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The Best Way To Get Blog Comments

In our discussion in the last post, we established the importance of giving and receiving comments in the blogging world. Most of us crave validation of some kind.

But how can we practically engage our blog readers so they'll leave comments?

CEO of Thomas Nelson, Michael Hyatt, had a blog post last week entitled 7 Strategies for Increasing Your Blog Comments. If you haven't read it, you really should. His suggestions are innovative and right on target.

Let me just say this first. Getting more blog comments isn't a competition. The idea behind increasing that little number box at the bottom of our posts isn't so that we can become the most popular blogger that ever roamed cyberspace.

Increasing our blog comments relates to my previous post. We all spend time and effort crafting our posts, and we want the blogging experience to be worth that time. If no one is reading what we write, we begin to wonder if blogging is really a good use of our limited resources. Seeing the numbers go up and getting real feedback spurs us to keep at it.

Michael Hyatt listed seven ways to help engage readers more effectively, and there are many others who've shared their tips too (Here's another: How to Build Traffic on Your Blog). However, we can do everything else right--write short, thought-provoking posts, end with a question, make it easy for people to leave their comments--and still end up without comments or very few.

Why? If we're following the "rules," why wouldn't we have more success?

Because. . .most of us are not in a position where we can hit publish then sit back and wait for people to flock to what we wrote. It just doesn't happen that way for the majority of us.

For the average blogger THE best way to get people to comment on your blog is this: Comment on other blogs. Go visit blogs and start leaving comments. Begin to genuinely connect with others in the blogging realm.

Agents, editors, CEO's, or movie stars draw readers and commentors because of their popularity. The rest of us just don't have large enough platforms to attract readers of their own accord.

The ordinary blogger has to seek out others and then look at blogging as a two-way conversation. If we want to have people "speak" to us, then we have to "chat" with them on their blogs.

Sure, we can have dialogue in our comment section and leave responses to the comments people make. I occasionally jump into the discussion on my blog. I try to answer questions. And every once in a while I email a response. But I don't consistently respond to each comment. I don't have the time, and I'm guessing most of my blog readers have even less time to come back and re-read the comment section.

I've become convinced THE best way to increase blog comments is by commenting on other blogs. It's all about the genuine give-and-take of relationships. If you want to be heard, then you have to listen to others. That takes time and effort, but in the end, I've found it's worth it.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my theory? I'd love to hear your opinions!

78 comments:

  1. I agree with your assessment for the most part, but goodness, Jody, who has the time to do that too? You have 257 followers. Surely you don't comment on all their blogs. There is no way to do that and have time to write your books. I believe you can "get" the following by commenting on other's blogs, but to get the comments you have to write something the reader can connect and resonate with. You are a great teacher and others want to learn. You also have a way of making others feel like they are a friend, so they want to respond back. There are so many variables in this blog venture and you seem to have been able to master them all! :) Kuddos to you, girl!

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  2. Hi Sherrinda! Good morning, bright and early riser! You are right. I DO NOT comment on ALL of my followers blogs. Absolutely not. I really can only visit the blogs of people who comment on mine, and even that is hard to do. But I love the socializing and try to visit others when I can.

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  3. I agree 100%! Making the connection is a two way street. Often people will never know you exist if you don't reach out first.

    I comment to everyone who comments on my posts and I try and check in with others through my Blogger Dashboard.

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  4. "Begin to genuinely connect with others in the blogging realm." This resonates with me!!! Because I cannot possibly comment on every blog I read (not because I don't want to, believe me, I do), I can only hope that I am always genuine in everything I say and do in blogosphere.

    Jody, that is why so many people love reading your blog. You are genuine, you are an insightful writer, and you connect with the people who read your blog.

    This is a great series that is making me think. Thanks, Jody.

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  5. I agree... but... (you knew there had to be a but)

    I...
    don't...
    have...
    time!

    There, I said it. My time is so very very limited... I can't take the time to comment on all the blogs I want to, even just the ones who comment on mine.

    At the moment, I'm averaging 20-25 comments... If I commented on all 20 of those blogs, at say 3 min each (which really is an underestimate...) that is an hour a day. An hour that I don't have that should be spent writing, or being with my kiddos.

    So, for me, in my life right now, I do the best I can. I visit a few blogs daily, and a few more weekly, and then I try once a month to make the rounds and get to as many blogs as possible.

