Have you ever read a blog and noticed that every post had several comments?  It's almost as if the post was just the beginning of a fascinating discussion that carried over to the comments.  But how can you create such a vibrate community on your blog?

One of the quickest ways to judge the effectiveness of a business blog is to see if its readers are commenting.  Comments show that the blog's writers are producing content that resonates with its readers.  And the feedback that readers leave via comments are invaluable to the business' marketing efforts.

So if you're wanting to get more interaction with your readers, here's some ways you can encourage more comments on your business blog:

1 - Create a regular posting pattern, and stick to it.  If you only want to post twice a week, stick to that schedule.  Don't post 4 times one week, then skip 2 weeks before your next post.  If you get yourself on a regular posting schedule, you also 'train' your readers on when to expect a new post.  This helps to increase your readership as well.

2 - If you moderate comments, approve them as quickly as possible.   This is vital.  Most readers are used to their comments appearing instantly.  If they leave a comment on your blog and then have to wait a day or even an hour before it appears, you are discouraging the reader from commenting again.  Readers that comment are VERY special people, and you should treat them like they are gold.  If you do moderate comments, make sure you are constantly monitoring and approving comments as quickly as possible.

3 - Reply to readers that leave comments.  Let readers know that their comments are appreciated.  If a reader asks a question, make sure to answer them as quickly as possible.  If they give their opinion, respond with yours.   This shows your commenters that you appreciate their contribution, but it also makes non-commenters more likely to put their two cents in as well!

4 - Highlight readers that leave great comments.  You may notice that sometimes a reader will leave a comment that really resonates with your other readers, and sparks several other comments.  When a reader makes a great point in the comments, go back and edit the post to add the comment at the end.  For example, you could add to the end of the post 'Todd makes this great point in the comments:', and then quote Todd's comment.   This not only shows Todd that you really appreciate his comment (making him more likely to leave more comments in the future), but it also lets your readers know that there's an interesting conversation happening in the comments!

5 - Ask your readers to comment!  Feel free to ask your readers for their input.  Close your post with 'So what do you think?  Please tell us your thoughts in the comments section, we'd love to hear from you!'  And when your readers do comment, make sure you follow all the steps above to highlight and praise their contributions.


All of these steps will help you create an environment on your blog that encourages your readers to comment, and rewards them when they do.  But believe it or not, the best ways to encourage your readers to comment on your blog, don't happen on your blog.  Tomorrow I'll show you how the best way to get more comments on your blog, is to leave your blog.


January 8, 2008





Mack Collier is a social media consultant, trainer and speaker. He has been actively immersed in social media since 2005, and in that time, has helped advise, teach and consult with businesses of all shapes and sizes on how they can better connect with their customers via these amazing tools and sites. While being passionate about the social media space, what truly excites Mack is the human connections that can result from the proper use of these social tools. His motto is "Don't focus on the tools, focus on the connections that the tools help facilitate." His goal is to help his clients create those connections with their customers, and nuture them into relationships that help grow their bottom line.

His social media 'homebase' is The Viral Garden, which in 3 years time Mack has grown into an influential marketing/social media blog with a monthly readership of over 175,000. He is also a frequent contributor to the website Marketing Profs, as well as the marketing blog Daily Fix, and small business blog Search Engine Guide. His writings have been referenced in several mainstream publications and websites, including The Washington Post, MSNBC.com, Ad Age, CNET, and The Boston Globe.

Mack is also a requested speaker and has presented at some of the top social media conferences and events, including South By Southwest Interactive, Marketing Profs Digital Marketing Mixer, and Small Business Marketing Unleashed. He is also passionate about teaching companies how to use social media sites and tools more effectively, and offers training and seminars privately to companies, in addition to his public speaking schedule.

You can learn more information about Mack's social media training and consulting services here. If you need a social media speaker for your event, or want to know where Mack will be speaking next, click here. If you want to email Mack, click here.

Mack wrote this bio. The third-person thingie is just for fun.






Comments(37)

This is all good information. These are good practices for any blogger. The more comments I see, the more credibility I give to the publisher. Paid blogs rarely get any feedback and people who blog for the reason of providing information usually have people who return and contribute.

I may have to post about this topic as well since it got my brain churning this morning. I wonder if Google takes comments into its algorithm when determining blog strength. They have slowly been reducing the power of blogs thanks to paid linking campaigns. Perhaps community involvement would boost your authority. You never know what those guys have up their sleeve. What do you think Mack?

