Are You Missing the Conversations Because You Only Read Blogs in RSS Readers?

In a guest post on the Louis Gray blog, Rob Diana of Regular Geek (Twitter / FriendFeed) asked Are We Missing Something by Reading an RSS Feed and then answered his own question:

By missing the comments, we are missing part of the conversation. It is a large part of the conversation because it is the one part of the blog post where readers can interact. Are we shortchanging ourselves by not reading the post on the blog along with the comments?

Louis Gray (Twitter / FriendFeed) posted The Trouble with RSS: I’m Not Involved and shared this:

Instead of adding to the conversation myself, I’m hitting “Add to Shared Items” for my link blog and moving on, not commenting and not alerting site owners and content generators that I’d been by. To those site owners who generate the RSS feeds themselves, I’m a mere number in their Feedburner statistics. I don’t show up in their page views, my name doesn’t show up in the comments, and I may as well be invisible.

Both of these bloggers realize that there are some serious drawbacks to not clicking through to individual blogs.  Rob suggested one solution:

How much more intersting would your RSS reader become if it included the comments in the feed? Can somebody work on that?

Until that happens here is another solution: leave your RSS reader and visit blogs whenever a particularly interesting post comes in view. Don’t let RSS Readers Kill Your Involvement because, as Tony says,

…a blog is only as good as the amount of perspectives it provides.

Click through and you’ll quickly see which blogs and types of posts generate lively conversations. Even if you don’t have time to visit and comment in EVERY blog, making the time to become visible in at least some blogs brings great benefits.

I spend almost all day almost every day online. The blogs I feature here and share at cliKball, Twitter and FriendFeed are those I actually read. By commenting here you not only remind me who you are – CommentLuv also lets me know when you’ve added new content and I instantly know whether my readers would be interested. I also make a point of sharing quality posts in blogs outside my niche.

I invite you to start your new visiting here because between my commentators and my answers there is almost always more content in the comments than I shared in the original posts.

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Gail Gardner

Small Business Marketing Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.


  1. iPhone App Development says:

    Reading a comment, to certain extent, i think could be time consuming but writing a comment is always good. Every blogger like good comment to their blog because it encourage them to write more better. Comment has a special power that helps us to look into our blog for identifying the pros and cons if exist. I like writing and reading comment. Don’t know about you but should be.

  2. To subscribe RSS is a good hobby and to add comment through RSS feed is good act that I normally love to do.Participating in comments is a good habit as through this activity you share knowledge.

  3. auto second hand says:

    Part of the comments is the best. Then see if you like writing or not. If you do not like should not get angry but to persevere.

  4. Jess from says:

    So, it’s all quite clear on the point of followup comments notification feature. As for RSS feed, I never came across this kind of option. But you know, i guess, I wouldn’t use it. Not because I’m not interested, just the other way round – this will bring about an enourmous information flow and I will be doomed to spend 24/7 reading posts and comments and joining conversations)))

  5. @JP Yes, and that is why I wrote this post – to encourage readers to at least sometimes click through to the post and read and participate. I spend a large percentage of my time researching online – and that includes visiting and commenting in other blogs.

    InternetStrategist’s last blog post..Do YOUR Blogging Goals Include Monetization: Benefits Our Readers Receive

  6. Alot of good ideas and counterpoints will be missed when you skip the comments

  7. @Kai Lo I totally understand. Finding the balance between writing and driving traffic is a challenge all bloggers face.

    InternetStrategist’s last blog post..Blog Traffic Up 54.87% in the Last 30 Days: Our Proven Traffic Improvement Strategy

  8. I subscribe to too many feeds so reading comments along with reading the posts would be too time consuming. As a blogger myself, I need to spend more time on my blog than reading comments of every blog I subscribe to. Sometimes I even skim through the feeds.

    Kai Lo’s last blog post..Google Pagerank 0

  9. @Dennis: Thanks Dennis I’ll have to check into FeedBlitz.

