One of the biggest worries bloggers have is the silent blog syndrome. After putting endless hours of hard work into your blog, you find that it remains silent. No one comments. No one argues. No one praises. It’s a dark and lonely place.
How do you get people to comment on your blog? What tricks, techniques, and powers of persuasion must you possess? A quiet blog can be depressing, while an active blog is exciting. Once people start chiming in, sharing tips, arguing points, and having a conversation, you feel as if your blogging existence has finally been validated.
Getting more blog comments requires patience and consistency but I have provided you with 12 simple questions to ask yourself in order to help you increase comments on your blog with ease.
Answer these 12 simple questions to start getting more comments.
1. Do you have a bad comment system?
Let’s start at the ground floor. Can people easily leave a comment? If not, that’s a problem.
I know there are blogs where I would be willing to leave a comment, but I just can’t do it because of a broken comment system. Maybe the Captcha code isn’t working. Or I’m forced to choose an avatar. Or I have to log in to some system. Or I have to wait for the moderator to approve my comment. Or I don’t even know where to click to leave a comment.
All of these factors are comment killers. Look at your blog commenting process with fresh eyes. Or have someone else look at it, navigate it, and try to leave a comment. Fix any barriers and move on.
A good way to ensure that you don’t have these problems is to stick with basic commenting systems. You don’t need to sign up for any crazy commenting systems. Using the default commenting system that comes with WordPress is good enough.
2. Are you creating insightful content?
The only way to get comments is to get traffic.
And to build sustainable traffic, you need to provide insightful, deep, researched, and well-thought-out content.
This is where everything starts. If your content sucks, you won’t get comments. Period.
When people read your content, they’re basically giving you their money. As you already know, time is money. If readers spend their time/money on your content, they expect to derive some value. Is your content valuable? Is it worth your readers’ time/money?
If it is, they might voice this in the comments. If you’re not providing something of value, people will feel slightly ripped off. They spent this time reading your article but got nothing good from it.
The more value you provide in your content, the better comment interaction you’re going to score. Think of your readers as customers dropping a few dollars in order to read your blog post. What are you going to give them in return?
Only the cream of the crop content sticks out in today’s crowded environment, so you need to write with your A-game.
Focus on creating compelling stories that draw people in and make them want to share an opinion. The best content gets shared, goes viral, attracts audiences, and connects.
Like I said, the content marketing world is crowded. Just take a look:
More and more companies find they need more and more content to sustain revenues and growth. But more and more of everything means that your job as a content creator is more challenging.
How do you stand out?
Great content gets shared and commented on. Boring content gets ignored.
If you’re struggling with a no-comment blog, you may want to explore ways of getting more interesting. Too many passive sentences? No strong verbs? Lack of anecdotes? Dry topics?
Figure it out, and rework your content to make it a bit more exciting. In other words, spice up your writing style. Be personal, clear, and concise.
It’s all about building trust. To build trust, you have to write in a way that communicates authenticity and transparency.
Edelman recently published a report showing the behaviors of consumers based on trust. This data helps to illuminate the importance of being viewed as a trusted resource.
The key to any successful effort is trust, and this is especially true online and in business. Nearly half the population refuses to do business with companies they don’t trust, and over half choose companies based on trust and recommend trusted companies to friends.
BlogHer found that 81% of online consumers trust content from blogs. It’s the new newspaper or magazine.
So, let’s get back to the question: how do you build content that stands out?
You do so by building trust.
And you build trust by providing insight, detail, and facts.
3. Are you creating 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.
4. Do you 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.
5. Do you have a poor site design?
If someone doesn’t like your site design, sorry, but they’re not going to leave a comment. I know, it sounds cold and heartless, but design really matters to a potential commenter.
My blog is designed to support interaction. Without even reading an entire article, a user can directly click through to the comments.
Beyond that, I make my comment call to action very simple and straightforward:
When you try to stuff a lot of different elements at the end of a blog, you miss the golden moment for capturing a would-be commenter.
Also, you should show the comments that other people left for the new visitors to see. If you are piping in without knowing what’s already in the queued comments, it’s like saying something in the middle of a conversation that you haven’t even been listening to.
Forbes, for example, does a poor job of encouraging comment interaction because of its busy design and a no-show comment stream:
And for this reason, Forbes doesn’t get a ton of comments per post.
Your site design needs to help encourage comments. A well-designed blog is the starting point for anything good in life, comments included.
6. Do you ask for comments?
There’s no shame in asking for comments. Just ask for them.
If you remember only one point from this article, this is the one: To get comments, ask for them.
