises of “I’ll be there in just one more minute, let me just finish up this one thing!”

Again, great questions Marcus – I didn’t even know when I starting writing that I had this much stuff to get off my chest! Maybe therapy should be your next move! ;-)

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Marcus Sheridan May 6, 2011 at

Wow Tisha, this was one of the most impressive and well done comments I’ve ever seen here on TSL (and as you read in the article, we’ve had a few ;-) ). Your first year of blogging is so very symbolic of what most bloggers go through. We hear this and that, have visions of amazing things, and more often than not we set our expectations too high and become way too focused on the whole ‘numbers game’.

What really impresses me about you though Tisha is that you seem to have found such a major balance in your online and offline life. You write with what seems like a smile and I fully commend you for this new leaf you’ve turned over. And as for ‘wasting a year’, the lessons you’ve shared here today will I’m sure have quite an impact on anyone that reads your comment.

Again, this was really, really thoughtful and powerful Tisha, thanks so much :-)

Marcus

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Davina K. Brewer May 7, 2011 at

Marcus needs some “WOW.. that was amazing buttons” because that comment was epic Tisha. And now picturing Sales Lion Group Roaring Therapy, ;-)

I didn’t spend money I didn’t have in the beginning, but I did follow some ‘wrong’ people or at least didn’t crack into some cliques.. so I wasted a lot of time in the wrong places. There are those out in the blogs and Twitter to further their own careers; I am one of those but it’s not ALL I do, not even close. Over the years my opinions on certain ‘a-listers’ and ‘up-and-comers’ has changed b/c their style of doing things just isn’t mine. Lessons learned.

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Bruce Bates May 7, 2011 at

Davina,

Its actually because of some of the “a listers” that I started looking at how some of the TRUE big players do it. I won’t get into my experiences but I will say a lot of the so called a-listers I have seen, as well as the up and comers, are not my cup of tea. This is why I am following along with great interest lately. Hopefully I will be changing who I look up to as time goes on like you have learned to do. In the mean time I feel like I am entering the game for the very first time all over again :)

I can only hope to achieve half the success as some of those who have commented on this blog.

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

I think you’re going to be incredibly successful Bruce because you’re willing to learn, and you’re obviously willing to work hard. Just with those two traits alone, you’ll go places. Also, and I know this may sound biased, but you’ve fallin upon one of the greatest communities of bloggers on the net. We look out for each other. We support each other. And we are serious about strong discussion, learning, etc.

Btw Bruce, it’s time you got that avatar brother. Make sure you go to http://www.gravatar.com and get yours. It’s free and easy, just don’t get a Lion ;-)

Cheers mate,

Marcus

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Bruce Bates May 9, 2011 at

Thanks for the tip. I got a gravatar account.

Any change you can drop me an email about what plugins I should be using to install this on my own blogs? I tried checking the site for information about it, but the only link they offer starts talking about api’s and other weird stuff. I really hope its not that complex.

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Carolyn@The Wonder of Tech May 16, 2011 at

Bruce, Here is a helpful blog from a wonderful blogger, Jens, called All the Wordpress plugins I am using: http://slymarketing.com/?s=plugins&x=0&y=0. I hope you find these useful.

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Davina K. Brewer May 9, 2011 at

Bruce, I keep reading about folks defining their own A-B-and-Z lists, and think that’s the way to go but also don’t think you can afford to ignore the recognized thought leaders. Something to be learned from everyone, agree it’s how you learn what isn’t your cup of tea, coffee, milk, Coke which I’m drinking for breakfast. FWIW.

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Marcus Sheridan May 10, 2011 at

Davina, how did I know you drank Coke for breakfast ? ;-)

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Davina K. Brewer May 10, 2011 at

Sometimes coffee, sometimes Coke.. with a smile even. ;-)

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

Strongly agree Davina, if there was ever a time when an ‘amazing’ button was needed, it was with Tisha’s comment.

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Marianne Worley May 6, 2011 at

I’ve only been blogging since February, so I’m just starting to get more interactions on my little blog. I did a lot of research before I started. I read the ProBlogger book, so I understood the level of commitment a blog would take, as well as how long it would take before I even got 1 or 2 readers.

Probably the most important thing I did was write 5 clear, achievable objectives, and stick to them. The first one: Connect with people. I’m sure I’ll reach a point where I’ll quantify some of my goals, but for now, this works for me. 1 comment and I’m thrilled, a new conversation and I’m dancing around like a nut!

To me, writing and publishing are rewarding, but reading and responding to comments, now that’s FUN!

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Marcus Sheridan May 7, 2011 at

Hey Marianne, and a good Friday evening (or should I say Saturday morning?? ;-) ) to you!

What’s so impressive about you here is that you really seemed to go into this with realistic expectations, and with a load of patience as well. Few people have this when they start, so congrats on such a wonderful approach.

Like you, I love commenting. I love interacting. And I like showing people I care. That’s why I’m a little nervous for the future because I don’t want to ever appear like ‘I don’t care’, if that makes sense.

Well keep it up Marianne. I’ve been very impressed with your tremendous communal interaction since you got started with this. I’m sure you’ll soon see the fruits of your labors. :-)

Marcus

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Tisha | tMedia May 7, 2011 at

Hey Marianne! I love your comment because I know that feeling of seeing even just one comment and getting so excited, “woohoo, someone finally asked me to dance – I’m not a wallflower anymore, yay!” LOL!
I agree with you wholeheartedly – I love to write, but it is super-fun to get comments and learn about the different views or reactions that people have to something you’ve written.

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Marianne Worley May 7, 2011 at

It’s funny, I can be having an extremely frustrating day and a comment will come in and my mood immediately changes. Connecting with people always makes me smile!

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Brandon Yanofsky May 7, 2011 at

I’m fairly new. My goal right now for comments is to try and get at least one comment on each of my posts. Start small and then set larger goals.

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Marcus Sheridan May 10, 2011 at

Not a bad goal at all Brandon. It all starts with the first one. BTW, make sure when you come by and leave a comment that you utilize the ‘comment luv’ tool, as it will tap into your RSS feed and show your most recent blog article.

Good luck to you with this Brandon, and I hope you do come back again.

Marcus

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Brad Harmon @ Big Feet Marketing May 7, 2011 at

Isn’t it interesting, Marcus, that so many people fear that their blog will be a failure in the beginning, but then that fear turns into what am I going to do if this thing takes off? It’s easy to see why many top bloggers turn off their comments or stop responding to the comments left on posts. I appreciate your willingness to let us see behind the curtain and see the amount of hard work it takes when your blog becomes successful.

From the members of your community I see here, it’s obvious that you have taken the time to respect them and interact with them on a regular basis. It must be hard knowing that you will have to limit this as your blog continues to grow. Have you given any thoughts into bringing on staff to help you with some of the day-to-day maintenance of your blog? Like Brankica pointed out, it’s the efforts through social media and commenting on other blogs that seem to take the most time for me. It seems like an inevitability (and pretty soon) that you will need this extra help.

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

You bring up a really good point Brad. But to be honest, I wouldn’t have the first clue as to how to hire someone to take things off my plate. In other words, I don’t want to do like some bloggers and have someone else give ‘thank yous’ in my name. That just wouldn’t feel right.

Frankly, I’d love to find an article that really delves into that subject by a blogger that has made it work. Know of any?

Thanks again for the great comment Brad. I really appreciate it.

Marcus

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Robert Dempsey May 7, 2011 at

The long and short of it as I see it is that you are in the middle of an evolutionary transition. You’ve had success with one business, and are now reaching the critical mass that will allow you to move to another. Based on the medium you’ve chosen (blogging) and the expectations of the community that has formed around your blog (responding to their comments) we get the result (hours of time spent responding to comments).

But it isn’t necessarily a double-edged sword.

If the family and financial situation allows you can, as you mention in the post, fully remove yourself from the pool business in order to fully invest in your new business of speaking, teaching and writing. This would allow for more time to respond to comments, but wouldn’t get you more time for other activities.

Ultimately it depends on your end goals.

I just installed LiveFyre on my blog so that I could increase the number of real-time conversations going on. I want and invite comments. Interactions with others online is at the core of my business – it’s part of the science of it all. The more community I have the more I can understand and learn and the more value I can provide to both the community and my clients.

Outside of my family, everything I do is structured around that. It’s a self-feeding system. A bit hard to explain but I hope that answers your question.

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Davina K. Brewer May 7, 2011 at

Agreed Robert, it’s a big difference when blogging for a business and when the blog IS the business, or at least a principal component. When the blog itself starts paying off – speaking, consulting, etc. – then yes, it’s time to look into outsourcing, staffing, delegating the other business activities as you can. Not that I would know. ;-) And yes it’s all about the goals: for the business, the blog, the life, the family.

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

I think your answer is a great one Robert, and my senses draw me to exactly what you’re saying. No question I’m reaching a ‘critical mass’ of sorts which will cause me to make some difficult decisions. But once I do remove myself from the pool company, I feel things will focus greatly and then the snowball will roll much faster down the hill.

You’re a thoughtful guy Robert, with sound advice man. I very much appreciate the wisdom you bring to the table here.

Have a great week bud,

Marcus

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Stuart May 7, 2011 at

Man Marcus, your posts have a way of being very timely for me. I wonder if you’re reading my thoughts…

On a serious note, I can relate to the downsides of blogging. I wouldn’t trade this in for the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s all plain sailing. As you said, your community here has grown and grown to the point where it’s becoming harder to manage, and combine this with a blossoming family and a swimming pool company to maintain, and I can forgive you for feeling a little overwhelmed.

I have similar, yet different problems. I live apart from my girlfriend, so to meet up requires commuting. I also have a job to keep, I’m part of an amateur dramatics company working on the latest show, and I’ve recently started a counselling course. This alone would be enough to satisfy some people, but I also have a blog to look after ;-)

Part of the problem I have with managing time is who to spend that time with. Which blogs to visit. I make sure I comment on every post of a select few blogs, including yours, but then the other blogs get split up into two categories:

- Comment on every other post
- Comment once a month (on average)

There are some blogs who I used to comment on frequently, yet I don’t visit them anymore. I guess you could say I’ve grown out of them. As I’ve moved on, I’m visiting more and more new blogs, and my bookmarks are growing consistently. I love to meet new faces, but it then increases the problem of choosing who to spend that time with. I have to be very selective at times, and I wish I wasn’t, but it’s the only way I’m going to get sleep ;-)

I think if we were to reach this point of managing massive growth with our blog, we have to ask ourselves a very simple question, “How far do we want our blog to go?” If we want it to reach ProBlogger or ZenHabits proportions, then must we look at bringing in assistants, or eliminating blog comments, all in the name of ‘coping’? Or, if we want it to plateau at a certain level, how can we ensure that it remains at that level? How can we avoid future massive growth if we know we won’t be able to handle it?

As I said, a very timely article, and thanks for sharing it with us. We learn together :-)

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

As always Stu, incredibly well said my friend.

I like what you’re saying about commenting on other blogs. I do exactly the same. Some I try to never miss. Others I hit a few times a month. And then others I let fall by the wayside.

What’s interesting is relationships, just like blogs, come and go in the blogosphere. And although my blog might fit you greatly today, you may have grown out of it by tomorrow. That’s just how it works.

You’re schedule is a busy one my friend. And although we have different lives and situations, they are actually very similar in the sense that we are trying our best to use our time wisely and most efficiently— and keep growing.

One last point though Stu. You mentioned at the end about wanting to reach a ‘plateau’ on a certain level….But I ask if that is possible? The natural law is that if something is not growing, it is dying. So is it really possible for a blog to ‘plateu’?? Hmm, now that would make for a great discussion!!

Have a wonderful week Stu!!

Marcus

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Stuart May 9, 2011 at

Hey Marcus, interesting point you raise at the end there.

For me, I don’t think you plateau in the strictest sense, but you can certainly get a ‘sense’ of plateauing. You may wish to cool things off for a while, and just coast on ‘autopilot’ whilst you recover from a busy stretch.

I actually have a number of guest posts and mini-projects in the pipeline; once they’re done, I’m going to coast for a while and hold off from guest posts. Give myself a chance to recover, and focus on commenting instead. But I know that even in my ‘coasting’ phase, I’ll still learn stuff as my mind processes all that’s happened over the busy period.

As per the natural law that you stated, we can grow and die at different speeds, so fast or slow that we may not even notice it, but it’s always one or the other :-)

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

Hmm, well said Stu, and I like your plan. Let me know how it goes bud.

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paul wolfe May 7, 2011 at

Marcus

I’m really looking for a reason to disagree with you (you know why!). But with this post I can’t.
There’s definitely an element of ‘be careful what you wish for’ with this one. I ran a post last week which so far has racked up around 110 comments – which is way off the chart for me (previous best was around 40). And if I got that level of comments on every post I’d be rushed off my feet.

There are 5 ways I’ve seen around the blogosphere of dealing with it:

1) The Marcus way….answer everybody, invest hours, build community, etc. Obviously the opportunity cost of this is the time spent…
2) The Copyblogger way….when you’ve grown to a point you have a team, and sometimes you comment, but often it’s your team. (Brian Clark sometimes comments on various threads – Sonia Simone nearly ALWAYS comments. She’s assistant editor of Copyblogger).
3) The Pat Flynn way…what Pat seems to do is answer some comments on threads for the first day or so…once the comment thread gets to a certain level his comments seem to drop off.
4) The Problogger way…I don’t recall the last time I saw Darren answer a comment. (But I have to confess that I don’t read Problogger that often – too busy answering my own comments!).
5) The Steve Pavlina/Seth Godin way…these guys turn comments off.

The important thing I think is to choose a strategy that is in alignment with your blogging goals – and it’s important to realize that goals will (and should change). And most people I’m guessing would use different strategies at different stages of their blog growth….hmmmm I think I just outlined another post. Why does that always happen here??? I comment to answer a simple question….and it grows out of control!

For me this post made me think about my level of comment interaction – and my possible future level if my blog continues to grow. This btw is what commenting is about for me – stimulating thoughts and making me climb outside of my comfort zone. So thanks for that!

Have a great weekend.

Paul

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Davina K. Brewer May 7, 2011 at

Good examples Paul.. which outline why I don’t read some of those sources too often. The content is often lacking IMO, too much ‘blogging about blogging for the sake of blogging’ that doesn’t add anything to my day. The comments rarely do either, it’s that race to be first and noticed, curry favor with a known blogger or blog site, maybe get some linkbacks… often w/ just the ‘hey this rocked, thanks’ posts. I pass now as I did waste too much time on that. Can’t imagine Marcus ever turning comments off, too community minded. Hmm.. thinking.

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paul wolfe May 8, 2011 at

Davina

I know what you mean – blogging about blogging for the sake of blogging. On Copyblogger there used to be a guy who nearly always posted the first comment…and his comments were rarely very detailed. Maybe three lines….and often including some variant of the phrase : I really enjoy this type of post on Copyblogger.

(That gives me an idea – someone should make ‘comment spinning’ software that allows you to post thousands of comments on the Blogosphere that don’t actually say anything but look different – NOT! EPIC FAIL!).

Pat Flynn is definitely worth checking out regularly, he writes some good posts. Copyblogger I find has some good posts and some not so good posts. Problogger I dip into every now and again – but I don’t find the articles there that engaging. Every once in a while they’ll publish a great one…don’t have time to sift through to find the every once in a while though.

FWIW.

Paul

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Marcus Sheridan May 8, 2011 at

Nice breakdown Paul. I agree that Pat’s are great and the others are more hit and miss, as there is so much ‘fake community’ in terms of people commenting to get seen, not so much for the interactive part. I’m not blaming the blogs per se with this, as I’m sure if I had a sub 10k Alexa and 50k subscribers that I’d likely deal with something similar.

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

What is the deal with that anyway? This whole idea of ‘racing’ just to slap ‘well done’ is just about the dumbest thing in the world. Personally, because I subscribe by email to posts, I’m always there the next day (in most cases), but I don’t care who sees my comments, I’m there to learn, support the blogger, and discuss.

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

OK Paul, let me just say that YES, THIS MUST BE A POST. I’m very serious. And it would be a subject never really broached as far as I’m aware. Love your 5 interaction methods and appreciate your thoughts….even though you weren’t able to disagree with me ;-)

Now go post that!

Cheers mate,

Marcus

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paul wolfe May 9, 2011 at

It’s posted my friend.

If Com Luv is working, it should be linked below….thanks for the inspiration (again).

Paul

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

I will be heading over soon. Actually, I saw the notification and thought, “There my boy Paul goes again, sweet!!!”

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Alex May 7, 2011 at

Marcus Marcus Marcus.

This post is really, well – right on!
First I ask that you get out of my head – because I am in the process of writing a post that touches on this exact point – albeit not quite so well as you did it ;)
The post I am writing, titled ‘Stuck between a blog and a hardplace’ (MINE! :) ) is about how one needs to build up a skillset before they can offer the blogging community something but at the same time, a skillset without the platform that a blog can provide to boost your business and presence is almost impossible, so one needs to ask which should come first.
Of course they all come at the same time and then the problem of community vs. time kicks in – and this my friend is where your post takes off!
I have over 6500 comments on my blog and at one stage I was averaging over 60 comments on every post – at the height of my own blog hopping etc so I understand FULL WELL what you mean about the time it takes to invest in replying to comments and in the process building that community.
For me personally the answer has come by simply not replying to all comments and only actually responding if the comment is really good or asks me to reply/retort.
Of course I am in the lucky position where I am building community for the sake of it, you however are in the business of it too – so for you I guess there is only full throttle or there is not at all, or rather – it is catch and eat that gazelle or sulk off and clean your mane or something ;)

Really great post Marcus.
I personally judge a post by the level of interaction it gets and considering how young this post is and how I almost broke the mouse wheel scrolling down to type in this comment, I would say this post is a massive success.

Yes replying to comments takes time, but so my friend does success, and I can wait.

Oh I can wait.

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Marcus Sheridan May 10, 2011 at

Alex, sorry I got back to this slowly bud, but it was an exceptional comment, and I’m thrilled you stopped in to share. 6500 comments huh? Wow bro, that’s saying something.

Your solution to reply more ‘sporadically’ is not a bad idea at all, and seems to be the one adopted the most by other bloggers that have huge comment communities. I think that although it may be really tough to choose with whom I respond in the future, I can see it happening.

And thanks for the kind words regarding the post Alex. It’s a little 18,000 words at this point with all the massive comments. Almost a little book in reality. Crazy.

Have a great one mate,

Marcus

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Shonali Burke May 7, 2011 at

This was the first “new” post I saw in my Reader this morning, and I thought, “Great, I’ll be one of the first to comment!” Ha. Certainly not so!!!

First of all, it’s really tough to believe you’ve only been blogging here since Nov. 2009; your blog has such a rich feel to it. Congratulations. What a great job you’ve done, Marcus.

Yes, it does take time, doesn’t it? My $0.02, and I started blogging at WUL in Jan. ’09, but really only started getting into my stride (I don’t know if it’s perfectly “there” yet) around September/October of last year, I’d say, so you decide as to whether I’m a new blogger or not. I think I’m still in the newer category, FWIW.

I love the way Paul Wolfe broke down the 5 ways of commenting as he’s seen it – very cool, and Paul, I hope you DO write a post about it! For me, like many new bloggers, when I started I just wanted to blog. I didn’t have any big dreams of being a top blog, etc. – I figured if it went well, I’d start thinking about that later. The reason I wanted my own blog was because I’d gotten really into Twitter, but there’s only so much you can say in 140 characters. The catalyst was when I was having a conversation via DM re: the crisis du jour with a “thought leader,” and the next thing I knew, what *I* had said to this person as my POV was represented as a blog post BY that person, without even a mention that I had been part of that conversation. And the words were too close to what I had said for it to be merely a coincidence. So I figured that if I didn’t start my own blog where I could say what I thought when I wanted to, I really only had myself to blame.

I felt quite uncomfortable the first year, though there are, IMHO, some really good posts from that time. There are posts that also received a fair amount of comments, even early on, and as far as I remember, they were usually between the 10-20 range. However, this was because of the community I’d built up on Twitter, so I could share my post with folks I knew who wouldn’t mind, and they were generous enough to come by and comment.

Over the last few months, there has been a huge change. Some more recent posts have received upwards of 250 comments, and that may be par for the course for Gini, Michael Martine, etc., but it’s huge for me. I attribute that to a *real* community building around WUL for a few different reasons:

1) What I call the Gini factor, since she is generous enough to direct people to my blog in a variety of ways (and that’s how I met you too). These people are the kind who like to share, talk and comment, and so I start to build relationships with them (I think).
2) Livefyre. I know Disqus has recently incorporated similar features, but Livefyre is just genius, and it’s such a great way to encourage engagement. I love love love love it, and comments have increased significantly because of it.
3) Twitter continues to be a great community builder for me, and readers/commenters from Twitter continue to be one of the top traffic sources for WUL.

Yes, it is a time suck. But I’d rather it sucked my time than not acknowledge the generosity of spirit of everyone who takes the time to comment. Sometimes I’m late in doing this, but I always do it. Sometimes I see such a thoughtful comment come through (like the one you left yesterday), that it takes me a while to respond, simply because I want to do justice in the response.

WUL has grown a lot over the last couple of years. Now I have a team of regular guest bloggers, welcome occasional guest bloggers (cough cough), so all that helps with regular content which is critical for WUL at this phase, I think. Regularity helps to reinforce it as a source of information and education, and builds subscribers. I know everyone has different opinions about “how often” they should post, but this is what works for me. So I am absolutely manic about getting one post a day out; I can’t do 2 a day right now. Come hell or high water, there WILL be a post a day on WUL. But I’m now getting to the point where I try, if work permits, to write two or three posts at a time, so that I can schedule them… though of course, if something timely comes up and I or one of the RGBs feel compelled to write about it, we do. So scheduling helps me a lot and frees up my “brain time” so that I’m not worrying about what’s happening the next day on WUL, and thus lets me enjoy the comments part as well.

The community is everything to me. They help me out, they support me, they send work my way, and they also tell me if something sucks (like you got me off my butt to deal with the font size). I’d be nothing without them.

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Davina K. Brewer May 7, 2011 at

Click: What she said.

It’s a nice problem to have isn’t it? Totally get the generosity of spirit thing; for me it’s professional courtesy and walking your talk. I like comments and clicks and readers, I believe in that ‘engagement’ stuff, want plenty of tweets and followers.. so I will extend that courtesy to others. Period. Shonali my dear, let’s work on your subtle. “I really like guest bloggers, MARCUS. *COUGH* Are you paying attention, Mr. Sales Lion? *COUGH*” There, that’s better… your approach was way too obvious.

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

You make me smile and laugh with everything you say Davina. Seriously :-)

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Shonali Burke May 9, 2011 at

COUGH COUGH COUGH!

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Davina K. Brewer May 9, 2011 at

My work here is done. ;-)

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Marcus Sheridan May 10, 2011 at

OK Shonali, this comment, and I’m not blowing smoke here, was absolutely amazing. It really left me asking— Gosh, what did I do to deserve someone spending that much time and thought to be a part of a conversation on my blog?? Really, it was excellent. Thank you so much.

You’ve brought up so many points though. Personally, I don’t know how you manage to post everyday. If I did that, I’d go crazy trying to keep up. Plus I feel like my readers would suffer from ‘too much Marcus syndrome’, if you know what I mean. Some people, like you and Gini, can pull that off well, but I honestly don’t anticipate ever posting more than 3 times a week again.

I think it’s interesting that you like Livefyre so much. Many people, especially the ones that use Twitter a ton, do. My fear is that it creates a hoop between myself and potential ‘non-techie’ clients that would want to leave a comment but simply can’t figure out how to do it. But who knows, maybe someday I’ll be using it as well.

And about that guest post, I promise to get you a good one at some point lady ;-)

Again, thanks for sharing this wonderful blog post, errr ‘comment’, with the community Shonali. You went above and beyond here.

Have a wonderful Tuesday,

Marcus

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Shonali Burke May 10, 2011 at

You wrote a really thought-provoking post, that’s what you did. :)

Yes, I do love Livefyre. Do you really think non-techie people might not get it? The sign-in process is so easy, even if one doesn’t want to sign in via Twitter or Facebook, you just do it via Livefyre… after all, 99% of the time they have to register in one way or another, right? Maybe if you do switch over you could write a post/page explaining it, that way they’d always know how to do it.

The secret to WUL having a post a day isn’t me, it’s the great team of regular guest bloggers that I’ve been able to bring on board (and I’m always looking for more, particularly outside the US, so if you think of anyone, do let me know), as well as the one-time guest posters (COUGH COUGH :p). They’re absolutely amazing, and I learn so much from them. We have featured bloggers from different parts of the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malta & the UK. Yes, I’m going for world domination. :p

Thank YOU Marcus – hope you have a great day too!

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Bruce Bates May 7, 2011 at

Between this post and your last you have given me much to think about and think over. Until I stumbled upon this blog I thought I had everything figured out and everything mapped out. You have given me light to a new method of marketing and I can’t say how great that really is.

You have inspired my latest post, and whereas I have blogged on hundreds of blogs over the years, I have never attempted to do what you do. Hopefully this new revolution I have had will result in a new direction of success for me.

All I can say to you, is thank you :)

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Marcus Sheridan May 10, 2011 at

You’re very welcome Bruce. I’m pumped for you man and can’t wait to hear more of your journey. Please keep us all informed. :-)

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Tony Hastings May 7, 2011 at

Firstly Marcus I would like to apologise for taking up more of your time in reading and replying to this comment! (Only joking)

Really thoughtful post as ever Marcus and you are so right about time always being the enemy and that the more successful you become the less of it you will have. In answer to your questions I am now neither a new or a seasoned blogger but stuck in the middle somewhere! I do get comments, occasionally in large numbers but most often only one or two or perhaps none at all :-(

So having established the blog and got to a certain level my question is how do I move forward again? Obviously the first step is having content worth reading and commenting on and that will always be a challenge. Having subscribers and a method of distributing that content is also key but often does not necessarily result in the desired outcome in terms of comments. So what I am coming to realise now is how vital it is to engage with other bloggers by commenting on their work and hopefully adding something to what they do.

Of course the more of that one does the more the demands on your time increase. So getting back to your main question, yes I do want my blog to grow and yes I would like to have as many (meaningful) comments as possible and to be able to respond to them all. The challenge in doing that is to manage your time more effectively so that it doesn’t take over your life to the exclusion of all else. For me it’s about being more organised so that I can concentrate on activity that is effective and weeding out tasks that are a distraction while still making sure that I actually enjoy what I am doing and maintaining some balance in my life.

There you have the theory, putting it into practice is the hard part :-)

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Marcus Sheridan May 10, 2011 at

Hey Tony, loved your candor and openness here man. It appears you have a pretty good idea as to what you need to be doing, especially on the networking end of it. If I were you, make sure you focus on mentioning other bloggers in your posts as well as much as possible. In fact, this coming Monday, I’m going to be putting out what I think will be a major eye opener in terms of the power of linking/mentioning other bloggers within your own articles.

So good luck to you Tony. May you find the balance and success you’re looking for my friend.

