It is a nice way to show the popularity of your blog.
It gives first-time visitors a good impression about your blog.
Whenever I visit any blog for the first time, I always take a look at the number of comments that the blog is getting. Consciously or not, I just do it. I’m sure most bloggers do the same. Don’t you?
For the human mind, it is one of the visible metrics to estimate the quality of a blog. But hey, that’s only a part of the story.
Can getting more comments help me?
If you think that advertising your popularity is the only thing comments are good at, you are wrong. In fact, it is only a small benefit.
Attracting the right comments can you in various other ways.
Longer contents rank better
Various studies have shown that longer contents tend to rank better in the search engines. According to this study by serpIQ, results, appearing in the first page of Google, had on average 2000 or more words of content. And even among them, there was a tendency for longer contents to be ranked higher.
Often, you will find that commenters paraphrase your content or use synonymous words. Sometimes commenters will also bring up a new but related topic. These activities add more keyword phrases to your blog post.
Use of synonymous words or phrases is great from SEO point of view. Some of them serve as LSI keywords, which are thought to play a role in improving your search engine rankings. Related keywords also add relevancy to the post.
Moreover, comments often provide new long tail keywords, for which you can get ranked in the search engines. Take a look at this comment by Naveen Maurya on my expert blogging tips roundup post.
His comment contained the phrase “mistakes made by expert bloggers”. The actual post did not contain this exact phrase. But thanks to his comment, I would get a little boost in the SERPs for the phrase “mistakes made by expert bloggers”.
Quality of the post increases
Discussions among knowledgeable users add a lot of value to your post. Commenters can add a new perspective to your post, provide complementary information, share their experience and a lot more. Here is an example from Problogger.
They can even make you aware of your occasional goof ups, like the one below.
All these things increase the quality of your post and make it more useful to your audience.
Discussions lead to development of relationships
Participating in fruitful conversations in the comments sections is great way to develop and nurture relationship with your readers. It is a great way to build trust and familiarity; and to develop a loyal reader base.
Take Blogtyrant for example. Ramsay really cares about his readers and nurtures the relationship. He takes time to reply to all the reader comments. If you want to discuss something, he is always up for it.
His active participation in the comment section is one of the reasons behind his meteoric rise. From day one, he had invested in interaction with his users, and now he is reaping the rewards of having a loyal user base (he affectionately refers to his user base as Tyrant troops 🙂 ).
I hope that by now you are illusioned enough, so that I can manipulate you in reading the rest of my post! If not, I AM GOING TO GET a pendulum!!!
Just kidding. 🙂
How to actually get more comments?
Enough of convincing you! Now, get to the point.
Let us learn how to do it: how to actually get more comments on your blog posts?
Are You Ready? Let me tell you that you may know some of the tips, especially the initial ones. But read till the end. I am sure you will learn something new.
Write as if you are having a conversation
This is the golden rule. To get people to respond to you (with comments), you have to “talk” to them.
😯 Hey! Wake up! I am talking to you.
Right. As I was saying, you have to “talk” to your readers. You have to understand that you are writing a blog and not a book.
Blog readers do not like to be on the receiving end of a one-way lecture.
It makes you feel sleepy, doesn’t it?
The point is: DO NOT bore your readers. Try to make them feel involved in your blog post. The best way to achieve this is to write in a conversational tone.
Avoid addressing all your users at once. You aim is not to deliver a lecture. You want to have a conversation. Write your blog post as if you are talking to a only one of your readers.
Do this: imagine yourself having a conversation with your favorite reader.
Now write the way as you would have your conversation.
That is as simply as one can put it.
You can find plenty of tips on writing conversation content here. As a rule of thumb, YOU SHOULD:
Use the term “you” (and its variants) a lot.
Write shorter sentences.
Use simple words.
Add a bit of humor.
Prefer writing in active voice.
Write something that people would love to comment on
All types of content are not born equal.
Some types of content attract more comments than others. These types of content persuade the readers to leave their views. It may be because of the quality of the content (epic posts) or it may be the inherent nature of the content (gossip, controversies).
If you want to get more comments, these are the types of post you should focus on.
Produce incredibly useful stuff
Number of comments received has a definite co-relation with the usefulness of the post. Incredibly useful posts get massive number of comments. Take this post from Brian Dean for example. It has close to 1500 comments at the time of writing.
Why do people feel so inclined to leave comments on such posts? Various reasons:
They sincerely want to show their appreciation.
The want to build relationship with the blogger, whom they now regard as an expert.
They want to leverage some traffic from such highly successful posts.
They want to share their two cents.
