I'm a great believer in encouragement when you want people to do something for you.
For example, if you want more comments, you could offer your readers a commenting reward.
Do rewards work?
People respond to praise, acknowledgement and recognition. This is the case for anyone of all ages, and even for other beings, such as animals.
We all know that if you treat your dog well, he will learn to perform tricks and obey commands. Now I don't expect you to treat your blog readers like your dog, but the same principle applies here.
Extend your appreciation to your readers for making the effort to comment on your blogs, and they will be more likely to come back and comment again.
There is an additional bonus to encouraging more commenting by issuing a commenting reward: your readers will soon get better at commenting the more they practice.
We all know striving to achieve a goal is a good motivator. So offer your readers a selection of commenting rewards they add to their 'commenting portfolio'. They will need to submit more comments to gain their next commenting badge.
And this kind of activity is more likely to lead to retention of commenting readers, who in turn could tell their friends and colleagues and entice them to visit and have a go.
How to create a commenting reward system
I have installed the Thrive Comments plugin, which allows me to issue award badges to my commenters.
This has resulted in little badge icons showing next to the commenter's name when they've reached a commenting milestone:
They are quite tiny, and can easily be overlooked, but once I pointed them out to my readers, they were pleasantly surprised:
In fact I have now created seven different levels of commenting reward:
And of course I could add even more as the comment tally increases!
It's easy to set up
Simply choose Voting and Badges:
Activate the badge option:
Click on the Add New Badge button:
And have fun creating a new commenting reward badge with its special logo here:
Thrive suggest this could be attributed to a game, but I prefer to think of it as a competition – who can get the most comments.
Sure, there are plenty of other features about this plugin to rave about, but I think these badges have potential that are overlooked.
Got any other incentives to get readers to comment?
I wasn't going to mention anything else, but since you ask...
I wrote a post about putting a featured comment on the sidebar of your posts. If you showcase the best comment like this, hopefully this will encourage others to strive to write fantastic comments, so they can be considered for the next featured comment.
If you read the post you'll see I had a spot of bother. And if you look at the top of my sidebar, you'll see my alternative solution.
Now, to get the link to that particular comment, which can be accessed from anywhere, there is another feature in the Thrive Comments plugin.
At the bottom of each approved comment that's visible under the post, each comment has a 'Share' link, which opens up to encourage sharing on social media. It also has a convenient 'Click to copy URL' option:
This provides a very special URL which can be placed as a link in a text widget underneath my chosen comment of the month:
Allowing readers to check out the comment in question, and any replies associated with it.
I hope this new idea will soon take off, and readers will be vying to get their comment in that sidebar spot. And you never know, I may even feature another comment or change it for a new one mid-month!
How would you respond to a commenting reward?
Would you be persuaded to comment more regularly if you received a badge next to your name for doing so?
Would you want to up the standards of your commenting for the chance to grace the sidebar comment slot?
Let me know what you think in the comment box below...