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10 reasons why you’ve been blogging for ages, but get so little comments

so little blog comments

Blog comments are becoming increasingly rare.

This is a real shame, because in the beginning this is what made blogs different from websites. They allowed their readers to comment on them.

All those years ago, this was really exciting. Here was a free and immediate facility your readers could use to leave some feedback that was instantly published!

Things have got a lot quicker

Nowadays this immediacy has been superseded by the real-time systems used in social media. Here is where conversations can happen instantaneously without having to wait for the someone to moderate and publish them.

In this time-poor world people expect things to happen straight away, without delay. Blog comments take too long to appear, and nobody likes to wait for a response, or that what they've written hasn't appeared on the screen.

However, if you still value getting blog comments, here are some things you could consider:

1. You're not popular enough

It's really infuriating when you come across a blog that is not particularly good, or well written, and yet it has literally thousands of blog comments.

"What the heck?" you think to yourself. This is a real kick in the teeth, especially when you compare the quality of your and their blogs. What makes this 'drivel' so popular? How did they manage to get such a big following? What do they say that is so fashionable to result in this large audience?

But before you start comparing yourself with these 'water-cooler blogs', stop and think whether you really could write that kind of content. Is their readership the kind that you want? Could you bring yourself to lower your expectations to produce posts on their chosen subjects?

You don't have to. Bear in mind Google prefers posts that are well written, provide value and deliver information that could make a difference to your readers' lives. These short sensations have no substance, and are written for empty headed readers, so have no attraction for the real blogging world.

2. Nobody can relate to what you've written

The main reason why 'water-cooler blogs' are so popular is that they provide content that is easily understood by their readers. OK, it may not be very intellectual, but that is what contributes to their success.

A reader will only feel compelled to leave a comment if they have an affinity with your post. They need to feel your empathy with their life, that you understand their problems or you have had similar experiences to them. This doesn't have to be trivialised, the art is to convert your subject into a conversation that communicates effectively with your readers.

The best way to do this is by writing a story. That is what makes the most popular magazines have such expansive coverage, they are a joy to read and are entertaining enough to want to read to the end.

And they use the kind of words your readers would normally use. Paying attention to the most appropriate vocabulary and sentence construction (short, snappy, exciting) makes your content that much easier to read, understand and relatable.

3. There's nothing more your readers can add

You know you need to write a post that provides as much information as possible, to make it worth while to read.

However, by doing this you may not be doing yourself a favour. Yes, make sure your posts contain as much valuable content as you can, but sometimes it's worth leaving a few things out. Don't include absolutely everything. Your post is so complete, so perfect, it is a work of art that requires nothing extra.

Make yourself seem more vulnerable to your readers. Don't hide behind a cloak of perfection, expose what you don't know. This transparency makes you more likeable, believable, approachable and easier to relate to.

By leaving 'holes' in your work, you are allowing (nay, inviting) your readers to step in to fill them. This is how they can comment. This permits your audience to have their say, show their own expertise and even challenge you. All this contributes to exciting discussions, which is important in blog comments.

4. You haven't asked for any blog comments

If you don't ask, you don't get. It's very simple, leave a relevant call to action at the bottom of your posts to remind your readers to leave a comment.

This is a very simple thing that most bloggers forget to do. All that is needed is to extend your blog's contents in the form of an open-ended question, carefully constructed to encourage your readers to have their say.

Make it easier for them by suggesting some points they could consider and that could trigger a response. Provoke them into answering by posting a controversial question that might get their blood boiling.

Or ask for some more help. Sometimes this is irresistible to a reader who may be bursting to correct you, or get them thinking for examples of their own that could add to the blog post's content and make it more exciting and valuable.

5. Your readers prefer a passive experience

It can be very daunting thing to do to leave a comment, especially for the more nervous reader. This is particularly true for English and European audiences, rather than our American cousins on the other side of the pond.

A very large majority of your readers (90%) would much prefer to read your post and not comment. It's much safer to do this. And they could be pressed for time. Or reading your post in an inconvenient place, like on a commuting train. Or from a mobile device (more about this below).

And in fact of the 10% that do pluck up the courage to leave a comment, only 1% may do it on a regular basis (like a proper follower). Because these statistics are so low, it is therefore much easier to work on building a relationship with these readers, which is certainly a good thing to do!

The more comfortable your readers are with you as their chosen and favourite blogger, the more likely they are to leave a comment. Make them feel special as part of your 'tribe' or 'community'. This will encourage them to return to contribute again and again.

6. It's the wrong time of year!

No, this isn't a stupid fact. It's been proven that readers are much more likely to comment in the winter-time than during the summer.