Whatever be the reason, there is no doubt that supremely helpful content attracts huge number of comments. So the prerequisite for you is to create content that is worth talking about.
On a side note, I’ve noticed that I am always very likely to leave comments on list posts. Do you have this kind of bias for list posts? Are list posts more likely to persuade you in leaving a comment? Let me know in the comments.
Quality aside, there are certain types of content that will get you more comments. List posts may be one of them. There are a few others.
Write something about top blogger(s)
An easy way to get more eyeballs is to write about an established blogger. We, human beings, love to discuss other people and personalities.
By writing about an established blogger, you can leverage a part of his/her audience to leave comments on your blog. At the same time, your audience will be more than happy to give their opinion about the person you discussed.
It is up to you what you want to write. You can sing words of praise about your idol. You can promote a program or workshop that is being organised by another blogger. Another great idea is to organise an expert roundup, like this one on blogging tips. You can get lots of comments on expert roundups as they have a far greater reach than your normal blog posts.
Say something controversial or against the norm
People love controversies. You love it. I love it.
To get comments flowing in, there is nothing better than making a controversial statement.
A milder approach is to take sides in a discussion.
This is a bit different from creating a controversy. When you’re creating a controversy, you often go against the norm. Views of most people are contrary to yours.
A controversial statement would be “most top bloggers buy back links to improve their search engine rankings”. You will not be making a lot of friends with such a statement. Of course, if you say something against the norm and can back it up with proof, then it is worth it.
On the other hand, when you are taking a side, it is assumed that people are divided in their opinion about the topic. Some people support the view while others oppose it.
For example, say that topic is “is it worth investing time in managing a Facebook page”. You can either support it or be against it. Either way, you will have some people having same view as yours.
By taking a side, will be encouraging people against your view to leave their comments. People supporting your view will then leave their counter comments and at least theoretically, it will give rise to a good discussion.
Make it known that you would love to hear the comments
If you want comments, you should ask for it.
Commonsense, isn’t it?
Yet, I find so many posts where the author fails to ask for a response.
I don’t get it. Why? Are they shy to ask?
I don’t know.
But you should always have a call to action. If you want your readers to leave their valuable comments, let them know it.
I’m sure that readers will feel more inclined to comment if they know that their views are much appreciated.
Yes, I would love to listen to your views! Please leave your comments. They are highly appreciated. 🙂
Ask in your posts
Mention it in your posts that you would love to hear the comments. Ending your posts by asking for comments is a good way to do it. Take a look at this example.
But hey, there is nothing stopping you from asking in the middle of a post. Just see the last point.
Ask your email list subscribers
Your e-mail list subscribers are your most loyal readers. It is a good idea to ask them for comments in the e-mail itself.
You do send out an e-mail for each post, don’t you?
Just add a line that you’d love to hear their comments. Here is a screenshot of an e-mail that I got from Ramsay of Blogtyrant.
Ask on social networks
I also add a “call to action” whenever I promote a post on my social network profiles. Just gives a little bit of extra encouragement to your followers to visit and leave a comment.
With twitter, you have to be a little economical with your words. Something on the lines of “comments are appreciated” or “share your thoughts” works fine.
With other social networks, you can afford to spend some more words. Saying something on the lines of “we are expecting a lively discussion” or “you are welcome to take part in the debate” would do the job.
How to encourage users to leave their views?
Thanks, great post.
Perhaps the most used comment of all time.
Don’t get me wrong! It is nice to receive appreciation. I absolutely love it when my readers congratulate me on one of my posts.
But if all the comments I receive are like this, it’s no good. These comments do not add much value to a discussion.
But it is not the commenter’s fault.
The situation is something like this. I make you stand in front of a Leonardo da Vinci painting and ask you to COMMENT. Most likely, you will simply utter some words of praise for the painting. Nothing new, nothing useful.
That is the problem! To get a valuable and useful comment, you have to be specific in what you are asking for.
Don’t just ask for a comment. You have to give some hint to your reader.
Ask a question
Simplest way to get a useful comment is to ask a question. When you ask a question, your readers will have something specific to say in their comment.
You may ask something very thought-provoking or you may ask something very simple; it’s up to you. Make sure what you are asking is somehow related to your blog post.
Or you can simply ask whether your tips worked or not.
Or you can ask for feedback to improve one of your offerings. It is a great way to understand user preferences as well as gain a lot of comments.
Ask to share more tips
This tactic works great, especially for list posts.
Ask your users whether they can add a few more tips to your already great post.
