Thursday 3 May 2012

How to Get Comments on Your Blog - Top Tips

It seems everyone loves comments on their blog.  If nothing else, it proves people have read what you've written!

However, according to this research, 90% of readers never leave a comment, 9% leave one only occasionally, and a mere 1% are active commenters.  Obviously, this varies from blog to blog (and it wasn't just blogs included in the research) but you get the picture!

design your own keep calm poster here


Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to encourage comments:

  • Comment on other people's blogs.  They won't all reciprocate, especially the ones with busy blogs which get a lot of comments, but a good percentage of the smaller ones will.  And even if they don't, at least now they'll be aware of your existence!
  • Being the first or second commenter on a large and busy blog will get you clicks from other commenters than being lower down in the list would.  Because these are people who are used to commenting on blogs, you may find they'll come and comment on yours.
  • Ask a question.  People like to be able to provide an answer.
  • Ask for opinions - be interested in what others have to say. Your readers' opinions should matter to you, so find out what they are.
  • Respond to your commenters, wherever you can.  Thank them, reply to them, engage in conversation with them. 
  • Get involved in a community.  People are more likely to comment if they feel they "know" you - whether that's online or in real life.  Communities include forums, linky parties (like Handmade Monday), Twitter, Facebook, offline communities and craft clubs.
  • Keep blogging.  If you're a regular blogger, you'll attract more visitors (and therefore more comments) if you blog on a regular basis.
  • Make it easy for people to comment.  This is a bit of a dilemma, because spammers target blogs (especially busy ones).  But if you can reduce the number of hoops your visitor jumps through to leave a comment (e.g. comment moderation, CAPTCHA code) you may increase the chance of gaining more comments.  You may need to monitor this and if spam is getting through you may need to get tougher.  Blogger has a pretty good spam filter these days, and if you're on Wordpress you'll be familiar with Akismet (if not, you should be!).  Double check the settings on your blog (I've just done this and changed them!) as people may be having problems commenting depending on your settings.
  • Be controversial.  This doesn't work for everyone - and to be honest, I don't think it'd work for me.  If you're being controversial, you may need to be prepared for opposing viewpoints (maybe even hostile or angry) in your comments box  as well as those who wholeheartedly agree with you.
  • Return the favour: if someone takes the time to comment on your blog, go and seek out their blog and leave a comment there too.  You might find this turns a one-off visitor into a regular reader.
  • This one is so basic, you already know it but it won't hurt to be reminded: create good content that people want to read.  We all need to be reminded from time to time that we're writing for our readers first and foremost.  If you're not getting visitors who return, you won't get comments!

So,  a few questions for you:

  • Why do you like getting comments on your blog?  (or maybe you don't?)
  • What makes you leave a comment on a blog?  
  • How often do you comment on blogs?  
Can you see what I've done here with these questions? (don't let me down now - I'm looking forward to reading your comments!)

P.S.  As mentioned above, I've changed the settings on this blog, so those people without a Google ID should be able to comment now.   Please feel free to test it and email me me if it doesn't work!  Thank you.


Unknown said...

I have just found your blog, via a link from someone where else! I enjoy blogs that are link rich, as this sparks off a lot of creativity and allows you to discover new people. Thanks for the great tips!

Sharon (not blogging as yet)

Wendy said...

Hi Sharon! Thanks for your comment - I also love links because, as you say, it's a great way to discover. Google likes links too, so it's probably good for your blog rankings to happily link as much as you like.

Amanda said...

I've been lurking here for a while. I found you through a link from Bustle and Sew and enjoy looking at what you're making. There are some bloggers that I've built up online relationships with and consider friends, and I try to comment on most of their posts. I have loads of other blogs that I just visit because I enjoy reading them, but don't comment because I haven't the time. I enjoy receiving comments on my own blog but - naughty me - don't always enjoy acknowledging those comments, though I always do in the end. I have one friend who only replies to comments by leaving a comment of her own, so unless people return to look for them they never get read. But I love her blog and she always comments on mine, so I still consider her a blogging friend.

Carolee Crafts said...

A good read Wendy. I love comments on my blg as you know, being old school think to read and comment is the same as sending thank you letter for a gift but unfortunately that does not happen so much now days in a 'Me' society. I visits all the blogs in the HM link and comment on every one but have noticed that my percentages of comments runs at about 50% of those on HM plus about another 20 % from non bloggers commenting or from another group I am on. So 50% is better than your average but still not good enough.

Time factor if you read a blog it takes seconds to leave a comment, does not have to be war and peace and again I think part of the standard blogging etiquette. I sometimes think why should I bother to read and comment on 100% when I only get 50% in return, how do you know they have read the blog may just have joined in with the linksaid I read them all but do not have time to comment! then thought sod everyone else, me, me, me. Off soap box now.

I have altered my comments to be moderated and with no captcha code, this way I can check the comments before publishing. Plus I find the captcha codes increasingly difficult to read and think there are more things in place to get rid of the spam, it only needs a bit of effort on the part of the blogger to read the comment first. Also having to register with a userid is a pain.

Myth Illogical said...

