For a blogger, lack of engagement spawns one of the worst feelings in the world. Seeing your hard work and brilliant blog posts go unnoticed and uncommented on day after day can leave you feeling frustrated, unappreciated, and just plain hurt. Speaking for myself, it hurts to know that content I worked so hard to create is not resonating with my readers. Or maybe I’m just deluding myself that my blog posts get any readers to begin with!
Worse still is that other visitors to your blog won’t leave comments unless there’s already one there, because many times no one wants to be first. This is especially true if the topic of your post is even a little controversial.
And lest you think it could get even worse, let me just say that the ultimate worst is when a prospective client or joint venture partner comes to check out your blog before doing business with you. If you can’t engage your own audience, how will you ever be able to bring traffic and conversation to your clients’ and partners’ blogs?
Before you start feeling like all is lost and there’s no hope for your blog, take heart. I have some suggestions for things you can do to increase the comments on your blog.
Let’s start with the obvious…
Create Amazing Content!
I’m sure you already do this, but it bears repeating… Your content must be awesome, extraordinary, unique, thought-provoking, and whatever other superlatives and adjectives you can think of to describe it.
There are hundreds of millions of blogs online right now. According to a Wikipedia article, in February 2014 there were 172 million Tumblr blogs and 75.8 million WordPress.com blogs. That’s a quarter of a billion blogs without even taking Blogger and self-hosted WordPress installations into account. And the number has only increased since then. Any way you slice it, that’s a lot of noise for readers to sift through!
In order to make sure your content gets seen and heard enough to even give someone the chance to comment on it, it has to be absolutely amazing to start with.
Make it Easy on Your Readers
Once you have amazing content out there for your readers, don’t make them earn a gold medal in gymnastics in order to leave a comment. Sure you want to reduce the spam you have to weed through, but this isn’t about you! The more hoops you make your readers jump through, the less likely they are to comment.
So, for example, do not force your readers to register for your blog, and then once they are logged in make them fill out a captcha too! Do one or the other.
You can also use third-party commenting platforms like Disqus and leave the spam filtering to someone else.
A word of warning to Disqus users here too… make sure you turn the Guest Commenting option ON in your settings. A lot of your readers may not have, and may not want a Disqus account, and you don’t want to silence them by not giving them an option to leave a comment without signing up.
3. Publish on a Schedule
Once a reader engages with you once, they’ll want to see what else you have to say that they can comment on. If you only publish sporadically and there’s rarely anything new when they come back to check, you’ll not only lose that reader as a commenter, you’ll lose them as a reader as well.
When you publish regularly, people will get to know what days and times you update, and will automatically come back to check. And since you are creating amazing content, they will want to leave a comment on to let you know just how amazing it is!
Reply to Your Comments
Nothing turns a commenter off more than leaving a heartfelt response to your blog post, only to be met with…
When someone leaves you a comment, for goodness sake, respond to them. Thank them for taking the time to read and comment, and engage them in a conversation about what they’ve written in their response. No, it’s not always easy to do, but it is absolutely necessary because chances are if you don’t respond they will not come back and comment a second time.
[tbpquotable]When someone leaves a comment on your blog, make sure you take time to reply and say thank you.[/tbpquotable]
Let Your Passion Show
One of the best ways to encourage people to interact with your content is to let your passion show. When you inject emotion into your writing, it evokes emotion in your readers, and makes them want to comment and carry the conversation one step further. It’s a much better way of engaging your readers than just lecturing by writing at them.
Blog comments are all about building connections and conversations. As a blogger, by regularly writing awesome content that evokes emotion and makes your reader want to carry on a conversation with you, you are encouraging them to not only leave a comment on your blog, but to take the next step in creating a relationship with you. Treasure these relationships and treat them like gold, and you will build a community in which you never have to feel like your blog posts are being ignored again.
That takes care of the on-site ways you could get more comments for your blogs through your writing and publishing practices. Now it’s time to consider other factors outside your blog that might entice people to visit and start a conversation with you.
