If you can get comments on your blog, you’ll increase both your SEO benefits and your status as an industry leader. Each new comment adds more valuable content on that post, so yes, you can start ranking for different variations of keywords that are naturally mentioned in your comments. Also, the more comments you have, the more clout you appear to have, because people are interested enough in what you have to say to bother commenting.
So the question is: how do you get people to bother to comment? Here are 9 ways to encourage people to comment on your blog:
1. Close Each Blog Post with a Question
At the end of every one of my blog posts, I ask a question. It takes about 5 seconds to formulate a question, even something as simple as “What do you think about X?” or “Do you agree? Share your thoughts in the comments below!” Asking for feedback from your readers will show them that you care about their opinions. Even though blog commenting is more anonymous than if that reader was asking you a question in person or from a conference audience, people can still be fairly shy online. But asking them for their opinions may help them feel more comfortable leaving a comment. Also, bold your question so that it stands out at the end of your post.
2. Ask Readers to Add to Your Numbered List
Many of the most enticing blog articles are numbered lists. Numbered lists make a blog post easy to read, and people know when they click on a post like “ 9 Worst Ways to do Twitter for Business ,” they’re going to come away with at least 9 clear takeaways from that blog post. The best way to get comments from people on these types of articles is to ask them to add to the list. In the case of my 9 Worst Ways article, I asked my readers to contribute #10, and got 59 comments to date. Not too shabby!
3. Write Something Insightful and Thought-Provoking
Try to write a blog post that gets people to think, or pushes them in a new direction. This is what a truly remarkable blog post will do. This type of post will definitely push the limit of a typical 200-400 word blog post, but every once in a while, take a bit of extra time to come up with a concept, theory, or idea that makes your readers think. THIS is the type of blog post that will make you an industry leader. This is also the type of post that gets people to comment.
4. Be Controversial
Some of the HubSpot blog articles with the most comments include “ 7 Signs You Should Run Screaming From An SEO Consultant ” and “ Why a Social Media Policy is Stupid .” The titles alone are controversial, and can elicit an immediate reaction. Either you go “Haha yes! That’s so true!” or you go “WHAT? I’m an SEO consultant!!!” or “I have a social media policy!!!” This type of reaction usually triggers the need to respond with either wholehearted agreement, or fervent disagreement. Either way, you’re bound to get more comments, and since this type of article usually has more viral potential and social media, you’ll probably get many more page views out of it as well. And yes, being controversial is a delicate balancing act, but you can certainly be controversial without threatening your brand image.
5. Reply to Your Comments to Keep the Conversation Going
If you ignore all your comments, you’ll let the conversation dwindle off, so reply to your audience to keep the conversation going. If readers see that you care enough to reply to comments people leave on your posts, they’ll be more encouraged to leave a comment as well. Just like you don’t want to blog out to an empty void, people don’t want to comment to an empty void either. Answer any questions you receive, and thank people for commenting. If you’re getting too many comments to reply to individually, wait a day or two and then comment thanking all of your readers for their insightful comments.
6. Make it as Easy as Possible to Comment
Make sure that your comment box is located directly below your blog post/social sharing icons/call-to-action, rather than placing it below the comments so that the user would have to scroll way down to find it. Also, remove any barriers to commenting, such as requiring people to log in. The fields for name, email, and comment are all you really need.
7. Comment on Other Blogs
Make insightful comments on other relevant or industry blogs. Don’t just comment with a simple “Thanks for this great article!” Actually add value to the conversation. This way, the blog author may visit your site to return the favor. This should also help you get more traffic, and possibly even more inbound links, to your blog.
8. Create Blog Posts Around Top Comments
If someone leaves a spectacular and insightful comment around that blog post, use that comment as inspiration for your next blog post. Open with a snippet from that comment, with a link to that reader’s website, and then follow with your opinion. Then reach out to that reader via email to let them know that their comment inspired you! This offers you the opportunity to provide your top commenters with recognition, so that they keep coming back to participate.
9. Ask for Feedback on Social Media Channels
Instead of just tweeting and Facebook sharing your article with the typical format of “Title – Link, ” ask for feedback. “Title – Link – Would love your thoughts, please comment” is a type of tweet or update that once again shows that you care about what your audience thinks, rather than just promoting your own point of view.
What would you add as the #10 way to encourage blog comments? Let me know in the comments below!