I love comments because it lets you know what you're doing actually has a point! I always feel slightly disappointed for the posts that don't receive a single comment, makes me feel that the pieces I'm blogging about aren't liked by anyone!

I agree with Caroline too- it doesn't take a minute to leave a comment- even if it's a single word that's better than nothing. It would be nice if it was more part of blogging etiquette- you wouldn't dream of not responding at all to someone who spoke to you in person!

I try to always reply to comments too- if someone has made the effort to leave a comment I think I can at least make the effort to thank them so they know that I appreciate it.

CatkinJane said...

I've enjoyed this, especially as I am new to blogging. Of course I have been delighted when people have commented on my blog - if nothing else it lets you know it has been read.
I have tried to leave comments on blogs I have read but find it easier with some than others - the content being key. If I feel I have nothing to contribute it is hard to think of something to say that doesn't appear (to me) to be trite and just there to draw attention to myself - but I definitely take on board the point that we all want acknowledgement of our efforts. Will try to do better!!!

Free Spirit Designs said...

I don't think leaving comments should be something you feel you have to do in order to be considered polite. It shouldn't be a chore, but something you feel inspired to do by the content of the post.

Some days i leave dozens of comments all over the place and other days something else is occupying my time and attention and i leave very few - i would be sad if other people were offended by my lack of comments on these days, and also if they felt some kind of duty to comment on my blog.

I agree with Mythological that posts without comments can feel a bit lonely and unloved and its great when people take the time to offer you feedback on what you've written but i would prefer to get fewer comments from people who had really engaged with what i'm saying - having said that i feel that's what i do get so all is well! :)

Wendy said...

Welcome out into the light from lurkdom! It's always good to find out where people have stumbled across you online (although it's often so easy to forget how you got to a link when you've been doing a lot of surfing!). I agree it's so much easier to comment if you have built up a relationship, albeit online.

Wendy said...

I think your point about being inspired to comment by the content of the post is a good one and thinking like that should make us all strive to be better bloggers - that is, compose blog posts carefully with a lot of thought to what the reader might get out of it. I know that's not always easy though!

Wendy said...

Wow! I'm inspired and amazed by the comments here - even though it's a post about commenting! It's great that so many of you have written something quite substantial and thought-provoking. Thanks so much to each and every one of you! x

Claire Mackaness said...

Great post Wendy. I have to admit I rarely comment on blogs. I read hundreds and if I commented on all of them I would not have time to work! I appreciate what people say about it only taking moment but I think that depends how many you look at each day. I hate captcha codes but had never thought of removing them from my blog and moderating instead. I'm off to do that now and will link up this post to my blog to see if I can encourage more people to comment.

Anonymous said...

OK so you have truly kicked me up the backside. I used to comment on loads of blogs but then stopped as I ran out of time. I think time is a big issue for everyone, I comment when a post really attracts me or affects me.
I need to become a better blogger all round really, with making posts, commenting on other blogs, I think this is why my blog is suffering :(

I love your organising charts which I have downloaded so I am hopefully going to use those to try and organise my time better, keep your fingers crossed for me.

Lisa x

Anonymous said...

I try to comment as much as time allows me, but sometimes I really struggle particularly on blogger sites as I'm using my iPad it doesn't seem to like the captcha codes! I know I really should reply more to people who make an effort to comment on my blog - definitely something I will try and do more often!

Wendy said...

I also read a lot of blogs and wouldn't be able to read as many as I do if I commented on them all. I do make an effort to comment when something really interests me in some way - but I think I do need to connect with the post somehow to comment. Thanks for your links x

Wendy said...

Time is definitely a big issue, Lisa - so tue. Blogging is a lot of work, but so rewarding too! Glad I've given you a kick up the backside, we all need them from time to time! Also glad the organising charts are something you're going to use - mine are in my sewing room and I think I need another one now too (a daily one)!

My fingers are crossed for you x

Wendy said...

The captcha codes can be really difficult and time consuming when you get them wrong - I know why they're there but I don't like them (who does?) and it can sometimes be enough to make someone give up and go away.

Unknown said...

Well great come and shamelessly come to my blog for blur's sake :-)

Lynne said...

I rarely commented on blogs, as I felt that there the 'regulars' who sent in the comments, and perhaps a newcomer might not be either needed nor wanted.

Since starting my own blog, however, and realising the value and fun of getting comments, I am much more likely to leave a comment.

I like the way commenting - especially when reciprocated - engages us in a dialogue and often debate. This makes it all more worth doing , and much more enjoyable. Sure, you can look at stats and see how many people are viewing your blog, but a comment is for keeps!
I disengaged the captcha codes, they are infuriating, and anyone with less than brilliant eyesight will have difficulty with them Some of them are ridiculous. Make life easier for your readers, I say!

Wendy said...

Thanks for commenting Lynne - like you, I do appreciate all comments and it's particularly nice to get a comment from someone "new", who you weren't aware of previously. It just shows that people really are reading and engaging and those numbers are not just stats - they are real, live human beings!

I agree the captcha codes need some work to be more people-friendly.

Unknown said...

Very interesting story. I didn't find it boring to read. In fact, I really had a lot of fun reading your post. Thanks.