Online Community, A Case Study:

A few weeks ago I came across a blog called Without Wax. While Without Wax is written by a pastor, Pete Wilson of of Cross Point Church in Tennessee, I think that all Internet marketers, social media gurus, etc. could learn a lesson from Pete.

The thing that’s so amazing about Without Wax are its comments. It’s updated an average of once per day and has 585 subscribers in Google Reader (GR).

By contrast FireDogLake, a liberal political blog with 1,449 GR subscribers (2.5x as many) and a significantly higher Alexa ranking, receives roughly the same number of comments as Without Wax.

Here’s another comparison point. Matt Cutts’ personal blog has 14,887 GR subscribers and has an Alexa ranking between FireDogLake and Without Wax. He posts 2.8 times per week and actually gets fewer comments than Pete does. While the following information isn’t super-helpful for comparison purposes because we don’t have it for any other blogs listed here, I can tell you that during 2007, Matt had 2.27 million visits and 31,373 RSS subscribers.

We can also look at another blog in the same genre as Pete’s. Evotional is written by Mark Batterson, pastor of National Community Church (where I attend/work). Mark has 1,114 GR subscribers, posts at a similar rate as Pete does (10x per week), and has a similar Alexa ranking. He receives far fewer comments than Pete.

What’s my point? Well, Pete Wilson, author of Without Wax, has the highest level of community engagement that I’ve ever seen on a blog. Sure, some blogs get more comments, but they’re huge. The mighty TechCrunch with its nearly 1 million RSS subscribers and 3 million daily visits doesn’t get that many more comments. The number of comments on Pete’s blog simply blows me away.

While I’m not sure exactly why Pete gets so many comments, here’s my thought. He writes relatively short posts, not Mark Batterson short but still short, and at the end of many of them he asks readers a question that they can answer in the comments. This question is written in red to make it stand out.

Maybe we can get Pete to drop by and give us some more insight. You can always ask him on Twitter. UPDATE: Pete said he’d drop by and comment later, so no need to bug him on Twitter, although feel free to follow him!

Do you have any insight into this?

Posted at 1:46 PM on December 12th, 2008
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