You wrote an awesome article on popular topic, you stuffed it with great images, you can see people read it but… nobody leaves any comments! It can be very disheartening because it gives you an impression nobody really cares. It is not true – you probably made some rookie mistake which stops people from commenting and it is easy to fix it.
What stops people from commenting on your blog?
Visiting other person’s blog is like going to their home and commenting is like talking to the owner – do you like visit dirty and messy places? I don’t and if a blog is not good visually I don’t leave a comment. I don’t mean blog has to have top class theme (but it helps). There is lot of free, nice themes and even premium WordPress themes are not that expensive these days.
Solution – improve your blog’s visuals either by getting new WordPress theme or by writing one from scratch using a framework (I recommend Headway framework – no coding required). If you are low on funds you can get free themes on WordPress main site.
Weird commenting system
I’ve seen it thousands of times: people change original WordPress comment form to be protected from spammers and they get almost no comments at all. There were times I really, REALLY wanted to leave a comment but I was stopped in my tracks by registration process. This is one of the top blogging mistakes IMHO. It HAS TO BE EASY to leave a comment!
Solution – go back to original WordPress commenting system and protect it with Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin (it adds simple checkbox user has to click before submitting comment – very elegant and efficient systems I’ve seen so far). Don’t use any crazy captcha systems.
Lack of encouragement and reward
Sometimes your readers need a little push to take an action. In Internet Marketing world it is called Call To Action. It can drastically increase commenting rate.
Solution – ask your readers about their thoughts on the topic, try to encourage them to give you some more ideas to be put in the article. Reward commentators with link to their content using CommentLuv WordPress plugin. You can also enable DoFollow for links on the comments (either manually or in CommentLuv settings), but it may attract wrong type of commentators.
Weak social network
Believe me or not but blogging is all about creating connections with other bloggers. It is unofficial netiquette to revisit your commentator’s blog and comment back. If you don’t visit and comment other blogs, why would you expect someone else to do it? Always reply to comments on your website – if someone will become regular commentator he will notice your lack of engagement. I removed some blogs from my Feedly RSS Reader because their authors didn’t bother to revisit or reply to comments.
Solution - find some good blogs in your niche and add them to your RSS Reader which will allow you to track new posts much easier. Check your reader on daily basis otherwise unread post will pile up and you will miss some good opportunities to comment good articles. If someone comments your article, revisit and leave a comment, you can also add him to your RSS.
It is not easy to comment on article you don’t understand. You have to understand most people are not reading whole articles on the internet – they are just scanning. If they cannot find anything they understand instantly without reading tons of text, they will just move on to another blog. You have to earn your readers’ attention!
Solution – organize your articles better – use headings, use clean paragraphs with bold beginnings, don’t be afraid of lists. Try to put your point at the beginning of paragraphs and then explain them, so if reader finds first few words interesting he can continue reading.
No social proof
Readers are more likely to leave a comment if your post is popular amongst others. By being popular I mean it is shared on popular social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+. Getting first comments and article shares is the hardest task, so don’t forget to reply to comments which doubles number of comments! You can also hit two birds with one stone by using premium CommentLuv plugin which gives commentators more options if they like or share your post on social network.
Solution – use plugins that allow users sharing your content and which display number of shares – ask your friends to share and like your articles, use good call to actions to encourage sharing and commenting.
Some beginner bloggers focus on themselves instead on their readers. Please remember that your visitors will LOVE YOU if you solve THEIR problems! It is not easy task to do but if you succeeded your blog will flourish with comments and visitors.
Solution – the easiest way to achieve it is to write HOW TO articles as a starter – I had lots of comments on this kind of content on my other blogs and it still attracts good amount of traffic! Don’t forget to tell them to ask any question they have in the comments!
Your articles are too good
Try not to explain everything and don’t point out all the options: it is really hard to add anything to list that has 100 entries and covers all the possibilities or discuss with someone who is a guru on given topic and knows everything. Proving readers wrong is also not a good tactic to encourage comments.
Solution – miss an obvious point or even make a mistake in the article and let your readers correct you (try not to make fool of yourself because you may lose some credibility). If you are a guru, you should encourage users to ask you questions – maybe do an Answer the Question periodic article where you gather all comment from previous week and answer them? You could even set up a small prize for the best question!
You are too impatient
Many fresh bloggers think comments show up overnight because articles on other blogs have hundreds of them. It is not true – comments grow over time. If you get a comment in few first days, it is a good start!
Solution – wait a bit and try to promote your blog on the net. Remember that not every visitor leaves a comment, so if you don’t have any traffic at all, you shouldn’t expect comments.
Did I miss anything that could increase number of comments on your articles? If so, please let me know… in the comments!