How to Get More Blog Comments Quickly

by Stanford Smith · 69 comments

Two people having a conversation

Are you tired writing “epic” blog posts that fail to get any reader comments? Are you secretly envious of blogs that attract dozens of heartfelt comments with every post?

Friend, you’re not alone. Blogs with active comment sections attract more readers, get retweeted, and find it easier to turn random readers into loyal subscribers and customers.

Why are comments so powerful?

When people browse the web, they’re looking for evidence that the websites they visit are legitimate. Blog comments act as such evidence because people assume “if other people are sticking around this blog, I probably should too.”

It’s called engagement evidence, and if you want a sure-fire way to grow your blog, increasing your engagement evidence by getting more quality blog comments is a must.

But there’s a catch.

Getting More Blog Comments Isn’t Easy

Most bloggers find the task of getting quality reader comments devilishly difficult. Even on blogs with gobs of visitors, it’s common to see only a few comments per post.

Did you know that this is typical, too?

It’s called the 90:9:1 Principal:

  • 90% of readers lurk on your blog quietly while consuming your content
  • 9% of readers are editors and comment regularly
  • 1% of readers are the fanatical people who leave page-long comments after each post.

The question is, how can you find and encourage 10% who comment to actually comment on your blog?

How to Get More Blog Comments

Before people write blog comments, they’re looking for two things:

  1. Comment-worthy Content – You already know that you must write great content, but you should invite conversation by being open-ended and conversational.
  2. Proof of Life – Your commenters want proof that you care about your blog. They also want confirmation that you care about your readers and their opinions, too.

While writing exceptional content can be difficult, showing proof of life is easier than you think and it works!

The Simple Comment Attraction Secret

Here’s how you show “Proof of Life.”

Respond to comments, ideally, as quickly as possible. And don’t write a simple “Thank You,” but instead, respond as if the person was in the same room with you. Read what they wrote and then offer them value in return.

Remember, you want those who comment to think “wow, this guy/gal really cares!”

You can pile on the value by:

  1. Expand on a point you made in your post to give a commenter more insight into your strategy.
  2. Empathize with your commenter and give them a word of encouragement or advice to their specific situation.
  3. Refer the commenter to another resource and blog that could offer them more help
  4. Ask your commenter a follow-up question to encourage them to open-up and engage further.

The Bottom Line

If you show your readers that you actively participate in your blog, they’ll show up and comment regularly. It’s a proven formula that has worked before and will work again.

Not only should you reply, you should kick your comment replies up a notch because you’ll demonstrate to your readers that you care about them and that will also encourage more blog comments.

By the way, you don’t have to answer every comment with a 100 word reply. Some comments are just quick acknowledgements, so feel free to reply with a short shout-out where appropriate.

Can You Increase Your Blog Comments?

Do you think you could use these tips to increase your blog comments? Have you tried other strategies that worked, too? Leave a comment!

About the Author: Stanford Smith obsesses about how to get passionate people’s blogs noticed and promoted at Pushing Social, except when he’s fishing with his boys. Follow him to get the latest about his new ebook “Get Noticed.”

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{ 69 comments }

Jason

I’ve found commenting a boatload on other blogs helps. People feel obligated, especially new bloggers. Then, some of the lurkers will step out of the shadows to participate in the newly generated flood.

However, commenting on other blogs can quickly become time consuming.

Derek

I’ve never found commenting on others blogs as an effective strategy for gaining new readers. I think you’re better off spending that time developing your content.

David

I’ve never found anything to be of any use. We have 25 comments on one post and zilch on other wonderful posts. Go figure.

I suggest you read ‘The Myth Of Sisyphus’ by Albert Camus that talks about the absurdity of life and that the only meaningful response is to continue ploughing that field, pushing that rock, commenting on that blog, and writing great content with the grim satisfaction of one who knows how thankless, hopeless, and time-consuming it is.

However, nothing gets me down like seeing authors make typos.

