It’s the frustration of many a blogger. They keep writing, writing, writing, but the comments are few and far between. If you’ve dealt with this, you may have felt like you were talking to yourself. I’ve been there myself, so know how you feel.
The good news is that commenting is not a true indicator of success for anyone who blogs for profit. You can measure your success by whether or not you are reaching profit goals for your blog. The fact of the matter is, we can have a nice sized audience reading our content, appreciating it and taking action on it, but they may never leave a comment.
Still, a nice steady stream of comments is good for community building and provides a sort of social proof for your blog. It shows that people are reading your content and like it, so others may follow suit. So the goal of increasing comments is a good one, as long as that is not your main focus in your blogging for profit journey.
To help you, here are 14 ways you can encourage more comments on your blog:
1. The first key to more comments is simple. It’s traffic. If you’re only getting a few hundred visitors per day or less, you probably won’t see a lot of comment activity. That doesn’t mean the traffic isn’t valuable, but it means you shouldn’t be alarmed by low comment volume. So your first step is to increase your traffic and we’ll actually talk about growing your following in the next post, so be sure to come back for that one.
2. Ask questions in your posts. If you want people to leave a comment, ask them a direct question. Ask questions about things people are passionate about to get a bigger response.
3. Use Controversy. When a post is controversial or shows a very strong opinion, that’s when you’ll find the commenters come out of the word work. That doesn’t mean you have to be rude or offend, but just make people think and don’t be afraid to express yourself.
4. Humor. Just like controversy, humor is something that gets people talking. Make people laugh and they’ll thank you, share their own jokes and more. Making people smile is a good thing too.
5. Reply to comments. Think of comments as the start of a conversation. Where possible, reply to your comments and engage your readers. They’ll be more likely to come back and comment more if they feel like someone listens to and appreciates what they have to say.
6. Make response posts. If you get a great comment that opens up a new discussion, make a new post out of it. It’s a continued conversation and encourages the same people to come back and add even more to the conversation.
7. Ask friends and family to give you a boost. If you’re just getting started, ask people you know to come by and get a little discussion going. Others are more likely to speak up if they see others doing it too.
8. Don’t require registration. If you feel you’re in need of comments, don’t put up barriers for your readers to make comments, including registration. Requiring registration just creates a couple more steps for someone before they comments and most people will simply click away, rather than bother.
9. If comments are moderated, do it swiftly. If you moderate all your comments before they’re posted, make sure you do so quickly and frequently. Making people wait is a definite conversation killer.
10. Consider using a Facebook commenting plugin. There are a variety of plugins that allow your readers to post their comments through Facebook. This can encourage discussion because the comments can appear on your visitor’s timelines and then their friends can join in the discussion as well. Just remember, not everyone has a Facebook account, so it’s a good idea to have other options too.
11. Make it easy to reply directly to specific comments. Make sure that your commenting system is set up so people can comment to specific posts. It makes is easier to create sub-conversations from the main post and it’s also easier for your readers to follow the comments.
12. Use your mailing list. Tell your subscribers about new blog posts and encourage them to come by. These are people who have already indicated they are interested in your content, so share it with them.
13. Respect and encourage the opinions of others. People will disagree with you, but you can still respond respectfully and engage them in a discussion that is educational for both sides. It’s a great opportunity to show that you’re open to other ideas and you’re willing to discuss the issues.
14. Acknowledge your regulars. If people comment more than once, welcome that back and thank them for their contribution. After all, by commenting they are contributing to your blog and making it more vibrant. Show you’re grateful for that and they’ll be back to do it again.
Think of your blog as your community. If you want people to be active, you need to be a gracious host and active yourself. While traffic will usually increase your comment volume, there are other things you can do to encourage comments from the visitors you already have.