If you were to think about one of the hardest parts of blogging, especially when you’re a beginner, it’s not just getting people to read your content – it’s getting them to comment on it.
You might have heard people say lately that comments are “dying”.
I completely disagree.
Blog commenting is still a huge measure of how much your readers engage on your blog. So, friend, if it seems like no-one is commenting on any of your posts or you simply want to grow the community you’ve already got, then this post is definitely for you.
The Obvious – You’re Not Asking Them a Question
What’s the number one thing you should include in every single blog post? A question. When you finish a piece of content, try asking a question to encourage your readers to comment.
I don’t just mean a simple one like, “What did you do this weekend?” or, an open-ended one that only requires a yes or no answer. Ask a question that makes people think. The point here is that you want to make your post engaging enough and your question detailed enough that people have to leave a comment.
This is from a guest post on The Nectar Collective. Notice how the writer is not only asking a question about takeaways from the blog post – they’re also asking the readers to share their own tips.
They’ve actively asked them to get involved.
I know it might seem stupid to point this out. But if you’re not asking your readers to get involved, chances are they won’t. Blogging is all about community and building relationships. One of the best ways you do this is through asking questions to help your audience comment.
You Have No Call to Action
What’s even better than asking a question about your blog post?
Asking your readers to leave a comment.
Yep, this way you’re actively asking people to leave one. You’re not asking them to do loads of things to make it complicated, you’re just saying “leave a comment.” What’s the best way to get what you want?
You’re Slow in Responding or Don’t Respond At All
You know that friend you’ve got that you really like, but who takes over a week to respond to any of your messages? Eventually, you get fed up and stop trying to speak to them.
It’s exactly the same for blogging.
If you take days to reply to all your comments, people will notice. It makes them feel like you aren’t interested in what they have to say and it doesn’t help you form a relationship with them. Soon enough, they’ll forget about you. They’ll stop commenting. They’ll stop caring.
You need to stay consistent with your replies in order to grow.
The way I do this is to check and reply to all my comments first thing every morning after I’ve published a blog post the previous day. If you use Disqus, you can also get email alerts sent to you, so you know when someone leaves a comment.
You Aren’t Making It Easy Enough
Lauren from Elle & Company makes a point of saying this a lot, and it’s true – readers are selfish. We are though, aren’t we? We don’t want to have to search for something when we’re online. When we’re looking for something, we want to be able to find it immediately. If we can’t, or we find it difficult to navigate, we’re going to give up.
It’s like if you want someone to sign up for your mailing list. If you’ve only got one place on your site where people can sign up, then that’s making it difficult for them.
Make sure it's easy for people to leave a comment. I can't recommend Disqus enough. Once you're logged in that's it and it's so easy to leave a comment.
You Don’t Comment on Other Blogs
There are so many endless benefits to commenting on blogs. Seriously. I just think if you read a blog post, why not leave a comment? Here are some of the things you can gain as a blogger from commenting on other blogs:
- You can build relationships. A blogger will notice you when you comment on nearly all their posts. You’ll become a permanent member of their community and they’ll really appreciate that.
- You’ll get an even better comment back. Yep, if you leave an awesome comment for a blogger, chances are they’ll reply with an even better one. If you ask a question, they’ll answer it for you. You don’t know what you could learn, simply by leaving a comment.
- Other people will find you. Honestly. Lately, I’ve made a pact with myself to comment on every blog post I read. It’s getting my name out there. People are finding and visiting ABOH through finding me in the comments of other blogs. They’re turning into readers and boosting my brand. What more could you want?
You Aren’t Being the Most Useful You Can Be
What’s the one thing you need to do for your audience as a blogger more than anything else?
If you’re being useful, people will leave a comment and tell you. They won’t be able to ignore it. They’ll be like, “this post has helped me so damn much, I’ve got to leave a comment!”
Try writing posts about a more specific topic in a lot more detail that will help you audience. Create thorough tutorials that cover every aspect of what your reader needs to know. Answer all their questions so they don’t have any others.
It’s all well and good writing about your weekend or your latest adventure. But if there’s no benefit in it for your readers, why would they leave a comment? At least if you try out a DIY, you can make a tutorial. Try and spin everything personal so it benefits your audience in some way. You only get deeply hooked on a blog if it’s helping you, inspiring you and motivating you.
You Haven’t Found the Right Direction…Yet
Or in other words, you’re unfocused.
I know you might have a lot of interests and want to write about #allthethings. But that doesn’t mean they’re all the right fit for your blog. Having a site that is focused with a certain theme and writes about different topics is so much better to engage with than one that’s all over the place.
Starting off as a lifestyle blog is what most of us do – that’s fine. It gives you a great way to test out a lot of things to see what you're passionate about. But narrowing your focus will definitely help you grow your readership more quickly and meaningfully.
Lifestyle blogging is all about blogging about your lifestyle. It doesn’t have that clear of a focus. It’s going to be harder to get people to regularly comment on your posts when they can only engage with a fraction of them.
During a transition, your comments might decrease slightly. That’s fine. Your readers are figuring it out as much as you are. My comments did, when I changed my direction a few months ago. But even though I’ve only been on this path for a short time, I’m getting more engagement, my posts are getting more shares and ABOH is being recognised a lot more.
