Blogging Like a Clover: Why Should I Comment On Your Blog?

Why should I read your blog? Why should I comment on it? What’s in it for me?

If you’re creating great content that’s reason enough for me to subscribe and read. But I read a lot of blogs I don’t comment on.  What does it take to get me to comment and interact publicly with you?

This week I’ve been sharing a series of posts: Four Leaf Clover Strategy for a “Lucky” Blog Today is leaf #3: reward your commenters and interact with them.

I’ve seen blogs by successful, smart entrepreneurs that have a comment section like a graveyard. It’s a little disconcerting, isn’t it? There are reasons.

There’s no traffic.

This one’s pretty basic.  If you aren’t getting traffic you’re not going to get comments.  Only a very small percentage of visitors will comment and often you’ve got to get a visitor back to your blog several times before they’ll jump in and comment.  Traffic can be fixed though.  I’ll give you some tips on that next month, but here’s one: go join the free Ultimate Blog Challenge (it starts April 1st).

The content isn’t great.

You’re brilliant and passionate about what you do, or you wouldn’t be doing it, right?  Don’t save that brilliance for only your paying clients–or how is someone new going to know you’re worth working with?

One of the topics I’ve tackled before is the whole “keeping your best content to yourself” idea.  I’m not a fan.  Sure, there’s a ton of info rattling around in my brain that I haven’t shared on my blog, yet.  But I don’t hold back ideas or content that I think can help you just because I might give away too much.

I’ve been around long enough to see when some recycle content.  Now, that itself isn’t bad.  Absolutely repurpose your content!  But if you reprint the same exact article over and over with no updates or changes… every couple of months as a new blog post… no matter how good that article was the first time, I doubt you’re going to inspire a ton of comments unless you’re generating really high traffic numbers of new readers. You’re leaving your older readers behind and I’m not sure that’s a great way to build community at your blog.

Two thoughts on this: (1) There are some articles so helpful that it’s worth sharing them again.  But why not spice up that article by offering part of it, a profile of how well it worked for a client or reader, then a link to the original? Or do a “part two” with additional thoughts around the topic?  Or share the same ideas in a different format, different order, different… something!  (2) Some people aren’t “blogging” to build community or even to “blog” as much as they are just using a blogging script to share their ezine or articles.  If that’s working for them, then cool, keep at it.

It’s a little curious to me if someone doesn’t have new content to share if they’re only blogging once or twice a week. Entrepreneurship, business, marketing, social networking, the world in general — it’s all moving and evolving at such a rapid pace that there’s always something new we should be out there sharing with others, or something we’ve already shared that we can add a new twist to. Same topics, more/deeper/different info on the same strategies, no problem.  Same exact article… I’m not so sure. I don’t want stale bread.  So I don’t want my blog to feel that way to my readers, either.

Here are some tips for creating great content (back to leaf #1 on the clover).

There’s no engagement or interaction.

If you see a blog where the owner never gets in the comments and responds, does it make you less likely to comment?  I’ve seen blogs where the blogger doesn’t reply even when a question is asked about purchasing a product or enrolling in a workshop with the blogger!  Yikes!

But let me add one huge “IF” here.  IF your content is absolutely great, IF you have a platform already developed, and/or IF you have a big enough community around your blog, you can get away with staying out of your comments or even turning them off completely.  If you aren’t Seth Godin, and you’re still trying to find exactly where to poke the box and why your cow is supposed to be purple, then leave your comments open and get yourself there interacting–now.  Oh, and go read those two books.  Then read Thank You Economy and you won’t even think about ignoring your commenters.

Get in your comments section and reply to comments, thank those who comment, and answer questions that come up.  Do you have to reply to *every* comment?  Not necessarily.  But at least show up and show you’re reading them.

There’s no reason to comment or reward for doing it.

Are your blog posts inspiring response?  If not, maybe it just needs a little tweaking!  Is there a question asked, opportunity to engage in a debate, or something to add?

Does your blog give readers a link back to their website/blog, or feature commenters?  If not, there’s even less reason for readers to share their thoughts.  I’m a fan of “do follow” blogs.  I’ll still comment if a blog isn’t do follow, but I’m more likely to hang out at a do follow blog because I tend to connect better with people who think that way.

