An active comments section is a highly valuable asset for any website or blog. Not only does a busy comments section mean free content for more long-tailed keywords, but it also sends a signal to your visitors (and potential business partners) that your site is popular and thriving.
You’ll additionally get a direct line of communication with your target audience, which can be invaluable for getting feedback, for crowdsourcing ideas and for networking. And nothing brings viewers back to a website quite like feeling a personal connection or waiting for a response to a message. Here are 25 websites that really show the power of a good comments section.
Unfortunately though, comments sections don’t populate themselves. Even if you have an incredibly popular blog with thousands of viewers per day, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll also get lots of comments. Commenting takes time and effort and that means that your visitors need to really feel engaged with the content if they’re going to be likely to bother.
So how do you get people to stop passively consuming your content and start actually taking part?
Use the Right System
Right off the bat, you need to ensure that your site is using the right comment system. Posting a comment should be simple and easy and the comments should look good once they’re there. For most uses, Disqus is probably the best option.
Make it Visible
Comments usually go at the bottom of posts, but if that means they’re sitting below an e-mail subscribe list, a selection of recommended sites to visit and some advertising… then people might not even realize they’re there. If you really want your visitors to post comments, then make sure that they can’t miss them. Another way to do this is to have site-wide recent comments highlighted on your front page or in your side bar.
There is nothing wrong with outright asking people to leave a comment below. Not only does this draw attention to the fact that you have a comments section, but it also creates a call to action. Ask a specific question or invite a particular discussion and you’ll give people something to talk about. You can even create incentives by saying ‘X’ will happen if you get ‘N’ number of comments.
Get Rid of Spam
Comment spamming is seriously off-putting for potential commenters and undermines the quality of your site. Here are some tips for getting rid of it.
Be Controversial Tactfully
One of the biggest mistakes a blogger can make is to try not to offend anyone. Controversy is your friend when it comes to internet marketing, because it elicits strong enough emotions to ignite discussion.
You can see an example of this if you read Tim Ferriss’ post on homeopathic medicine. Already it has 605 comments and it was only posted in August. This is compared with the previous post which only has 70 comments to this day.
So, don’t be afraid to stimulate some heated debate, it will ultimately bring more eyes to your site. Just avoid upsetting anyone so much that they don’t come back.
Lastly, make sure you are active in the comments and that you take the time to respond. If people think you are likely to take part in the discussion, then you’ll give them much more incentive to post and it will reflect well on your business at large as well!