    Would I have more comments if I visited more often? Probably. But I understand that others are in the same situation and I'm honored for the 20-25 comments I DO get, that those people took time out of their day to read what I wrote and respond.

    So yes, I agree... the price of the execution is just not always worth it, I guess is my opinion.

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  6. Commenting on other blogs is essential. Even if you don't comment every post, it's important to let the blog author know you visit.

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  7. I think you are right about the commenting. Viewing blogging as a conversation is crucial. There are many other factors involved, of course, but in a blog post, there is only space for one. You've shared with us what you believe to be the most important. I've recently come to the same conclusion.

    I have also recently come to the conclusion that the QUALITY of the comments tells me if readers are connecting with my post. I have become more focused on quality lately. What is the quality of the discussion my blog is having on a particular day? I am not saying, of course, that every day has to be deep and life-changing. But readers should be having a real conversation with me. If they aren't then improvements are in order.

    My husband tells me that he reads blogs associated with the New York Times which have no comments. The people writing them are REALLY GOOD WRITERS but their readers are not commenting, apparently. So the commenting traffic is NOT just determined by the quality of the writing.

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  8. Jody,
    I started to post a comment and began to wonder, "Am I doing this just to get people to recognize my name and go to my blog?" If so, I'm not doing it intentionally.

    I post a comment when the subject matter is something in which I have a strong enough opinion to merit sharing it. (Of course, that's in my own estimation). I'd say that posting comments is one way to increase blog traffic, but engaging the reader with subject matter is another.

    Thanks for opening this subject for discussion.

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  9. I love commenting on other people's blogs. I agree that's the single best way to build a following. I try to comment back on all of the comments on my blog. Most days I manage to. I think my followers appreciate knowing they can count on me to personally respond, and I enjoy doing it.

    I love your blog, Jody. It's a wonderful blend of great information and personal thoughts. Thanks for being there to educate and share. ;-)

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  10. Very true. I agree. Just like you said - if you want to be heard, you should listen. I like to think of it as a conversation. When I blog, I'm talking. And in real life, who wants to be friends with a person who just talks all the time?

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  11. Oh, and another thing - I stopped commenting back in my comment section too. Because like you, I don't normally have time to go back to the blogs I visited and commented on to read the blogger's response to my comment. Like Krista said - it takes enough time getting to them the first time around. So if responding to a commenter is required (they ask a question or riase a good point) I usually respond in my comment on their blog. :)

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  12. I totally agree. I believe I gained most of my followers by commenting on other blogs. In fact, a lot of times people might say "well, read your comment on Jody's blog" - okay, that's just an example, but you get my point.

    I think the vote is split on responding to comments. I've read a few articles that say to respond to comments, and some that say don't. I normally try to respond to the comments left on my blog, and I'm one of those who goes back to blogs for two reasons: a) to see the ongoing comments and b) to see if the blogger responded directly to my comment. Yeah, it's a bit time consuming, but I kind of like my commenters to know I'm reading their comments, and I've gotten into some great discussions through the comment section.

    In the end, we want the validation of knowing somebody is reading our blog, but for me, I also like receiving a response to a comment as well. I guess that's double validation!

    S

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  13. Definitely--because it builds relationships!

    I just signed up for stat counter/google analytics and was surprised at the number of hits on my blog. I'm glad I did that because I wouldn't have known so many come by during the day. I'm thankful for those people and for those who comment!

    Thanks so much for these links, Jody! I'm going to check them out!

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  14. "If you want to be heard, then you have to listen to others."

    I love the listening..It is how I begin to understand myself.

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  15. Oh yeah, one more thing--

    I often return to blogs to see if the author commented to me. It's not to every blog every single day, but several a week. It's usually if I said something specific that I hope they'll comment on.

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  16. Hey Scott,
    I've noticed a few blogs, like Literary Lab, and a few others where the discussion in the comments does get lively. I can totally see your point! I love participating in those kinds of discussions when I have the time. And I admire those who take the time to respond to each comment! So thank you!

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  17. Absolutely agree. But then, what else is new, Jody? ;)

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  18. This is a little unrelated, but I think it's great that you blog MWF. I find myself looking through my Google Reader in the morning and seeing "On the Path" in bold and saying, "Oh! It's Wednesday! Hooray!" I wonder if you might even get more comments this way than if you blogged M-F.

