Create a welcoming space. Choose a blog design and color scheme that creates a relaxing environment so readers will be inclined to read your posts and consider the contents. Be sure the design you choose has a clearly-identifiable spot for comments, and make any instructions easy to understand and follow. Do not use CAPCHTAs as they are a supreme turn-off when it comes to visually challenged and/or cognitively challenged readers leaving comments. Post a commenting policy.
1. Blog design and sidebars
Do not clutter your sidebars with an excess of widgets and gadgets. They slow page loading time and distract readers’ vision and focus away from the content.
2. Inviting writing
Keep readers interested by writing fresh content. The more frequently and regularly you post the more it will be indexed by search spiders and the possibility of a larger readership increases.
Start conversations by writing compelling blog posts that invite conversation. Inviting and engaging writing sparks discussion. Controversy does too. Tutorials and how to posts prompt questions from readers.
Post on controversial topics in a balanced manner presenting both or all sides of an issue and don’t take a stand, instead ask what your reader’s think about this perplexing issue.
Ask an open ended question at the end of your posts and humbly and graciously request feedback. For example: Ask your readers if they have anything they would like to add; any experiences they would care to share; or any differences of opinion they would like to express. And structure your post in a manner that includes invitations for reader feedback in the text. If you sound over confident people are less likely to want to comment.
Titles and subtitles can invite reader feedback and participation in discussion. This can be followed by by asking discussion questions ate the end of your post . Only 3 – 4 are recommended and 1 – 2 are often enough to spark comments.
When your readers do comment respond promptly and in a welcoming manner so they feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and opinions.
3. Basic SEO
When you write your blog posts and pages, remember to optimize them and your images too. Categories and Tags (like links) are easily indexed by search engines and then assist readers to find your blog when they perform searches.
If the site or any pages on it are inaccessible because of broken links, 404 errors, password-protected areas and other reasons, then the site can’t be indexed. See: WordPress: How to Maintain and Track Links
4. Keep your resources and links updated
Links you display direct readers to high quality sources of relevant information found in authoritative blogs in the same niche. What readers find at those links can spark conversation on your blog.
To receive comments on your posts you must comment frequently and widely on other blogs and forums, particularly those related to your niche.
Keep in touch with your readers and make new friends via social media and social networking. Cultivate relationships.
6. Backlinks and trackbacks
Links to your sources are important for at least four reasons: verifiability, acknowledgment, examples, context. Linking to posts in other blogs means the bloggers are likely to visit and that may bring in new readers from their blogs too. Also trackbacks include a link back to your blog in the comments section of the post that you originally linked to and readers do click on trackback links. Select which blogs you link to in your posts and Blogroll with care and learn how to spot Trackback and Pingback Spam.
7. RSS Feed and giveaways
Consider that offering full posts by RSS feed removes the incentive to click into the blog, read the full post and comment. When I reduced my RSS feed to summaries to deter blog content thieves I received more comments. I also put myself under great pressure to insure there was a hook in the excerpt.
Offer email subscriptions, free newsletters, ebooks, PDFs containing valuable content to subscribers.
8. Be creative
Conduct polls and surveys, sponsor blog carnivals, encourage readers to become guest authors.
Invent a meme, create team blogging project, give away prizes and awards, hold competitions.
9. Other commenting encouragements
- Use a Recent Comments widget.
- Register a forum and link to it from your blog.
For those with wordpress.org software
Be a fashion follower and not a trend setter. These days the trend is to have widgets in sidebars featuring the names of frequent commenters, and to reward reader who comments by changing your “no-follow” links to “do-follow” links. Rewards and bribes to get people to comment are IMO projections of desperation but other bloggers so not necessarily agree with my point of view.
- Use a Frequent Commenters widget to showcase those who leave the most comments.
- Change your “no-follow” links in comments to do follow.
- Install plugins like commentluv that reward those who leave comment by displaying the URL for their most recent post.
- Add a forum to your blog.
Although we all want to create a blog centered community of faithful readers, treating those who comment frequently specially can make a newcomer choose not to comment. I have dropped some blogs simply because I didn’t like the “old boys and old girls” clubs feeling I had about the way the blogger responded to frequent commenters.
Proportionally speaking the more readers you attract the more comments you will receive, however, do be aware that the pros say you can expect to receive only 1 comment for every 100 -150 readers. This is important to know so you keep from beating yourself up for not getting as many comments as you would like to get.
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