Blogging: Comment Baiting

There are many ways that you can encourage your readers to comment. The way you structure your posts can have the effect of drawing out comments. This can be achieved by using a question in the title and/or question(s) at the end of the posts as well. You can also make reference to being interested in hearing reader feedback in the body of the post.

Comment baiting example

Title: Is _________ a helpful blogging tool?
I have been using a ___________ for several months now and find it to be quite helpful with my blogging. I have only noticed two small things I’m not keen about and I will be discussing these in my review below. I’m really interested to hear what you readers have to say about your experience with ________.

    [body of post goes in here]

At the end of your post ask Discussion questions:

  • Have you used _____?
  • Did you have any problems with it?
  • Is there anything else you would like to share about ___?

The Do’s of Comment Baiting

  1. Do your titles and subtitles encourage comments?
  2. Does the text in your posts encourage comments by stating you are looking for reader feedback?
  3. Do you blog on controversial subjects? Controversy sparks discussion too but if you go this direction then:
    (a)  Be well informed about your subject and conversant with all points of view on your subject;
    (b)  Be honest and do not give into the temptation to distort truth for your own purposes. Do not falsify facts, do not present a few facts as the whole story, do not present tentative findings as firm conclusions.
    (c) Use sound evidence to explain and support your ideas. When using evidence, be sure not to take quotations out of context, not to juggle numbers or statistics, and not to present unusual cases as representative examples. Use sources of information that are objective and qualified and link to them appropriately.
    (d) Employ valid reasoning and avoid such fallacies as making hasty generalizations, asserting causal connections where none exist, using invalid analogies, and pandering to passion or prejudice.
  4. Do you conclude your posts with a question for reader discussion?
  5. Do you answer comments you receive promptly and individually?
  6. Do you comment on the posts of bloggers who have commented on your posts?
  7. Do you backlink to your readers’ posts in your own posts?
  8. Do you use a Recent Visitors widget and/or a Top Commenters widget?
  9. Do you promote your posts throughout social networks to keep your readers aware of when you publish new posts?
  10. Do you provide RSS and/or atom feeds and encourage subscriptions?
  11. Do you provide  readers offer updates by email and encourage subscriptions?
  12. Do you offer newsletters and encourage subscriptions?
  13. Do you have a forum?
  14. Do you conduct reader polls and surveys?
  15. Do you encourage your readers to become guest authors on your blog?

The Dont’s of Comment Baiting

Activities to avoid as they can be perceived as being “spammy” are:

  • begging for comments and/or followers on forums;
  • posting into forum threads or leaving comments on blog posts revealing you had nothing meaningful to add to the discussion, which in return reveals you are an attention seeker who is inclined to being “sneaky”;
  • and/or flooding shoutboxes and message boxes in social networks with invitations to visit your blog.

Extraordinary comment baiting -> Dont’ ever try this unless you can handle it as well as raincastoer does. If you click this mummified fairy remains link there are over 2,000 comments so it will take awhile to load.

Related posts found in this blog:

WordPress.com Comments and Discussion Settings
Anonymous commenting on a WordPress.com blog
How to handle negative comments
Why blog comment moderation is a good thing
Crazymaking Blogger Comment Settings
Encouraging blog readers to comment
A Comment Policy for your Blog
Crafting Quality Blog Comments
Blogging: Attracting More Readers
How to form blog centered relationships

55 thoughts on “Blogging: Comment Baiting

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  4. I’ve been looking for tips on how to get more variety of comments on my blog and I’m happy that I’ve stumbled upon your post here. I’m certainly going to be giving some of your suggestions a go and hope that they help. Thank you for the tips!

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  8. Hello from Barcelona,
    I have been spending way too much time in front of this lit up screen reading lately, but the good news is that I stumbled/navigated upon your blog and have been learning very important tidbits and strategies that I have put to immediate use. My blog is for people with projects, I offer a place to reflect strengthen the art of strategic practice and thinking. And, such is life, I am also learning new strategies from you and others that help me be more useful to a potential audience via my blog in English and Spanish. The strategy game is never ending, a learning curve that goes on and on. Thank you for your part in my process…and as they say, behind every great strategist is a great strategist… OK, nobody has probably ever said that before…ha. Saludos, Jenifer

  9. These are all great tips for us to use! I knew a lot of them already & do use them but I learned something new too!

    Thanks! :)

  10. Hi, Timethief,

    I am very glad I found this blog. I have been trying to think of ways to urge readers to comment more. I like the suggestion regarding posing a question in the headline, and I am particularly fond of your style of placing discussion questions at the end of the post. You have some great content here, and I plan to spend some time over the next few days reading more of your articles.

  11. I’m always looking for great tips on blogging.

    Thanks for the informative article on the do’s and don’ts of encouraging user comments. I’m learning from others to use open-ended questions at the end of posts, but I didn’t think of using them in an article’s title. I’ll have to put that to use.