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  19. I totally agree with what you've said. In the past I visited lots of blogs, left comments, and then had those people visit my blog and often leave little comments. Sadly, I had to drift away from that and lost nearly all my readers/commentors. I'm trying to get that back up again and I'm working on changing my blogs, asking questions and visiting more often.

    What I don't like is when you visit blogs and those people don't return the favour. That can get annoying. I guess we can't control others though, lol.

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  21. AGREED! I try so hard to get by everyone's blog that comments on mine. But Jody!

    I got to where I had to have a time limit. It was interfering with my writing. And I don't want that to happen. Ever!

    I missed those posts on increasing blog comments and building traffic on our blogs, but have the tabs ready to read after home-school. Thank you.

    Great posts on this all important subject.

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  22. At this point, I'm still building up a blog readership, so I do have time to respond to them in the comments. I think your suggestion is a great one. Like others, I worry about the time factor. Maybe doing a rotation of different blogs each week would do the trick.

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  23. I totally relate to this post. Keeping my need for validation in check is a constant battle. Like you said, if no one comments why even bother in the first place. That said, lots of people at my church read my blog but none of them comment. Yet, frequently they mention something I've written on my blog helped them...made them laugh...or blessed them. So, even if we don't get comments doesn't mean our words aren't reaching others.

    That said, I'm definitely going to check out the links.

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  24. Completely agree with you on this one. Going to read Hyatt's posts.
    ~ Wendy

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  25. It is hard to keep up with all the blogs I follow. I do try to visit the blogs of everyone that comments on mine, and I leave comments when I have something to say, but I don't usually do just a "me too" comment.

    Once in a while I will respond to a question from a commenter, but a lot of times I will post the answer on their blog. For instance, you commented on my blog today about the number of hours of sleep I get. I said I get an average of five a night. I did NOT say I did well on that little amount of sleep! : )

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  26. I completely agree with you, Jody. But I rarely respond to comments on my blog because I realized that I don't go back to re-read someone else's blog that I commented on to see how they responded to my comment. Just not enough time to do that.
    Karen

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  27. I agree about commenting. i was also noticing your 257 followers Would you say that you follow them all back? (I have found at my mere 140ish that it is getting unmanageable!)

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  28. Hi Corey,
    I try to sign up to follow everyone who follows me. But I can't keep up with reading all of them. For now, my system is to read the blogs of those who are actively reading mine. That narrows down my list considerably.

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  29. Great links and good post. I think everyone likes to open their mailboxes and see mail. Nice to know someone is thinking about you. :O)

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  30. Absolutely.
    !

    I do respond most times to comments on my blog, on the blog itself, as a means of fostering dialogue. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I think dialogue on a blog requires the blogger to have blog access the better part of the day, which many bloggers do not, and also for commenters to check that little box where it says "email follow-up comments to...". So they'll know that I responded.

    Of course, I rarely check that box myself, because it means you get an email every time anyone responds, but if I'm really interested in follow-up comments on blogs where I left a comment, I check back myself.

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  31. I totally agree! If you want to have friends...you have to be one. Same goes with blogging and commenting.

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  32. I agree with you, and I hear you on the time factor, Jody. I do my best to visit the blogs of those who leave me comments. But (there's always a but...) there is just no way to have a healthy, balanced life and put in hours and hours of blogging every day.

    Yes, comments are validating, and as writers we crave that. Even more important, I think we just want to know that what we say matters; that our words touched someone.

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  33. I agree! Thanks for the links; will have to check them out. Great post! :)

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  34. I agree with you. You have to put an effort in to expect others to put the effort in.

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  35. Yes! I totally agree. And I love that you call it a conversation. It's fun to go and chat with friends and it isn't hard. It does take time though and I'm still trying to figure out how to effectively balance blogging with life's other demands.

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  36. Jody, I thought for sure you were going to say, "Write a post about blog comments." Because when you did, it sure did generate a lot of comments! :) I love that you are so conscientious about staying connected with your readers. Just know, we understand if you can't come back to comment every time. It's been fun for me to watch your blog grow. You're definitely a fast learner and very resourceful, not to mention a great writer! Keep doing what you're doing because it's working.

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  37. I totally agree. Leaving comments on other people's blogs shows you care about what they're writing and it's true that I find I don't have time to go back and see if anyone has responded to my comment.

