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7 ways to get more blog comments

One of the best reasons to blog is to open up an interaction channel with your customers, prospects and contacts. The fact that your readers can comment and add relevant content to your site via blog comments is a major breakthrough in the communication process. It’s why everyone is talking about social media these days. Blog commenting was one of the first mass one to one conversation starters and made people hungry for even more advanced forms of social interaction.

Active commenting is one of the first signs that a blog has some real life – with it comes more readers, so put in the work it takes to grow this important tool.

Small business owners can easily take advantage of this tool now that so many people know what it is and know how to interact, but . . . you can do a few things to stimulate this interaction and draw more conversation.

1) Ask for comments - Sometimes just creating a post and in inviting your readers to add comments can be just what you need to get them flowing. Commenting is a habit that you need to help build in your readership.

2) Ask questions and seek opinions – From time to time ask your readers what they think of something or what they have done that works or how they have addressed a particularly challenging situation. You don’t need to have all the answers.

3) Comment on comments – When readers comment you can encourage additional conversation by responding and showing that comments are welcome – even if the comment calls something you said into question. I’m guilty of ignoring this far too often – I’ll get better, I swear!

4) Show some humaness – No matter what your blog topic is readers like to know that the author is a human being. It’s okay to let that show and to add personal thoughts. Only you can determine how far to go with this, but I know that your readers will connect the more they know your story

5) Stir the pot from time to time – You don’t have to be a celebrity gossip blogger to stir up a little controversy. Often some of my best interactions come from topics that people are decidedly passionate about.

6) Make comment participation a game – Keep score and reward your most active commentators. I have installed the WP Top Commentators Plug-in that keeps track of how many comments a particular reader makes and rewards them with a link. You can see it in the left sidebar.

7) Make sure commenting is easy – Publish your comment feed and consider adding a the Subscribe to Comments plug-in so that people get a notice when someone else comments on a post they are active on.

So, what’s your hottest tip for encouraging blog comments?

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  • http://www.smallbusiness.officelive.com Karen

    I had to comment on this one :-)
    Looking forward to seeing you next week in Redmond at the Vision to Venture event for women entrepreneurs – http://www.smallbusiness.officelive.com/v2v

  • http://www.eimr.blogspot.com juliepower

    Great and useful stuff, but why is it that all these sorts of tools to encourage comments work better on wordpress than blogger? I’d love to add something like commentluv or your wp thingo but they haven’t developed them for silly bloggers who did the wrong thing and started off on the wrong platform and then are stuck there. Alas.
    PS. Great blog. And a post I wrote referencing you on Google local got a great response. Thanks.

  • http://www.barjdcommunications.com JudyAnn Lorenz

    As usual, you have given me useful content. I do enjoy seeing my ‘score’ on the Top Commenter plug-in. I am learning more every day about WP and will be trying to get this one working.

    Thank you.

  • John Jantsch

    Julie – the main reason is that blogger is a software owned by one company where WordPress is something called open source software – meaning that anyone is free to develop add-ons, widgets and plug-ins that work with it because they can get access to the underlying code. WordPress has certainly become the software of choice for business bloggers as well.

  • http://salesmanagement20.com Brad

    I think the most peowefull tool is ending your post with a call to action. Just like in sales you have to ask for the order. I try to end every post with a question.

  • http://www.cougarmark.wordpress.com cougarmark

    Nice to see you following your own advice – it must work…..

    ‘So, what’s your hottest tip for encouraging blog comments?’

  • http://thingsyoushoulddo.com juliemarg

    the comment on comments suggestion really works and is so easy to implement. thanks for the reminder!

  • John Jantsch

    Brad – yes, that works very well in any conversation setting, doesn’t it?

  • http://marketingintegrity.wordpress.com/ Mr. Marketing Integrity

    I haven’t tried this yet on my blog, but I have seen it done on others and that is to insert a poll every now and then and ask for comments based on your vote.

    This seems to encourage another level of user interaction and people find it fun and sometimes easier to participate in than trying to come up with something useful to say in a comment.

  • http://www.chezcliff.com Clifford

    Several of the points you outlined do indeed work for increasing comments.

    A plugin which seems to have increase comments on my site is CommentLuv. When a user leaves a comment, the plugin finds their RSS feeder and displays the title of their latest post under their comment.

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/commentluv/#post-2421

  • http://www.gwaveconsulting.com Melani Gordon

    Hi John – it was nice to meet you at the Microsoft event in San Diego.

    gWave is hosting a blogger meet up tonight and this will be a great post to discuss amongst the group. Thanks!
    Melani

  • http://www.chezcliff.com Clifford

    Sorry if this is a double post.

    Several of your points do work for inducing comments from readers.

    A plugin I recently was introduced is called CommentLuv. When a reader leaves a comment, the plugin finds their RSS feeder and displays a link to their latest post under their comment.

  • http://www.MarketingTwins.com MarketingTwins-Randy

    Great ideas John! I usually try and comment to my commentators and even extend the discussion a little – sometimes with more thoughts or with external links. If I filled up every post with everything I want to say, each post would be too long.

