Why your blog isn’t getting any comments—and how to fix it

I am thrilled every time there’s a new comment on one of my blog posts. I’m ecstatic when someone likes my stuff on Facebook. I wish more people would do it.

P.T. Barnum said “Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd”. Derek Halpern at DIY Themes puts it in context: “Today, we call this social proof or social validation.” But he goes on to say, “Nothing disbands a crowd like the lack of a crowd. So if your site looks dead (no comments, tweets, or subscribers), breathe life into it.”

I’m not so popular that I can take reader interactions for granted. So I took a little time to research and write out my thoughts and ideas here. Maybe your blog needs some help, too. Read on to see what I found out.

Why you’re not getting blog comments now

  • Low traffic numbers

If you just don’t have much traffic to your blog, you’re probably not going to get comments. It’s a bit of a numbers game. Depending on your audience, you can likely expect about 1% of readers to actually leave a comment. And not all your visitors even stick around to read.

If that’s you, look at a few ways to get more traffic flowing to your blog—and make sure your content is worthy of a read first and foremost.

  • Lack of originality or personality

You don’t have to be a professional writer to blog. (In fact, it might be better if you’re not.) To get people commenting on your blog, you’d do well to show your personality. For example, be sure to add your own thoughts and experiences when you’re rehashing a popular topic.

Read the popular bloggers in your industry and see how they do it. Read and learn from them, but above all, be you. Your uniqueness is your greatest asset.

  • Writing on and on

Popular blogger Chris Brogan recommends being brief. But rather than focusing on length, I’d say to make sure you’re eliminating unnecessary words and commentary. It’s going to tire your readers. Get to the point quickly.

  • Take a look at your headlines

If people aren’t commenting because they’re not reading your posts, it could be that your headlines don’t bring them in. Your headline needs to communicate clearly what the reader can expect to get out of your post.

I’m going back to change a headline for a post I wrote last week on here. I don’t think I really said it right with “Promotion ideas for business service companies”. Perhaps something like “Designing an effective promotion—what business service companies need to know” is more appropriate. It sounds better, and it more accurately describes what I talk about in the post. (But is it too long? Anyone have thoughts on headline length here?)

  • A cumbersome comment process

Do you require people to log in? Can they find how to comment easily? Are you weeding out spam and almost-spam, to keep quality commenters in good company? Make your comment section an easy place to access and hang out.

Other things you can do to get more blog comments

It seems the more comments you get, the more you will continue to get. But if you’re not getting any now, you’ve got to start somewhere.

  • Give to get

People who blog themselves will be much more likely to comment, I’d say, than those who don’t. They understand the networking mentality. They also know how good it feels to be on the receiving end of comments—and how lousy it feels when a post you’ve slaved over doesn’t get any action.

So, give to get. Be generous with your own comments on others’ blogs. Link your name back to your own blog when you comment. Make sure your comments offer real value, which will also encourage others to visit your blog and comment. Learn how to do this from Reid Peterson of Growth in Harmony. His comments on this blog have drawn me to his blog several times, and in this recent post he’s shared how he approaches blog comments for links. (Looks like it worked!)

Some of your readers are going to be competitors or other like-minded people. But I say why not comment generously on their blogs, too? After all, if you’re in the same industry, you’re talking about the same things to the same people. Their readers can also find out about you that way.

  • Make your content more available

You can’t count on people typing in your URL every week just to see what’s new. Make it easy for them to follow you by letting them subscribe in the manner they prefer. You’ve probably already got RSS displaying prominently—make sure you add the option to subscribe by email. Make use of Twitter and Facebook and any other social platforms where you’re active.

  • Take some risks with the topics you’ve chosen to write about within your niche

To be sure you’re writing about things your targeted readers care about, take some risks. You may find a great new way to connect with readers.  Perhaps you could write more about trending news. Try creating controversy by posting the other side of an issue—the non-popular opinion, and so on.

I took a risk with an article a while back about punctuation. As a writer, I care about that topic, but I wasn’t sure others in the Internet marketing community would, too. Surprisingly, it was well received, and readers added several comments that increased its value. I’ll add a new post in that same spirit down the road again now that I know our readers are interested.

  • Ask a comment-provoking question

I usually tack a question onto the end of each blog post. However, I don’t think this has been particularly effective in stimulating comments, since people who comment rarely answer my question. They’re usually picking up on some aspect of the story, thanking me, or asking a question themselves.

Perhaps the value in my ending with a question is that it lets the reader know I want to hear what they have to say. And perhaps a better way to go about asking a question is to make the entire post point toward a question. Hmmm, a little for me to think about here.

