It’s another Expert Briefs, where I ask really smart business owners to answer your burning questions.
If you've missed past Expert Briefs, you can click on the undies to see them all –>
This week I asked our panel of experts …
How the heck do you get people to comment on your Blog?
Let's dig in and see what the experts had to say this week…
Pat Flynn of The Smart Passive Income Blog says:
The easiest and most powerful way to get more comments on your blog posts is to simply just ask.
To take it even further, get more specific with what kind of comments you would like to receive. It may depend on the post that you write, but you can ask for opinions, questions, criticisms, a vote, an experience, a link, etc.
For example, in this post (http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/how-well-can-you-describe-your-website-in-just-three-words), I asked my readers specifically to describe their website in just three words. Because this was a very specific and simple request, it encouraged a lot more (145) comments.
Another example can be found on this post (http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/the-only-100-words-you-should-read-today), where I asked people to “pledge” what actions they were going to take to succeed. In a little over 24 hours, it received over 280 comments.
There are other techniques to encourage comments other than just asking.
First, you should make leaving comments as easy as possible. The more steps involved and the more complicated it is, the less comments you will receive.
Secondly, you should do what you can to give your readers the feeling that their comments will be read. You can easily illustrate this by responding to comments yourself. To take it a step further, instead of just saying “thanks for the comment”, really engage with your community and ask questions, leave feedback and take the conversation even further.
A successful blog post does not end with the publish button.
And last but not least, think about the comments on your blog posts like it's a tool for the reader. It's not just a way for people to share how they feel about your post, but it's also a way to contribute and add to the post, and your community and brand as well.
Note from Nicole. I found this video from Pat that shows a few more of his tips on this subject. 🙂
Shannon Cherry of ShannonCherry.com says:
Getting a community going is tough. After all, taking the time to comment on someone's well thought out post is tough. I can admit I don't do it as much as I should, and often that's because I feel my time can be spent elsewhere. (I DO, however, visit a lot of blogs.)
That said, I am lucky I get plenty of comments on my blog at ShannonCherry.com
Here's how I do it:
1) Calls to action. If you don't tell them you want comments, no one ever will. But you DO need to be creative with this. Just saying please comment isn't enough. I often ask a question such as, “Am I off base on this? What do you think? Let me know in the comments.”
2) Posts with a bite. I'm known for my “Cherry Bombs”, which are occasional posts that are a little controversial about Internet marketing and the coaching industry. I get the most participation from these posts. The key to these posts from sounding whiny or bitchy is to always put a teaching element in them.
3) Use social media. All my blog posts are also disseminated through social media using my RSS feed. But when there's one I particularly want traction on, I talk about it more than once in my social media networks. Remember don;t do this all the time, or the really special posts you want highlighted will just be run-of-the-mill.
4) Build the relationship. When someone posts on my blog for the first time, they get an email from me thanking them. I admit, this is automated using a wordpress plugin called Comment Relish. I also use WWSGD (What Would Seth Godin Do) as a plugin. This one, which Nicole told me about, allows me to welcome new readers and returning ones differently. (Thanks, Nic!) Finally, I try to reply to every comment personally on the blog to foster communication and community building.
And one more thought…
How important IS getting comments on your blog? Frankly, for me, not much. I know the traffic is there, just sometimes there's not much to comment on. After all, some of my blog posts are informational in nature, just giving some tips, and don't ask for feedback. As long as the traffic is coming consistently, I wouldn't worry so much about comments.
Rachel Rofe of RachelRofe.com says:
With our blog, we try to provide ridiculously valuable and/or interesting content. Every time we do, we mail it to our list and announce it to the Earn1KADay forum.
On the basis of valuable/interesting, a lot of people will comment right there.
And I know it sounds like common sense, but when we ASK for comments… we get a ton more. 🙂
I would also say that one could maximize the traffic they get. Direct your blog readers to your Facebook Fan Page. Make posts. Get people to know you. The more they know you and like you, the more they'll want to reach out to you (and make more comments through it).
Connie Ragen Green of ConnieGreen.com says:
I blogged for at least a year without receiving even one comment. It felt like I was writing to the black hole of cyberspace, but I refused to give up. Then one day someone left a comment. I was overcome with joy! And then I wanted even more comments, so I took a close look at what I may have done differently to help make this happen.
All of my previous posts had been about my experiences with building an online business. They were all about me. In this last post, the one someone had been compelled to comment on, I was explaining how to do something that would help them to build their online business. I had shifted my focus from me to them.
I now write posts regularly that help my readers with technology, social media, affiliate marketing, and more. The result is many more comments, and true interaction between my readers. This has helped me to create a community of readers who are focused on a common goal.
My record to date is almost 200 comments on a single post. It was last year when I hosted one of my 30 day blog challenges and asked people to comment in order to have their blog included. Again, I was thinking of how to help them to achieve their goals instead of only writing about my own experiences.
Serve your readers by addressing their needs, and they will be encouraged to leave comments to be included in your community. It's a win-win.
Mark Mason of MasonWorld.com says:
I am a bit lazy when it comes to soliciting comments.
But when I do go after comments, I use these five ways for getting people to comment on my blog:
1. End every post with a question. Leave something open for discussion. This is just like talking over drinks. Leave an opening for your readers to comment,
2. Ask for comments in the post. Sounds obvious, but it helps.
3. Reply to each and every comment. When appropriate, ask a followup question.
4. Ask for comments on Twitter: Example: Here is what I wrote about Nicole Dean: http://URL.com Do you agree?
5. Email your list and ask for comments. It lets your readers know that you care what they think. Then apply #3 above.
Nancy Marmolejo of VivaVisibility.com says:
I make sure to include the first few paragraphs of a blog post in my weekly ezine then invite people to come over to the blog and drop a comment. It's important to make it a “cliffhanger”, get people excited to read the rest and find out what those amazing 5 tips are or that cool new resource you've discovered.
