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!
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?