  12. Hi TT, just wanted to thank you for this post. I thought it was a good one to share with our friends so I posted a link to it from our Facebook page.

    • Hi Jason,
      Thanks you so much for letting me know you found value in the post and shared it. I appreciate your recognition. :)

    • There are bloggers who can use controversy well, and there are bloggers who don’t use controversy well. I have provided some four guidelines that I believe highlight the need for open-mindedness and fair-mindedness. When combined with a commenting policy that clearly states the rules for engagement I belive the two will produce an environment where civil exchange of opinion can take place.

  13. Thanks for the tips. I think they’re all worthwhile. There are times I just want to beg for comments, but it never looks good when I see others do it. I find if I ask questions at the end, I get more comments, like you said.

    • @Janene,
      There have been times I have also wanted to beg for comments so I do know exactly what you mean. Acts of desperation never make one look good. Asking questions is the best way to enegage people in converstaion offline and online it’s no different. :)

  14. This is not always easy. It depends on the original target audience and subject focus of the blog.

    I do comment on some blogs that have nothing to do with my blogs’ subject focus. On the rare occasion, the blogger will return a favour by commenting on mine. I appreciate it and try to respond.

    If it’s targeting a group of professionals, they may look but not comment at all.

    • What you say about the composition of your target audience and blog focus is important. Our expectations for comments ought to be based on knowing who our target audience is and accepting the fact that some will read and not comment.

  15. I, of course, am appalled you posted this without reference to either my Albanian thread or my Mummified Fairy thread. :(

    Encouraging people to comment is not actually as potent a tool as discouraging them vehemently. But you have to know how much drama you can handle before you go into it.

    • I love my readers and I love you too, but posts with thousands of comments take a very long time to load and can crash older computers. I’m not into drama at all. You are great to watch … lol ;D Okay I’ll post it but with a warning.

        • I contemplated posting the link when I created the post. Then I visualized computers crashing everywhere and subscribers waving fists at me. You’re welocme. When it comes to comment baiting you are the Queen. :)

        • Albanian thread??? OMG, must find that one – if it ranks with the mummified fairy, I need to read it… been working way too hard lately! TT thanks, as always for wonderful advice and guidelines. I have to second Raincoaster’s observation about overtly encouraging them to post sometimes not working – on both blog and Facebook direct “please tell us…” has more often than not inspired utter silence. So embarrassing, after three days and not a peep (despite good hit rate on article) I cry myself to sleep, wondering if it’s my breath, or what. Will try again, your guidelines in hand.

  16. Hi TT,
    I do respond to people who take the time to comment, and visit and comment to those who have stopped by. I try to remember to include a question in my posts but usually don’t. –I see several things in your list I can improve on. Thanks for the information, it is helpful as always!

    • Hi Jayme,
      I enjoy reading your posts and the comments too. I’m happy to hear you found some helpful tips in my post. Blog on!

  17. mmmm. At times I have done comment baiting, though honestly at this point I’m really not making much of an effort– at comment baiting nor much of anything else relating to blog promotion. I got very burned out on blogging and largely took a vacation from it. I have started publishing one post a week (on Tuesdays) and feel like I can keep this schedule up for awhile. Whether I will get back to promoting my posts (on BC, Fried Eggs, Twitter, etc) I’m honestly not sure. I’m writing the book reviews again because I enjoy it, but honestly the thought of hanging out on BC and other sites again leaves me cold. Hope this finds you well, TiTi.

    • Hello there,
      It’s good to connect with you again. We both know that blogging must be enjoyable and if it isn’t it won’t remain your passion and you won’t go the distance. You have been blogging for a long time and it was time for you to take a break. I believe if you need a break – take one. If you need to cut back – do so. Then you can return energized and full of new ideas for the blog. So it’s good to here you are easing into publishing again. And I understand what you mean about social networking and blog promotion — sometimes we need to take a break from it too. Thanks for your update and best wishes to you. :)

  18. Good list of ‘do-s’ and ‘don’t-s’ tt. I personally see my blog posts as a launch pad for discussion. The discussions are what I most look forward to :)

    • @TBT
      It’s so good to see you here. :) Your comment highlights the difference between websites and blogs. The main difference between a blog and website is the communication style. A website has a noticeboard communication style. A blog is a website designed for interactive communication. And it’s the way we structure posts that make them a launching pad for discussion.

  19. I like the clear tone in your posts, it is very unique and distinctive and has given me the opportunity to reflect on how different we all are and yet have this desire to communicate and share through the blog medium. It’s interesting to read about how you try to keep a balance between your readers’ needs. I hadn’t thought about that at all and now I will. Best always, Joanna

  20. I did want to say that I appreciated how well written the post was and how full of info and tips it is… as is your whole blog for that matter. I always waiver between responding to comments or just letting them “roll along”.

