Quick Tip: Be the Perfect Guest

Yesterday, Elizabeth published a great post on moderating comments to encourage thoughtful conversation. But what if you have no comments…

Yesterday, Elizabeth published a great post on moderating comments to encourage thoughtful conversation. But what if you have no comments to moderate? Many of us, new and not-so-new bloggers, still struggle to attract commenters other than our mothers.

There’s no magic button that turns your blog into a comment mecca (drat!), but there is one simple thing you can do that will have more impact than anything else: engage with the community. No one knows about you or your site? Get out there and comment on others’ posts. Add something substantive to the discussion (No “Great post, I agree!” comments, please), and before you know it, others will want to know what more you have to say and will find their way over to your site.

We’ll be doing longer posts on attracting an audience and being a good community member in the future, but wanted to drop this quick tip now. Get out there, and get talking! Use the topic listings in the Reader, visit other Writing and Photo Challenge participants, whatever—just go.

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    1. I second that! :lol: I couldn’t resist this one… TY Michelle, it takes effort and a desire to stay connected (an unending feat). We fall behind sometimes and then have to follow up. As I wrote in Elizabeth’s post, I add a postscript to all my blog posts: *Please bear with me as I continue to catch up on reading and commenting on your blogs… etc. We do the best we can! I keep saying I’d love a virtual assistant or the Goddess Durga’s extra graceful arms. :-)

  1. Great post. I agree. (just kidding) I do think that making comments on other blogs is an excellent way to gain “exposure” and meet new people. I’m delighted with some of the interesting bloggers I’ve found this way, and they’ve often found their way to my site!

  2. Thanks Michelle. I must admit that I have had a good deal of traffic from new readers by comments I’ve made on others posts. Including yesterdays post regarding comments! Go figure! ;-)

  3. The trouble is trying to think of something worth while to say in the comment. I like lots of posts but can never think of anything worth reading to say other than ‘nice post’ or similar :???: and sometimes wonder if that’s enough?!

    1. Well, I would say it’s not. If you look at the previous post here on the DP I wrote an exceptionally long comment (not exceptional for me but longer than the DP norm) about replying to comments and commenting on blogs.

      If you can’t think of anything more to say than ‘nice post’ – maybe you are reading the wrong blogs? Depends what you are interested in. The blogs I read always make me think of lots of things to write. My commenters always do the same. Or maybe I just write too much :D

      Incidentally, I did look at your blog before I wrote this. It takes one hell of a long time to load. Do you downsize your pix?

      1. Thanks for your comment. Apart from ‘huh?’ on your question re my slow loading blog I stood there wide eyed, trying hard to think of a response that wasn’t just ‘No, I upload my images full size and they are displayed on my blog usually around the large screen size, sometimes smaller’ which wasn’t anywhere near the kind of response I would like to give when you have read my comment, looked at my blog and written more than one point for reflection.

        Before being able to get a decent thought process, I’ve been to the previous DP and read your comment, thought to myself you must be a writer or journalist to write such a large amount and express your opinions with gusto (not a bad thing, it’s very engaging). That led me to your blog where I noted the size of your posts that show a writing skill I’ve seen during my course and something that makes me a little envious. Obviously I’ve now seen your ‘about’ page and had a few assumptions confirmed but that’s irrelevant.

        I’ve made a cup of tea, read a few other comments and then sat down with a cloud of thoughts, think of them as bubble above my head, tens, hundreds of replies but broken and jumbled to each point you’ve made. I then have to try and piece them altogether to write my reply. The problem I then find is that half of the good ones have shifted to the back and I’m now only seeing the small comments and having trouble reaching the others. They don’t flow and I spend ages working it altogether into a coherent bundle worth saying or reading. Do others have this problem?

