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Arment Dietrich

Tips for Getting More Comments On Your Blog

By: Arment Dietrich | July 18, 2010 | 
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Spin Sucks reader Kara Vanskike sent me an email recently saying:

Our blog has been up and running for about a year and a half.  We know it’s being read through analytics and in person comments, but we really struggle to get people to comment on the posts.”

Despite what many people think, it’s not as easy as starting a blog, publishing a few posts, and waiting for the comments to roll in. Following are some tips for getting more comments on your blog.

I could easily suggest simple things such as asking questions at the end of your posts or writing about controversial topics, but the truth is it’s less about what you do within your blog than what you do outside of it.

Most people won’t comment unless: a) they know you, b) there are already a bunch of comments when they get there or c) you REALLY piss them off.

The third one isn’t advisable on a frequent basis, and the second one is dependent on the first one, so let’s stick with the first.

Yes, your friends obviously know you, but they’re not necessarily interested in your chosen topic.

So…you’ve got to get out there and meet people who are interested in picking up what you’re putting down. Good news: There’s a whole world of really smart people out there who love to share their opinions! They’re called bloggers.

The first step toward more comments is counterintuitive for a lot of folks, but, trust me, it works. Comment on other blogs! Bloggers like nothing better than to receive comments on their posts. (See Kara’s question above!)

When you leave a comment on a blog, you usually have an opportunity to include a URL. If I want to find out who a commenter is (I always do!), the first thing I do is click on their link, which often leads me to their blog. Now that I’m there, I just may follow suit and leave my own comment.

It actually annoys me when a commenter doesn’t leave a link because it makes it difficult to connect with them.

And that brings me to the next step, which is to interact with people on Twitter.

Gini Dietrich wrote a great post recently about why she loves Twitter. I know of no better way to connect with large numbers of people from around the globe who share similar interests. Find them, strike up a conversation about your shared interest, and next time you share a link to your blog, you might be surprised how many of them click on it – and leave a comment.

Why? Because now they know you. And beyond that, they know that you share similar interests, they know a bit more about where you’re coming from, they’re happy to get a deeper window into your thoughts, and they probably want to share their two cents and further the conversation.

Simple, right? Yeah, it’s not a complicated formula. It takes time, and most people don’t want to spend the time. But if you follow these steps – well, not just follow, but really put your heart into it – you will start to receive more comments on your blog. I promise!

Do you have other tips that work for inviting comments on your blog?

35 comments
milfordplaza
milfordplaza

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AlxRodz
AlxRodz

Nice tips, and seeing the amount of comments you generated, nice case study!! ;)

Twitter is definitely an awesome way to keep people updated on new blog posts, but I would include Facebook (both personal wall as well as dedicated Page), LinkedIn, Buzz and other channels as well.

Paul @ clean cut media
Paul @ clean cut media

I agree that responding and engaging every commenter is very important. I also found in my experience as well that if I go out to other relevant blogs and leave comments, often the owner of that blog would come and check out my site and if I get lucky leave a comment. Another thing to factor is that sometimes other small bloggers are always looking for content, so not only do they have a reason to visit your site somewhat regularly if it's relevant to their own, but you never know how they may post about some article you write about and link to your site!

thanks for the writeup daniel

Kara Vanskike
Kara Vanskike

Thanks, Dan, for posting my question! All the feedback is great. Reading that a lack of comments isn't necessarily a bad thing is encouraging.

I am currently in the process of installing Disqus now, so thanks, Matt, for that tip.

I do ask questions at the end of almost every post and I (or our CEO) respond to each comment either on the blog or via email.

One of the posts last week turned out to be quite controversial. We're seeing more feedback on that post (on the blog and Facebook) than any of the others ever written. I don't love controversy, but at least it started a conversation!

I also agree that it's great when commenters leave links to their sites. I don't on Spin Sucks, however, because every time I do, my comment ends up in Spam Land.

Mark W Schaefer
Mark W Schaefer

Jon Buscall (a brilliant blogger by the way) already made my primary point for me about the different purposes of blogs and the need to look at comments rationally. In some cases, especially on corporate blogs there are many good reasons why people aren't writing in.

On corporate blogs there seems to be only two sure-fire ways to get comments (since controversy is usually not an option!)

