Proven Ways to Get People to Comment on Your Blog

Writers can get blog comments if you know howCan you name the biggest difference between blog posts and print magazine articles?

It’s the comments.

Blogs are a designed to be a conversation. Good blog posts invite discussion. Where articles tend to impart information with the expectation readers will go on their merry way without offering feedback to the author.

If you’re trying to monetize your blog, the first step is to get readers to the site and then learn what those readers need from you, so you can sell it to them. The first place you typically get that vital information is in your blog comments.

Even if you’re not trying to earn from your blog, you probably want to get a conversation going. It’s just gratifying to hear back from readers and know how they reacted to your post.

Without comments, your blog feels lonely. Who wants to see that nasty “0 Comments” notice staring back at you?

It’s a real chicken-and-egg problem too — when you go on a blog and see no comments, you tend to not leave any, either. Next person — same thing.

As a newbie blogger, how do you break the cycle and get people talking?

First off, realize you’re not alone. Pretty much every brand-new blog starts at ground zero, with no readers and no comments. Including me.

Once, I had no comments…

This blog began in 2008 as a tab on my caroltice.com writer site, so it wasn’t even the main page.

Talk about a challenging situation for getting comments! Looking back, I don’t even know how anyone even found my blog. But I knew I wanted to turn my blog into a money-maker, and that I needed to begin building relationships with readers — and getting comments.

I read a lot about how to get comments — one post from the Blog Herald was especially helpful.

I quickly learned you need to get rid of spam comments from obviously fake robots, even if you’re desperate for comments. Once people see those, they think it’s not really a place for meaningful chat and move on.

It’s also important to make sure the dialogue stays respectful. Disagreement is great, but personal attacks are not allowed in my blog comments. You don’t want your comments to look like The Jerry Springer show or something! That will scare a lot of commenters off.

When I started to tinker with the types of posts I did and what I wrote in my posts with the conscious intent of eliciting more comments, things started to change. Soon, I could usually get at least a few comments.

Here’s how.

7 Reliable comment generators

Here are my seven favorite no-fail, simple approaches that reliably produce blog comments:

  1. The old-fashioned way. Blogs may be online, but remember your commenters are real, three-dimensional people. If you make in-person connections, be sure to have your blog URL on that business card and talk up your blog. People who have met you in person are highly likely to leave a comment when they visit your blog, even if it’s just to say, “Hi, it’s me from that networking meeting last week!” Last-ditch strategy here: Get in a mastermind group with several other new bloggers, and comment on each others’ blogs to get the comment ball rolling.
  2. Great headlines you share in social media. It’s vital to learn to write great headlines that contain an obvious benefit, and indicate who should read the post. Then, when you share those headlines on Twitter and other social-media platforms, more folks will click and come over.
  3. Useful information — but not too much. One early mistake I made was trying to make blog posts utterly comprehensive on a topic. I’d go on and on! That leaves no room for questions, or for readers to weigh in with their own tips. So provide great value, but leave room for more info to come in the comments.
  4. Actively request comments. One big leap forward I saw in getting more comments happened when I began ending my posts with a question for readers, and an encouragement to leave a comment, a habit you can observe continues through to this post today. Shy readers may jump in if they see that direct invite to comment.
  5. Tackle a controversy. Know what the big issues are within your blog niche — and write about them. People love to debate you in the comments, OMG! When I look at the posts I’ve done that have the longest comment threads, many are on hot topics such as writing for content mills, or whether you need money to start a freelance business.
  6. Go negative. For those of us who try to think positive, read Yes! magazine, and strive to create a more peaceful, beautiful world, it’s sad to learn this…but negative headlines get more traffic and engagement. Study after study proves it out. If you’ve got a choice of writing “How to Find Freelance Clients” or “How to Drive Freelance Clients Away,” the latter will reliably drive more eyeballs and get people more stoked up to write you, as we saw with the post earlier this week — How to Aggravate Top Bloggers So They’ll Never Help You (44 comments and counting). Obviously, this can be overused…but consider taking the dark side angle sometimes.
  7. Hold a contest. If you’re really having trouble getting those first comments from readers, bribe them. Take a poll and give a prize for the most interesting response. Even if it’s just 15 minutes on the phone with you, or a free e-book that’s usually a big $2.99, or maybe a chance to guest post. People will bite, I promise.

