Note from Raelyn: Today we welcome Anna Clarke, owner of her own writing agency, to share with us how she employs simple tweaks to get more blog comments!
You spend a whole day writing a great article.
You finally publish it, expecting a downpour of likes and comments… and get none.
Does this sound familiar?
This is the 90-9-1 rule in action:
90% of your audience are ‘lurkers’ who will read and watch silently. 9% will contribute from time to time, and only 1% will actively provide feedback.
When we successfully engage our audience and “break out” of this 90-9-1 ratio, we build a base of loyal readers who are more likely to buy from us.
In this post, we will cover 20 simple tricks to liven up your comments section.
20 tricks to get more blog comments:
1. Clear the way
People are reluctant to leave a comment when you require extra effort from them before they can comment, like registering or filling a captcha.
Make sure that your blog does not make readers jump through unnecessary hoops before they can leave a comment.Make sure that your blog does not make readers jump through unnecessary hoops before they can leave a comment.Click To Tweet
Some commenting platforms even enable such hoops by default (usually after major updates) without notifying you!
Check right now if there is anything preventing users from leaving comments when they want to – and disable it.
However, you will need to balance this with your site’s security as well.
Note from Raelyn: I personally don’t have captcha on my site, I use a plugin like Akismet to filter out any comment spam and it works just fine for me.
2. Get rid of the ‘0 comments’ line
Make sure that your comment section never displays the dreaded ‘0 comments’ line.
Does your theme allow you to edit the way in which this comment count line is displayed?
If it does, make sure to remove this because it reflects very poorly on your credibility when people see that you’ve no comments.
Seeing that a post has 0 comments is rather depressing and might discourage your readers from posting.
A more inviting phrase such as ‘Leave a comment’ or ‘Share a thought’ will work better.
3. Get a friend to post the first comment
There is anecdotal evidence that many people are uncomfortable being the first person who comments.
It is easier to join a conversation than to start it – this is why the first slot can stay vacant for way too long.
To fill it and invite more comments, ask one of your close friends to comment on your article once you post it.Ask one of your close friends to comment on your article once you post it.Click To Tweet
4. Post the first comment yourself
Another way to get over the ‘first slot’ block is to post the first comment yourself.
It must be meaningful so that people do not think you are commenting on your own post just for the sake of getting more comments.
For example, you may provide links to some sources that were not included in your blog post.
5. Comment on other blogs
Many other creators are struggling to get more comments to their articles just as you do.
If you comment on their work, they will likely return the favor.
You should pick creators whose area of expertise is similar to yours, as their viewers may take interest in your content as well – allowing you to gain new readers in the process!
6. Ask an open-ended question
Conclude your article with an open-ended question asking the audience for their opinions or experiences: “What do you think about this?” or “How do you typically deal with such a situation?”Conclude your article with an open-ended question.Click To Tweet
People are more likely to share when they are invited to.
Derek Halpern, the founder of Social Triggers, asking an open-ended question under his video
7. Ask for feedback
If your article introduces a new product or incorporates a fresh element in some way – e.g. new topic, new writing style, new focus etc – ask your viewers what they think about that.
Encourage them to share suggestions on what needs to be improved. People like to see that their opinions matter and can make a difference.
Do not forget to take your audience’s feedback and shout out individual commenters when you’ve incorporated their feedback.
This will indicate to viewers that their feedback is valued and increases their willingness to comment again in the future.
8. Be controversial
Another way to get more comments is to voice an opinion on a controversial issue that is different from conventional wisdom or from what the majority thinks.
This will provoke viewers to express their disagreement in the comments. Others will support your stance.
It’s also a way to get your brand to stand out – by having an opinion!
You will get even more comments if users start discussions with each other.
Anticipate potential backlash though!
Mark Schaefer critiquing the much-praised content marketing strategy, followed by many, as unsustainable. Some 396 comments elicited.
9. Craft a controversial headline
In a similar vein, create a catchy headline.
Your whole post does not have to be controversial – you can just have a controversial headline as well!
Be careful not to clickbait though.
