This post is by The Blog Tyrant.
My blog is only 22 posts old but I already get close to 100 comments on most of the articles I write. I recently wrote about how to increase conversions and got over 250 comments in about six hours. It’s a surprising amount.
So why is my blog getting so many comments? And more importantly, what can you do to replicate the commenting frenzy on your own blog? Let’s take a look.
Why comments matter
The first thing I want to talk about is why comments are important to a blog. It’s quite simple—one word in fact: community. Blog comments are a sign that your community is healthy and functional. The post I linked to above was the 18th article I had written on Blog Tyrant and I hardly had to participate in the discussion: my readers did it all. I just put up a post and watched my amazing community help each other out with their questions and concerns. I felt like a proud dad.
I’ve found that if you can increase comments on your blog, you’ll often find that traffic, subscribers, and all the other nice metrics rise as well. In fact, when I look in my analytics I see that the posts that get the most comments also do the most converting and bring the most visitors—not the other way around.
Let’s say that again: more comments lead to more traffic, conversions, and sign ups.
How I get people to comment
I want to share some simple little strategies that I use on my blog to get comments, and lots of them.
1. Close comments
Wait a second … close comments? Yep, close them. After two weeks I close off the comments on my posts so that people have to wait for a new post if they want to start commenting. Sounds counter-intuitive doesn’t it? In fact, just two weeks ago I got an email from another blogger who asked:
Why do you close comments on old articles? What if people want to add to the discussion? You may as well close comments entirely.
I visited his blog and, quite ironically, almost every post he has written has zero comments. Unfortunately this guy has underestimated the power of scarcity. People are much more likely to interact with a product or a blog if they perceive it to be scarce or limited. That’s why car companies release limited editions and the big clothing stores have “one day only” sales. If you close comments your comment section automatically becomes more alluring.
2. Show up every single day
At least once a day I get an email from a reader thanking me for personally replying to their comment. In actual fact, I make it a policy to reply to every single comment that I get on my blog, unless it has already had some good replies. I do this because I want to show my readers that I care and that I really like getting comments from them. Replying individually, every day, shows them that I am interested and the karma of that action is that they want to comment more often.
You might also see a slight trick here. By replying to every comment you also increase your comment count. So instead of having ten reader comments, you might have 20 with your own individual replies. Not all of my posts are like this but in some of them, 30-40% of the comments are from me. Tricky huh?
3. Write full and detailed articles … but don’t finish them
In my 7,809 word series on how to blog, I told my readers to write comprehensive articles but not to finish them. This little trick is something I picked up years ago when I decided to sell a blog for $20,000: long but incomplete articles really attracted a lot of interest amongst visiting traffic.
Here’s the deal. If you totally exhaust a topic, you leave your readers with nowhere to go. They already have all the answers from your post, so why would they comment? The reverse of this situation occurs if you write articles that are too short and incomplete. In that case, you aren’t going to rouse enough passion and interest in order to generate some discussion.
The ideal situation is to write comprehensive articles, but to not quite finish them. Don’t complete every topic and always finish the post so that the reader wants to learn more, research further, and talk to you about what you have written.
What’s worked for you?
Have you ever heard the saying, “the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know”? I have been blogging for a long time but still, every day, I find new strategies and techniques to improve what I do. I get totally embarrassed by the fact that, after years of blogging, I still don’t know a thing!
Please leave a comment and let me know what strategies worked best for you on your blog. Is there any reason why your most commented articles did so well? Or is it totally random? I’m looking forward to hearing what the ProBlogger community has to offer!
The Blog Tyrant is a 25-year-old guy from Australia who has sold blogs for large sums of money and now writes about dominating your niche. Subscribe by email or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
Thank you for the tips! We’re a brand new blog and we’re lacking in the participation area. This will definitely help!
I’m really really impressed with this blog. It’s a treasure! I can’t wait to visit again and soak up the value you provide here. Fantastic job. Thanks for the effort:)
This is a great tip. Thank you. I think that this will work if you have the visitors coming in the first place. Sometimes it is very difficult to get people to comment and interact. I am in the process of writing a series that I am hoping will generate some interaction!
Thank you for the great advice! I’ve just launched a new blog and am excited to implement your ideas.
It will be challenging for me to close comments, but the “scarcity principle” reminds me of economics. Sounds like it’ll work.
I also tend to exhaust a topic and provide all the answers, but at least start/end with a question to encourage discussion. Will try to refrain from completing the train of thought so often.
Great tips, we’ve left our 100th place to visit empty for our readers to provide their opinion as part of a competition.
I loved this post for many reasons.