Once you start getting comments, of course, the next step is to respond. That starts a conversation, and soon other readers will join in.

What gets you blog comments? Leave a comment and let us know.

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47 comments on “Proven Ways to Get People to Comment on Your Blog
  1. Kostas says:

    Hi Carol, These are some great ideas on how to get people to comment. I like the idea of offering a prize, even if it is, sort of bribery in a way. Perhaps it could be considered, strategic marketing? Thanks for the article!
    Kostas recently posted…Why You Should Interact With Your Guest Posts’ Readers?My Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Well…I love giving out free stuff! Everyone who earns from blogging should also be giving back to their community. One time I just gave out my cel number and took 15-minute mini-mentoring calls all day, I’ve given away ebooks. Try giving — it’s fun! And people love free stuff. πŸ˜‰

  2. Still working on pulling in comments on a regular basis. Lots of great ideas here, plus hope for the future!
    Jennifer at WriteKidsBooks recently posted…Seven picture books that heal the diversity gap.My Profile

  3. Sandy says:

    I am in the ‘no comments’ yet group, I published my blog a little over a month ago, joined all the social media sites I could think of, Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. So far I am getting a few readers, but no comments. πŸ™

    I thought I was asking some engaging questions in my posts, however I will take your advice and post them at the end. Maybe people think they were rhetorical…

  4. Adam says:

    Having a fairly new site it’s a challenge getting people to visit let alone make comments. However, I haven’t actively engaged in soliciting comments like you mention in number 4 above. I also like the idea of tackling controversy or taking a negative point of view. Great ideas! Thanks.

  5. Lizbeth says:

    I tried your advice about going negative in my headlines. I hoped you were wrong because it’s not a trend I’d like to keep up, but of course, you were right! Now I need to work on your other suggestions. Thanks again. I got a noticeable increase in page views.

    • Carol Tice says:

      It’s not really from me…that’s hard study data that has verified it again and again. It’s like why we rubberneck at car accidents. I think we’re hardwired from Neanderthal days to fear yet be attracted to the negativity things because we think we need to know about them for our survival.

  6. Jen says:

    I just started my own writing advice blog and I’m a little desperate to get my own following just a week into the process. Thanks for the tips! These were very helpful.

  7. Tam Francis says:

    Do you think there’s a difference in your tactic, if you have a book to sell? Do you still want to start debates and lead with negative blog posts. It’s one I haven’t tried yet and I am intrigued. Thanks for a quick informative article!
    Tam Francis recently posted…What you Need to Know to Write an Author IntroductionMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Guess it depends on whether you’re overtly selling that book right IN that post, or it’s more like you’ve got a tab or a sidebar ad for the book, and this particular blog post is about some related theme.

      But rules of human behavior are constant no matter what your topic is on your blog, Tam.

  8. Matt says:

    One thing that may also help is to comment on other blogs in your niche. Leave comments that are helpful to the conversation and bring attention to you. Being seen as a contributor may help your credibility and generate interest in what you are saying.
    Matt recently posted…Build Your Blog’s App With Conduit MobileMy Profile

  9. Alex Gastel says:

    Hey Carol, thank you for the helpful post!

    I might add another way of getting comments, depending on the type of blog.
    If it fits the blog, moving personal stories (the so-called sob story, but I don’t like that word) are often great comment generators.

    On my old blog (my playground to make lots of mistakes, try different techniques…) a very personal story about how Tango Argentino changed my life got me the most comments.

    Or look at Jon Morrow’s blog article about his personal story etc.