  • http://www.compendiumblogware.com Chris Baggott

    Great Ideas John, I’m going to steal some for a webinar I’m doing tomorrow :-)

    I like number one: Ask. Ben Stein quote: “The number one way to get someone to do something is to ask them”

    I will also often take Comments and make them a starting point for new posts…rather than keeping an interesting discussion trapped in Comments where only a few people will ever see, I will move it front an center with a new blog post…and attribute it to the commenter.

    That gets a wider audience for the comments and encourages more dialog.

    Thanks for the great ideas,

    Chris Baggott
    Compendium Blogware
    http://www.compendiumblogware.com

  • http://www.barjdcommunications.com JudyAnn Lorenz

    John, please pardon me for appearing to hijack a thread and delete this post if you wish, but I have comment for Julie. Julie, if you would like to try WP and decide you like it, the process for transferring your writing from one blog service to another is quite easy. Both popular services, Blogger and WP have the tools in their dashboard to permit the transfer. You can experiment with WP and if you like it, you can import your work from Blogger and move on. I understand that you may have a following whom you would need to notify, but you may find that the ability to increase activity through comments is worth that effort.

    Best wishes for whichever you use.

  • http://www.tornadomktg.com Kirsten Wright

    On a post like this, how can you not comment! :) thanks for the great ideas, sometimes its easy to forget that all it takes to get comments is write something that is worth commenting on.

  • http://blog.allamericanadmin.com Tia Peterson

    Thanks for this post! I’ve been trying to figure out ways to encourage more commenting. Much appreciated!

  • http://www.ceowise.com Sean Burke

    Most of the comments I see are in agreement with blog owner/writer – which makes sense. That gets “average” though. I think one of our responsibilities as bloggers is to inspire deeper thought on issues – and that can mean posting challenging statements in order to get people engaged in the discussion. I haven’t seen effectively used yet, but would like to. How about a conversation on – “Is direct mail utterly useless and should be banned!” Or “Are Google Adwords yesterday’s news – and personalized product interest ads the way of the future?” How would that fly?

  • http://www.foolishcross.com Adam

    Blogger doesn’t make #7 easy. With a little work, however, “Comments” can be improved greatly. I recommend using Intense Debate or Disqus (Julie). I personally use Intense Debate. They offer some widgets and add-ons similar to the ones mentioned in this post (top commenters, most recent comments).

  • http://www.pigsdontfly.com Zac Martin

    This is some good advice, something I’ll apply to my blog from here on out. Thanks!

  • http://www.netage.co.za web Content

    Great post!
    Points 5 and 6 are my personal favourites, mostly as their the ones I respond most often to…. I think it’s also useful to, on occasion, leave your posts open-ended, thus leaving it obviously open to debate..

  • John Jantsch

    @melanie – great to meet you as well – hope your discussion went well.

  • John Jantsch

    @adam – great resources – I like them both

  • John Jantsch

    @sean – I agree, I think a weekly post along the lines you suggested would be a great editorial addition. I strongly disagree with your absurd assertion that direct mail is . . . oh, wait, let’s save this for the real thing!

  • http://www.lead411.com Tom Blue

    @John: I believe the best way to get people to post comments is to make it easy for them to provide a link to their own site. I would say that 40% of the people that read your work would like to have a link back to their site from yours.

  • John Jantsch

    @Tom – I agree, and it happens automatically in the signature, but the best way to utilize this is to contribute meaningful content that would make someone want to travel back to your site and read what else you have to say

  • http://themarketingcaddy.com/keep-hammering-away-at-your-unique-selling-proposition/ Walt Goshert

    John,

    Sirring the pot with lively topics, and entering the conversation… and keeping it going works wonders.

    It’s a learning experience for both your readers and you.

    Walt

  • http://www.seoresults.co.za SEO Snyman

    Your shared wisdom is highly appreciated. The great beauty of having comments on a blog is the broadening of ones own perspective by having insight into the perspective of others. Interacting with an enthusiast community leads to a sharing of ideas and insight into the collective mind.

  • http://www.insidesales.com/hosted_dialer.php Troy Bingham

    number 7 is key for me. there are so many blogs out there that you have to register and sign up for all kinds of things, before you can comment. The blogs like this that remember you and make it easy to post will always get my comments.

  • http://www.campphotoshop.com Roger

    John,

    I’m going to apply several of your suggestions on my new web based business. I’d be interested in knowing if you or your readers regularly comment on blogs to help drive traffic the own site or increase their Google ranking. Seems like a no brainier but does it work? Is it worth the required time?