1) You have an industry celebrity as a blogger (like Bill Marriott) or
2) Your blog serves as a forum for problem-solving. Caterpillar does a superb job with this.

Other than that, even the most superb company blogs rarely have community engagement.

Everything starts with strategy, including your blog! : )

Ian from CommentFlock
Ian from CommentFlock

Hey Daniel,

Great post! I'd like to also add 2 things:

1. Install commentluv plugin (this encourages other site owners to post a comment)

2. Respond to each and every comment. People that comment like to feel acknowledged and that their comment is appreciated - responding back is a great way to do that!

Just thought I'd chime in!

Cheers!
Ian

Marian Schembari
Marian Schembari

Darren Rowse on Problogger wrote a post on how using questions is THE number one way to get people talking. Chris Brogan says this too. In fact, most of his posts end in a question, but I’m not fully convinced this is why he gets so many people talking.

To be perfectly honest, the reason I comment on blogs isn’t because people ask. From my experience, both with my own comments and seeing why other people write, the top reasons I comment a blog post are because:

* The blogger has said something I agree or disagree with strongly
* I want to congratulate someone on a new job/baby/engagement/personal success
* Something is hilarious and I want to add my own experience
* Something is so amazing I couldn’t possibly leave the website without letting the blogger know how amazing they are but am too lazy to write an email (There is a fine line. Remember that.)
* There’s some form of list, usually in advice-form, where I have something to contribute

Coach T
Coach T

Hard to read this post and comments without leaving a comment

I find that if I really like something I am more likely to retweet or share in some other way than to comment. I obviously need to change my mindset. I need to do both!

Joey Strawn
Joey Strawn

I agree with both Sue Ann and Danny (not to say I don't agree with the other comments as well) but I personally try to comment on each comment that comes in to me. I find that it helps the flow of conversation, especially if someone adds a good point or something I hadn't thought of. Also, as Danny said, I never try to close things out on a definitive point. Most things in communication are not black and white, cut and dry and there is always room for debate. To this day I've never ended a post with the phrase "And that is the way it is, so there," and I don't see myself doing it in the future.

Great posts today, thanks for your insights.

J-La
J-La

I like it when the blog poster him/herself answers when I reply on a blog. You feel directly more appreciated!

Barry Silver
Barry Silver

Wow! This comes at a great time for me. I've recently started a blog and I'm using Twitter to broadcast to a targeted audience that should be passionate about the content. Still, nothing so I am looking for other ideas.

In direct reply for ideas, I would consider asking friends to comment to "seed the clouds". I am reluctant because of some notion of "purity". Can I co-opt your post and ask for thoughts. If the answer is no, I apologize because it's always easier to apologize than ask for permission.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Something I like to try and do is use the blog post as a conversation starter. Raise a topic, offer a point of view on it, and then leave blanks for your readers to fill in.

None of us know everything, and including our readers and their point of view often opens up a viewpoint that I hadn't even considered.

Sue Anne Reed
Sue Anne Reed

More importantly than commenting on other people's blogs is making sure that you are the #1 commenter on your own blog. Are you responding to everyone who leaves comments? Even if its only a small handful of comments, people will notice if you are responding to comments.

Are you thanking those people on Twitter for leaving a comment on your blog?

If you mention someone in your blog, are you going to Twitter and cc:ing them in a tweet about the post? Those will get them (hopefully) to come to your blog and leave a comment.

Nancy Myrland
Nancy Myrland

I agree with all that's been said, but also that comments don't always come on your blog. Monitoring comments and feedback on Twitter, your Facebook Page, or wherever else you might have promoted your blog post is also important. Don't be discouraged if you don't get comments on your blog. This isn't always the mark of a truly great blog, but often the mark of someone who has nice friends who understand the importance of leaving comments. Just keep writing, sharing, informing and searching, and your audiences will follow you, and remember you.

Tim Jahn
Tim Jahn

I agree with Matt above on both counts, especially using DISQUS. With all the blogs out there people read, it's hard to remember to go back to the blogs you read yesterday and see if the discussion is continuing. DISQUS kindly alerts you when someone is continuing the discussion.

Asking questions is key. I always try to frame my blog posts in the form of a question so people feel like they can respond and contribute. I've found it also helps to ask people to comment in the post itself.

