10 Tips for Attracting More Comments

Your blog can be thought of in many ways. As a pulpit, a soapbox, a magazine, a platform, a newsletter, a diary. A lot of bloggers focus on the “broadcast” aspects, getting their message out. While great content is essential, never neglect the community element of your blog. As we have shown your audience can be your best asset. Here are some tips for attracting participation.


First of all, as we have said time and time again, you must answer comments that are made on your posts. It is not only the polite thing to do, it also encourages more comments. If people see they are treated with respect and they will get answers they will comment more. It still surprises me the amount of bloggers who post then sit back and ignore the feedback they receive.

I’m hoping you will be able to add to my tips or correct me if I have something a bit off. Will be pretty ironic if my post about attracting comments goes without being commented on!

On with the tips.

  1. Ask! – Ask for people to comment, you are more likely to get comments if you ask for them. Sometimes people do not know it is ok to comment. Just because there is a comment form does not mean people automatically feel worthy to post a comment. The higher the profile of the blog or the less the person feels they “know” the blogger the less likely they are to comment. By “giving permission” they will feel more entitled to comment.

  2. Seed - Like a tip jar, people sometimes need a hint, get friends to comment to start the ball rolling and you might open the floodgates. On some blogs people like to be first, on others there is a hesitation period where they do not want to expose their opinion to early.
  3. Ego - People like to talk about themselves, provide the opportunity. They might not be experts in the topic but we are all experts in our own experience and we all know what we like. You know the famous phrase about everyone having an opinion. Sometimes it is nice just to give people the opportunity to brag.
  4. Links - Bloggers and webmasters are always on the lookout for link opportunities. They might not be your ideal kind of comment but they might encourage others that it is ok to feedback. Allow link drops in your blog comment settings and do not use nofollow so the link visibly has value.
  5. Hint - Open questions are the best to get great quality answers, ie. “What do you think?”, but  they can be intimidating. If you struggle to get comments it might be easier to give simple leading ideas for what people should say, eg. “Do you agree?”, “Are you for or against?”. “Yes, no, me too” are not great responses but at least they are a sign of life!
  6. Restraint - Resist the urge to make your posts too complete if you want to receive community input. That’s one of the great things about top ten lists, you have to stop at 10! Don’t put everything into the post, especially if you know your audience has certain expertise they are bursting to share!
  7. Usability - Sometimes people don’t comment just because they can’t! Make sure the comment form is obvious and easy to use. Also do not take the visitor to a different site in order to comment. The very worst culprits for this are the hosted services that not only take you to another site, they use a popup to do it. Why not inflict actual pain while you are at it?
  8. Open - While a blog with a true membership is more valuable, if you are having difficulty getting comments open up your comment settings to allow comments with out registration. We can get away with requiring registration because we knew we would get the comments, consider carefully if your blog can get away with it too, many can’t.
  9. Topic - If you want to attract comments then you have to pick your subjects. Some subjects people just do not have an opinion on, others you can’t stop people talking about. Current affairs are good but it needn’t be contraversial, politics and religion get people talking but can also send your blog down a path you might not want to go down. Press peoples buttons. You can endlessly recycle some topics, others are shortlived.
  10. Observe - Note the topics people often comment on, there might be a trend. Just be observant. Be on the lookout for topics people comment on and write about them.

Not every post needs to get a ton of comments but if your blog hardly ever gets a single comment then it will look unpopular and start a downward spiral. Hopefully using some of these tips you will turn it the other way and create a positive community snowball affect.

Now your turn, what do you think of these tips? Have you any other ideas? What has worked for you? Is there a topic that consistantly gets comments on your blog? Let us know!

Comments

  1. johntunger says:

    Often, if you start a conversation in another blog’s comments, the author and/or their readers will follow along to your blog and comment as well. Most of the comments of ever received from A list bloggers came this way.

    Re No. 7 above: when I clicked through from my RSS feed, for the express purpose of commenting on this entry (pretty much the only reason I ever visit a blog in my browser) there was no comment field! I had to click on “chris garrett’s blog and then click on “add new comment.” It took a couple minutes to figure that… minutes I wouldn’t normally spend. Really, you almost lost me there. I only got stuborn enough to look because I wanted to point this out.

  2. lehrerfreund says:

    and for sure, sometimes it is not bad to be the one who posts first, perhaps with another name. i know: this is ethically incorrect. but to have a start for the discussion: why wait until anybody does you the favor to post? do it yourself.

  3. Martin Neumann says:

    Agree with first commenter. I like to comment at other blogs quite a bit and sometimes (even though I never expect it) some return the favor.

    Sometimes if I write about somebody I send them an email and invite them to make a comment – most do.

    Not sure if its ethically good practice to comment yourself to get the ball rolling – especially annonomously – but I do understand that a lot of people will shy away from being the first to comment.

  4. Hi Garret,

    You Hit the nail on the head,
    I was wondering why I was getting no comments as replies.
    I will suggest my readers to comment.

    An
    My Profession

  5. I’ve found that the number of comments increased when we turned on the ‘Recent Comments’ block (in Drupal – there’s bound to be similar plug-ins for WordPress and others). The only problem is that we had to do it when there actually *were* quite a few comments – it looks bad when the last ten comments list goes back for a couple of weeks. Once we got enough comments in a short time, we turned it on, and it’s helped keep the momentum going.

    On a similar theme, turning on a block for most popular posts (today’s most popular 5, all time most popular 10) seems to have helped to keep people around a bit longer.

  6. Chris Garrett says:

    Not sure what is going on with the comments here, should be a lot easier to comment than that, thanks John.

    Sometimes I reply to my own post to bump it up in the recent posts but I would never post using a fake nickname, just feels wrong. I can understand others doing that though.

    The recent posts/comments is good, I use it on my dslr blog though right now because of my trip to usa it needs some care and attention as the last post was 4 days or more ago!

  7. Thanx for these tips Chris!

    I’m already using some of these, but I’ll definitely give a try to 1, 2 and 3.

  8. I’ve been debating adding a Recent Comments Block but I’m not sure where I’d add it. If I use it I fear I may be pushing other stuff to far down. Might have to consider the three column lay out.

  9. Right on with that, Chris. Just about everything benefits from attention to strategic detail, and you have highlighted how one can pay specific attention to get comments.

    Those with big egos however may not be able to hold back and let the commenters add what the blogger already knew (and was dying to tell the world). Sure, not-telling-the-whole story brings comments, as does leading-the-reader-to-comment (seed), but it also diminishes the bloggger’s all mighty/know-it-all post!

    So that is where the network comes into play :-)

    Post following the guidelines above, to get comments. But also post related info on your other blog (or your friend’s blog), with follow-up authoritative info on those same issues you initially held back to seed the conversation. Make use of your blog network this way, and when comments come in you can reply to those with supporting “you are so right” comments that also conveniently link over to your other, thematically-related but niche-different blog or comments on your friend’s blog. See the power?

    Your content supported your blog network. Your reader was offered a chance to chime in, and rewarded for having done a good job by the external validation of same thoughts already published on your other blog. YOU are granted further authority (for having thought it through more than you had revealed… a.k.a. done-your-homework) and your audience is further rewarded with the introduction to another on-topic blog they may not have known about.

    Sometimes it pays to spread the topical authority across the blog network, and sometimes it is better to ThreadJack, but each approach is complimentary to conversation building and your tips provide a nice framework.

  10. I like how you gave us plenty of examples in your post. ;)

    I can agree with the recent comments block. It seems to have increased the comments on my blog as well.

  11. I like the guy whose comment is the longest so far… and it’s about the ‘over ego impaired’. Things that make you go “hmmm”. Maybe the bigger question is: “How to get people to read others comments.”

    I tend to get a response when I post about a certain pet-peeve. There is something universal about the things that drive us nuts. Everyone likes to jump on that bandwagon when it comes to griping.

    Good info here and well presented, albeit common sense based.

    Blog on,
    Sam

  12. Thanks Chris for the heads up. I’ve been trying to follow more or less your tips on my own blog for a while now. I post about a recent events and sometimes recycle older, more rhetorical topics to keep the blog fresh and, at least from my perspective, a bit more interesting than just my personal thoughts. What I’m starting to believe though, is that I’m either not reaching the right audience, or I’m relying way too much on friends to start the discussions.

  13. #6 jumped out at me. If the post is too complete, it becomes an article like you’d see on MSM sites. If it provokes the reader to think and encourages them to add their opinion or comments, it’s a blog post. I’ve tried to explain this to numerous people over the past 2+ years and they still don’t get it. Anyway, great post Chris ;-)

  14. Chris Garrett says:

    I think if people say what I write is common sense then I have succeeded in what I aim to do, it means people are nodding their heads saying “of course” and they truly “get” what I am saying rather than shaking their heads saying “wtf”, heh.

    Thing is, as I have said time and again, “common sense is seldom common practice”!

  15. Thomas Holmes says:

    Thanks for the encouraging tips Chris – I myself have a blog with zero comments at this stage – still early days though – will apply what you are suggesting!

    Performancing is one of the few blogs that I read pretty much every day and I respect you guys and what you say a lot. But I’ve noticed a couple of odd things though – both suggestions that have been made on performancing that you yourselves don’t act on:

    1. You don’t link to the website’s of those that comment, nevermind taking off the nofollow attribute, and
    2. You don’t use nice permalinks (/node/1210 etc)

    What’s going on here!

  16. Chris Garrett says:

    1. You can link to your own site within the comment if it is on topic (not just blatent link drops), everyone is free to link from their own profile also. Drupal links to your user profile as you have to be a member here.

    2. At the time Nick set up performancing he didn’t feel the pathauto module was up to the task performancing would put it to, could change in future but that is up to Nick

    Those things aside, they are only suggestions, you do not necessarily need to do them all and, … heh, as you demonstrated by commenting, we do not have any trouble getting comments much of the time!

  17. I’m in the same boat as Thomas Holmes.

    I’ve only had one non-spam comment, myself. I’ll try to implement some of your suggestions and we’ll see what happens…

    Thanks again!

  18. I discovered this from another very sucessful blogger, as she did it, and now its a habit with my own blog.

    and I think its absolutely essential.

    when you DO get a new commenter, and ESPECIALLY if its someone you don’t know, ALWAYS write them a little thank-you note email…MENTION HOW MUCH YOU APPRICIATE COMMENTS!!

    this “touch” often turns a one time commenter into a true rolling and regular contributor…

    like a customer walking into a store, this is the chance to get them back and buying over and over…

  19. That’s a good one, thanks Andrew. I once worked with a lady who always wrote handwritten thankyous for everything imaginable. She got the idea from someone else who was a very successful salesman. I must say the technique worked brilliantly and for some reason I can’t fathom I have never copied it. I do say thanks in real life and in comments but taking it that one step further and making it so personal really makes it something truly great. As you can imagine, she got a heck of a lot of christmas cards sent her way too!

  20. johannes says:

    You Hit the nail on the head,
    I was wondering why I was getting no comments as replies.
    I will suggest my readers to comment.

  21. will get comments .. if your article is useful.

  22. I’m going to start asking for comments. I think it might work. Wish I had thought of it before this.

  23. serduchkaverka says:
  24. BlogBinario says:

    All your tips are good, but I think the question that you have to do to yourself before implementing this advices is which kind of comments do you want in your blog, you cant expect to have different types of comments for each post, once you star receiving some kind of comment in a post its most likely that it will spread to the rest of your posts, so you have to be careful when you choose a writing tactic, the page layout variations are less risky, so I would recommend to go for that first (like adding the latest comments and the other things that were commented before).
    Also the first thing that you have to do to receive comments is leave them yourself in other blogs!, so feel free to visit my blog and comment and I will do the same in yours! http://www.blogbinario.com

  25. The number one way to get comments (and traffic for that matter) is to write well about interesting topics. I’m not saying I do that at my site, but I certainly try.

