Last week Heather posed a reader generated question on Crafterminds about commenting. The post generated a fair amount of discussion and really got me thinking about how to encourage readers to comment.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that commenting is down? I have.
There are a myriad of reasons blog commenting may be down – everything from the growing amount of media we (and our readers) are faced with each day to summer breaks and the ability to share a virtual “shout out” on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
What might surprise you is that this is not a new thing, it’s just relatively new to our community. It’s true. In most online communities, only 1 percent are frequent participants, 9 percent and infrequent participants and 90 percent are lurkers. There’s even a name for the phenomena. It’s called participation inequality. (Okaaay. Well, this makes me feel a little better, but not much).
So instead of asking, “Why isn’t anyone commenting anymore?” I decided perhaps the question should be, “How can I encourage community and feedback?”
I thought I would kick off the discussion with five ways to encourage readers to comment:
- Use a personable, conversational tone. Do you start your post (even basic tutorials) with a personal story? A basic step-by-step tutorial is great, but what sort of connection have you made with your readers?
- Issue a call to action. Ask for comments and feedback throughout your post and conclude with a question.
- Make it easy to comment. Incorporate commenting at the end of your post in an easily identifiable location, scrap the sign-in, turn off word verification.
- Use CommentLuv. I’ve seen this one around, but I’ve yet to incorporate it. I should it provides the commenter a backlink (SEO) to their post. Do you have this on your site? What do you think? Here’s a Blogger tutorial if you’d like to add it or you can download the WordPress plugin.
- Offer an incentive to top commentors. Display a list of top commentors with a link to their site in your side bar (if you’re on WordPress, there’s a plugin for this) or an actual gift (I know Kim has implemented this on her blog in the past and I just loved it!)
Have you tried any of these methods? What worked, or didn’t work, for you?
What would you suggest? Better yet, what makes you feel inclined to comment?