15 Ways to Attract Comments Like an A-Lister

SOBCon ConversationWhether we are blogging to support our business or blogging simply to rant about, well, just about anything, we all crave comments on our blogs. Not only do comments show us that somebody, somewhere out there is interested enough about what we wrote to respond, but comments also can help build traffic as well.

If content is king where blogs are concerned then comments are evidence of the power behind the throne.

Mitch Argon of FreeNevadaMove.com asked a good question yesterday over on Business Blogging 101 – Comments post. He said,

I’ve been blogging for about 9 months. I’ve tried different techniques on writing posts to get more comments from readers but am still searching for the ’secret sauce’ to create more community.

Any thoughts on some good resources to accomplish this?

As I said, it’s a good question. And the answer is both less of a secret and harder to achieve than most people are willing to admit. I say “harder” only in respect to actual effort being involved. Don’t be misled into thinking attracting comments is overly complicated. But it does take some concentrated effort.

So here’s a list of things you can do to attract more comments to your blog and build blog traffic at the same time.

To Attract Comments…

  1. Write quality content. Good writing may not automatically attract readers but bad writing will surely repel them. Make it interesting, unique and original. Flavor it with a little of your personality. Avoid stuffy corporate PR speak in your blog. People are much more likely to converse through comments with real people than some anonymous company hack. If they fall asleep or click away before they get to the end of the post there is no chance they’ll leave a comment. Copyblogger is a great resource for writing tips.
  2. Comment on other blogs. This is the single surest way to attract blog comments. Find other blogs that are interesting, especially if they are in your same niche, and comment on them. But don’t just leave a “Great post. Come back to my place.” type comment. Be polite. Respect their readers. Add value to their conversation. Over time this will attract comments on your own blog in a simple application of the law of planting and harvesting. Liz Strauss of Successful-Blog fame is the single best person I know of in this area. She has built such a large community at her place that it inspired the SOBCon blogging conference.
  3. Don’t say it all. Resist the temptation to write masterpiece blog posts. If you say everything there is to say on a subject, or if you come off as knowing everything, then folks will be unlikely to comment. Leave room for discussion. Before you hit publish read through your post. If it completely covers the topic consider editing some of it out to allow others room to speak.
  4. Ask for reader input. One great way to stimulate discussion is to simply ask for it. Be creative though. Make asking an interesting question your goal rather than just saying something like, “What are your comments?” Dawud Miracle is the master of this approach. Read through some of his posts and you’ll begin to get the idea.
  5. Make commenting easy. This one seems like a no-brainer. But I’ll say it anyway. If you want more comments on your blog then make it easy for people to comment on your blog. The more hoops you make people jump through, the fewer comments you’ll get. Captcha’s work, but they put the burden of spam protection on the commenter and not on the blog author. Instead consider using a good spam filter like Akismet or Defensio. When people’s comments disappear into moderation they are unlikely to return to comment again. And don’t even talk to me about blogs that make people register before they can comment. Bloggers who do that should expect much fewer comments.
  6. Police your comment section. Displayed spam inhibits legitimate comments. Even the best spam filters make a small percentage of mistakes with false negatives and false positives. Read through the comments on your blog regularly, daily if you’re serious. Relegate the spam that leaked through the filter to the spam hell where they belong. And save any misidentified legitimate comments from that same fate.
  7. Stir up controversy. You really want comments on your blog then take a strong controversial stand on something. People will come out of the woodwork to comment. Just be forewarned. This approach is not for the thin skinned or the feint of heart. Some folks have a tendency to get nasty when they, um, discuss things they are passionate about. Controversy is the reason political blogs tend to have so many comments.
  8. Reply to comments. You want to show your readers that you notice when they comment at your place then respond to them publicly in the comment section. Engage them in dialog. Liz Strauss does this so consistently. She is obviously interested in and values every single reader that makes the time to comment on her blog.
  9. Be nice to people. There’s not much that will squelch a conversation quickly that ripping someone to shreds. If you attack people who comment or are mean to them then you are sending a message that you don’t value other people’s input. That’s a message people will get loud and clear and they’ll stay away from your comment section in droves.
  10. Post less often. One reason some blogs don’t see as many comments as they might is because they are simply churning out too many blog posts. People don’t have time to absorb what you’ve written and give their two cents. Some people won’t comment until there are a few others who have. Give them time to have that opportunity. One way to get more comments per post is to have fewer posts. If you really want to see more conversation taking place consider posting less often.
  11. Post more regularly. If you take long breaks at irregular intervals, then actively post for a while, you send mixed messages to your readers and they probably wont be as willing to comment. Consistency is the key. When your readers know what to expect from you they will be more likely to engage in conversation and participate more actively. [As a note this is one area that I’ve been particularly weak in here at SuccessCREEations, especially lately. I’m working on it.]
  12. Highlight commenters. You might consider highlighting commenters on your blog to attract more comments. There are several ways you can do this. You can make it a habit to use blog comments as stepping stones for blog posts like I did with this one. You could use a recent comments widget like I do in the sidebar. Or perhaps you might want to install something like the Top Commentors widget.
  13. Turn off NoFollow. If you want to reward quality commenters then consider turning off the NoFollow attribute in your comments. The short version is that Google introduced NoFollow to discourage comment spammers. Trouble is it doesn’t work. Spammers weren’t dissuaded at all. Yet we’re still stuck with it. To turn of NoFollow in WordPress get the  DoFollow plugin. If you are using another platform, Andy Beard has compiled a great list of resources for disabling NoFollow in most of the more popular blog platforms. Just be forewarned. If word gets out you might find your blog on one of the many DoFollow lists that are floating around the web and end up getting more spam comments as a result.
  14. Implement a comment policy. It was the spam comments people left as a result of these lists that prompted me to formalize my comment policy here at SuccessCREEations. Some may see guidelines as restricting and think they would inhibit commenting. But the truth is setting boundaries makes people feel generally more comfortable and willing to comment because, for example, they know they wont be personally attacked here. And if they are I reserve the right to delete the offending comment.
  15. Give it time. Finally remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. It takes time and some focused energy in all these areas to really attract comments like an A-Lister.

