As of right now, Quick Sprout has 62,232 comments, which took place over 353 blog posts. That means the average blog post gets around 176 comments…which is more than most blogs.
Sure, if you go through the comments, you’ll notice that half of them are from me replying back to each comment, but that still leaves 88 comments per post.
Do you want to know how I was able to achieve such a high comment count? Here’s how I did it:
Step #1: Create an emotional connection
People like talking and communicating with people they feel comfortable around. If you can get people to love you, they’ll want to communicate with you.
Just think of Gary Vaynerchuk. People come up and talk to him all the time because he has a warm and fuzzy personality.
So, how do you create a bond with your readers? Well, you need to open yourself up and help them get to know you. Within your blog sidebar, you should have an image of yourself and a quick bio. Have that bio link to your About page.
On your About page, you need to really open yourself and share your life story. From the good times to the bad ones and everything in between, you should be an open book. For example, in my bio, I talk about how my parents struggled and how it motivated me to do better in life. I go as far as sharing what my future goals are in life.
You’ll also want to show multiple sides of yourself when doing this. The bio in my sidebar as well as the picture that goes along with it are very corporate. But the image on my About page is a goofy cartoon drawing that shows a different side of me.
Step #2: Don’t ignore people
Have you ever been in a social situation where you say something and people just ignore you? You know they heard you speak, but they don’t care and don’t even bother to respond.
That’s happened to me a lot, and I hate it. When people comment on your blog, don’t ignore them because they’ll get the same feeling as we all do when we are ignored.
That’s the number one reason I respond to comments. I think it sucks to get no reply, which is why I spend hours each day responding to comments. I do whatever it takes to help people out, and, when I can, I try to give thorough responses.
Help your readers out and respond to them. Even if it is a simple “thanks”, something is better than nothing. It lets your readers know that you are listening to them.
Step #3: Care for people
You should always go above and beyond to help people out, even when there is nothing in it for you. I’m a big believer that if you help other people, somehow the universe will take care of you.
The biggest way I help people isn’t through comments; it’s by responding to emails. I get hundreds of emails each day, and a good portion of them are from people asking for help. Although I am unable to help everyone, I really do try to help as many people as I can.
What I’ve noticed over the years is that the majority of my commenters are people with whom I’ve interacted through email. When I look at all the people who emailed me from my blog in the last 30 days, 19% of them left a comment on Quick Sprout in the last 30 days. It may not seem like a big percentage, but it adds up over time.
If you try your best to help people by responding to their emails, people will appreciate it and participate by commenting on your blog.
Step #4: Collect emails
A few months ago, I calculated that 13.91% of my overall traffic comes from my email list. Although that number may not seem huge, that list accounts for 41% of my blog comments.
If you want to increase the number of comments you get, the number one thing you need to do is to collect emails. Just follow step #2 on this blog post if you want to build an email list.
Step #5: Create a conversation
Your writing style has a huge impact on the number of comments you get. Most people write blog posts the same way they write an essay. You don’t want to do that!
Just imagine yourself having a conversation with one of your friends. It’s really relaxed, and you may not always use complete sentences or follow every grammar rule out there. The conversation also feels intimate because you use the words “you” and “I” throughout the conversation. Also, it’s very rare that to have a conversation without asking even one question.
I write my blog posts as if I am having a conversation with you. I use the words “you” and “I” a lot, and I always ask questions throughout my blog posts. Heck, I even end each blog post with a question!
If you follow this strategy, you should get more comments because people like being part of a conversation. If you take the route of making your writing style like an essay, you’ll just put people to sleep. In that case, don’t expect anyone to comment.
Step #6: Pace yourself
Have you noticed that I only post two pieces of content a week on Quick Sprout? It’s not because I can’t publish more or less, it’s because I’ve optimized for comment count.
When I published only one new post a week, I would only get 133 comments per blog post on average. When I started publishing two pieces of content a week, my average went up to 164. Over time, I’ve gotten it up to 176 comments per post.
When I published three pieces of content a week, my average went down to 119 comments per post. I never tried going up to four or five posts a week, but when I look at all of my blogs that do five posts a week, such as Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics, the comment count isn’t too high.
If you want to get more comments per post, test the ideal number of posts you need to publish each week.
Step #7: Control the voice
Both of my corporate blogs, Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics, grew in traffic much faster than Quick Sprout. It took Quick Sprout six years to hit 400,000 monthly visitors, while KISSmetrics got there in two years.
The reason my corporate blogs grew so fast is because we used guest authors to crank out five pieces of content each and every week. But that also created inconsistencies in the overall voice of the blog due to the fact that there were multiple authors.
As a result, the readers had trouble creating an emotional connection to any of the writers and just viewed the blog as a place to get information…versus seeing it as a community.
It’s rare to have a corporate blog - like SEOmoz, for example - with a high number of comments per post. Personal blogs are much more likely to get a lot of comments.
Step #8: Get creative
I used to use more aggressive tactics in the past to boost my comment numbers. Here are some aggressive plugins I used:
- Top commenters - people who left the highest number of comments on the blog got a site wide link from Quick Sprout. This used to help boost people’s PageRank, which encouraged more people to leave comments. I removed this plugin as it used to generate a lot of junk comments that didn’t add value to the community.
- Subscribe to comments - if you left a comment on Quick Sprout, my server would email you every time there was a new comment on that same post. This led to a lot more comments, but it also increased spam complaints from people, which is why I removed this feature.
If you want to boost your numbers, consider using the plugins above or whatever else your imagination can dream up. Just be careful as using tactics that are too aggressive can cause complaints.
As a blog owner, you have to figure out what metrics are most important to you. For me, it is comments because higher engagement means more loyal readers that will tweet, like and share via the social web or even check out my companies when I politely ask them to.
If you want to boost your comment numbers, follow the steps above, and you’ll see a huge improvement. If you don’t have the time to implement all of them, try Step #3 as it’s my favorite. If you are looking for maximum engagement, Steps# 2 and #4 will have the highest ROI.
In what other ways can you boost your comment count?