Aha! Struck a chord, eh? Probably the #1 biggest issue I get from frustrated, beleaguered bloggers is that of the empty comments box. I know, I’ve been there, and often times, I’m still there, resorting to a steady stream of urgent pleas for interaction from my faithful posy. Payments works as well, especially for a teen comment.
I’ve let all this go, slowly, for the most part as I’ve found that in the last 2 years of blogging, slowly but surely my readership has, indeed increased and so has the response rate. Understand however, that just because folks aren’t commenting does NOT mean they are not reading, absorbing and appreciating your words.
Did you get that? I said "Not much of a correlation!" Did I make your day?
I’ll let you in on how I came to this realization, and then began to happily track it on Google Analytics to make sure I wasn’t kidding myself: I was on line in Starbucks one day about a year ago (yes! Ok! I admit it, I’m an addict! Alright already), when an acquaintance whose daughter goes to school with mine casually told me how much she enjoys reading my blogs in The Patch. Really? People read my blogs in The Patch? How would I know that, I thought, I rarely get any comments… not only was I tickled pink that someone other than my mother was reading my blogs, but it jolted me into the realization that most folks Just. Don’t. Comment.
The sad truth is that the latest stats say that less than 1% of all blog readers will comment on your blog. Too busy! Don’t want to be identified! Etc.! You’ve heard it all before and I’m here to tell you it’s ok. Really. If we take a big step back from our self involved and ego laden blog to evaluate the biggest reason we’re blogging in the first place, the most important reason would be to get your words out… to be viewed as the expert in our field, or to put forth wily words of wisdom, to create a community forum for ideas, in essence, to create VALUE on our website, right? If our blogs are being written for these higher reasons, we don’t necessarily need to have our ego’s stroked by fawning fans every week, correct?
This all being said, I know you’re still jonesing for ways to increase comments on your blog. It’s ok, I get that too. So here are 8 Great Tips To Increase Your Blog Comments:
- Make sure your blog is spread out into various hot websites, emailed through an auto responder to subscribers and sent to news sites or forums that already have a vast community, such as your social media sites. There are tools that will automatically blast it out to various social media sites. (Hoot Suite/Tweet Deck/Only Wire (my fav)/Market Me Suite, etc.) The key here however is to make sure when it goes out, you are getting notified when someone responds on a different platform and always, always, always respond back. Unless of course it’s a spammed response or some idiot. Those you can delete. Who cares if the comment is in Facebook, or Twitter or The Patch? Respond where the comment was made; you’re building community there and that is where they are… so that is where you must be!
- Make it easy for folks to respond and share. Don’t require them to register for your site. That’s a hassle and you will lose people who don’t want to be bothered or identified in the process. Requirements should only be a valid email address (to prevent spammers and add to your list) and their name. Make sure you add an opportunity for them to share the blog directly underneath each post, encouraging them to share it with their friends or interested colleagues. It’s an easy code your web developer can install.
- End your blogs — not all of them… folks will catch on — but many, with a question. You’re inviting conversation... and you will get more comments on your blog cause you're involving readers.
- Use Google Analytics to your advantage. It’s the best analytic tool out there, as far as I’m concerned, and it’s free. It will give you detailed... and I mean detailed… info as to where your responses are coming from, which posts are a hit and which …not so much, and how you can improve upon your work. Remember however that if part of your marketing plan involves sharing the blog on other sites, or as a guest blogger or in an online newspaper such as The Patch, your results are going to be somewhat skewed as it is those sites that are getting the traffic, which is why…
- Always include a link back to your website. Always. It’s the backlinks that will help your blog get indexed higher in the search engines, especially if you are linking back from authority sites.
- Don’t turn people off by spinning the content to be selling your products or services. No obvious ulterior motives. That is just ugly and manipulative and people are smarter than that these days. No one wants to be “sold to” in a forum that is being disguised as a quality blog. Yuck. Delete. Unsubscribe. Not only won't you get more comments, you will lose readers as well.
- Make it easy to read, and here you have to think like a journalist. People have short attention spans these days. As a matter of fact if you’ve gotten to this point I applaud you. Use bullets, and images, which break up the content and make it easier on the eye.
- Think short: short blog, short sentences, short words. I know it doesn’t make for a very academic read but neither did Hemmingway. Or e.e. cummings. And they got read. A lot. So short. You get my drift. This blog is way too long, actually. So I’m ending right now. 'Til next time.