These are some of the things I’ve seen work over the years. But I know the list isn’t all inclusive.

What is your favorite approach to attracting comments? What examples would you share?

Leave us a comment and join the conversation.

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  1. kudos on this post! This is seriously some of the best content I’ve seen in a long time. I’ll be back.

  2. Sorry, I’m posting a second time, but I realized I didn’t say everything I wanted to (you should probably put in there somewhere “don’t comment numerous times on one post.” One thing that has helped me a ton is the dofollow plugin. It really has been great. I’m listed on some no nofollow sites and I see the results.

  3. Chris, these are excellent tips. Comments are funny – often, blog visitors judge a blog’s quality by the number of comments it regularly gets. Then again, not every comment is useful. But knowing how to attract them is critical – otherwise, why have that little comment box after each post?

  4. Great content and relevant! Thanks for spending the time it to gather and present this. Thanks too for the link love. Kudos!

  5. Nate, In my case getting on those lists was the farthest thing from my mind when I installed the DoFollow plugin. The trouble I have with those lists is they effectively promote drive by commenting, which can end up being pretty spammy. But that problem still hasn’t gotten big enough here for me to penalize legitimate commenters because of it.

    Easton, it comes down to that quality vs quantity thing, doesn’t it? Most times we want more of whatever we don’t have on that scale.

    Heya Liz! You’re welcome. I only link where I see value. 🙂

  6. Of all of them, number 7, stir up controversy, maybe the one that I do the least. Great tips though that I am glad to have read so that I can do them on a more active level to increase comments. Looking at the comments over time, I surely have seen a huge increase in the last year, and hopefully this time next year, the increase will continue.

