Comments are one of the things that make blogging worth while but, in the age of feed readers, how do you convince people to click over and leave one?
That's what we're going to discuss and, no, I'm not going to tell you to end every post with a question.
If you follow these five steps, within two weeks you will be well on your way to developing a community around your blog.
Show Some Link Love - This is one of my personal weaknesses. Take the time to acknowledge other bloggers. Make a special folder in your bookmarks for those posts you read and find interesting then, once a week, put together a post featuring the best articles you read that week.
Offering a little praise and linking to a post will almost always bring a positive response from the author and put you on their radar.
Comment On Other Blogs - I know you've heard this before but it really does matter. Why would you expect someone to go to the effort of rewarding you with a comment if you wont take the time to do it for them?
The most important things to remember about commenting are; make your comments relevant, be polite and do not include a link inside the comment body. (Be sure to fill out your email and URL in the author box.)
Give Something Away - It may seem like simple bribery and it is but, it works. many blogs have had great luck giving away prizes in contests where the only way to enter was by leaving a comment.
This blog has had so much success with "Submission For A Comment" promotions (StumbleUpon & Reddit) that I have seriously considered making them a regular event.
Write Compelling Content - If all you write are "Tips & Tricks" and "How-To" posts, you're going to have a hard time getting beyond the "Great Post" and "Thanks for this info." comments.
Write one or two posts a week where you express your opinion about something. Don't be afraid to take a position and back it up. Your posts don't have to be argumentative, just passionate. Write about something you care about, a favorite charity or a touching experience.
Answer Every Comment - I saved this point for last because I feel it is the most important. Your response to a reader's comment is your opportunity to encourage a conversation.
Imagine being at a party and an attractive guy or girl compliments you on your outfit. If you say "Thanks" and keep walking, do you think they will make an effort to talk to you again? Imagine, however, if you stopped for a moment, acknowledged their presence and gave them a compliment back. You have now encouraged them to talk to you again.
Always make your new commentators feel welcome and encourage them to comment again. It never hurts to end your response to a new comment with a question, but only once. Don't make them feel obligated to keep answering repeated questions, you'll run them off.
Take care of your regular commentators by encouraging continuing conversations. You must remember also, this is not a one way street. You should, at least, visit your commentators blogs and become a regular reader and commentator on the ones you like.
If you write about topics you are passionate about as well as knowledgeable of, it will show in your content. If you care about your readers and treat them that way, they will appreciate it and show you.
If, however, all you want out of blogging is for people to click your ads, just hit the delete button and walk away. Turning off your computer will save you more money on electricity in a year than you will make blogging.
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