It’s not begging. It’s not groveling. It’s not whining. It’s a polite invitation to have a civil discussion about an important issue.
Here are some of the angles you can use to encourage participation:
- Ask a leading question – I usually raise a question at the end of each article, just to get people thinking. Sometimes, these questions surface in the comments.
- Raise an issue for discussion – rather than have a maybe-approach to comments, go ahead and start the discussion yourself. Tell people what to talk about.
- Tell your readers their input is valuable – your readers want to know that they have a voice too. Although you’re providing information, you welcome their perspectives and insights. Tell them so. “I’d love to hear what you think about this issue. Let me know in the comments.”
When asking for comments, keep in mind that requests like “please comment!” are weak and uninspiring. Try to be a bit smoother and more engaging:
- “I’m wondering what other people think about the new widget. Tell me about your experience in the comments below.”
- “I’m probably leaving out some information. What other tips can you provide about this issue?”
- “Share your story in the comments.”
7. Do you ever get controversial?
Sometimes, you just need to say what you think and let the chips fall where they may. Strong people are not afraid to be opinionated, and they have the thick skin to take the kickback. If you have a personal blog, you have the right to voice your concerns, raise questions, or confront people.
The more open you are, the more likely people are to respond with comments.
A blog is like any form of human communication. It’s a two-way street. But in order for the listener to respond, he or she must feel like there’s something to respond to. If you dip your toe in the waters of controversy, you can be pretty sure someone is going to respond.
If you feel strongly about a relevant trend, current issue, or hot topic, go ahead and write freely. Even if it’s a tad on the controversial side.
How do you write conversationally?
- Direct comments and questions at the reader. Use the word “you.”
- Refer to yourself with personal pronouns — “I,” “me,” “my,” “mine.”
- Ask questions. And then answer them.
- Use easy words.
- Use figures of speech, slang, and conversational expressions.
- Use short paragraphs. I aim for 1-4 sentences. Anything greater than six sentences in a paragraph is probably too long.
- Tell a story. Who doesn’t like a story?
According to Nielsen, nearly 7 million people host their own blogs. Another 12 million bloggers keep up a stream of content on social media sites such as Tumblr, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
The only thing I can add to such a crowded conversation is my own perspective, so that’s what I aim to do. Brands with a purpose—even personal brands—always outperform those without.
8. Are you taking a stand?
You have to take a stand to write a decent blog article.
What do I mean by this? There are usually two sides to any story, and informational content should always be included. Taking a firm stance for or against something forces commenters from both sides of the issue to take notice.
Basically, you have to pick a side.
Of course, you don’t have to get political. Just take firm stances on industry issues.
I personally think blogging is among the most important pieces of a solid content marketing strategy. I’m going to pick this point of view and argue for it.
Others may argue that graphics, videography, SEO, CPC, CRO, and other tactics are more efficient. Great! I welcome that debate.
Your blog will generate comments when you pick a position, hold a viewpoint, and maintain a stance.
Why is this important?
People learn from these discussions. There are people reading your article who also want to shore up their viewpoints, pick a side, or maintain a position. Your article helps them do that.
A simple example of this is in the influencer marketing space. Major players speak to their audience, make recommendations, share opinions, and hold considerable sway!
From the perspective of influencer marketing, nearly half of literate people will read blogs to learn about products.
If you can take a stance, bring data, and prove a point, you’ll be well on your way to generating 50 comments.
9. Are you encouraging idea sharing?
Brainstorming is one of the most difficult parts of blogging. Constantly filling a rotating schedule with content is a full-time job typically involving large teams.
I like to encourage readers to share their ideas and thoughts throughout my articles because I sincerely want to know what my readers think. I want to involve the community to create a crowdsourced brainstorming session.
Have you ever been part of a really good brainstorming session?
I have. There’s something almost inspired that happens when the ideas start pouring in, and you know you’re onto something.
I try to recreate that experience in my articles. These five rules of brainstorming help guide my thought process as I create content.
You can think of your article as a guided brainstorming session.
When people are inspired by your content in an idea-sharing way, they will provide their feedback.
TED Talks are an inspiration to me. TED’s tagline is “ideas worth spreading.”
The TED speakers are inspiring others with their thoughts and ideas.
And look what happens. Notice those comment counts:
Thousands of comments!
Yeah, I’d have to agree that the “worth spreading” part is definitely happening.
We can all learn from TED Talks—not just the content of the talks themselves, but the whole idea of creating a rich learning experience that people want to participate in.
