When bloggers ask how can I increase traffic to my blog, my mind changes this to how can I increase comments on my blog.
Now you may be thinking, these are not the same! But actually these are connected.
You wouldn't be able to increase comments on your blog if you hadn't increased traffic to it first. And you don't want any old traffic, you need to increase the right kind which are most likely to become commenters.
So here's the first of two infographics that helps you to do just that:
And here's some code you could paste into your own posts (via the text mode) if you want to share this Infographic with your readers.
How easy is it to comment?
I have come across some blogs, especially those without a responsive theme, that make it increasingly impossible to leave a comment. This is barely one step above blogs who have closed their comments.
What do you think your readers think? They are all fired up to write a comment, and search around for a commenting area only to be met with disappointment. This can put a sorry dampener on the proceedings.
The best way to increase comments is to make it totally obvious where to comment. A nice big comment box, without inhibiting barriers for submission (like Disqus does). And if you can manage it, some relevant comments already in situ.
Provide an incentive to increase comments
Readers are a lazy lot. This may sound harsh, but 90% of readers won't bother to comment on your post because they aren't interested. The problem is most of the visitors you get aren't relevant to your post or your blog. Hey, even some of them may be spammers!
Now while you're reeling from this harsh reality, it's time to get ready to convince those interested readers who do read your posts. Make it easier for them by providing examples which incentivise a comment. Do the hard work for them, so all they need to do is to fill in the gaps.
The link above gives 8 examples of call to action questions you could ask at the end of your posts, which could increase comments quite considerably.
Be polite and reply
This is a very simple thing to do: replying to your comments instantly doubles them! What a no brainer method to increase comments on your blog!
Replying to comments also incentivises your existing commenters to comment again. Stands to reason - this already works on social media, so why shouldn't it work on blogs? OK the process is a little slower because of moderation, but with patience you could get a really good discussion going.
If your readers were to comment and get no reply, they might feel that you, the blogger, doesn't care about them. Your commenting readers need nurturing, so show them some love through your replies.
Leave some gaps to fill in
This is a real problem: you put so much into your posts, cramming in absolutely everything in because you feel it is important, you leave nothing for your readers to comment about.
I certainly did this in my earlier posts. I'm sure my readers were totally overwhelmed. There was no reason to comment because I had said it all!
If you have a list of points in your post, only mention 9 of them and ask for the 10th! If your readers feel secure enough with you, they will gladly supply their version in the comments.
Attract commenters in the first place
Writing a good headline for your post is extremely difficult. For some expert bloggers, this process takes longer than writing the post itself! They know it takes a lot of skill to attract the right kind of readers to their blog.
This is perhaps an unfair option to increase comments. But it is a valid one. It is part of getting relevant traffic to your posts, which in turn could become readers and ultimately commenters.
And having successfully won their attention, and maintained it throughout the post, it is up to you to inspire them to have their say. If you have promised something, deliver it. If you have managed to change their lives with the information provided, they may feel appreciative enough to leave a response.
How contentious can you be?
A tall order, but if you are able to pull it off, a successful one. I'm talking about being controversial, even outrageous! Are you brave enough to step out of line to get noticed?
This is not about being obnoxious or troll like. It's about stating your point of view in such a way your readers will want to state theirs. They may concur with you, or even throughly disapprove, but they need to be galled enough to say what they think in the comments.
Sometimes it's as simple as writing what's in your mind, having a full blown rant without holding back. These posts are always interesting reading (especially if written well), and can easily draw readers and hopefully commenters in.
The power of the question
Questions in various places within your post: headline, first paragraph, call to action at the bottom, will generate interest. People find it difficult to ignore a question, especially if it is carefully placed.
The infographic above suggests a crazy question. Sure, this would attract attention, but so would a poignant one which makes people think. Make the question resonate with their lives, something they can relate to their own experiences.
Commenting is opinion sharing. Opinions are generated from past experiences. What could you prompt from your readers that would inspire them to have their say?
Show your vulnerable side
Part of cultivating a commenting tribe on your blog is getting your readers to know, like and trust you. If your readers feel safe and secure on your blog, knowing you are writing purely for them, they will feel more compelled to comment.
One method of doing this is to not shy away from bearing all. No, this is not getting physically naked, but perhaps more in a literal sense. Talk about your problems, reveal your foibles, show your vulnerability and release your human side. Let your guard down, so your readers can see you for who you really are!
This is not a sign of weakness, but more of strength. Many bloggers write to hide away from things. Revealing all takes guts, which your readers may really appreciate, and want to express in a comment.
Are you ready to increase comments on your blog?
This is the first of two infographics, so watch out for the next one! Meanwhile, have a good think about what I've said in this post, and see if you can apply anything to your blog or mindset.
And if this has generated some ideas or opinions for a comment, feel free! Are there any points of your own you could add? The comment box is below, waiting for you.