        I understand what you say about the need to read blogs you enjoy and I do but I do struggle with conversation. I’m not sure where this stems from; it’s not just on paper but also in real life. I can enjoy a conversation but have trouble with thoughts and how to reciprocate; if it’s a subject I love and have knowledge of then I’m fine. The problem with that is I really don’t have a great deal of knowledge on much at all which is why I struggle. This lack of knowledge isn’t for the lack of reading or going to school but I just don’t absorb information easily if it’s not something I really enjoy. It’s like tunnel vision; anything else around it doesn’t go in, is ignored or is forgotten!

        Re: Pix – I didn’t think that made much difference with WordPress as it’s held on their server for easy loading – is this not the case and should I be downsizing then? I’ve never been told otherwise but then maybe I should have read the WordPress jargon when I first joined and what the best way to present photos was. At the same time my thoughts lead to question what kind of connection you have or if the server was just having a bad time.

        I started reading at 9:30 and writing at 9:50, it’s now 10:55! A long time for one comment don’t you think?

    2. I frequently start out with nice post :) and then tell them what I like about it. I know that some of my posts get a lot of likes (for me) and others get just a few (four or five) and I frequently wonder what makes some posts “likable”.

      1. I wonder too.. I’m a new blogger.. since this wednesday…never blogged before.. and would love to have feedback from the few souls that have found their way in there so far…
        Maybe I must give to receive?…

    3. I’m in the same box here. I love the post but sometimes don’t really know what to say in a comment. I guess if you read and engage with what the writer is saying then you do usually think of something.
      I really enjoyed this little post about comments, I have a low readership at the moment but am quite enjoying the few people that do read and it especially when they leave comments.
      One thing that is a bit tricky is getting comments on a fictional blog. I think people kind of read and dash sometimes.

      1. Thanks, although I’m not too sure how I’d transition that into my own post. It’s already here being discussed on DP with most of my thoughts – wouldn’t me reposting that comment or a version of it, just be cheating?!

  4. You are so right. I try to comment on almost all posts that I read and feed back that I get when someone send it to me pertaining to my posts. Thank you for Sharing…maybe someone who has not been to see my post will see this and stop by for a visit ;)

    1. wanna someone comment back to my post, but my blog in indonesian language. And almost people use blog with english. So the foreign people that come can’t understand what i’m saying and just like because they saw my photography

  5. I find that if you are willing to spend the time commenting on others’ blog posts, you will attract visitors and commenters to yours. It is all a question of receiving what you give.

    1. I agree!=) I’m sure you’ll find my newly created blog stimulating and would love your feedback! Have never blogged before….but first..I shall give what I wish to receive

  6. I wish I had more time to visit many more blogs, but alas, there are just not enough hours in the day. I have, however, made some very close contacts and friends world-wide through blogging – and so yes, I too agree…

    1. It is challenging to find the time, but it’s also critical to building an audience. I found that if i set small goals for myself – “Today I’m going to visit 5 sites I’ve never been to before” – it became manageable.

      1. And we do! However when we follow and support over a thousand blogs, it takes more effort to keep the wheel spinning. As our blogs grow, we learn to adapt to new ways of reaching out and it could mean segmenting blogs into comment groups and days. A number of my blog friends do that. Also responding to comments on my blog and clicking back to the author and commenting back is another option. Likes are great too. I don’t object to any way a fellow blogger supports me as we are all pressed for time. TY! And yes, great post! :-)

  7. Great post, I agree…Just kidding…. It takes a lot of work sometimes, and I think the mood of the reader at the time they are passing by and how much time they have. I think it’s also a matter of gaining rapport with your followers.