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  38. I agree that commenting on other's blogs really is the best way to get comments in return.

    I do make it a point to respond to those who comment on my blog. I have the luxury of a modest--which I'm grateful for--following, though.

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  39. It's called "The Secret" Give, and it will return unto you four-fold. This is a big part of life. Learning to give and take. Being interested in another's opinion and life. I do think people should make their comments somewhat shorter. Especially with those that receive a lot of comments. That way it wouldn't take so much of your time to answer everyone.

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  40. I definitely agree. I've noticed that since I cut my blog time back to three days a week and only comment on other posts on those days, the comments on my posts have decreased.

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  41. That makes total sense. It's kinda of funny how the obvious seems so darn simple.

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  42. Agreed! And the best part is when I actually begin to develop relationships with regular commenters as we talk back and forth on one another's blogs. It really enriches my life.

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  43. I am commenting on your blog in the hopes that I too will get blog feedback of my own.

    :-)

    Just teasing. Your blog today was good and true! Interaction with one another is invaluable.

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  44. I've just recently started blogging and I have to agree with you 100%. Leaving comments on other blogs was the number one way I have been able to increase the amount of comments on my own. I must admit, I'm still in the beginning stages of things but leaving comments with other people was a way that I've been able to kick-start traffic to my own site. Also, I think it's a curiosity thing. Most people (especially in the early stages of blogging) want to know more about those who are reading their posts. It helps you tune into your audience and provide better value for them in the content you provide on your site. I enjoyed your post...great insights!

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  45. Hi Jody -

    Great post! Blogging and hanging out with my buddies are two of my favorite activities.

    At the moment, I spend a lot of time visiting and commenting. Right now, I hit almost every link on my blogroll on the days they post. Then I go to my comments and Followers. I try to read and comment on most of them at least once a week.

    Once I get a full-time job, I'll have to cut back some. The blogging rock will have to make room for the job rock in my time jar. :)

    Blessings,
    Susan

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  46. Thanks Jody.
    I think it is about building relationships. I wouldn't have met so many wonderful people if I wasn't commenting on their blogs.

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  47. I agree with this, Jody, and try to get on my followers blogs at least once a week, then throw in a few new ones from time to time. I have met so many interesting, helpful people.

    An added delight is to have the privilege of praying for our cyber friends who need help. I love that aspect of blogging.

    So I'm wondering why I have only one comment today? This baffles me. Sometimes Blogger does a weird noogy and doesn't include me on the blog roll.

    Oh well, if you are interested, I have a post about having Christmas dinner in an Amish home...

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  48. Jody, who better to speak on this subject but you? You are truly a master at developing internet relationships. I'm taking my cue from you and come January (I'm winding down my blog for the year shortly) I'm going to try harder to create more relationships and comment more on other peoples blogs. Thank you for this invaluable advice!

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  49. What??? I was just waiting to become the most popular! :)

    I have found this to be very true. Anytime I feel like I need new followers, I go and find a new blog. I comment. They come check me out. final result: a new follower.

    Validation. We all crave it.

    Oh, and you won an award on my blog today.

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  50. By following your links--thanks!--I found out how to install threaded comments on my WordPress blog. Yay. Thank you!

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  51. A point you made about not having time to come back and answer comments...

    I never (well, almost never) go back to prior posts to read and respond to comments. I read and respond to them in my e-mail. I simply do not have the time. If someone is a no-reply commenter... Well, no reply.

    It is very helpful, if you really want this two-way dialog, to have an e-mail attached to your comments. That way blogs you comment on, can easily respond and visa versa.

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  52. Jody, I just started blogging and felt such a rush when people left comments. It is a great way to meet people and dwell in a community of writers who are so supportive. It truly has opened up my world. Thanks for YOUR connection!

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  53. I completely and totally agree with you, Jody. My blog and comment traffic increased significantly when I started leaving comments on other blogs. And not just "Great post!" but actual, sincere, constructive comments.

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  54. For me the whole purpose of the blogging scene is based on 'community'... connecting with fellow writers for support, encouragement, sharing. I love your comment that it's not a competition because it truly isn't; it's a conversation.

    Not all blog topics will resonate with all readers but if the poster doesn't know you're there it's hard to maintain the conversation. Providing a bit of feedback shows your interest and stimulates further dialogue.

