Someone asked on a recent post about blog comments (my paraphrase):
“I've been blogging for six months and still haven't received a single comment. What am I doing wrong?”
Have you ever felt this way before? It can be frustrating. Especially since comments are currency to most bloggers.
But before we jump into how to get your first or five hundredth comment, answer this question:
Who Are You Blogging for?
Some bloggers blog for themselves. I used to do this a lot. As a writer, I find the writing process to be cathartic. But like any good communicator, I also enjoy an audience.
For the longest time, I blogged without getting any comments. I knew people were visiting the site, but I didn't know why they weren't leaving a comment.
I wanted feedback.
I wanted to know what people thought about my content.
Eventually, I learned that if I wanted to get responses to my blog posts that I was going to have to shift my focus. I was going to have to write first for other people. I was going to have to add value. And you will, too, if you want to maximize your potential for blog responses.
Once you've done that, you're ready to start earning people's comments. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Write worthy content
This is easier than it sounds. Ask yourself, “If I read this, would I leave a comment? Does it demand a response?”
If your post is just a brain dump or a rant that isn't relevant to others, it may not get much of a response. You don't have to be a professional writer or grammatically flawless to get a comment.
If your post is well-thought and easy to understand, people will respond.
2. Hit a nerve
It doesn't hurt to be a little controversial. Choose a topic. Pick a side. And stake your claim.
Begin a conversation in which you share your position and invite others to disagree. Be careful of overdoing this, though, as being contentious all the time can get weary. It can look like you're just trying to pick a fight.
When in doubt, find a commonly-observed rule and break it. This is often a great way to create a new niche or find new readers. People follow courage.
3. Get out of your shell
Comment on at least 10 other blogs that are like yours and already have an audience.
Leave a thoughtful comment with your blog URL in the comments section. Don't ask the readers to visit your blog. Just interact and give them a way to find you. If you add to the discussion, people will come find you.
4. Publish unfinished content
One of your problems may be that you're not leaving any room for discussion. Try publishing more open-ended posts. Share an idea, but don't think through the whole concept. Don't finish your thought. Just throw it out there.
This is the magic of blogging — you can share something and ask for help to develop it. Nobody wants to participate in a conversation that doesn't value varying opinions.
Whether it's a list of favorite books or an argument that isn't fully formed, you can invite your audience to become a part of the discussion.
5. Ask a question
This can become rote or cliche, so don't overdo it, but it's also the easiest way to get a comment. Leave a relevant, easy-to-answer question at the end of each post.
Sometimes, you have to lead your readers to a discussion. In fact, I'll do this at the end of this post.
6. Make it easy
Having complicated equations and CAPTCHAs to keep out spammers can create unnecessary hurdles for your would-be commenters. Make it as easy as possible for them to leave a comment. In fact, find a way to reward them.
What do you think?
Of course, you don't have to make this shift from writing for self to writing for others. It's perfectly acceptable to write just to write. Just don't complain when nobody comments.
Once you start getting more comments, be careful. They can be addictive. There's something to be said about writing the things worth writing, but it helps to be aware of what your audience wants, too.
It's all about balance.
For more on this subject, you can read about the scientific ways to get more blog comments on Copyblogger.
What tips for getting more comments would you add to this list? Leave a comment to join the discussion.