    • I really appeciate your feedback on the construct of my posts and my blog. My aim is to continuously improve it. I had apprehensions about the tone of the post as I do whenever I publish. Many who are new to blogging are reading my blog. Their feedback is that they like bullet point black and white type of instructional posts. Many others are not new to blogging and are more inclined to enter threads where I encourage them to build the post with me like this one What do you look for in a blog?
      Others are more advanced and what they prefer is very comprehensive posts like this one 12 Step Blog Evaluation I try to keep a balance so I am serving all my readers’ well but it’s not always easy.

      I think some posts will always be amore appealing to this or that reader than they are to the next reader. I’m so chuffed that I have such supportive commenters. They make such excellent contributions that I want to {HUG} them all and I’m not the group hug type. lol

  21. I have a simple formula for encouraging people to comment, TT, and it consists of being myself, being natural (which currently is being as nutty as I am at home which seems to go down very well, surprisingly well in fact), being insatiably curious about other people and always following up what interests me about stuff they put in comments in my posts by continuing the ‘conversation’.

    Do my titles encourage comments? Not directly in the form of a question, but usually I make them curiously eccentric (like me) so that people don’t pass them by but click on to a post to read more. Once there, only the hardened lurkers will avoid commenting.

    To me, blogging is about connecting with people as individuals. I see each and every reader of my blog as an individual, not just as a blog reader.

    • Hi Val,
      I do read your blog and the comments on it and find you are a very personable and outgoing sort. You do a fine job of responding to reader comments and I think your readers do feel supported. If the strategies I posted dont’ have the correct ‘feel” for you then please don’t use them as what you are doing now is working well.

      As for me, I’m an introvert (INFJ), and a lurker who reads many blogs (over 200), and who comments on only a few from time to time. I’m not a “chatty” type either off-line or online. I dislike sharing personal information with those I do not know face-to-face, and when face-to-face I only share personal stuff with people I am very close to. In other words, quite aside from struggling with being visually challenged, being online has been a challenge for me when it comes to enaging, and my attempts to connect an communicate with my readers make me appear to be far more “chatty” than I actually am. lol :D

      • Hugs to you TT (if that’s allowed in this blog, lol!)
        Yes, I know you’re an introvert. Strange as it may seem, so am I. I come to life online, but offline I’m a tortoise – I hide in my shell most of the time!

        • @Val
          Thanks you for the {hugs}. I have animated face and gestures and wear my emotions on my sleeve when I am in the company of people I know well. My body language is so clear to them offline that no one is left wondering what my opinion on this or that may be. I simply don’t choose to express opinions in words as frequently as others do in offline situations. When it came to blogging one of my aims was to share and open up and communicate more in words than I am accustomed to doing offline.

    • Hello there,
      I am glad to hear you received my message. Thanks so much for understanding why I am not able to visit more often. Family always comes first with me. There are many arrangements to make before the surgery and I’m busy making them. I appreciate your well wishes and send you well wishes too.

  22. Thanks for the very clear bullet-point DO and DON’T lists. Although I am familiar with some of your points and already take them into account when I write my posts, there are quite a few ideas on there that I never thought of, such as backlinking (thanks for the explanation and links given in response to the previous comment) or visitor widgets. It makes perfect sense, I’m just not a blogging wizz. Not yet, anyway, although I’m learning a lot from your posts, so you never know :)

    • didiwright,
      I’m glad you found my post to be clear on the do’s and don’t s when it comes to encouraging readers to comment. I’m likewise happy to hear my 2 other posts helped your understand why backlinking is so important.

      I wanted it to be clear about the do’s and dont’s but had apprenhensions about the tone of the post. To me it seems quite dry but I hoped that sharing what I have learned would be helpful to readers. I’m not a blogging whiz either. I learn more every day and ahen I learn I share what I learn.

      If you are going to use a Top Commenters widget you will have to create one in a text widget and update it manually as there is no such widget we can use on free hosted wordpress.com blogs. I’m using the Recents Comments widget but wish we did have a Top Commenters widget for wordpress.com blogs too.

      Best wishes for attracting more readers to your blog.

  23. Helpful advice and tips as always. I need to check out which widgets are available for my blog.

      • I’m using .com and I know it doesn’t have as many options as .org but I thought it might be worth checking to see if any are available.

        • There aren’t any for wordpress.com. It’s easy to make a Top Commenters widget though. Go to your Comments page in your Admin section and in the searchbox you can type the usernames of your commenters. When you do that a display of all the comments they have made appears. You can filter and select the Top Commenter for any given month. Open a new window and go here > appearance > Text widget. Place a text widget in the sidebar title it Top Commenters and you can enter your top commenters usernames linked to their blogs in it. Save and Close. You will have to manually update it month by month.

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