When you’re confident with your direction, your readers will notice – and they’ll leave more comments. You’ll write posts that are so in tune with them that they won’t be able to resist.
There Are Errors in Your Copy
Deal breaker. I don’t know about you, but I cringe so much when I see an error in someone’s blog post. I know it’s easily done. But in my view, if you’re blogging consistently and taking it seriously, ain’t no one got time for errors.
Proof-read that post until you can’t read it anymore. Read it in your head, read it aloud, read it backwards. Then leave it for a day and read it again.
If there are obvious mistakes in your copy that readers pick up on, they won’t leave a comment. They probably won’t even finish reading your post. Harsh words friends, I know. But true.
You’ve Got Too Many Pop Ups
Ah pop-ups. Some love them and some hate them. Sure, one might be alright. But more than one and that’s it – people will not stay on your site. Especially if it pops up as soon as you enter and especially if you can’t find an easy to way to close it. That’s not cool.
It’s like with the errors – they won’t even finish reading your post, and if they don’t do that, it means they won’t leave a comment. If one pops up at the end, fair enough. But a well-written, easy-to-read post without any interruptions is what most people want.
There’s Not Enough White Space
I want you to do something quickly so you can picture what I’m on about. Go to google images and search for “bad websites.”
You’re in shock, right?
If you went onto a website that looked like any of those, you’d leave immediately. Why do you think when you open a new document, spreadsheet or Powerpoint presentation, that the page is white?
Because they’re so much easier to concentrate on.
You’ve got to make assumptions about people. Think about when your readers might be reading your blog posts. Over breakfast? They’ll be tired. Lunchtime? They’ll have done a morning’s work, most likely on a computer. Heading home or in the evening? They’ll be tired. Help your readers and give them chance to rest their eyes and minds with lots of lovely white space.
This helps people get to the end of a blog post feeling happy, they’ll be able to concentrate on every word and they’ll probably leave you a comment.
You’re Too Salesy
So the other day, I unfollowed a blog, because every single post was trying to sell me something or sign me up to their next launch.
If all you’re doing with your content is trying to promote or sell a service, why would people leave a comment? They’d have nothing to say. “Sign up for my webinar!” “Buy my stuff!” It’s not engaging enough.
You Don’t Sound Real
For people to connect with you as a blogger and a person on the interweb, they’ve got to be able to see some form of your personality. If you talk in jargon and sound like a robot, they’ll be put off.
Think of a press release or a newspaper article – you do not want to sound like that. They’re types of content that aren’t designed to spark conversation. You read it, that’s it. Of course, they’ve got their place in the marketing world. But not on your blog.
Write as you, not someone else. If people can relate to you, they’ll engage with you – which means they’ll leave a comment.
You’re Not Talking about the Comments You Get
So part of being a blogger is promoting yourself, right? It’s not enough to just publish blog posts and let everything else happen. We need to utilise all the brand extensions we’ve got available to use, including social media and email marketing. That means you can talk about the comments you get.
If someone leaves you a comment that’s the best one you’ve ever received, get on social media and thank them for it. Include the link to the blog post the comment was left on. It’ll get people intrigued. They’ll want to know what made someone leave this epic comment. Who knows – soon enough you might have another comment from a new reader.
People Don’t Know Who You Are
I get it – we’ve all been through the struggle of being a new blogger. The days, weeks and months of waiting for the comments to arrive. Usually, we’re still finding ourselves, which means our readers will be trying to figure out what it is we do. Sometimes, people have to interact with you elsewhere before leaving a comment on your blog. It make take a few chats on social media, but you’ll soon see them leaving a comment.
Be as active online as you can. Social media, your mailing list, commenting on other blogs – these all come together to help build your brand, build your community and get your name out there.
Before I leave you, I just wanted to let you know that it’s OK if you think you need to fix a lot of the things listed here. And it’s OK if you’re a beginner blogger or you have a small audience and you’re not getting comments. Take a deep breath – floods of comments don’t happen immediately.
These tips are meant to share what I’ve learnt and what I know will help improve interaction across your whole community for you. They’re not meant to make you think you’re failing as a blogger or you should quit and eat a big tub of ice cream. Put down the spoon! Things take time, I truly believe that. It’s easy to get impatient as a blogger. But everyone’s growth is different.
So if something resonated with you in this post, or anything on the whole ABOH site, take it in baby steps. Do one thing at a time so you feel like you’re making progress, without the fear of being overwhelmed.
I also want to let you know about something really exciting that can elevate your growth on social media.
It’s called, The Ultimate Guide of Amazing Social Media Ideas (for every day of the year) and it’s a workbook I’m creating for bloggers and non-bloggers alike, who want to grow their presence online and be found by the right people. I’ll be giving you over 50 pages of unique social media content ideas that you can use for every single day of the year, that will help you to stand out on social media, build your presence online and bring loads more people to you. I’m pretty excited about it and I think you should be too.
It’s currently in the process of being put together as we speak. But to get special extras that no one else will get, and to find out about it first, pop in your email here.
Do you need to fix any of the tips on this list? How are you going to start working on these this week? Leave a comment and let me know!