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15 Ways To Get Readers To Comment On Your Blog Tom Collins’ Top 5

Wrapping up our series of 15 ways to get more comments on your blog (Caroline's Top 5; Yvonne's Top 5), here are Tom's Tips:

TypePad-Comment-YourInfo 1. Leave a Trail. Give them paw prints to follow you home.

This is really a corollary to Caroline's # 1 ("To get comments, first leave comments on others' blogs"). That's THE # 1 way. Since we started consulting on blogging and social media way back '04, our biggest piece of advice to clients has been to spend half of the time you commit to blogging on other people's blogs, reading and commenting. This overlaps Yvonne's # 1 also: what better way to "make friends" in the blogosphere than showing your interest by reading and commenting on their blog?

But this is no time for anonymity! It doesn't help you get comments on YOUR blog, unless you help them find their way back to yours! Make sure you fill out the boxes with your name, email address (so the blogger can contact you offline, if she wants), and above all, the URL for your blog.

TomsAvatar 2. Leave a smile. By this I mean leave a picture of your smilin' face, or Fido/Fluffy's furry one, as an avatar alongside your comment. The tools and steps required vary with the blog hosting platform and plugins used by individual bloggers. But it is well worth your time to be on the lookout for them and learn to take advantage. Your comments will stand out and get noticed, making it that much more likely you'll get "trailed" back to your blog. (I know, I'm not a good example!)

Our long-time business blogging buddy Denise Wakeman wrote about this last month in a post entitled, Are you invisible on the business blogs you read?, where she advised: "Help people 'see' you and get to know you better."

Isn't that a part of why Twitter and Facebook are so effective in helping us feel like we're getting to know each other? If you're visiting a TypePad blog like this one, you can "sign in" using your existing Twitter or Facebook (or several other IDs with avatars). That's my Twitter pic floating up there. As Denise points out, you should also set up IDs at a couple of other major sites, like Disqus and Gravatar, so you'll be ready when visiting blogs that use those tools. And TypePad itself has an ID tool called Profiles that you can sign up for without having a TypePad blog, to make it even easier to connect with the millions of TypePad bloggers out there.

3. "Names, names, names." Write about people, especially other bloggers. Mention names. Link to their blogs. If you know them, give them a heads up email. If you're mentioning a post they wrote, use the TrackBack tool (or ping back, or whatever your blog platform calls it), to notify the blogger.

Who can resist visiting to see what you wrote about them? 

This is similar to Yvonne's # 4 (interview someone) and it's a powerful comment magnet, because the person you interview is likely to visit and leave a comment. They're also likely to let their audience know about the nice things you wrote, so lots of them are likely to visit, too. 

The "names, names, names" heading comes from a story told in Chip and Dan Heath's book, Made to Stick, about the editor of a small, local newspaper who told his staff the 3 most important things in the paper were names, names, names. The same logic applies to your blog.

When Nate Riggs wrote 8 Steps to Building a Killer Conference Experience (And How BlogPaws Nailed It) and said such nice things about the first-ever blogging and social media conference for the online pet community, BlogPaws 2010 in Columbus — and mentioned Caroline, Yvonne, and me, BY NAME — we were quick to go leave thank you notes in his comment stream, e.g.:


4. Stay tuned.  Many blogs enable you to subscribe to an RSS feed of the comments on an individual post. You need to use this judiciously, since if you're leaving comments frequently — AS YOU SHOULD BE — subscribing to all of those comment streams would quickly overwhelm you.

But when you leave a comment where the post (or the comments left by others) relate to a topic that's important to you, or your audience, or your business, this can be a valuable way to stay involved in the conversation and get known among the readership of that blog. It's a great learning tool, as well.

By subscribing to the comments on Yvonne's post from yesterday, I was allerted as I was writing this one that Brad Reason, Felissa, and Grace Boyle left comments after mine adding a total of five more comment-inducing tips! This helped me avoid duplication AND learn from others. There may be more by the time you read this, but you get the point.

5. Stay engaged. Comment on your commenters' comments. Notice how Nate responded to my comment above. If you visit the post, you'll see he did the same for most of the other commenters.

That's how comments turn into conversations. Isn't that what you're really after?

Here are how Yvonne and I responded to multiple comments on her post from yesterday:


Whew, there are my five.

Yvonne says whe could come up with ten more.

How about you?

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  1. RE: use the TrackBack tool (or ping back, or whatever your blog platform calls it
    Great advice!
    Daddy & I have been blogging for 8 years, and so many bloggers, and not just beginners, are clueless about how to do this, and the benefits.

  2. I belong to a group of bloggers who share comments, links, diggs, stumbles, etc. as a way to build traffic for everyone. While all of us are professional writers, we blog about vastly different topics.
    Each person is allowed to make one request for help per week.

