For me, comments on my blog posts are monstrously pleasing things. I LOVE COMMENTS. It is a befuddling yet glorious thing to realise humans wish to a) chat with me, b) add their opinion to mine, and c) support my art/blogging/writing by talking about it. Like can we take a moment to realise this is freakishly amazing???? To everyone who leaves comments: REALISE THAT YOU DO A GRAND THING FOR BLOGGERS AND WE LOVE YOU MONSTROUSLY SO.
As you might’ve noticed, I get a lot of comments on my blog. And due to this I’m asked, quite frequently, “HOW DO YOU GET SO MANY COMMENTS, CAIT???? WHY DON’T I???? WHAT AM I DOING WRONG??????” This is an excellent question, my friends. And I have answers. (See how ridiculously nice I am? Gawsh.)
(You can also check out my other post on how to get people to comment
aka mind control).
So what happens if you are DOING all these “right things” but still get barely a teaspoon of comments?
I shall help with this.
But firstly, what do I consider “all the right things”? Basically:
- You already reply to your comments.
- You already comment back and visit/comment on other blogs.
- You already post consistently. Like this doesn’t have to be mega-consistent…but you post more than once a month, right?
- You already advertise your blog on social media.
(Note: I don’t believe you have to do these things ALL the time either. We’re all just human! Take breaks! Don’t be overwhelmed!)
When I google “how to get more comments” basically everyone says DO THOSE THINGS (that I listed above there). And sure. They work. But sometimes they don’t: and you want to know why.
LET’S GET TO IT, PINEAPPLE FIENDS.
DO PEOPLE KNOW YOU EXIST?
Do you comment on the same blogs all the time? Do you only interact with the same humans? (Or, well, aliens or whatnot…I’m not judging.) THIS COULD BE YOUR PROBLEM. No one else knows about you or your blog, ergo, how can you expect comments from them?
I recommend doing the polka in different blogging circles. Struggling to find time to upkeep the blogs you follow PLUS MORE is daunting. But you don’t have to do it all the time. Join in a linkup occasionally. Ask for blog recommendations. Stalk people’s blog rolls for recommendations. (Mine is here, in case you were curious.)
MIX IT UP. FIND NEW BLOGS. SOCIALISE.
And if you try and people aren’t interested in interacting with you? Go attack someone else with your fabulous friendship. I realised this year that about 60% of my favourite blogs rarely talked/interacted with me. I still love/read their posts, but I put my networking energy elsewhere. This is okay too.
Note: You don’t actually have to do the polka?? But the option is there.
DO YOU INVITE DISCUSSION?
Sometimes I read blog posts and get to the end and…I have no idea what to say. Don’t get me wrong: IT WAS A GOOD POST. But…the blogger was very confident in their opinion. The post ended with a firm conclusion. So??? What do I even say to you??? Do you even want my opinion???
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Have “discussion questions” at the end of your posts! Calls to action! Ask a specific question so your commenters have something to work with.
- Leave the topic open! Invite discussion and other’s opinions. You don’t have to change your opinion. Pffft. Of course not. But if you (even accidentally) give off the vibe of “my opinion is the one and only right one” then it scares people off contributing to the conversation. They might be worried you’ll scorn their opinion? (Not saying that you WOULD, of course, but just be careful how you might come across in writing.)
- Present two sides to a discussion. This always invites comments because you’re encouraging your readers to think from two points-of-view — and then they must decide! Then they must tell you! COMMENTS GALORE.
ARE YOUR POSTS TOO NEGATIVE?
By the way, negative posts are fine. They’re good even! But I admit to getting really drained when I read a gazillion posts about “how YA is failing us” or “all the awful things about blogging”. I like to read those posts and commiserate because…we all feel the sucky things at times! But when a blogger ALWAYS writes negative posts…it turns me off.
Same with blogging constantly about sad things. Again: you CAN blog sad stuff. I DO. I confess to being overwhelmed by blogging or feeling like my writing sucks. Because WE CAN ALL RELATE, RIGHT?!? But if you always talk about the darker issues in your life, the bad things that happen to you, the struggles that are kicking you to the dirt…I’m being honest here: it’s hard to comment. It doesn’t mean I don’t care. It’s just that I don’t always know how to contribute to the conversation. Especially if I don’t know you all that well.
DO share your honest and unhappy struggles. DON’T do it all the time.
YOU’RE NOT GIVING OUT CAKE, WUT EVEN???
Seriously if you’re not giving cake to your followers, YOU ARE BEING INHUMAN.
Reward your followers. Reward commenters.
