Blog comments can be a real booster for your blog, not only do they encourage other people to join in with commenting, they can actually act as a good backlink for your own blog is the blog you are commenting on has turned off ‘nofollow’. But blog comments are much more than that and when encouraged more they can help your blog gain reader loyalty and more importantly, they can act as a good pointer for hot topics that your readers want more of.
Encouraging people to post more comments on your blog is also a great strategy to use for your SEO (search engine optimization). Google and other search engines love to see content that evolves, changes and updates with time and blog comments is something that can do all of this for you. Perhaps you should start thinking of the bigger picture when it comes to comments on your own blog.
Today, I want to show you 10 top ten wordpress plugins and tips for increasing the comments on your blog. Throughout this week I have added these strategies and plugins to this blog to try and increase the comments here too, so in a few weeks I will be following up with my own results.
1. Making It Easy To Comment
The first thing is the most basic. You want your readers to easily be able to comment on your blog, so a clear design that doesn’t make your readers jump through hoops to comment is vital. Readers wont want to spend the time trying to work out how to navigate your blog to make a comment and will most likely just not bother, so make sure that you make it a clear path for them to follow.
When I first started this blog I decided not to make people register to comment on the blog but I do hold comments for moderation before they are published. This also has it’s downside because people have to wait until their comments show up – but from a security point of view, this is a must. Perhaps something I will have to look into a little more.
2. Posts That Encourage Comments
This again might sound like common sense, but I can’t tell you how many blogs that I have read where the post has gone off topic and had no clear point to it. When you write your posts make sure that you know what you want to say and try not to get side tracked, add a link to another post that will explain any ‘off topic’ parts. One think that is great to get comments on your blog is to ask the reader a question. People love to offer their input on a subject so asking them what they think, what they would do or asking them for the advice or opinion is another great way of encouraging blog comments.
3. Commentluv Plugin
This is one of the plugins that I have added to this blog to encourage blog comments. I have seen this used very successfully on other blogs that I read and feel that it’s a great addition to this blog. The Commentluv plugin works by searching for the commenter’s RSS feed from their own blog and attempts to add their last blog post at the end of their comment.
One of the downsides to this is spam. The amount of spam that a blog gets is totally ridiculous and when people find that they can get links to their own sites they will post total rubbish in order to try and get them. People posting things like “Great blog – thanks for the information” is a class of spam, it adds no value to the post and is basically a waste of time. NEVER post to anyone’s blog unless you are adding value to the post, offering your opinion or helping someone out.
If you do not have the ‘nofollow’ turned off on your blog, the posts that people make with the Commentluv plugin will be ‘nofollow’ anyway. This blog has the ‘nofollow’ turned off which I will come to next, but please do not abuse this as I will be heavily moderating the comments from now on.
4. Turning Off Nofollow Tag On Blog Comments
This is a great way to encourage ‘good’ bloggers to comment on your posts as they know that they will get a good return on their comments (if they add useful information to the post) and also get a backlink to their own site. Good bloggers know that it’s harder to get their comments approved on a blog that has turned off nofollow so they will spend the time and effort to make sure their post is worthy. In turn this is good for the blog owner as they are getting comments that add value to their original post.
I have turned off the nofollow by using the wordpress plugin Nofollow Free. It lets you set specific requirements on who has the nofollow tag removed from their posts and is very easy to install. I found that this has been really easy to use and look forward to letting you know the results from this plugin.
There is a downside though – Google doesn’t like this at all. In fact, they have removed the option to link to your site when leaving comments on blogger blogs (owned by Google). They feel that this is a manipulation of search results and have now started to crack down on it. Personally, I have set in place some safeguards for removing the ‘nofollow’ tag ….
In order for me to remove the ‘nofollow’ tag you must be ……
Posting quality comments to this blog (I am going to delete comments that are purely for linkbacks.)
You will need to make a certain number of posts before I will remove the tag. Registered commentators will need to make 5 posts before it’s removed and non-registered commentators will need to make 10.
Only the author link will have the nofollow tag removed so links inside your post will still keep the tag.
Certain words are automatically omitted in order to protect this blog (so choose your name carefully).
I’m fairly sure that some people will see this as being fussy and falling under Google’s spell, personally, I think that this is just good practise and although I want to encourage comments on the blog, I also don’t want to be almost blackmailing people to do it. There is a fine line in search engine manipulation and one post that I think is great is this one here by Yaro Starak from Entrepreneurs-Journey. Well worth reading about the plus side to conforming to Google.
