If you’re reading this, the chances are you won’t comment. Most people don’t. At this point I should invent some statistic that outlines just how many people regularly read blogs compared to how many people comment on them – I’ve read lots of different numbers, who knows which one is true but the take home message is that there are a hell of a lot of people who are consuming blog content by the bucket load and a whole lot less who are actively engaged enough to put pen to paper, or whatever the 21st century equivalent is.
This bothers me. I love the fact that you read my blog, but I’d love it a lot more if you commented. Your comments add a whole new dimension to each post. Whether you’re sharing ideas that I’ve not come up, or you’re entering into discussion on an issue raised, your point of view is always valuable and it helps me to learn which posts you like and which weren’t so good so I can improve my blogging.
So I set out to try and find some answers. How can I encourage YOU to comment on MY blog. And this is what I came up with:
1. Harness the power of twitter
Twitter is a fantastic means of communicating things fast. Tweeting links to your blog post, with the relevant hashtags where possible is a sure fire way to get people reading your blog. And that’s an important first step.
2. Be controversial
Have an opinion and don’t be scared to share it. There’s nothing more likely to make people comment than voicing an opinion that is entirely at odds with their own. This is a tricky one – like me, you might not want to alienate your readers with extreme opinions. But that doesn’t stop you quoting someone else’s…
3. Ask open ended questions
You can make it easier for your readers to comment by asking them questions and keeping them open ended. Asking closed questions which require just a yes or no answer aren’t likely to elicit much response but clearly phrased open questions which get the imagination going should get a good response. Open questions can also form a good starting point for those readers who liked your post and might be motivated to comment but they just don’t know what to say.
4. Host guest posts
By hosting guest posts, preferably by successful bloggers or well respected names, you can draw in a new audience that you wouldn’t have tapped in on otherwise. This is also a great way of having new and interesting content on your blog that will keep your readers engaged rather than you just waffling away each day like a broken record!
5. Comment on other blogs
Blogging is a social media and it’s not very social for you to just write your own blog and not interact with other bloggers. If you take the time to read and comment on other people’s blogs then some of them will reciprocate by commenting on yours. You can build up a rapport with bloggers who are interested in similar fields to you and soon you will have a pool of loyal readers who regularly comment. Beware though, blog surfing can be addictive and a real time sink.
6. Ask people to comment
People are a lot more likely to comment if you ask them to. I’d love to elaborate more on this point but that’s all there is to say. Simples.
7. Respond to comments left
If somebody takes the time to leave a comment on your blog, always try and respond quickly and fully. Not many readers are the ‘comment leaving type’ – if you’ve actually motivated someone enough to leave a comment but you never bother to respond or you don’t take enough time to respond fully then that’s probably the last time they’re going to bother. Also, other readers will notice if you don’t respond to comments and be less likely to leave one.
8. Don’t say everything there is to say
If you’ve said all there is to say on a topic, there’s nothing left for your readers to add. I’ve read (and hopefully written) some great informative blog posts which are really useful in terms of sharing information but if the post is completely comprehensive and says all there is to say on a topic and asks no further questions, there really is no reason for your readers to interact other than to say ‘thank you’ or ‘great post’ which doesn’t drive the conversation forwards.
9. Don’t make your readers login to comment
If there’s one thing that turns readers off, it’s having to register with your site, or log in to comment. It’s a real faff and only those readers who are REALLY motivated are likely to bother. The easier you make it to comment, the more likely readers are to do it.
10. Be original
Write as yourself. You’re far more likely to engage your audience than if you cut and paste your posts from elsewhere. Include your points of view and your experiences and find your own voice to really talk to your readers. If your readers feel like you’re really talking to them then they’re far more likely to respond.
I’ve learnt a lot about how to encourage your comments and I’ll certainly be doing my best to put it into practice. I really do appreciate it when you take the time to comment – even if it’s to disagree with what I’m saying (in fact, sometimes those are the comments I like the best!) If you’ve got any further ideas to add, and I’m sure there are plenty, please leave me a comment…
…I promise to reply!