40 Dead Simple Ways to Get More Comments on Your Blog

by Mack Collier

Want more engagement and interaction on your blog?  Yeah, most of us do, here’s 40 tips to get you started:

Blog Design:

1 – Put your picture on the front page and the About page of the blog.

2 - On the About page write who you are and why you are blogging.  Both #1 and #2 make it easier for readers to connect with you, which makes them more likely to interact with you.

3 – Highlight commenters.  Remember to always reward the action that you want to encourage.

4 – Use the Comment Luv plugin on your self-hosted WordPress blog. Again, when someone comments, they get an extra link, which encourages more comments.

5 – Add a form to subscribe to your blog via email.

6 – Add Feed/RSS subscriber buttons to your blog.

7 – Add a link to contact you directly, by email at least.  Or add a Contact Me page. Remember, not everyone is comfortable commenting on your blog, they may want to use email.  Getting an email exchange going can convince them to start commenting.

8 – Create a blogroll or ‘Favorite Reads’ page highlighting your favorite blogs and add blogs from your regular contributors.

9 – Write a comment policy. Tell your readers exactly what is expected of them when they comment.

10 – Don’t moderate comments.  Nothing about the words ‘Your comment is awaiting moderation’ encourages a reader to comment more.  Nothing.

11 – If you do moderate, approve comments as quickly as possible.

Writing posts:

12 – Take a definite stand. Tackle a heated issue and firmly state your opinion/beliefs.  Notice how Beth Harte did that in this post on Social Media ROI.  Notice how some commenters are agreeing with her, and how some are disagreeing.  But by taking a stand, she got a conversation started.

13 – Close your post with ‘What do you think?’ Possibly the 4 words that get more interaction than any other.  Chris Brogan often ends his posts with ‘Your Turn’.

14 – Link to other bloggers that are creating valuable content.  Notice this post has 5 links to other bloggers.  Those links will help my readers find valuable content, and it also increases the chances that my readers as well as the writers I linked to, will comment here.

15 – Be personal.  Lisa Petrilli probably does this better than anyone, and note that her readers respond in kind.  It makes it much easier to share your personal thoughts when someone else does first.

16 – Get on a regular posting schedule.  We talked about this yesterday.

17 – Write in a conversational tone.  This is tricky, but what I try to do is write a post as if I am saying what I think first, and then I know you are going to make your point in the comments, and then we’ll continue the discussion there.  But in general, think of writing a blog post as if you are writing a letter to someone, not a memo.

18 –  Write posts based on comments your readers have left.  Did Jackie leave an amazing comment on your last post?  Did it spark you to write a long comment?  Why not take that long comment and turn it into a new post.  Then reference Jackie’s comment, and link to her blog as well.   Remember, reward the behavior that you want to encourage.

19 – Add great comments to your post.  If you don’t want to do the above, then you can add a comment to the end of your post.  Add an UPDATE at the end, mention the comment and person who left it (with a link to their blog).  This ALSO encourages everyone to read the comments, since you just alerted them to the fact that there’s some serious smartitude happening there.

20 – Write about breaking news.  Especially controversial news, my recent posts on Groupon’s Super Bowl ads and the Kenneth Cole Twitter PR snafu got a lot of interaction, because I wrote about them right after they happened.  If I wrote about either topics today, there would likely be MUCH less interest.

21 – Write passionately. Don’t sell me your ideas, tell me why they are going to change the world.  Make me understand why you are so passionate about your ideas, and that increases the chance that I will get excited about them, and want to respond.

22 – Encourage readers to promote themselves and share more about what they are doing.  Becky McCray’s Brag Basket is a wonderful example of this.

Responding to comments:

23 – Refer to your commenters by their first name.  Remember when I said to write in a conversational tone?  This is a perfect extension of that.  Notice how the HomeGoods bloggers do this at the Open House blog?  Looks like they are writing letters, not comments, doesn’t it?

24 – Respond to comments.  Back to Lisa Petrilli’s blog, she usually has double-digit comments on every post, and she’s responsible for about half the comments on her blog.  See the connection?

25 – Say thank you.  Seriously, common courtesy isn’t as common as it should be.

26 – Ask a commenter to elaborate on a point.  If Tom makes a good point but you want to hear more about his reasoning, ask him to expand on his thoughts.