Here are some plugins and features you should consider installing on your blog to reward and encourage commenters (or functionality to seek out if you’re not on WordPress):

  • Do Follow.  More on this here on my blog and on YourWordsYourVoice.
  • CommentLuv.  This is one of my absolute favorite plugins.  If you check out my comment section look for the “Commenter’s last blog post…” part — that’s what CommentLuv does.  It rocks.
  • Subscribe to Comments.  Make it easy for your commenters to know when you, or another commenter, have responded to what they wrote.
  • Top Commentators.  On the right side of my blog you’ll see a list of the top commenters this month.  Each of their names links to their website.
  • Threaded Comments.  This is where commenters can reply to specific comments.  It’s built into some themes by default and you can change it under “Settings” > “Discussion” in WordPress.  It’s enabled in Intense Debate and Disqus.
  • Thank Me Later or Comment Redirect.  These plugins give you a way to thank commenters.  The first one sends an email, the second redirects new commenters to a thank you page.
  • Twitip ID.  If you’re using Twitter to connect with commenters this will add a link to their Twitter ID with their comment.
  • Recent Comments Widget. You can feature your most recent comments in your sidebar by adding this widget.  Just another way to thank and feature your commenters.  Plus, it can help you get more comments by providing “social proof” that others are commenting on your blog.

Your turn.

And now, I need to practice what I preach so I’ve got to go whip my comment section back into shape (after I pulled my comments out of Disqus I didn’t get them set back up with a couple of plugins I mentioned here–oops!), and I need comments to reply to.  So, while I go install plugins and rearrange my sidebar, please hit me in the comments section with…

  • your favorite way to inspire comments
  • the post on your blog that got the most comments
  • what inspires you to comment
  • a favorite plugin or feature in comments
  • your favorite blogs to comment on and why
  • why any of my points above are right or wrong
  • or whatever else is on your mind about commenting

You just might find yourself featured in a future blog post, ebook or somewhere else around here if you comment… because that’s another great way to reward your commenters, come up with new blog post ideas, and it’s just plain fun.

Oh, and the first commenter to tell me why the picture above totally makes me shudder and not want to blink, you win a free copy of any product I offer here on my blog (look under “Quick Guides” and “Home Study” tabs above).

Photo Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/c_francis

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20 Comments

  1. Great blog post, Michelle! I’ll try installing some of these tips you mentioned to inspire people to comment more. I’ve always thought my comments’ problem might be my content. I also admit to stalling the past couple of month due to running out of ideas. Any suggestions?
    Lisa Raymond recently posted… To Invite Members Or To AddMy Profile

    1. It can make a big difference. Just a few little changes like asking questions can inspire comments.

      For blog ideas? Oh… that’s a fun topic! :) One of my favorite ways to come up with ideas to blog about is to ask people on my blog, ezine or Facebook page, “What’s challenging right now for you?” or “What could you use help with right now?”

      Also putting out a survey to your ezine list can be a good way to come up with lots of ideas.

      I like to go to my blog stats and see what the most popular post have been, then go read the comments and see what’s there that I could blog about. Also just looking at older blog posts that readers found helpful I can usually see other ways to share more on that topic.

      Sometimes inviting a guest blogger, sharing a YouTube video or grabbing an article from ezinearticles.com is a good way to get some content if you’re really feeling stuck.

      Or I’ll take a topic and play “6 year old” with it. So like if I were going to write on Twitter, I’d ask myself what questions my 6 year old daughter would have about it (or my grandmother — anyone who’s totally unfamiliar with it). Go back to basics, in other words. What is it? How do you start? Why would you use it? What are the options? How long does it take? Who else is there? What will it do for me? How do I write a bio? What should my photo be? How do I find people to connect with? How do people find me? And if you get really creative you’d run into thoughts like “Are there Princesses on social media?” that my 6 year old would totally ask, but with some creative thinking that could be a cool blog post (what makes someone a “princess” — manners? authority? connections?).

      Other ideas… take a product you’ve got or a coaching session you’ve done recently and pull out some important points and share them in blog posts.

      Pick up any book nearby and flip to a random page. I bet you can find some lesson in there to blog about. :)

      Share a review of something – book, movie, tv show – anything you can tie into your topics.

      I also like to do series because it’s easier to come up with more content that way. Pick a topic and then answer the top 5 or 10 questions about it — one in each blog post.

      Hope something in this sparks something for you. :)

  2. The articles that get the most comments on “Sweet Tea with Cindy” are ones where we get real and expose our faults and then give helpful hints on how others can overcome these issues. Great article and awesome tips, Michelle :)

    1. Posts that start with real challenges and offer solutions that work are a wonderful way to help your readers, Cindy.

  3. Great post, Michelle! I always make sure to thank the commenters and make a relevant reply whenever I get a comment on my blog. Probably the highlight of the comment sections came a couple of months back when I wrote a book review and a few hours later, one of the authors of the book came to my blog. I was so honored and excited! If you don’t check your comments section, you’ll never know when something like that happens.

