One of my more common conversations with Website and Blog owners, regardless of industry or niche, is how to encourage readers to engage and leave comments on blogs.
It is a common problem that not many blog posts have lots of comments. It is even more common to find if there are comments they are spam! So how to combat the spam whilst encouraging REAL comments?
Here are my top 10 tips to getting blog comments
<h4><span style="color: #008000;"><strong>Concise and Clear</strong></span>
Most bloggers miss the notion that actually people generally skim read a blog post. Unless you are say in the chemical industry talking about some formula that you have to go into great detail about. Keep you points clear and concise - don't beat around the bush (too much).
It's quite simple, if you are aiming to get comments (and it's not every bloggers aim!) then don't make them find a reason. Simply ask a question or for their views.
Make it Easy
So many blogs require 7 or 8 fields, or even pre-registration to comment. This whilst meaning people maybe subscribed to your blog means they can't engage. It is plain dumb to put road blocks in the way. Remember to keep it simple - maybe like us try Disqus, users can sign in as a guest, using facebook, google or twitter - there is no registration on this site!
allowing users some way of formatting can really help encourage comments. But it can also have the converse effect of allowing more spam into your system - I found that out the hard way!
Allowing links into your comments may seem like an open door to spam - and if you don't have spam control in place it can be. But get it right and others in your niche or outside your niche with an interest are almost 4 times as likely to leave a comment (i will one day find the report i read that in).
Linked to some of the above will be a requirement to prevent spam. Akismet is great at doing this automatically, but there are other systems such as ReCaptcha that do a "human check" - this means not letting bots post. But checks like this can cause problems - take Googles Captcha it is often so hard to read I get told to go away 7 or 8 times! do you really want to use that hurdle or will Akismet do the job?
Join in the Conversation
If you notice one or two comments on a blog, actively join in and encourage people to talk. Be aware you can stagnate the conversation but it is likely they will have wrote something you can reply to and add further depth to your post. do it.
It's not only your site
One thing you notice as a website content owner and controller is other sites will use your content. Don't worry as long as they link back, don't pass it off as their own its fine - but remember if you do kick up a fuss that they could be gaining comments for you on that site or say on facebook - these are valuable too, don't make them disappear.
Getting More Replies
One thing I've played with is the idea of "let me know of future response" on individual blogs. It's a great idea that if one person comments they may want to know if there is a reply, so let them sign up for email alerts. It also means they will likely come back to comment in reply again. But beware if you are open to spam your readers may get annoyed at hundreds of reply emails with spam in them!
Outside the box
It's all very well looking outside the box, on the top rung of a ladder, thinking it looks nice out there, but never doing anything about it. But take those steps into the outside world, make comments on other blogs, do guest posts, use social media - be known as a person, a blog and a brand ... market and they shall come. otherwise you are just another store for people to walk on by!
I think I've covered most things in this post, but if you've got any further ideas on how to increase user interaction and commenting rates - let us know, leave a comment.