There are several ways to encourage people to do so…. (although lately I feel like I'm not the best one to give advice on this topic as my poor blog tends to get neglected while I'm working on my bigger money-making projects).
However, here you go!
How to Get your Blog Readers to Comment
1. Enable the DoFollow plugin so that your commenters' links are followed by the search engines.
2. Enable Comment Luv plug in so that your blog commenters get an extra link from their most recent blog post.
3. Email your blog commenters with a “thank you” after they post. There are automated tools to do this, but it's much better to do it personally if at all possible or have your Virtual Assistant do it for you.
4. Respond to the comment on your blog, which is really just common courtesy.
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.
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? Check out this handy dandy tool that twitters your posts for you. Just a note on this tool – it doesn't tweet pre-scheduled posts in WP. Or if it does I haven't figured out the trick to make it work. If you know how leave me a comment! 😉
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.
21. Be silly or at least “real”. If you notice, in the last post, 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 their 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.
What do you do to encourage your blog readers to comment? I would love to hear your ideas.
Thanks for reading!
PS. Of course, blog commenting etiquitte should always be followed when posting comments. 🙂