  8. Hi! I thought I would comment since there aren’t any comments yet! Go figure . . . I have done all the suggestions above, but my readership remains limited and I generally get comments from two people in my audience. My blog is new — only three months — so I intend to be patient and attract readers by building a quality blog that will gain more readers as word get out. I have attracted more readers by featuring other people in my blog posts to increase interest. I avoid sensationalism or catchy little posts to just increase my stats. I want to know what people think and I need my stats to give me a true picture of what my readers really want. Thanks so much for all your helpful suggestions! I appreciate your daily posts. Thanks, Valda

  9. One way I built up my following and commenters when I started out was that every time I wrote a post, I went and searched specifically for posts that had recently been written about the same subject. Then I would comment on their post, and mention within my comment that I was interested to read their post because I had just written one about the same, or similar, subject – obviously you have to say more than just that in the comment, but as long as you are adding something interesting to the discussion, it will probably pique their curiosity enough to want to come over and see what you had to say about the subject! That might sound a bit manipulative, but actually it’s a good way to start hooking up with like-minded bloggers.

    1. Vanessa, that’s a great idea, but I doubt there are too many other bloggers writing about Rico Suave today. Ha Ha. My topics usually come from somewhere in left field, and so while I will try that if I do write about a more popular topic, I tend to write whatever oddball subject strikes my fancy most of the time, unless I’m taking part in a challenge. I think that may be one reason why my regular readers come back. They never really have any idea what I’m going to be spewing on my page.

      1. There might not be anyone else writing about Rico Suave, but there might be other people writing about rap music? (assuming that’s the Rico Suave you’re talking about here!). I’m fairly random in what I write about too – I keep wondering if I should be more specialised, but it’s much more fun this way!

      2. Yes it is! :-) When I tell people I write a blog, their first question is always “Really? What’s it about:?”–My answer is usually. “Um…..I have no idea.”

    2. Vanessa— great tip! I started my blog on wednesday and did just that thing (and felt very smart) have had 120 visitors already.. but only 4 comment=( alas, it is harder to get them to say something than just pay a visit.

      1. When you leave a reply there is an option below the box to ‘notify me of follow-up comments via email.’ Choose that box and you will know when someone replies :)

      2. There is more than one route, but one way to search posts is like this:

        1) When you are logged in to WordPress, hover over the W in the top left hand corner, and select ‘Reader’ from the drop down list.
        2) Once you are in the Reader, on the left hand side you’ll see it says ‘Topics’ – click on the ‘Explore Topics’ next to that.
        3) Next you will see a whole load of suggested topics you could click on, your you can enter your own word into the search box at the top, and it will bring up any posts in that topic.

        With regard to your other questions, did you mean if someone comments on your blog posts, or if someone replies to a comment you have left on another blog? If it’s the second one then as samiamnan says, you can choose the ‘notify me of follow-up comments via email’, but the problem with that is you can end up with too many emails if you comment on a lot of blogs. But if you look at the top bar of WordPress when you are logged on, there is a little square top right, in between New Post and your name, and that will turn orange when you have any notifications – those notifications are either that someone has commented on or liked one of your posts, or followed your blog, or that someone has replied to an comment you made on another blog. If you were asking about how will you know if someone comments on your own posts, well they should just appear under the post, unless you have it set where you have to moderate and approve comments before they appear. I shall go and comment on your post now, and you can see what happens…

  10. Of course the best part of commenting on someone else’s blog is the excitement of checking back later to see if they’ve posted a reply. Many of the bloggers I love aren’t just great writers or artists… they’re engaging conversationalists.

    It’s such a thrill to comment on an intriguing post and receive a thoughtful response in return. This is what’s great about WordPress to me… it’s a perfect mix of original observations, interesting arguments and casual chats!

  11. Thank you for the tip. I’ve been blogging for a few months and although I know friends, family and other bloggers are enjoying my blog, few are leaving comments or clicking ‘Like’ which is somewhat discoursing.

  12. Something that also might be helpful is taking your post to other mediums. Share, share, share. Facebook and StumbleUpon are great locations to submit a piece and even ask for feedback.

  13. I thought about leaving a lone emoticon as my comment, but I’m afraid of Blogging Karma.

    One of the best things I ever did was start the habit of reading a few blogs through global tags everyday. I have found some of my favorite blogs that way, and I often find interesting conversations where I can contribute and follow.

