How do I get comments on my blog?

How do I get comments on my blog? That’s a question many people ask, largely for two reasons. Firstly, comments show you, the author, that people are engaging with your material. Secondly, there’s a theory that without comments a blog post looks rather naked, unloved and unread. Hence, having comments shows the rest of the world that your material is engaging and valuable.

When is a comment not a comment? When it's contrived.

When is a comment not a comment? When it’s contrived.

Of course, this is all nonsense. Comments are handy, but not vital, Your articles and blog postings will be read and valued whether or not they have comments – providing your material is interesting and useful to people. Even so, people get caught up in the blog comment numbers game. Bloggers want more comments not less; they see some kind of “league table” comparing their blog to others and worrying that someone else appears to get more comments. Then, they see their lack of comments as some kind of failure.

You only need to see the Engadget blog on the iPhone from two years ago that attracted more than 25,000 comments to get worried that your blog is comparatively unpopular. But closer examination reveals that it’s a contest to get a free iPhone; just add a comment and you would be entered into a draw. Hardly “real” commenting.

Or you might get worried by the 11,000 comments at this post about the rainbow colour logo in support of gay marriages. Yet, closer examination reveals that the comments are merely people following instructions – using the HTML code from the page and then posting a comment to say where they have used it. Again, hardly “real” commenting.

Perhaps, you’d be concerned about the 3,374 comments on the Top 100 Guitarists in the world. But closer examination reveals that many of these comments are made by the same people, engaged in conversation using the comment system. Hardly, 3,374 commentators.

These numbers, though, worry bloggers. “How do I get more comments on my blog?” is an all too frequent question. Research suggests that only around 1% of people who read your blog will ever be likely to comment anyway. If you only have 100 readers, there’s the slim chance that just one of them will add a comment. But 100 people read the article.

So the answer to the question “how do I get more comments on my blog?” is “do you actually, really need to worry about it?”. In other words, is focusing on getting comments taking your eye off the ball in terms of writing good content that gets read. Comments are nice but not essential. Making it possible for people to comment is vital – your readers will want to interact. If you don’t have comment facilities you are going to be perceived as less valuable. People want to be able to comment, even if they actually have nothing to say.

However, if they don’t comment – don’t worry. You can, if you really want, get more comments. You could, like Engadget, offer a free item in return for a comment – some kind of giveaway. Or you could instruct people to comment as in the case of the gay marriage rainbow blog. Or you could stir controversy amongst a huge group of people, as in the Top 100 Guitarists blog.

Alternatively, you could just concentrate on writing good, useful articles and stop worrying as to whether or not people comment.

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