I’d like to think that because I encourage a positive, transparent, and open community, my readers love to share their ideas. And this commonly created space provides community even for me to hang out and be myself.
The creative industry is difficult, and mutual encouragement is universally appreciated.
Even a thought leader like myself needs a network of trusted people working together toward a common goal. No one succeeds alone.
If you’re looking for more tips on how to write more content, I recently wrote a guide on how to push yourself to continue writing. Also, if you have any brainstorming tips or ideas, feel free to share them in the comments below.
10. Are you responding to comments?
You should respond to commenters, but with the “ABC” caveat.
ABC stands for Amy’s Baking Company, an infamous business from Kitchen Nightmares. Celebrity chef and business consultant Gordon Ramsay walked away from ABC because it was so bad.
Throughout two episodes (and a summer media storm), Amy was bombarded with negative reviews and comments throughout Yelp and social media.
Did they respond to comments?
Yes. Yes, they did.
As you can see, instead of being cool about it and learning from the feedback, the owners responded with angry rants.
Although Amy later hired reputation management and PR consultants to delete the negative comments, the brand’s reputation was effectively ruined. The company eventually closed permanently.
That is not how you respond to negative comments.
And you can’t cover up your tracks by deleting comments.
People know how to screen-capture these days.
Content moderation is important, and automated tools such as Akismet do a great job of filtering out most spam comments. However, the Internet still has its share of trolls and paid shills, filling comment sections with randomness and negativity.
The way you handle comments says a lot about you personally and your site in general. Simply deleting or refusing any negative comment is a form of censorship and is often viewed negatively by online communities.
As long as people aren’t directly attacking each other but debating with some level of courtesy, all comments are good comments.
These basic community guidelines can help guide your behavior in pretty much any public forum, whether online or off to encourage open dialogue.
Regardless of the type of comments you get initially—negative or positive—respond to them to get the ball rolling.
Your position as the content’s author allows you to set the tone for the comments.
- If you are defensive, the naysayers will become more hostile.
- If you are rude, others will become ruder.
- If you start name-calling, others will name-call you.
- If you express gratitude, people will be thankful.
- If you exemplify kindness, others will be well-mannered.
- If you respect others, others will be courteous.
For some people, the comments make the article. They may not read the entire article, but they’ll scroll down to the comments to see the buzz.
If you are creating a positive, affirming, and engaging discussion with your replies, it will make the overall experience of the article that much better.
Replying to comments also shows the next person who comes along what to expect if they leave a comment.
Your comment replies lay the foundation for open dialogue among the entire community.
I spend roughly 26 hours a month on responding to comments. It may not sound like a lot of time, but that is about half a workweek each month that goes towards commenting.
I’ve tried leaving shorter comments over the last few months, but I noticed that the average number of comments per post has declined by 39%. I have to go back to more thorough replies as the stats show that leaving well-thought-out responses produces a positive return on investment.
If you want to do well, you can’t do a mediocre job at responding to comments. You need to take the time and respond with something that people will want to read.
11. Do you comment on other blogs?
Bloggers love networking with each other. If you want people to participate in your community, you have to be willing to participate in theirs.
Take a look at this infographic, particularly the section “are people who comment also bloggers?”
You’ll notice that while bloggers make up a smaller percentage of overall commenters, they comment nearly twice as often.
This means that by commenting on other blogs, you’ll encourage lengthier conversations with other bloggers. Sure, many of these conversations will occur on their blogs, but traffic will spill over to yours too.
12. Do you share your posts on social media?
Where are the biggest conversations taking place today?
Social media, baby.
It would be foolish to write a killer comment-ready article and then not share it on social media.
What’s going to happen on social media when you do post your article?
People will comment on the social media thread, not the article itself.
Is this a bad thing? Aren’t you going for blog comments rather than social media feedback?
No, it’s not a bad thing. Although social media comments won’t count toward your post’s overall comment count (unless you use a Facebook login WordPress plugin), they still promote the overall conversation. That’s a good thing.
It’s important to always keep an omnichannel focus and not get so entrenched in one tactic that you forget the overall goal.
Here are some serious social media statistics to consider:
Regulations and money are involved in social media to this extent because there are a lot of users.
Here are demographics for the most popular social media platforms in 2016:
Huge audiences use social media as a primary method of interacting with content.
You simply can’t ignore them and the conversations they are having there.
There are so many advantages to an active blog.
You generate excitement, get engagement, elicit feedback, establish authority, invite back links, and increase conversions. It’s a beautiful thing.
Answer (and act upon) all of the questions above, and you are sure to get more comments to your blog with ease.