A good comment thread can elevate a lackluster post, and a bad one – one that’s full of in-fighting or self-promotion – can turn off new readers. I read some blogs for the comments alone. Certain bloggers have built communities of loyal commenters whose insightful and entertaining conversations are almost more fun than the posts themselves.
So how do you encourage good commenting on your site, and discourage bad behavior or silence? Here are some ideas:
- End with a prompt. At the end of each post, encourage comments by asking a question or requesting feedback. This lets your readers know that your blog isn’t just a monologue – you value their opinions and want to hear from them.
- Reply to comments. Your job doesn’t end when you hit publish. When readers leave comments, keep the conversation going with a thoughtful reply. You can even reply directly from the notification email, before it has time to slip your mind.
- But don’t reply to every comment. If you have quite a lot of comments and you reply to each with a simple ‘thanks,’ your comment thread isn’t going to be as interesting to readers. Think of your replies as a way to add something substantial that will build on the discussion.