  7. helping, yours is an example of a comment that many would view as being pretty high on the spam scale. You use a keyword instead of a name and it doesn’t add much value to the conversation. Normally I’d probably delete a comment like that here but in this thread I’ll leave it up as an example of being way too close to the line of spaminess for comfort. Sorry if that comes off as harsh, but that’s the reality.

    Airsoft, one big thing you can do to encourage comments is to link back to your blog instead of your front page. Since it’s on the same domain it will help your site raise in the search engines too. Then you can dress up your blog, theme it more like the front of your website and end up with an integrated marketing vehicle.

    Adam, I’m not much of a pot stirrer myself either. I find it too stressful over the long haul. So you won’t see a whole lot of that here. But I can’t deny it’s a valid strategy for some folks.

    Sales, You’ve got a great blog, Karl, but I’m guessing most bloggers are less likely to click through to see what you have to say because you are using a keyword instead of your name. People want to interact with other people, not with a title or key word. I’m guessing that using your own name when commenting will help your own blog grow.

    Bennylakers, Just an FYI, I edited your comment to remove the link from the body of your comment because it took your value added comment and then dropped it squarely into the negative version of my point #2 above. (i.e. “Great post. Come back to my place.”) Plus adding extra off topic links conflicts with my Comment Policy here at SuccessCREEations, Inc.

    And that’s a good reminder for me that I have to add the link to my comment policy near the submit button again. I forgot to include it in my redesign. Thanks!

  8. I don’t see a ton of folks that read my blogs comment, but they are still picking up the phone and calling, so that is still ok with me.

  9. I hate using comment moderation, but if I didn’t, we would have a whole lot of poker site and online gambling spam. I can’t possibly police my blog for spam comments constantly during the day. I do check for comments often during the day so those waiting in moderation aren’t sitting there too long. I feel that we do our viewers a service by ensuring that the comments that get through are legitimate. I WANT to turn of the moderation, but I just don’t think it would be wise. Am I wrong in my thinking here?

  10. Steve, If your blog is supporting your business goals then I’d say you are doing the right things. Comments are not a hard requirement for a blog to be a success though they can certainly add to that success. If the purpose of your blog is to generate leads and you have enough leads coming in then I’d say you are doing fine.

    Mary-Lynn, You’re on WordPress at BIGGsuccess so you might consider using either the Akismet or Defensio plugins linked in the article to manage your spam. Both of them typically will catch 98-99% of your spam correctly which means you can let comments be unmoderated and just review your spam box to double check it.

    Personally I use Defensio primarily on my own blogs because I like the way they present the spam better. It’s easier for me to review. But Akismet is the gold standard when it comes to spam protection so I put that on all my client blogs. They are both equally good in my opinion.

    Another thing I do is keep both plugins installed on my blog (but only activate one at a time). Very rarely one or the other services will have an outage. Usually when that happens you’ll notice all your spam going straight to moderation instead of to the spam box.

    If I see that happening, I just go in, deactivate the struggling plugin, and activate the other one to put my spam protection back in place. It makes for a simple back up system.

    That way protecting my readers from being subjected to spam has a very small impact on my readers ability to comment. Personally I much prefer to see my comments on other blogs show up right away, especially if there is a lively discussion going on.

  11. OK, I’ll give it a shot. You’ve convinced me! Going to change it now.

  12. Mary-Lynn, Neither of those plugins make managing spam completely work free. But having one in place and running will lighten the load dramatically for you.

  13. This is the best list of blogging information I’ve found! Thank you for giving examples to help make it that much easier for “newbies” (like me) to the blogging world.
    I’m signing up for your RSS feed, that’s for sure!

  14. Julie, Glad to help.

  15. Hi Chris,

    Great tips. Do you think a blog post once a day is too much? I have read that you should blog 3-4 times per week. What do you think?

  16. Fredrik, That’s a good question and I’d say that how often you should post depends on what your blogging objectives are.

    If the objective is to increase traffic then the general rule is posting more frequently will bring in more traffic. To allow more room for discussion and encourage more comments a lower posting frequency is not a bad idea.

