A blog is a two way communication tool between the blogger and his readers. However, for most bloggers, their blogs are a one way street. They write the blog posts but for some reason, nobody ever comments. Does this sound like your blog? Want to change it so there are comments after comments whenever you write a new blog post? Then this blog post is for you! In the blogging series, I will give you tips and tricks on how to create a blog that readers will want to comment on.
Comments on a blog are a better sign of activity than how often a blog is updated. A blog can do multiple posts per day but if there are no comments in any of them, a reader will question if anyone reads the blog.
At time of this post, John Chow dot Com has 4,052 posts and 202,202 approved comments (plus 958,241 spam comments). That works out to 50 comments per post. It gets so competitive sometimes that some readers won’t even finish reading the post because they want to be the first to comment.
Nobody Likes a Zero
Have you ever gone to the mall and noticed that some stores have many customers while others have zero? The store with the customers has very little trouble attracting more customers, while nobody seems to want to go into the store with no customers.
The reason for this is because the world is populated by way more followers than leaders. The fact of the matter is most people are not and do not want to be leaders. They will not enter an empty store until someone else enters first.
This same mentality applies to the Internet and blog commenting. Most people will not comment on a blog that has no comments on it. This present a bit of a dilemma. If people won’t comment because there are no comments, then how do you get people to comment in the first place?
The hardest comment to get is the first one. Once that’s done, the other comments will come quite easily because social proof has been established. So how do you get that first comment? The easiest way is simply to do it yourself.
Seeding The Comments
If you want people to comment on your blog, then it’s important to make your blog look active. Sometimes, this mean you will have to seed the blog with your own comments using an alias name. Now you may think this is dishonest but in marketing, perception is everything and the perception is a blog without any comments on it is a dead blog.
I have seen blog posts where the blogger posted a question to his readers. A couple of days later I go back there and there are zero comments to the question. That does not look good. Asking a question in a blog post is a great way to get readers to comment but if there’s no reply after a day, then you should answer the questions yourself using an alias. Letting a question post go for days without a comment is a mistake I see many bloggers make. They would ask questions on their blogs and then wait for comments that never come. This just provide more social proof to the reader that the blog is a dead blog and not worth commenting on.
Having even one comment on a blog post is better than having none. That one comment may be all that is needed to get the comment ball rolling. Here are some other ways to seed a blog with that first comment.
Start a Commenting Group
We all know about Digg groups that get together to Digg their stories to the front page. You can get together with a few other bloggers and start a commenting group or just join an existing one. You all agree to comment on each others’ blogs and this helps to maintain a level of minimum comment activity on your blog.
Setting up a comment group is kinda like taking link exchanges to the next level. Link exchanges help readers and search engines discover other blogs but they don’t create a sense of activity and creating activity is the key to getting blog comments.
This is not to say you should comment on blogs that only comment on your blog. Commenting on other people’s blog, especially the big ones, is a very good way to bring targeted traffic to your blog.
Ask Your Friends To Comments
Your friends reply to you on Twitter and comment on your Facebook updates. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t comment on your blog if you ask them to. After making a new blog post, I send the link out to friends on Twitter and Facebook and ask them to comment on it. Well, I used to do that. Now I just send out the link.
Friends and family are a great source of first comments. You don’t need an army of friends to do this either. You only have to seed the post with a comment or two. There’s no need to go crazy. The key is to get that first comment in the post to remove the pressure of being the first commentator for the reader. When your blog becomes really big, you won’t have this problem because everyone will want to be the first commentator. Until then, you got to seed.
Buy The Comments
If you can’t find a comment group (or you have no friends) then you can try to buy the comments. While you can pay people to comment on your blog, a better way would be to dangle a carrot in front of them with a reply to contest. Whenever I post about a contest that requires a simple reply to enter, I easily get up over 100 comments in the post.
Now, my blog already gets enough comments as it is so why do I still do reply contests? It is all part of the overall marketing plan. A large percentage of readers are new. When they see a post with over 100 comments, it tells them that this is a happening blog and that they should be a part of it.
The main problem with a reply to contest is it only generates comments to one post. It looks very strange to see one post with a ton of comments and the rest with none. The solution would be to seed those other post and give commentators additional entries if they leave a comment in those posts as well.