  3. Tom, great series of posts by you, Yvonne and Caroline! And thanks for the shout out and mentioning my name. It worked! 😉
    Because I have Google alerts set up for my name and have the Alerts feed set up in Google reader, your reference to my blog post popped up and here I am, commenting on your blog.
    I like how you give clear examples and demonstrate how the tips work.
    blog on!

  4. Thanks for the tips. I found them helpful. Tried figuring out Disqus… but there site and link was unhelpful. Have you actually checked that out? Always like following Denise Wakeman’s tips and that was how I got here. Not having a pet I’ve never seen a pet blog before. My specialty is “reasonable dieting” — bet sometime we could niche/jv and get people to go on diets with their pets!

  5. I love this interaction. Denise knows how to get comments and create relationships. She’s always been an inspiration to me. I also think Jeff has a great suggestion – a regular weekly feature absolutely gets people involved.
    Thanks, everyone. Do share so we can hear from others – I bet a lot of other bloggers have ideas on this topic, too.

  6. Blog Paws Series on Attracting Readers, and Comments, and Reaching Out, a Must Read!

    Blogging has evolved so much since Daddy, and I, first began to write on his first blog, in 2002. Platforms, books, techniques, tools, communities, and more, present so much for bloggers, old, and new, to absorb, and learn from, that…

  7. Hi Nikita Cat,
    Thanks for the comment AND for demoing the TrackBack tool from your blog. As you mentioned, there may be folks who don’t know how to put this to use, but your comment, post, and TrackBack links to all three parts of this series should give them the incentive to figure it out!
    Let us count the benefits of this interaction:
    – you left a comment here, introducing yourself to us and our readers and creating an inbound link to your blog;
    – I followed the link back to your blog and got to enjoy your recent posts about Daddy having a brain (LOVE the rewritten Strawman lyrics!! – so here’s another link);
    – I just added your blog to our new blogroll, creating yet another inbound link to your blog;
    – you wrote a whole post about this series and BlogPaws in general (thanks for that, too!), with links to all three of our posts in this series;
    – in your post, you also set up TrackBack pings to all three parts of this series, which created short excerpts of your post (see above) and three more inbound links back to your blog.
    So let’s see, we got a visit, a comment, a whole post written about us, three inbound links, and three TrackBack excerpts on BlogPaws.
    You got a bunch of page views from me, who knows how many from out readers (today and in the future), and a total of six inbound links to your blog from BlogPaws. Four of those links you created by your own hand, one by commenting and three by using the TrackBack tool.
    I think this could be the start of a beautiful relationship!
    And people wonder why blogs are such a powerful SEO tool?!?!
    Thanks again,

  8. I read this via Denise Wakeman’s tweet and it’s just great. Thanks for the hot tips. My sister and I have started a very funny fitness blog
    and appreciate all the help. Now I just have to learn how to get the images into the comments!

  9. And thanks, also to:
    Roxanne and Jeff for adding great suggestions, along with their “smiling faces”! You too, Lisa (ThePetBookLady).
    Denise, your Google Alert makes a great point about how the “Names, names, names” tip can work even with famous folks like you! ;-D
    Sandra, thanks for noting how you came via our mention/connection with Denise. I can’t say I’m a big fan of Disqus or Gravatar, but as Denise pointed out in her post, so many sites use them that it’s worth taking the time to figure them out. If you look at the screen shot from Nate Riggs’ blog in my post above, he uses Disqus and I managed to get my pic in there by uploading it directly to my profile on Disqus (after a half dozen failed attempts to use my Twitter ID).
    About your pets and people diet idea, Yvonne did a Scratchings & Sniffings Out Loud podcast recently about arthritis in pets in which the veterinarians from Purina mentioned both anecdotes and studies showing how pet parents trying to help their pets lose weight got more exercise and lost weight themselves! So how can we help get that word out?

  10. Hi Tom,
    Thanks for the mention! Time to go walk the dogs before they protest. I will have to come back to read how to get an avatar to show up on your blog for future comments here.

  11. One thing that I’ve learned in my blogging career is the importance of getting people to return for followup comments. There is nothing worse than answering someone’s question only to never see them again.
    It’s not even their fault because it’s unreasonable to expect people to remember every single blog they left a comment on. That’s why it’s important to install a subscribe to comment plugin so that they can be kept up to date when a reply has been made.

  12. Tom,
    Thanks for the mention. You bring up a great point. Most professional bloggers will listen for the use of their name on the web as an indicator of a potential conversation. This can span tagging on Facebook, Tweets, blog links and much more. It’s always a good idea to pay attention to these things and comment, but it’s also a great way to draw in perspectives from the folks you meet. It’s all about having conversation with like-minded people. Keep up the good work 🙂

  13. Hello there everyone
    It is really great to find a community of animals, like myself who love blogging.
    Thanks for all the tips.
    Magic Aimee

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