Bloggers of the world, pay attention. The thing that seperates you from the top blogs listed on Technorati is the number of comments people write on your posts. Well… that and the sheer volume of traffic they receive, and of course the fact that they have something interesting for readers to read.
Here are the tips.
- Ask! – Ask for people to comment, you are more
likely to get comments if you ask for them. Sometimes people do not
know it is ok to comment. Just because there is a comment form does not
mean people automatically feel worthy to post a comment. The higher the
profile of the blog or the less the person feels they "know" the
blogger the less likely they are to comment. By "giving permission"
they will feel more entitled to comment.
- Seed – Like a tip jar, people sometimes need a
hint, get friends to comment to start the ball rolling and you might
open the floodgates. On some blogs people like to be first, on others
there is a hesitation period where they do not want to expose their
opinion to early.
- Ego – People like to talk about themselves,
provide the opportunity. They might not be experts in the topic but we
are all experts in our own experience and we all know what we like. You
know the famous phrase about everyone having an opinion. Sometimes it
is nice just to give people the opportunity to brag.
- Links – Bloggers and webmasters are always on the
lookout for link opportunities. They might not be your ideal kind of
comment but they might encourage others that it is ok to feedback.
Allow link drops in your blog comment settings and do not use nofollow
so the link visibly has value.
- Hint – Open questions are the best to get great
quality answers, ie. "What do you think?", but they can be
intimidating. If you struggle to get comments it might be easier to
give simple leading ideas for what people should say, eg. "Do you
agree?", "Are you for or against?". "Yes, no, me too" are not great
responses but at least they are a sign of life!
- Restraint – Resist the urge to make your posts too
complete if you want to receive community input. That’s one of the
great things about top ten lists, you have to stop at 10! Don’t put
everything into the post, especially if you know your audience has
certain expertise they are bursting to share!
- Usability – Sometimes people don’t comment just
because they can’t! Make sure the comment form is obvious and easy to
use. Also do not take the visitor to a different site in order to
comment. The very worst culprits for this are the hosted services that
not only take you to another site, they use a popup to do it. Why not
inflict actual pain while you are at it?
- Open – While a blog with a true membership is more
valuable, if you are having difficulty getting comments open up your
comment settings to allow comments with out registration. We can get
away with requiring registration because we knew we would get the
comments, consider carefully if your blog can get away with it too,
- Topic – If you want to attract comments then you
have to pick your subjects. Some subjects people just do not have an
opinion on, others you can’t stop people talking about. Current affairs
are good but it needn’t be contraversial, politics and religion get
people talking but can also send your blog down a path you might not
want to go down. Press peoples buttons. You can endlessly recycle some
topics, others are shortlived.
- Observe – Note the topics people often comment on,
there might be a trend. Just be observant. Be on the lookout for topics
people comment on and write about them.
Not every post needs to get a ton of comments but if your blog hardly
ever gets a single comment then it will look unpopular and start a
downward spiral. Hopefully using some of these tips you will turn it
the other way and create a positive community snowball affect.