And thanks so much for your support here,

Marcus

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ayo May 7, 2011 at

hello marcus
how are you?
it appears quite a handful of bloggers devoted the week to blog comments/commenting and it’s given me so much food for thought.
I found your concept on blog commenting quite interesting considering I just read another blog throwing out a challenge to bloggers on visiting a 100 blogs in order to gain commments and increase traffic.
I must state that it was effective on the blog based on stats but your approach is rather cautious and emphasizing on the need to count the costs.
Mentally working out the time you’ve spent responding to comments, emails and trying to see how that would fit into my schedule i am short of thoughts lol!!!(i guess it’s one step at a time though). This isnt taking into consideration what happened at Nitty Griddy.
You are also quite right to point out that growth has it’s fearful side.
The truth:
After reading this post i decided to quash my thoughts on taking the 100 blog challenge but rather extend my tentacles carefully and gradually from constantly reading 20 blogs a week to 35/40 blogs and see how it works out.
I dont think you are crying blues but rather raising a red flag warning us of it’s implications because at some point in time we all experience a form of burn out; but if you can’t keep up with the trend or manage your comittments then the purpose is defeated.
With reference to your other projects; I believe things will fall in pleasant places and go according to plan.
Finally i applaud all the hard work and effort you’ve put into this blog and that comes from me reading 3 posts before leaving this comment.
Take care of yourself and enjoy the rest of the day.
p.s. I found your link on stuarts (unlockthedoor.net) blog

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Marcus Sheridan May 10, 2011 at

Ayo, wow my friend, this was an amazing comment sir. I’m honored to have you stop by and share it. You’ve really summed up my feelings nicely, and I think you made the right choice in terms of the ’100 comment challenge’. The thing is, comments come and go, but relationships are built to last– and actually get things done as well. So do exactly like you mentioned. Focus on the relationships. Include other bloggers in your posts and mention them often. Give value at every turn.

By so doing, I think you’ll find what you’re looking for.

I hope to see you again Ayo, this was just great.

Marcus

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Keith Davis May 7, 2011 at

I’m a casual blogger.
Infrequent posts and short comments on other blogs.
Thing is… I enjoy the easy schedule.
Blogging is not how I make a living , it’s simply a way of passing on the help I was given when I became involved with Public Speaking.

As I’ve watched your comments grow I’ve wondered when you would stop replying to all comments and be selective, or stop replying at all.

All things in moderation Marcus, all things in moderation.

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Marcus Sheridan May 10, 2011 at

Hey Keith, great to hear from you sir. I agree– all things in moderation. You seem to have a great balance of this at your place. I see all the comments you get but I also understand that you take your time between posts. It does make for a great mix. What’s funny is that I see other bloggers posting 5 times a week and getting massive comments, and then I think, ‘Hmm, I guess I’m not working so hard after all.’ ;-)

But then again, I know we simply can’t compare ourselves to others. It’s a one-way street to unhappiness and frustration.

Thanks for all your support over the months Keith. I’m grateful sir.

Marcus

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Keith Davis May 11, 2011 at

Hi Marcus
Thanks for your reply – really don’t know how you found the time.

Thanks for your comment on easyP and… just thanks.

Best LOL

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Kaarina Dillabough May 7, 2011 at

Marcus, I have a statement that I use with all of my clients: “Success can be as debilitating as failure.” And as much as we strive for planned growth, there are always circumstances, people and possibilities that can sky-rocket our plans to the outer atmosphere. We all wish for that…but we also need to be careful what we wish for:)

Thanks for providing an excellent gut check: “Is this truly what I want and what am I willing to pay for it?” There are always things that need to be “given up in order to gain”. There are only so many hours in a day. We can’t make time: there are no more hours to be created in a day. We can’t find time…it’s not hiding under a rock somewhere. We can only TAKE time: using each precious moment as if it’s our last, doing the things we are passionate about and that bring us the rewards we seek.

But to think that it comes without sacrifice and change is a myth. What we are prepared to “give up to gain” is an important question we should ask at the outset. Cheers! Kaarina

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Marcus Sheridan May 10, 2011 at

Kaarina, my goodness this comment was full of wisdom. Wow lady!! In fact, I almost want to copy and paste it into the conclusion of the article. :-)

Time, time, time. Yep, we can’t make or find it….but only take it. I’m going to remember that one Kaarina ;-)

Thanks so much for sharing this, may we all discover what we’re looking for.

Marcus

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Kaarina Dillabough May 10, 2011 at

Marcus, thanks for your very kind words. Copy and paste away any time, my friend!

I so enjoy your posts and the great community you’ve built. Fun, educational, informative and “just plain groovy” to be a part of:) Cheers! Kaarina

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Diana May 7, 2011 at

Yes, I see this as being a bit of a rub. You explain it so well, because in the beginning, getting comments means getting noticed. It means validation. Then, as the blog numbers grow, the number of comments grow, which is exciting. More Validation. We probably all have different definitions of success with this blogging thing, but mine is when I actually can help people identify what stirs them creatively and bring them to a point where they take action. There is responsibility with that. I can’t just cut people loose when they have been nice enough to support and believe me.

Marcus, I think your day job might be a bit seasonal, as is mine, and when it gets busy, there is so much to do. For months I am like a headless chicken, keeping so many things going. I am not complaining, I love having the inn and the pottery studio tending to that part of my life. But there comes a point some days that I don’t really know if I am coming or going. I want the online community and miss it if I have stepped back from it for a few days. I struggle for personal, professional and online balance. But in reality, I am thrilled to have these balls to juggle. It makes a rewarding life.

I don’t know how I would feel if my blog grew to the point that individual commenting would simply have to fall by the wayside – but right now I can still keep a grasp of most posts and talk to my commenters. Their feedback is valuable to me. It gives me food for future posts and lets me know what curves in the road I might want to take.

I have also learned that with age, I do need to respect my own limits. If I get tired and try to force myself to post, respond or comment, I don’t do any of those things well. Better to step back, refresh and come at it another day.

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Marcus Sheridan May 10, 2011 at

You’ve always got such a relaxed wisdom to your words Diana, which is one reason why I love it when you stop by and love your writings so much.

We do lead similar lives in the sense that our seasonal businesses can make balance during the busy time very, very tough.

But I think if you’re blogging to eventually write a book (as I am), then community will naturally be a byproduct of your efforts. And with the field your in, that community could get very, very involved. So it’s good that you start to consider this stuff now, versus later. And hey, you can learn from goofy lions like me as I trip and stumble along the way ;-)

So thanks so much for your inspiring words and thoughts as always Diana.

Marcus

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Jon May 7, 2011 at

Marcus,

In response to your question, the time demands are certainly tricky. What has worked for me is first of all, making sure I reply to all comments. I think that’s key. People want to know they’ve been acknowledged for investing in my community so taking the time to reply is the courteous (and more interesting) thing to do.

When I first started my newest project I didn’t have quantity of comments in mind. Sure I had visions of 190 comments like some of your material :) But really, I just wanted to find my content publishing rhythm and hurry to find someone, anyone, to chime in and give me feedback.

Even if it was harsh criticism (which I received) I welcomed it.

Without a wife or kids I have the luxury of spare time. But I’m quite busy with business related matters and I use block scheduling to batch process similar tasks. Make sense?

Man, I think it’s exciting to see you hinting at going full-fledged into this space and having to walk away from the pool industry. I’m sure you’re torn but I can’t imagine the impact you’ll have with even more time available to “do your thing” for us here (and at events).

Best wishes…

Jon

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Marcus Sheridan May 10, 2011 at

Hey Jon, your words at the end here are very kind and motivating— and mean a lot man. Like you said, when I think about just all I could get accomplished with that portion of my life freed up, I practically get goose bumps at the possibilities.

You seem like you’ve got a great approach Jon. And I’m sure that as you continue down your road of success, the comment thing will be something you’ll be dealing with more and more my friend. ;-)

Cheers,

Marcus

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Ted May 7, 2011 at

I’m a new blogger and I get few comments. But I don’t really care right now. I prefer to write good content, and maybe in a few weeks if I still don’t get comments I will try to build a small community.

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Marcus Sheridan May 10, 2011 at

The question Ted is whether or not it bothers you that people don’t read your stuff? I don’t mean that in a harsh way, but it’s true. For almost a year I wrote on this blog with little success because of the fact that I didn’t network and build relationships with others. Because of the saturation of the internet with info, relationships is what now carries the day.

Good luck Ted, I hope you’ll stop by again.

Marcus

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Davina K. Brewer May 7, 2011 at

Ok, no more comment bombs, getting silly.

@Diana makes a good point about possible seasonal nature of the business, and I still wonder what could be outsourced, what could be done in the downturns, etc. @Keith Moderation is one of my favorite platitudes, was gonna recycle that along with the ever-illusive ‘balance’ we read about. @Kaarina great line. Shonali did a post on how a company was overwhelmed by the success of a Groupon deal; can’t let that happen… growth and success can be bad if you’re not prepared for it. @Jon Acknowledgement, that’s it. I’d still be reading, linking, sharing some other blogs if just one or two of my prior links, comments, tweets were recognized. *shrugs*

Oy. Can’t possibly tell you how to run your businesses Marcus much less your life, though it seems to me you’re already making decisions and are just looking for support. IDK if you can hire a manager for the pool biz, just oversee the big stuff and keep that as a more ‘passive’ revenue stream while you develop TSL into your biz. I say that only b/c there are a lot of speakers, bloggers, authors out there and not everyone can grow up to be Gary V. And knowing that you being YOU, we’ll all want to grow up to be Marcus Sheridan one day if you decide that is what you must do b/c you’ll just rock it, period.

