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Blog Improvement Project Week 7: Make Your Blog More Comment-able

2009bip-150x210 Hello and welcome to BIP Week #7! I hope that Social Media Month went well for everyone. I haven’t been as social as I’d like to be — school is kicking my butt lately — but it seemed like it went well.  If you have any comments about how the last month went, feel free to send me an email or leave a comment so I know how to make the BIP better!

Anyway, I liked the idea of focusing on different aspects of a topic for a month, so April is going to be focused on comments (I know, not alliterative, but oh well). The interaction between bloggers and readers via comments is, to me, one of the best things about blogging, so I think this month will be fun.

Week #7 is going to be all about making your blog more comment friendly. During the goal setting project (Week #1), a lot of people made it a goal to leave more blog comments.  This is important, but I think it’s also vital that once you get a new reader at your blog it’s easy for them to engage with you by commenting on your posts. Don’t worry, Week #8 will more specifically address that because it’s going to be about leaving better comments.

One article about comments I found very helpful was “7 Reasons Why I Won’t Comment On your Blog” by Jamie Harrop. Some of his best suggestions include giving commenters direction by leaving some discussion questions at the end of your post, and responding to all comments on a post within the first 12-hours after it’s posted. Read the full post for some more technical suggestions that made me think about blog comments a little more strategically.

Darren Rose at Problogger has “10 Techniques to Get More Comments on Your Blog.” Some of his suggestions include inviting readers to comment, leaving your posts open ended, setting a clear comment policy, and reward commenters. Again, read the post to go through the suggestions in detail — it’s really good.

On other idea comes from Beatblogging.org from the article “The art of hoisting comments” which talks about techniques that popular bloggers to highlight user comments. This is one very specific idea, but sort of a cool one if you have the time.

After you read those three articles, here’s your assignment!

  • Take an inventory of your blog comments. Write down how many comments you have as of today, then track how many comments you get per day over the next two weeks (I’m curious how well all of this is going to work).
  • Pick 3-4 of the techniques from the articles to implement over the next two weeks (or more, if you’re ambitious). Print out the posts or write down a list of techniques to leave by your computer so you’re always reminded of them while you post.
  • Spend the next two weeks trying to make your posts more comment friendly.  By Saturday, April 18, write a post about which techniques you used and how well you think they worked. Sign the Mr. Linky below. I’ll do a wrap-up post to try and see which of these techniques worked best.

One more thing — do you have any techniques that you already use to encourage comments on your blog? Leave a comment here with some of your best advice on how to get comments and we’ll start to pool our collective blogging knowledge. Thanks, and good luck!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jackie (Farm Lane Books) April 6, 2009, 12:30 pm

    Great idea! I try to use a lot of the techniques mentioned already, but I’ve just launched a comment of the week competition, so will be interested to see if that makes any difference.

    Thank you for finding all those interesting links!

  • Elizabeth April 6, 2009, 4:37 pm

    I’m definitely in for this one! My comments have been down in the last 2 months and I don’t know why. I’ve even asked my readers!I do many of the things you shared, but I am going to read these articles for more techniques.

  • Care April 6, 2009, 5:22 pm

    Ah, this one is very interesting. I know when I first started blogging and would (eek!) complain in a post that no one is commenting (whine, whine, whine), I always had one blogger comment that I needed to ASK A QUESTION! Not that I always do, but I know it sure helps both to encourage a comment as well as think of my own question on someone else’s blog so I can answer when I read a post that I want to comment on. If that makes any sense… I’m not sure! I’ll attempt to be a cheerleader for this BIP.

  • Sharon April 6, 2009, 6:51 pm

    Good ideas! I’m hoping to be a better blogger this time around. Thanks Kim

  • Rebecca Reid April 6, 2009, 7:17 pm

    This is a great idea. I was thinking i was pretty happy with my comments and then I read the articles. I didn’t even think comments vs pings would be a turnoff but apparently it could be.

    I found numerous cites that says that wordpress (self-hosted) has the ability to separate comments from pings ingrained in it. But I can’t figure out how to set it up. If anyone comes along that can figure it out, I’d love to know!