It appears to be (and it is) a great opportunity for the users to show their expertise. Rarely will the readers let such an opportunity pass. You’ll get good number of comments and some of them will be genuine quality additions to your blog post. Definitely worth a try. Here is an example.
Run a poll
A poll works great because they need direct user participation. In this case, comments are not merely an addition to the blog post. They are, in a way, a part of the post.
After voting in a poll, a user would naturally want to give an explanation of his/her preference. What better way to do it than leaving a comment? You can make it more likely by asking for it.
Leave a little bit unanswered
This is a little trick you can use. When writing a blog post, leave out a little. This “little” is going to be the “draw in” for your comments.
A very crude example would be to leave out a well-known SEO plugin from a top 10 SEO plugin list. This would give your readers are talking point. Readers may comment to let you know that you have missed out on a great plug-in.
Now that may be a very boring example but the idea is simple.
Leave out a little bit of essential information so that your readers feel that they can contribute something.
Otherwise, only thing left for them to say is “Thanks, great post”
Comment on others’ blogs
Commenting on other blogs is a great way to get some extra comments.
When you leave valuable comments elsewhere, readers on that blog take notice. If the comment is useful enough, it generates interest about the blog of the commenter (that’s you!). As a result, some readers will visit your blog. Now, if you have done everything else correctly, you can definitely expect some more comments.
Well, maybe it’s not that easy to comment on 100 blogs. But now you know it works, right? Start with a smaller number and make it a habit to leave comments on a particular number of blog posts every day.
Wait! There is more to it.
Regularly commenting on a particular blog can also build up comment reciprocity. It means: you leave a comment on every new post on blog X and the owner of blog X returns you the favor.
It’s easy. Become a regular commenter on a blog. Try to provide valuable suggestions and inputs. Slowly build up an interaction with the owner. Then invite the owner to visit your blog and share his/her views.
There are two key points to make this work:
You must not over participate in the discussion. Make only one comment per post but ensure that it is a valuable one.
Do not do this with a blog which is many levels above yours. The owner may not perceive your blog to be important enough. Try this with a blog which is only a couple of notches above you.
Try to establish comment reciprocity with a number of bloggers. This will ensure a stable source of comments for your posts, as well as theirs. It’s a win-win situation for everyone!
Use images to encourage comments
A picture is worth a thousand words. I’ll let the picture below do the talking.
Tell me honestly. Do you think that a pictorial message like this will make you more likely to leave a comment? I think it will.
Actually, the idea of using a picture came to me while writing this post. So, at the time of writing this post, it is untested. But I’m very confident that it will work well.
Warning – highly technical stuff ahead:
For our brain, processing simple images is a much easier task than processing written text and extracting the meaning out of it. It needs less neuronal connections to be made and involves less number of synapses. Images and vision, being the most abundant stimuli, have much stronger synapses which are easier to activate. For the same reason, use the wrong image and you will turn off the visitor very swiftly.
Anyways, the point is: this is why images work so well. And this is why infographics also work so well.
So why not use visual cues for getting more comments?
There are plenty of innovative images out there that you can use. You can also be creative and use your own photograph. Or you can use a cartoon. It is up to you.
Please test this strategy on your blog and let me know how it works.
Provide incentives to get even more comments
If you are still struggling to get comments, why not try giving some incentives? In fact, struggling or not, incentives can be a great way to boost your comment counts. Here are a few things you can do.
Linkback to commenter’s blog post with Commentluv
Commentluv is a nice little way to “bribe” your visitors in leaving their comments. This works best in the blogging niche because most visitors in this niche have their own blogs. Using Commentluv, you can reward your commenter by giving a linkback to one of his/her blog post.
For a commenter, it is a nice opportunity to promote his/her latest post. Just leave a comment and get some free publicity. This temptation of free exposure is enough to get in a few more comments.
You can make it even more tempting by making your comments “dofollow”. I have seen a few blogs that use this tactic to great effect. But it is a path that needs to be treaded carefully. In addition to moderating your comments, you have to be absolutely sure not to leave any footprints, or the spam bots will make life crazy for you.
Recognize frequent commenters by top commenter plugin
No matter how small or big your blog is, you must have at least a few loyal readers. These people genuinely love your blog. They work so hard! They leave comments on each one of your posts and actively participate in the discussion.
Shouldn’t you recognize their top class effort? Of course you should.
Proudly showcase the names of the top commenters on your blog along with the number of comments.
If nothing else, it will make them happy that you show appreciation for their efforts. It will give them the motivation to keep going on. And if you are lucky, users may step up their pursuit to get the top commenters spot! Good idea, isn’t it?
Comment count should not be the sole parameter that you consider. Quality is equally important.
You can encourage users to leave high quality comments by allowing visitors to vote comments up or down: Reddit style.
Install the Comment Popularity plugin and you are set. You can also sort comments based on votes received; the most up voted comments will find their position at the top of the comments section.
This is a nice way to receive higher quality comments as well as to build up a competition among users. And some people will comment just because it looks cool and unique! Believe me, I have done this!
Hold a contest or plan a giveaway
This works best when you are trying to get some information from your users, such as feedback about your blog or a product you offer.
Ask for feedback in the comments section and promise a prize for the person who gives the best feedback. Harsh Agrawal recently tried this on Shoutmeloud with great success. The quality of comments on that post was significantly better (I could not find the post but you must have seen similar examples).
It is a small price to pay for valuable suggestions, which you may not get otherwise. It does not necessarily need to be a huge prize. If you are really on a tight budget, you can even offer to buy a fiverr gig of the winner’s choice.
Mention good comments in post or even write a post on them
It is nice to express your thankfulness for a valuable comment. But can’t you do a little more? Especially, for the very best ones.
I think you should. Here are a few ways you can “reward” a worthy comment:
You can mention one’s useful comment in your post and highlight it to your audience.
If the comment added much value to your post, you can even give a linkback. It is a great way to show your appreciation as well as to keep your commenters motivated.
Sometimes, the best comments will be in form of questions. You should feel honored that you readers deem you to be an authority, and trust you with their problems and queries. Feel free to respond to them by writing a full blog post. (HINT: Do not forget to mention the comment in the post. It makes a good opening to a post and shows that you care for your readers.)
Best practices to attract more comments
There are a few best practices that you can follow to improve the commenting experience for your readers.
Have a comments policy
Tell your readers what is expected and what is not. Make it crystal clear in bullet points.
Do you have a minimum length requirement for your comments?
Do you permit links to be added in the comments?
Do you encourage debates?
Real names or keywords?
Clarify all these doubts. If nothing else, it will tell the spam commenters to bug off.
Darren Rowse has a nice comments policy that you can take inspiration from. Darren reported a small jump in comment counts after publishing the comments policy on Problogger.
Moderate comments and approve fast
If your comment section is filled with spam, like the one shown below, it will surely drive away a large number of prospective commenters.
Such a cluttered environment can never attract high-quality discussion. Do not let this happen to you. Always moderate your comments before they appear on your blog.
If you are really short on time, keep this option (shown below) checked and use akismet + GASP.
At the same time, it is not a nice experience to leave a comment and then wait for days for it to get approved. Spam deserves to be sent to trash but genuine comments must get their importance. Moderate your comments and approve them fast. Your promptness in approval of comments speaks a lot about your professionalism.
At times, I find blog posts that I really want to comment on. But still I don’t!
Because they make it so hard to leave a comment! 😡 They ask you to register, to solve complex captchas and so on.
Are you going to take the trouble of doing so much, just to leave a comment? No way. So, make it easy for your readers.
Require minimal information
How easy is it to leave a comment on your blog?
“Registration required” is a strict no-no. It is a great way to lose comments. You should only ask for name and email. That’s it. Do not make “website” as a mandatory field.
A user may not have a website. Or a user may not want a nofollow link to his/her blog. Why complicate it with unnecessary options?
You should also know that dofollow to nofollow link ratio is one of the ranking parameters used by Google. Search engines may not “like” it if most of your inbound links are nofollow blog comments. Because of this, sometimes, users may not prefer to acquire a nofollow comment link. So, don’t make it mandatory.
No complex captchas to solve
I admit that automated spam is a big problem these days. I get TONS of spam comments on Blogician.
Some bloggers use CAPTCHAs to combat spam. You must have faced CAPTCHAs (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart).
But do you like solving Captchas? I hate it. Moreover, sometimes they are so complex that it gets frustrating to solve them.
For me, it is just another barrier between my readers and their valuable comments. I don’t want to lose my readers because of some stupid captcha.
My suggestion: do away with the catpchas. That will make it easier for your readers to comment.
To counter the pesky spambots, use Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin. This plugin adds a checkbox to your comment form and asks the “real” users to click the box. Just a click! It’s much easier than solving a captcha.
Use social logins
You can integrate social logins to make it even easier to comment. Social logins are especially useful for users:
Who do not want to share their emails
Who are already logged in to their social network profiles
With these people, you are more likely to get a comment if you allow social logins.
Use anchor jump to make it easier to reach comments section
These days, it is becoming harder and harder to reach the comments section. Comments section is quickly becoming a highly secured area!
