I’ve been writing a lot about comments lately, and that’s because they are so important to blogs and their interactiveness, which is why they exist in the first place!
But in spite of this, I have omitted to give you some tips on how to get more comments on your blog, so here they are:
1. Make it easy
WordPress provide a lovely, easy-to-use comment box at the bottom of their posts, just waiting for a response. Encourage your readers by indicating above it you’d love a comment, and adapt the settings so they don’t have to register to do so. Leave instructions for commenting if you like, but not so that it undermines your readers.
2. Reward commenters
There are plugins like Comment Luv that allow commenters to link to their most recent post. There is nothing like an incentive for doing something, especially a do-follow link back to a commenter’s blog.
3. Call to action
Ask for a comment! If you don’t ask, you won’t get. Adapt it by asking for help, more items on a list post, additional material forgotten or omitted and such like. Make the commenter feel important and a specialist in their knowledge.
4. Reply promptly
This is not only to acknowledge the comment and thank the contributor, but also to extend the post’s contents in the eyes of the search engines. Continuing the conversation should inspire reciprocal commenting, and this can be exasperated by asking further questions or leaving more controversial statements to stimulate a response.
5. Leave something out
You don’t have to say everything, leave something for the commenter to comment on! By making your posts open ended you’re providing some space that any respectable commenter who also knows the subject will feel compelled to put in his penny’s-worth!
6. Write a compelling headline
You need some fabulous attraction criteria to gain readers in the first place, and make sure you fulfil what you promise in your headline in the post’s content. A satisfied reader will feel more compelled to leave a comment and show his appreciation.
7. Controversial subjects
There’s nothing like stating something outrageous to get people’s ire up, or writing about a subject that creates a reactive response. People will want to set the world to rights, correct blatant errors or merely put across their point of view. This could generate some lively discourse as well to perpetuate the comment flow.
8. Ask an easy or crazy question
Questions are a great way to get a response, and are successful in leaving your post open to encourage more comments.
9. Become a thought leader
If you provide excellent content that helps, educates and entertains your readers, sooner or later one of them will leave a comment, even if it’s to show their appreciation.
10. Show you’re human
Be humble, confess your failures, express your fears, be thankful, state the obvious, reveal your passion – in other words, write about things people can relate to in their own lives or businesses, so it becomes easier to leave a comment about themselves.
11. Get more traffic
Stands to reason, if you have more readers visiting your blog, there’s more of a chance that one of them will leave a comment sooner or later.
12. Comment on other blogs
Reciprocation of comments will generate more the other way. Say nice things on another person’s blog and they may be compelled to visit yours to do the same. This is particularly apt if you want to continue with social bookmarking practices to get more traffic back to your blog.
13. Develop blogging relationships
Your regulars will learn to look out for your latest post and add their contribution to it (especially if you do the same to them). This can be extended by guest blogging and sharing on social media to get more traffic and visitors. Add each others’ blogs to your blogrolls for extra publicity and links.
14. Comment share with a friend
Have an agreement in place that your friend will “break the ice” on your comments section, which will encourage other readers to leave one too. This first comment could also be controversial to stimulate pity, confirm agreement or rise to your defence.
15. Comment yourself!
If you do this in WordPress.com they tell you off for being vain! But certainly it creates a comment to encourage others to do the same, and you could be continuing the post’s content at the same time.
16. Re-blog (correctly and suitably)
You don’t have to write new copy each time, why not refer to another post that you admire and link to it (WordPress.com has an excellent re-blogging facility available for this). Then you contact the author to tell them, with the hope that they will comment to acknowledge and maybe add some extra content to extend what they have already written.
17. Do something different
Why not create your content using different media, such as through pictures, a podcast or via video, to get your message across. Having another method of communication will certainly inspire a series of comments, even if only to congratulate the change of scene.
18. Extract the retweet capacity
If you want to cultivate more comments on your blog, then eliminate any distractions from doing so. I know we should all be encouraging sharing on social media, but comments on Facebook or Twitter is not the same as on your blog, next to the post they refer to.
19. Expose your post elsewhere
Controversial to the above suggestion, by increasing the exposure of your post on other platforms will drive more traffic back to your blog to gain a better chance of more comments. This can be stimulated by the teasers or enticing introductory paragraphs within your tweets or Facebook updates to encourage a higher rate of intrigued visitors.
20. Do some editing
This is quite controversial, but it was suggested to me that some friendly and forthcoming spam could be edited (especially if it contains awkward English or spelling) and have the uncompromising links removed to make them ‘safe’ for publication. After all, any comments are better than none!
Bonus: Block spam
If you have an issue of spam, activate your Akismet plugin in WordPress.org, which happily eats up obvious spam before it clogs up your comment inbox. My Dashboard informs me that “Akismet has protected my site from 21,259 spam comments already”.
If you continue to have spam, install the plugin Conditional CAPTCHA, which makes sure anyone who tries to leave a comment is human and not a robot (at the time of writing I have been notified that 91,938 spam comments have been blocked by it so far).