Neil Patel once released a post titled “Why Successful People Are Douchebags”.
Although he went on to conclude that successful people actually weren’t douchebags, the headline was enough to grab the attention of many people who thought the same and shared their agreement in comments.Voice an opinion on a controversial issue that is different from conventional wisdomClick To Tweet
10. Run a giveaway
This strategy is useful when you already have a sizeable but silent follower base.
To entice them into leaving a comment, offer a prize for the funniest or most creative comment.
Although you can’t keep doing this all the time, it works as a powerful one-time fix.
Be prepared that many followers whom you get talking this way will fall silent again when there is no longer a tangible reward within sight – but some will be encouraged to engage with you in the future!
11. Notify your email list
Some entrepreneurs are still shy about sharing their fresh content with their subscribers. In reality, there is nothing wrong with letting your email list know about the new content that you’ve posted.
In fact, I would encourage you to notify your subscribers whenever you post something new!
With our busy lives, few people have time to check all updates to their social media feeds, but they may still be interested in your content and will likely appreciate the invitation to take a look.Notify your subscribers whenever you post something new!Click To Tweet
12. Respond to comments
Make it a point to respond to every comment you receive (except for the spammy and offensive ones you will be deleting).
Thank people for sharing their stories, ask for more details, engage people in discussion, or perhaps defend your stance.
You will not only invite more comments as your audience will reply to your responses, but it also encourages others to hop into the conversation when they see that you show a genuine interest to engage with your readers.
Mentioning influencers – especially those who have inspired you to write your article – in your blog posts. Use their name and link to their blog.
This will increase the probability that they will see your post and perhaps visit your article to leave a comment.
Give them credit if your post has been inspired by them.
Getting a top influencer to comment on your article is a win. It increases your credibility, and people are more enticed to leave their comment as well when they see an influencer they like do the same.
14. Give the spotlight to your fans
If your commenting platform allows, display a list of top commentators on your website.
People who comment regularly on your blog will be proud to see their names there.
Others will be motivated to try to surpass them and get their bit of fame – by commenting more.
15. Run a Q&A session
This tactic is great if you want to stir up a large but silent audience.
Announce that you will be running a Q&A session where you will be answering any questions your followers have.
Invite them to post any questions they want to ask in comments.
16. Add a survey
Ask a question in your article and provide up to four response options.
Then, invite your readers to vote for the answer they like best (or consider as right) by posting its number in comments.
The comments you will get this way are unlikely to be long and meaningful, but you will most definitely get a ton of comments and engagement!
17. Use ideas from comments
By employing at least several of the ideas above, you will probably get some interesting comments.
Answer comments in a new article, giving credit to your commenters. Ask your audience what they think about the points raised.
By doing this, you leverage on your existing comments to generate more and more engagement on your blog.
18. Cross-post your article
Cross-posting an article to all your social media pages is easy and fast.
By putting in more effort to share your content, you can get a lot more comments as different people follow you on different social media platforms.
Cross-posting your article gets you more traffic and allows you to engage a larger proportion of your audience base, resulting in more comments.
19. Hook the audience
When writing your blog post, talk about what you’ll be covering in the next post(s).
This will loop your audience into the “conversation”, and you will likely find that people are more likely to respond with their opinions about it.
For instance, you will probably get readers commenting and saying that they are looking forward to the next installation of your article.
20. Enable subscription to comments
Not all platforms have it enabled by default. You may have to set it up manually.
When a user subscribes to comments, he/she will get notified of all subsequent responses.
This increases the likelihood that he/she will return and leave another comment in response to someone else, especially if someone disagrees with him/her.
Do not let the lack of comments discourage you from keeping a blog – it is a pretty typical problem bloggers face.
You just need to employ the right strategies to evoke engagement!
Be sure to use the simple tips we covered in this blog post to get more comments and break out of the 90-9-1 rule.
Good luck with stirring your viewers up and go get those blog comments!
Author Bio: Anna Clarke is the owner of online writing company 15 Writers. She is a successful entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience in both freelancing and academic writing industries, specializing in Business, Economics, Finance, Marketing and Management.