    It certainly is not for everyone, but for some it might be a good possibility – what do you think?

    • Carol Tice says:

      Absolutely agree, Alex — I’ve done some personal posts that did well myself. They have to be done right — a lot of writers veer into inappropriate oversharing or boring personal stuff…but if it’s in the context of a lesson that helps readers, it can be huge for comments.

  10. Terri says:

    As usual, another great post that hits close to home. I’ve just decided to focus more on getting comments to my blog and am finding it’s definitely a feat. What really resonated with me is that negative posts get the most response. It actually took me a while to accept because my blog is about positivity, motivation and finding success. I didn’t want to accept that being negative would get me the comments I desired. However, when I looked through past blog posts I realized you were right. The posts that have the most views and comments have negative words such as “never” in the title. One of the most popular posts is titled “How to Ruin Your Life in 15 Easy Steps”

    Thanks to you I’m not trying to sprinkle in a healthy dose of negativity in my positivity. blog.
    Terri recently posted…How to Do the ImpossibleMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Or did you mean ‘now’ trying to sprinkle negativity? πŸ˜‰ I’m thinking.

      It’s not that you have to BE negative in your viewpoints or topics, just that the topic is cast in a negative form rather than a positive one. Definitely more of a challenge on a blog about positivity!

  11. Aahna says:

    Hi Carol,

    I’m really surprised to know that negative headlines get more attention. I guess that’s certainly a great finding to try out with your articles to drive more traffic and comments.

  12. Rob says:

    I get the most comments when I write something controversial, but I put all that stuff out of my mind when I write my blogs. Blogging is my opportunity to write what I feel like writing and not what I have to write for my clients.
    Rob recently posted…Media War in the Ukraine!My Profile

  13. Raspal Seni says:

    It’s been a few months I started my blog but don’t get many comments. I started with a daily blog post for the first month as I had joined a blog challenge group. Each of us from the group who took part in the comment chain would post their daily blog post link and then immediately post comments on the two posts above theirs. This way we all got at least one comment, if not two. That’s an FB group I’m speaking about. There are many such FB groups, I found out later. But after last October, I slowed down to posting only once a week.

    I’ve seen comments from some friends whom I e-mailed and they read my e-mail sig containing the latest post link.

    I saw a little spike with comments, on just 2 of my blog posts. One was a followup to my first guest post at dailyblogtips. The second one was a post on generating ideas. Got nearly 15 comments, about half of them are mine, though.

    I have hardly got anyone commenting, coming from Twitter. But I’m not promoting old posts enough. Need to work on this.

    Talking about negative headlines, yesterday I read Williesha’s post at BAFB and she mentioned about her first guest post, which had a negative headline – ”Why I stopped reading?” and how she made 1000 bucks from that post. I’ve thought my upcoming post title to be a negative one too. If I wrote a post like ”Top 10 reasons why you shouldn’t read Make a Living Writing”, that’s going to get a lot of people clicking and reading it. πŸ˜‰

    Talking about bribing, I have with me a few 50GB and 75GB box.net cloud storage accounts. Do you think these would be nice to give away in a contest? These aren’t premium accounts, though.

    BTW, Carol, you forgot about the plugin you use – Commentluv. That’s also a little bribe due to which some readers comment here, isn’t it?

    Thanks for this interesting and valuable post on getting more readers.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Guess I think being controversial just for the sake of it, especially by picking a blogger to just randomly slam with a negative headline, isn’t going to get you loyal readers.

      I don’t know much about box accounts…can’t really say on that!

      Most new blogs do struggle to gain readers for a while. Most important thing is to keep plugging…and to think hard about headlines and make sure they can bring you readers from Google and social media. As I scan through the headlines linked in comments for this post, I see many where there don’t seem to be any key words. Help yourselves, writers! Care about headlines. They’re soooo important.

      • Raspal Seni says:

        Yes, headlines … instantly reminds me of Sean D’Souza … as well as Jon Morrow! But there are some others too. I think I may have downloaded 5 different short headline ebooks!