Not only is it food for thought in gaining more comments, it also gives me ideas for blogging. My blog is literally days old and I have been stuck on what types of post would generate followers but now I have an idea.
I can see how writing everyday and forming post to be interactive would help and since i’ve personally been following blogs for so long I kinda see this referenced in the blogs i do comment on vs the ones I dont. So Thanks again.
Love you all Nise
Not be too cynical, but maybe you have a lot of comments on your new blog is due to the fact that people know who you are already.
14 days into a blog with no history, brand new?…brand new blogger?…it’s doubtful someone can will the traffic to gain 100s of comments.
Feel free to ask my readers. Only two or three of them know who I am. And I’m a nobody.
Tyrant you’re a somebody to me. ;) seriously the reason I’m a fan of the tyrant is because he helps me. Sure his blog is awesome but he answers questions for me about my blog that no one else will. I get lots of good info from problogger and even found the tyrant here. Yet nothing about any of these sites gives me the idea that if I write a blog post they will show up and give me a hand when I’m confused and struggling.
I wrote this post on my blog to get some help and within a few hours he was checking it out and gave me great advice. http://landlordrescue.ca/awesome-blog-tyrant/ That’s why he’s the best.
I was going to come in and comment that the scarcity argument for closing comments doesn’t make sense, but then I realized you already knew that. Well played.
I liked this post. I’m gonna be the turd in the punchbowl and voice skepticism over the fact that a 2 week window is going to ‘push’ commentary. The vast majority of my comments come from readers during the first 3 days after posting. There are always stragglers. But hard to believe that if they knew they couldn’t comment in 2.5 weeks they would be more compelled to comment now.
You’d be surprised on BT’s blog. I end up unsubscribing from his comments (only his comments!)after a week because they are still flooding my inbox LOL
I wish I knew a way to make it so you only got notified of the replies to your specific comment.
There is such a buzz at Blog Tyrant…
comments are helpful and response is super fast (fantastic community).
I am in anticipation of what is next, and subscribe to comments and check each one (always find a gem).
PS Don’t make it so you only got notified of the replies to your specific comment. I like them all!!
Turd in a punchbowl just made me slightly unwell. Thanks! ;-)
Perhaps its not so much that people know the comments are closing as it is that they enjoy the opportunity of commenting when a new post comes up. For example, I only post once a week/fortnight and because the other articles are closed people jump on the new article to say hello, comment, discuss, etc.
I think there’s a bit more to why you get so many comments BT. There’s something charismatic about you that draws conversation. I don’t know, maybe it is because we know if we comment you will answer?
Who knows what came first, but I appreciate the community that you are growing over on BT and I am proud to be a part of it!
As for what generates the most comments on my blog, I’d say it’s when I get personal. Informational and opinion articles don’t generate near the amount of comments as when I tell a story. It’s a good reminder that my readers want me and not just the information I’m providing. They can get that info anywhere. They chose me, and when I deliver…I get rewarded with feedback.
You are a sweetheart Heather.
Tyrant: Love number 2 – show up every single day! I use Disqus to manage my blog comments. As I spend time away from my computer, this makes it real easy to reply to comments via email on my blackberry. And I do make it a point to reply to each and every single comment. On occasion, I use Eyejot.com (their bookmarklet feature) to send a personal 20 – 30 second welcome email to a new commentator as a way of welcoming them to the site. The response rate on that has been great! (I guess I should do that more often eh?)
Lastly, for new people starting out, I’d say that the best way to get noticed, is to visit other sites and network/build relationships with other bloggers by becoming a part of their community (leave comments, connect on social networks, etc.). It takes time, but totally worth it when you’re building value for one another both ways.
Great article, You were able to infom and somehow I was able to retain information, that usually takes me to write down, and study. I have every intentions on trying your methods and techniques, as soon as I am able to back everything up. I am working on that type of dedication of infoming, beyond my actual clients. Twitter does informs and a person can’t help but to grow. Keep doing what you’re doing! It’s Great and Informative!
Boss Résumés and Cover Letter Service, Inc.
I’m convinced that by my replying to every single comment (readers know I’m paying attention to them), and by only posting 2-3 times a week increases comments. I like to say that I let my posts “stew.” People have so many blogs to read that if I post every day, they may skim or worse, skip a post of mine because they can’t keep up with what’s in their readers. I average 50 comments a post. It didn’t come easy. I don’t know how you did as fast as you did, but I tip my hat to you.
Interesting article. I find myself feeling a little guilty of falling into your trap of how you get people to comment on your blogs. Besides that I really like a couple of ideas you present. The first is about closing blog comments off after two weeks. I like the idea; however, I don’t see this being beneficial to me seeing that I have only written about 8 blogs. The second point I enjoyed was about not finishing your post. I have a tendency to write winded sentences and write every thought I think and it’s not until after multiple revisions that I almost get a concise blog. I am going to try to leave my blogs more open ended in the future and leave the ending to the thoughts of my readers. Thanks for a good post.
