Any Comments?

Professional bloggers are saying more and more that comments on a blog post are as viral a search engine optimization tool as linking and any number of other tricks. I don't know if that's true or not, but I really like that the Blog Book Tours blog-a-day challenge has resulted in lots of conversations between the participants on their respective blogs. We're also getting commenters from Twitter. Comments seem to make the post live longer than without.

Blogs like The Lipstick Chronicles become favorites as much for the comments as for the original posts, so it's a worthy goal. I've lately been analyzing why blogs get commentary. Personable writers, controversial themes, pertinent questions, great information, good writing, and even contests are all techniques for inspiring reader participation. What's your favorite technique to inspire interaction? Have you developed a technique yet? Think about what might work for you.


Shonell Bacon said...

I think comments are crucial to the success of a blog - if no one is commenting, then how do you know people are actually reading your work, getting something FROM your work, and responding FROM your work?

Now, the question I'd like to see answers to: how do you find the topics that generate COMMENTS and DISCUSSION?

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Socks? You got me.

Yes,I love comments. And every time I visit a blog and don't leave one, I feel guilty, since I know how much we love them on Jungle Red.
(Today we're talking 'back to school'.)

It seems logical: but we get the most when there's a single question posed. One that doesn't take long to answer, and a topic that either is very personal or one where there's some sort of universally shared experience.

WHy do I not leave comments? Sometimes, frankly,.I have nothing to add. And don't want to just take up space yapping. Or saying, good post.

Dani, do you think leaving a quick "good post" comment is a good thing? Just to show you've been there?

I'm addicted to our stat counter, and following back where people came from. But there's nothing like hearing from the real person.

Unknown said...

Hi Dani. Hmm, so you don't want to get more comments than me or anything. You've helped me make my blog work. LOL! So, it's all your fault with your controversial comments. LOL!

My favorite thing is truth with a controversial twist, but I had a ball with the song yesterday. It was a ton of fun.

Anonymous said...

Here's helping you get to over 40 comments.

I'm surprised and pleased when others leave comments on my blog. The feed back is good because at least I know someone is reading. I usually only leave a comment on other blogs if I have something to say.

I do follow many more blogs than I comment on.Sometimes I just feel weird leaving a comment on a blog where I don't know the blogger.

Dani said...

Here's Marvin Wilson's comment. It seems his computer is treating as spam. Fight back, Marvin! Yes! Here's what Marv says:

40!? Sheesh, not askin for MUCH are ya? LOL. Doubt if I'll be today's
winner but I did your post and challenge. Comments in large numbers have
been one of the many benefits of my blog getting and keeping loyal
readers. They stop in just to talk to each other now. Pretty cool.

Dani said...

I forgot FUN.... yes, fun definitely generates comments and brings readers back.


LaShaunda said...

If I received 50 comments I'll pass out. I'm happy if I get 5. The counter lets me know people are visiting, so I'm happy if they visit.

I still haven't learned what makes people leave comments. A good question or topic.

Helen said...

Okay, I'm not going to comment until the number reaches 40. Doh!

I really want those socks. They're so cute and I like that they're different colors. I can't knit. I tried. I really, really, tried. No matter how big my needles (and I tried some huge ones), the yarn would be so tight that I'd strain and shove trying to get them through. 'Course that was during the time I was in a very stressful job.

I love getting comments. It makes me so happy to check Straight From Hel and discover that someone has left a message, even if it's just a "hi." For that reason, I try to always leave a comment. But sometimes I can't think of anything to say.

Asking a direct question gives the reader something to focus on. And something slightly controversial is a draw for comments. An author stopping by seems to pull in comments, although I've found most readers don't actually ask them a question too often.

Today I posted a writers' resource link and it doesn't seem to be drawing in too many comments -

But one where I asked readers to give the opening two sentences of one of their books got lots of comments -
(Although not the hundred that you'll be getting today.)

Sara Cox Landolt said...

My blog is new. I was trying to decide if I should keep the comment function when I am starting up. I'd love to have comments. But I'm going to have to lure some commenters first!

Dani said...

Lots of new folks today, hooray! It occurs to me that commenting on my own comment section gives me more total comments. Hehe. Okay, okay, I'll take all of my comments out of the final count.

Lacresha is Twittering to try and get 50 comments on her daily post. The woman is desperate. ;)


Price said...

It varies by blog and blogger, I think. And by topic area. The more narrow the topic, the smaller the pool, the smaller the audience...the fewer comments.

The question is whether you're in to blogging for numbers, the quality of the work, or to reach a particular audience and have influence. Or a combination.

Also, I have more conversations via email with my readers then comments, but that's in part because of how I choose to follow up. And from these conversations, I can tell we're making progress on my blog's particular raison d'etre.

My blog launched in April. I average about 50 hits a day now. Another, more established blog has asked me to guest blog on my topic, which is near and dear to my heart. To my knowledge, two newspaper articles have been written with my blog being used as "justification" for them being assigned. Another article is forthcoming.

How many comments do I receive? Maybe five a week--tops. Would I like more? Sure...if they're worthwhile and meaningful.

But I sure ain't complainin' for now. Am grateful for every reader I get...even the ones that never post a word.

Price said...