Brian I think it's good to remember that comments come from people that want to know that their contributions are appreciated. These are people that are willingly adding to the value of your blog.

Also, keep in mind that as people become a regular commenter on a blog, they become far more likely to promote that blog to their friends. They will even promote the blog simply based on the comment they have left. Several times I have been using Twitter and in the middle of a discussion, someone will post 'That's the same point I made in the comments here', and then they would post a link to a blog they had commented on.

All valid points Mack; I really think that letting people know you appreciate the comments is one of the best things you can do, great post!

Ben I agree. I think it's key to understand that your readers can contribute as much if not more value to others via their comments, than we can through our posts. I try to view my commenters as partners that are helping me create value for my readers at my blog. When you have that mentality, it's much easier to appreciate the value that comments can add!

And thanks for yours!

nice - also link out freely to others to share the juice and traffic :)

Hobo, linking out is covered in Part 2 of the series today:
http://www.searchengineguide.com/mack-collier/how-to-get-more-comments-on-your-blog-by.php

There is a plug-in that emails commenters, that could be perceived as nice and thus encouraging comments. This is similar plug-in, in that emails former commenters when you leave a comment. http://www.u-g-h.com/?page_id=320

Good post - a lot of the points raised are simply common sense and common courtesy. By offering your readership something worthwhile you'll hopefully get something back in return. This all helps towards building a community.

Caravan I agree, this should be common sense for companies and small businesses that are blogging. But unfortunately, many view their blog as a 'what can we get out of it' deal, instead of trying to find ways to create value for their readers.

Another thing that can help encourage comments is to actively participate in your niche and comment on other blogs. If you comment on someone else's blog regularly, the owner of that blog is likely to have a look at yours and will probably return the favor.

The guys at Freelance Folder are good at this -- they outright harass you into leaving a comment, and the strategy obviously serves them well. It's always nice looking into your comments section and seeing that your visitors are getting into a conversation with eachother without you even being there. They say blogging is all about the community, and it's fantastic to see that in action.

Pete that's great advice, and I cover this and other ways you can get more comments by leaving your blog in part two of this series:
http://www.searchengineguide.com/mack-collier/how-to-get-more-comments-on-your-blog-by.php

To professional bloggers, they have a lot of time to publish posts, but most of us are not professional, so it is hard for us to create a regular posting pattern.
Thank you for your advice, it's helpful.

Jackie you're right, sometimes work can get in the way of writing new content. But you don't have to post every day on your business' blog. If you can only post a couple of times a week, that's fine, as long as you are consistent about posting the same amount every week. Another trick is to set aside a certain time to write multiple posts at once. I rarely post on the weekends, since blog readership in general falls on Saturday and Sunday. But what I will do is keep up with any good blogging ideas I come across over the weekend. Then on Sunday I try to write out my posts for Monday and sometimes Tuesday. But that's 3-4 posts, which for a business blogger, would be at least a week's worth of posts.

Here's #6 -- make sure the theme that you choose for your blog makes it EASY for readers to comment! Sometimes the desire is there but not the usability...

Blogs are about publishing. Whether it’s information you want to convey, your own opinion or just telling a story. It is personal publishing that also provides the option for others to comment. Good blogging promotes great ideas. Mike -http://www.t1livewire.com

Well my blog is quite new so comments might take some time but I'll be sure to follow your advice.

Thanks, and keep up the good work
PSP Blogger

One of the big problems I have found with commenting is the sheer amount of spam that needs to be trawled through - to the extent that I've considered shutting off comments altogether. Of course spam could simply be deleted (Akismet makes it very easy) but sometimes a genuine comment gets incorrectly assigned as spam so every item needs checking.

I've found that most comments are left by other blog owners in search of creating a "breadcrumb" trail back to their own blog.

Commenting is a great strategy and if your blog audience is "web savvy" then you can expect to see others commenting on your blog. Comments tend to improve the higher your blog's PR and the lower your blog's Alexa numbers are.

However, if your audience IS NOT blog savvy (and since 90% of the internet doesn't know what RSS is or how to use it, I'd classify them as "not blog savvy") you might not EVER see visitors commenting regularly. For now, a lot of visitors aren't even aware they're at a blog... they just followed a link in a search engine and found an interesting article on your blog.