It is not the “It’s called the 90:9:1 Principal:” – a ‘Principal’ is the person who runs the local school. It should be “It’s called the 90:9:1 principle:”

You can always leave a comment on the Quillcards Blog…

Stephen Webber

I agree. If you’re going into a discussion, do so for the sake of the discussion. I’ve heard that posting comments helps one’s search engine rankings, though I have serious doubts about that when compared to the heart of SEO, content, titles, and quality links. Lord knows, I could be wrong..

statia

Also, it really depends on WHERE you’re leaving the comment. If you’re chasing after more popular bloggers, your comment will fall on deaf ears. People of that status don’t have the time to respond to every comment, or visit every single blogger that comes by their site. I agree with Derek to some extent. Do find the time to better develop your content, but also realize that you could have the best content, or idea in the world, but it won’t make readers magically appear.

I’ve been on the top and the bottom, and really, you only get out what you put into it.

Stanford @ PushingSocial

I love leaving comments on posts that interest me. I hate doing it for SEO or traffic. Not really worth my time.

I would rather write a guest post If I want traffic from a particular blog.

Pat

Stanford, good article. Thanks. I do comment on other bloggers sites but they very seldom respond. I try to respond to those who comment on my blog, but I find it is all a mixed bag. If commenting brings me traffic that is all to the good. But it is discouraging when I write what I think is a valuable post and no one seems to respond. My analytics tells me that I have visitors but most are the type that lurk in the shadows. Perhaps something controversial or shocking will help? What do you think?

Jen

I’m with you Pat. I’m thinking of drumming up some controversy.

Dennis O'Brien

Could not agree more. I started out visiting as many blogs as I could but unless you have the content the readers of those blogs are looking for it’s a complete waste of time. Better off with a select bunch who promote the idea of ‘sharing is caring’. That way you will always get traffic. And be sure to check your analytics. You would be surprised to see just where your visors are coming from. Well I was anyway.

Dennis O'Brien

“Obligated” seems to be the operative word. We’re all doing the same thing. Go comment on 10 blogs a day in the hope someone will come read our posts. Those ten bloggers are doing exactly the same thing until they get enough traffic to not bother visiting you anymore. And you will want the same thing, enough visitors to keep you busy replying to their comments and your visits to other blogs will trickle down to 10 a week instead of each day.

Blogging is a fickle existence which is why so many quit in their first year. It takes patience and a multi-pronged approach. And from what I have noticed, when you get the visitors you better be prepared to keep them coming or risk starting all over again.

Eric Weidner

To be honest, I really haven’t cracked this nut. Just doing the best I can to get my blog posts about web design and web development done every week!
But I think the idea of “caring” is accurate. Ultimately, this might come down to giving extremely helpful advice or something along those lines.
In any event, this is worth thinking about and testing.

Stephen Webber

This is a hugely important issue, and I think ‘cracking’ the case is going to be mostly a case-by-case one. I totally agree with what you say about ‘caring’ – though I also know that it’s crucial to show that you care in a way that encourages interaction. That’s where creative marketing comes in. It would be nice if there were some useful models custom-suited to different blog/business types to encourage interaction, drawing on the ‘show that you care’ philosophy.

Stanford @ PushingSocial

Keep plugging away at it.
Continue being a reliable and relevant resource to your readers (via comment replies) and they will respond and share your blog.

Bret Phillips

I’ve found that responding in a timely manner opens a longer dialogue, while waiting even a few hours can decrease that.

Something about seeing an email come in that says “blog owner responded to your blog comment” shortly after you’ve posted seems to increase the likely hood that a person will come back and ‘chat’ some more.

Bret

Stanford @ PushingSocial

I’ve found this to be the case too. I’ve seen a 2-3 hours sweet spot for igniting a comment brushfire. However it does depend on the blog and its readership.

Ramses

Interesting.

The ratio I’m experiencing is around 99 : 0.9 : 0.1 – but on the other hand does the blog with the most comments not perform best compared to really ‘silent’ blogs of mine ;-)

And I know for a fact that my content is interesting in most cases because people stay approx. three minutes on my websites.