I agree with you Dan, I hate when commenters don't leave a link so I can go check out their stuff! I love discovering new sites. :)

Looking forward to reading some more tips here from commenters. Thanks for starting the conversation Dan!

Matt Cheuvront
Matt Cheuvront

One thing I do is go so far as to objectively ask a question at the end of every (or almost every) post I write. I understand a lot of folks skim through posts (I'm as guilty as the next guy) and I understand that folks are out there reading A LOT of posts so by objectively asking a question, or series of question, it prompts and encourages my readers to respond to something specifically.

All blogs have a different purpose - mine is and always has been about building conversation and sparking engaging discussion amongst my readers.

Bonus Tip: I have somewhat of a love/hate relationship with DISQUS, but one thing it does really do well is notify (automatically) your commenters of replies, thereby encouraging readers to repeatedly visit and continue conversation.

Daniel Hindin
Daniel Hindin

That's a good point you bring up about bloggers writing responses to other bloggers' posts, Paul.

Actually, that's a great way to get some attention from bloggers you respect. Take an issue they wrote about and address it with a post of your own with a link back to them.

If you write a solid post, you will most certainly gain not only their attention, but also their respect.

Kara Vanskike
Kara Vanskike

Headshots and bylines are in the works. Betty's category has been changed. Thanks!

As for the URL trouble, Gini looked into it several months ago and didn't see any problems on your end and my IT department looked into it from this end and they couldn't find anything either. Comments go to spam when I type out the address in the comment box, too. Weird.

Daniel Hindin
Daniel Hindin

Oh, and I will look into your problem with including your URL when you comment, but if you look above, every single commenter on this post has left a URL. I haven't heard this complaint from anyone else. I wonder why it would be different only for you.

Daniel Hindin
Daniel Hindin

Hi, Kara. I'm happy that our commenters have given you some new things to think about, and it's great to hear you're getting more comments now!

I have a piece of advice specifically for your blog. Place a headshot of the author of each post at the top of the post. People want to have a picture in their mind of who wrote the words they're reading, and I think they're far more likely to respond if they do.

Also include a byline of the author at the top of the post. And use their actual name. It shouldn't say "From the president." It should say "Betty Brennan." You can say "Betty Brennan, President" if you like, but definitely include her name.

Good luck and happy blogging!

Daniel Hindin
Daniel Hindin

Thanks for your thoughts, Mark. What you say is reassuring for a corporate blog that receives very few comments.

But while I have you here (if I still do), I'd like to know if you have advice for a blogger -- corporate or not -- who is interested, for whatever reason, in boosting the number of comments they receive.

You obviously have been successful in that department. Do you have any particular methods you'd be willing to share with us here?

Ian from CommentFlock
Ian from CommentFlock

Hey Daniel,

I wouldn't say that that when bloggers sign up for our service (when it's ready) that the comments are "artificial", what it comes down to is that most readers don't leave comments unless there are already a lot comments on a post - we make that happen.

Saying that we "make it look like a blog is more popular than it really is" is true, but we don't do this to be malicious - we do this to encourage other readers to become engaged commenters.

Think of it as a jumpstart for your blog.

Cheers!
Ian

Daniel Hindin
Daniel Hindin

I'm a fan of CommentLuv, too, Ian. I'm wondering, though, about the service you're promoting.

The CommentFlock website says you help bloggers get more comments by "posting new comments daily by over 20 commenters."

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the service, but on the surface this seems disingenuous. You also mention that you post "humanized comments." I'm not interested in "humanized" comments; I'm interested in *human* comments.

It sounds like you're artificially generating comments for a fee to make it look like a blog is more popular than it really is. Am I wrong about that?

Ian from CommentFlock
Ian from CommentFlock

Good point "There’s some form of list, usually in advice-form, where I have something to contribute" - I've noticed that lists tend to get a lot of comments, it's making sense now!

Cheers!
Ian

Daniel Hindin
Daniel Hindin

Thanks for the insight, Marian! It's great to hear from the point of view of a commenter as opposed to someone hoping to get comments. I appreciate you sharing your own habits with us.

Daniel Hindin
Daniel Hindin

I'm glad you were inspired to leave a comment, Coach. Everyone participates in their own way, and by no means am I saying my approach works for everyone.