For instance: when you comment on my blog you get a) the gloriousness of talking to me which is undeniably a huge draw card, b) you will get a reply from me which my blog emails you, and c) I will visit back your blog and leave a comment, and of course d) I WILL GIVE YOU CAKE.
ARE YOU BEING FRIENDLY?
“But Caiiiiiit,” you wail, “what does that even MEAN??? How do I be more friendly????”
You do not need to be Sunshine Susie to be “friendly”. Not everybody is Sunshine Susie, for goodness sakes! AND THANK THE UNIVERSE. You can be Serious Steve or Logical Larry or Analytical Algernon. Be you. But be nice. Being friendly means, a) being polite, b) including people in the conversation, c) giving people your full attention [aka leaving an intelligent comment], and d) being confident in your blogging voice.
You don’t have to SCREECH IN ALL CAPS or use exclamation marks (!!!!!) or use 92 gifs to be considered “friendly”.
You are friendly by being nice and taking an interest in your followers.
IS IT TOO HARD TO COMMENT ON YOUR BLOG?
- Make sure you don’t have weird CAPTCHA. (Basically word verification…seriously, the ones that make me do math to post a comment?!?!? UGH.)
- Make sure you have a commenting platform that allows anyone to post! (For blogger users, make sure “open url” is a turned on in your comment settings.)
- AKA please don’t use Google+. Or Facebook comments. Omg. Pleeeeease. I BEG OF YOU.
- Make sure followers know what your most RECENT post is (so they don’t have to battle through home-pages and things that don’t clearly tell them what to click to find the latest post).
ARE YOUR POSTS RELATABLE TO A WIDE AUDIENCE?
If a new mortal was to click on your blog today and read your latest post…what would they think? (For me, let’s be real: they’d probably think they’d entered a deranged loony bin who compliments/insults people by shouting fruit names at them. BUT WHATEVER. LET’S NOT TALK ABOUT ME.) I try reeeeally hard to make my posts welcoming/interesting whether you’ve read my blog for 4 seconds or 4 years. I mostly blog about bookworm things, even though I’m a writer too…because bookworm things are more relatable. See? Little things like that! I think about what my audience might like.
Posts like these can sometimes be off-putting for new readers:
- A blog series where you don’t link to previous posts…so I just get hit with “PART 5 OF THE ANALYSATION OF SQUIRREL FOSSILS IN YA LITERATURE” and I go…”But but but what??!?” when really you’re referencing something in Part 3. Which you didn’t link to. #help
- Posts that only include other bloggers. When you do a post that JUST references your blogging buddies…well, your non-blogging buddies aren’t going to get it, are they? You just cut your audience.
- Muchly and many book reviews of sequels. Obviously you should still post reviews of sequels, DON’T GET ME WRONG. But keep track! Did you post 4 sequel-reviews this month? Miiiight be limiting your readers. I try to have 3 to 4 posts a week — so I make sure at least HALF of them would suit anybody randomly reading my blog.
- Loooooong pieces of writing. Most people don’t like to come into these things halfway through. Some people don’t like to read huge hunks of text either. Readers have the attentions pan of CHILDISH GNATS. Work with it.
(Also this is not to say you should NOT do any of the above! You SHOULD IF YOU WANT! Just mix it up. Be varied. Think about your audience)
HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING AT THIS LONG ENOUGH?
People have this straaaaange idea that my blog started getting 40+ comments per post overnight. HAHAHA YOU ADORABLE PINEAPPLES. I’ve been blogging for nearly 5 years. I’ve been obsessively commenting and networking for that long. Although, actually, I know a ton of blogs who’ve gone much further than I have an in shorter amounts of space!
So don’t think “Omg I have to do this for 5 years to get any results??? WAIL.” No. You don’t. It’s different for everybody. You just have to network for a consistent and decently long amount of time.
Basically: Do the hard work for your followers and make commenting pleasantly easy.
Be yourself. Have fun. Don’t burn yourself out trying to do everything. I’VE BEEN THERE. DONE THAT. Set yourself realistic goals. Meet new bloggers. Entertain your audience. GIVE to your audience so they have reasons to come back. Yes, blog for yourself, but if you want the comments — you need to blog for your audience too. Make commenting worth their while, by being friendly and welcoming.
And if you suck at anything? FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT, DUDES.
I fake so much stuff, there’s like a 85% possibility I am actually a fake human too. But it doesn’t even matter. If you pretend to know what you’re doing, you’ll figure out what you’re doing. I promise. And if you don’t…WHO EVEN CARES?!? Do whatever. Just do it confidently and nooooo one will question it.
Be a relatable human bean and be nice and give cake (that is really the key to everything).