The greatest thing about blogs is that they’re interactive. You write posts, and people can leave comments and carry on a conversation right there on the same page. Blogs are like part web site, part forum. Sometimes the post comments are more interesting than the post itself! The first goal is to get comments in the first place, and I wrote a post about that long ago “Rock Star Comments in WordPress in 12 Steps. The more traffic you get the more comments you receive, and a lot of people ask me, “when will I start getting traffic on my blog?”. Well, my rule of thumb is usually most blogs go from obscurity to a steady flow of traffic at about the 6 month / 100 post mark. This is enough time to be through a google update or two, and with 100 posts indexed in the search engines, you’ve got 100 shots at getting found in online search. I believe every post you write is like a little deposit in the search engine bank.
So back to the original topic – “How do you get the most Juice from Blog Comments?”. Well, comments aren’t like a blog post – you don’t just approve them and leave them site there on your blog. Like your own posts, pages, and content – you can re-use comments in many convenient ways you may not have previously thought about.
- Use a Widget: This is probably the simplest thing you can do, add a “recent comments” widget to your sidebar. It shows your blog is active and people are leaving comments. Simple, yet effective.
- Create a page Listing Most Commented Pages: This is one you don’t see very often. Create a page on your web site and list the most commented and active page, like my Active Discussions page. This is pretty simple to do with the Active Discussions Plugin.
- Use Comments in a ‘Testimonials’ page: Everyone gets comments like “Thanks, exactly what I was looking for!”. If you have a product or service on your site turn your comments into Testimonials! Create a testimonials page and copy them there, then link back to the original comments (building internal links in your site at the same time!). How? Download the WP-Testimonials Plugin, that’s how!
- Reply to Comments: This is pretty much a no brainer – reply to your comments! Tell people thanks, answer their questions, and reply to their comments. Comments get indexed in search engines too you know, and the comments you add in reply to your comments the more content the search engines have to index from your site. Also – people like to know that you are reading their comments, and furthering the discussion(s) makes them want to come back. THIS is a GREAT way to build loyal readers!
- Reward Commenters: Use plugins like Comment Luv, Top Commentators, and DoFollow. Commenters will come back more often when they know their link juice “counts”. In addition, you get listed on sites that list blogs that have these plugins (building backlinks for you!). I get a lot of traffic from being listed on this list of commentluv blogs.
- Email Commenters: If you see someone commenting on your site relentlessly for weeks and months – connect with them! Send them a simple email and say “thanks – I see you’ve been commenting a lot, and I really appreciate it”. If you owned a brick and mortar store you’d be smart to treat your regular customers this way – why wouldn’t you do the same on your own blog?
- Challenge Commenters: Run a contest of some kind and challenge your commenters to become part in it!
- Recruit Affiliates: If you come out with a product or service, recruit the people already commenting on your web site to be part of your new affiliate army! They already know you and your content, and probably wouldn’t mind making a little extra cash as an affiliate of your products.
- Hire Guest Posters: This is a no brainer. I’ll never understand why more web sites don’t recruit guest posters. Authors build great back links back to their web site, and you get great traffic and content in return! In addition most authors always link the article they wrote for you (instant backlinks) – and what better way to find quality guest posters than from active commenters you already have on your blog? It’s like the flowers recruiting the honeybees and saying “hey, since you’re here anyway…”!
Like I said in one of those points, your blog is like your “storefront”. If you actually owned a store, and customers can and visited 24 hours a day you would do everything you could to market to those people and increase your sales. Most stores use direct and indirect ways of marketing to customers that are already there. TV screens at the checkout and throughout the store, ads plastered on the floor, ads in carts, coupons on the back of receipts, checkout coupons. All of these methods are trying to “engage” the customer in yet another way to influence his or her buying decisions.
Think of your blog comments as your checkout clerk. It’s the last thing the customer does before he leaves the store – he “checks out”. Why do you think most stores ask the clerk to do certain things while ringing up your goods? They say things like “did you find everything you needed?”, “would you like to apply for our credit card and get 10% off this purchase?”, “would you like to signup for our free catalog?”. In some stores the checkout clerk is the only actualy person a customer interacts with before leaving with their purchase. Comments are the checkout for your blog, are you getting everything you can from them at the one point they are engaged and connected with you?
Are you using squeezing every bit of juice out of your blog comments?