Keeping tabs on your comment quota is a great way of analysing the health of your blog. For starters, you'll be able to gauge the overall popularity of your posts, which in itself can help you understand what draws people to your blog. Secondly, trend analysis will enable you to tweak your output in accordance with popular demand.
Fledgling blogs are bound to suffer spikes and troughs in the early stages, but as you improve your blog's authority and reach, visitor statistics will generally reflect this. Of course, there is a measurable difference between visitor and commenter statistics.
If your blog has a significant influx of visitors, yet few take the time to actually comment on your posts, it may be due to the lack of a call to action or too many barriers. Discover how to regain control and encourage people to interact!
1. Create Anchor Points
According to marketing software specialists Hubspot, calls-to-action are one of the most influential strategies used in modern day marketing, compelling readers and audiences to respond with just a simple question or 'hook'. Such hooks are vital when attempting to persuade potential customers a product or service is something they can't live without. In the same way, they can also be implemented at the foot of each blog post to encourage a response from your readers.
I've often found that crafting a call-to-action or anchor point takes considerably more brainpower than a title, simply because it's the last chance I have to connect with readers. Much like an addendum, it updates the reader with the original intent of the article and compels them to respond - which is why each and every anchor point should be unique.
When crafting an anchor point or call-to-action, keep in mind it should be:
- Concise – no more than 5-8 words.
- General – unless you are trying to drive conversation with a final point or fact.
- Enticing – readers should feel their contribution adds to the value of your post.
- Direct – a direct question will elicit a strong, opinionated response.
2. Identify Potential Barriers
Time is valuable. After spending 10-15 minutes fully immersed in a post, the majority of your visitors won't appreciate having to spend time seeking out the comments box, or logging in to post a response. These are key barriers that can actually dissuade visitors from bothering to leave a comment, and long-term, may even affect subscriber numbers because they feel unable to interact, therefore feeling neglected.
Analyse potential turn-offs by completing the comment form yourself. Are there too many fields? Is the anti-spam Captcha too small or too difficult to read? Was the logging process annoying? By addressing these basic issues, you can rule out the possibility of your blog's interface being the problem. Besides – be happy people comment; don’t make it harder for those that care enough to respond to your article!
3. Include An Author Profile.
There's no denying that blogging has become heavily corporate; perhaps even impersonal. Business bloggers rarely provide information about themselves and as such, many visitors feel unable to make a personal connection. Whether you run a business or blog for pleasure, connecting with your readers on a personal level is integral to the success of your blog. You don't necessarily have to incorporate a signature in every blog post, however, an author profile at the foot of each post will help to identify you to your readers.
Think about it – is there a point to leave your comment to a faceless, semiautomatic blogger? Readers want to interact with people not business bloggers acting almost like robots.
4. Encourage Interaction Via Your Posts
No blog can survive on passing visitors alone. Aside from the obvious value of having comments on your blog posts, a lack of them can actually affect your motivation long-term. This is why it's vital to make your readers feel as though their contribution matters – in each and every post.
WordPress author Scott Berkin touches upon this in his post How To Get More Comments, explaining “in real life, most conversations start by reciprocation”. As such, bloggers should “supplement point of view with invitations for other people to offer theirs. At minimum, end posts with a question inviting people to answer.”
It's relatively straightforward advice and to a degree, ties in with the aforementioned anchor points section. You can also maximise interaction by including open-ended questions within your posts, just as if you were conversing naturally.
Don’t overuse the “tell me what you think about it” type phrases. I’ve seen soooo many of them at the end of the article, they discourage me from commenting. Sometimes it’s better to write an engaging article and leave it without any questions at the end than adding an unnatural one.
5. Interact With Other Bloggers
To encourage insightful comments from respected bloggers, you need to lead by example yourself. This means getting out there and finding conversations you can enjoy participating in, as well as offering your opinion. By doing this on a regular basis, you'll gain the trust of other like-minded bloggers and encourage them to seek out your own content!