So you know all about commenting and the pros and cons of it. Commenting is one of the highest form of communication (and compliment) with a fellow blogger and also a good source for traffic. Commenting is also a form of gaining credibility. It can hurt you or put you away for good. Heck, it can also be a good source for your next blog post.
Obviously, these also works the other way around. As a blogger, you should also provide the means to compel your visitors from leaving a comment.
But, all this, you already know. Unfortunately, it seems that the problem is always the same: “we know – but we do not take action”. If you stop and think for a moment, you should be able to answer with either YES or TRUE on all statements, below (depending on the case). If you hit 6/9 or above, you are way on your path towards becoming a five star commenter. Lower than that, well, maybe you should read this post twice:)
As a Blogger:
I compel my visitors to leave a comment.
Do you mention anywhere within your post, something that “triggers” your audience’s will to comment? What do think? Did you have similar experience? Have you tried this before? Do you agree? You know what I mean.
I reply to my visitors comments.
Provoke a healthy discussion. Thank the visitor for leaving a comment. Leave an open invitation for the future. Try to reply to all comments. If you don’t like what they have to say, say so, but nicely.
I have my commenting form embedded at the end of my post.
For some reason there are those who get annoyed when they hit that post a comment button and a pop-up commenting form splashes on their screen. Many visitors like to read some comments first before they leave their own (unless they are the first ones). With these pop-ups, it is more difficult to read and follow the trend of the comments and may discourage your visitor to leave their opinion.
In addition, think about the possibility of disabling – “you must be registered to leave a comment”. I myself will most likely never comment on sites that requires me to register first (unless you are CNN:). Also, consider enabling the possibility of posting a comment by all means – Guest, Name/URL, OpenID, Google Account, etc. By doing this, you can avoid signatures (see below).
I do not use word verification.
Unless you are a superstar and get spammed often. This can be another annoying form of inviting your readers to leave a comment. Why not moderate them instead? There are human spammers as well, and while this can filter some spammy intentions, it can drive your visitors away.
Jan Geronimo recently posted an article (two now) about “unfollowing” some of his Twitter connections. Why? Simply because they do not reciprocate. This is also true, when someone leaves a comment on your blog. Visit their blog, try to leave a comment. If you feel that you are not, either inspired or up to the challenge (topic is not your cup of tea), Stumble, Digg or whatever, their post (if you think it is worth it). You are already there. Doing this leaves a trail that you have visited their site and leaves an invitation for the future. You never know. Today a newbie, tomorrow a superstar.
Speaking Of Stumble, Digg or any other bookmarking social site:
Almost all bloggers today, regardless of their status, knows pretty much what these social bookmarking sites are. I have seen countless pages with huge (and I mean huge) icons, encouraging your visitors to hit that button. Why? I don’t know. But my opinion is that a discrete and well placed reminder should do the trick. May I remind you that, there are now toolbars from SU, Digg, Twitter etc, as plugins to easily bookmark just about anything. Some even use Onlywire.
My Blog Is CommentLuv Enabled
ComLuv Network is a plugin whose purpose is to give something back (reward) to every commentator as well as compelling them to come back and visit your blog more often by automatically adding a link to their latest blog post at the end of their comment. Being part of the CommentLuv Network builds relationship and provides users with another way to share content on the sphere.
As a commenter:
I leave meaningful comments.
Ah! The holy grail of commenting. Do you comment or do you SPAM? You can not imagine what a meaningful comment can do for you. You can attract the blogger, their visitors, etc. Comments such as, Thanks! Great info! Nice post!, are nice compliments but only when accompanied by something else. Make the blogger feel that you actually read their post. Read other comments and try or provoke a healthy discussion. Be polite above all. Think of it as a micro-blogging platform (although not real-time such as Twitter), where interaction is actually possible.
I do not use a standard text for commenting.
Human spammers are getting better. How does this sound? “Hello there. This is the first time I visit your blog and decided to leave my first comment. You have a great blog going here and have great info. Thanks. I will come back soon to explore your blog for more useful information. Signed: www.spammer.xxx .” Bang! This is SPAM.
I do not leave signatures and affiliate links.
What are signatures. Signatures are normally links that we leave at the end of our comment. These links can be pointing to a specific website (your blog for example) or even worst. It can be pointing to affiliate links or pages that sells something. It can point to mySpace, Twitter profile and the list can go on. I am no superstar, but I hate signatures. BTW, Matt Cutts hates them too:) If you must leave a link within the comment section, point it to something that adds value to your comment.
I leave my name and URL in the appropriate field.
Following the above and the reason why I recommend to enable all means of identification for a commenter, use the area provided for that purpose. Leave your name and URL, not your Blogger profile, OpenID or any other profile for that matter. This is good enough for people to find you and promoting your blog. Needless to say that all this is also good for your SEO campaign. You know that you can get backlinks from commenting. What is the point of having a backlink pointing to your Blogger profile, for example.
So what’s your score? Will you have to read this post again?, lol. I am sure that I have left some other things behind and for this I am counting on you to fill in the gap. Are there any points above that you disagree? Let me know.