A 7 Step Guide to getting more Comments

by Joost on November 6, 2008 · 158 comments

Wikipedia says it, so it must be true: “The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs.” They are important, because they can tell you what you should improve, in your writing, your products: they tell you what they want, you might as well give it to them.

Next to that, building a relation is an essential part of getting people to talk about you, and that is the goal isn’t it?

But even when your blog software hands you all your commenting capabilities, there are other things you can and should do to get people to comment. So here it is: the 7 step guide to getting more comments.

1. Ask them to comment

As simple as it might sound, this is often overlooked. You can ask for comments in your writing, but your “comment links” also speak volumes. Does your comment link say “22 comments” or “22 people commented, what’s your opinion?” And if you tested it, which one do you think would attract the most comments?

2. Respond to smart comments

You don’t have to respond to “wow, cool post”, of course, but if someone has a decent remark, it’s only fair to respond to it and see if you can do anything with it. This will encourage other readers to post their comments too.

3. Reward very good comments

If someone has really added value to your post, the best thing you can do is do a small update to your post, and give the commenter kudos for his good remark, or maybe even a link.

4. Keep people involved

Having the possibility for people to subscribe to the comments on your blog is essential if you want people to return to comment again on the same post. For WordPress, you’d use Subscribe to Comments for that.

5. Fight spam, all the time!

If you’re not taking care of the spam on your blog, people won’t feel as though you’re paying attention to the comments. So: fight spam, all day, every day. But keep in mind though:

6. Keep it Stupid Simple (to comment)

While fighting spam is very important, please, please, find another way of doing that than using a captcha or any other prevention that makes it harder to comment. It’s happened to me quite often that I wrote a lengthy comment, and the captcha had timed out, and my comment was lost. Save to say I wouldn’t be trying that again.

7. Measure, repeat and improve

You have to keep track of how you’re doing, on WordPress I’d recommend my own Blog Metrics plugin. It’s based on analytics guru Avinash Kaushik’s 6 recommendations to measure your blogging success.

So, what would you do to get more comments?

About the Author: Joost de Valk is an Internet Strategist at OrangeValley, and the founder of Yoast.com, a resource with loads of WordPress tips, tricks & plugins, where he also runs a weekly WordPress newsletter, which has been dubbed “essential for anyone seriously using WordPress”.

full disclosure

About the author...

– who has written 2 posts on ShoeMoney.com.


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{ 152 comments }

1 Seo Creations

You can do like shoe do by giving homepage link to top Commentators

2 Ben Tremblay

Totally agree. Top commentator plugin or whatever you use is great to show some appreciation to your readers/commentators and it act as an incentive to comment. Have it on my blog and it works great!

3 Joost de Valk

True, I’ve seen several people with good results doing that! The question is whether those comments are as “genuine” as you want them to be…

4 Ben Tremblay

From my experience with it it’s not too much of a problem. By building a strong relationship with your readers, the comments aren’t going to be simple “good post” comment. I have to agree though that if you don’t get involved with your readers, the comments are mostly going to be crap comments and your blog will soon look like a spam machine! hehe

5 Seo Creations

I think they post genuine comments otherwise they won’t survive last long

6 Abdul

As for spam, no webmaster can hate anything more than that!

7 meethere

that is very common.. infact you should say, you should give out Tshirts like shoe :D

8 Joost de Valk

Well as I said, it’s not my method of choice, but if it works for you, good for you!!

9 Ganesh

I think Jeremy’s method of giving out t-shirts is the best. Very clever strategy if you ask me.

10 kadin

i agree with you. Jeremy’s method is perfect.
i asked you :)

11 MoneyBlog

homepage Nofollow link to top Commentators

12 Ben Pei

That is a must dude!

13 Matthias

I think the MacBook is a pretty good motivation..

14 Seo Creations

Only if he is having huge budget :)

15 Brad

it got me commenting like everyday!

when is he giving it away? the end of this month?

16 Steven-Sanders

Giveaways are great, but you can’t always rely on just that.

Great post!

17 Joost de Valk

Agreed on that Steven, I’d rather rely on getting people incentivized to comment in another way.