        Thanks for the tip about not giving all the info in the headline. I think I have done that mistake a few times on my blog. I’m going to save this post in my Evernote. Nice tips, Carol. Makes me want to read again and again.
        Raspal Seni recently posted…5 Additional Comment-related Mistakes to AvoidMy Profile

  14. My blog tends to provide news about my neighborhood, and my challenge is my reluctance to stir up controversy, especially since I’m a member of the local business group and I write about new business stuff (my blog is not an official “arm” of the group, though). I did notice that despite a bad headline, the post that did the best most recently was about a controversial issue in our community.

    However, now you’ve got me thinking about news tidbits that need better headlines. We have a food truck ordinance that just passed down here, and I don’t think everyone is on board with it. Maybe that’s one. Or the fact that a local magazine put our neighborhood on the cover but didn’t write about the neighborhood inside, and Photoshopped out the name the business in the photograph.

    I guess part of my issue is I don’t want to bite the hand that feeds me. I want to “play nice” with local businesses yet still get people to read my blog. ~sigh~ I want to be an “ambassador” for my neighborhood, but I don’t want to feel like I have to write PR copy.
    Bonnie Nicholls recently posted…What’s Going On With Santo’s on 30th?My Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      I think you have to tell it like it is to get readers. You might check out the West Seattle blog – I gather they’re super-successful, and I don’t get the sense they pull any punches.

      Remember that you can tackle controversies without pissing people off as long as you stick to facts and report what’s happening, and keep it respectful when you disagree with people.

  15. Carol, not only do I ask my readers to comment, but I ask them to offer their tips regarding the topic. I also ask them what issues they’d like to see addressed. I’ve written a few posts based on questions my readers have posed. In fact, that’s exactly how I decided on the topic for my latest post. Commenters not only spark conversation but topic ideas. I always mention the reader and the question they asked when I begin a post that has been inspired by a reader. I think it lets them know that what they have to say is valuable. If a post has gotten the wheels spinning in my readers’ minds, we all benefit.
    Shauna L Bowling recently posted…The Ozone Hole: Yesterday vs. TodayMy Profile

  16. “What gets you blog comments?”

    Personal stories seem to ring a chord with my blog readers.

    When I write a blog, I find the posts where I add a meaningful personal anecdote get the best responses.
    Katherine James recently posted…How To Start Freelance Writing By Using FiverrMy Profile

  17. Amy says:

    I try and tap in to the news sometimes like the Olympics and add in a bit of a bigger idea. I also try to think about blogs and articles that I see people can’t help but weigh in on. Its often some human angle or where others get too add their advice too. Like this one.

  18. Hi Carol

    I’ve started to notice how some high-profile blogs ask for a share rather than a comment at the end of their posts.

    So what I did in my latest post was incorporate both of these into a single call to action at the end.

    Making your headline a closed question e.g. ‘Does every writer website really need a blog?’ kinda seems a good way to encourage comments. But as my blog is still pretty young, I haven’t yet had chance to experiment with this.

    And just like tackling a controversy, posts about spelling and grammar always seem to get readers going.
    Kevin Carlton recently posted…Trade secrets: How to craft bullet points like a superstar copywriterMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Too many people write what I call ‘all in’ headlines, where you can learn everything in the headline and don’t need to click to the post. Like “It’s Important Not to Waste Time on Pinterest.” OK! Learned your point there. Moving on…and what is there to say in response?

      That’s not a closed question, Kevin, but an open one that invites other points of view.

      I don’t drive toward shares because I’ve learned so many of my readers are just barely getting onto social media, and can’t help me out there. People who get it and do it will share it if they love it, and I shouldn’t have to beg for that, is my feeling.

      • Sorry Carol – I think we’ve got our wires crossed there.

        What I meant by ‘closed question’ was in the technical sense, i.e. a question that can only be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

        This makes it easier for people to wade in with a comment.

