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The connection between the number of hits on a post and comments

August 12, 2007

After two comments by readers as to why some posts of mine got fewer comments that they felt was deserved, I decided to see if there was a connection between the number of times the post is read and the number of comments on each post.

Well, the posts this previous week (list here) that got the maximum hits (medical tourism) did get the most comments…but this is the pattern only for this post and makes me feel that perhaps the hits are higher for this post as commentators came back to respond to the response to their comments. They obviously read the post just once!

Three other posts of mine got 25 percent fewer hits (dress codes at places of worship, Pot can cause mental illness and Street foods contain less bacteria than hotel foods) but where actual reads are concerned, I think they were read by as many people as the maximum hits post. The street foods post was very popular but got just six comments.
My favorite post this week was the dress codes one (favorite because I felt very strongly about the subject). Another post I liked was one about the tendency of traditional societies to have lower birth rates…I found this idea quite fascinating but the post got limited hits.

I do not think there is a strong link between the number of comments and the number of times the post is read…but I think an analysis every week would be an interesting exercise.

Which brings me to something that we all are thinking of – what is more important? Hits on a post or the number of times the post is read? I think most people would think the latter…but comments are very important too as they can be very motivating. Its also wonderful to actually hear from those who come to your blog…

There is another thing that one needs to look at…how much does readership of a particular post increase after valuable comments have been added? I suspect it helps greatly…because the most popular post of all time on this blog is the South India North India one. I wish I could take credit for it but I can’t. Its only because of all those wonderful readers who have added their insights that this post continues to remain popular. I cannot thank them enough…

Related Reading: Cyber Crime – the most common cyber crime
Censorship on students using Social Networking sites in India
Giving out personal information online becoming more common

Why I blog
Some reasons why people abuse strangers
Blogs are a boon

17 Comments leave one →
  1. August 12, 2007 11:47 am

    Most of the “hits” my Cultural Snafu blog get are from search engines (about 65%), so the posts don’t get read nearly as often as they get hit on. It’s what I would call a “horizontal site”. I do get a lot of students coming through looking for information and links to other sites. I’m currently averaging about 13 responses per post, but because I haven’t been posting anything discussion worthy recently (my opinion) I expect that to go down before I can bring it back up.

    On the other hand, my Salted Lithium site is fairly specific. It’s more vertical in terms of subject and potential readers. Only a few people who read it leave messages, but I do receive quite a few emails from people as well. The people who do leave messages are generally the same group each time. Some of the people who send me emails rather than post on the blog do so because they feel intimidated by the discussion, or by the fact it’s the same people posting responses… blogs can become very cliquish.

    Recently, because of my inactivity on Cultural, I’ve actually started having posts with no responses, which hasn’t happened before on that blog. But I know the posts are still being read. All of which to say I read nearly everything you write, but only respond infrequently. Mostly because anything I can add would only amount to “you go Nita.”

    By the way… that’s a spectacular view.

  2. August 12, 2007 1:31 pm

    Gabriel, I understand perfectly and I know you read my blog and I never expect that you should comment unless you feel like it. And once in a while you suddenly comment (like this time) and I admit I love it! πŸ™‚ but hey, even if you don’t comment for the next 3 months, I’m okay with it. Will not stop me from coming to your blogs…
    Interesting what you say about emails. I recieve emails too… a good number of them and it gets difficult to answer them all.
    actually I am not sure whether i get my hits from seach engines, i feel I don’t. Because if I add the referrers and search engines hits I find they are nothing compared to the total hits. I find this stats a little confusing.
    but I get posts without any responses off and on . I guess what you said is right, maybe the post itself is not controversial or is nothing that needs to be discussed and its okay by me.

  3. August 12, 2007 4:02 pm

    Very interesting post! πŸ™‚

    I do not care about the the number of hits or number of times a post is read, as much as I do about the comments. A lot of my posts get read through Google searches, and most of these Googlers do not comment.

    I think it is the comments and the discussion and interaction that happens through comments are what makes a blog ‘alive’, and ‘real’. How valuable is a blog if it is a one-way street? That’s why newspapers are still limited in the “Letters to the Editor” column, whereas blogs are a much more interactive media.