5. Respond To Comments That Are Left
Replying to comments that are already left on your blog is a great way to get people coming back time and time again. Not only does it make the commenter feel that their comments were received and taken into consideration – it lets them know that it wasn’t a complete waste of their time.
When you give something back to people, even if it is something as simple as acknowledging their blog comment, they are going to want to comment again, they know you are listening to them.
There are lots of reasons that people wont comment on your blog, sometimes it’s that they just don’t feel qualified to do so. Other times it’s that they have come to a post that is older and feel that you probably don’t want to have comments turning up after so much time has past. In some cases it’s simply down to the fact that they feel their comment just wont be noticed amongst the crowd. Showing that as a blog owner you read all of your comments will encourage your readers to make the comment.
6. Subscribe To Comments WordPress Plugin
Tip 5 brings us nicely onto this wordpress plugin that is fantastic at increasing your blogs comments. I am using the WordPress plugin Subscribe To Comments and have found that people are using it and coming back because of new comments that are made.
How many times have you thought “I must go back and see what else is said about this” only to forget all about it? This plugin allows your readers to get notified when a new comment is made and will encourage people to come back and respond further, keep reading the comments and generally taking an interest in your posts.
7. Encouraging Comments By Rewarding Commentators
Another great way to encourage people to post comments to your blog is to offer them rewards. Before you start searching this blog for bribes of millions of dollars for your post, I don’t actually mean financial reward (although this is totally acceptable – offer a top prize for the best follow-up comment to a post) I’m talking about rewarding people with links to their sites or blogs when they make a good comment posting.
If someone takes the time to post a comment that holds some solid content, useful/workable information, then it would be a great reward to link to their post in a follow up post, another relevant post etc.
8. Top Commentators WordPress Plugin
Again, this is a plugin that I have been using for a while, but my strategy will be changing with this one. On this site I use this Top Commentators WordPress Plugin. This plugin works by adding a widget to your blog that lists the people who comment on your posts. You can choose when it updates, how the names are seen and several other customizations.
I’ve used this plugin with great results so far, but now I intend to take my strategy one step further. At the moment I am resetting it every 90 days, but in order to encourage new readers to post their comments, I now intend to reset the list every month. This way, we hopefully, wont have the same people winning each and every month and newer readers will want to comment and get on the list.
Even though the list will now be updated every month the top commentators in the list will still have a temporary backlink to their site (should they have one) and this is a great reason to post more quality comments.
9. Taking Advice From Some Of The Best In The Business
Read this post here at DoshDosh it should really open your eyes to what you should be posting on blogs. I think that this is probably one of the best articles that I have read on blog comments.
10. Posting On Other Blogs To Gain Much More Than Comments To Your Blog
After carrying out tip 9, think carefully before you post comments on someone elses blog. I’m not saying that you should be put off commenting, I just feel that it should be for a reason. If you have something to add, a point to make or an opinion on the post, then your comments should reflect what you want to say.
Post such as “Wow – thanks” are a form of spam and waste the writers time and the blog owners time having to delete them. Add quality value to the post. Ask questions on something that you don’t understand within the post or ask the author (politely) to expand on what they are saying, include the part that you are finding difficult.
Although there are very different opinions about traffic from blog comments (high traffic blogs), there is a chance that you comment could be picked up and read by the blog owner. I agree that you stand little chance of getting traffic from simply posting a comment – other readers might click through to view your blog, but chances are they wont. The traffic that you can generate from posting your comments comes direct from the blog owner.
Let’s say that the owner takes on board your comment, they like what you have said and feel that it was a good entry. Chances are that they will take a look at your blog if there is a link to it. Lets just say that they find your blog and all the quality content that you have posted, do you think that they might just mention you in the future? The steps above are not things that I have created off the top of my head and have a theory about, they are strategies that real bloggers are implementing daily and they work.
This one is NO different.
Owners of the high traffic blogs are not concerned with your PR, your traffic numbers or the amount of money you make. They just care that you have added quality content and deserve recognition for your efforts. Imagine one of those high traffic blogs linking to your site and naming you – do you think that their readers wont click through then? Certainly something to be thinking about.
I also want you to know that EVERY comment that is made on this blog is read by me, I approve all the posts here until you have made a certain amount and then I automatically allow posts to be approved. I am quite often seen on the authors blog or site and certainly wouldn’t have any problems in giving recognition.
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