        An open question, such as ‘What is the best time to publish your blog post?’ makes the commenter have to think of a more involved answer than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ (+ a brief reason why).

        ‘Yes’ and ‘no’ answers are also more polarising and so spark more debate.

        Your call to action to comment never looks like you’re begging for comments. It just looks totally natural. So I’m sure it’d be the same if you did ever ask for shares.

        Ana Hoffman of Traffic Generation Cafe does a particularly good job of doing both at the same time.
        Kevin Carlton recently posted…Trade secrets: How to craft bullet points like a superstar copywriterMy Profile

        • Carol Tice says:

          Well, but yes/no questions can tend to inspire very short comments I think, the “great post! I agree!” type things.

          Questions I’ve done like “What do you wear when you do your freelance work?” and “What do you eat to stay healthy as a freelancer?” were both super-popular, where it’s wide open and clearly, we want YOUR unique advice. πŸ˜‰

          Position your reader as the expert sometimes, and you can’t go wrong.

          • Carol

            If the blog post headline is ‘Do you think this is a great post?’ then, yes, you will get lots of comments saying ‘Great post, yes I agree’ or ‘No, it’s rubbish’.

            But joking aside, if any comment like that gets past my spam filters then I’ll delete it anyway.

            Those great posts of yours also still fit in with my theory – because they’re still questions begging to be answered. So we actually agree but for one minor detail. And, as I say, they were great posts

            I just think closed questions are even better. The reason I suspect this is because I once posted such a closed question to a LinkedIn Group. People were sharply divided between the ‘yes’ camp and the ‘no’. The debate was really lively and the discussion went on for weeks.

            Oh! And a tip for people who comment on CommentLuv blogs. Leave a link to one of your posts that’s relevant to the discussion in hand. As I’ve finally remembered to do here.

            PS Thanks for the lively comment discussion πŸ™‚
            Kevin Carlton recently posted…Help! No-one ever comments on my blog. What should I do?My Profile

          • Forgot to say – ‘Position your reader as the expert sometimes, and you can’t go wrong’.

            Love it!
            Kevin Carlton recently posted…Help! No-one ever comments on my blog. What should I do?My Profile

  19. Lisa Baker says:

    Carol, what’s your opinion on plugins that pull comments in from Facebook onto the blog? I use Social on my blog because I always get comments on Facebook, and for a new blog, it seems like a good way to get some conversation on the blog also. One of my clients recently started using it too and is really happy with it. But I always kind of wonder if there’s a problem…I mean, technically Facebook is the internet too, but people always imagine they have more privacy than they do on Facebook.
    Lisa Baker recently posted…5 Reasons Why You Should Quit PinterestMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      I wouldn’t do it. Facebook owns that conversation and could make it disappear one day…and is already taking steps to spike traffic from business pages.

      Build your own community on your blog, I say. Facebook is ‘the Internet’ but you don’t own the Internet, either. You own your blog, and the connection has to feel closer when people comment directly ON your blog.

      In fact, I get a lot of responses and comments on email, and my response is always, “Please comment on the post where other readers can learn from your insights.” You want to get it all onto the blog.

  20. Lee says:

    Your methods obviously work! How did you get your blog noticed in the first place as there are gazillions of them out there? Was it an intriguing headline?

    • Carol Tice says:

      That’s a great question. Standout headlineS, not just one, but reliably posting on a regular schedule with powerful headlines, was definitely big. When I went to twice a week, things really started to pick up.

      I’d also say having a fresh point of view. At the time I started, there were a lot of blogs around that seemed to be there to offer support for how great it was that you managed to get $10 a blog post instead of $5. And I was like “WTF!!! Earn a real living at this — I’ll show you how!” So that different positioning I think was huge.

      Guest posting, too.

      I should probably do a post about this! Great idea for one — thanks, Lee.