18 Ed

Giveaways are only good motivation until the contest ends. You have to have some sort of continuous motivation. Multiple contests would work, but could end up putting a heavy hit on your wallet if you can’t find smart ways to get prizes.

19 Önder

yes man!

20 gendut

yes….I am the first commenter….great motivation bos…

21 Kieran Hawe

Great post – bottom line is that you have to put in the effort and time.

22 Joost de Valk

Thx Kieran, and yes, absolutely true!

23 coderbari

So,you are responding to smart comments, following step no. 2 :)

24 Joost de Valk

Absolutely, secret rule #8: practice what you preach!

25 Study Babes

It’s cool how Joost is replying to everyone, makes me feel like I’m not just talking to myself :)

26 Joost de Valk

You aren’t! :)

27 Goran Website

True! The effort and time is the basics of success.

28 teraOm

It is quite true that the comment text – “whats your word?” pour your shout, leads to a extra comment or 2 than the tradational “1 comments”

29 Joost de Valk

Yep sure is :)

30 ZK@Internet Marketing Blog

I like the site Joost, subscribed :)

31 Joost de Valk

Glad to hear that :)

32 Seo Creations

Which site?

33 Abdul

yoast.com is Joost’s website and it is pretty nice!

34 coderbari

This is a great post by Joost. Shoe follows these steps and that’s why we all are posting comments in his blog everyday :D

35 Joost de Valk

Yeah he does, and some other stuff too ;)

36 Steeph

One thing that works wonders on loyalty of commenters is using their suggestions in their comments for new posts or updates in the original post (attributed to the commenter).
That’s real interactive and also gives them a sense of ownership of the blog.

(Start a post with something like “Based on a comment last week on this post we’ve found out that….. “

37 Joost de Valk

Yep, that’s what I meant :)

38 Mark - The Niche Store Builder

Cant argue with these theories at all!! I often measure how well I am doing by the average number of comments on my site.

39 Joost de Valk

That is a great measurement, I’ve actually written my own plugin, Blog Metrics, to do that!

40 Abdul

As for me, I usually keep track of comments on punch posts not every article, of course you can’t expect every post to be as good!

41 jbj

Hi Joost!
Nice article! I wrote a similar post on Cats Who Code some time ago:
http://www.catswhocode.com/blog/blogging/tips/10-tips-plugins-to-get-more-comments-on-your-wordpress-blog-470

42 Joost de Valk

Ey jbj, good to see you here! (and that’s a nice article!)

43 Patel

LOL, I wrote a post about Increasing Reader Interaction at my blog..touches base with some of the same points

44 Joost de Valk

Cool, any ideas you had that I didn’t share? :)

45 Amar

Thanks for these tips. I am working to need more and more comments for my blog. These tips would surely help.

46 Joost de Valk

Good luck with that! Be sure to measure the results of your efforts!

47 Thai Girl

I’m gonna ask them to comment more.

48 Joost de Valk

You go girl :) Definitely do, and let us know how it works out for you!

49 Thai Girl

wow! You’re replying to everyone. You rock Joost. I’m gonna subscribe to your rss.

Anyway, I changed the wording on the site to encourage commenting. Let’s see how it goes!

50 Joost de Valk

Yeah, I’m curious too now :)

51 Plugin Steve

Personally, I think fighting spam is one of the most important points, since noone wants to spend time writing something constructive and useful if it’s buried under half a dozen “Nice article” spams…

52 Joost de Valk

Indeed, those can be quite annoying. I’ve even written a small plugin, on a suggestion by Shoe, that sets a minimum comment length.

53 Seo Creations

thats cool, from where I can get that plugin?

54 Ben Pei

Fighting spam has been a daunting task..

55 BusinessX

Funny how many post I see for all areas of blogging and traffic, I don’t see commenting addressed much. Good to see a simple but quality piece like this.

Plus, the comments have of good quality too!

56 Joost de Valk

hehe, thx, glad you like it!

57 HowToMakeMyBlog.com

I agree with the KISS tip. I’ve seen captcha and other similar ways used on increasing number of blogs recently. It is definitely not the way to go to optimise the number of comments.

Using Akismet, checking “Comment author must have a previously approved comment before a comment appears” option, and a bit of maintenance is the way I do it.

