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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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.

Click here to get your copy now.

In this issue, you’ll also:

  • Get an exclusive invitation to my free teleseminar on Tuesday, DECEMBER 14 at 5pm PT, where you’ll have a chance to win a Caribbean cruise for two and learn about an exciting new opportunity in self-publishing
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  • Get insider tips from Linda Sivertsen, best-selling author and legendary 6 and 7-figure book proposal writer, on how to get motivated to write YOUR next bestseller
  • Learn when (and why) to use marketing hype to boost book and other sales

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

Cheers to your success!

Arielle Ford

 

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The Importance of Tire Inflation in Gas Prices

Tires’ importance at the gas pump is growing as gas prices climb, with U.S. drivers’ currently paying among the highest fuel prices on record, and tire inflation is playing a big role in the price. When tire care is factored in, the rising fuel prices become even scarier. An under inflated tire deflects more energy and increases rolling resistance, which robs the vehicle of fuel efficiency. ‘Running a tire 20 percent under inflated, only 5 to 7 pounds per square inch, can increase fuel consumption by 10 percent’.

The Energy Department has reported that every pound per square inch of tire under inflation wastes 4 million gallons of gas daily in the U.S. This can easily cost motorists two or three miles per gallon. Not only that, but the tire’s tread life is reduced by 15 percent,’ reports John Peer.

The Society of Automotive Engineers reports that 87 percent of all flat tires have a history of under inflation. In the 1970s, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claimed that half the nation’s cars had under inflated tires. Other studies stated that 25 to 28-percent had at least one tire ‘seriously under inflated’ [4 psi or more below the manufacturer’s recommendation.

According to 2002 research by the Rubber Manufacturers Association, nearly 90 percent of drivers surveyed do not check their tire pressure properly and many do not know enough about how to care for their tires correctly. The survey also found that 66 percent of drivers don’t even know where to find the recommended proper tire inflation pressure for their vehicles’ tires.

Goodyear recommends that motorists should check tire inflation monthly or before a long trip. Tires should be inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations printed on the vehicle door placard or in the owner’s manual, not the maximum limit stamped on a tire sidewall.

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Source: Jim Davis at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

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For Additional Information, Please Contact:

Margot B E-mail: margotb@margotbwritersforum.com

Trying to Change a Partner

Most of us, unless we are staunchly independent, want to have a loving relationship with a partner. While relationships start out that way, sometimes things change over time, and the loving part gets lost amidst the demands of everyday living. As life becomes more complicated, and reality sets in, we may see aspects of our partner which are different from what we first imagined.

Further, as is the way of relationships, issues get triggered in both partners. One may take the lead, in order to get things done, and the other may interpret this as control, reminiscent of a domineering parent. Or one may become quite independent, triggering in the other memories of a parent who had no time for the children. Struggles may ensue, with each person trying to change the other into a closer representation of the perfect partner, or at least one who could fulfill his or her emotional needs.

With struggle comes pain, and an even deeper, perhaps desperate need to change the other person. It never works. When we try to change someone, they resist. The more we try, the more they resist, and the more the differences become entrenched.

So what is the solution? The solution is love. When we love and appreciate our partners, they relax into a more positive mode. We are all much more motivated to really listen to and accommodate someone who truly cares about and respects us. Real love is about continuing to be affectionate and supportive even in the face of differences.

Tearing down another person will begin to tear down the relationship. It is an uphill climb to rebuild trust after cruel, judgmental words are spoken. The natural response to such negativity is to pull back, and put less of oneself into the relationship. Love, acceptance and understanding, on the other hand, result in a heart opening, and a willingness to share and work together.

So it’s not surprising then, that the way to a more loving relationship is to be more loving ourselves.

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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