6. Share Your Posts on Social Media
One of the first things you should be doing after you publish a blog post is sharing it on your social media platforms. There are a couple of reasons for this.
The first, and most obvious, is that you want as many people as possible to know that you have new content on your blog. Everyone is busy and overloaded with information these days, so chances are that even your most regular readers are not checking your blog without a little reminder.
Personally, I look at upwards of 100 – 200 different blogs every week, and I can tell you from my own experience that even though I have a system for checking my Feedly account, 90% of the posts I actually sit down and read are the ones I see in my social media streams.
When you share your post on social media, make sure you hit these spots:
- Facebook Fan Page
- Facebook Profile
- Google Plus
- Linked In
- Pinterest (if you have a graphic related to your content)
It only takes a couple of minutes to share across all your platforms if you have your sharing buttons set up. This also has the added bonus of making your content easy for your readers to share, because just as many people don’t want to be the first to comment, they also don’t want to be the first to share something. So if you start the ball rolling yourself, you’ll find that you get more likes and shares as well as visitors and comments.
7. Pay attention to the RSS Readers
As a tool for organizing large amounts of data, you can’t beat an RSS reader. And yet, this form of social media gets ignored often in favor of the noisier streams like Twitter and Facebook.
The thing with an RSS reader is that it allows people to scan your whole blog in a minute or two, and decide based on your titles whether they are interested in taking the time to read the whole post and comment on it.
In order to make sure you are able to reach people who’d rather read from a feed reader than their Twitter stream, the number one thing you need to do is make sure your RSS subscribe button is displayed prominently on your site.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to subscribe to someone’s blog, and not been able to find the RSS button. And if I’m a random visitor to your blog, chances are if I can’t subscribe I’ll never make it back again.
8. Join a Commenting Group
When used properly, commenting groups and social love groups can be helpful.
When you join a commenting group to share your links and ask for comments, you are agreeing to comment on the other group members’ blogs as well. The issue for a lot of people, myself included, lies is in the mish-mash of blogs that you get in a generic commenting group where you end up having to comment on posts that you don’t really agree with or want to associate yourself with.
Instead, look for groups within your niche that provide social media support. I think you’ll find that once you get into a niche specific group that it’s much easier to get support and comments on your blog posts because these people are genuinely interested in what you have to say.
Other groups I’ve seen have done things like agree to comment on each others blogs once per week instead of every time you want to list your own link, and some just offer a group setting where you can share your posts with no obligation or expectation of comments. That way if the other members want to read and comment on the posts that are relevant to them, they will.
So now that we’ve got some traffic coming to your blog that might be tempted to leave a comment or two, how do you actually get them to take action?
9. Start a Conversation
The key to a successful blog is the conversation between the blogger and his/her commenters. You want to be able to discuss what you’ve written with the people who are reading.
While other forms of social media may rely on numbers, comments on your blog should not be something you see as a numbers game. I’d much rather have two or three heartfelt comments that spark a conversation than 100 “great post” type comments.
So how do you start the conversation?
Ask a question. At the end of your post, ask a question related to the content and invite readers to leave their answer in the comments. And then reply to those answers and grow the dialogue from there.
Once you get in the habit of doing this, you’ll start to build relationships with your readers and your blog will take on a sense of community. You will genuinely be talking with your readers instead of to them.
10. Hold a Comment Contest
If all else fails, and you really want comments on your post, it’s okay to hold a contest once in awhile. Don’t do this too often or you’ll train your readers to expect prizes every time they write something.
To get the ball rolling, especially when you are launching a new blog or a new product, it’s okay to offer a prize for the best or most creative comments.
Getting more comments on your blog posts takes a mix of three main factors: stellar content, targeted traffic, and lots of encouragement. The tips in this article are just a few more ways you can use to create comments for your blog posts.
What did I miss? Please share your favorite ways to get readers and comments on your blog in the comments below.