So you’ve just put the finishing touches to your latest blog post, triple-read it, added the final polish and hit publish. Now it’s just a case of waiting for the comments to come rolling in. Except they don’t.
Your analytics tells you you’re getting traffic. Your post is being shared through your social media networks and you’re doing as much as you can to promote it. So what’s stopping visitors leaving comments?
1. The content isn’t original
If you’re writing about something that’s been covered by other bloggers before you, how is your post different to theirs? If it’s not, why are you publishing it? Nobody likes repeating themselves, so give visitors something new to talk about.
2. You want commenters to sign up & log in first
Visitors don’t want to sign up for a profile on your blog simply to post a quick comment. Make commenting on your posts as easy as you possibly can.
3. You’re forcing people to post from a social network profile
Believe it or not, not every visitor to your blog will have a Facebook or Twitter account. Those that do may not want to use it to leave a comment. When I comment on blogs, I want a direct link back to my own blog, as do a lot of other bloggers.
Sending traffic to my Facebook profile, which I happen to keep private, is pointless. Therefore, I don’t bother leaving a comment.
4. You don’t reply to comments you DO get
You wouldn’t ignore somebody speaking to you in the street so don’t do it on your blog. If somebody has taken the time to leave you a comment, at the very least you should acknowledge this with a quick reply (and a ‘thank you’ too). If you ignore them, don’t expect them to leave another comment.
5. You don’t comment on other blogs
Get out there, find other blogs, read the posts and leave comments. You’ll be surprised how many people return the favour.
6. Your comment list is full of spam
Ensure you’re using a decent spam filter such as Akismet to catch bots. A comment lists full of spam disguised as generic comments such as “Great post” or “Very Useful” sets alarm bells ringing.
These comments often link to suspect content, which affects the quality of your own blog. And no blogger wants their own blog associated with a site that promotes suspect content.
7. Your blog theme is ugly
No matter how great your content is, if the theme you’re using is ugly, a lot of visitors will leave your site immediately. And if people aren’t reading your content, they won’t be commenting on it.
Ensure your site design is easy on the eye, and keep your comment form simple and attractive.
8. You’re just not getting enough traffic
If you’re writing great content, but nobody’s talking about it, maybe it’s because they don’t know it exists? The more targeted traffic you have can drive to your site, the higher the chance of somebody leaving a comment. More traffic = more comments.
What else can you do to encourage comments?
Remove CAPTCHA and other obstacles
CAPTCHA images can be frustratingly hard to read at times. This makes it hard for visitors to leave a comment. Remove it and use something like Akismet to moderate spam manually.
Put the comment form before the comments
Consider editing your theme to put the comment form box BEFORE the actual comment list. If it’s immediately after a post, visitors will be more inclined to leave a comment.
Offer an incentive
Giveaways and competitions people can enter simple by leaving a comment are great ways to drum up some traffic. Ensure whatever you’re giving away is related to your blog niche to attract relevant comments and traffic.
Allow anonymous commenting
Some people are still reluctant to share their email addresses in case they’re spammed. Uncheck “Comment author must fill out name and e-mail” in your WordPress ‘Discussion’ settings to remove one more reason for someone not to comment.
Not only should you be commenting on other blogs in your niche (which will encourage the owners of those blogs to comment on yours), but you should also be striking up relationships with these people. Send emails to them, hook up with them on social media to let them know you’re in the same boat as them. Maybe you could help them with something.
You are much more likely to get comments – and good ones – from people you have a personal relationship with.
Install a commenting plugin
The one surefire way to get loads of great comments on your blog is to install a commenting plugin like CommentLuv. This will reward your commenters with a dofollow link with their choice of anchor text. It also incentivises commenters to Tweet or Facebook Like the post. So plugins like CommentLuv can actually increase comments and traffic!