One of the easiest ways to find out how well your blog is reaching people is to look at the level of comments. Are people interacting on your site? Are they actively participating with you and your content or are they just consuming (reading) and moving on? The comment level on this blog seems to mimic a wave but overall, I’m pretty happy with it. However, if you’re not satisfied with the current number of comments on your blog, here are 5 ways to Attract More Comments.
5. Make Them: Regular readers of this blog will probably eventually get sick of hearing this (if you’re not already) but commenting on other blogs really is one of the most effective and worthwhile activities in blogging. When it comes to attracting more comments on your blog, it once again makes the list. By commenting on other blogs you demonstrate that you’re an active participant in the blogging community. It implies that you see the value in the types of discussions that occur on blogs because, after all, if you didn’t you wouldn’t be commenting. Also, it’s basically an ice breaker. Even in this rather anonymous online world, people are often nervous about interacting with a new person. By commenting on other blogs, you initiate the conversation. Something as simple as “Hi, I just found your site via ____ and I’m really enjoying it.” can often lead to multiple comments on your blog as well as a new reader or subscriber.
4. Reward Them: Someone once said that to get anyone to do anything, you have to show them the benefits. I’m probably butchering some great marketing genius’ advice but the point is, if there’s a benefit to the action, people are a lot more likely to do it. So, applying that idea to blog commenting, it stands to reason that if you openly reward those who comment on your site, you’ll generate more comments! This can take all sorts of forms, but the easiest and most obvious is the Top Commentators plugin. The plugin has been covered at length on several different blogs so I’m not going to get too far into it but basically you reward your most frequent commentators with a link on your site.
Another method of rewarding comments, and something I try to do on this blog as often as possible, is to highlight a comment in your post. Whether you’re answering a question directly, or a comment inspired you to discuss a certain topic (This post itself is an example of that. Thanks Zane!), it’s a chance for you to openly thank and reward someone that leaves a comment. The more ways you can display this type of behavior, the more likely people will be to comment on your posts. Why? Because they can clearly see the benefit in doing so.
3. Bait Them: Take a quick look at the list of “Most Commented Posts” for this blog and you’ll see two examples of posts that inherently elicit responses from readers. Any type of controversial post or topic is a fantastic opportunity to generate comments on your blog. Not only does controversy generate more traffic and more links, but it almost always generates more comments. Whether people agree with you, or disagree with you, most will feel the need to weigh in on the issue. Once that happens, just sit back and watch your comment numbers grow. Not only will people begin to support or argue your point, they’ll also begin to engage each other and spawn whole new conversations and topics for debate. Despite what you may think of his blog, John Chow has been a master of this. He’ll throw a post out there and then some idiot like myself will decide to weigh in. Before you know it, you’ve got a handful of people attacking your point, and (hopefully) a handful of people defending you! Bottom line? If you can touch a nerve, you’re guaranteed to get a comment (or 20).
2. Respond To Them: This point seems fairly obvious but you’d be surprised how many bloggers seem to forget about it. If you want to attract more comments on your blog, you absolutely MUST let people know that you’re hearing them. If someone leaves a comment on your blog, respond to it! Thank them for it, answer their question, or just simply continue the discussion. However you go about it, let them know you read and appreciated their comment. Personally I try to respond to as many comments as I can, but I make it a point to interact with someone the first time they comment. The Comment Relish plugin helps with this by automatically generating a response to a new commentator, but I try to take it even further and respond on the blog as well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve commented on a blog and come back to find absolutely now acknowledgment of it. Did the blogger see it? Did they not like my comment? Are they not actively blogging anymore? All those questions usually lead to me not commenting again and I’m not alone in that. If you want more comments on your blog, be sure to respond to the ones you do get.
1. Ask For Them: Once again a fairly obvious point, and yet, still the most effective way I’ve found to attract more comments is to simply ask for them. At the end of a post, ask for your readers’ feedback. Let them know their input is appreciated. If you can also highlight the benefits of commenting that we discussed in point 4, even better. This doesn’t have to be some big long plea for comments, it can be something as simple as “What do you think?” or “If I missed anything, let me know!” Darren Rowse of ProBlogger and Chris Garrett of Chrisg.com are experts at this. At then end of most posts they have some sort of call to action prompting their readers to comment and it’s easy to see the results of their efforts. I think of it kind of like a speech or a presentation. You write your post which presents the idea or the concept or your opinion, and once you’re done you open it up for questions or comments. If you never turn over the floor so to speak, you’re not likely to get nearly as many comments.
So there you have it, 5 Ways to Attract More Comments. As you saw there’s not some secret sauce or special formula to it. In fact, many of these things are common sense, but I’ve found a lot of times it’s the simple things we struggle the most with. For example, I’m sure other bloggers have written on this subject and I’ve probably read one or all of these points before. However, while writing this up I realized I’d done a poor job in a couple of these areas recently and the number of comments reflects that. So even if you’ve heard it all before, I hope you benefit from this little refresher as much as I did in writing it.
If you have any tips or suggestions for other ways to attract more comments, let us know in the comments below. After all, not only do I make use of the Top Commentators plugin, but you never know when I’ll turn your comment into the focus of a whole new post!
How’s that for practicing what you preach?