The number of comments per post on this blog has reduced drastically over the past six months or so while the traffic remained much the same. However, the monetization aspects are getting better and better despite this reduction in reader engagement. The learning here is that, getting a lot of comments on a particular blog dosen’t always mean that it is hugely successful or popular. It may be also noted that, many highly popular blogs receive few comments where the comments to visitors ratio is 1:200 or even 1:500.
Nevertheless, let me share a few things that worked for me in the past in terms of getting a lot of comments. In fact compared to getting link backs or traffic, receiving a lot of comments is not all that difficult. The following are some of the comment baiting (that’s my imaginative phrase) technics:
#1 Comment on other blogs
This is the most popular technic that works for everyone. If you are actively commenting on a number of blogs, you are going go get back a lot of comments as well. And sometimes, it is even a more religious reciprocate action from those who display ‘U comment, I comment back’.
#2 Have a blogging alliance
I remember reading this wonderful guest post on ProBlogger whereby the author was talking about a hidden blogging alliance between fellow bloggers. In that kind of a setup, as soon as you are done with a post you allies will be commenting (along with other social media favors as well). This method is in fact a variation of #1 but with more predictable outcome.
#3 Reward commenters
There are some blogs that run that top commenter contest whereby they reward the commenters mostly on a monthly basis. Whenever the prizes involve hard cash, more and more comments might show up whereas prizes such as 125×125 ad spots or useless eBooks may not make any difference in reader engagement.
#4 Make your blog DoFollow
DoFollow blogs still attract traffic and comments despite being spammers’ dump ground at times. Though Google might be changing their PR and link strength algorithms, dofollow blogs are still attractive for most commenters.
#5 Make your commenters visible
Blog widgets (or plugins) such as top commenters, recent comments will definitely attract comments on your blog. If the top commenters plugin allows dofollow links, the potential to get comments is even more.
#6 Faster moderation
This is an area where I need to improve. Faster the moderation, better the response from commenters. If you are moderating comments only once in two or three days, the readers may hesitate to get engaged next time (Also read: blog comment moderation ethics)
#7 Reply promptly
Along with prompt moderation, it is a good idea to reply to your commenters faster as well. The web readers’ interests are often short-lived and they have short memories about your blog post as well. The earlier you reply, the better. Also, do remember to provide detail reply to their questions or view point to make them feel important.
#8 Subscribe to comment plugin
The subscribe to comments plugins allow your readers to followup on their own comments on a post. It can work very well towards creating highly engaging posts and discussions.
#9 Keep commenting process bug free
Periodically check (especially after upgrades and installing new plugins) if your commenting process itself is working. I had tough time with a couple of buggy blogs where script errors or complicated blog commenting services prevented me from making easy comments. Along with making it bug free, one needs to keep its simplicity intact as well.
#10 Avoid signups
I personally do not comment on blogs that needs a sign up to even comment. More such restrictions would mean lesser comments.
#11 Avoid captcha
Along with the above two points, if you have complicated captcha mechanisms, chances are you receive very less comments on your blog. Instead of using captcha, you may revert to a standard anti-spam plugin to arrest spammer bots and humans.
#12 Write survey posts or ask questions
Survey posts usually attract a lot of comments. You may use them sparingly as long as it is to do with a topic related to your blog niche. Also, even if you cannot write survey posts, it is a good habit to ask questions or keep your topic a little bit open at the end of each post.
#13 Be in the commenter’s wavelength
You may get all types of queries as comments – some from very proficient readers and some from enthusiasts. It matters a lot how you respond to their comments. If you respond arrogantly and at a different level than that of a beginner, he might never come back to you asking for things.
#14 Controversial and sensational topics
Controversial views, sensational topics and breaking news can often fetch in more traffic and comments. Some even go to the level of injecting a bit of profanity in order to get popular. However, this can also damage your Internet profile of a blogger and writer.
#15 Run contests
Blog contests and competitions definitely attract a lot of comments. Instead of running mega annual contests, if you can run one every quarter or so and keep each running for a month or two you may see a big positive difference in comments and traffic.