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How to slowly kill a website you love

Last week on Offbeat Home & Life, we published a sponsored post about gender-neutral baby clothes, angled toward the gifts market. Within a couple hours, several readers commented on Facebook and the post itself that the products featured were out of their budgets — which I totally understand and respect. I'm less understanding toward readers feeling the need to post insulting comments when they can't afford a product.

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Favorite comments: altered jeans & duct-taped babies

Another week, another wave of hilarious, insightful, fabulous commenting across the Offbeat Empire blogs. In this morning's staff video conference, we discussed how one of the upsides of the shift toward people being too lazy to comment anywhere except Facebook is that the quality of blog comments on our posts has generally shifted upward. For the most part, folks who want to snark or leave a crappy drive-by comment are too lazy to click through to the post, type their names and email, and then type their comment. The snarkers seem be self-selecting to stay on Facebook, which is fine by us. The result is that the folks who ARE invested in the comment communities on the Offbeat Empire sites have a (generally) safe haven to have (generally) valuable conversations. It's honestly kind of amazing.

So gather close, my little offbeatlings, as I run through a selection of the Empire staff's favorite comments this week.

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Don't be that guy: why wedding vendors shouldn't publicly rant about work

Every once and while, a wedding vendor will perhaps forget that Offbeat Bride isn't an industry publication. Every once and a while, we'll get ranting, vitriolic comments from vendors about how stupid brides are, how little couples understand about what vendors do, how this one time this one couple did this totally awful thing, how they want to strangled a certain mother of the bride, etc etc etc.

But wedding industry friends, for the good of your business: don't be that guy.

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Acculturating new readers who find us on Facebook

Offbeat Bride's Facebook page has blasted into the stratosphere this month, with our Like count going from 33k to 43k in the last 30 days. This is basically an average of about 400 new Facebook followers every single day — way above our baseline. Ok, so this is great, right? So many people finding Offbeat Bride and being introduce to the awesomeness, right? So many new readers! So many new eyeballs! Well, yes and no…

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We love our commenters: permanent choices, horse tails, and odes to spreadsheets

What time is it? Whose pants am I wearing? Where am I? This week has been all about trying to get my bearings as I come down off the high of my 10-day tour of all East Coast Lovesick shows. I've had a couple days this week where I was at my computer from 5am until 8pm… not even because I had so much work to do (although sure, that too) but mostly just because I'm like Yesssss, sweet internet. I have missed you. Sweet data, come closer to me. Pucker up. Yessss. I really loved getting out into the world for a bit, but let's be honest: at my core, I'm a shut-in nerd most comfortable in yesterday's stretch pants.

Anyway! Part of slipping back into my publisher mode has been non-stop motor-boating of the Offbeat Empire's comments, and there were some good ones this week.

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Is social media sharing the new commenting?

As a publisher, I've always prioritized toward comments because it's content that I "own." Yeah, someone else wrote it, but I own the pageviews (and the related ad sales)… and in exchange, I bear the responsibility of keeping those conversations in-line with my brand. Hence, our stringent commenting policies because I believe VERY strongly that if your website's full of assholes, it's your fault.

That said, it's started to sink in that readers aren't coming back to blog comments… and really, social media shares are more valuable for me anyway. Here's why…