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  55. I agree. I tend to find that when I'm out there commenting my comments go up!

    Sometimes that is hard to do, but I think it is totally necessary.

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  56. Jody, I sincerely believe you have the gift of discernment! As I read your post yesterday, I was thinking this SAME thing! It's almost like that old adage: to get a friend, you have to be a friend. And yes, I *hanging head*, am one of the guilty ones . . . I visit blogs but don't leave comments like I know I should, especially ones like yours that I visit DAILY! But that is one of my New Year's resolutions--to leave a comment on blogs I visit regularly, even if it's just a line or two. Your blog is SO APPRECIATED! Thank you for sharing your journey to publication . . . it is SO ENCOURAGING! :)

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  57. You are right. Unfortunately it sometimes comes down to TIME.
    Sigh. What to leave in. What to leave out.

    Good thing our God likes to time manage for us...when we let allow His hand to fill out the Daytimer!!!

    patti
    www.pattilacy.com/blog

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  58. I agree with 100%. I believe that what you give you will receive. Once again your post is genius and very insightful.

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  59. I so agree, Jody. The best way to receive comments is to leave comments. And as an extension of that, the best way to make blog friends is to be one. You are spot on with this observation!

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  60. Jody, I agree that you need to leave comments to get comments and I've started doing that, including following other blogs that I find ineresting. However, I seem to be generating only a limited response. With time, I'll check out more blogs when I can. I know it's the righ approach.

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  61. Here's my comment!!
    Now everyone comment on my blog!!!

    WOO HOO!!!

    :)

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  62. Jody, I think you're bang on with this. The reality is that people are busy, busy, busy, and if you can't take the time to relate to them they aren't going to find the time to relate to you. Friendships built on-line are extremely valuable, though.

    P.S. My kids got their first snow day today!! HURRAY!!!

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  63. This is so true for the small blogger. I have recently not been able to comment on other blogs.
    Comments on my blog have dropped by 50% and daily readers have diminshed as well.

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  64. Hi Jody! Completey agree, even though I don't (yet) have my own blog. I've started following other bloggers and leaving comments to cultivate the practice. Also, even if I never have my own blog, just posting comments is one way to build a bit of visibility for myself as a writer. Patrice

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  65. I do my best to read & comment on my followers blogs at least once a week. Of course, some of my followers do not have their own blogs and some of my followers don't have an account to leave comments.

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  66. When I first met you through blogging, I quickly realized how much effort you put in with people. It really impressed me. This post is right on target.

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  67. I have definitely seen the truth of this -- commenting on other blogs definitely pays, but I would love to have pure motives in reading and commenting. I don't want to be a "let's scratch each other's back" reader. I guess there's a balance to be struck and that I'm an idealist, but I have this nagging feeling about it.

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  68. Definitely agree that in order to receive comments you have to leave comments!! I look forward to reading the two Michael Hyatt blog posts that you made reference to. Thanks for an insightful post, Jody!

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  69. I agree completely Jody! It is definitely about building relationships! Thanks so much for Michael's links. I'll check them out in a little bit.

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  70. I agree that commenting on other blogs can lead to you getting comments on your blog, and also gaining followers.
    I follow quite a few blogs, which is a neat feature, and often comment on those blogs as they post.
    But I must limit my time spent doing that. It is fun, but is time I am not writing, playing, praying or gardening :)

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  71. Jody, I totally agree with you:)

    I also wanted to let you know that I have shouted you out on my Friday post (when I get it up) and wanted to let you know.

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  72. Goodness! This post generated a lot of comments. :D

    But now I want to go and visit everyone's blog that posted!

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  73. I agree with leaving the comments on other blogs. In some cases, I've had new people find me because of comments I left. So, it works in a couple of different ways. I also think it's important to have your name in the comments link back to your profile.

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  74. You're right. Visit other blogs, leave comments, start a "conversation" of sorts. Good, simple advice.

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  75. I completely agree. It is a time-consuming process, but if I find a comment on my blog that intrigues me, of course I'm going to pursue the writer back to his/her own blog. That's one of the easiest and most effective ways to make connections with people. We can't read everything, but we can certainly take the time to comment on those things we find helpful.

    -Liz

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  76. I completely agree with this! Not only has visiting other blogs increased my following, but I genuinely enjoy doing it and have a lot of fun with it!

    Great post, thank you for this!

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