Perhaps it’s just that I’m mostly writing for a German audience which is known for being reluctant, not only when it comes to simple online conversations.

I’m also doing some English blogs and in these cases the ratio you claim in your post is more realistic.

Cheers.

Stephen Webber

I like your example ratio. I would have to say that’s probably what most bloggers experience. Maybe our expectations are too high. People are still mostly in the mode of just getting the info or entertainment their after, and the idea of always being able to interact with the author is still a new one for most people. I don’t think it’s a selfish thing. In some ways, not commenting on blog posts might often be due to a person not wanting to make a big deal of themselves, not thinking they have anything much to say, or not wanting to take up the author’s time. Modesty! It’s at least a possibility. What do you think?

Ramses

Hi Stephen, thanks for replying.

I feel there is truth in your words (“a person not wanting to make a big deal of themselves…”) and I also feel I receive what I give. And I don’t comment on every sh*t that’s posted on the web.

If you replied in some Facebook style (“LOL, I like.”) I wouldn’t answer and just shrug my way to the next interesting post by somebody else.

We (you, Stephen and me, Ramses) are interacting without even knowing each other. LOL, I like that ;-)

Gregg Collum

I appreciate the information you have presented. Maybe I am the only one (NOT) that is busy and finding it difficult to make time to blog and comment. I am what you’d call a fast browser on blogs –if content doesn’t jump out and impact me I move on. I have transitioned my blog using thesis and am tweaking it to make it more user and comment friendly.

I deal with Texas ranches as well as teach a continuing education course on wildlife management for tax valuation, so time is valuable . Most of my comments are at “o-dark thirthy” with the exception of this one! I appreciate your viewpoints Stanford!

Stanford @ PushingSocial

Hmm…this post is about replying to comments on your own blog. This is a great investment of time – if you are using your blog to aggregate an audience for your business.

DanielthePoet

As mentioned above, I’ve also found that commenting on other people’s blogs helps. Depending on which of my blogs I’m trying to boost, I’ll pick 5-10 highly engaged bloggers and become part of their communities by commenting on most, if not all, of their posts. After they get comfortable with me, they often will return the favor by commenting on mine. But the better immediate benefit is that the quality of my comments leads other readers to engage me both on that site and my own.

Stanford @ PushingSocial

This is the point where I blather on about Great Content and how it heals all wounds… :)
Seriously, I would rather: 1) Guest Post to directly appeal to a blog’s readers and demonstrate the relevance of my expertise and then 2) Spend time investing in my readers on my blog (content, comment replies, product creation). Commenting on other blogs for pure SEO and traffic benefit is a distant third.

Dennis O'Brien

Well said Daniel. This is my strategy also. One of the first things I look for is the number of comments on other bloggers posts. That always entices me to look further. When I see comments from authors Ivisit it entices me to comment as well. Especially if the comments are vibrant. I guess it also depends on your target audience as well. No good trying to bumble your way through a comment on a topic your not passionate about.

Janey Freid

Interesting article. But tell me how you STOP the spammers? I just turned comments off as I am so tired of deleting the spam comments…help with combating that besides askismet would be great info.

Stanford @ PushingSocial

Sorry Akismet has worked great for me. I also use a plugin called Bad Behavior to block spammers from known IPs

Bill Hely

What Stanford said! If it wasn’t for Akismet I don’t think I’d bother.

On my ComputerAndOnlineSecurity.com blog I’ve never seen Akismet let a spam comments through or mark a valid comment as spam — and I attract a LOT of spam in that niche.

Akismet is simply a brilliant and absolutely essential WordPress plug-in.

Alecs

Commenting in other blog we attract traffic and visitors ,but answerring commentary enlarge their number wind visitors

Cary

Thanks for the tips – I’d like to see more info on how to use Thesis technically to enhance our comment capabilities.

Stephen Webber

Do some writers use a diff color for the comments section so it stands out?