  • Respond to comments

Thank those who took the time to offer a thoughtful comment and answer any questions that have been posted. This shows on-the-fence commenters that you’re actively engaged. In addition, the person who commented will certainly appreciate your attention. Even better if you take the time to visit their blog and leave a comment, too!

  • Include striking, relevant images

I’ve seen bloggers who receive comments on the images they source from Flikr as part of a post. (This I’ve yet to do well. Often the image I select looks great at that time, only to feel too random later.) But probably the important point here is that your post appear aesthetically pleasing and easy to read, and hopefully the image will help urge visitors to become readers.

  • Be humble and gracious

In an old post, ProBlogger’s Darren Rowse recommends being humble and gracious. This applies as much as ever. No one is infallible, and people seem to prefer to read and respond to another human being who they can identify with, not someone who assigns themselves expert status and shoots down any negative comments. Deal with naysayers graciously.

Comments aren’t the only measure of value for your blog

Regardless of how many comments you’re generating, it will be useful to take into account all the action your blog is stimulating. Here are some metrics that together can give a pretty good picture of how your blog is doing overall.

  • Traffic (numbers and sources)
  • Comments
  • Bookmarks
  • Likes, Tweets, emails and other social pass-alongs
  • Time spent on your blog
  • Number of returning visitors
  • Subscribers
  • Downloads (for ebooks or other files you offer)
  • Link juice and traffic sent to your other web properties
  • Revenue

Still, comments just feel good, and it seems to me you should see comments grow naturally along with the other measures.

If you’ve ever left a comment on a post I’ve written here, it means a lot to me. But it looks like I’ve got a bit of work to do.  How about you?

(Make sure you read DIYThemes.com’s Nonverbal Website Intelligence report for some more specific ideas like when you should hide your RSS and comment counters.)

Image credit: seier+seier

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Celebrating Differences

 

Psychology for Living

Gwen Randall-Young

Built into our culture is a natural tendency to compare ourselves with others. From the time a child starts first grade, he or she becomes aware of subtle, or not-so-subtle evaluations and placements. Whether the teacher is showing an example of ‘good work’, or the pecking order is being established on the playground, each child has a sense of where he or she stands in relation to others.

As we grow up in a society that fosters consumerism, the goal of advertising is to make us feel like we need more – that what we have, or where we are in life, is not good enough. Further, with media focus on unrealistic standards of style and beauty, it is easy to feel on the ‘outside’. This is the complete opposite of how it should be.
Every individual is unique, and in that uniqueness is something rare and special. Other than snowflakes, I cannot think of aspects of nature that are truly one-of-a-kind. Something wonderful happens when we celebrate what is ‘different’ about each of us. It is the differences that define us, and differentiate us from all others.

Think of the people in your life, and what you like about them. My guess is you will find it is something that is different from anyone else. Think of what is different about you. Consider celebrating that aspect of your being or even finding more ways to express it. If the creator intended us to be the same, there would have been no need for so many different molds.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning Psychotherapist. For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books or cds, visit http://www.gwen.ca

 

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Thoughts Determine Our Lives

If our thoughts determine how we feel, then what happens if we think depressing thoughts?  Well, we make ourselves feel worse, and we may sink deeper into depression. We can literally torture ourselves with our thoughts. There are some situations that we really cannot do anything about. Bad things do happen. If we dwell on the unfairness of the world, or the fact that others are not really there for us, we feel sad and lonely. Then, if we imagine that everyone else is blissfully happy, having the perfect existence, then that is like pouring salt on the wound.

It is hard to adjust to change, but we live in a changing world, and things will not stay the same. Children do grow up and leave home, people do die, relationships end, illness happens, and for most people there is always some concern about finances. We have to strengthen ourselves, and like a little ship on a stormy ocean, we may experience rough seas, but we can still stay afloat. We can always work towards moving to sunnier shores.

When we are sad, there is a tendency to focus on all that is missing from our lives.  But we could begin to think of life in a different way. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. wrote in one of his books, “Life is a collection of moments strung together in a beautifully random order.”  What if we imagined all of the good moments in our lives as beautiful, sparkling beads. The times in between could be the string that holds them all together. Even if the string had only one bright, sparkling stone, it would still be beautiful.

But most of us can think of more than one good moment. And we know that there will be more to come. It is when we forget about the good things, and see only emptiness and pain that we get discouraged. Even if you feel all alone, you can still enjoy life. You can do good things for yourself, you can immerse yourself in a good book or beautiful music, and you can connect with your own soul. That is the best friend you’ll ever have anyway. Our inner world is even more expansive than the outer world, and few ever really explore it. Maybe that is what solitude is for.

