We can see if a blog is successful by taking into account various metrics: traffic, subscribers, back links etc. Another great way to see if a blog is developing a nice active community is to see how many comments the articles usually receive.
As bloggers, we love writing ‘for someone’ and having you comment on our articles gives us an instant feedback on our content and also allows us to understand how our audience is viewing our work. So, it’s absolutely normal for any blogger to really love seeing comments being made by their readers and to aim to get as many comments as possible from the community. But why do some of our blogs receive no comments or too few?
Here are some possible reasons why your comment section is pretty bare:
1. You have no traffic (or it’s too low to matter)
It’s all about math. A 10 visits/day blog will be able to receive some comments (if it does receive them) and a 1k visits/day blog will surely attract more activity. When you start a blog or get more serious with it (my case), you’ll go from some dismal traffic to better numbers in time and you’ll probably notice that, as soon as your traffic picks off, more people leave comments.
Solution: make the math work in your favor, grow that traffic and you’ll increase the number of comments your readers leave.
2. Your articles don’t attract attention
When people enter your blog, they usually do it on the home page and start from there. If the articles they see don’t grab their attention, they probably won’t read the content and, not having read it, won’t comment. It doesn’t necessarily mean your content is bad, maybe they don’t find what they were looking for.
Solution: post quality content and make sure your articles solve a problem/offer some good information. It’s also wise to build your traffic as much as possible naturally, by doing good SEO and promoting on similar niche blogs. This way your visitors are already interested in your content and it’s easier for them to communicate, if the articles solve their needs.
3. Not all articles will get comments
As you post constantly for a while on various topics, you’ll notice that some of your articles don’t get any comments, while others have hundreds. How is this possible? Some articles are just not gonna attract too much attention. I have seen in the past that book reviews or anything pretty ‘complicated’ didn’t get me too much attention from my readers, while writing about something more frivolous or simple got me a ton of them. Some of my ‘serious’ work seemed to go unnoticed, while an article about why I think prostitution is wrong, or how I am pro-choice (or anything similar) would draw a lot of activity.
Solution: there isn’t much you can do about this. As long as you post good meaningful content, you’ll see different results and it’s normal. Instead of making your blog just a collection of ‘silly’ posts to get the audience crazy, focus on providing good useful content and understand that each article will behave differently.
4. You make them register accounts, you use Disqus and other comment plugins
I cannot understand for the life of me why would bloggers use this crap. WordPress has an amazing comment system in place itself and it had it like this for YEARS. All you need from your readers is their name, URL and email, plus their comment. That’s all. Why would you make your readers register on your site? 99.9% of the potential commenters will not bother register or read your articles again.
A blog is not a forum. We don’t want to have 300 accounts set up just to comment. I personally monitor over 120 blogs and do it daily. And I have just started building myself a nice bookmark collection with some blogs I love reading/commenting on. Do you really think I would register an account on them all? Is it worth my time?
I don’t comment via Disqus or similar plugins. I don’t have accounts there, I don’t need them. Yet another hoop I need to jump through just to post a comment. As mean as this sounds, it makes me leave the blog and not return anytime soon.
Solution: keep it simple. Don’t use Facebook comments, don’t ask people to register on your blog, don’t use Disqus. Leave WordPress alone to handle your comments, believe me it does a great job on its own.
5. You use captcha. And sometimes it doesn’t work
Speaking of hoops I need to jump through to leave a comment: there are many bloggers who feel the need to use a captcha with their comments, so that they prevent spammers from posting. In my opinion, the comment system needs to be as simple as possible to entice people to communicate via your community. Anything ‘extra’ will annoy them and make them waste time. Captcha is something else they need to take care of, sometimes they cannot see the letters properly and sometimes the wonderful system itself doesn’t work. This means after they have wasted precious minutes creating a meaningful response, said response won’t get posted, because the anti-spam plugin ‘caught a cold’. Not fun at all.
