Getting comments from your blog’s readers is a huge thrill, one of the most exciting things about blogging. When you first start a blog, though, you may go many days without seeing a single comment. So how can you get the conversation going?
You should make a point of commenting on other people’s blogs, especially on blogs that are similar to yours. Don’t force it; don’t leave inane comments just for the sake of getting your name out. That could backfire. But whenever you do have something that you want to say, go ahead and say it, even if you have to push through an initial twinge of shyness to do so.
Writing comments on other people’s blogs benefits you in three ways. First, in some cases, though certainly not all, the blog owner will feel obligated to return the favor, and will come leave a comment on your blog. Second, if your comment is interesting, other people will click through on your name. Third, if you are a frequent commenter, you will eventually build a kind of brand around your name or your blog’s name. All of these encourage more traffic and potentially more comments on your blog.
If you are having a lot of trouble getting any comments at all, you could try jump-starting the process by asking a friend to leave a comment or two on your blog. Blank comment sections, like empty dance floors, can be intimidating, as no one wants to be the first one out there. But if you have a friend break the ice by leaving a comment, then strangers reading your blog may be more likely to follow suit.
You can also encourage more people to leave comments by the type of blogging-comment software you use. For example, if you have a self-hosted WordPress blog, you can use plug-ins that enable your visitors to get updates via email whenever there are new comments to a thread. This makes it easy for people to see if there have been any responses to their comments, and encourages them to keep on coming back and to keep the back-and-forth conversation going.
You can also attract more comments with what you write in your blog posts. Ending a post with a question addressed to your readers will often attract comments. So will including a poll in your post or in the sidebar. Finally, one almost surefire way to get an onslaught of comments is to write something controversial or offensive. Of course, you may not want to do this, and you may not like the comments you get if you do! But for those people who thrive on controversy, this is always an option.
Once you start to attract some commenters, encourage them to become regulars by visiting their blogs, if they have any, and by answering their comments with your own. The number of people who leave comments will always be a small percentage of the number of people who read your blog, so be good to your commenters, and treat them like the special people that they are.