  14. Horrible post! I strenuously disagree! (because I’m not one to follow the crowd…)

    Actually, one thing I like about having few comments is each one feels more important to me, and it gives me a greater chance to interact directly with them.

    But on the flip side, it’s nice to know something you posted was worth someone else’s time to leave something more than a *like.

  15. I was the 8th like on this post but I only see three comments, are you sure this works. I would much rather see a comment than a like. Like really doesn’t tell you why the person liked your post. I was just thinking about writing a blog on this same subject. I’m glad you brought it up. thanks

  16. You forgot to add, for the love of god, give it a quick reread before hitting “submit comment”. I have a bad habit of cruising WordPress when I’m groggy and leave some less than clear comments, or I’m missing a word, and I read it later and cringe.

    1. Oh, me too! That’s all I need is for new people to discover right away that I’m an idiot. ( They will find that out in time if they read me, but I like to fool them for at least a little while.) I have left quite a few comments and have seen later they are full of typos–I have a bad habit of not wearing my glasses when I am on my pc at home.

      1. I bet our husbands would like to meet each other and complain about how we don’t wear our glasses when we need them. I can’t see distance, at all. He always thinks I’m upset when really I’m just squinting.

  17. Great post, I agree. Laugh out loud! :)
    I just can’t help but laugh!
    I was tempted to do as some have done; leave it at “Great post, I agree”. But as you can see, some others beat me to it.
    Your post is striking, brief and hilarious! All the necessary point were passed. I call that; hitting the nail on the head. Did I just say: I call that? I seemed to have forgotten that it is general English.
    I would have loved to go on and on, and write about how commenting is a good way to let other bloggers know about your blog but that would be repeating the point that has already been made.
    The perfect response would really have been “Great post, I agree”, but it seems prohibited. :) I don’t want to be an out-law, so let me leave all these words just the way they are.
    Great post!

  18. The traffic exchange is nice, yes. I enjoy the camaraderie that develops from the comment thread. Like many others, I look forward to hearing a reply to my comment and find it enjoyable when someone comments on or replies to my comment. Sometimes the blogger will go further in the comments than was left in the original post, clarifying and expanding on points made earlier. Works out great for us guests.

  19. I have no fear of “blogging karma”, as does becomingcliche, but the hitch is that my range of emoticons is very limited. :)
    I do appreciate “likes” just as much as comments because then one can tell who has actually read your post and liked it.
    I find it interesting how so many people who appear to be so different from one another – judging from their blog output – can like the same thing. Sometimes it is surprising.
    When it comes to my own blog, it is often the posts I view as less inspired which have greater appeal than the ones I like the most myself. There’s no accounting for folk!

    1. Allison, I’m with you on that one… I appreciate LIKES, comments and even the occasional emoticon. It’s all good! It is not always so clear what appeals to the masses as blogging tastes vary tremendously. What I continue to do is keep on blogging, varying my content, and reaching out to others. ;-)

  20. I enjoy reading the comments that are left on other people’s blogs, and have gone to the commenter’s blog when I noticed that they left thoughtful comments, and have found new blogs that I now follow. I agree that leaving meaningful comments is a good way for people to become intrigued and come to visit your blog.

  21. Great post, I agree, and it is good to know the importance of comments. I write a blog with inspirational and funny stories, and I get some really nice comments and very few mean ones.

  22. I love visiting blogs. It’s interesting to learn about others and witness the world through their voice and images. I have no regrets about reading a post and letting them know what I liked. This is a great community booster. :-) See.

  23. One of the best things about wordpress is how easy it is to access other blogs. It’s definitely a great way to meet new people by commenting on their stuff and more often than not you’ll get a comment in return.

  24. My favourite part of blogging is seeing what others are writing about and leaving comments in response to their posts, sending some praise and hopefully having a conversation with them.

