When it comes to comments it seems you either love ‘em or hate ‘em. In fact over the last year or so, I’ve found that a fear of comments keeps some people from starting a blog at all. They don’t want to get nasty feedback and deal with online trolls who have nothing better to do than trash other’s work. I tell them, of course, most comments aren’t like that and comment management is really no big deal. You can simply select that all comments on your blog be “moderated” meaning that no comment will see the light of day until you approve it for publication.
Still while some are a little reluctant to allow discussion on their blogs, others are craving it. I asked a few Areavoices bloggers what they’d like to learn about blogging and a common question was: “How can I generate more comments on my blog?”
The fact is a blog that encourages interactivity with it’s readers will tend to generate higher traffic. I’ll use our own Forum Communication featured blogs as a good example. Anytime, FCC bloggers have asked for participation amongst their readers, high page views have followed. For example, in one given month three out of the top five blogs were blogs where readers participated. (Oct, 2011 Bestof.areavoices.com, Beautifulwomen.areavoices.com and fargostar.areavoices.com). In this case, these blogs asked readers to vote. But we also find when you simply ask for comments, traffic will rise as well.
It’s why shows like American Idol and Dancing with the Stars continue to thrive. People like to feel heard.
So here are three simple ways to generate more discussion on your blog:
1) Ask yourself a simple question – “If I didn’t write this blog post, would I be interested enough to leave a comment?” Many times we get so close to a particular topic that we lose perspective. You might be so immersed in the topic that you’re losing the big picture. If you have a broad issue that you’re covering, try to narrow down to a couple of key points in which you’d like to seek comment. Not to be too corny here, but remember that old adage: Keep it simple stupid.
2) Lead the horse to water and make him drink – Ask for what you want to receive. I teased my mother in law a few weeks back when she told me she left a ladder by the stairs hoping my brother-in-law would bring it upstairs. She was angered when he didn’t. When I asked her, “Well did you ask him to bring it upstairs?” she said, “Well, no.” Because my brother-in-law is a nice guy, I’m sure he would have loved to do it. But he didn’t know what was expected. My point here is this, ask direct questions, “What do you think?” “I want to hear from you.” “Am I wrong or am I right?” Again, people like to feel validated and heard. They want their opinion out there and your blog can be that vehicle.
3) It’s a two way street – when someone does comment on your blog post I strongly urge you to reply back to them. It’s not always practical to do so, but if someone takes the time to add to the discussion on your blog site, it’s worth telling them you appreciate it. You can even disagree with them, but just let them know they were heard. Also, remember to comment on other people’s blogs. The number of comments you leave on blogs is directly proportional to the comments you get on your blog. Relationships form and your name recognition increases. And if you work for a business and have your own website, traffic to your website goes up.
Next up on your questions: How do you avoid blog burnout?