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

  1. My book was in development In 2007. I recall my Lit agent said, “You need to start a blog.”

    I asked, “What’s a blog?”

    He explained via a blog my readers would help me learn to write, and he was correct. I always paid careful attention to their feedback, and thanked them for it. They were very helpful in the development of my novel, “The Mandolin Case.”

    I think writers who like artistic people and want to interact with them will find readers over time.

    Dr. B

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