As a blogger, there’s little more satisfying than getting the notification that someone commented on your post. It means that not only are people reading your work, but that they’re also moved to leave their own reflections. In addition to the personal joy of seeing comments on your posts, comments and pingbacks help to build readership and bring new readers to your site. So, how can you foster an active commenting community on your blog?
Start by making it easy to comment on your site. You can control all of your comment settings via your Settings > Discussion page on your blog’s Dashboard. Some settings to be aware of: ensure that other blogs are notified when you link to their articles (pingbacks), don’t automatically turn comments off on your posts after a short amount of time (the default is 14 days), and enable both the option to follow your blog and the comment thread when someone leaves a comment on your post. If you choose to moderate all comments on your blog, that’s a great step toward maintaining a well-curated commenting community. Just be sure that you don’t leave pending comments in your Comments folder for too long, since that detracts greatly from the experience of visitors commenting on your posts.
To keep the discussion going, it’s best to reply to all comments left on your blog within a reasonable time frame. If someone’s comment piques your curiosity, ask questions. The idea of the comments section is to generate discussion. As visitors to your blog add their point of view to your posts, it helps to enhance your story. Similarly, discussions generated on your posts can help give you new post ideas, in addition to building relationships with other bloggers and your readers. For example, if someone disagrees with your point of view, that’s a great opportunity to expand on your thoughts even more with a new post. Some bloggers even ask their readers to leave comments on their sites. For example. the Freshly Pressed blogger/musician Holley Maher inserts an image that she’s create into the bottom of all of her posts requesting that readers leave comments. If you choose to add either a line or an image requesting feedback, you can create a template and use the Copy a Post tool for your new posts so your sign-off text or image is automatically inserted into your post.
Above all, leaving comments on other blogs helps to generate comments on your own. In case you missed it, check out Erica‘s post, “Are you well-versed in comment etiquette?” The difference between blogs and websites (and the best part!) is that blogging allows for interaction between writers and readers, as well as the opportunity to build relationships. Paving the way for an active comment section on your site helps to build those relationships and to find new sources of inspiration.