  • Amy @ My Friend Amy April 7, 2009, 12:17 am

    I’d love to be able to respond to comments within 12 hours, but I can’t sit at my computer all day!

    Good ideas otherwise, though 🙂

  • julia April 7, 2009, 7:51 am

    I average about 10-19 comments per post. And I’m hungry to get that number up! So this assignment comes at a perfect time. Thanks, Kim. I’ll post my BIP post this Friday, Apr. 10th.

    If the percentages are right, though, that only 10% of readers comment, that really brightens my day as to how many lurkers I must have.

  • Mindy Withrow April 7, 2009, 1:51 pm

    Thanks for the links to these articles, both of which are insightful. The authors address many of the same issues covered by a book I read (and mini-reviewed) in January: The Huffington Post’s Complete Guide to Blogging. While some of this is common sense (i.e., asking a question spurs more responses), sometimes it helps to have our instincts affirmed by an outside source!

    Like Amy, I find it a bit hard to respond quickly to most comments. In my case, my blog is part ongoing discussion with the blogging community and part publicity for my writing — and if I’m blogging all the time, there will be no more (print) writing to publicize! So I try to balance this by checking for comments every morning and then moving on to my other commitments for the rest of the day. And then I trust that my “regulars” will forgive me!

    Anyway, for the same reasons, I’m not officially participating in the blog improvement challenge — but I’m sure glad to cheer on the rest of you!

  • Kerrie April 9, 2009, 7:03 pm

    Improving the comment rate on my blog has been one of my aims this year.
    I think among the clues are
    1. leave your blog post feeling “open”, by asking for feedback
    2. replying as much as you can to the comments people leave – i.e. beginning a conversation
    3. make the barriers to commenting as minimal as you can – currently I don’t have any word verification running, and usually, unless I want to hold some comments because I am running a competition, I don’t have moderation either. I get virtually no spam, but maybe I am just lucky
    4. Run activities, e.g. polls, that invite people to tell you why they voted as they did. Run a blog post that promotes the poll.
    5. Run competitions

  • Rebecca Reid April 9, 2009, 7:18 pm

    I think there are some interesting comments in these comments — I’m glad I subscribed!

    About the lurkers: I think the majority of traffic comes from Web searches. At least 80% of my traffic comes from search engines according to Google Analytics. I imagine most book blogs are at least that much.

    I do think there has to be a distinction between useful, productive comments and just increasing the number of comments. I personally have found that competitions, for example, might bring in a lot of comments, but they might not be quality, useful comments. I’d rather have a few comments that relate to the books I read than a huge number of impersonal “enter me please!” comments.

    I completely agree with the word verification. Very much a turn off. Also, if I have to type in my information every time I come to a site, I’m just going to stop coming. (a few sites don’t save the “cookies” but maybe there is something else going on. Do most people have to type in their info every time? Most sites save my name/email/site info for me after the first visit.)

  • Florinda April 15, 2009, 7:43 am

    This topic fit very well with this week’s “Musing Monday” question, so I answered them both together in one post.

    Skimming the comments here, I agree with one of the things Rebecca said – comments from traffic-driving special events like contests are different from those left by people who actually read your blog regularly.

    Great discussion – which is kind of the point, isn’t it :-)?

  • Jackie (Farm Lane Books) April 17, 2009, 3:36 pm

    I increased the number of comments on my blog by 33% last week! I’m really happy I took part in this project! Fingers crossed I can keep those numbers up!

  • thatsthebook April 22, 2009, 7:10 pm

    I’m really glad I’ve stumbled upon this. I’ve done my first improvement post and I think it’s really been the push I’ve needed to a) comment more and b) write valuable comments. Thanks for letting me in on this great project.

  • Carrie May 13, 2009, 10:07 am

    i just want to mention that i’ve recently gotten a huge increase in comments and i think it’s because i moved from blogger to wordpress. it’s just so much easier to leave a comment on wordpress blogs.

  • Eye Exercises to Improve Vision September 1, 2011, 3:28 pm

    Thats a very nice post…everybody should read this who are serious blogger….