Comments and the possibility to discuss content and posts are one of the most valuable and important parts of blogging and is amongst others what made it so popular.
If a blog has a lot of (meaningful) comments it is often a sign of high-quality, engaging and maybe even controversial posts.
But how can you motivate people to comment on your blog posts and reward those that actually do?
Let Search Engines Follow Their Url
Wordpress applies by default a rel=”nofollow” attribute to all external links in your comment list. This prevents search engine robots from following and indexing those links. By installing Kimmo Suominen’s DoFollow Plugin you can change that and let your commenters have some of your link love.
Let Them Share Their Own Posts
By installing a plugin such as CommentLuv you give commenters that have a blog of their own the possibility to promote their latest posts. This will not only make your commenters happy, but can also be a valuable addition for all of your readers, considering that commenters often have a blog in the same or a similar niche.
Announce Your Top Commenters
You can reward the readers that leave the highest number of comments by featuring them separately. If you have a weekly or monthly roundup you could do so in those posts or you can simply display a list in your sidebar. The Show Top Commentators Widget Plugin is a great way to achieve that. A nice and easy way to say thank you.
Respond to Comments
This is actually a very basic and almost self-evident thing to do and I’m simply assuming that this is more or less common practice. Responding to comments, answering questions and clarifying things will show your readers that you actually read and care about their comments and opinions. Keep in mind to be polite even if you are criticized (that’s part of being a blogger as well).
Visit, Promote and Comment on Their Web Sites
When someone is leaving a comment on your blog you should definitely have a look at their web site (maybe you’ll discover your new favorite blog), promote it by tweeting, digging and co. and leave a comment on your own. Reciprocal commenting can result in new contacts and sometimes even friendships.
Thank Them with an Email
If you have an especially interesting and valuable comment that takes your post to a whole new level you might even consider writing a thank you mail to the respective commenter. It will surely be appreciated and with a little bit of luck evolve into an interesting conversation.
Don’t Overdo It
I recently saw a blog that offered the user who leaves the most comments in a certain month a free ad space for the following month (I unfortunately can’t find the link anymore, otherwise I would have posted it here). Even though this is an interesting approach, I think it overshoots the mark. When it comes down to it, commenting on a blog shouldn’t be a competition and your readers should leave a comment because they have something to say, not because they’re after a prize.
By applying only some of these ideas to your blog you make leaving a comment on your blog already much more attractive and rewarding for your readers. Writing a good and elaborate comment takes some time after all and you should show your commenters that you appreciate that.
What Do We Offer Our Commenters?
You may have noticed that we recently added the CommentLuv Plugin as well as the Top Commenters Sidebar Widget. Our comments also do follow and we’re trying to keep up with you as good as we can in terms of looking at your sites and replying to your comments.