Grit and Glamour

These are excellent tips that I’ve already been using and comments on my blog have grown quadruple-fold, and possibly more! The other way to show proof of life is to be a good commenter on other blogs yourself.

I also regularly refer to my readers in posts, and that keeps them engaged as well. But I don’t do all this just for the sake of growing my numbers. I genuinely enjoy the dialogue and interaction, and believe in supporting my fellow bloggers and readers. That’s the beauty of blogging!

Milan

Putting a ‘recent comments’ widget in a prominent place seems to help. It reminds visitors about which posts have active discussions.

Stanford @ PushingSocial

Great suggestion – that works very well. Putting recent comments in your sidebar above the fold does attract attention.

Patty Jones

The “recent comments” widget in the sidebar has really boosted comments, I can see in the stats how many people click into the posts from that widget. Most of our authors are very good about responding to readers, but yeah, certain posts just seem to fit a nerve. Interesting also is that the day of week seems to make a difference. We get many more comments during the work-week than on the weekends.

And the last few days we have been slammed by spam, more in the few days of November than the whole month of October. Thanks to Akismet they very rarely get through to the site.

Stephen Webber

A model that has proven to work for me much better than a traditional blog is a private, auto-responder driven blog-based e-course. I have a couple of blogs, one of which I post to quite regularly, and while it ranks well in the search engines I don’t get a lot of subscribers or comments.
But with the private autoresponder blog things are much different. Making it private goes against what seems like common sense, because each page is noindexed and hence doesn’t attract readers through organic searches. But by opting in, a community is formed, and so the xenophobia of the WWW is done away with. Essentially what the readers do is sign up to the list and it’s set up to deliver the link to the next of an ongoing series of creative writing exercises. I respond to their comments and written work, and the whole thing is a lot of fun. It’s much livelier than a traditional blog, mostly because of the focus and that it’s a community.

Joe

This sure speaks to me brief blogging experience. The illusion of that epic post that will capture everyone’s attention slowly fades into the toil of thankless work – as per David’s comment above.

Sophia

We do get some decent amount of comments, however, 99% of them are spam. How can you attract the right comments ?

Bill Lynch

Thanks for the advice regarding actively responding to reader comments. I’m relatively new to the blogging game so any tidbit helps. I use Thesis and am working with a designer to customize it a bit. Thanks again, Bill

Eddie Dillinger

I have gotten a few *real* comments regarding services on my site but they have seem to fallen by the wayside since I updated to the disquss comment system. An insightful read about making articles more approachable to the community.

Bristol copywriter

One thing I notice that also helps is when the comments have a datestamp on them (preferably that includes the time, so I can see which direction the comments flow in, and a year). That way I know whether the debate I’m joining in is current, and whether there are older comments I should read first.

ragemichelle

Thank you! I just started blogging a month ago and have SO much to learn. This article is very helpful. I love getting comments. I get a warm, fuzzy every time I see a new one pop up, so getting more? More warm and fuzzies for me. Woo Hoo!

Mark

I haven’t been getting a lot of comments yet on my blog, but a big reason why is that I haven’t been blogging. Posts are far between. I’m trying to change that and post more regularly.

I use a Wordpress add-on that let’s people subscribe to replies to their comments. This way, if somebody does reply to their comment or question, they’ll be notified of it via email.

Also, at the end of each post where you hope to get comments, why not explicity ask for comments? Tell people that you’re not just talking, but listening by saying, “What do you think of this strategy?” “I’m curious what the rest of you think. Leave a comment.” “What would you do in this situation?”

Another idea… when somebody leaves a fantastic comment that you think is worthy of repeating, why not copy the comment and make it into a full post and give the comment writer full-credit and a pat on the back or something. I’ve been mightly impressed when somebody took one of my comments and though it worthy enough to re-post so that all of their readers can see my opinion or idea and then comment further on it.

Bill Hely

I too am very surprised that this blog doesn’t employ a “Notify me of replies” plug-in. It’s a very simple way to bring people back for an opportunity to repeat post. Personally I wouldn’t be without that option, and can see absolutely no downside to it.