    Internet Strategist’s last blog post..Making Money with Your Blog – Part 2 – Evaluating Affiliate Programs

  10. I finally remembered the 2nd most popular – FeedBlitz

    Dennis Edell’s last blog post..Do You Charge For Blog Reviews?

  11. @clickdotcom So you’re subscribing to the RSS email option? You know we have one? Here’s the link: to subscribe to GrowMap by email. I’ll remember to ask Derek to add it to the right Sidebar to make it easier to locate.

    @spot One of the confusing things about blogs is how flexible they are. In some you can subscribe to only the posts via RSS or email – or also subscribe to the comments via RSS.

    I prefer the option we use at GrowMap to let readers subsribe to comments in specific posts. That way they only get the comments they’re most interested in.

    Perhaps someone who reads blogs in an RSS all the time and subscribes to the comment feed too can explain how well that works. Do the comments get matched up to their related posts or do you see two separate feeds?

    Good to hear that you visit the blog posts you’re interested in so you can join in the discussions. Thanks for visiting.

    Internet Strategist’s last blog post..REVIEW: Mastering Google Analytics – Easy to Understand FREE eCourse

  12. @Dennis Yes, and I’m one of those bloggers primarily because since Google acquired Feedburner I just can’t be enthusiastic about using it. I would love an independent, trustworthy alternative.

    As soon as I attracted power bloggers one of them requested I switch to a full feed. He reads 500+ blogs and I wanted mine to be one of them so I changed it.

    I agree that just a comment count would go a long way to getting more to check out what is happening IN the blog. I often share a post at FriendFeed and then add a few of the best comments to encourage others to go to the blog.

    I also send posts to cliKball and mention if there is a good discussion going on – and add comments there and at FriendFeed when I feel discussions in blogs I’ve shared will be of more interest than usual.

    All of that takes time. I could sure use a couple more PCs and I bet someone has one stuck in a closet somewhere they’d love to discard. Maybe someone will send me one – or I’ll get famous enough to get an awesome Ubuntu loaded PC from

    Internet Strategist’s last blog post..Is Twitter Following Tweeters For Us?

  13. Have you written a post on this subject or can you elaborate?

    I haven’t written it yet, but it’s definitely on my list. I subscribe to a ton of feeds and rarely see anyone taking full advantages of their capabilities. Most bloggers set up their little account, insert the feed link and that’s that. If one was to actually browse inside there Feedburner (now Google) accounts, they’d notice a whole mess of good crap to play with. lol

    You aren’t saying that if feeds are set up correctly RSS readers will see comments. You ARE saying that you can provide a link directly to the comments section. Right?

    Exactly right. (Although now I hear Google reader is attempting comments right in the feed itself, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.)

    I choose to click through as well. But I’d say the percentile of won’t over will is MUCH higher…this is why so many more prefer full feeds.

    However, if the little link saying “comment on this post” or “5 comments on this post” were to smack ’em in the nose as soon as they hit the last sentence, many more would….in my opinion anyway.

    Dennis Edell’s last blog post..798 Views & 5 Comments – Are You Doing All You Can To Engage Them?

  14. @Dennis Have you written a post on this subject or can you elaborate? You aren’t saying that if feeds are set up correctly RSS readers will see comments. You ARE saying that you can provide a link directly to the comments section. Right?

    The issue is more that many stay in their RSS readers and rarely click through because they are so busy and read so many blogs. I believe that visiting and commenting are so important that I rarely use my reader even though I do subscribe to many blogs.

    I choose to spend the time to read posts IN the blogs and comment while I’m there.

  15. A big part of the problem could be taken care of if the blogger set up his/her feeds correctly in the first place.

    Within ones feedburner account they have “feedflares”, which are different links you can add to the bottom of the feed. One of them is a link to take you from the feed to the comments of the post your reading.

    Many do not have this set up right.

    Dennis Edell’s last blog post..798 Views & 5 Comments – Are You Doing All You Can To Engage Them?