Solution: learn how to prevent spam and don’t bloat your blog with something that’s not gonna bring too much use. I have been blogging for more than 6 years and received tens of thousands of comments. I never had any spam comment get published without my approval and the ‘screening’ takes me 2 minutes. I can spare 2 minutes/day for you and not have you fill in a captcha field.
6. You’re on Blogspot or WordPress.com
Until recently WordPress.com were a pretty nice solution for many bloggers. Now they have lost their mind and messed with the comment system on their hosted blogs. This means that I cannot post under my regular email address (that also works nicely with Gravatar), since it would force me to enter my account on WP.com, which I don’t want to do. So, if I don’t want that to happen, I need to use another email address, which doesn’t have my Gravatar, since that would mean putting the email address in connection with my WP account etc. Blogspot was always one of the most horrid systems for someone who wants to comment and many bloggers have no clue how to set it up.
So, if I don’t blog on these free platforms it’s harder for me to post a comment and also use the URL field.
Solution: get your own self-hosted blog. It’s cheap and you can have great control over the entire platform. Not to mention you’d cater to even more bloggers/commenters.
7. You don’t allow your commenters to set their URL in comments
I am not talking about them posting links in the comment section, but to be able to fill in the URL field on the comment form. This means that, once someone clicks on their name, they’re taken to the commenter’s blog. It’s almost like a signature and a nice way for your readers to also DISCREETLY promote their blog.
You’ll probably think that people shouldn’t care abut this, but the reality is that MANY of your readers are also bloggers and find the feature to be useful. I personally let ALL my forum members use a signature and blog commenters fill in the URL field. Why? Because it’s my small way to give back to them for taking the time to read my articles and also provide their meaningful feedback.
Solution: let your readers use this feature. Don’t remove it, don’t ask them to pay for it, don’t make it hard. Your blog won’t suffer from this, but your readers will surely love the fact you have their interest in mind, too. Not to mention you can always click on their links and find some pretty interesting blogs for you to read.
8. There’s an aggressive clique in your community
I have seen this problem from time to time on few of the blogs I used to comment on. Some readers who were always commenting (which is not a bad thing per se) and almost formed a clique. Anyone new would be made fun of and sometimes even cursed at. As a general rule NO ONE comes to your blog to be abused, so having commenters attack others won’t make your blog popular for much time.
Solution: enforce good behavior on your blog. Anyone can contradict you or other readers, but they are not allowed to become disrespectful or aggressive.
9. You don’t seem to care about the comments posted on your site
While I don’t think one should reply to each and every comment readers leave on their blog, ignoring your community is not the solution. You’ll get some comments that really don’t need any response from yourself, but there are some that would warrant more explanation or an answer.
Solution: make your commenters feel welcome and appreciated. Tell them ‘welcome’ if they’ve posted for the first time, agree with them (if it’s the case) or respectfully disagree with their point of view. Seeing you active in the comment section too, will make your readers feel more appreciated and they’ll have an incentive to keep on ‘wasting’ time in your community.
10. You don’t approve their comments
One sign of a totally inactive blog is to keep comments unapproved for days (yes, I am now speaking again from experience, there were times I ignored the blog for weeks and it didn’t help my readership rise, if you know what I mean). Your commenters love to see their contribution appears on the site in a timely manner. Sure, they might not expect you to approve their comments in 2 minutes since they have posted, but keeping them wait for days/weeks will probably send them to more active blogs.
Solution: make time for your readers’ comments. Log into your blog admin panel at least daily and approve the new comments / reply to them. This will make your community feel appreciated and will encourage them to keep on contributing to your blog.
We all need to understand that a successful blog cannot exist without a nice active community around it. Make commenting easy for your readers, be active and nice, don’t make it difficult for them to leave a reply. With an increased traffic, constant blog posting and taking care of your community, you’ll see more comments as time goes by and your blog will become more successful.
What are the reasons you think people might not comment on blogs? What measures have you personally taken to increase your commenters’ involvement on your blog?