And I don't stop there. I also remind my readers how leaving comments on a blog is a GREAT visibility strategy. I want them to know there's something in it for them and it's not just ME looking for traffic or buzz.
Nicole Dean of .. here! .. says:
Awhile back I posted here on this same topic. I dug out that blog post, dusted it off, and found a nice gem. I hope you like it!
27 Ways to to Get your Blog Readers to Comment
1. Enable the DoFollow plugin so that your commenters’ links are followed by the search engines. While this isn't essential, it will be important to some of your readers, so why not do it?
2. Enable Comment Luv plug in so that your blog commenters get an extra link from their most recent blog post. I had this one enabled for awhile, but decided to remove it. However, I do like it when others have it on their blogs and I enjoy commenting there.
3. Email your blog commenters with a “thank you” after they post. There are automated tools to do this (including Comment Relish), but you can do it personally or have your Virtual Assistant do it for you.
4. Respond to the comment on your blog, which is really just common courtesy. I have a hard time keeping up with this, which is why I have noted very prominently in the comment area that I personally read all of the comments. And, I do. 🙂 I try to respond to comments left, so at least there's a sign that I'm around and I don't just “post and run”. lol!
5. Visit their blogs and comment back. Again, this is time-consuming and can’t always be done, but is nice to do while you’re having a break with a glass of wine in the evenings. Take a few minutes away from IM, Twitter, and chatting on forums (yeah, I love them, too!) and go visit your readers’ blogs.
6. Here’s an idea that I hadn’t seen before — list all of your blog commenters in a “thank you” post. While time consuming, it is a very thoughtful and appreciated gesture.
7. Hold blog contests and giveaways that involve commenting to win.
8. Have a contest to reward the person who comments most! (Hmm… any ideas for prizes that you’d like to see? I can do this easily! Let me know.)
9. Promote and market your blog so that it gets a lot of traffic. People want to comment on highly-trafficked blogs.
10. Ask your readers to comment. Sometimes people just want to be asked.
11. Ask them for suggestions. Ask for ideas. Ask for Advice. Ask questions — like in this post, I’m asking for YOUR ideas, as well.
12. Send a note about your blog post to your newsletter or ezine, letting them know you’d love to hear their thoughts. I try to let my other lists know about my recent blog posts without being obnoxious about it. 🙂
13. Post something controversial. That’ll get people talking – for better or worse.
14. Don’t allow crappy/yucky spammy comments to remain on your blog. It makes your blog look neglected. Be sure to go in and delete your spam. If you’re using WordPress the Akismet plugin will help automate this process. There are tons of other plugins that will help keep spam off your blog as well, but spammers aren’t dumb and will find ways around them so be sure you delete the ones that do make it through.
15. Twitter about your best blog posts. That’ll attract people who are already talkative to come by and chat. Have your Virtual Assistants Twitter about it, too.
16. Automate the Twitter process. Don’t have time to twitter your own posts? There are plenty of plugins now that will send your blog post to Twitter and/or Facebook.
17. StumbleUpon your blog posts that are informative in nature.
18. Kirtsy blog posts of interest to your readers.
19. There are a ton of ways you can get the word out about a post on your blog similar in fashion to Kirtsy and StumbleUpon. You can add a widget to your blog that lists popular social bookmarking sites right at the end of your post. This makes it easy for visitors to submit your posts to the social networking sites of their choice and bring more people to it, allowing for more opportunities for comments.
20. Get personal. My personal blog posts are usually commented upon more than my others. Post pictures & videos of your day to day life as it applies to your blog.
21. Be silly or at least “real”. If you notice, in the past, I mentioned my husband’s reaction to beans… Too much information? Probably. But, it’s better than being B-O-R-I-N-G!
22. Make it easy to comment. If I try to comment on a blog and have to run through Captchas and logins in order to comment, I’ll likely leave. My vision is quite good, but I struggle with those darned Captchas — and they are not friendly at all to those with impaired vision. So, unless you don’t want people with impaired vision commenting on your blog… find a better solution.
23. Make sure your commenting works. A few minutes ago, I tried to comment on a blog and received an error. It was a friend, so I’ll tell her, but if it wasn’t… she might not know for weeks and think her readers weren’t interested or reading her material.
24. If you have a Blogger blog, be kind to those who do not have blogger/Google accounts and enable the alternative commenting.
25. Change the default text in your blog template from saying “Comments” to “Please leave a comment” or “Talk to me” or something – to attract commenters.
26. Think twice before setting up your blog to moderate comments. It’s definitely a hindrance to those who want to comment on multiple discussions. I’ve rarely seen active comments on blogs that moderate all comments.
27. Make sure your comment link isn’t hiding when people are reading your main page or when they are on a “category” page. Sometimes there’s so much “stuff” around the comment link that it’s hard to even find. I've been on blogs where I've wanted to comment, but honestly couldn't find the stinking place to do so.
It’s Your Turn.
So, now, I’ll pose this question to you. What's your best tip about getting more blog comments? Or why do you choose to comment on some blogs and not others?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
PS. Here are a few of my favorite Expert Briefs: