The comment count on Blog Tyrant currently sits at 19,975. With any luck this post will tip it over to the 20,000 mark, something I never imagined possible.
This seems like a nice milestone to write some reflections on how we got here, and what it has meant to me personally.
I’m really not sharing this number to brag, but to take some time to share some tips and thoughts that will hopefully help some other bloggers out there. And also to say a heartfelt “thank you“.
Let’s jump in and take a look at how you can get more blog comments, and how you can make the process more rewarding and beneficial for everyone involved.
1. A lot of those comments are mine
One thing to note is that a lot of those comments are mine. Since the start of this website I’ve made an effort to reply to every single comment and, while I sometimes fall short, I have, for nearly seven years now, done my best to engage with or thank every single person who leaves a comment on this site.
Part of this is marketing strategy – I think that the engagement and timing makes people more interested. But part of it is also that I am still genuinely so grateful that people contribute to this site and I want to make sure that everyone feels that gratitude.
2. Comments are harder to get now than ever before
I’d like to point out to any new bloggers reading this that it’s not as easy to get blog comments as it used to be. A lot of the ideas and feedback that used to go in a comment now get written in Tweets or on Facebook pages and, as such, many bloggers note that it’s difficult to see more than a few comments.
This is a pretty normal thing to experience and shouldn’t get you down. There are a few strategies you can implement that might make a difference which we’ll look at in the next few points.
3. Many of the comments are more useful than the articles
One of the things that we joke about a lot around here is that many of the comments are more useful than the actual articles themselves. This is a really wonderful thing to notice and, as a blog owner, it’s fantastic to learn from readers who are so engaged and active in the niche. Just have a look at this comment from Lewis which is 1,111 words long!
I’m looking at adding a system to the comments like some news sites (screenshot below is from the ABC) where I am able to feature a comment that goes above and beyond.
Sometimes we have comments that are 1,000+ words long and I’d love to be able to highlight them in a different color and pin it to the top – sort of like an editor’s pick. I think this would be a small reward for the effort.
4. Some genuine friendships have been made
Something that is a little surprising about a comments thread (have you been on YouTube…?) is how genuinely kind and generous some of the frequent visitors are. It’s been my absolute pleasure over the years to make some genuine friendships.
And I think this is one of the great things that can come out of an online community that is based around a single topic – you often develop a support network that you otherwise might not have been able to encounter. This can be really useful, especially when you’re starting something new and need a bit of extra help.
5. Asking (and bribing…) is okay
One of the more successful tactics that we’ve used is to have little giveaways every few months. This really seems to generate a lot of interest which can sometimes last over four or five posts after the event.
For example, one of the bigger ones that we’ve had was on this post about the things you know in order to start a blog where we gave away some tools and free hosting packages for people looking to start a new blog. One of the ways you could enter was by leaving a comment.
This tactic is especially powerful when done in conjunction with a mailing list because you can promote the event before the blog post goes out and also ask people to share the event so as to get even more people involved.
6. Introducing new readers to the comment policy is useful
Something that I’ve found quite useful is to let new email subscribers know about the way the comments work, the community that hangs out at Blog Tyrant and the best way they can get involved. In fact, I do this in the very first auto-follow up email that a subscriber gets by saying:
TIP – Give to receive. People who leave valuable comments on Blog Tyrant often find themselves getting promoted by other bloggers or getting new business opportunities.
I really noticed an increase in engagement when I started to actively talk about the comments section on the site and give people some ideas about how they could participate and what they could get out of it in the short and long term. I’ve seen a lot of people land jobs from the comments here.
7. Scarcity plays a role
A well-known idea in marketing is the principle that if something is perceived as being scarce people are more likely to want it. I think that plays a little role in the articles where Blog Tyrant gets 100 or more comments because it generally happens when I haven’t posted for a fortnight or more and follow up with a nice long article like this one on how to get more traffic from Google.
I also close comments after 30-days to avoid spam, and this also has the effect of pushing new readers on old posts to check out the latest blog posts and leave a comment there because they can’t on any of the archived stuff. Not everyone likes this method, but it seems to work pretty well.
A few very, very special mentions
I’d like to give a big shout out in particular to Scott, Chris, Rachelle, Vishal, Kirsten, Lewis, Slavko, Ahmad, Ryan, Steve, Laura, TJ, and Leon who sadly passed away a few years ago.
You crazy bunch have been around for years and have been an integral and valued part of the community. I’m sure I’ve missed someone and I’m going to feel absolutely terrible!
Some of you have left hundreds of comments (Rachelle left over 250!) and have not only written to me, but answered questions and given feedback to others on the site. It has been so heartwarming to be part of and I can genuinely say that it’s made many of those late work nights much more enjoyable for me.
Does your blog need help getting comments?
I’d like to finish off this post by spending some time trying to help you guys get more comments, if that’s something that you’d like. If you’re having trouble getting people chatting on your site let us know below and I’ll take a look and offer some suggestions. Feel free to comment about others as well, if you have some tips.
Once again, thank you to everyone who has left a comment on Blog Tyrant over the years. It means so much to me.
Top photo © Daniel Villeneuve