Mark

And here is something that I find discourages commenting… When I make a comment and find out that it’s going to sit there for an hour… two hours… 1/2 a day in some moderation queue. Ahem… like this blog…

I took the time to say something, and then I hit “submit”… Oh… but you don’t trust what I might have said to be suitable for the discussion in your blog? And then when somebody has a reply to what I have to say… I guess I’ll have to wait a few more hours to find out if they’re comments were deemed suitable enough to post as well…

Nah… forget it… Let me make a note that maybe it’s not worth my time leaving comments on blogs have a “does not actually post until a moderator approves it”.

David

I think it most certainly is worth commenting on blogs where comments are moderated.

Many very successful blogs have a moderation policy.

One of my blogs is ‘dofollow’ so it especially important to me to moderate comments.

But whether a site is dofollow or not, I would not offload the responsibility onto Akismet to spot every spam comment.

And I think most webmasters wouldn’t want their blog to have spam comments all over it.

I moderate all posts on all my blogs but I try to get to the posts quickly and either approve or delete them.

I get email notifications of all posts that are judged to be authentic – I think this is a WP setting. So there really need not be a delay between someone commenting and getting their comment up and visible.

My pet dislike is those blogs where I comment and …… nothing. Nothing to tell me the comment is being moderated or has even been recorded – just nothing at all. Sometimes I just get a blank page – I dislike that.

It may be worthwhile for us all to log out of our blogs and then comment — just to see what actually happens.

As for keeping up with comments I have made, I keep a folder in Bookmarks in my browser and I bookmark the sites where I have left comments. Then I go back after a little while and see what the state of play is.

I just checked my comments for today on the particular blog that links here – 4 authentic comments and 270 spam comments.

The only thing I mind is having to trawl through the spam to see whether any of them are false positives. In this case there was one semi-authentic.

Andra

Great article! Thanks! I know how it feels when you post gets a comment! I jump up and down with joy! Cheers!

Alison Golden

I wouldn’t say I get a ton of comments but I do get more than the stats above suggest.

I find responding quickly and I should do it even quicker works, then going over to that person’s site and commenting there. I often bookmark that site and keep going back to comment as a way of building relationships and hopefully comments.

I have a couple of commenting buddies and we comment on each other’s post as an encouragement to others to comment – no-one likes to be first.

I specifically ask three questions at the end of the post and then a ‘tell me in the comments!’ CTA.

I take look at putting in that recent comments plugin.

Sheldon Nesdale

I agree Alison, finishing the article with a question and a “tell me in the comments” message has been very effective for me.

RJ Johnson - 21st Century Appreciative Inquiry

Good points on how to comment back. I always post thoughtful comments and replies, BUT, I sometimes take too long. I will take your thoughts on replying as quickly as I can to heart.
Best regards,
RJ Johnson

Ginger

The bottom line is you can’t make subscribers comment. But, you can invite them to do so just the same as any call to action. I’ve never been successful at getting comments and when I do, it is like gold. I get more comments on the Facebook feed of my blog than I do on my.com version.

Whether it is true or not, after spending literally hours doing the type of posts that I write, I often wonder if people are really so self-centered that they can’t even leave a smiley face as a comment.

I’ve learned to not expect anything, love what I do and be thankful for those that do comment.

Tania Shipman

I like replying to people who comment on my blog. If they take the time to comment then I take the time to read what they wrote and comment back about that. It helps your blog but it also helps you see what people did or didn’t like about your post.

ellen madono

That last comment about asking 3 questions was good. I am glad I came to the site because I got to see the comments which gave me a good flavor for the variety of experience concerning comment. That’s another use of comments.

sanjay

Tacking care of you visitors is most important things for a blogger because we need to treat them very well through comments and if we do that, they keep visiting your blog.
After all, every body wants to get something from some one or somewhere and if we give them right things in right time then there is no doubt to be hanging around your blog all the time.