    I’ve also often wondered about the algorithm WordPress’s “Top Posts” widget uses. Is it based only on number of reads/hits, or also based on the number of comments? I would like to think that comments also play a definitive role in determining the “Top Posts”.

    This widget does influence the readership of posts. I think many people see the “Top Posts” when they visit a new blog. Hence, you’ll find readership being influenced in blogs using this widget, compared to blogs not using it.

  4. August 12, 2007 5:49 pm

    Maybe you will find that the volume of comments is most when I open my mouth to a post! πŸ™‚

  5. August 12, 2007 8:24 pm

    Rambodoc and I definitely took over your medical post. I tend to agree with Mahendra; which is strange because I started my journal as a way to keep in touch with friends and family, create a record, and release some steam. I never intended to get so interested in what other people had to say. I certainly did not expect to run across intelligent people who would broaden my mental horizons.

    It really is amazing how my preference has shifted from not caring about comments to actively seeking input and advice from others.

    And the support I have found from other Bipolar and ADD patients (or people who are familiar with it) is amazing. I keep wanting to write something on the benefits of the ‘virtual support networks’ but I cannot formulate the right thesis. And I am too busy. But it is amazing, something great is happening there. Maybe someone will write something on it one day.

  6. August 12, 2007 8:31 pm

    ha yes the hits: comments ratio keeps varying…

    i usually wait for comments,but if the hits are good i update…or rather when ever i feel like writing..

    but being a school kid,i can’t write everyday,maybe once in two days…

  7. August 12, 2007 8:45 pm

    Mahendra, yes I too think that the Top Posts widget influences readers to read those posts…however I do not think that is based on comments. Its based on hits only. Its true about Googlers not commenting… but I think that other kinds of people don’t either. Definitely the difference between a blog and a newspaper is this…the comments! But I do not like to get dependent on comments because otherwise it can hurt when there aren’t any… In fact when I first started out I hardly used to get any comments…so I guess I sort of steeled myself right from the very beginning.

    aikaterine, thats exactly it. One starts to care too much. In fact I am already starting to care about people I have never met!. Take Gabriel for instance. If he disappears I am going to feel quite strange. He is I think my oldest regular reader. I don’t know how he found my blog but I am sure glad that he did. I like Gabriel, not just because of his blogs but also his easy going cool kind of nature. Also I find him amazingly rational.

  8. August 12, 2007 8:55 pm

    The “Top Posts” thing is based on the hits each post gets over a 24-48 hour period. It’s usually the first thing I check on a blog, the next being the Recent Comments.

    That could be the first time I’ve been referred to as rational… wow. Suddenly I’m sitting up straight… holy crap, I think I’m blushing as well.

    When it comes to stats keeping I’ve stopped relying on WordPress… as much as I love everything else about them, their stats are suspect. I’ve been using Site Meter ever since WP cut their Feed Stats. It’s more detailed and there are tonnes more options, including daily, weekly, monthly and yearly visitor and page views numbers. It gives you all kinds of break downs, including average length of stay… for example, the average length of time someone stays on Cultural Snafu is 4 minutes, 23 seconds. It’s really easy to set up an account and their html code fits nicely in your widjit. And if you act now I’ll throw in a set of steak knives at no extra cost.

    If anyone’s interested:

  9. August 12, 2007 9:03 pm

    Quite frankly, Nita, you have one of the best blogs I’ve come across. I think I feel that way in part because your posts so often inspire me to comment. And even when I don’t comment, I enjoy reading the comments of your other readers, which are quite often very intelligent and insightful. So, yes, I think comments are a very important part of a good blog. They turn things into a conversation, and who doesn’t like a good conversation?