On managing the blog: think you’ve got it where you know your schedule, don’t overdo it which is important. Maybe a comment system that would allow you to LIKE and acknowledge the short ‘cool post’ comments would help; maybe you realize that a few comments will slip past you unnoticed, but you’ll keep an eye out so you don’t ignore new ‘regulars’ IDK. You could always limit comment length so you wouldn’t have so much reading to do. wonk wonk. eyeroll. facepalm.

OMG I am still typing… Goals: untold fame, fortune and riches b/c some big brand manager is going to read my blog, fall in love and give me lots of money when I say “you’re doing it wrong, morons.” Dealing with the time: I have no life, not a problem right now.. unless the DVR breaks.

Seriously, I am no where near my #1 goal for the blog: attracting the readers I want, aka potential clients. As to the time, no where near my strategy of “less is more.” I love the audience and community I’m developing; I totally enjoy this but it does take too much time that’s non-billable. I need speed-reading classes, need to spend less time writing (these comments come naturally; some blog posts.. not so much), need to spend less time on OTHER blogs. I’m breaking a ‘rule’ now, commenting on a Sat. One of my future goals is to read/comment only so much time per day, then move on. Will not catch it all, some folks will get ‘ignored’ this week, just the way it goes. I’ll shut up now. FWIW.

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

Epic and amazing comment that was Davina…and it came after one of your famous ‘bombs’. Speaking of ‘bombs’, you coined that phrase and taught me how to do it, (and how fun it is), and I’m going to be writing about it in an upcoming eBook I’m doing on ‘community building’–(of course you’ll get all the fame, glory, and credit my friend ;-) )

As for your points to other commenters thus far– thank you for taking the time to read this stuff. You really amaze me and you’re clearly one of the driving forces behind the entire TSL community. I swear if I ever make it BIG I’m going to be begging you to help me with my social media presence Davina. :-)

You’ve got some really good ideas about how I can make things a little quicker and more efficient around here. I guess we’ll see how that goes. I just love the interaction so much that it’s terribly difficult just to say ‘Hey, that was awesome’, especially after someone poured their heart and soul into something they just said. I don’t know, it’s a toughy, big time.

As far as your goals Davina, I absolutely believe people will soon start to notice you. I really do. You’re too talented, and I’m not blowing smoke up your tail either.

thanks for this D’, it was incredible,

Marcus

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Davina K. Brewer May 9, 2011 at

Heh.. think it came from the different photo bomb things, like the strutting Leos.. instead, I leave comments. IDK.. too hard for me to shut my yap sometimes.

Today’s off to a tricky start, but I will get a hang of this time-management thing eventually. One thing Marcus.. we both like this, have fun chatting this way and that’s a gift, one I’ll always appreciate. Just can’t let it get in the way of work, play, life..

I’ve taken a two sentence comment, written a book as a reply. I know it’s hard to do. And with your blog, probably harder as you get such good comments. Another idea: cut some of the posts in Parts I and II; you write some doozies that encourage and spark amazing discussion b/c of all the different ideas. Maybe if from time to time you start an idea on Monday, roll with it and then run the rest of it on Thursday. Each posts comments maybe a little more focused, shorter? Plus it’ll pad the writing/publishing schedule sometimes, give you a little extra breathing room?

As always, a pleasure chatting with you.

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

That is an original idea Davina– having 2 parts. It makes a lot of sense…I just have a hard time writing short on certain topics. Hmmm, I’m going to let that one roll around for a while. Happy Monday and have a great week!!!!

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Sheila Atwood May 7, 2011 at

Marcus,

There is a responsibility to any community we want to grow. I think it this responsibility part that keep most people from really being a part of a community, whether is church, town, city or state.

What I find interesting on my blog is that most people who subscribe are not the commenters. Plus I recently asked several commenters a few questions to help me with a project. I was quite surprised at how many were not even reading my posts but they were commenting on a regular basis.

Blog commenting can be quite a game and the value placed on that game like you said, can be time consuming. When it comes to answering every comment, I do wonder about the value. Personally I do not feel slighted if the blogger does not comment back.

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Marcus Sheridan May 8, 2011 at

You bring up a very, very good point Sheila. Just how many people are commenting because they want to have a true discussion? And just how many are commenting to get seen and possibly receive reciprocity?

What I have found is that those just looking for reciprocity don’t last long in this business. They come and go by the dozens every month. But with time, a blogger’s core community of thinkers and action-takers will build, which is a wonderful thing to see….and that’s when great things can start to happen.

But the fact that you don’t feel slighted when someone doesn’t respond to you just goes to show what type of person and commenter you are Sheila. You say what you say from the heart, and I really respect and appreciate that.

Hope you had a great weekend.

Marcus

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Harriet Cabelly May 8, 2011 at

Wonderful post. I too would like to know that my posts are resonating with at least some people; and I guess the only to know that is by receiving comments. I’m blogging for about 4 months now and the only time I get a substantial number of comments (for me at this point I’d say that’s more than 8) is when I do a guest post (on Tiny Buddha and The Bridgemaker). I keep trying to tell myself it’ll grow with time and that I need to keep at it. And that it’s in the process of doing it – writing the posts, getting my interviewees which is always so exciting to me, coming up with the ideas- that’s most important. I am truly enjoying doing it. I am proud of myself too for many reasons. But I must admit I do get disappointed when I don’t get many Comments. I anxiously look for them everyday.

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Marcus Sheridan May 8, 2011 at

Hey Harriet, I so very much appreciate your honesty here. It’s funny how comments can make or break our mood as bloggers. I think you’ll find though that once your blog is where you’d like it to be, your ‘relationships’ become much more paramount than just comments, if that makes sense. But I think if you continue to do what you’re doing, and really work hard to promote/mention/link to others as much as possible, then you’ll see the success start to happen. But you must be in this for the long haul, and being doing it out of love (which I know you are).

One other suggestion Harriet– You may want to change your avatar to a photo of you. This may surprise you very much coming from me but if I had to start another blog or if I’m counseling someone who is just getting going, I don’t suggest they take a path I took. At this point, yes, my Lion is very, very branded. But even a Lion, which is such a strong figure and beloved, caused a gap between myself and others during the initial phases of commenting on other blogs. I hope what I’m telling you makes sense here. It’s all about being personal and creating those ‘real’ relationships. Showing the real Harriet will help that.

Good luck!!!

Marcus

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Roger May 8, 2011 at

I’ve never much worried about comments. I guess the way I write doesn’t really invite much discussion. Or my readers just aren’t very vocal. I’ve had less than one ( non spam ) comment per post on average. However, I don’t even think about it much. Sure, it would be nice to hear from those that get some value from my posts. But honestly, I can see that just from looking at my traffic stats. Readers wouldn’t keep coming back and first timers wouldn’t come back again if there wasn’t anything wothwhile.
I started this blog with the sole intention of growing my website and drawing traffic. Now that it is flourishing, I find myself with more time to focus on community. I have been pondering how to do proceed. Any suggestions bro? :)

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Marcus Sheridan May 8, 2011 at

Hey Rog, good to hear from you man. This may sound very self serving, but my post about ‘Networking Like a Star’ and my other about ’10 Ways to Get Massive Comments’ are really the place to find the answer. But in short, I’d say this:
1. Mention other bloggers more, and promote them more.
2. Make your site more ‘personal’ (more of you, more intimate in terms of visual)
3. Comment more on other blogs

If you’re not spending at least an hour a day on 1 and 3, then it’s going to be really tough to build a massive and interactive community.

Good luck bud, really appreciate you stopping by.

Marcus

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Rajka Milanovic Galbraith May 8, 2011 at

Marcus

Very good point, be careful what you wish for. I am relative newbie as you know. Still at under 10 comments per post. But, I am watching reader response and seeing what the readers like, focusing on making the content (that the readers want) interesting or with a twist, making each post readable with headers and shorter paragraphs etc

You are king, i am at 1 hour for 1,000 words and then do 3-5 revisons at an hour or more.

Would love to get the comments up to in the 50′s that would make me happy.

I will therefore not be offended when you don’t comment on my blog!

Enjoy your week and responding to all the comments!
Rajka

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Marcus Sheridan May 8, 2011 at

You’re very kind to stop by Rajka, and I appreciate you sharing your initial ‘goals and growing pains’ as I like to call them. The fact that you really pay attention to your content and are watching how your readers respond shows how much you care. If you continue with that, and network as you have been (I’ve seen you all over the place), you’re going to be getting those 50 comments before you know it.

Good luck and thanks again so much for taking the time to stop by and comment.

Marcus

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Alex Blackwell | The BridgeMaker May 8, 2011 at

Thanks for leading by example Marcus – you are an inspiration.

Alex

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Marcus Sheridan May 8, 2011 at

Appreciate that very much Alex. You’re really, really kind to say such a thing. Hope your Mother’s Day was a great one.

