Through our connection with hosting company Voxel dot Net we sometimes get a call to help out with things that don’t directly relate to hosting. A few months back, such a call came in the form of MjsBigBlog.com. MJ runs a great blog focusing on American Idol and other reality TV shows, and the magic of her blog is her highly active community. In the past year or two they’ve contributed about 1.1 million comments (those are the approved and registered users, mind you – not all the spam comments the rest of us get!). Whew!
Moving to Disqus
After helping MJ with some basic SEO configurations and reducing the load time her site by making her WordPress theme more efficient (it had about 300 server calls per pageload, which we reduced a LOT to help make her hosting environment for responsive), we moved on to comments. Our recommendation was to move to Disqus – a comments platform that you’ve probably used/seen on major blogs and news sites. The benefits were twofold: reduced server load during peak commenting periods and more analytics/tools to monitor and enhance her community.
While the road was a bit bumpy (importing 1.1 million comments is unfortunately not an automated or simplistic process!) we finally launched Disqus on her site this past week. So far, the community has responded to it with appropriately high levels of opinion and involved – a few hundred comments to the question of ”do you like threaded comments” was interesting to read!
What Have You Done for me Lately?
What MJ and her blog have reinforced to me is the importance of community, and how that sometimes means paying attention to each of a million comments that by themselves don’t mean too much. MJ told me that she read each and every comment on her site – that she felt responsible to the people who visited her site and made it a vibrant hub for involvement in reality TV and the personalities of each show.
This was reinforced each time we discussed a new feature or change to MJ’s site. The ultimate question she asked was: did the change or feature in question advance her community and help them become more involved, or did it hinder that goal? If only we could all keep such a laser-straight focus on our communities and networks, nurturing them into powerful assets, we’d be in good shape.