  16. @Florida web design I saw a comment in another blog about a service that might allow you to read and send comments from within that service. If I come across the name I’ll add it here.

    Even though I work full time online it is a challenge to keep on top of blogging, commenting, and staying active on Social Networking especially in multiple accounts and on more than one blog.

    Eventually I hope to discern what works best and share it here as a strategy to get the most out of our time online.

    InternetStrategist’s last blog post..REVIEW: Mastering Google Analytics – Comments and Contents of a FREE eCourse

  17. YOu have raised a valid point . People are too busy to visit blogs and write comments .It would be good if there could be a feature that can email their comment back or something like that

  18. Isn’t there currently a way to subscribe to the comments in an RSS feed? I’ve seen this option on a few websites though have never actually used it.

    Myself, I use RSS feeders to find blog posts I’m interested in. Once I find one, though, I’ll always click through to read it on the site. So I myself don’t feel like I’m missing out on the comments.

    spot’s last blog post..The “I Can’t Believe It’s A Printer” Printer

  19. clickktdotcom says:

    Yes! I always read blogs in RSS because I can read blogs on my email.
    Thanks for posting!

    clickktdotcom’s last blog post..New Ad Formats Based Preferences Ordenar incorporating with AdSense

  20. Of course, a little while after you wrote this the situation changed entirely. Now Google Reader allows comments on its shared items – but only if you have Google-befriended the person who shared the item. For example, I saw the Google post announcing this feature on both Louis Gray’s and Rob Diana’s feeds, but since I hadn’t formally befriended them, I couldn’t comment.

    I look forward to your follow-up post, “Are You Missing the Conversations Because You Don’t Read Blogs in RSS Readers, and Don’t Befriend the People Who Share the Blogs?”

    Ontario Emperor’s last blog post..Of spans and series, or why I haven’t written in mrontemp that much

  21. @Ontario Emperor LOL I am amazed how many bloggers read my blog in Google Reader. I feel like the lone voice crying in the wilderness, seeking out independent alternatives to all things Google-ized and Corporate-owned.

    Unless I’m not understanding completely, that is actually bad news because it offers one more place to splinter off the conversation – and in this case – where the general public can’t see it.

    I suppose it will prompt more people to spend time there friending others so it isn’t all bad. I hope all my fellow bloggers visit me here and in their own blogs as it isn’t likely I’m going to spend my time at Google.

    Doesn’t anyone else see the future I see if we keep traveling down this path?

    Internet Strategist’s last blog post..Making Money with Your Blog – Part 2 – Evaluating Affiliate Programs

  22. @Adam Singer Thank you for dropping by. I noticed a comment about Feedly in another blog that appeared to be saying he was reading comments and also replying to them from Feedly. It might be worth checking into as a way to know if you’re interested in the comments; however, I believe there are still benefits in clicking through and commenting at least periodically.

    @Rob Thank you for letting me know. I should have realized that was a scraper site – it is better designed than most of them are so it didn’t occur to me as I was typing this post.

    I first saw your post on that site because it linked here and found it on LouisGray the same day. I recall wondering what you were doing about duplicate content, thinking you had published it in multiple locations.

    I have already corrected the link and also added links for your Twitter and FriendFeed accounts. I’m off to do the same for Louis. Sorry for the error. I hope you’ll drop by whenever my posts are of interest.

    Internet Strategist’s last blog post..REVIEW: Mastering Google Analytics – Comments and Contents of a FREE eCourse

  23. Huge point you bring up – I read you through RSS but I don’t come here frequently enough. I think we all owe it to ourselves to click through and read the conversation where possible.

  24. Just an FYI, but the link you have for “Are we missing something by reading an rss feed” is to a scraper site. The original post is at

    With regards to RSS, I tend to click through to stories that I find interesting. I read a majority of posts within RSS, but sometimes you need to just go to the blog and participate.

    Rob Diana’s last blog post..YAGP: Imitation Of Success Does Not Guarantee Success

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