We don’t have to fear being alone, and we can even learn to celebrate those times when we get to spend uninterrupted time with ourselves. And if there seems to be a long stretch of that time, perhaps the Universe is asking us to learn about ourselves, before moving on. A kind of cosmic time-out. A time when we can imagine the rest of our lives as a blank slate, on which we can create whatever we would like.

The key is remembering that we do create our lives.  If we don’t like what is, then we can aim to create something better. But first we must know who we are, and what it is that we want. Solitude is an ideal opportunity to reflect on that.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning Psychotherapist.  For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books or cds, visit http://www.gwen.ca


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Self-Publishing Options

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To register for this free call and submit your questions please click here:

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Best wishes,

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The Most Important Trait of Successful Authors

In my many years working with best-selling authors Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. Dean Ornish, and dozens of others, it’s become clear that all the successful authors I know share one critical trait—a trait that affects everything they do to write, promote, and sell their books and other products/services.

Each and every best-selling author I know is a self-starter.

In the newest issue of my Everything You Should Know about Publishing, Publicity, Promotion and Building a Platform newsletter, you learn how to kickstart your very own success story with innovative book launch strategies from renowned self-starter Arianna Huffington, co-founder and Editor in Chief of The Huffington Post.

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Start 2011 with a new plan for becoming the successful author of your dreams. Get my new value-packed newsletter here.

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JUDGEMENT

We seem to be good at judging
We seem to be good a pointing fingers
We seem to be good at putting others to death
We seem so righteous in our own thinking
We seem to be so empty of personal opinions
We seem to be today’s robots
We seem so unhappy as a People
We seem to have lost our Way
We seem to keep going with this excuse
We seem to not want to change
We seem to have already gotten our rewards

 


By Luc Majno

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Truth About Global Economic Crisis: Book Review

Joel S. Hirschhorn 

You want to read The Global Economic Crisis The Great Depression of the XXI Century, edited by Michel Chossudovsky and Andrew Gavin Marshall, if you meet these criteria: you welcome information and analysis about critically important issues that come from great thinkers outside the mainstream media and publishing world; you can handle brain pain from detailed and brutally honest revelations; you are willing and able to challenge your own biases and preconceptions to let in new explanations of how the world really functions.

If millions of Americans read this book, we would probably see a far stronger uprising against the political establishment that has refused to severely punish the countless guilty people in the financial, banking and mortgage sectors that brought down the US and global economic system.

This book ties together a large number of factors in twenty chapters that reveal just how corrupt the world has become because of the power of plutocratic, wealthy and corporate interests.  From Wall Street corporate boardrooms to the Federal Reserve and other central banks to the US military and NATO, a multitude of threads get woven into a disturbing tapestry of crimes against society that still have not been prosecuted.

This book is truly an instrument of anti-brainwashing.  If you are willing to spend serious time reading it, then you surely will become much angrier about the dismal state of the economy that is causing so much pain and suffering to ordinary people worldwide.  If you personally have escaped the worst ravages of the economic meltdown, then you will have much more compassion for those severely affected.

In all honesty, if the current global economic crisis has made you angry, pessimistic, fearful, paranoid, despairing and worse, then this book will most likely exacerbate all such feelings.  By revealing still more connections, implications and causes, this book will motivate you to do anything you can to fight the corporate, plutocratic forces devastating the lives of ordinary people.  If you already have little confidence in government, it will only make things worse.  Does all this mean you should avoid reading it?  Absolutely not.

Here are a few statements from the book that resonated with me and that you can use to decide whether the general philosophic orientation of it is compatible with your views:

“Wall Street’s Ponzi scheme was used to manipulate the market and transfer billions of dollars into the pockets of banksters.”

“Government rescue packages around the world are corporatist in their very nature, as they save the capitalists at the expense of the people.”

“The global political economy is being transformed into a global government structure at the crossroads of a major financial crisis.”

Just gin up the courage to read it, get out several color markers to highlight passages and expand your knowledge to overcome all the propaganda constantly being hurled at you.  We need more citizen unrest to energize more public protests to overthrow the powers that have corrupted and perverted our government.  A key voice in the mainstream media that is in sync with the painful messages in this book is Dylan Ratigan who has a terrific daily show on MSNBC.  He too should read this timely book.

[Contact Joel S. Hirschhorn through delusionaldemocracy.com.]

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