      • Carol,

        Thank you for all the incredible help you give freelance writers and bloggers. I would really value a post from you on how new bloggers can draw in more subscribers. I take your points RE writing great headlines, posting regularly, using SM to announce a new post. Also covering an area of a niche that others weren’t.

        Are there other things you did that really cracked it for you? And could you break it down for us, in terms of what you feel was MOST important — is success maybe 50% due to great headlines?

        I know it’s not an exact science, but just getting your opinion is a huge help.

        Thanks again!
        Caroline Oceana Ryan
        Caroline Oceana Ryan recently posted…5 Reasons Why it’s Vital to Create Inner PeaceMy Profile

        • Carol Tice says:

          I never thought of it as a scientific formula like that!

          You definitely need subscribers. Besides writing those useful headlines, and writing in service of a reader on a focused, niche topic — everyone I know saw subscribers take off when they created a free product you get when you subscribe.

          Mary Jaksch, who I’m hosting on Wednesday — see the end of the post! — has a hilarious video about how nothing was happening on GoodlifeZEN until she added a free ebook, and then subscriber numbers just shot straight up. It’s amazing how people love free stuff! I actually learned to do that from Mary, among soooo many other things that improved my blog.

          I first had a short report, 40 Ways to Market Your Writing, which helped. And now of course I have the 20-week Marketing 101 course, which has been great. Coming up soon, you’ll see me switch to a new freebie, so stay tuned.

          Blog design is also really important – my old one was brown. And ugly. It needs to be visually appealing, which took me a while to figure out as a ‘word’ person. πŸ˜‰

          • I have over 200 followers, get daily likes, a few, but not always a lot of comments. I try to write every day and for the most part can come up with a title (headline). Every now and again I come up with something that merits a lot of likes.

            Folks are reading at least.
            Margaret Prezioso-Frye recently posted…Eyes Swimming In My HeadMy Profile

            • Carol Tice says:

              Margaret, instead of posting every day, try posting 2-3 times a week with something really powerful, with a strong headline,and a topic that invites conversation. Bet you’d see more comments!

              Also, 200 — hopefully you mean subscribers, not followers? — is a very small audience. I think it takes a critical mass for comments to start to flow, so keep building! I feel like once I got over about 300-500, comments flowed more readily, and over 1,000, it’s way easier.

              If you aren’t gathering subscriber emails and emailing out your posts, that can also help generate conversation.

  21. Rohi Shetty says:

    Hi Carol,

    Another great way to encourage comments is to respond, to most, if not, every comment. I often read all the comments here, especially yours, because they often contain invaluable nuggets related to the blog post. πŸ™‚
    Rohi Shetty recently posted…The Best Thing You Can Do With Your LipsMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      I went through a phase where I felt like I needed to respond to EVERY comment. I’ve backed that off a little at this point — if there’s nothing there that asks a question, and it doesn’t say much beyond ‘great post!’, or it’s a response back…I feel like there are limits, and if you’re just responding to every single *ing comment, it looks like grandstanding, or obvious comment-padding.

      But in general, I think if people take the time to comment, they deserve to know I read and got their comment…and you can trust that I DO certainly read every comment ever on this blog.

  22. Anthony says:

    “What gets you blog comments? Leave a comment and let us know.” How meta! πŸ˜‰

    Seriously, I remember being so desperate to get comments on my first blog that I left the spammy robo-comments up just to have something!

    I find that the active blogs where readers weigh in in the comments are almost like a bonus. Not only do you get the benefit of an informative blog post, but many times you can learn just as much from all of the comments.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Oops, did I just encourage a big string of comments again? πŸ˜‰

      I used to be tempted to leave up those bogus comments, too…but they’re a real conversation-killer.

      I DO think it’s bonus value. especially with MY great readers. We have quite a few comment strings where the comments have at least as much useful info as the post. People need to not be obsessed with being the only expert voice on their blog and let their readers speak. That’s the beginning of the conversation that leads to people getting comfortable buying that e-book or course or whatever it is you’re selling, too.