Does your blog feel empty due to a lack of comments? Are you wondering how to get people to interact with you?
Blogging is a conversation. It’s a dialog between you and your readers, but in the beginning when you first launch it can be hard to get people to comment leaving your blog feeling somewhat empty. An empty blog can be disheartening leaving you wondering if anyone’s reading or if you should spend your evenings doing something else. Fortunately there are a few things you can do to encourage participation and comments.
Via Search Engine Guide I came across a post from Stephen Spencer at Business Blog Consulting. Stephen’s idea is to offer incentives in return for comments and he lists three WordPress plugins to accomplish this.
- Show Top Commentators – provides visibility and links to the people who comment most often
- Link Love – removes the nofollow tag on comments
- Comment Relish – sends a thank you email to first time commenters
Stephen is right. Incentives certainly work and any of the above should help improve the amount of comments you get. The first two plugins offer links as an incentive and since links can often be hard to come by it’s a pretty good trade. The last plugin should help to bring people back. Every one appreciates being noticed.
I’d like to add a three tips of my own for generating comments. These don’t require specific plugins and will work no matter what blogging platform you use.
Exchange Comments – Some people are hesitant to comment unless others are also commenting. Find another blogger who could also use a dose of comments and offer to comment on their blog if they’ll comment on yours. Try this with a few people and you should have a comment or two on all your posts. Once your blog appears less empty more people will begin to comment.
Ideally you’re looking for someone who’s blog you enjoy reading and someone you can build a relationship with for future social networking. As you get to know each other and each other’s content you’ll start to link to each other as well. Perhaps the best part of this tactic is it can easily lead to new friends.
Ask Questions – One of the best ways to get people to comment is to ask them to comment. End your posts by asking a few questions. Let people know you’d like a response. Ask your readers for their opinion and they will start to share it with you.
Write Open-ended Posts – This one is the hardest for me. If you write all inclusive posts there might not be much anyone else can add. Try not to say everything in your posts. Say enough to get your point across, but leave room for other people to add their own ideas. Think of your job as directing a conversation about a topic instead of trying to say everything you can about that topic. If you allow someone else space to get their point across it’s more likely they will.
All of the above can help lead to more comments on your blog. If your blog is new and you’ve yet to develop an audience around it, try the comment exchange. If you find the right people and actively engage with their blogs they will do the same with yours. If you already have a community around your blog, but would like them to interact more try the other two ideas.
And don’t forget the idea of offering incentives. Giving something back is a great way to get comments.
What have you found works for your blog? What plugins have you added that led to more interaction between you and your readers? What tips can you share to help other bloggers generate more comments?