5 ways to boost your blog comments section
Imagine posting a blog, hitting the sack, and waking up the next morning to find 15 or 20 comments beneath it – all before you’ve had your morning tea. Wouldn’t every blogger love to start their day that way? We know we certainly would.
Unfortunately, getting people to comment on your blog can be only slightly less difficult than cutting your own hair or having teeth pulled. If you need to get the comments flowing, you have to understand human nature. Here are a few tips on boosting reader participation:
Make your posts open-ended
What’s the first rule of good blogging? Engaging your audience. The more readers feel you understand their point of view, the better chance they’ll speak up. A great way to get your readers going is to ask open-ended questions.
For instance, imagine you’re writing a post about a popular, controversial, gadget. You know that half your audience loves this piece of tech, but the other half sees it as overrated, problem-prone and expensive.
To get both sides to chime in, don’t ask something like “don’t you think ____ is difficult (or easy) to use?”, instead, ask your audience questions like “What’s your favorite (or most loathed) part of _____?” or even “How has the _______ feature made your week (or made your life a living hell)?”.
In many ways, you need to think of blogging like you would sales, because you’re “selling” an idea, an opinion, or even a product. The best salespeople ask thought-provoking questions to get their customers fired up about products, so craft your blog posts in the very same fashion.
Ditch the roadblocks
Simply stated, people not only have opinions, but they want others to know what those opinions are. So imagine writing out a great, comment-ripe post, only to have your commenters bail out thanks to your byzantine registration process.
If you want your comments to come fast and furious, don’t expect your readers to jump through hoops to make their thoughts known. If you’re afraid a lax registration process opens the door for spammers, use a blogging platform like WordPress. Moderate each reader’s first comment, but let the each comment flow after the first is approved.
Let there be links
For some commenters, leaving their opinion on your site isn’t worth their time if they can’t link back to their own blog or Website. A link makes a powerful carrot, and for fellow bloggers who want to broaden their audience, a link seals the commenting deal. While there are some annoying drawbacks to allowing links in your comments, especially when bots find your site and leave spammy comments, remember that many blog platforms offer plugins to minimize these shenanigans. Use them to make life easier.
Trade comments with your peers
To be a successful blogger, you have to do more than write interesting posts. In other words, if you want your blog to thrive thanks to lots and lots of comments, forge an informal trade with your most active commenters.
If your readers link back to their own blogs in your comments, pop on over to their sites, read through a few posts, and respond with some thoughts of your own.
Point out which posts you like best on their site, and send them in the direction of other sites they may find interesting.
When you’ve established a rhythm where feedback becomes a two-way street, you can count on other bloggers to fill your comments section time and again. When one of your post draws less comments than it deserves, your trade partners will “prime the pump”.
Converse with your readers
If you’ve ever posted a comment and the blogger never responds, you know what it’s like to feel ignored. To combat this feeling, foster a sense of community. Respond to your readers in your own comments and show them that you appreciate what they have to say.
For a beginning or even a seasoned blogger, a robust comment section does more than bring others over to your site, it validates your hard work and draws positive attention. If your comments section is stacked with lots of good comments, you’ll turn your lurkers into full-blown participants and keep the momentum going.
Daniel Cassady is an experienced freelance writer and frequent contributor to an email marketing blog sponsored by Benchmark Email, one of India’s leading email marketing solutions.