    Personally I’d like to post here 5-7 times a week, but lately it’s been about 3-4 because of client commitment priorities. However I’m not sure there really is any one “right” answer to that question. It just depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

  17. Thanks for so many great suggestions. I’ve had it easy so far because I was part of a group blog where both readers and comment culture were already in place. Now that I’m about to head in a new direction on my own, I find it’s extra hard to face the lack of readers/commenters when you’re already addicted!

    Anyway, on the group blog, we’ve discovered that half the time there’s an inverse relationship between the amount of time you spend on a post and the number of comments. The best-researched, most deeply informative posts might get a handful at best. But a throwaway note on some aspect of daily life that affects everyone? Scores! Sometimes, with the “deep” posts, you just have to hope people appreciated them….

  18. Two, I was laughing as I read your comment. That’s so true about the effort/attention ratio sometimes. Is the moral to never put any effort into your posts and just bang out junk? 😆

  19. This is probably the best post I’ve read on getting comments. Two wishes makes a good point. Sometimes the little throwaway note that should be a twit will give you a ton of comments while a post that you spent an hour on will get one or two. Stumbled and bookmarked this.

  20. Perhaps I’m too small and too new to experience much spam, but maybe I’ll get some soon and feel affirmed. 🙂

    Just kidding. Seriously, spammers, I’m fine.

    Thanks for the helpful post, Chris.

  21. “Great post. Come back to my place.”

  22. Phillyfilly says:

    I’ve seen it over and over: A popular blog is read and commented on by a circle of readers. But if I go to the readers’ blogs, I don’t see the popular blogger commenting at any of them.

    No reciprocation. What’s with that?

    And are the readers hanging out there, hoping to gain readers by association?

  23. Phillyfilly says:

    PS–is it really considered good manners to invite people back to your place and away from the blog they’re visiting? Would you do that at somebody’s home and party?

    Is it the same thing?

  24. Here’s my take on your questions, Phillyfilly. It may sound lame but many of the more popular bloggers are doing the best they can to keep up with the comments on their own blog. I’m far from an A-lister and I struggle just to post regularly while I’m getting my business off the ground. Unfortunately I don’t have the luxury of reading the blogs of everyone who comments here.

    When I comment over at Problogger (for example) I don’t expect Darren Rowse to come back here and comment. But if I add value to his blog with quality comments a few of his readers may become regular readers over here too.

    On the manners question you are exactly right. Dan was joking. 😉

  25. A friend recommended I check out your site. Thank you for the helpful information.

  26. Chris, thanks for having my back! I was joking… I just couldn’t resist!

    This is a great conversation, and the big thing that I take from this is the idea that I cannot expect to be a part of a community, unless I am making the effort to join others where they are at as well.

    I’ve been blogging on two sites for over a year now, and I do find that I get more traffic when I participate in discussions elsewhere. And when I slack off on that, I also notice that traffic decreases.

    It also seems to me that when I get other blogger traffic, other drive-by traffic is more likely to pay attention as well…

    I am making a conscious effort to keep myself engaged in the communitie that I wish to attract. Thanks for the GREAT post and discussion!

  27. Interesting article.
    Its what Dan King calls ‘drive by traffic’ that I can’t seem to attract. I’ve got some very loyal folk who drop in frequently and I’m a moderator at ChristianWriters.com so I get a fair amount of exposure there. Just looking round at networking sites at the moment – any suggestions ?

  28. I have a question, my blog is well built, rather boring, it’s about credit repair, how exciting can credit repair be? However I have a well-built tutorial that really helps those who are interested in repairing their credit. The problem is my bounce rate is through the roof, people just aren’t sticking.

    I do pretty well on adsense from the bounce but I need people to actually stay for my other monetized ads to work.. I can shorten up my tutorial and make it an easier read but the subject demands an in-depth explanation … any suggestions?

  29. Great post and some advice that all bloggers, new or old, can use.

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