  25. I’ve been blogging for a while now, so I can look at my stats to find out which posts attracted the most comments:
    1) Posts about changes in my life, especially posts about moving to a new country. Probably a divorce would also be good. Or maybe an abortion.
    2) That brings me to rule no. 2. If you are provocative, you’ll get more comments. I even got death threats once.
    3) Topical, divisive issues. Gun control, Middle Eastern politics, stuff like that brings comments. Most of them from total nuts unfortunately.

  26. Yes, yes, yes. Blogging is a community and a way to interact. I’ll put it out there right now: follow me and I’ll follow you. Comment on my blog and I’ll be sure to return the favor.

    To me, that’s what blogging is all about — connecting with other people.

  27. “Asking questions” is the bottom line — It’s pretty hard to not get a response when you pose a question to an engaged reader. I pay close attention to the folks that reference something within the first three lines of my articles — it’s usually a dead giveaway that they didn’t read it — haha!

  28. Thanks so much for this tip! I am new to WordPress so this info is quite valuable to me. My only problem is patience, which I lack…quite tremendously. I do have 5 “likes” and 1 “following”, but as I look at other blogs I find myself wishing for more readers. I will just keep posting, liking, following and commenting and hope that it leads me to something incredible. Thanks again! x melissa little

  29. Here’s the thing that I find dispiriting. I have done the very thing that you suggest. Find sites that interest me, actually read the article, and then comment. Here’s what happens. I will get a reply but not a visit. Or I will get a reply and a visit and a ‘like’ for one of my articles but no comment or I will get a reply and the very occasional response. If I get desperate enough for a visit I will post a recipe. People seem to like recipes. But I’m not complaining (not much, anyhow). I did begin with granny type articles, but now I’m trying my best to push out of that comfortable envelope with other ;pieces. I’m sure that sooner or later I’m sure to get the mix right.

    1. Drop the ones that don’t return the visits. You will eventually find the ones that are polite enough to do so. Trial and error.

      I add recipes, but usually at the bottom of a post about something else :D

    2. It is partly trial and error, yes; it can take a little time to find your spot in the community. We’ll get into more strategies for doing this in future posts.

      1. Thanks so much for for the encouragement, Michelle. I’m just wondering though, is it because I am resisting Facebook and Twitter? (I like to hope so). :)

  30. Just go…. great you sound like my mother! But it is great advice and I have few more people commenting on my blogs just because I connected with them through my comments on theirs.
    I am not trying to set the blogging world on fire but I do want to connected to others.The big reason I blog is Community and sharing the gifts I have, however that looks, with others.

  31. Yes, this is spot on. Commenting will get you more readers, more followers. If they like what you’ve put in your comment they will surf into your blog via the link in your comment. That’s how connections happen in the blogosphere. And the way those connections grow is when the blogger responds to comments, particularly when they respond in kind.

    I’ve grown my blog this way… it still has a way to go, but I’m getting there. :)

  32. Just trying to be the 200th person to say “great post, I agree.” ;) Unfortunately, many topics do not offer an issue to debate or disagree with, and a complimentary comment shows that the reader cares. I appreciate any comments, even though it may be repetitive to answer “thanks, …” repeatedly.

    I found that I did not receive comments until I began regularly commenting on other’s blogs. While this is fun and a great way to form your own little blogging community, it does take time and commitment. And at times when my life is to hectic to read and comment on blogs I regularly follow, I feel that I am letting down my blogger buddies.

    I also find that non-bloggers are reluctant to comment or click like. They might email me or comment on my FB page, but are reluctant to go through the rather painless registration in order to comment. I probably should post somewhere about how to comment and that their email address will not be shared, etc, which might encourage new commenters.

    1. I think non members are not allowed to like. But they can comments and their email address will be revealed to the host, but not to the public. I have comments from non members but they are my family or personal friends! They told me they cannot ‘like’. Too bad!

      1. Hmm, I thought anyone who registers can like or comment. I have a few regulars who are not WP bloggers and they comment. I think some people just don’t want to sign in.