Cheers,

Marcus

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Marcia Hoeck May 9, 2011 at

Marcus, you are so helpful. I’ve been in business for over 25 years, but blogging — not so long. I’m new to your community, as well, and am just awe struck by how you keep piling it on — I’ve learned more about blogging from you than from anyone else I’ve read so far. It’s like getting a Master’s Degree — you do all the work for me (almost). Yes, I am getting more comments now, and yes, I see the work it is taking. A double edged sword, to be sure.

I’ll just keep coming back, reading what you tell me to read, checking out who you tell me to check out, trying to do what you tell me to do (I didn’t have a form on my contact page, but got one on there pronto after reading your “jerk” post, and there’s more I know I have to do yet!).

You’re just so generous, and I appreciate it very much.
Marcia

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Marcus Sheridan May 10, 2011 at

I may be generous with my teachings and time Marcia, but your generous words of kindness are what motivate me and keep me smiling. I’m so glad you have found some value in this blog and I do hope you keep coming back.

Big smiles,

Marcus

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Elena Patrice May 9, 2011 at

With each post I’m privileged to read of yours Marcus, my respect for you grows … it’s always humbling. Your journey, as I’ve said prior, is an inspiration to many and personally gives me tremendous hope. For anyone who follows you, there is no doubt the dedication you put into everything you do and every post you craft. “Craft” is the absolute best and only word to use for you since you’re not only a writer, you’re a fine craftsman. I have this great visual of you and it’s like watching someone sanding and carving this glorious sailboat that he’s preparing for someone else; and only if you could watch it being crafting, could you truly appreciate all the time, talent, attention and care that went into the building of it.

When you write of the dedication and the reality of success it resonates deep, as I say to others that often the journey of an entrepreneur is a lonely one because very few understand what it takes; the time and the sacrifices along the way. Nothing comes that easy and if it does it surely will never as sweet. My own goal is to help people on several levels and harnessing how I can do so within my community is still coming to me and being worked out. I try to be patient with myself through this discovery process. Balance is sometimes a huge challenge and admittedly sometimes I fail miserably. Ah, but as one of my favorite quotes states, “I fall, I get up, I fall, I get up…”.

This blogging world and my business are going through growing pains and the pains of when it all gels together. I remain hopeful and encouraged thanks to the likes of you and others who understand this and share their experiences. The journey, since I started down this particular path, isn’t as lonely as it used to be. ;)

I will end with words that certainly don’t suffice; however … thank you with a tremendously full heart for including me among such amazing, top-notch individuals. You humble me Marcus and you’re starting to have that “Danny effect” on me and really my heart has to learn to better accept this. It’s a privilege Marcus, such a privilege.

Elena

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

Wow Elena, this was so incredibly kind and thoughtful I don’t know even where to begin.

You mentioned ‘The Danny Effect’. That is a phrase I will absolutely be using again, because Danny is so special in his ability to draw deep thought and emotion from his audience. So to be compared with him (he is in many ways my mentor) is an honor.

I appreciate your candor here as well Elena. The concept of falling down and getting up and falling down and getting up is so very realistic and exactly what we’re all going through. I just hope you hold the course because I can tell you’ve got some serious talent and a huge heart to offer readers, and with a little more community, you will thrive greatly. This is why mentioning you here was so easy— I can see you’re a natural at ‘giving back’.

Anyway, thanks for starting off my Monday in such a great way. Have a wonderful week Elena!

Marcus

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Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur May 9, 2011 at

First off, Marcus — no need to reply.
Give your fingers a rest.
And get some sleep.

This approach may not work for everyone, but one way to manage this situation is to blog less often. I can already hear some die-hard bloggers gasping at the notion.

But it IS a solution.

I used to post fresh content 3 – 5 times per week and now I’ve scaled back to once or twice a week. So even when I get a barrage of comments, they’re manageable.

This second suggestion may sound a little tacky, but it may be worth the effort to post a “reply policy” on your blog. Something really simple and really brief letting readers know you won’t be replying to every single comment (and “why”).

In other words, Marcus, you don’t want your community to have unrealistic expectations, right? As this community grows and grows, you’re not (realistically) going to be able to reply to everyone’s comments. So let people know that up front so they’ll know what to expect.

They’re still going to love you, post their comments, interact with one another here, share your posts, and promote TSL.

And you’ll be able to go to bed before 3 A.M. :)
Mel

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

Hmm Melanie, I really like your ‘reply policy’ point. That’s a really, really good idea and I can see implementing it at some point as it becomes necessary. In fact, it’s a great idea.

Like you said, if the community has realistic expectations, everything should then fall into place and the losses or upset people should be minimal.

Thanks again Mel, this was GREAT.

Have a wonderful week.

Marcus

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Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur May 9, 2011 at

You’re so welcome, Marcus — I wholeheartedly love and embrace everything you’re doing here and I KNOW this community is going to continue to expand and thrive — even if you don’t reply to each and every comment. Glad you graciously accepted my idea for a “reply policy” and I’ll be creating my own some day. :)

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

You’re as kind as they come Melanie. Thank you so very much . :-)

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kirapermunian | Best SEO Blogging May 9, 2011 at

I strongly agree. Blog growth really takes enough time . And to think about it, I need a lot of hardwork then but I take it easy, a challenge, enjoying every minute I blog. You have mentioned several great people there. The people I followed in the blogosphere.

Thanks for sharing. Very inspiring.

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

Hey Kira, glad you enjoyed the article and I’m happy to know you enjoy blogging as well. The relationships that can be formed through the medium can be life-changing at times. And keep following these people that I’ve mentioned, I learn a ton from them each and every day.

Marcus

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Allison Henry May 9, 2011 at

Hello Marcus! :-)
You know, as I read your posts and your responses to comments I have often wondered how long it takes you. Your replies are always so thorough and well thought-out; I admire that about you. Your passion for your blog and the community you’ve created is very apparent, which is one reason why I keep coming back. Your enthusiasm always puts me in a better mood! ;-)

I have a very good friend who runs a successful photography blog (everydayelementsonline.com). It has really taken off over the past year. I’m so proud of her – she’s worked so hard. But I’ve noticed that she’s much harder to get a hold of than she used to be…after reading this article I can totally understand why!

I really enjoy your blog. THANK YOU for all the time and effort you put into it. And for giving back to so many others. I’m still trying to figure out when the heck you sleep though! :-)

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Marcus Sheridan May 10, 2011 at

Hey Allison! Your kind and positive words here are exactly the kind of thing that keeps me motivated and driven to write, interact, and build this incredible community. So thank you for that and my only hope is that great people like you will continue to come back as I do my very best.

Have a wonderful week Allison,

Marcus

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Mark Harai May 9, 2011 at

Hi Marcus, hope you had a restful weekend!

Blogging is just like a business… There are no shortcuts to success. It takes hard work and commitment.

The only reason I would consider to build a business is to provide something of value that can make lives more productive. It’s the same for my blog. I desire to make a difference by serving the needs of others.

If it doesn’t have a positive impact on people, it’s not worth doing for me. Commenting and engaging the community is where the value of “relationships” comes to play.

That’s where you can impact and change lives and get to know people in a much more intimate way. Many of these relationships move past online to offline, and here many great things can happen.

Many blogs are launched for the sole purpose of making dough and it wreaks of it when you land on these blogs — it’s like “Yuk!”

As far as longevity goes, I just plug away and do the best I can with the time I have. I wish I had more time for social media activities becausE I enjoy it, but I have some businesses to run and a large tribe to feed, so I put in what time I have. That’s it… that will have to do for now.

This is a most excellent post Marcus : )

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

I could not agree with you more Mark. For me, it really is all about the relationships, and like you said, the blogs that are launched solely for the purpose of money usually end of wreaking of emptiness. Now granted, there is nothing wrong with making money (a personally like the stuff a lot for what it can do), and having that be a major goal, but in this day and age, if relationships don’t exist, then it’s likely going to be a flawed and failed business model.

You and I are very much alike Mark. We have businesses. We have big families. We’re busy guys. But we love our community….and thus we do the best we can. :-)

BTW Mark, did you get me email this weekend about you sending me the number of visits your site received from mine during the months of March and April? I’ll be doing that article soon.

Thanks bud, have an awesome week!!

Marcus

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Mark Harai May 9, 2011 at

Ahh, yes I did – I just don’t have any idea how to find out that information – LOL!

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

Mark, you goof ball! ;-) Either with Google Analytics, if you’ve set it up, or with you host, like GoDaddy or Hostgator or whatever. They have an analytics that will show you traffic, sources, etc. I’d be happy to help if you can’t find it.

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Daniel M. Wood May 9, 2011 at

This is something I have been noticing aswell Marcus. Now I have no where near your comment count, I get about 15 comments on a good post, but that said. 15 comments takes a lot of time to reply to.

I can see how 100 quickly takes hours of work to reply to and take care of.

It is great, but yet again a curse.

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

It’s an interesting phenomenon Daniel. The blessing and curse component that no one ever really talks about. Again, I’m not complaining though. I dearly love the community I have here and am grateful and appreciate every single comment that comes across the way.

Have a great week buddy and continued growth my friend. :-)

Marcus

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Annie Andre May 9, 2011 at

Marcus,
I signed up to the comments on this blog and my email blew up. Success has it’s price. LOL.