Stripping away all the social media talk from my post, I'm basically saying make yourself known. And rather than running through the streets shouting, I'm suggesting that participating in the conversation is often a better way to go.

I think all bloggers appreciate it when people are compelled to share their posts with others. But if you're looking to stand out in their minds, you'll probably get more mileage out of a comment on their blog.

If I really enjoy a post on another site, I'll usually comment and then retweet in the hopes of furthering the conversation.

Daniel Hindin
Daniel Hindin

So true, Joey. There's never an exact right or wrong way to do anything. That's why people like you and I love to blog. It's a conversation more than anything.

That's why I really like what you do on your blog. After I left a comment, I received a great thank you message that included this gem: "I appreciate your company on my journey to deepen my knowledge of the worlds I love."

I couldn't think of a better way to say thank you. To me, the most gratifying part of blogging is the amazing conversations that can come out of it and amazing people I get to interact with. I can see you feel the same way. Thanks, Joey!

Daniel Hindin
Daniel Hindin

So true, J-La! You are definitely appreciated by me. :-)

Daniel Hindin
Daniel Hindin

Barry, you bring up a good point. I'm not suggesting you use Twitter to "broadcast" to a target audience. What I'm talking about is participating in a conversation with individual thinkers.

Sure, we at Spin Sucks broadcast links to our new posts like everyone else. That brings in more readers. But it's the individual conversations you have that don't necessarily have anything to do with your posts that will build up the relationships that will eventually encourage people to comment.

In regard to your question, I'm a big believer in only doing something if you're passionate about it. If you're not, it will always show. When people are inspired to comment, the thoughts they share will inevitably be valuable. If they're commenting as a favor, it will likely be fluff.

Instead of "seeding" comments, I would encourage you to better leverage your limited time by making genuine connections and sharing genuine thoughts. If you do that, I think you will see the comments begin to trickle in.

I appreciate the comment AND the question, and you are hereby given permission to co-opt my post any time you want!

Daniel Hindin
Daniel Hindin

Danny, simple but profound as always. "None of us know everything" is exactly right.

I've had my own struggles on other blogs I've managed as far as comments go. The above are a couple of things I've learned along the way, but of course the possibilities are endless.

I've enjoyed hearing the viewpoints so far here from a handful of commenters that I deeply respect. As always, I hope more readers will share their thoughts and continue the conversation!

Daniel Hindin
Daniel Hindin

That's a really thought-provoking post by Mark, Jon. Thanks so much for sharing it here.

I think it comes down to what your goals are. Each business is different. As Mark alluded to in his response to your comment, a creative agency is going to be different than a hotel chain...is going to be different than GE.

If the goal is not engagement, there are certainly other ways to meet your expectations. This post wasn't meant as a discussion about the importance of comments, but rather, if comments are a goal of yours, what are a couple of steps to take to encourage them.

As Mark illustrates in his usual brilliant fashion, an entire additional blog post could be devoted to meditating on "what is it all about."

Daniel Hindin
Daniel Hindin

Thank YOU for leaving this comment, Sue Anne! I've heard some people say that you look desperate if you respond to every comment, but I disagree big time.

Some bloggers just starting out have the problem of receiving no comments at all, but once you begin to receive a comment or two, positive reinforcement becomes the name of the game.

I liken it to if I took the time to share a deeply held philosophy of mine with someone at a party, and they were moved enough to respond with their own thoughts, and then I just walked away in silence toward the bar.

Not very likely if I ever chose to share my thoughts with them again that they would take the time to reply with theirs.

Daniel Hindin
Daniel Hindin

Thanks for making this point, Nancy. I agree that comments aren't an accurate indicator of the value of a blog. It happens to be the easiest way for bloggers to feel validated, and so of course people tend to put a lot of weight on it.

There will always be far more silent readers than commenters. If you're serving up high-quality posts, people will indeed take notice. BUT, the point still remains -- you have to get yourself out there for them to find it in the first place!

Daniel Hindin
Daniel Hindin

So true, Tim! I easily forget about where I've left comments (sad but true!), so I always opt in to receive replies if I can.

Daniel Hindin
Daniel Hindin

I feel the same way about Disqus, Matt. We've actually noticed a pick up in comments since we gave the option to commenters to get notified about replies. It's great for keeping the conversation going. Looking forward to your post tomorrow!

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