    2. I think likes are valueless. And I found sharing on FB ended up with people commenting on FB and not on my blog. What is the point of that? So I stopped doing that. Actually I stopped FB.

      I tend to put commenting before posting. If I don’t have time to post, I visit blogs instead and comment.

      1. I like the “likes”, but I find the same thing with FB – my friends comment on my FB post but not my blog (except in one case where I specifically asked them too). I think, however, if I didn’t post on FB my limited readership would fall. Since my blog is so narrow in topic – a nature blog about birds I’ve seen and wildllife I’ve photographed – it appeals to a lot of my naturalist friends, and I interact with them primarily through FB.

  33. Enjoyed your post, thank you for sharing!

    Is there a difference between readers who are bloggers themselves, and those who are not? I find a lot of my commentators are non-bloggers, and they sometimes post rather lengthy comments, but due to the nature of my subject we tend to end up continuing the conversation via emails, so I don’t get lengthy chats on my blog, which is a pity cos then I get a lot of repeat questions. I do try to follow up with posts on popular queries received… But I just can’t keep up!

    Any tips on attracting readers/commentators with something further to add/discuss rather than just readers who are looking for advice… Not that I don’t enjoy advising and sharing… I just felt it would be nice for my readers to have access to input from others with ideas to share.

    1. My basic advice would be the same – find other blogs in your boat, and start leaving supportive/helpful comments there. Let them know through your participation that you want to create a community.

      1. Thanks for the helpful tip, Michelle! I guess that ties in with your advice to “engage the community”… I need to seek out the community that focuses on my blog’s subject-matter.

        So far I’ve been getting most of my readership via FB… When friends then share my links on their FBs, it really helps a lot… But I guess FB is too general…

        I did find that having a poll for people to vote on helped create an element of interactivity… Giving people options to choose from is great for those who aren’t good with formulating a comment or response I guess?

  34. Welp, as my prompt on my ‘leave a comment’ says, “Comments release endorphins. FREEDOM TO THE ENDORPHINS!” I’m learning ever so slowly about this whole blogging experience. I just learned a month ago that I could change what the prompt says – who knew!! So that must mean that I could learn a whole bunch more in the coming days . . . and weeks . . . and months . . . and years . . . and . . . . . . . . I do have to say that I have ‘met’ some wonderfully funny, encouraging, and engaging bloggers here.

  35. Agreed and disagreed. I just wrote a long comment on a post because the subject matter is interesting to me. For other posts like art and photos , I just appreciate them, and so there isn’t a lot to say. But it is true that there are some comments that are more sincere than the others. I don’t have problems receiving short comments. If I got some comments, I am already very happy! There are blogger friends who support each other and show their likes to each other. No harm. We all like to be liked, and get nice comments, even if they are short….short and sweet…why not?

  36. Here’s a question though… while I try to go and visit the blogs of every person to comment on mine, I find that not everybody does the same. I’m not sure if I’m not writing the correct kind of comments, or maybe I’m just going to blogs where the writer already has an established community and can’t spare the time to reply or visit to their visitors.

    Is it recommended for a fledgling blog to visit other fledgling blogs, to grow and progress together?

    1. I too visit the blogs of all new commenters and followers, although as you say, not everyone does this. A good clue is to look at the number of followers if it is available – someone who already has 6,000 followers might not be responding to a new one. However, my personal feeling is that it’s rude to not respond to comments, even though it may take a big time commitment. I think your idea of visiting other fledgling blogs, or like-minded blogs is good, to start building your own community. Spend your time building your blogging community with bloggers who have the same interest, and are interested enough in you to comment and respond to comments.

      1. Well said Huffygirl and I do same… We were all first timers once and to forget that is to forget that we once appreciated even a “great post” comment.

    2. Drew,
      Spread your wings a bit more and comment on other blogs; some bloggers are more supportive than others and only time and effort will reveal them to you… ;-)