Before one reaches the comments section, one has to tackle the following: author bio, social share buttons, email list form, related posts, advertisement banners, and some more things, if the security is tight enough! 😯
Jokes apart, if it’s hard for users to reach the comments area, how can you expect a flurry of comments?
Make it easy. Provide an anchor jump to reach the comments area. A text link like “click here to reach the comments section”, placed at the end of each post would do fine.
Encourage commenters to comment again
Users who have commented on your blog usually have some interest from their side. These are people who liked something about your blog and are likely to comment again and participate in a discussion.
The comment potential of existing commenters is much higher than the non-commenters.
As such, you should try to get these people to comment again and participate in discussions. There are two simple ways to do this:
Tactic 1: You can send a thank you e-mail and remind that his/her comment might have received a reply. Encourage the commenter to visit again and participate in the discussion. This is done by using the Thankmelater plugin, which sends a customized thank you e-mail after a predetermined interval.
Tactic 2: You can notify a commenter whenever a new comment is made. You can use Subscribe to Comments Reloaded. This plugin requires commenters to opt-in to receive notifications. One can opt to be notified of new replies to his/her comment only. Alternatively, one can opt to receive notification of all replies made to that particular post.
Both methods work great. They help your commenters to remain in touch with the ongoing discussions. But you should use only one of them. Take your pick.
Play your part in the comments section
This last section is a reminder for you. A reminder about who is the most important commenter on your blog.
YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT COMMENTER
That’s right. You, as the owner of the blog, have a pivotal role to play in the comments section. Your enthusiastic participation in the comments area can give huge encouragement to the prospective commenters.
Reply to everyone’s comments
Firstly, make sure you reply to each and every comment. Doesn’t matter whether it is a one-liner or a lengthy one. Show your appreciation for every single comment. This is something I strictly follow on my blog. Just leave a comment and I’ll respond (HINT: This is alone capable of doubling your comment count).
IMPORTANT: If someone asks you a question, it’s great opportunity for you. Take your time and provide a detailed and helpful answer. It is a great way to build authority and get loyal readers. Moreover, the fact that you provide valuable answers to reader questions, will persuade new visitors to come up with their questions and leave their comments.
Here is an example:
You can highlight your comments to make them stand out. This will make it easier to locate your comments. Moreover, this will prevent any mischievous user from pretending as you (The Admin) as their comment will not get highlighted. You can learn how to do it on Matt Cutt’s blog.
Be friendly and accept criticism
Commenters are your guests. Remember this. Treat them as you would treat your guests. Be friendly in your conversations. Make them feel welcome and appreciated.
Do not react rudely to criticisms. In fact, some helpful readers do provide constructive criticism. They may point out some shortcoming in your article. They may point out something that you are doing wrongly. Try to look into it and learn from your mistakes. It is actually a good opportunity to grow as a blogger.
At times, criticism will be undeserved and unwarranted. But you must never respond rudely. Often the intention of such comments is to provoke you. Do not fall into the trap. Politely reply to the comment and then forget about it. Do not let your comment section turn into a fighting ring.
Encourage discussion among members
Encourage your readers to discuss among themselves. Whenever a reader answers the query of another, PRAISE IT. Here is how you can encourage discussion among your regular commenters.
Suppose, reader A asks you a question on social media. It comes to your mind that another one of your readers, reader B, is an expert on social media. While answering the question, you keep this in mind and urge reader B to share his views.
By adopting this approach, you will make it more likely for your readers to communicate with each other and thus improve the quantity as well as quality of your discussions.
Lead the way by leaving quality comments
To get quality comments, you have to lead by example.
If you are always responding on the lines of “thank you for your comment”, you should not expect your readers to do any better.
Improve yourself at first. Set a high benchmark for all your readers. Respond to all the comments and say something meaningful. Provide detailed answers to all the queries.
Provide VALUE to your users.
This will set the tone in the comments section. By providing value in the comments section, you will attract more valuable comments. A highly useful comment section will in turn attract more loyal readers and it will continue.
Follow these tips and I am confident that you will get a large number of high quality comments in your blog.
Conclusion – I need your feedback
There goes the Ultimate guide to getting more and better comments. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful.
Now, I have got a few questions for you. YES YOU, my heroic reader 😀 , who just managed to read this 5000+ words post. Congratulations! Now, tell me a few things.
How many of these tactics are you using currently?
Which one works best for you?
Do you know of any other strategies that you would like to add?
Let us know in the comments section. Your views and opinions motivate me to keep sharing such useful posts. Really! I love your comments.
If you liked the post, help me to spread the word. Share buttons are on the left and below. I am banking on you.
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