Monday, October 5, 2015

Tips for Getting More Comments on Your Blog—Blogging for Writers, Part 5

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson


Even today—with as many blogs on the Internet as there are—blogging is still a valuable part of building and maintaining an online community. But it’s rare for a blog to take hold and grow—if it’s not a place where comments proliferate. Almost no one likes to be lectured, and that’s what a blog can feel with it the conversation is only one-sided.

I’ll go one step further and add this comparison. Your blog is your Internet home. And because it’s your home, you are responsible for being a good host and making people feel welcome.

Facilitating conversation is just one of the duties of a good host, but it’s the one I want to concentrate on today as I share tips for getting more comments on your blog.

1. Give your readers someone to relate to. This means making sure they know who wrote the blog post. Ideally the blog post should have a byline—like my name at the top of this post. But
at the least, end with your name. (A byline also helps with your name recognition on search engines, but that's a post for another time.) It's very hard to join a conversation when you don't know who you're talking to.

Keep the post focused & don't wander
too far away from the topic.
2. Keep the post focused and don’t wander too far away from the topic. If we try to cover too much area, people won’t be comfortable commenting.

3. Make sure the post isn’t too long. If we take up too much of your audience’s time, they won’t be able to stay and chat.

4. Watch the blog formatting. Even with interesting posts, people will still do some skimming. If we have headers, bullet points and/or lists they can still join the conversation.

Try to end the post with an open-ended question.
5. Try to end the post with an open-ended question. People don’t always know what’s appropriate to share. By asking a question, we give them the direction they need to chime in. Remember, as a host, it’s our job not to just facilitate the conversation, but we’re responsible for starting it.

6. Share your own personal experience. If we’re asking someone else to share, we need to make sure our blogs are a safe place for that. Going first rarely feels safe. So I always try to make sure I share my own experience before asking my readers to share theirs.

7. Ask readers to share an experience that relates to the post. Sometimes a blog post won’t lend itself to a question. In those instances we can encourage our audience to share their experience.

8. Ask readers to add to a list of suggestions or tips that have been shared. I do that a lot on here. (And I’ll do it at the end of this post.) Again, if a question isn’t appropriate or feel right, ask them to contribute to the topic already introduced.

9. Avoid using the pronoun you. This is especially true if the post is pointing out something negative. Using the word you carries a finger-pointing connotation that we want to avoid. For example, in point number 1 above, I would never say, “you must make sure the answer to the question isn’t just yes or no.” Instead, I phrased it, “We must make sure the answer to the question isn’t just yes or no.” 

10. Don’t ignore your guests. If people are kind enough to comment, you need to return the favor and continue the conversation. There are exceptions, if you have more than 20 comments, or if they are very similar, it’s find to answer a couple of people at a time.

11. Remind your guests to leave a comment below. Don’t apologize by saying, "if you feel comfortable" or "if you want." Just tell them what you’d like them to do. Sometimes that’s just what someone need to be able to work up the courage to join in.

Now it's your turn. What prompts you to leave a comment on a blog? What has worked for you when you're trying to get readers to join the conversation? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Blessings,
Edie

TWEETABLES
11 Tips for Getting More Comments on Your Blog - via #Blogging expert @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

#Blogging for Writers - @EdieMelson shares how to get more comments on your posts (Click to Tweet)



If you've missed the previous posts in this series, here are the direct links:

Blogging For Writers

17 comments:

  1. Very good advice. I have an agreement with a few people (looking for more) to read their blog and comment. In turn, they read mine and comment. I have been very blessed by the content of their blog. It is a great way to learn more about my friend and also help promote what God is doing in and through them.

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    1. Cherrilynn, that's excellent. Thanks for sharing! Blessings, E

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    2. Thank you, Cherrilynn: Never thought of that.

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  2. Edie,
    I wonder if it is a time issue for some? I think that is the case with me much of the time. Though I love reading my favorite blogs and entering into another's journey in this life, I always feel like it takes TIME to comment. Of course, even just a sentence or two is enough.

    Also, at first I found myself not really looking at pictures people would insert and scrolling right through them, until I realized they really are an invitation to engage more with the story; they make it more personal, they evoke emotion.

    These tips are so valuable, and I am very grateful for them as a blogger coming into my seventh month.

    Thank you!
    Trish

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    1. Trish, it's definitely a time issue. There are a certain percentage of readers who won't comment. But by making it easier to comment, everyone feels welcome and more a part of the conversation, even if they aren't joining in. Great thoughts! Blessings, E

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  3. With the advent of Instagram, Facebook and other social media, I've found that my comments have dropped dramatically. I always reply to comments when I am able. Since Google+ it's been harder to communicate with the author of the comment. I'm not particularly computer savvy, but I've had a blog for close to seven years and have noticed the difference. Now many of the blog posters are asking for comments to their facebook page, or signing into an account. Thanks for all the posts. I really think they are very helpful.
    Jocelyn

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    1. Jocelyn, why has Google+ made it harder to communicate? Do you have your comments directed to the Google+ platform? If so, that will cut down on the number of comments you get and your interactions. I recommend you uncheck the box that says: Use Google+ Comments on this blog.

      And yes, some commenting has moved to social media. But as long as your readers are commenting, it's a good thing. Blessings, E

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  4. Great points. I recently came across an article on HubSpot that presented research showing the use of some question words was more effective at drawing out comments than others. "Should" tops the list.

    http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33858/New-Facebook-Data-Shows-How-Questions-Impact-Comments-Shares-Likes-INFOGRAPHIC.aspx

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    1. Joel, thank you for sharing! Very valuable info here. Thanks so much for stopping by, Blessings, E

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  5. As always, great advice. I never thought about adding a byline to my post.

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    1. Ginger, it's not as obvious as it appears. It took me a while of reading other blogs before I keyed into how helpful it way. Then when I discovered it helped with SEO, I knew it was something I needed to do. Thanks for dropping by, Blessings, E

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  6. Thank you for the advice, I'll make sure to add it to my posts.

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  7. As always, great advice, Edie. I guess I would add one that I'm sad to say I've only recently begun doing myself and that is praying for your blog. Pray while you write, for those who will read it, and for its direction/outreach. It can be a powerful tool in the Kingdom's arsenal. Thank you for this post. I've made my notes! :) Blessings!

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  8. Thanks so much, Edie, for your easy-to-implement advice. I am afraid I lecture too much and this is an area I am working on. For folks like me who are making the public-speaker to blog-writer transition, it is a challenge to change our one-directional style. Your thoughts are so helpful.

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  9. Love this Edie. It's always a good reminder of the do's and don'ts of a blog. One thing that really struck me was the beginning when you said your blog is your home. I am a good hostess and I need to relate that gift into my writing. Thanks. Something to really chew on. Beth

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  10. Great post, Edie. I tend to share things more from a first-person perspective. I'm glad you mentioned not using "you" especially if it can be construed as pointing a finger. (Hangs her head). I've done that a few times. Never again! ;) I'm taking your points to heart. Thanks for sharing your wisdom! As someone mentioned above, it's practical and helpful!

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