Marko
http://www.howtomakemyblog.com

58 Joost de Valk

Absolutely agree.

59 used cars sioux falls

He forgot one “run contests to get more comments”

60 Joost de Valk

Though it works, I think it’s the wrong sort of incentive, to be honest.

61 ways to make money online

This is a great post. I never really saw it this way.

Comments add a great power to your website but those spammy comments look ridiculous. As long as it’s a well written post that is more then a sentence long, then it’s all good.

62 Joost de Valk

Exactly! That’s why Jeremy and I conceived the minimum comment length plugin.

63 Mark - The Niche Store Builder

If there is one GREAT positive thing I will toss at you both (Jeremy and Joost), seeing Joost respond to the comments is TOP SHELF!

I think we can all fall into a habit of letting our commenters carry on their own conversations once the site starts getting busier. I know I have commented on this site hundreds of times, and with Jeremy being as busy as he is, he rarely gets involved in the comment chains.

Note to myself… continue staying involved in my own discussions! :-)

Thanks Joost!

64 Joost de Valk

It takes an awful lot of time to do though, so I can imagine Jeremy not having the time to do that all the time, but yes, I value those comments and want to show that!

65 Technology Releases

I know this sounds kind of like being a “spammer”, but trust me it is not; sometimes it is good to allow commentors to add keywords in their name when commenting, as long as it isn’t like 30 words or something. As long as the commentor adds some type of value to their post, I don’t see the problem. But Dave you do a good job allowing people to do that, and that is why they keep coming back to your blog, because you are not so strict on the commenting part. Plus, commentors add value to a blog and keeps people coming back for more.

66 Joost de Valk

Somewhat true, but those links are all nofollow anyway :)

67 Önder

Third one is the best i think.

68 Joost de Valk

It is very important, but staying involved yourself is too!

69 BloggingBanks

I like the post Joost it;s a nice simple 7 step process that every blog owner could understand. But I also like the carrot approach where top comentators are rewarded for providing useful comments.

70 Joost de Valk

I do like that too, but I’d rather have a way of giving props to those who really add value instead of just add more comments… Might be a plugin to write at some point :)

71 BloggingBanks

At least it’s some incentive for them to add valuable comments.. I think that as long as you get the commenters started and gain momentum in that area by encouraging frequent commenting. Then after you have built a user base you could screen spammy comments better..

72 Dick

I agree. The promotion of good comments lead to the emergence of new good comments.

73 Ed

I’ve had more success with comments since I installed the DISQUS plugin for Wordpress. It handles all the spam and let’s people comment under a registered account, anonymously, or just with their name. http://www.geeked.info/disqus-comment-system-added/

74 Joost de Valk

With the new features in WordPress 2.7, I see no real reason to use disqus, to be honest.

75 Ed

My understanding is that the new comment improvements in Wordpress 2.7 will require modifying themes to support them. Uggh. Another bonus of Disqus is that it promotes a single comment system across multiple sites. I don’t have to login or register multiple times, and all my comments and conversations are stored in one place. (and no, I don’t work for them or get paid to say this. hehe)

76 Joost de Valk

It does require theme modifications yes, and they’re not completely trivial, but I think they’re worth it. Don’t want to rely on an external source for something as important as your comments.

77 David

Give away prizes to people who comment. :-D

78 Joost de Valk

It wouldn’t be my method, though it does work for Jeremy :)

79 Lupe

Stupid post, these are all common sense.

80 Joost de Valk

Why and hello to you too Lupe, thx for stopping by and taking the time to make that comment :)

81 Bryn Youngblut

You should add, give away free t-shirts.

82 Joost de Valk

As said before, freebies aren’t always the best way of motivating genuine comments, but your mileage may vary!

83 BloggingBanks

Wow Joost, seems like you have answered almost every commenter.. You really are dedicated to providing excellent customer service, aren’t you :-)

84 Joost de Valk

Practicing what you preach is one of the most important things to do on your blog, and on guest posts :)

85 BloggingBanks

Well there’s another idea for a post – are people who have their articles published on other sites spreading themselves too thin when it comes to responding to “customer” inquiries?

86 Omar Yesid Mariño

One thing that I hate is a blog that ask for confirmation of the email, I mean, I need to write the email twice every time I want to comment… I think it is an excessive thing.