The closed comments is interesting. Is that something you can set automatically through something like Disqus or do you have to go back and close each one manually?
And, for those of you who want to come and comment on my blog, come on over!
I will comment back as well. :)
I would have never thought about closing comments on a post, but now it makes perfectly good sense. I also agree with the previous comment about not posting every day. Whenever I see that people are posting on their blogs every single day just for the sake of showing up, it sort of ruins the mystique. I would much rather see someone put time and energy into important posts, and following up with their readers on a regular basis.
I love the ideas you presented. I will have to give them a try!
What about a blog that still have not many readers. Is closing the ‘comment area’ will make the same effect?
I’m not sure Ali. All I can suggest is to test it out and see how you go.
I always get 80+, but it’s all spam. Sigh.
Thanks for the tip. Now if I can just get my comment function to work properly. ;-)
This is quite fascinating. I am currently trying to increase traffic and comments to my page. I want my blog to be an interactive session rather than me telling my fans what to do. This was very helpful.
At what point was there a tipping point in your posts that you had such depth in comments? 5 posts, 10 posts 15 posts?
Actually I think it was the third post on How I Sold a Blog for $20,000 in 8 Months. It went to the front page of Delcious and got me a lot of really good readers.
closing comments on post after specific time is good for high traffic blogs or the popular bloggers like Darren for low traffic blog or less known bloggers its not possible as they try to target more and more audience
I have 16 blog posts in my blog and so far I only get 1 comment and 1 like. I will be visiting your blog often and learn from your success.
Thanks for the tips and suggestions on blogs. I liked the point on close comments and as blog writer we will also follow the useful tips given by you for commenting and make a point that all the comments are answered on time.
Thank you once again
Simple Dude gave you a tweet, so you’ll probably see a spike. That’s how I found you. Great stuff, man. Thanks for the tips.
I’m a total newb, so I don’t have much in the way of success to share, but I have noticed that if one comes to the attention of other, influential bloggers, your traffic can explode.
And the way to do that is something I see many other people have said: comment on other people’s blogs.
Anyhow, you won a new subscriber. Great work.
Who is Simple Dude?
He’s one of your commenters on this post!
Here’s a link to his great blog Simple Dude in a Complex World Heh, here I am pitching his blog, but I owe him a favor.
Do you think it is better to post every day or only two to three times per week?
I prefer to write one detailed long article a week/fortnight as opposed to many short ones. But it doesn’t work for everyone.
Good post BT. What about an email autorepsonsder plugin that thanks commenters for their feedback? Wondering if that would bring them back for more commenting?
Yeah Comments matter a lot – they kind of validate the blog.
I must admit that I struggle to understand the idea behind “Close comments” – I will try it out and see what happens over the course of a few months
information is very interesting and worth checking out. thanks you..:D
I’m kind of puzzle with close comment. Someone care to explain a bit further.
I want to implement it to my blog.
I agree, I’m not quite sure about closing the comments, but if it has worked for this blog, then I’ll definitely give it a try. Has anyone else tried this and found that it works well?
Hows it going. As a active part of the Blog Tyrant community, I can vouch for what BT is explaining here, he gets a lot of constructive and helpful comments. He writes a post, but always leaves it open ended, this invites you to comment, try to guess the ending so to speak. Also writing to cover problems, like what is wrong with my blog, I think this post had over 250 comments. It caused interaction and one hell of a response.
Question BT, (I know this works for you). Posting once a week or every 10 days, is it a healthy amount, good for comments if promoted well. Most bloggers if they posted once a week or less would get hardly any traffic, so what is your secret.
I think it has a lot to do with the kind of post a person does. I don’t ever publish little update posts; each article is between 2000 and 7000 words and goes deep into a topic. I think this is what allows me to get the community, traffic and comments without the posting frequency.
That being said, I wonder if I did more whether I would get more?
Who knows. Things are changing in 2011 for BT anyway.
I will have to try out the closing comments….very interesting…Try ending your post with a question and always asking for feedback.
Top tips, thanks for pointing them out. I’m guessing for new bloggers closing comments shouldn’t really be an option.
Ok at the risk of sounding naive I will let you in on my “Stats” ha ha.
So I started Renovating Italy in November, have 20 posts (variety of length) and 50 comments in total. The post with the most is my latest one about Italian New Years Resolutions… which got 6 comments one of those from my blog heroine.
