A 7 Step Guide to getting more Comments

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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”.

158 thoughts on “A 7 Step Guide to getting more Comments

    1. 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!

        1. 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

        1. 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.

  1. 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”

  2. 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….. “

      1. 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!

      1. 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!

  3. 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…

  4. 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!

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

    1. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

    1. 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 :)

      1. 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..

      1. 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)

        1. 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.

      1. 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?

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

    1. 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.

  13. 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 ;-)

  14. 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.

  15. 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?

  16. 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.

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  19. 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!

  20. 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!

  21. 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.

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  23. 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.)

  24. 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 :)

  25. uwak

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

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  27. 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.

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  29. 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!

  30. 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.

  31. 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?

  32. Hekim

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

  33. 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 :-)

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  35. 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.

  36. 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.

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