87 Joost de Valk

Absolutely true, and 100% against the KISS principle I outlined above.

88 Torley

I like keeping comments simple — except for when they can’t get any simpler. ;)

I love quality followup, too. No followup means no conversation.

And if you’re going to articulate further, I wrote a post about how to be a comment rockstar: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/be-a-comment-rockstar-10-terrific-tips.html

89 Joost de Valk

Thx for the link, I’ll have a look!

90 River Girl

Good post, Joost – I have subscribed to your newsletter for a while. When the blog is about technical or related content, bloggers tend to comment because they are in the mode and understand the system. Having a niche blog, is more difficult. Some people visit the site and don’t understand it to be interactive. Have tried to do much of what you suggest, and will try to do more.

91 Joost de Valk

Good stuff! Hope you like the newsletter, and good luck on trying the “more” part.

92 Mike Huang

I was taking a look at my old blog, bloggin-ads, just a while ago and dang, it has a few spam comments and no one cares to delete it. Such a great new owner.

-Mike

93 Joost de Valk

Yeah sucks when that happens, I’ve seen that happen once too, makes it even harder to sell your old blogs… They do become your babies :)

94 ZK@Internet Marketing Blog

new bloggers take time to get into the groove

95 Keral Patel

Some blogs also allow do follow links for comments. Maybe that also attracts more people who wants to build some links.

96 Joost de Valk

I think giving some link love is fine, but have found that it attracts more spammers than anything else. If you provide good content, genuine comments will come because you do the things above, not because you help those people rank.

97 Seo Creations

Yes, but mostly spammer will comes on those

98 ZK@Internet Marketing Blog

highly spammable

99 Goran Website

Very interesting and informative post Shoe! I will check out the site, again Shoe, please use the target=”_blank” for your external links so that they don’t open in the same window as your site when we click on them. Let them open on a new window please ;-)

100 ZK@Internet Marketing Blog

this is a good suggestion, Shoe you must implement this asap for your posts

101 Dick

I think that to get comments from readers is an easy task. Just write a good article. But the fight against spam is one of the main tasks.

102 Seo Creations

But without marketing you won’t get good visitors

103 Abdul

That too, marketing needs to be targeted enough for the type of article!

104 JB

I think providing a link as a reward is a good idea. Doesn’t akismet prevent most of the comment spam problems or am i seeing that wrong?

105 ZK@Internet Marketing Blog

you can set it to allow one , two or more links…I dont think you can have more than 2 links in a comment

106 Nick Stamoulis

I agree, just asking some what they think at the end of a blog post can often times trigger some great comments. Sometimes all you have to do is ask.

107 Eric

Indeed, some good tips, I’ve recently killed captcha on my blog to see if there will be more comments coming in.

Unitl now I can only say it’s improving.

108 Valeria | TimelessLessons

Cant argue with this at all. People often measure how well they’re doing by the average number of comments on their website.

109 ZK@Internet Marketing Blog

Comments is a better element to judge the popularity of the site

110 Takumi86

Comment for blogger are most likely a ‘support’, without comment, most author will not likely to make new post because it just waste their time, so thats why Feedback always welcome but definitely not a Spam!

111 Abdul

Damn, joost almost reposnded to every comment on this article, no wonder he’s number 2 on the top Commentator’s list. Good work though!

112 TYCP Entertainment Magazine

Good post. You would think these things are common knowledge though, but it’s never too late to learn.

113 Justin

Very nice post, as usual :-) My new Web site is a Travel Guide about Quebec and readers will be able to comments restautants, hotels etc in the near future, so that particular post is truly useful.

114 ZK@Internet Marketing Blog

without comments I would never be motivated to write a post

115 Hidayah@Usa People Search

No wonder there is so much people try hard to improve the quality of backlink that comment give….there is comment luv…….askimet etc etc.Good insight of post.

116 Sweet and Outlaw

One trick I use to get comments on a topic is to make it highly controversial and stick to the unpopular view!

117 Zurpit

I agree those are the best way to get comments because than everyone will something to talk about

118 PizzaForADream

Great post. Seems based on the number of comments here that this advice is working for you!

