Blog comments are the most often the measure of a truly successful blog. Comments keep the dialogue going well after the blog entry has been published. Blog comments demonstrate social proof and can serve as a signal to new visitors that other people find the blog interesting and worthwhile reading.
If you want to your blog to become more successful, engage visitors, get them to stay longer, subscribe to your feeds and become involved themselves, you should definitely do what you can to encourage engagement and generate more comments on your blog.
In the following post I’m going to share 7 different blogging strategies you can employ to get more comments on your blog and foster discussions amongst your visitors.
1. Repost or Reference Existing Comments
Rewarding users for leaving comments is a great way to show your appreciation, engage with your users and encourage them to comment more frequently.
E.g. If someone takes the time to leave a particularly insightful comment on your blog post, it not only makes sense to reply to it directly.
You can do this by replying to the comment directly, quoting part or all of the comment, mentioning the commenter by name and then replying with a compliment or a comment fo your own.
Tip: If replying to a comment poster by name, make sure that you get their name right or your response could actually have a negative effect.
If you show gratitude to your users in a way that makes them feel involved and recognized for their efforts, then they’re more likely to make additional contributions in the future. This also has the added benefot of encouraging other users to weigh in with comments of their own.
2. Hold Regular Contests
Another great way to encourage readers to leave commenters is to hold regular contests.
In these contests, allow users to enter by leaving a comment offer a small prize of some sort such as merchandise or the opportunity contribute a guest blog post of their own.
How you choos a winner is entirely up to you. You could select them yourself by picking the “best comment” or you could randomly select a comment by assigning each entrant a number and then using a random number generator to choose the winner.
Selecting a winner based on the best comment is entirely subjective; but, the second method may select someone who only put in a nominal effort, which could potentially irritate other participants.
Tip: If you make a random selection , take advantage of this opportunity by creating a screencast of the selection process and posting it on your blog at a pre-determined time.
Feel free to spice up your video my adding a voice-over while you’re screencasting to add some excitement to the video. This has the potential to generate interest from participants and give your blog a healthy traffic boost.
3. Be Controversial
Another good way to encourage readers to comment is to occasionally post something which highly controversial, but not ethically objectionable or immoral.
E.g. You might cite a well renowned author who has made a controversial claim and reference it in your blog post along with your point of view.
Sometimes you don’t even have to take a side, but simply introduce the controversy and then invite your usersto weigh in with theor own opinions and start a debate.
This method can be an excellent way to enage your readers and prompt them to get involved on your blog when applied correctly.
With all of this said, I can’t stress enough that you should avoid posting controversial topics that could be seen as being morally or ethically objectionable as this is more likely to alienate your readers, than engage them and get them involved.
4. Create an Opinion Poll
Opinion polls have many benefits. One being that they allow you to capture information about your visitors which you may otherwise not be able to. Another benefit is that opinion polls prompt involvement on the part of those who feel that their preferences were not well-represented and give you an opportunity to make changes for the betterment of your blog and its readership.
I suggest that you make use of polls for the second (and lesser-known) benefit. By creating a poll that is incomplete and then allowing commenters to weigh in by suggesting that you include additional categories and explaining why.
Tip: Alternatively, offer a complete list of choices but rather explicitly ask users to comment on why they made a particular choice. Encourage your users to begin a dialogue on why one option is better than another.
Opinion polls can be a great, insightful and fun way to get more blog comments and could lead to a great discussion between blog readers.
5. Give Readers Limited Time to Comment
As with many things in life, it’s all too easy to postpone the creation of a blog comment and tell ourselves that we will do it another time. This is something which happens often and could result in you missing out on some great dialogue.
Often when blog readers postpone leaving comments until another time, they end up finding a new blog post and lose interest in placing the original comment.
One way to limit this is to put a time limit on the amount of replies you allow on blog posts or liiting the amount of time people have to post replies.
When users see these limitations and realize the implications, they will be prompted to post now, rather than later if they have something to say. While it may seem counterintuitive at first, it can work quite well in practice to get more comments on your blog posts.
6. Offer Incentives
If you’re not sold on the idea of limiting people from commenting, you may want to consider giving them a positive incentive to comment instead.
For instance, you could put a incentive in place stating that until you’ve reached a certain number of comments, you’ll delaying posting your following article. This technique can be especially useful whn used in conjunction with multi-part posts around a central topic.
E.g. You might say that you will only post the second part of an article after you have received at least 30 comments from readers on the first.
With this said, it is important that you follow the response to this policy over time to ensure that it’s providing positive value. Make sure that readers aren’t simply posting ‘”good job” or “nice post,” but instead are actively participating in the discussion. Otherwise, this system will not generate any real value for your blog and you may need to try something else.
Note: With this strategy, it’s very important to show people what they’re waiting for and explaining the incentive: You need to show people what’s next. Tease them about the next blog post and make it clear that you’ll post this new exclusive post right after you reach a certain amount of comments.
7. Make a Deliberate Typo or Error
Similar to tip #4, which involved creating polls that purposely excluded certain categories of responses in order to get users involved, you may want to consider drawing comments by intentionally making a mistake on your blog.
Do this by occasionally introducting a typo or grammatical error which will incite those who cannot accept typos to comment informing you of your error in spelling or punctuation.
With this strategy, it is important NOT to go over-board and employ this tactic sparingly. Frequently making typos and gammatical errors in your blog posts will make you look unprofessional and may impede your chances of long term success.
If you want to have a successful blog, then you need to work to enagage passive readers and convert them into active commenters.
Fortunately, using one or more of the seven strategies I’ve provided above you should be able to start a dialogue with your users and begin building a sustainable, active community around your blog.
If you stick with it and put in the effort required, you should see significant improvements in your user engagement, commenting, retention. IF you see certain users are more active than others, you may just have found your champions, be sure to thank them, aknowledge them and keep them involved – they’ll be invaluable in the long run.
Ok, so there I’ve laid out seven ways to get more comments on your blog. Can you think of any others, or have you used other tactics to engage your users and foster community? If so, let me know by sounding off in the comments below, I’d be delighted to hear your thoughts.