Only 1 out of every 100 Readers Comment on your Blog
A Jakob Nielsen study once found that 90% of online community users are lurkers (read or observe without contributing) with only 9% of users contributing ‘a little’ and 1% actively contributing.
Are only 1% of your blog’s users are actively engaging with your blog?
And are the rest (at best) only occasional contributors?
The study is a bit dated now and wasn’t just on blogging, so the actual numbers could be more or less than these and would no doubt vary from site to site anyway but I’m sure the general principle still holds true…
The vast majority of readers leave a blog WITHOUT leaving a comment or contributing to it in any way.
Some bloggers actually like it like this and switch comments off. Read more on whether to have comments on or off here and the up and downsides of comments on blogs here.
But comments and interactivity are the first step to building community around your blog and I believe this is really important.
When it comes to comments there are some ways to encourage more interactivity and participation on your blog:
10 Ways to Increase Comment Numbers on Your Blog
1. Invite Comments
I notice that when I specifically invite comments that people leave them in higher numbers than when I don’t. To some degree this confuses me as most of my readers know that they can leave comments on any post – but I guess inviting a comment triggers a response to some extent. Also keep in mind that new readers that are unfamiliar with blogging don’t always know about comments or how to use them – invitations to participate in well laid out and easy to use comments systems are good for helping them participate.
2. Ask Questions
Including specific questions in posts definitely helps get higher numbers of comments. I find that when I include questions in my headings that it is a particularly effective way of getting a response from readers as you set a question in their mind from the first moments of your post.
For example, here’s Nine Types of Questions to Ask On Your Facebook Page to Get More Comments.
3. Be Open Ended
If you say everything there is to say on a topic you’re less likely to get others adding their opinions because you’ll have covered what they might have added. While you don’t want to purposely leave too many things unsaid there is an art to writing open ended posts that leaves room for your readers to be experts also.
4. Interact with comments left
If you’re not willing to use your own comments section why would your readers? If someone leaves a comment interact with them. This gets harder as your blog grows but it’s particularly important in the early days of your blog as it shows your readers that their comments are valued, it creates a culture of interactivity and gives the impression to other readers that your comments section is an active place that you as the blogger value. As the activity in your comments section grows you may find you need to be slightly less active in it as readers will start to take over on answering questions and creating community – however don’t completely ignore your comment threads.
Whether you struggle with or get a kick out of interaction, it is an important aspect of blogging, so here are 12 Ways to Be a More Interactive and Accessible Blogger.
5. Set Boundaries
I noticed that shortly after I set the rules for my comments section (with a comments policy) that my comment numbers jumped up a little. I’m not sure if it was just a coincidence or whether readers responded to knowing what was and wasn’t acceptable. It’s just a theory but I think a well managed and moderated comments section that is free of spam and that deals with well with people stepping out of line is an attractive thing to readers. I personally don’t mind people expressing different opinions to one another in comments but when I sense things are getting a little out of hand and too personal I often step in to attempt to bring some order to the situation (I rarely delete non spam comments). I find that people have responded to this and that comment threads generally stay constructive as a result.
6. Be humble
I find that readers respond very well to posts that show your own weaknesses, failings and the gaps in your own knowledge rather than those posts where you come across as knowing everything there is to know on a topic. People are attracted to humility and are more likely to respond to it than a post written in a tone of someone who might harshly respond to their comments.
7. Be gracious
Related to humility is grace. There are times where you as the blogger will get something wrong in your posts. It might be spelling or grammar, it could be the crux of your argument or some other aspect of your blogging. When a someone leaves a comment that shows your failing it’s very easy to respond harshly in a defensive manner. We’ve all seen the flaming that can ensue. While it’s not easy – a graceful approach to comments where you admit where you are wrong and others is right can bring out the lurkers and make them feel a little safer in leaving comments.
8. Be controversial(?)
I put a question mark after this one because it doesn’t always work (and I personally avoid it as much as I can these days) – but there’s nothing like controversy to get people commenting on your blog. Of course with controversy comes other consequences – one of which is the risk of putting off less vocal members of your readership.
9. ‘Reward’ Comments
There are many ways of acknowledging and ‘rewarding’ good comments that range from simply including a ‘good comment’ remark through to highlighting them in other posts that you write. Drawing attention to your readers who use comments well affirms them but also draws attention of other readers to good use of your comments section.
10. Make it Easy to Comment
I leave a lot of comments on a lot of blogs each week – but there is one situation where I rarely leave a comment – even if the post deserves it – blogs that require me to login before making a comment. Maybe I’m lazy (actually there’s no maybe about it) or maybe there’s something inside me that worries about giving out my personal details – but when I see a comments section that requires registration I almost always (95% or more of the time) leave the blog without leaving the comment that I want to make. While I totally understand the temptation to require registration for comments (combatting spam in most cases) something inside me resists participating in such comments sections. Registration is a hurdle you put in front of your readers that some will be willing to leap but that others will balk at (the same is often said about other comments section requirements that go beyond the basics). Keep your comments section as simple and as easy to use as possible.