119 Sondre

Thanks for the tips.
Gonna try out tip nr. 1:) Never thought of that before.

120 nishagun

77 Step Guide to Getting More Comments — ShoeMoney

121 nishagun

7 Step Guide to Getting More Comments — ShoeMoney

122 jackie sheeler

there are just not enough hours in the day, though! to comment on blogs that i follow (like this one) to reply to comments on my own blog, to write good content and do blogadministration duties….if i didn’t have to work a dayjob, well okay then. but i do. (at least for now; my company is getting into layoff mode and the ax is coming down next month.)

123 Diana Rupert

yeah that’s true. i agree w/ that>

124 Sectional Slipcovers

I think asking for comments is really the key. I know for myself, a little “So, what do you think?” at the end of a blog post makes it way more likely I leave a comment.

125 Sondre

Okay, I’ve tried tip 1 and 2 now, and it worked wonders :)
I have also written useful comments on other blogs, and it seems to get me a bit more traffic :)

126 Dopang

Thanks alot! really useful tips, espesially for a new blogger like me..

127 Holdtimer

Nice list Joost! I especially find asking people to comment pretty worthful.

128 joe

“Save to say I wouldn’t be trying that again.” SAFE to say. right??

129 Hicham

In addition to those helpful tips, I think that placing good comments over others blog that are worthly reading is another tip.

130 uwak

yes sometime….visitor just having little time…so very simple ways to comment very useful for visitor and back again tomorrow

131 Augie
132 Andy

Great post and some tips I can put to use immediately. Great site and glad to have discovered. As a relatively new pf blogger, there is so much I can learn from you.

133 Jack

Ask for comments. I was averaging one or two comments per post on one of my blogs. So I started asking for feedback. I placed a comtment reminder at the end of each post AND at the beginning. It worked and my comments went to 5-7 and grew from there. Commenters return frequently, mainly to see if you or others commented on their comment!

134 Alan Thomas

Nice bit of advice. Asking for comments certainly seems to increase the number of responses.

135 goodwebguideblog

I respond to all comments I get but as a beginner, it’s not very many!

136 Rowell

Great tips for a new blogger like myself. I believe it’s the first and most important way for conversion. Get more visitors to comment on your blog and interact with them by doing your best to respond to every comment.

137 Matt Helphrey

Great tips!

I have one to add…offer an incentive or a contest for the best comment. If you announce this in a forum you are sure to receive a hoard of comments.

138 rob

do you think people will comment on a new blog or a blog that has no comments? i mean be the very first one?

or should i do some comments myself to get people motivated?

139 gendut

well…great tips shoe…….success for you…..!

140 AskCash

I wish I could generate half as many comments on my blog in a month!

141 Hekim

Wow Joost, seems like you have answered almost every commenter.. You really are dedicated to providing excellent customer service, aren’t you :-)

142 Evie

LOL!!! Wonderful blog to come across as I twitter about :-)

I like the T-Shirt idea (win – win- win wins are the BEST)

Good Logo and easy to remember domain names plastered on FREE shirts :-)

143 Anjay

Double digit comments would be great for me, but then again it has only been a month since I started blogging.

144 kadin

mee to .. @anjay
its fantastic

145 Tatil Yerleri

Good luck with that! Be sure to measure the results of your efforts!

146 Erwin Tan

Great post.. I’m gonna apply it on my blog and get more comments.

147 sunghak

I have got good news for you
Im a gdi 10$ business man are you interested in internet marketing business?

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t… you are right.”

I hope that we’ll have a successful business venture together

http://freedom.ws/cshak25

148 Blogging Tips

All awesome ideas .. you left out brute force though .. that’s right .. if all else fails simply wait for them to get online then rush in their house with a wiffle ball bat .. you wouldn’t believe how fast they start commenting.

149 Eli

Guys you have to say if you want success online you have to be more interactive and less selling and every day that passes it seems that internet marketing is changing all the time which causes many people to be left behind and people fail to keep intouch with the new marketing techniques to be successful online but its pretty easy really.

150 Denny

I like the facebook connect and top commentors features as well. They seem to encourage more action.

151 Britt Adzhabakyan

Nice article. I love the effort you put into your articles.

152 Ismael Francis

Interesting subject and discussion. >:-)

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