Blog comments are huge! We all know that. They mean someone is standing in your store, okay, your virtual store. Remember what Charlie Trumper preached? People don’t want to enter an empty store.
The moment a reader sees comments on a post, they probably head there first. No comments means your post is not that popular. It doesn’t mean its not good! I should know that, because I have many good posts that have no comments.
Comments affect many technical things like MOZ rank, Alexa rank, Google rankings etc. Ultimately, it affects where you land on the search pages, which in turn affects your website traffic. Website traffic is a cyclic reaction. Like a tornado, once you get caught in the whirl, its going to propel you up and away.
I think I have sufficiently made the case for blog comments and why they are important.
Getting comments needs work. And it all boils down to some good old WOM networking. Networking and reaching out to people can work in a positive way, but there are some things you can do to encourage people to leave a comment.
At the very least, your blog should be designed such that someone with an intent to comment is not turned away because of your actions.
9 Ways To Get No Blog Comments
Here are some things that irk me, peeve me, make me really mad when I try to comment on other blogs. I figure human nature is sort of the same across the globe. So I am sure many people must have a similar reaction when faced with the following scenarios.
1. Require Sign- In – Blogger, WordPress, Google etc.
You read a post, sometimes a very long one. You like it. You read some comments, and you like them. You are compelled to say your piece and you write a detailed comment. Then you hit Submit or Post Comment and you are taken to a Login screen.
Blogger, WordPress, Disqus, or the site itself asks you to Login or register. Has this happened to you? It is a big turn off to me. At this point, I really don’t have the energy to go through another hoop and guess what I do? Yes, leave the site!
2. Never Reply To Comments
I say Hi, you say Hello. Or something! When you talk to someone, don’t you expect them to talk back to you? That is basic communications theory. Anyone who does not respond to what you say appears rude or worse.
But wait. You are not just saying Hi on your own. A comment is a response to what the blogger has said. In a way, the blogger is the one who initiated the conversation. Not replying to comments means you are either too high and mighty, or just don’t know the basic etiquette.
Either is an absolute turnoff. It’s a kick in the gut for your reader who has taken the time and interest to not only read what you wrote, but also publicly expressed their views on it.
3. Disable Comments
Disabling blog comments is another quirk I cannot understand. So you just want to rant or say your piece. But you don’t care what others think about it. Or you just do not want to interact with anyone.
Yes, the world has seen many reclusive writers who want to hide away somewhere. But if you are even remotely interested in building some kind of visibility, disabling blog comments will not get you there.
4. Close Comments After Certain Time
There are many supporters for this. People feel that closing comments on older posts helps them combat Spam. But the same thing can be done with a good Anti Spam plugin.
We know cross linking older posts is good for keeping the reader on your blog longer. Many times, linking to older posts is necessary to establish context. I myself have read many older posts while reading someone’s post, and have left a comment on the older one.
Ramsay, The Blog Tyrant, says closing comments creates scarcity. I am not sure if I agree in this context.
As ya’ll know, I am a food blogger over at kamalkitchen.com. I get comments on recipe posts I wrote years ago. So the niche you write in is also a factor in this.
Closing blog comments after a certain time seems like a wedding ceremony – ‘Speak now or forever hold your peace’!
5. Website Link Field Missing
Most blog comments ask you to enter your name, email and website URL. Entering the website URL helps the person leaving a comment. It builds a backlink to their blog, whether it is a DoFollow or NoFollow. This could also be a link to their Twitter or Facebook profile. The website link is a way other blog readers or commenters can find out more about the person.
So say I read a great blog post. And Amy has made a great point with her comment. As a reader, I am interested in knowing who Amy is, and what she does. Is she a blogger herself, or some celebrity? Is she just a fake person? If a website link has been entered by Amy, I can easily click on it and find out more.
The website field is also a small reciprocation on the blogger’s part. Say a reward for leaving a comment.
Some enterprising bloggers manage to disable this field. Maybe they want to discourage people who want a backlink in return. But why?
In my book, it is wrong to expect the other person to do something for you for free. There has to be some give and take!
6. Don’t Be A Commenter Yourself
Commenting on other blogs increases your visibility and lets people know who you are and what your views are or what your expertise is. This invites people to visit back and say something in return.
Considering the millions of bloggers out there, publishing a blog post and sitting tight is not going to get you many visitors, and hence, no blog comments.
7. Blog Every Day And Often
I mentioned scarcity above. This is one instance where creating scarcity makes sense. Once you publish a blog post, it needs time to permeate the web. Even search engines need time to index your site.
If you email your blog post as part of a newsletter, your readers need time to read and digest what you wrote. Publishing a post every day or very often gives readers no time to absorb what you are saying. When you flood people with content, it is likely they will just click on part of it.
Blogging every day definitely gives readers less time to read and react, and hence will lead to fewer blog comments.
8. Try To Please Everyone – Not Take A Stand
It is important to have an opinion, whether in life or in blogging. Otherwise, you can get lost in the milieu.
Expressing a strong opinion on a public platform has been a challenge for me, and frankly, I still struggle with it. With the whole ‘Like’ phenomenon popularized by Facebook, it is all about the mutual admiration society.
Having a definite opinion will attract readers to you and establish your personality. You need not rant and rave all the time, but unless you take a stand, it is hard for people to speak for or against it.
9. Infuse Zero Emotions In Your Blog Posts
How do you like your porridge or oats? Just boiled with water and cooked? Do I hear you say ‘Meh!’ Oats have to be the blandest and most tasteless food out there. They have no taste or flavor of their own. You just can’t face them in the morning.
Add some brown sugar, and some raisins. Add cinnamon powder. Maybe chop in a banana or two. Hey, splash in some cream while you are at it. And some chopped nuts. Now that’s the kind of oatmeal anyone will love to dig in.
Is your blog post like fully loaded oatmeal or just boiled oats? Which one do you think readers will like. And which one will encourage blog comments?
I rest my case, because you trust your taste buds, even if you may not trust me.
I have shown you nine things you may be doing wrong, or nine things that may be stopping you from getting blog comments. Are you guilty of any of these? Why?
Leave a comment and let me know where you stand. And if you are flooded with blog comments inspite of doing the above things, I definitely want to know.
So share the love, and let all bloggers benefit. We have to have each other’s back, after all.
For more blogging tips, check out my Blogging Success Playbook.
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