Blog Comments 101: How To Handle Comments On Your Blog

Steven10 responsesBlogging
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We’ve all seen those blogs with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of comments after each and every post.

We’ve also all seen those blogs that have zero comments even though their content is wonderful and thought-provoking and packs a powerful punch.

Nothin’ but crickets on your blog?

Here are some basic tips to help you get more comments.

1. Make It Easy To Comment

If it takes more than a couple of clicks, most people are going to leave.

Yes, there’s a lot of concern about comment spam and it’s almost a necessity to install at least a basic plug-in to help keep it under control.

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However, some of those comment platforms are just too complicated for your visitor.

Keep in mind, what works for one blog might not work for another.

For example, if all of your readers are also Facebook members then they probably won’t mind having to log in with Facebook before they can leave a comment.

But, don’t be fooled by those numbers.

Not everyone has – or wants – a Facebook account.

If they have to have one in order to leave a comment on your blog, they might just leave instead.

2. Reply To All Comments

Let your readers know you’re out there and you care about their opinions.

But, go a step further…

3. Be Part Of The Discussion

All the advice you read says you should always leave a comment that adds value to the conversation, we should never just say, “Great post. Thanks!

Yet, when we reply to those comments, we frequently say, “Thank you for commenting” and move on.

When you’re having a face-to-face conversation with someone you don’t just thank them for talking to you – you add something else to the discussion.

You ask another question, or expand on their idea or even disagree with their opinion and back it up with your own.

Don’t just thank your readers – move the discussion another step forward.

4. Give Readers A Reason To Comment

Most comment programs let the commentor set up a link to his blog, but that’s only a good incentive if you have a blog.

Not everyone who comes to your site is a blogger.

Some people are just “regular” people looking for a good read and some information.

Give your non-blogging readers an incentive, too.

Everyone likes to see their name in print.

Pick some of your favorite comments every month and create posts around them, giving a special shout-out to the reader who posted it.

Use a comment counter in your sidebar.

A lot of your readers will leave comments just so their name stays at the top of the list.

You can even reward your top commentors every month.

5. Have A Clear Call To Action

At the end of every post include a specific question and tell your readers to answer it in the comments.

And don’t forget – include a second call to action telling them to subscribe to comments so they can see when someone replies.

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  1. Very helpful, thanks! Good idea about the comment counter, I will look into that :)

    1. Jonathan, you can easily find a “Top Commentators” plugin for WordPress. Good luck

  2. Great post. Thanks! Haha I’m joking. I wanted to add that if you have the time, connect your blogs to networks and databases so that other bloggers can find you. Networked blogs on Facebook is getting bigger. Also if you think your blog is pretty fandangle, join a comp?

    1. HMC, it goes back to interacting with other bloggers in every possible way. That’s absolutely essential… No man is an island.

  3. Mark Geisler

    Hi Steven,

    I guess I’ll be the first to comment on this post. :-)

    I enjoyed your post because I found that you have some good basic points that most everyone can benefit from. I agree that you have to make it easy for them to leave a comment, so you should have multiple options available for them. This gives them a choice of how they can do that.

    The key is get your reader to engage, and that can be difficult, especially if you’re not a well known blogger. With that being said, if you provide your reader with quality content and infuse it with your own distinct point of view, your reader is more likely to take part and leave a comment.

    You have to brand yourself as someone unique and not just someone following the crowd. You do that by expressing your own opinions.

    Keep up the good work!

    Mark A Geisler

    1. Thanks a lot for your comment Mark.

      As you say, engaging your readers is one of the keys and it can be tricky when you are just starting to blog. A good way to do that is to reply to every single comment on your blog. People will feel like you care about them, and they will come back.

  4. Sam Engel

    Steven — have you considered using a third-party commenting service, such as Disqus? It might lower the barrier to commenting for many readers. But I can also see how it might have some drawbacks like the Facebook Login option you mention.


    1. Sam, I like to use the WordPress built-in comment system because it give me complete control over the way comments are displayed. Unfortunately, this is not the case with these services.

    2. Sam Engel

      Makes sense. You have to keep out negative comments and the like to make sure that the discussion is interesting.

    3. I was more talking about the design side of this. All these commenting system allow you to do an efficient moderation, but I don’t like the way they display comments.

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