This is probably because during the summer they are more likely to be out and about enjoying the good weather, and are reading your posts via their tablets and smartphones. They may be easily distracted by what's going on around them, and haven't the time or inclination to leave a comment.

Whereas in the winter they are tucked up at home with their laptop on their knee, which has a much better facility for commenting. Their life has slowed down somewhat, and they may be more in the mood to have their say.

7. Mobile devices hinder blog comments

Many readers complain it's too difficult to leave comments on tablets and smartphones, so they don't bother as it's too much hassle.

They say the auto correct or predictive text makes stupid suggestions that get in the way, the keywords are twitchy and are sometimes unusable, and some blogs are not 'responsive' so are not adapted properly for the small screen.

And there's nothing more annoying than when you've written a good comment, you've ticked all the boxes to connect yourself up to the right platform, and to confirm you're not a spammer or robot, and when you go to publish your comment, the system freezes.

That happened to me only the other day. I poured my heart and soul into this comment, and then something went wrong with my iPad and I lost everything. I stupidly didn't copy my comment first before I published it (it's not always easy to do that on a mobile device). And I was so demoralised I couldn't face doing it all again.

8. There are too many obstacles before you write your comment

I've been investigating into blog comments recently, and I'm amazed at how many hurdles a commenter has to go through in order to leave a comment.

This is ridiculous. The process should be made as simple as possible. But unfortunately with the rise in robotic commenting, this has made the need to install CAPTCHA (that proves you are a human) all the more inevitable. Typing in those pesky letters and numbers is such a turn-off!

Another hindrance is the need to log into a blogging platform before you can publish your comment. Some commenting systems provide a many options you can select from, but they all require a password to log into.

Now unless you are lucky enough to know your passwords off my heart, once you've completed the process of finding and applying them successfully to gain access to your chosen platform, the desire to comment may well have evaporated.

Of course nobody wants their commenters to remain anonymous (since this is what trolls and spammers do), however the system should allow you to merely enter the information you want to share. This is less likely for the system to crash and you to lose what you've lovingly written.

9. The comment box cannot be found easily

During my research I noticed whether the comment box was placed above the comments, or below them. This, of course, determined whether the commenter had the chance to read all the blog comments before submitting their own.

It is a good idea to read everything associated with the post, including the other comments, before you have your say. This way you won't repeat anything, get the wrong gist, miss out on a particular argument or write something stupid or inappropriate.

However, having the comment box at the bottom of a lot of existing responses meant it was a pain to scroll down to find it. This process sometimes dissolved the instantaneousness of creating that comment, especially if you see much better comments from other readers on the way.

And another thing that 'gets in the way' of finding the comment box was all the promotional digital marketing effects that are strategically positioned to get the reader to sign up to a newsletter or buy a particular product. These can easily distract the reader before they get round to the activity of leaving a comment.

This is a particular problem on a mobile screen. All the 'relative posts' and other paraphernalia take up a huge amount of room, so a lot of scrolling is needed before you finally get to see the comment box. And if a process is too much like hard work, it lessens the chances of it being fulfilled.

10. Your readers prefer to comment on social media

Since commenting on blogs is such a hassle, it's no wonder they will look for an easier method.

As I said at the beginning of this post, many readers prefer to use social media to leave their comments. This is because the system is much easier, the response is more instant, and there isn't any moderation or spam filters to negotiate.

However, because the process is open to all, you will be subject to spammers and trolls to ruin the experience for you and your other readers.

And comments on social media are more ethereal and are less likely to stick around. The beauty of blog comments is that they are associated with the blog post they refer to, and are permanently available to be read by all visitors to your blog.

Social media commenting has a finite life, and any valuable responses may soon be lost. They can become tainted by intruders, the thread is easily lost amongst the other contributions, and the discussion, even if it is more readily started, can easily get out of hand and become irrelevant to the original subject.

Now it's your turn...

Let us know what stops you from commenting on a blog. Is it the position of the comment box, the process to log in, the disaster of everything being lost if the system freezes? Is it because you're too scared and prefer to read rather than comment? Is it because you don't have anything worth while to say, or you worry what you write will be useless or stupid?

These are all very common problems when it comes to leaving blog comments. Find our comment box (yes, I know it's a long way to the bottom of the page!) and let us know what you think. After all, that is what a blog post is for – to comment on. We look forward to reading it and we promise to reply.

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Alice Elliott
 

Every beginner blogger needs a Fairy Blog Mother when they're just starting out, who can “explain things really simply” about blogging and WordPress. Alice Elliott provides technical advice for Attract Readers, drawing on her expertise from over a decade of helping bloggers understand blogging better.

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