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Marcus Sheridan May 10, 2011 at

Haha Annie ;-) Sorry to bomb the email, hopefully you’ll still come back next time ;-)

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Adam Toporek May 10, 2011 at

It’s funny; I was just speaking with someone about commenting the other day. When I got into blogging, I thought I did a pretty good job of researching what I was getting into. But there was one HUGE exception: commenting. I never anticipated how much time leaving quality comments on blogs takes. For one thing, incredible communities like TSL or Spin Sucks have so many comments that it vastly increases the time spent on of the posts (of course, the comments increase the value immensely too!).

I’ve been out of the loop for a few days with offline life, and I was going to drop by a few of my favorite blogs this evening and do some commenting. I got stuck on this post for over 30 minutes. It was a great conversation, and I was reading all of the comments. When I finally got to the end, I noticed how small the scroll bar was on the browser. That’s when I realized – wow, this is a lot of text!

So, I did an experiment and copied the text on this page into Word; it is around 18,000 words with the comments. Yes, Marcus, that’s 1/5 of a good-sized modern novel for a single blog post! And a much of that are your responses. I seriously don’t know how you do it; it is beyond impressive.

I thought Paul Wolfe’s 5 methods were perfect. (Now, Paul, please create 5 methods for commenting on other people’s posts! I need it.) And using his framework, I must say, I really don’t see how you don’t go the ProBlogger or CopyBlogger route eventually. If you don’t, I think you will risk passing up more high return activities as comment responses swallow you whole.

I think the key is not to feel bad about it when the time comes. The trend in the blogosphere when popular bloggers disengage seems to be that a portion of their communities accuse them of turning their back on the people who “got them there.” I view it differently. Businesses have different stages of growth, and the needs of the business will change depending on what stage it is in. If your blog is a business, it should be no different. Personally, I would consider Darren Rowse a very poor businessperson if he responded personally to each of the 140 comments on his posts. At the stage he is at, it just doesn’t make sense. You may not be there yet, but it is obvious you are well on the way. I think when you finally hit that tipping point, you will just have to be prepared to lose the few to gain the many. It might be painful, but it will be the inevitable next step toward the goals you have been so open about on TSL.

Good luck! I will enjoy watching the transformation.

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Marcus Sheridan May 11, 2011 at

Adam, Adam, Adam……

So, I did an experiment and copied the text on this page into Word; it is around 18,000 words with the comments. Yes, Marcus, that’s 1/5 of a good-sized modern novel for a single blog post! And a much of that are your responses. I seriously don’t know how you do it; it is beyond impressive.

When I read this statement of yours I literally thought about it all day. I said to myself, “Holy cow, that’s amazing.” And then I thought it would make for a great blog article, something like, “How to write an entire book in 48 hours or less”….Because, now that I look back, that’s exactly what we all did. We wrote a book. With so many people leaving so many powerful and thought provoking comments, we wrote a stinking book! Unbelievable…..You have no idea how much you got my mind turning on that one Adam, for which I’m very grateful to you.

And as far as your perspective on growth, I can only hope everyone is as understanding as you if I ever have to ‘step off the gas’ a little in terms of engagement. I don’t know when that might happen, but I might refer haters back to your comment here ;-)

Have a wonderful week Adam, you really hit a home run with this one sir!

Marcus

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Adam Toporek May 11, 2011 at

Thank you so much for you kind words Marcus! The numbers blew me away too. Truly amazing!

I like your idea for a post; it would be a true honor if one of my comments inspired a blog post on TSL! :)

An awesome week to you too…

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Jens P. Berget May 10, 2011 at

Hi Marcus,

I’m late again, but I bring with me some interesting thoughts. I’ve given what you’re saying a lot of thought, actually, without even reading your post. Because this has been on my mind for a long time. It’s all about hard work, and with a popular blog, as the author, we get more responsibility.

I have just been away for close to 4 days on a vacation with my family. We’ve been driving across Norway for 12 hours, and then back for 12 hours. I haven’t been online for almost 4 days, and it feels awesome, but at the same time it feels like I am not doing my job. It’s hard to be offline for so many days.

If my blog was as popular as your blog, I’m not sure if I could have done this. Or I believe that I would have written a blog post about my vacation, in order to let people know why I was so quite. And, this is also related to comments on other blogs, and building the community.

Last year, I was in Greece for two weeks, and I was offline the whole time. It felt great. But, it might be bad when it comes to building a community. It’s great for creativity though and I get so much extra energy from it.

I believe that for me, it’s all about a balance and a goal. I’m not trying to grow my blog community into something I can’t handle, at least not at the moment. Right now, I’m focusing on writing a novel and working hard to get it published. That’s my main goal. My second goal is to write novel number 2, the sequel, and I have just started writing it. My third goal is to help people online, and inspire. That’s what I try to do with my blog and leaving comments. But it means that I can’t write new blog post as often as I’d like to, and it means that I’m not available to people as often as I’d like. Because I’m always looking for creativity, and time to write my novel, and trying to become an author also means that I have to spend a lot of time on vacation :-)

By the way, I really enjoy reading about how you work, the working process, and why you are doing stuff. I learn a lot from it.

- Jens

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Marcus Sheridan May 11, 2011 at

This comment was so thoughtful and rich Jens, and I’m so glad you took a moment to share my friend. It’s funny how much inspiration we can receive simply by ‘getting away’. I certainly understand where you’re coming from, and I think that if were to go on vacation, I’d have to have guest posts lined up and talk to a few people about helping me out to keep things in order. No doubt, it’s a big responsibility.

Regarding your novel, I had no idea you were already starting on the 2nd. Wow, that’s amazing Jens!!! Really man, the creative bug has really bitten you big time!! ;-)

It means a ton to me Jens that you enjoy coming by here. I can only hope such feelings continue.

Cheers my friend,

Marcus

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Howie the Chief Alien May 11, 2011 at

Marcus I am simply amazed at the people who can pump out quality content in a regular schedule. I try to blog 3 days a week but normally get two in. From coming up with the ideas to discuss to having it in a presentable and readable format takes a lot of time. All the people you mentioned I am amazed can keep the productivity up while still taking the time to respond and build their community.

I personally want more clients and less blogging I am very content reading the good work everyone is doing and contributing on the community side. But I tend to be more reserved I can be more aggro and ranty when needed on my blog LOL Not something I feel is right on other people’s blogs even when there is disagreement.

The only blog I get full on Aggro when commenting is with Mashable. I feel like a teacher having to be rate 6th graders who still haven’t figured out the alphabet. When I click a Twitter link unknowing the destination site and it brings me to Mashable almost 90% of the time I read the article, throw my hands up in the air, and say:

‘Oh no, not freaking again, now I have to respond because your content is utterly ridiculous and its your fault for publishing this crap because if you didn’t I wouldn’t be wasting precious time writing this response of disbelief and don’t know know better’

But you will never find that from me anywhere else Marcus! #pinkyswear

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Marcus Sheridan May 11, 2011 at

LOL Howie! I had no idea you had such a love affair with mashable man! ;-)

Actually though, I wish more people, if they felt like they didn’t agree with me, would say it more often. I don’t want this community to simply hear what I say and give it a blind thumbs up. It’s important that we question and disagree– all the while doing it will complete respect and kindness.

I guess my point is that you’re always welcome to come by and rant if you’d like Howie. I find your comments on other blogs to be very funny and insightful, and would love to see more of them here mate. ;-)

Marcus

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Steve@Internet Lifestyle May 11, 2011 at

Marcus,

You point out something that is really important. There is simply a lot more to blogging than simply writing the post.

Blogging by nature is about interaction. To do it correctly you need that interaction to be successful. You put a ton of effort into all your posts (I am sure!!) but the last one is now over 200 commentors.

All I can say is WOW. You could put out an “special report” made of comments alone.

There is a reason your blog is really taking off… Amazing hard work, dedication and an awesome sense of community.

Keep rocking it!

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Marcus Sheridan May 11, 2011 at

Very, very kind words coming from a pro like you Steve. I really appreciate it bud, and although it’s hard work, it’s amazing, and it has been and will continue to be worth it I’m sure.

Have a great one man and thanks so much for stopping by,

Marcus

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Benny May 11, 2011 at

With new bloggers I wonder what they would want more? More comments or more traffic? For me I think it’s comments now. Cause at least I get visual feedback that my writing is being enjoyed enough for someone to leave a comment. I believe traffic will come as it grows but having a community is pretty cool.

I did wonder how you seem to comment on every blog I see and respond to your comments here. It’s definitely pretty amazing to me but like I see in the above comment, it’s worth it to you.

Have a great one Marcus!

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Carolyn@The Wonder of Tech May 16, 2011 at

Marcus, How to get more sleep:

1. Write crap
2. Don’t check in on comments
3. Don’t respond to comments
4. Don’t post more than once a month.

You would also have much more time for your pool business.

But it doesn’t look like you’re doing any of that, so I’m very sorry for depriving you of even more sleep. The only thing I can hope is that I’m so late to the party maybe you’re getting some rest by now?

Seriously, congratulations on your well-deserved success and best wished to you for your transition away from your pool business. Your excellent post has generated comments in large quantity and quality, like none other. Even though you aren’t getting much sleep, I hope you wake with a smile on your face, comforted by the satisfaction of building such a strong, warm and eloquent community.

