We need to talk.
You may not know me, but I’m one of your readers. You’ve become part of my routine. I really like your stuff, but I’ve never really said anything until now. I don’t want to leave a comment, because there’s not really a place in your blog to leave comments like this. I know I could email you directly, but I’m too shy.
There’s a few things you could do that would really get me more involved in your blog.
Make it easy for me to leave a comment. Every now and then, I like (or dislike) one of your posts so much that I want to leave a comment. I want to just start typing right below the blog post. If your blog says “anonymous comments are disabled” and directs me to sign up for an account to something, odds are I’m just going to close my browser and go on to the next blog. You might have made the signup process really easy, but I’ve been through enough signups-from-hell that I don’t even want to bother anymore.
Respond to my comments. Most of my comments are questions to you, the author. I’m hoping that you answer my question or respond to my opinion. I’d be so excited if you took the time to answer back. Even if I’m not leaving a question, just knowing that you acknowledged me gives me a little rush, because I’m new to this whole blogging thing, and bloggers seem like celebrities.
Email me when new comments are added. After I leave a comment, I don’t usually think to bookmark the page and come back to it later to see if anything’s changed. If you’re using WordPress, all you have to do is install the plugin Subscribe to Comments, and I get a nice little checkbox when I leave a comment. All new comments are emailed to me, and as soon as I see one, I’ll come back to your site again to keep the conversation going. I’ll even start responding to other people’s comments, and next thing you know, your blog is a lively discussion.
If you write a series, make links between posts. If I happen to stumble across one of your posts in a series, I might want to read the other parts too. In each post, include links to the other posts in the series. The more posts I read, the more likely I am to leave a comment thanking you for your work.
Include the full post in your RSS feed. I know, you really want lots of hits on your blog. You think that if you give me just a little taste in my RSS reader, I’m going to come to your blog to read the full article. Sometimes I will – but sometimes I won’t. That means I’m going to read less of your stuff. If you insist on taking this approach, you had better put one hell of a lot of work into the first 2 sentences of each post, because that’s your only chance to capture my attention.
Before you give up on me, think differently. If you’re frustrated about why I’m not leaving comments, start approaching your blog differently. Ask questions. Take polls. Say crazy things that challenge my complacency. Beg me for help. Start a meme. Run a contest. There’s a million things you can do to get me more involved, and for more inspiration, check out Problogger.
Believe me – I leave plenty of comments on other blogs. The problem isn’t me – it’s you.