  • http://www.coreykgraham.com/blog CoreyKGraham

    I found that when I write a slightly personalized email with a link to my post. When i choose persons whom i know it might really connect with, esp if it relates to a particular passion of theirs the comments are almost automatic without asking for them.
    At the same time its also a good way to reach out to persons you have not been in contact with for some time. Let them know you value their opinion and you want to hear their thoughts on the post. Once you don’t do it every week you will sound sincere. :-)

  • http://www.holidayunder200.co.uk Diane

    Sometimes I’m inspired to add a comment after a lovely photograph, sometimes after I’ve felt moved to an emotion by an article. Doesn’t matter if it’s love or hate, getting that emotion to the surface causes me to write!

  • http://www.entertheknow.com Monavie Acai Berry

    Removing the rel=”nofollow” is also great. Though you have to be sure the comments are worth while other wise delete them.

  • http://thewahmblog.com Work At Home Mom Blog

    Excellent tips! I can use some myself!

  • http://www.ezidocs.com/the-sizzle Tony Eyles

    Thanks John – and isn’t getting comments so rewarding. Knowing you are engaging people enough to stimulate a response given the thousands of alternative sites they can choose to interact with. I think also comments attract comments – people can see the site is more vital (such as yours) and viewed.

  • John Jantsch

    @Tony – I agree – when I do workshops and teleseminars nobody likes to be the first to ask a question.

  • http://www.freesurveysdir.com free surveys mentor

    “5) Stir the pot from time to time”
    I love this one the best.
    Im using it all the time and really works! You will have a passionate group of followers and yeah… some haters also, but who cares, they also help to keep up the conversation and fame.

  • http://blog.mindvalleylabs.com Kenneth

    I agree that it’s important to find comments on your blog ways to increase the number of because when you have really good posts on your blog, it bothers you when you don’t get as much feedback as you’d hoped! Sometimes, all you really want is to feel appreciated buy your readers.

    All the points you’ve shared, John, are really really important.
    I’d say asking specific questions is one of the most powerful way. On the blog itself, ask specifically, “Now tell us, what can this technique do for your business?”
    Be sure to ask specific questions, and not to just say, “Tell us what you think”. Email your readers (nicely), or ask them directly on your blog.

    Another beautiful tactic is what I call “strategic ass-kissing”.

    If you want to get the attention of other bloggers, write about them. For example, you could write about Seth Godin in your post and hopefully, either through track back or through a search engine, he’ll find your post and leave a comment on your blog.

    I think you’d agree that it’s cool to have Seth Godin leave a note in your comment box. I think it’s a pretty neat way to attract their attention.

  • http://reeladvice.blogspot.com Jed Chua

    Hi! I have tried some of these techniques already and yet nothing seems to work. By the way, does sezwho increase comments?

  • http://kristr.blogspot.com kristr

    Nice advice, I will start to follow you now onwards..

    Thank You

  • http://www.bluebirdwritingservices.com Tischenko Irina

    Nice stuff, great reading. I have blog on my website but I don’t know I get lots of people asking for comment addition give link reference to some adult or porn site. These really makes me sad, what should i do to avoid it?

  • http://www.originalquill.com/blog Jared Young

    John, I was writing a post about this just the other day and I left out the “humaness” part… thanks for the reminder! People are ALWAYS more likely to comment when they feel like it's a conversation.

    A few extras: don't forget plugins like “no-follow-free,” Twitter links (so people can Tweet their comment), and Gravatars (helps make it more human and personal).

  • http://www.mccloudphotography.com/ Justin

    These are great ideas to making your blog more interactive and bringing more traffic. Very useful.

  • http://gdgprint.com/ printing

    What can I do to promote my blogs? I already belong to several blog groups and I comment on other people's blogs in hopes they'll check mine out. I don't do random, impersonal blog invites though, and I never will.

  • http://atv-web-solutions.com/ ATV WEB SOLUTION

    I just created my first blog and set it to only be viewed by my friends. Two of my friends have left a comment and told me it said it had to be approved by me.

  • nigel007

    Great Article, blogging def is the way forward.I have learnt so much here John, very well done, added you to my favourites:)

  • nigel007

    Great Blog Article John, leanrt a lot from this. Keep up the good work:)

  • http://www.printingkent.co.uk Custom Printed T-Shirts

    having the disqus app on your blog helps like you have too ;)

  • http://hubpages.com/hub/Buy-Pure-Acai-Berry-Extract Buy_Acai_Berry

    Yeah it does work well, for most people.

  • http://businesscardstemplates.blogspot.com Business Cards

    Classic proven marketing, awesome example. Why is it that all these sorts of tools to encourage comments work better on wordpress than blogger?

  • johannabartley

    I'm a bit of a procrastinator so reading a site I actually wanted to read leads me to some other sites I see on those pages. This way I end up reading about all sort of things and I always feel the need to comment on something. Many times there isn't a comment option. That's where those site/blog owners loose a lot.
    Trianz

  • http://paul-lear.com/ Paul Lear

    Hi John,

    I have found that simply commenting on other peoples blogs, can encourage comments from the author of the blog which you commented on.

    Great tips, I'm already doing quite a few of them. I should probably try and ask more questions in my post though, so that's something I've taken from this post.

    Thanks, and take care.

    Paul.

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