27 – Leave comments on other blogs.  The best way to grow your blog, is to leave it.

28 – Leave comments on the blogs of your commenters.  Again, you want to reward the behavior you are trying to encourage.

Other Social Media Sites:

29 – Promote great comments AND the commenter on other sites.  Often I will tweet a link on Twitter to my latest post, but will link to the actual comment that someone left.  And if I know what their Twitter name is, I will link to it as well.  Such as ‘Love the comment that @SWoodruff left on my post about building a blogging team’.  That way Steve gets acknowledged as well.

30 – Participate in discussions on other sites.  I have left a ton of comments on blogs after ‘meeting’ that blogger at #Blogchat.

31 – Promote other people.  All this does is encourage more people to check out your site, and comment.

 

But Mack, you promised us 40 tips, where are the other 9?!?

You have to figure out the other 9 for yourself.  Actually, after you’ve been blogging for a while, you’ll discover a few dozen more tips (at least) besides these for getting more comments and interaction on your blog.  These ‘tips’ and ‘How-to’ posts are always popular because people want to direction.  They want to know what the ‘rules’ are.

But if you want to be a truly great blogger, here’s the best rule to follow: Make your own rules.  Don’t look at the above as being the ONLY 31 tips that exist for getting more comments.  Look at it as 31 tips to get you STARTED.  Figure out how to add to this list, then share what you’ve learned, so it becomes your 50 tips for getting more comments.

What works for you that I didn’t list?  Help us find the 9 missing tips ;)

 

UPDATE: Aaron reminded me of a great way to encourage comments: Thank 1st-time commenters with a custom page.  I use this plugin so that the 1st time you leave a comment here, you are taken to a special page that thanks you for commenting!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Jonathan left this fabulous tip in the comments for leveraging Facebook to get more comments on your blog: “One tip that I have found helpful is to get a discussion going on our Facebook page telling my readers that I am writing a post on it. I include their comments to the discussion in my post and then share the link to the post in the original Facebook comment thread. It really has helped me build our community.”

{ 43 comments }

Lisa Petrilli March 3, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Thank you, Mack. Your very kind words mean so much to me, especially since you were the one who encouraged me the most to begin blogging…

I’ve learned through this odyssey that when I write and comment from the heart what I get back from my readers enriches my life – usually in ways I had not even imagined.

And I just changed something on my blog based on one of your recommendations in this post. You’re *always* giving me more work to do…! ;)

Thanks again,
Lisa

Mack Collier March 3, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Lisa the success of your blog has been an inspiration. I keep hearing so many people say that they don’t want to start a blog cause they feel they have ‘missed the boat’ or that it’s ‘too late’ to start blogging. You have proved that it’s never too late to share your voice via a blog ;)

Aaron March 3, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Challenge accepted! LoL!

Thanks for the great post, i agree, the best way to get comment is to comment on other people blog, (after passion of course) thank you for sharing Mack.

I think having a good ranking SEO blog is good to drive comments too, notice some old articles still getting comment on my blog.

Mack Collier March 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Thanks Aaron, and I just commented on your blog ;) And I think you are right about search rankings, higher rankings means more search visitors, which means more people have a chance to comment on your blog. Good reminder.

Danielle McGaw March 3, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Great ideas Mack! I’ve seen many of these before but it helps to see them all in one place. I often star posts like this in my Google reader so I can refer back to them.

One of the things that I have had success with is joining blogging groups/tribes/challenges. Not only does it get you more visitors but it exposes you to a whole new group of blogs to read and comment on. And it really reinforces the idea of community.

Oh, and I have to say that I LOVE your header! It’s very eye catching!

Mack Collier March 3, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Why thank you, Danielle! When I first started my own blog 5 years ago, I would have about 30 visitors a day, and they were mostly my friends. But I’d also get 5-10 comments on every post, for the same reason. And we’d all go and comment on each other’s blogs and as a result we all had as many comments as blogs with 100X our traffic. Being a member of such a group is a great thing!

andrew March 3, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Brilliant stuff, Mack. Installing CommentLuv on Engage as we speak.

@jpdesigntheory March 3, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Great tips here. I totally agree with the RSS and subscribers form being a must for every blog.

