There’s no doubt in my mind that comments lead to more comments. And more comments lead to a more successful blog. When you’re considering leaving a comment, do you look to see if there are already comments left? If there are no comments, are you more or less likely to leave one? Many people don’t like to be the one to break the ice. That includes being the only one to comment on a blog. So from the get-go, try and get a few consistent commenters and that will lead to more comments.
More and more marketers are also looking at the number comments blogs get as a measurement of engagement. I completely agree with this idea. It makes sense that they would rather advertise on a blog that gets 500 pageviews a day, but 20 comments per post as opposed to a blog with 1500 daily pageviews who rarely even gets one comment. Getting more blog comments is a clear sign that you have actual engaged readers. There are so many ways to game the system as far as traffic and social media numbers go, but blog comments are still a great way of measuring engagement.
I can recall on more than one occasion in the past couple of months filling out an application for a large blogging network or advertising network and one of the questions was “How many comments do you receive on an average post”.
Here are a few things you can do to encourage people to leave comments on your blog.
1) Respond to EVERY comment you get. This is important. If someone is taking the time to leave you a comment, you should try and take the time to respond. I get it, this gets to be a lot once you get 30, 40, 50 comments per post, but try and get to as many as you can. This will let your readers know that you are reading their comments, which will make them more likely to leave comments on your future posts. Nobody likes to feel like they are leaving a comment that will never be read or acknowledged.
2) End a post with a question or two. This is also known as engaging your readers. Ask them a question. If your post is about a TV show, ask what their favorite show is. If you write about fashion, ask them what their favorite item in their closet is. Give people a question to answer and some of them will want to share their answers!
3) Add a comment form message. Did you know you can add a message to the top of your comment form? Add something that encourages comments. Maybe “I’d love to hear what you think” or “I read and respond to every comment I get”. You can do this easily in Blogger by going to “posts and comments” under your settings. The comment form message option is at the bottom of that page. WordPress users will need to dabble into some code.
4) Turn off that captcha! Do you know if you have it on? Well you should, because it is the most annoying thing of all time and is the main reason why people fail to leave a comment even if they are considering doing so. There is nothing more annoying than squinting, tilting your head and trying again and again to make out the mixed up letters and numbers of a captcha. For detailed instructions on how to turn off that stupid captcha in blogger, click here.
5) Write with passion. While I don’t like the idea of writing just to stir up controversy, if you feel passionate about something, consider writing about it. Writing about hot issues or current events can trigger lots of conversation and debate. Just be sure you are doing this with tact and if you do this often, be ready for your blog to turn into an online bar fight.
The most important thing with comments is that you somehow convey the message to your readers that their comment is wanted and that it does matter. If they don’t think you care what they have to say, they’re not going to say anything at all.