On facebook I get great comments and interactions – best ones being when I tried something I have never done before and asked for help and advice!
I just bit the bullet and put the two weeks limit on the blog…
ciao for now
Good tips. I think that the most important is the content. You could also make a provokative content in case to stimulate people to answer. I think that if your blog is youth it is not very good to close comments but if it is famouse as problogger :) it certainly works!
I have never achieved 80 comments, 74 is the best so far so I obviously needed to read your article! Many of the posts on my blog are from guests and I have noticed that so much depends on not only the content, but on the reputation and network of the author.
It follows for a new blogger that these are things that it’s hard to achieve but I do think that following your advice can only help. Of course having killer content that people want to read and react to is the foundation of any blog. I do feel that commenting regularly on other blogs can also only help, after all you can’t expect people to do what you are yourself not prepared to do.
So I will try to put your principles into practice starting with closing off comments and see where i go from there.
Thanks BT for the interesting article.
are you using any plugins for closing comments or how are you doing it?
Thanks for this post. I would be interested to know how you build that community of readers beyond just writing excellent content. It’s not enough to write great content and hope people find you…..is it? I’m guessing you are interacting on other sites and communities, leaving comments on other blogs, guest posting on big sites like this which all helps to create interest and more readers.
Its happening right now!
BT, thanks for this article. I’ve just started my first blog which I’m hoping to use to motivate myself to stick to three core personal goals for 2011.
While I’m not motivated to make money through my blog, I do want it to generate conversation. Partly, I know I’ll feed off the encouragement and support of a community as I work to meet my goals.
Thanks for these great tips for someone who is just starting out with his first blog. I’m planning on putting some of them to the test straight away.
Keep well and have a great 2011
Great post here Darren. I liked the idea of closing comments, I might actually experiment with that as my traffic goes up higher. I like that idea of scarcity.
It makes sense, but one thing I’d wonder about is how do the viewers know that the comment section has an impending close coming? I guess if they are long-time readers they would know?
My blogs get a decent number of trackbacks, but there aren’t many comments in the strict sense of that term. I guess there is no call to action on my part. I do understand the importance of building a community, but haven’t really tried to get comments. Perhaps, I need to change that.
I shall definitely try the ‘closing comments’ tip. I’ll report back if it works! I always reply to comments – my view is it’s rude not to!
I used to post every day but now only 3 times a week and my readers tell me they prefer it. I know I get very bogged down with so many posts to read so guess they do too.
I find that if I leave out a little bit of information on my websites then someone will come and add a comment telling me that I’ve left something out. As an example I had a website dedicated to providing solutions for the boss battles in Final Fantasy XIII – I didn’t exhaust the subject and when people found they couldn’t use my solution they appealed for help – other people came and added their own comments helping the previous commenter – thus the page became far more than my initial content.
This technique seems to be very useful, especially if I continue to add my own comments, thanking people and intereacting with them
Good points. I am torn between getting my community / audience to comment on a social network that works well to either commenting on my website blog. I always use the LIKE button as backup proof that people are interacting and sharing the blog post which means more to me then a comment on my page. I guess realistically if they are sharing and subscribed to my blog. I’ll take that as a win win. Thoughts?
I really enjoyed this post…
I tend to do EXACTLY what you do by responding to each and EVERY comment. I learned that early on (My blog isn’t two years old yet)…..
My largest number of comments on a post (other than my replies) was about 50 something…still wish I could get more.
I will say that eventually when I comment on blogs regularly and they DON’T RESPOND (or comment on my blog) they are the first people that I drop from my must read list!
A bit simplistic and populist and I did not appreciate the lure. As if there is a magic trick to get 80+ comments other then all the other suggestions raised here in the other posts which are usually very good. You get more comments through blood sweat and tears..
Great article, especially the thing with closed comments. Just a few days ago when I saw one blogger doing it, I wondered why is that? Now that I think about it, it really makes sense.
The trick about replying on every single comment came to me a while ago, but I don’t really use it that much because in a way it’s pretty obvious that doing so I just want to raise the comment counter :) . Usually I just reply to most of them in one comment.
One more thing – openly asking questions (as you did here :D) really makes people to engage more and tell their side of the story.
I’ve found that I get more followers by commenting on others who are in the same niche as me, or who are also just starting out as a new blogger. Thank you for the confirmation of replying to each commenter as well. I’ve just started receiving comments and it’s amazing to me how I affect others with something I wrote.
Clsoing my comments after a couple of weeks had never hit me before. But it makes sense now, I won’t be losing anything as most comment after a couple of weel are spam anyway.
Its really one of the good trick to get more comments. I have never thought of some of the points like closing comments and self comments.
Getting more comments is really an art.