Which is why Mack's suggestions are VITAL to increasing comments ... because sometimes, it's a matter of education of the masses!!!

nice - also link out freely to others to share the juice and traffic :)

Thanks for the simple yet crucial reminders. Yes, basically we want to build community and make our readers feel welcome and interacted with, and consistency like you said will help achieve that. Andy - Link building tips. http://www.backlinkbuildingtips.com

Thanks for the simple yet crucial reminders. Yes, basically we want to build community and make our readers feel welcome and interacted with, and consistency, like you said will help achieve that. Andy - http://www.backlinkbuildingtips.com

Jackie you're right, sometimes work can get in the way of writing new content. But you don't have to post every day on your business' blog. If you can only post a couple of times a week, that's fine, as long as you are consistent about posting the same amount every week. Another trick is to set aside a certain time to write multiple posts at once. I rarely post on the weekends, since blog readership in general falls on Saturday and Sunday. But what I will do is keep up with any good blogging ideas I come across over the weekend. Then on Sunday I try to write out my posts for Monday and sometimes Tuesday. But that's 3-4 posts, which for a business blogger, would be at least a week's worth of posts.

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Hi,

What are the tips on searching for blog to comment on?

I always encourage bloggers to be open ended. If you say everything there is to say on a topic you’re less likely to get others adding their opinions because you’ll have covered what they might have added. While you don’t want to purposely leave too many things unsaid there is an art to writing open ended posts that leaves room for your readers to be experts also. Do you agree Mack? Brion Cosmetic Dentist Juno Beach FL

Thanks for this nice information,I ll try to follow this and if my post get more comments then i should be very thankful to you...

You have a really useful post and sound advice how to your website popular. I know it is how to attract more comments from readers. I learned something and this is interesting coz I myself is a blogger. Thanks!

The risk of going into business cannot be eliminated, a good work, financial planning and marketing will help reduce the risk. Often, what will work best is marketing the novelty of your product or services. Dell computer, Tide, and Charles Schwab all marketed the novelty of their companies very well, and that is precisely why they are leaders within their markets. Tide, for instance, played up the novelty of their being the first synthetic laundry soap, and they are still the leading brand of detergent. The marketing of these companies differs from traditional marketing and is a great way to boost your business.

The subscribe to comments are by far my favorite. As blog owner but more as blog surfer.

I surf quite a lot of blogs and may find one topic interesting enough to comment. I may not come back to the blog right away. I get somewhat discouraged if I cannot subscribe to the comments of the blog, since I may never find the blog again.

You may call me lazy for not bookmarking the different blogs, I comment, but I think, it should be a default service to me

Mack, you recomend "1 - Create a regular posting pattern, and stick to it."
But if you create posts just for the sake of regularity, don't you think that sometimes you may be skipping on quality?

Unless of course you write a lot in advance and just schedule the publishing.
Is that what you meant?

Andrew

For a new blogger (I'm only 2 months old) this is great, I'm trying to get out at least one post a day as there is so much news in the world to cover. I assume if I keep doing this, the comments will eventually come?

I have made the effort to blog at least once a day with important information, but it seems that most comments I receive are from the sex industry. It would be great to get more relevant reponses and I will take your advice and try to leave them open ended.

Your first item on the list, creating a regular posting pattern, was new information for me, and it makes sense. Thanks for the advice!

And these days with the anti-spam tools that are available, there's not much reason to require moderation on comments. I use WordPress and the WP-SpamFree plugin eliminates spam posts with no interaction required. There are lots of similar solutions around that don't require WordPress. Better to have to delete an inappropriate comment after the fact that to receive no comments at all. :)

This is extremely helpful. I’ve been trying to find ways to engage readers more effectively and after reading your comments I feel like I have a much better idea of how to drive more of a discussion on my posts.


Hey Mack,

I just finished writing a post on my blog then I Googled part of my title "more comments on your blog" and you came up #2 on Google. So I checked you out.

I'm glad I did because you have a ton of great info here. I'm sure I'll be by more often.

After reading this and a couple other posts I decided to go back and add a couple links to your blog in my post.

Now I'm about to enter the text below and if you do go to my blog you will see this is one of the things I write about that I really dislike. But that's just me and apparently it's not hurting you any as you are getting plenty of comments.

Later,
Jeff Sargent

This is extremely helpful. I’ve been trying to find ways to engage readers more effectively and after reading your comments I feel like I have a much better idea of how to drive more of a discussion on my posts.

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