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Friday, September 9, 2011

Lacking Blog Comments? Afraid of a Bit of Controversy? by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

So many of us prefer to stay on the sidelines and keep out of the way of controversy. We fear it may hurt our image or our reputation in the industry. So we stick to safe topics, non-controversial subjects and keep writing our blogs and wondering why we haven't provoked or inspired someone to leave a comment. It doesn't feel good when someone leaves a comment that is in direct conflict with our own opinions or what we have publicly stated. We are ingrained to want everyone around us to agree with us.

Some of the most read blogs are the ones that challenge us--these are the blogs that provoke us. And do you know what? Most of them have the largest following. Some people follow because they agree and like the subject matter. Others follow because they think it's interesting to see people argue over opposing opinions, but they lurk and don't get involved themselves. Another group follows because they definitely disagree and they want to know what the opposing side has to say. They like giving their $0.2 worth.

While the most controversial topics are politics, religion, atheism, there are other topics that might relate to our books or a common theme in our writing and we're missing an opportunity. Perhaps instead of another blog about writing and books among the millions already in existence, you could start a niche blog that feeds on some controversial thoughts, but something you're passionate about and it will build readership based on the need for such content. It doesn't have to be negative, but informative. It doesn't have to be judgmental, but challenging. It doesn't have to be arrogant, but open-minded to discussion. It doesn't have to tolerate rudeness, but be moderated with fair and equal boundaries.

Here are the top 50 Controversial Mom Blogs. I'll be honest, I never thought of parenting as controversial, but after reading through some of these blogs, I can see where some valid points are made--things I had never considered, but maybe should have. They aren't negative as much as very thought-provoking.

What are your thoughts on finding a niche blogging topic that will generate REAL discussions. Do you shy away from ANY kind of controversy, moderate controversy, or do you not care one way or the other? Can you see where a bit of controversy could increase your blog traffic if handled appropriately and moderated well? Do you follow any controversial blogs that you think do this well? Share your thoughts.

15 comments:

Timothy Fish said...

While I agree with you for the most part, controversy, or what I consider to be controversial, doesn't always encourage comments. Recently, on my blog, I've questioned the belief that women are better educated then men, argued that men understand love better than women, and called modern day Christians a bunch of drunks. So far, I haven't received comments on any of those posts.

Kathryn Elliott said...

I’m Irish; I bleed controversy. Even though it is part of my genetic make-up, I freely admit I avoid topics that spark feuding. (Unless it is a politician who just needs a smack of common sense!)

Jeanette Levellie said...

Oh, you are so right, Jennifer. I avoid controversy like it was leftover boiled okra.

But you'll be proud of me today. I sent a letter to the editor of our newspaper, stating my sadness and outrage that a local annual beauty pageant will be held on 9-11. Imagine! I told him I didn't know whether to cry or send a check of embarassment to a 9-11 widow or orphan. I'm still steamed about it, and I don't care who doesn't like me for my views.

Now if I could be that bold on my blog...

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Timothy,

Those are definitely some bold topics. I'm surprised that you didn't garner SOME discussion. Not everything works 100% of the time. I went to your blog and didn't see any links to FB or Twitter (unless I missed it). Are you feeding your blog posts through an RSS feed to any social media sites? That brings traffic back to my blog more than I'd have without it.

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Kathryn, You're funny! Don't like politicians, huh? Sparking feuding wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but I love the phrase bleed controversy. I might have to borrow it for one of my novels these days.

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Jeanette,

I AM proud of you! Way to go for writing your editor. The first step is being willing to express your view in spite of the risk of disagreement.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Thank you. This is one area I feel needs to be addressed. If someone dislikes me, oh well. That's happened before and I'm still here.

SunnySue said...

Bring on the controversy, Jennifer. I'm so glad you posted this challenge. I've had it with my Christian brethren assuming that I must certainly be: a conservative Republican, against gay rights, against a pathway to legalization for undocumented immigrants, pro-prayer in school, against Barack Obama and the affordable healthcare act. I have my own relationship with God and my own opinions. Lately I have called people to task for making scandalous accusations and, although I really try to get along with everyone, I've discovered I have a wee bit of John the Baptist in me. If people are mad at me for making controversial comments, so be it. Thank you, Jennifer.

Caroline said...

I really don't like controversy either . . . that is, unless I need to stand up for my friends, family, what I really believe in, or the underdog.

I've been toying w/several tho'ts about this subject. Thanks for the added push that direction. :)

http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/

Davalyn Spencer said...

As a newspaper columnist for five years, I definitely experienced an increase in comments when I wrote about controversial topics. It's funny what can turn out to be controversial--like saying it does not take a village to raise a child, but rather, parents. Now on my blog, most comments come via Facebook or to my personal email, though I must admit, my blog isn't as "controversial" as my columns were. Excellent advice, Jennifer. Thanks for the wake-up call.

Linda Glaz said...

I think the only type I avoid is that which divides the Church, and by the Church, I mean the diff denominations. I can be opinionated on the topic, to be sure, but I don't see anything productive coming from us knocking each other down. What purpose does it serve God's kingdom? So that's about the only thing I don't spout off about, well, most of the time.

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Caroline, You're not alone in avoiding controversy.

Linda, Good point about not dividing the church.

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

SunnySue, I think people assume it b/c the majority of Christians have voted and voiced opinions on the other side of the fence. You threw out some whopper topics that would definitely get the blood boiling in some people.

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Davalyn, Newspaper columns are definite places to break in opinions and it does bring readers. I've worked for newspapers as well and they go for that very thing.

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