Arment Dietrich

Tips for Getting More Comments On Your Blog

By: Arment Dietrich | July 18, 2010 | 
39

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?

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39 Comments on "Tips for Getting More Comments On Your Blog"

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Matt Cheuvront
5 years 9 months ago
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:… Read more »
Daniel Hindin
5 years 9 months ago

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!

Tim Jahn
5 years 9 months ago
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… Read more »
Daniel Hindin
5 years 9 months ago

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.

Nancy Myrland
5 years 9 months ago

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.

Daniel Hindin
5 years 9 months ago

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!

Sue Anne Reed
5 years 9 months ago

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.

Daniel Hindin
5 years 9 months ago
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… Read more »
Jon Buscall
5 years 9 months ago

@Daniel,
There’s a great post by Mark Schaefer about how B2B blogs often lack comments despite having stacks of quality, engaging posts.

http://businessesgrow.com/2010/03/15/wait-a-minute-its-not-about-engagement-after-all/

Daniel Hindin
5 years 9 months ago
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… Read more »
Danny Brown
5 years 9 months ago

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.

Daniel Hindin
5 years 9 months ago

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!

Barry Silver
5 years 9 months ago

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.

Daniel Hindin
5 years 9 months ago
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… Read more »
J-La
5 years 9 months ago

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

Daniel Hindin
5 years 9 months ago

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

Joey Strawn
5 years 9 months ago
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… Read more »
Daniel Hindin
5 years 9 months ago
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… Read more »
Coach T
5 years 9 months ago

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!

Daniel Hindin
5 years 9 months ago
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… Read more »
Marian Schembari
5 years 9 months ago
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 *… Read more »
Daniel Hindin
5 years 9 months ago

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.

Ian from CommentFlock
5 years 9 months ago

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

Ian from CommentFlock
5 years 9 months ago

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

Daniel Hindin
5 years 9 months ago

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
5 years 9 months ago

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

Mark W Schaefer
5 years 9 months ago
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… Read more »
Daniel Hindin
5 years 9 months ago

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?

Kara Vanskike
Kara Vanskike
5 years 9 months ago
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… Read more »
Daniel Hindin
5 years 9 months ago
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… Read more »
Daniel Hindin
5 years 9 months ago

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.

Kara Vanskike
Kara Vanskike
5 years 9 months ago

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.

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[…] Hindin over at blog Spin Sucks recently answered a reader question from Kara Vanskike.  The question was as follows: “Our blog has been up and […]

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[…] posts of mine about getting more comments on your blog and content versus conversation have engendered debate in the form of blog posts and comments […]

Paul @ clean cut media
5 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Daniel Hindin
5 years 8 months ago

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.

AlxRodz
AlxRodz
5 years 4 months ago

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.

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4 years 2 months ago

I’m satisfied that our commenters have given you some new elements to think about, and it’s excellent to listen to you’re getting more feedback now! I have a suggestion particularly for your site. Position a headshot of the writer of each publish at the top of the publish. Individuals want to have images in their thoughts of who composed the terms they’re examining, and I think they’re far more likely to reply if they do.

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