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Marcus Sheridan May 16, 2011 at

Hey Carolyn!! So kind of you to say these things. :-) Actually, I am getting enough sleep, and yes, I most certainly do wake up with a smile each and every morning. Between my real family with 4 amazing kids, and my incredible blogging family, I’m a blessed guy.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this Carolyn and I hope you have a wonderful week!!

Marcus

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Martyna Bizdra May 25, 2011 at

Hejka Marcus!

thanks for the article, a great read. I can see the power of delivering the results if one has a clear goal, that is aligned with what you like doing.
“what are your goals for comments and community? For some of the more seasoned veterans, how have you dealt with the time demands of community? What are you doing in your life to have balance and allow for optimal interaction? ” great thought provoking questions

do you in general have two major businesses? your swimming pool firm and TSL?
Blogging if done with passion is so brainstorming, nearly like reaching the state of flow, which happens when you talk to a equally passionate person.

besos, M.

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Marcus Sheridan May 25, 2011 at

Hey Martyna! So glad you stopped by and enjoyed the article– as it’s a subject that I feel is of utmost importance to all of us and I think a constant struggle for any blogger. Hope you’re doing well!!

Marcus :-)

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Martyna Bizdra May 25, 2011 at

hey hey
you are right, great relationships are so important! even stephen hawking talks about it is his latest book, as the principle of the universe!
yes, I am doing great, a bit overwhelmed with the amount of things to do,
hope you are doing fine too!

bye
M.

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Christian Hofer May 30, 2011 at

Hi Marcus,
I just started with my own blog and was wondering how to increase traffic. I really liked your comments on commenting on other people’s blogs and linking them into your own blog. The one thing I am struggling with is that many of the things I am blogging about take quite some time to research – increasing preparation time. But that may be the ex consultant in me that wants to include lots of facts…

Did you just start out with a Wordpress blog or self hosted? I am on Wordpress and there you cannot use plugins :-( like the ones you recommended for commenting.

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Diana May 31, 2011 at

Christian, I can only suggest that from the start, it’s better to go with Wordpress self hosted. You are going to need to switch anyway as soon as your blog hits a growth spurt. You need the plugins to adapt the blog to your needs and those of your readers, and to be honest, it’s the professional way to go. Climb this learning curve now. You won’t regret it.

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Christian Hofer May 31, 2011 at

Hi Diana,
Thanks for your tip – I’ll will try to jump into the cold water – I get your point.
By the way – I have checked out your blog and liked it very much. I am Austrian with an American wife (we are now in Paris) and we have always loved Italy. I’ll make sure that we look you up should we go to your region next time.

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Diana May 31, 2011 at

Servus Christian, vielen Dank daß Du mein Blog besucht hast. Wir würden gern Euch mal persönlich begrüssen hier in bella Piemonte. :)

If you have any questions with WP self hosted, please feel free to ask. I use a web hosting service out of Hamburg, he’s a great guy and helps with good service.

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Christian Hofer May 31, 2011 at

Servus Diana,
Wo seid ihr denn in Piemonte? Wir waren schon einige male in Alba (fuer die Trueffeln) und auch in Barolo.
Ich werde sicher fragen wegen des selfhostings haben – vielen Dank
Tschuess

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Diana May 31, 2011 at

Wir sind ungf. 1 Stunde von Barolo/ 45 minuten von Alba entfernt, in Acqui Terme, ein Kurort mit heissen Quellen, in den Weinhügeln. Wir sitzen quasi direkt auf der Grenze mit Liguria, sind ausserdem from Genoa 1Stunde entfernt.

Wir lieben Oestereich :). Wir haben viele Gäste aus deine Heimat!

Hey Marcus, did you think you’d start seeing foreign languages in the comment section of your blog in conversations? :) It was just a matter of time with all of the expats who love your blog!

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Kaarina Dillabough May 30, 2011 at

I think there comes a time when, in absence of superhero powers and more hours in the day than one has, direct one-on-one responses to each and every comment can become an impossibility. That’s the sorry side of success. It’s so admirable, Marcus, that you’re able to keep up the pace that you do. But I also think, when we as commenters see hundreds of comments, we really don’t expect someone to respond directly to each and every one. Extraordinary if that happens: understandable if it doesn’t.

Writing the post is the appetizer: the main course gets cooking when people engage, banter, challenge, joke, support and “talk with” (not at) each other in the comments section. Hmmmm…maybe you are a superhero Marcus! Cheers! Kaarina

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Kevin@Pearl Jewelry July 18, 2011 at

Hi Marcus,

You’ve touched upon a very important topic. Commenting and replying is as critical as the content in your blog. Commenting and plugins like ‘commentluv’ are a great networking tool. It doesn’t only enhace your presence, but you also get to learn a lot from some of the pro-bloggers. I can understand your problem of replying back to each and everyone; but may be you could have an auto-responder and thank them. Also, there are various tools to build your subscriber lists. The 5000 Vs 1400 word count is quite pleasing.

Kevin Rudd

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Dan October 10, 2011 at

Blogging does take a ton of time and dedication, but if your readers like what the see, they’ll keep coming back to you.

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Hands Free Mama October 17, 2011 at

I am so thankful that Diana posted about you on her site today. I have spent 45 minutes reading on your site and have learned more about effective blogging here in that small amount of time than I have in the 9 months I have been blogging! I can’t thank you enough for offering this valuable information. I look forward to receiving your emails in my inbox!

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Marcus Sheridan October 17, 2011 at

Well that makes my Monday Rachel…Thank you!!!!

Can’t wait to chat more in the future :-)

Marcus

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Astro Gremlin December 8, 2011 at

Marcus, been blogging seven months, but learned the effects of commenting a couple of months ago. Have had many more folks leaving comments recently. First time here and won’t leave a long comment to save you some time for writing. :) Congratulations on your community and the hard work it takes to stay engaged.

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Marcus Sheridan December 9, 2011 at

That’s very kind of you Astro to say. Yes, it has been hard work, but I’ve so much loved these last 2 years of late night keyboard slapping. ;-) And boy has my business been blessed as well!

Marcus

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Steve Sheinkopf December 29, 2011 at

I have been blogging wrong for 4 years….I became a Hubspot customer in April, and it has helped tremendously. After reading your blog, however, I really see the potential..and wanted to thank you for some great ideas

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Marcus Sheridan December 29, 2011 at

Hi Steve! I’m so very glad to hear that you’ve started to make progress with your blogging and that Hubspot has made a difference as well. The potential is great, no doubt, and I hope you’ll continue learning, keep getting better, and reach the goals you strive to achieve.

Best to you Steve and I hope you’ll be coming back again soon!

Marcus

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Kevin January 25, 2012 at

I am a house painting contractor and I simply do not have the time to commit to building out a community. Although I do commned you on your efforts and the great information that you post on a regular basis.

I use my blog to post about recent jobs. For the most part, my customers are not interested in posting comments. In fact, the only “comments” that I receive are spam and have to be deleted.

Any advise?

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Marcus Sheridan January 25, 2012 at

Hey Kevin, and thanks so much for the question. The fact that you don’t get comments isn’t a big deal. After all, comments don’t mean profits, and that’s the goal (ultimately) for any business.

My advice is that you blog to generate leads. If you blog to show current jobs, that’s fine too. But make sure you have a keyword focus as well. That’s very important, as SEO can have a huge impact on your business. BTW, how are you doing with location-based keywords?

Thanks again,

Marcus

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Kevin Palmer January 27, 2012 at

I’m doing well on location-based keywords. In addition to blog entries, I’ve actually built out specific pages on the site for the various towns that I service. Targeted traffic is good, however, that doesn’t always translate to jobs. My target market are high-end clients.

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Marcus Sheridan January 31, 2012 at

GREAT strategy Kevin. Let me know how it goes bud!!

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Shelleyn February 12, 2012 at

Hi Marcus,
I got to your site quite randomly, maybe not I was looking at information about RSS feeds on someone elses site they mentioned something and I clicked on it and here I am. I’m a fairly new blogger trying to figure it all out. It’s good to know that other people often struggle with getting their community going too but that their is hope ahead. Thank you to all the others sharing here in the comments. This is a great site with a lot of informative articles. I think I am getting a bit addicted. I think I am going to bookmark you.

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steve werner September 25, 2012 at

Marcus,

though I have been posting a blog on my site for nearly two years, I have learned more from you in the last week.

I still don’t get how you attract so many followers?? I believe I post great information, I walk the walk, meaning much of what I post. I’ve lived.

Do I just keep cranking away and hope to build a following. I’ve never done anything in my life without the intention of joining the elite.
Thoughts??

sw

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Steve Sheinkopf September 25, 2012 at

I can’t eat on comments, followers and fans. I eat based on sales. Mr Werner, measure engagement and sales….

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steve werner September 26, 2012 at

I get that.

It’s developing the followers and fans I am having trouble with.

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solarpanels October 18, 2013 at

The second problem to think about is the floors.

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camping 7 months pregnant December 25, 2013 at

Nice blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
A theme like yours with a few simple tweeks
would really make my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your theme.
Thanks a lot

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