    1. That’s awesome, Steve! And so true. Also a good reason to watch for retweets and sharing elsewhere to see who’s sharing you.

  4. The post that caught the most attention was about “dream stealers.” That hit a nerve with a lot of people. It’s not easy sharing experiences, and it is not about being a victim, rather it brings to the front ‘stuff’ that many entrepreneurs can relate. I’m quite nervous of being “exposed” yet it is so freeing to be real. It is very rewarding to hear how those posts have helped…I almost feel them say, “I’m glad you understand. I’m not alone.” Makes it all worth it!

    1. Hey, I commented on that one! :) Awesome reminder that we’re the guardians of our own dreams and it’s up to us who we share them with.

  5. Michelle, I’ll come back again to tell you about the post that had the most response, but I just had to say thank you for voicing something I’ve noticed on some blogs. As you observed, some blog owners do not acknowledge comments made on their blog. Personally, I’m sometimes delayed as I work long hours away from home at times, but I respond to every non-spam comment.

    I think it’s disrespectful and a lack of appreciation for other people’s time.

    You have a beautiful blog with lots of great information. Thank you for all you do.
    Yvonne A Jones recently posted… Customer Appreciation- Do You Love the Customers You HaveMy Profile

    1. I try to as well, especially any with questions that I can help with. I guess maybe there’s a point where it’s too many comments to be able to reply to, but unless we’re getting dozens and dozens a day… seems like it’s sure worth the time to say thank you and at least scan them and sprinkle in a few replies so visitors know we’re alive and reading the feedback. :)

  6. Another great post! I am so glad I started this challenge!! I am reading a lot, commenting a lot, meeting some cool people, and having fun!! I should have starting doing this sooner. So I signed up for the Ultimate Blog Challenge too!!
    Lucretia Nickell recently posted… 5 Awesome Resources for Photoshop Shape Plug-insMy Profile

    1. Awesome!! So glad they’re helpful for you, Lucretia. I know I have made so many great connections through them. :)

  7. My blog post that received the most comments was “My Husband’s Verbally Abusive-What Can I do?” It struck a nerve with a couple of the readers. They’re comments, however, did give me ideas for my next few blog posts, which is a wonderful thing. Thanks for another grate post with lots of valuable information. I am using a lot of these plug-ins already.
    Rhonda Neely recently posted… Domestic Violence Budget Cuts – What’s Your OpinionMy Profile

    1. I love that about comments, Rhonda. They can generate so many ideas for future posts!

  8. OUCH! My comments section is like a graveyard and quite honestly, I’ve been wondering a lot over the last couple of weeks if I should just disable comments. For my dwindling self-confidence, you know? :)

    I do reply to the one or two people who comment but does anyone else care about that? That said, those few commenters are fairly loyal.

    I ask the questions…. still no answers.

    I’m going to go in now and try to do the comment luv plugin – hold thumbs :)

    Hey, do you do blog critiques? If yes, will you mail me so we can whip my blog into shape.

    1. Hey Marcia, I’d be happy to take a look and see if I can make some suggestions to help. :) I’ll email you.

  9. Michelle, wow, there is so much information in here this could be 3 or 4 posts! Thanks for the reminder about interaction. This week is a killer work-wise so I’ve not blogged at all. Although I have taken the time to comment back to people who’ve stopped by and left me a note. I do feel that’s very important and the nice thing to do. Happy to see I have all those plugins but maybe one or two. Have to work on that.

    As for that picture. Total guess that not only is a bit creepy (probably because it’s B&W) but that you don’t ever want to see your blog be a dead zone. (I can’t see that happening.)
    Lisbeth Tanz recently posted… Are You A HoarderMy Profile

    1. Yes, I probably should have split it up a bit more. :) I had four posts in a row that were pretty long. Time to go for short!

      On the guess, close!

  10. Thanks for all these wonderful tips Michelle. Posts that I think are going to get lots of comments sometimes don’t and visa versa – it’s fascinating. I think I need to ask for more interaction rather than just wait for it.

    My post with the most comments was the UBC day 1 – getting the message out about the challenge. I probably promoted that more than the others, so maybe that’s why so many comments.

    Picture challenge: This angel reminds me of the ones in Dr. Who that moved towards you every time you blinked. I’m wondering if that’s why it makes you shudder.

    Best wishes
    Heather x
    Heather Bestel recently posted… Happy Mother’s DayMy Profile

  11. Thanks Michelle for this priceless information!
    Chanel recently posted… Traveling to Paradise in StyleMy Profile

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