So – what do you think? How have you increased the levels of comments on your blog (had to ask)?
Also check out my Four Pillars of Blogging – Build Community Course to expand your reader engagement and unlock the power of community.
This article was first published October 12, 2006 and updated September 22, 2022.
Good and adequate comment on websites, blogs and other are some of the ways one could attract traffic to his or her websites or blog.
Nice! I will participate more in other blogs and ask MORE questions .we will implement at your advice
Thanks and Cheer
This is extremely helpful. I’ve been trying to find ways to engage readers more effectively and after reading your comments I feel like I have a much better idea of how to drive more of a discussion on my posts.
Thank you, again, for putting this together and for making all of our lives easier!
Thanks for this post – I have struggled with this as I have NO comments yet on my blog and in some ways feel badly about that (until i read your posts about this) and yet I see there is more that I can do. tnahkss.
Excellent advise as usual
uite right. It’s what got OTB noticed four and a half years ago. I suspect it’s even more crucial now that the size of the blogosphere has exploded.
Really good post, this will help me a lot to get comments in my blog. Now I know why people do not comment in my blog.
Great advice. I tend to go off at a tangent in my own comments. Sometimes I lose track of the topic completely. In essence, this is because I drink a lot of whiskey.
At a certain point in the evening I begin to focus more on illuminating fellow commeters on the somewhat unique attributes of my genitalia. This is undoubtedly a problem for me, but it’s a burden I must bear.
Thanks for the post. Very informative. Does the same apply for user feed back and opinions.
Very nice article. Thanks for the great tips!
very helpful information. Can’t wait to try some of it out on my own blog
I’ve been working to get more comments on my blog. I actually had more comments on each post when I was on blogger, which is surprising. I’ve tried all of the ideas in this post and still get few comments. I’ve had giveaways that encourage commenting. It worked while the giveaway was going on, but afterward went back to low comments. Even my best performing posts show low comments.
One thing I have noticed that works for people is having a baby and announcing that on the blog. That would be “getting personal” as you wrote about in a recent post. I have no problem sharing something personal like that in my life, but I don’t want to have another baby to do it! I have 4 already. And I don’t really have anything else exciting to share with my readers. I try to write in a personal way, but I need to hone that a bit.
For now, my tactic is to just keep trying these tips and hope the comments pick up like my traffic has. Thanks for all the tips you share.
Nice points, i think content is the key .
Really it is very useful post and I like to read these techniques and also I am trying it and thanks for sharing such type of techniques please keep it sharing.
nice article. it help me a lot. Try to do it my self.
Don Yuan and Jason,
Your #11 tips are great too… actually I found those even more helpful than some of Darren’s original tips.
Great blog! I just got your book and i’m really working on creating not only a blog full of information, but one that is fun to read at the same time. Thanks for all of the tips and hopefully by the time I finish your book, i’ll be a “problogger”
All the best and keep it up!
thanks for the tips. looks like they worked for you…i haven’t read all the comments but i’m pretty sure that’s been said already.
This is a great post and gives some really good tips. Register to comment is absolutely bad practice. I’ve got some new ideas like occasionally emailing my readers and the question titles. I think I also have to improve the comment field design to make it more visually appealing. And make my RSS subscriber link more visible.
Thanks for this great post.
this posting is very good. In my mind with share u all participant A comments is generally a verbal or written remark often related to an added piece of information, or an observation or statement.
Great post, Darren. I’ve actually just started using #1 on one of my personal blogs, with the intent to do it on my business blog. I’ve found that prompting or asking for readers’ input is getting them to actually take the time to leave a comment. In essence, you’re inviting them to provide their thoughts and expertise, thus making them feel valued…it’s an ego thing ;)
Well deffinately you suggestion will help us alot to get lot of comments on blogs and article. we will keep it in mind. Thanx a lot it is very helpful
Nice post Darren, please allow me to blog about this post.. Thank you so much. Your helping me on my journey of becoming a problogger.
This post is great. Thank you Darren Rowse for this post.
I like this type of people who share knowledge with others.
I’ve actually started a few of these. Let’s see if they work. Great post !!!
I haven’t had comments on my blog in a long time! I’ve noticed that some blogs have removed their comment section. I’m considering doing same. What do you think?
Personally, I like a way of providing feedback to a writer when I read their stuff. Even if it’s something as simple as “great topic, I enjoyed that”. I know I always like it when I get feedback on my posts. Without commenting, that’s much more difficult.
Thanks for sharing your view Kev. No one has commented on my blog in ages that’s why I was considering removing the comment section. But I guess I can live it for for a couple of months and see how it goes.
The one about logging in is an interesting one, it’s something I had never though about, but now you mention it, I do the same. That’s the reason why I also use Disqus on my blogs.
As a recall, you still have to log in with Disqus, and I usually don’t bother.
Correct. However, the point of that section of the article is for blogs that require you to register with that site. That doesn’t happen with Disqus. I already have an account, so can use it on any site that uses Disqus.
Plus, if you don’t want to sign up, Disqus supports social sign on, so you can log in to Disqus with you social media accounts.