Jessica March 3, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Fabulous advice! I like to make my readers think… I like to interact with them on my posts… I don’t respond to their comments enough… I will follow your tips for sure!

Mack Collier March 3, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Thank you Jessica! It’s sometimes tough to figure out how often you should respond to commenters. Generally, I try to respond enough to let them know I am involved, but not so much that I dominate the conversation. I don’t want the comments to be about me, I want my readers to feel like the comments section is their space. Because they are smarter than I am, anyway ;)

Shane March 4, 2011 at 3:57 am

Nice post Mack, liked the tips. On the topic of blog comments do check out Mitch Joel’s post on The Liberation Of Comments And The New Storytelling: http://bit.ly/fgnXKQ – its quite insightful and I liked the perspective given on blog comments in this post. I’m sure you will as well.

Gabriele Maidecchi March 4, 2011 at 3:59 am

You make very valid points, but my focus has to be on the comments moderation.
I really don’t see the point in moderating comments, so far I never regretted my choice not to moderate them, but I understand I am not a top-blogger in any way so maybe that’s why I don’t see bad consequences.
Personally, it really kills my interactive mood when I see something like “Your comment is awaiting moderaton”.
I feel like if I take the time to comment and participate in the discussion, the blog owner should at least give me some trust in what I write.

Mack Collier March 4, 2011 at 8:25 am

Gabriele I know that askimet does a fabulous job of blocking spam for Wordpress here, so to me there’s no need to moderate comments for me. And even if you want to get around spam, just add a catcha process. As you said, moderating comments really kills the flow of the discussion.

Paul Flanigan March 4, 2011 at 7:03 am

This is a bookmark-worthy post.

I have one: Make sure your overall blog layout and design is appropriate for you and your audience. If you spend your entire blog’s layout advertising stuff, your message will get lost in the blinky, messy banners.

For example, if you write about Shakespeare, make sure your blog doesn’t look like a Megadeth layout. Granted, you don’t need to follow norms, but layout is really important. So many blogs, so little time, people will scan your site before doing any serious reading. If your first impression is solid, then people will stick around.

Kevin Ekmark March 4, 2011 at 9:50 am

Mack, I installed CommentLuv immediately after reading over that point.

Also, do you have have someone proof read your posts before publishing, or are you just that great at articulating your points with your own self edit?

I’m just wondering about asking others to proof what I write first. What do you think?

Mack Collier March 4, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Kevin my frequent misspellings and incorrect grammar prove that I have no proofreader ;) And it’s great to sometimes get a 2nd opinion on your writing.

Paul Pruneau March 4, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Great tips worth printing and pasting on the wall.
Really appreciate the tip on mentioning and linking to other bloggers to promote their content and encourage back links.

Also, nice Call to Action at the end. Let the readers finish the list. That’s worth copying.

PP

Rhoda Bernstein March 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Great tips. Of course, it will really help if I ever start blogging! lol

Mack Collier March 4, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Bookmark it, Rhoda ;)

Jonathan Saar March 4, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Fantastic list Mack. A couple items I can see where I need improvement. One tip that I have found helpful is to get a discussion going on our Facebook page telling my readers that I am writing a post on it. I include their comments to the discussion in my post and then share the link to the post in the original Facebook comment thread. It really has helped me build our community. Thanks for your post sir.

Mack Collier March 5, 2011 at 9:52 am

Awesome tip, Jonathan! Just added it to the end of the post with a link to your site, thanks!

Jonathan Saar March 6, 2011 at 9:27 am

Thanks Mack! Have a great Sunday sir.

Thomas March 4, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Ughs I gotta think of the last 9? No fair =( i’m not the biggest fan of thinking but yes, I agree a lot with the tips. That’s why I just let people freely comment on my blog and I always make an incentive to respond back. I also think people underestimate the power of simply commenting on someone’s other blog with a thought other than “nice post” lol

Bruce Sallan March 5, 2011 at 8:17 am

Mack, what do you mean in #3 when you say to “Highlight Commenters?” Boy, do I agree about the Don’t Moderate Comments recommendation. It is an indirect insult to the person who wants to comment. If you monitor your website/blog regularly enough, as you SHOULD, you can delete the spam or anything offensive! Since it’s a “Comment” no one is going to think it is you that is saying something offensive or posting spam sales ca-ca!

