If your blog is unable to attract comments, there is a very good chance that it is doing something wrong, or to put it more specifically, you must be doing something wrong. Increasing the amount of comments your blog is able to generate is part art, part science and part trick. You need to get all three of them right, in equal measure in order to get the best and brightest comments on your blog.
So, without wasting any more time, let’s take a look at how you can increase comments on your blog.
Clearly Define a Comments Policy
It’s your blog, you set the rules. But, more than setting the rules, your focus should be on clarifying your blog’s policy vis-à-vis the comments. You need to leave no doubts in the minds of your prospective readers about the sanctity, safety and security of the discussions taking place on your blog.
If you want your readers to comment on your blog, you need to tell them in no small terms what you expect from your blog comments and that all comments will be taken up in a highly constructive manner and any doubts or questions expressed through the comments sections will be clarified by, you, the blogger.
Your policy should tell readers whether they will be able to promote their own businesses (by placing backlinks), whether they can criticize your blog, whether colorful language is allowed or not etc. All in all your blog’s comments policy must be clearly stated on your blog, which gives your readers the do’s and don’ts of placing comments on your blog.
Make it Easy for People to Comment
I am sure you must have come across blogs, where bloggers have either ‘disabled’ comments or have made it really difficult for readers to place comments on their blogs. If bloggers don’t want people to comment on their blog posts, it is their choice and they are welcome to it. But, making it difficult for readers to place comments is a cardinal sin that needs to be avoided at all costs.
So, if you have a blog, check its comments settings. Common blogging platforms like WordPress and Blogger make it extremely easy to get a blog up and running in double quick time, but they also ask bloggers to choose their comments settings. This means a blogger can put a limit on who can post comments and who cannot.
This choice has been given to help bloggers avoid spammers and ensure that only genuine commentators are able to post their comments.
But, often, even genuine commentators cannot get the hang of the comments section. To avoid this error you need to choose the appropriate features from the settings menu of your blogger platform and make the necessary selection. For e.g. in WordPress, the comments settings appear on the Discussions settings and all you need to do is place a tick on all those settings that you need for your blog.
As simple as eating cake! Don’t know why many bloggers mess up this crucial blogging feature.
Strong Opinionated Content
Content coated in sugar coated diplomatic terms, never won any comments. Yes, that’s right. If you want people to post comments on your blog, then write something that’s straight from the heart and is a strong outpouring of what you really think about a particular subject. There is no doubt about the fact that people are attracted to strong opinionated content that doesn’t want to please everybody.
After all, a blog is a personal thing and is a means of getting your personal thoughts across to the people on the World Wide Web. Your personality needs to come out strongly with the words on your blog. This is what people queue up to read and appreciate.
I want to clarify here that by opinionated, I don’t mean prejudiced (although even this works big time). I just mean writing a no holds barred write up is the way forward if you want your blog to attract comments.
The ground rule is very simple – Opinionated content attracts even stronger opinions in the form of comments. Also, focus on writing about something that people have strong views about.
Reward Top Commentators
There is nothing like a bit of incentive to increase comments. Reward your commentators if they post the highest number of comments in a given week, month or year. The timeframe depends on you…. You are the boss.
What you could do is integrate a commentator’ plugin into your blog, which allows you to list the top ten readers who have posted the highest number of comments on your blog. What you could do is you could place their names along with the links to their website and offer DoFollow links. This is a reward that won’t be ignored by most readers.
Another thing you can do is give those readers who post their highest number of comments on your blog, an ad space on your blog. In a world where internet space sells at a premium, an ad space on a blog is something that is very difficult to resist.
If you want, you could even offer them a freebie. Yes, if your blog is promoting your products or services, why not offer them a free product for posting comments. This is something else that will be a sure fire hit.
When it comes to rewards, what you offer is your choice. Just make sure that your target readers consider it worthwhile.
Your own Comments Should Have Value
Blogging etiquette demands that you reply to your comments. Think about a situation, wherein, a reader has commented on your post in some detail. Instead of acknowledging this comment, you ignore it, or just reply to it with a monosyllabic ‘thank you’. That’s simply not on. A query, doubt, question, criticism, or approval needs to be reciprocated with a reply (through your own comment); this tells a commentator that their comment has been appreciated and not ignored.
If it’s a criticism leveled at your blog posts, defend your post and stand up for it. On the other hand, if the reader has made a valid point against what you have written, accept it and add your own two cents to it. The whole idea behind replying to comments is to tell readers that you care about the reputation of your blog.
Strike up a Conversation
Your blog is a personal thing…. I have brought this up elsewhere in the blog. It’s a living breathing thing, which overtime builds up its very own character. It can be the ‘friendly’ blog, the ‘angry’ blog, the ‘frivolous’ blog or something else altogether. But, the point is, you need to ensure that your blog makes friends. Your comments section allows you to strike up a conversation with your readers.
Say you have struck up a conversation with the only reader who has posted a comment on your blog. The conversation takes an interesting turn, which attracts another reader to join the conversation through the comments section and so on and so forth. Very soon, you will have a huge list of people who have joined this conversation. This is a great way of attracting comments.
In this case, it’s important to adopt a well-thought out approach. Try to get an idea about the interests and preferences of your readers and their likes and dislikes. Try to veer the conversation into a zone, which is sure to elicit replies from the reader. Slowly, but surely you will begin to build a rapport with your reader and the conversation will flow…..it’s a process that might seem long and drawn out, but it offers great returns on investment. All the time that you have spent knowing your reader, will be well worth the effort.
Think Clever, Act Smart
This is a bit of a general guideline and nothing specific. You have got to be smart enough to understand your readers. Think about it…. what is that one trigger that will ensure that they place a comment on your blog. You need to get them all interested… all excited and most of all…. Riled up… there are two major reactions that you need to try and get out of them,
“This guy doesn’t know what he is talking about, he thinks he is smart, but he isn’t”
“This guy actually knows what he is doing, I like that”
As can be imagined, you need to be smart and keep your ego aside. Your sole objective is to get comments, any which way they come. Everything else is secondary. The fact that your blog is able to attract comments means you have got it right. There is nothing else to think about.
It’s like Chess
Getting comments on your blog is like making moves on the chessboard, the only difference being, you are your own opponent. Each move you make, each strategy that you adopt, takes you closer to your goal. But, it must be understood that this is never ending. The moves never end. You need to keep trying, you need to keep working.
You would do well to remember that when it comes to attracting readers to your blog, content is everything, but not everybody is a good writer or for that matter not everybody can zero in on a topic that their readers will like. This is why the guidelines given above can help you. You mustn’t lose focus of your content, but keep trying out new ideas, for improving the amount of comments.
Don’t give up, because the day you do, your blog becomes a non-entity.