Comments are the lifeblood of any truly successful blog. They keep the discussion going well after the blog entry has ended. And they signal to new visitors that other people find the blog interesting and worthwhile.
If you want to ensure that your blog becomes successful, retains visitors, and encourages visitors to stay longer and to become more active, then you should do whatever you can to try to draw more comments.
Below, I will discuss 7 different strategies you can use to get a lot more comments on your blog.
1. Repost or Reference Comments
One great way to draw in readers and to encourage them to comment more frequently is to reward them when they do it.
Example: If someone makes a particularly insightful remark about your post, then it may make sense to comment on it explicitly.
You can do this by quoting part or all of the comment, mentioning the poster by name, and then saying something complimentary or funny about his or her post.
Tip: Remember to check you type the commenter’s name correctly. If you’ve got international blog readers, you’ll easily type their names wrong – and that can only make an impact in the opposite direction.
If you do this in a way that makes people feel involved and recognized for their effort, then they’re more likely to contribute in the future. Others, seeing this, will also contribute.
2. Hold Contests
Another good way to encourage readers to become commenters is to hold regular contests.
In these contests, the entry fee will simply be making one or more comments. And the prize can be a number of different things, including merchandise from your niche or store; or the opportunity to make a one-time guest blog.
As far as picking winners goes, this is up to you. You could either select them yourself by picking the “best comment” or you could randomly select a comment using random.org.
The first method is entirely subjective; however, the second method may lead you to select someone who only put in a nominal effort, perhaps by writing “good post,” which could anger other participants.
Tip: If you make a random selection , in order to optimally take advantage of this opportunity, you may also want to screencast the selection process and post it on your blog at a predetermined date and time.
Feel free to make real-time voice-over while you’re screencasting to add excitement to the video.
This could draw a lot of interest from participants and give your blog a healthy traffic spike.
3. Be Controversial
Another good way to encourage readers to comment is to occasionally post something highly controversial, but not ethically objectionable.
Example: You might cite a famous Internet marketer who has claimed that creating an email list is a waste of time; and that you should instead always send traffic directly to your salespage.
When it comes down to it, you don’t even have to take a side. You can simply introduce the controversy and then let commenters jump in and create the debate.
This can be an excellent way to draw readers in and prompt them to get involved.
With all of this said, I cannot stress enough that you should not post controversial topics that could be construed as morally or ethically objectionable material. This is more likely to turn off readers, rather than get them involved.
4. Create a Poll
Polls have many virtues. One virtue is that they allow you to capture information about your visitors that you might otherwise not be able to get. Another virtue is that they prompt involvement on the part of those who feel that their preferences were not well-represented in the poll.
I want you to use polls for the second (and lesser-known) virtue. That is — create a poll that is incomplete — and then allow commenters to chime in by arguing that you should include additional categories and explaining why that is the case.
Tip: Alternatively, you’ll offer a complete list of choices but rather explicitly ask them to comment why they chose it. People will start a discussion on why X is better than Y or vice-versa.
This should stimulate some interesting comments, which could lead to a discussion between blog readers.
5. Give Readers Less Time to Comment
As with many things in life, it’s all too easy to put off blog commenting and tell ourselves that we will do it tomorrow instead. And, not surprisingly, this is something that many would-be commenters do.
They decide to put comments off until later, but when they go to do them at another time, they find a new blog post and lose interest in placing the original comment.
One way to get around this is to put a cap on the amount of replies you allow or the amount of time people have to post replies.
When they see this cap and realize the implications, they will be prompted to post now, rather than later. While it may seem counterproductive at first, it can work quite well in practice to bring in additional comments.
6. Show the Carrot
Instead of threatening to prevent people from commenting, you may want to consider giving them a positive incentive to comment.
For instance, you could put some lower bound on the number of comments you must receive before you will create another post.
With this said, it is important that you follow the response to this policy over time. Make sure that readers aren’t simply posting “good work” or “nice post,” but instead are actively participating. Otherwise, this system will not work and you may need to switch to something else.
Note: I can’t stress enough the importance of the “carrot” principle in place for this strategy:
You need to show people what’s next.
Tease them about the next blog post and make it clear that you’ll post this new exclusive post right after you reach a certain amount of commments.
7. Make a Typo
Similar to tip #4, which involved creating a poll that purposely excluded certain categories of response, you may want to consider drawing comments by intentionally making a mistake.
You can do this by occasionally making a typo, which will incite those who cannot accept typos to comment.
Of course, with this strategy, it is critical that you do NOT go over-board. Frequently making typos on your blog will make you look unprofessional and will hurt your chances of long run success.
If you want to have a successful blog, then you need to convert readers to commenters.
Fortunately, if you want to do this, all you have to do is use one or more of the seven strategies I’ve provided above.
In a matter of weeks, you should see significant improvements in your reader involvement, commenting, retention.