  10. August 12, 2007 9:21 pm

    Thanks Paul. πŸ™‚ Yep, who doesn’t love a conversation! I personally am a chatter box in real life… our whole family is like that!
    At times I feel bad that I have comments in moderation, it tends to dampen the conversation and in fact I didn’t have it for the first 4-5 months. but then I started to get some real bad comments – mostly racist and abusive comments on my north south post, not directed towards me as such, but other commentators so I was forced to use moderation. One inflammatory comment and it gets others to pitch in!
    I also get some real cheap comments on my posts on sex…
    overall one really bad comment in about 2-3 days and as I am out of the house for hours at a time often without access to a pc (today the whole day I was out!) its not possible for me to check often and that is why I chose moderation. In fact for a month or so I tried it off and on, trying to see how it worked ….I didn’t like how it worked, but I now see it as a necessity.

    Gabriel, you are a real cool guy you know and a real gentleman. πŸ™‚ and I like people like that. my husband too is the coolest guy around. his nickname is Kool and the reason I fell for him is because he is so cool.

    I will try that sitemeter. I go to alexa sometimes but they give limited stuff.

  11. August 12, 2007 9:50 pm

    I use sitemeter and it meets all my needs.

    So far, I’ve only had to delete one comment left on my blog that was not spam — some fool could not make his point without viciously attacking another commenter. I’ve been very lucky in that regard.

  12. August 12, 2007 10:04 pm

    Wow, thats very lucky indeed! Why just yesterday I got a real bad comment! Completely personal, and nothing to do with the post! At first I used to get affected by all this…and wondered if blogging was worth it. But now I realised that a lot of freaks are out there…so I give them the treatment they deserve. Delete them!
    Once I got an abusive comment (the words were all HIndi bad words) because I wrote a post criticizing a public personality who refused to pay the fine because her dog shat on the road. The same guy started to write comment after comment abusing me! And guess what…I compared his IP address to a well known blogger who had previously commented on one of my posts on mutiny (where I blog also) as I felt the language was familiar. bingo! Same IP! A respected, educated guy, a professor in fact (Indian) living in America. This guy was using different names to abuse me! Anyway luckily my mutiny group knew him and I think he came to know he was exposed….he stopped after that.

  13. August 12, 2007 10:41 pm

    A professor! That’s horrible! I’m glad you found him out and he stopped.

  14. August 13, 2007 12:27 am

    My first blog comment ever was on Gabriel’s …salted lithium. I agree with your take on him.

    I don’t think that I could care too much. I will miss people when they disappear (which I imagine we all will do at some point), but what an incredible opportunity to take advantage of while everyone is hanging around and writing. It’s exciting.

  15. August 13, 2007 8:26 am

    True, maybe all of us will disappear at one poin! But the way Queenminx disappeared, I didn’t like it. Although I did not comment that often on her blog, I used to read it regularly. And as hers was a personal blog I guess one gets to know the person. In my case at least I know that people do not know what I am really like…though it does slip through once in a while!

    What everyone said here about the comments is true, and I agree. however I think if one starts to comment as a duty then its not genuine. It has to come from inside. Like Gabriel said, sometimes one really does not know what to say!

  16. Visitor permalink
    August 13, 2007 3:28 pm

    As a complement to comments, using a tool that allows readers to rate a post would be a cool idea. I saw one blog which had this feature-unfortunately I cant remember which. A lot of people dont comment because of difficulty in expressing themselves.

    I’ve found a lot of information and links from comments – in fact I reached your blog from a comment link to a blog which linked to your blog. The number of hits for your North/South post will also be high, because it takes a while to read through the entire comments! I’ve already visited that page several times since. LOL

  17. August 14, 2007 12:55 am

    I look at unique hits, but it’s interesting to look further into returning visitors and new visitors. About 60% of my visitors in a week are new visitors. Of course, I think the return visitors are probably a bit inflated as people tend to view the web from different places, yet are still the same person. So it’s probably more like 70-80%.

    I go through phases of having a lot of comments on my posts and then none. I think it’s mostly due to how chatty my normal visitors are or if new people are visiting and commenting. I’m like you guys though, I enjoy the conversation.

    I have a few posts that were linked out from other sites that get more hits than the others, but for the most part I don’t get a lot of hits. It doesn’t bother me though. I enjoy the writing I do and the feedback I get.

    So far I’ve only had one “trollish” sort and he only posted one pretty tame comment on an old post. I haven’t received any spam since I turned on word verification, which is wonderful. I hate seeing those posts advertising some ripoff site.

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