Mack Collier March 5, 2011 at 9:46 am

Bruce I mean find ways to put the spotlight on your commenters, it could be by adding a Recent Comments widget, it could be by writing a post about the readers that leave the ‘best’ comments, or it could by adding comments to the end of your post like I did with this one. If you want more comments, treat your readers that comment like the rockstars they are!

Bruce Sallan March 5, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Thx Mack. I do try to reply and respect every commenter and RT their comments with the TY early in the reply so it shows them. Appreciate the reply Mack. Might miss tomorrow night as I’m heading home from the mountains.

Carrie Hansen March 5, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Hi Mack!
Thank you for the great tips! I linked your website on one of my latest posts about blogging.

Carrie Hansen
Studio C Interior Design
http://www.studio-c-design.blogspot.com

William Duncan March 6, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Thanks for the great tips.I’ll try to put them into practice.

Cynthia Bailey MD, Dermatologist March 6, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Every time I visit your blog Mack I get great ideas. I’m in the midst of renovation on my site and will now be sure to put another picture on my about page. Also love the Comment Luv plug in idea. Got a lot of the rest covered (thanks to Matt McGee, my Obi Juan of the web), but need to re-hear the writing style ideas to keep ‘em front/center. Thanks!

Hariom March 7, 2011 at 9:54 am

Very nice list for getting more comments on blogs . these very practical things help new blogger to get started. I liked specialllt one point writng about contravarsial news. i haved tried it yet.

Ritch Brandon March 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Mack,

Thanks for the suggestions. I just installed CommentLuv on my blog. I hadn’t heard of it before…but I’ll be on the look-out in use now.

Ritch

Pavel Korotin March 7, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Thank You!
I’ve translated your post into russian.
You can find translation with backlink here: http://community.livejournal.com/site_and_money/1487.html

Nicole March 9, 2011 at 12:28 am

This is a great article, and very helpful to me as a newbie. Thanks! I think I’ll definately need to upload a pic of myself. I like seeing pics of others, for sure. It makes the writer seem more approachable. I need to make myself approachable as well, I suppose!

Mari March 9, 2011 at 11:06 am

this is a great article and has helped me tremendously write my first blog for our non-profit. Will upload link when I am done! Thanks

Perle Champion March 17, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Followed one of Wade’s every helpful links. Thanks for the input. I’ve been blogging since 07 sporadically and with no focus. I’m subscribing.
Thanks again.

JohnsonWebb May 26, 2011 at 5:26 am

I just started to make blogs and I find it hard to get comments which are related and useful because most of the comments are spam. How can I get rid of those spam comments?

job writer May 26, 2011 at 5:33 am

I just started to make blogs and I find it hard to get comments which are related and useful because most of the comments are spam. How can I get rid of those spam comments?

resume help July 19, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Really nice tips. I have to use them. Thank you very much!

worksofanselm August 21, 2011 at 5:41 pm

These are really helpful tips, thanks so much! I’m gonna work on an “About Me” section today.

Mark D Worthen PsyD April 13, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Thanks Mack for those excellent tips. I had pictures on my About and Contact pages but duh! I forgot about he Home page. – Added now!

I also hadn’t considered the effect of moderation but when I thought about it I realized that I find it annoying to have to wait for confirmation, so why wouldn’t my readers feel the same!? – Moderation removed.

I love Aaron’s suggestion (and your link to the plugin) re: thanking folks who comment with a custom thank you page. I used that to not only say, “Thank You”, but to also offer to help, e.g., visit their blog, follow them on Twitter, like their Facebook page, etc.

All the Best,

Mark

Liss Thomas December 14, 2012 at 9:31 am

I think it is hard for me to get comments on my post because I write fiction. Even asking for suggestions only produced one comment, which I replied to quickly.

But you have excellent suggestions and I’ll try to incorporate a few of these on my blog. I especially like the suggestion of adding great comments to your post… Very good idea and once a few more show up, I’ll try this even more!

Thanks!

Siegfried April 23, 2013 at 8:04 am

You seem to have lots of comments, I think your tips work well!
thanks for sharing!

SFP May 22, 2013 at 10:48 pm

I think it is hard for me to get comments on my post because I write fiction. Even asking for suggestions only produced one comment, which I replied to quickly.

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