    Thanks for the tips, Chris.

  26. Well since my blog is quite new it will take some time before I see any comments but I will keep you tips in mind.

    Thanks and keep up the good work
    PSP Blogger

  27. Anonymous says:
  28. I think what makes people to comment is their ego. They know something and want to brag about it. I totally agree with you on this. What do think if we just dont give too much info, and hoping that our viewer will gave their comment.

  29. That’s a good list of ideas. You could also just offer money! LOL

  30. Hi Chris,

    my comment maybe a little controversial, but I will make it anyway as that is another tip to add, controversy gets people talking. Some feel compelled to show us they are the alpha male and be right all the time. You may even get peoples blood boiling because you hit a raw nerve. They in turn get their friends to comment to prove a point. Hence more comments.

    have a great day all.

  31. Great list! As long your site is dofollow you will getting more comment.

  32. I find having pictures and not just flat out text helps to attract people to comment. Or is that just me?

  33. Jeims Wadson says:

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  34. Yea! It’s not easy to get a real good comment from guest. So, thnaks for the tips.

    regards,

    To Make Money On Internet

  35. I think the simple secret to getting more comments it just to ask for them. Finish a good quality post with a question, a request for feedback, and see what happens…!

  36. Not every post needs to get a ton of comments but if your blog hardly ever gets a single comment then it will look unpopular and start a downward spiral. Hopefully using some of these tips you will turn it the other way and create a positive community snowball affect.

  37. I find that although I’m not selling anything as many of the above commenters seem to be doing, comments on my blog motivate me (it’s a weight loss blog). I feel disappointed when I don’t get any. So I started today, using some of your tips such as asking a question. Let’s see how it works! I already got one comment, and I answered her. I also asked lurkers to comment, but so far none have. Thanks for the tips!

  38. This is really great. I found a link to this page on Codrut Tucanu’s blog. I have a new blog, 2 months, and there are some comments but the people are not engaging like I would hope. This list is great and I will certainly implement the ideas tonight. Thanks for this and if anyone wants to comment on my posts for me you can go to my blog at http://www.billwynne.com

    Thanks
    Bill

  39. Great post full of useful tips! My site is fairly new and I am also having a hard time getting my readers to leave comments. Analytics shows they are coming to the site but I have a feeling “nobody wants to be first”.

    My site with very few post comments is WeirdLawsuits.com

    Anybody reading this comment is more than welcomed to leave a comment on WeirdLawsuits.com as well. You can also leave your “first impression” or other opinions on the Feedback page.

    Thanks again for this great post!

  40. We should thank you for giving such a wonderful blog. Your site happens to be not only informative but also very imaginative too. We find a limited number of experts who can think to write technical articles that creatively. All of us are on the lookout for information on something like this. I Myself have gone through several blogs to build up on knowledge about this.We look forward to the next posts !!

  41. Nice post, will definitely try out them tips, as a beginner in blogging, drawing traffic to my blog right now is a top priority.

  42. I adore how you seize the substance of the message, really good writting taste, I enojoyed it!

  43. Love this article. I’ll make sure to try some of the info. to see if it helps with my blog. Still new to this.

  44. excellent luck for you

  45. I have been getting very much less comments for my blogs from quite some time now, will try to implement your strategies and see the difference.

  46. I always ask a question at the end of my posts just ’cause I’m curious of my readers’ thoughts and opinions. I think it helps when questions show the sincerity of your interest.

  47. I have a site almost two years. I was a journalist for many years. I write about politics, rock music and movies. I have a good layout, original articles, I write about things and events daily. I write at least once. However, all this time I do not think I received more than 50 comments. Besides a good PR and good indexing in Google and Yahoo feel that the site does not work because it lacks comments. Why?

  48. I am also having this problem as well i.e not getting enough comments to my newly started website. I faced this problem continuously when ever I started any new blog. I do not if these tips will work for me or not but I surely try that. I also noticed that when a post gets one comment, it starts to get more.

    Another option many considers Here

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