Have you ever read a really great blog post? It can be a great experience. They’re short and sweet and often they are written by every day folk like you and me, but sometimes they can convey just what it was you were looking for, or can shed light on something you were pondering. They can make you laugh, they can make you cry, and sometimes they can even change the way you think. When that happens you might feel moved to leave a comment at the bottom, but upon doing so you find that there are none there. So what’s going on?
As a blog writer this is of course even more perplexing and can be quite frustrating. You pour your life and soul into these blog posts and upload them onto the greatest forum on Earth – the internet – and all you get for your troubles are the sound of crickets.
The Value of Comments
And it’s not just a matter of pride either – getting comments on your blog is a highly valuable way to build your site and to generate more traffic and more money. You see if you have comments then that’s free content – free content for the search engines to spider, and free content to encourage people to read. It makes your site look alive, and it gives people a great reason to come back. The more people post the more you’ll find it snowballs, and you can even use this lively debate as a way to generate ideas and get feedback on your product, site or service. So how do you get people to start commenting? Why aren’t they doing it already?
Ask yourself this – do you comment on blogs? Will you comment on this one? If not, then why not? Probably the reason is that you are in a hurry – that you’re procrastinating anyway and don’t really have time to conjure something up. Likewise you might feel you don’t have anything big to contribute to the subject, or that you don’t want to be the first to comment. What would make you think differently?
There is not one answer to that question but many most likely. Firstly you need to make it EASY for someone to comment. This means a big bold COMMENT button that has comment written all over it (literally). It has to be one of those buttons that compels you to click despite your better judgment and it needs to land right in your eye line as you reach the bottom of the article so that your next move is to click it. This is just like selling something – you want it to be an almost unconscious process where their attention is never broken. Putting an add at the bottom of your blog might seem smart, but it could also just mean they don’t see that important comment button. Meanwhile to make it easy don’t make them sign up, and make it clear that they won’t have to by having some ‘anon’ posts on there already.
Next you need to give them a reason to comment. If they have no comment to make then they aren’t going to spend time thinking of what to say. Try to make your articles somewhat provocative then, and whether you’re controversial from time to time, shocking, or just witty, then that will encourage people to post. You can also try to include a call to action – some kind of sign off that actually asks people to post. ‘Why not let us know what you think in the comments box?’.
Then you need to make your comment box look ‘alive’. Few people are going to write a comment they think won’t be read, so encourage your friends and family to comment at first to make things look active, and make sure you respond as well. Oh and make sure your spam filter is a goodun’ too because people can tell spam when they see it and if it hasn’t been cleaned up then your site will look like no one has been there – like finding what you think is a house party only to realize it’s a derelict filled with squatters…
And finally you could consider using an incentive such as a competition, or even just being sure to mention some of your commenters in your posts.
So try using a few of these strategies in your blog and see the comments mount. And of course make sure you comment below and let us know… why you decided to do so…