Tom Stevens

I enjoy using Thesis and must now start to get blogging big-time. I can ramble on for ages about anything if I need to…the problem is continuing when people aren’t commenting! is it just me? So… I need to take in your advice and plug away (lol) …!

Thank Thesis – I enjoy getting your emails.

Upwards and onwards!

Sheila Milano

I really enjoyed reading this article and applying it to my blog. I am always interested in learning new things that will help drive traffic and comments to my website and although I do impliment several of the suggestions here, there were quite a few things that I needed to know. I look forward to reading future
posts~!

Mark Collier

Blog comments are a great way to boost your content levels and traffic, great post

Mari

Great post – it’s reminding me that is something I definitely want to improve on my own blog. Buidling commnunity and conversations is becoming more and more important the longer I do this – much more fun than writing to “no one” (obviously not true, but sometimes how it can feel, right?!)

One technical question – I don’t think my comment replies get sent automatically to the person I’m replying to. What’s the right way to get that to work? I feel like I’m missing something really obvious.

Sheldon Nesdale

Hi Mari, if you use WordPress, the plugin you need is called “Subscribe to comments”. It adds a small checkbox to the comment form and automatically emails new comments to them.

Dennis O'Brien

p.s. Excellent topic Stanford :)

Sylvia

Am glad I came across this article! Every single bit of it is so edifying, especially to me who ought to start the blogging game. I would love to hang in here for more info. And yes, am found of reading and commenting on blogs that impress me though some have to be first moderated before being published. Does this help to control spam or ignore unwanted comments? Thanks once again.

Dorothy

The tips where helpful.I love commenting on blog posts but what i have realised is that most people love commenting on topics that are enlighting.And there are certain blogs that don’t allow other people’s comments and this makes commenting so tiresome. This really sucks because how ever much you try commenting,the comment will not be posted but instead they themselves go on writing as guest posts their own blogs inorder to traffic the blog.With writing post or comments on blogs i have realised that it is better to comment on blogs that captures my attention.

Russ

I also think the industry you are in definetly matters. You need to see a ton of activity in your industry to get alot of great comments.

Aaron

Well, I’m not certain about everyone else, but I find myself to be a serial consumer of comments, and THAT is what takes up a lot of my time; especially if there’s 50 + comments, I tend to read to the bottom and then feel as though any opinions I may have had at the end of the article have been well discussed already!
Then I leave.

Nice post Stanford. Keep it up.

Tracy Matthewman

I try to do this with everyone that comments on my blog. Thanks for the reminder. I love it when others do it to me too…so it really works to build “likeability” and in turn more / better response. Tracy

Traci Gregory

I have found that the more I respond, the more comments I get. I’m not thrilled with all of them, but I try to remember that there is such a thing as constructive criticism, so I don’t just trash them.

best,

Trace

Jeff

Thanks for the ideas. I’m going into my third month with a popular culture and history blog. Figuring out things like the comments aspect is challenging, to say the least. After reading this entry and the comments, though, I just added a recent comment widget, so I’ll see how that works. Thanks!

maryjones

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Ronald

I actually have found that writing substantial comments to posts about topics that I know a lot about on other people’s blogs will make some of their visitors become interested in me and come to visit my own blogs. Just a tip.

Sam

Great post, I look forward to using this strategies this week!

Joey Xoto

This is fantastic, excellent overview about getting comments.

To be honest I think the key thing to really getting people to comment is delivering high quality content, that not only is just informative, but fun to read. Too many bloggers write like a dictionary (no offense to anybody); I mean if I’m reading something for the sake of reading it, I want value, information, entertainment and a story!

Story telling in your blog posts is such a great way to engage more emotions from your readers. You can reference a lot of things back to you personally, which many of your readers in your niche will probably relate to; for example – “Lots of newbies don’t get traffic to their blogs; I was exactly the same. I would sit day after day at my desk looking for ways to increase traffic, and nothing! But then all of a sudden…….” and etc. This creates a story element to your posts which as I said, is a great way to engage with readers.

Love the blog and good work, keep it up!
joey