Drat...I meant to add:

I think what is satisfying about comments is the sense of community built around a blog. And once you get that sense of community, the comments increase, too. They reinforce one another. BBT works at getting comments, I suspect, because Dani has so artfully built a sense of community around a timely, fresh idea.

I'm not sure any "tricks of the trade" could duplicate that kind of success. That comes only with patience and perseverance! (And good writing!)

Morgan Mandel said...

You rock Dani
You always have great advice
Morgan Mandel

Unknown said...

I heard that, Dani. LOL! ROTFL! The night is still young and I plan to be the 41 or rather last person to comment so that I can have warm socks because my feet are always cold and they're cute. LOL!

I've been going to other blogs commenting and then people follow me back to my blog. Just a tip.

Dani said...

Well, I do that anyway, but it's all those communities you're on. Who can compete?

And you're not getting those socks. I will knit new ones for the winner! Tada. It's only right. When I say custom, I truly mean it.

Remember you all can have two posts, but only two. Has someone used up all of their chances? ;) Will others post again in the last ten minutes?? LOL.


Gayle Carline said...

I post comments because:
1. The blogger asked an interesting question,
2. The blogger made a good/fascinating point, and I want to tell them that, and/or
3. I am a smarty pants who has an opinion for every occasion.

As for my blog(s), I love comments because it validates my reason to have them. I have blogs that cover my professional and my personal life, including a blog for my horse, who is recovering from a broken leg (no, they don't always shoot them anymore). I don't get a lot of comments, so I installed some counters to see how many visitors I'm getting.

So far, it's a little lonely.

Dana Fredsti said...

I have no idea what makes it or breaks it re: comments. Some of my favorite blogs hardly ever get any comments and it bugs me.

I want a pair of socks and I think you still owe me from Nag Sisters, Ms. D!

Anonymous said...

I hear you, Gayle, when you say it feels lonely.

I get a small thrill when more than 5 people visit my site (the most I've had in one day is 15) but I get a big thrill when someone leaves a comment. I think most of my comments from posts where I ask a direct question or on the 7th of each month when I highlight a short story someone else has written. The short story writer usually finds it and thanks me.

Charlotte Phillips said...

Dani - great socks! I'll have to keep checking back so I can leave a second comment when you top 40.

I'm not an expert on getting comments, but the first time I received more than 2 was because I gave specific instructions "click on the comment link below to tell us what you think about..." I had been ending the post with a question thinking that would generate comments, but it didn't.

Anonymous said...

I adore The Lipstick Chronicles. It's my every day stop. And you're right. You do have to read all the comments. It's not uncommon for the blog to be on subject A, and somehow in the comments, we get off on subject B. Plus the ladies are great about letting the backbloggers take over the blog from time to time. Today and tomorrow, for example, they've let me take over for the weekend! Very cool ladies.

Anonymous said...

Oh goodness, we're late for the partaaay! If we were here sooner, we'd take you up on your offer of posting twice! How about thrice? :) We love it all: bribes, prizes, contests, basically anything free! ;)

To inspire interaction, we like to pose questions at the end of the post to get to know more about our readers. It gets readers to share a little more about themselves. It's amazing how many people enjoy answering the questions when they otherwise wouldn't have anything to comment. It also gets your lurkers to finally say "hello!". We first found this out with a last minute post about a Sunday breakfast. We really didn't think it would get much interest because...who cares what we ate for breakfast? But when we asked our readers what they had for their Sunday breakfast, we quickly received over 50 comments! Where did all these readers come from?! Here's the proof:

Mary Bowman-Kruhm said...

I came across your blog while looking for material for an article on blogs for a newsletter for children's book writers. And I'm a knitter so my eyes opened wide at those socks. Wow!
If you have a key to getting comments, I'd like to know it. Stats and personal e-mails show traffic but comments sure don't.
If you have a comment to add to my article, please e-mail me with permission to use it.
Blog at

Great blog. Great socks. :-)

Anonymous said...

Comments are wonderful. I'm in the legal field as my day job, and regularly review certain blawgs (yes, that is really how it is spelled) to keep track of current issues, and I think that's true in any profession.

By the way - toe socks ROCK!

Unknown said...

Here's a comment to try to get you over 40 here.
Charlotte Hughes

Joy said...

Comments spur you on, so, yes they are vital. As for finding what works best for me, I've tried several things, inviting people to email me a picture that I'll post with their name, suggestions from commentors to use in future posts, polls. I think the thing that's gotten the most response for me is the fact that people like my ideas and therefore comment.
follow me on twitter:

Ann Parker said...

I'm wondering . . . do blogs that end with a question: "What do you think?" "What are your favorites?" etc. invite more comments or perhaps push people away who maybe just want to say "Interesting post!" or some such. I don't know, being new to all this.

BillieJohn said...

How interesting that just today I was looking at my blog post list to see which ones had garnered how many comments!

My blog was originally set up for OTP's authors, but only a few posted. To keep the blog fresh, from time to time, I do one myself. My original goal was to get my authors talking to each other, inspiring each other. It was launched in July, and the first couple of months both posts and comments were pretty sparce. It's coming along now, though.

As a blog-a-day challenger, I am holding back my posts on the days that one of my authors posts, so it is working out nicely.

However, I can't see any pattern to which posts pull how many comments...much to my chagrin!

I would love to read Dani's take on leaving comments which only say "good job" or some such. Sometimes when I leave those, I feel like a stalker!