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8 Reasons You Might Not Be Getting Many Comments

A Guest Post by Charlie Gilkey from Productive Flourishing.

No matter how big their blog is, every blogger loves and wants comments. When you’re just starting out, there are few bigger thrills than writing something and having people comment and give you feedback about what you’ve written. Veteran bloggers love comments and also know that the quantity and quality of the comments says a lot about the impact of the particular post in question.

But sometimes you write something that you think is awesome and the comment thread is like a ghost town. To say that this is discouraging is to put it too lightly. Not only does it suck, but it’s enough to make you start thinking that your writing sucks, and it makes it really hard to hit write and hit publish the next time, too.

Here’s the deal, though: just because you’re not getting a lot of comments doesn’t mean that your posts suck. Here are eight reasons why you might not be getting comments – and what you can do about it.

1. Your Posts Are Too Long

While it’s hard to say that long post always get fewer comments – there are a lot of different considerations at play – as a general rule, longer posts set a bigger barrier to commenting. I write a lot of long posts, and I’ve seen this bear out time and time again.

There are two things to keep in mind when you’re writing longer posts: 1) most blog posts are short(er) and 2) your readers are busy. If they’re used to reading 500 word posts on other blogs and then hit your 3,000 word post, they’re might be a bit overwhelmed. It’s not uncommon for them to bookmark your post for reading “when they have time” and move on to the next, shorter post, only to forget to come back and read yours. (For more considerations on blog length, check out Post Length ‚Äì How Long Should a Blog Post Be?)

Some bloggers manage to thrive in the long post format, but you’ve got to understand that you’ll be going against the current if you write in that style. That’s not a bad thing – just understand that you might not get as many comments as if you wrote shorter posts.

Once your post is published, it’s probably best to leave it, though. In the future, see if you can take a long draft of a post and split it into a series or discrete post. Also try varying the tempo of your blog by following a long post with a short post and vice versa.

2. You Haven’t Asked Them to Comment

Sometimes a post just ends and it’s not clear to your readers whether you actually want a response. Because they don’t know whether you want a response or not, they might not comment.

Furthermore, if you don’t answer comments at all or regularly enough, it sends the message that you don’t really value comments. Larger blogs get a pass on this one, since many people understand that bloggers with larger audiences can’t answer every response.

When you conclude a post, ask your readers what they think or end it with a question that makes it clear that you’d like a comment. If you haven’t been responding to comments on your blog, start doing so.

3. They Don’t Know What To Say

Have you ever read a post and were so inspired that you felt that anything you might say wouldn’t do the post service, but at the same time didn’t want to say “Great post!”? Or have you read a post that was so deep or complex that you honestly didn’t know how to respond?

I’m sure you have. Now, why don’t you think that can happen with your own posts?

Before you write off a lack of comments as a sign of your utter brilliance, though, check your post to see if you wrote clearly and simply. Ask if what you wrote was relevant, useful, or interesting to your readers>. And if it is a bit of inspirational awesomeness, consider editing it and including a question or statement that lets people know that you’d appreciate some feedback.

4. They’re Doing What You Told Them To Do

If you give your readers a great tip that requires them to do something to implement it, be prepared for the possibility that they might actually go implement it.

Similarly, if you’re doing a link roll-up and you tell people to go check out the links you’re talking about, there’s a good chance that they might go do that.

I know that this is obvious in hindsight, but it’s easy to forget that our words can influence people into action, and it’s possible to unintentionally steer people away from commenting.

5. They’re Chasing Links On Your Blog

Writing posts that include links to older posts or using plugins that show related posts do have an effect on the number of comments you’ll get. If they click a link that’s midway in your post, they’ll probably read the second post before they comment on the first, and if that second post is linked to others, they might just keep clicking.

It’s for this very reason that you don’t find many links on a sales or landing page, and if you do find them, they eventually lead back to the original page. Marketers know that people will click on the links, and if those links lead away from the original page, that’s probably a lost sale.

While it’s not exactly an exclusive either/or choice, think about the relationship between how long people stay on your blog (due to interlinking) and comments. If you write compelling headlines, there’s a good chance that those related post plugins have an effect on the number of comments you’re getting. Change your linking strategy or consider turning those plugins off a bit if you’d like to see if they’re making a difference.

6. They’re Following Your Social Media Trail

This is very similar to the last two points, but if you’ve given your readers a bunch of different ways to connect with you, then that’s another thing that might keep people from commenting.

Think about how many times you’ve clicked to follow someone on Facebook only to get lost in a chat on Facebook, or how many times you’ve followed someone on Twitter only to get engaged in conversations there. The same thing goes for badges and links that send people to blog networks.

If you’d prefer more comments than social media connections, consider placing your social media links further down the page or only keeping the ones where you’re active.

While you’re at it, it’s probably a good time to declutter your sidebar.

7. It’s Hard For Them To Comment

I ran into this one the other day. I wanted to reply to a friend’s blog that was hosted on Blogger and found myself frustrated that I couldn’t just leave a comment like I can on other websites. It gave me five or six different options – none of which I use – and, ten minutes later, I finally went with the “best fit” option just so that I could comment. If she weren’t my friend, I probably would’ve given up.

Some of the other comment implementations like Disqus can also set a barrier to comment. I’ve often bailed on those, too, because I didn’t remember my OpenID and didn’t feel like figuring it out. (Luckily, they’ve improved substantially over the last year.)

The harder your readers have to work to comment, the less likely that they’ll do it. Think long and hard about all the comment plugins you might want to implement – and remember that sometimes the best solution is the simplest one.

8. You’re Posting At The Wrong Time

If you post when all your readers are asleep, then the soonest they’ll comment is the next day, but then your post is in with a bunch of others in an RSS feed. Likewise, if you post after the time that your email subscribers get their daily email, the soonest many of them will read what post is the next day when they get that hit.

Figure out when your readers are active and try to publish when they’re reading posts. This takes a bit of homework and observation on your part, but it makes a huge difference in terms of the number of comments you’ll get on your post.

There’s More To Comments Than Content

What you may have noticed is that the first five of these points have to do with the content of your individual posts and the last three don’t have anything to do with your posts. It’s hard to say what would have the biggest effect since each of our blogs are different, so take a look at your post and blog from your reader’s point of view, pick one that you’d like to tweak, and see if it has any effect. (By far the easiest place to start is by changing your comment plugin/solution, though.)

As you can see, there are a lot of different reasons that people might not be leaving comments on your blog, and many of them have nothing to do with you or your posts being unworthy. Keep writing and testing what works – that’s the only way you can become a better writer and grow your blog.

About the Author: Charlie Gilkey writes about meaningful action, creativity, and entrepreneurship at Productive Flourishing. Follow him on Twitter to get bite-sized slices of mojo.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Simple post and encourage visitor to leave a comment, that is my method to get 500% comments in my blog.

    Keep up the good work Charlie!

  2. It sounds like a catch 22 situation – on the one hand you do want to give your readers resources and give them a call to action, on the other hand, you might not get as many comments.

    What a blogger to do?:)

    Great post.

    Ana/YourNetBiz

  3. Dana says:

    The point on longer posts is interesting. I’ve never noticed less commenting on longer posts, but have noticed more linking. Those are the posts where my readers take the discussion to their own blogs.

    The one aspect I find a little frustrating is Twitter’s effect. I post links to new entries in the morning and a LOT of people seem to prefer to comment on twitter. I like the conversation either way, but always feel kind of like it is “lost” when it occurs away from my blog.

  4. E74 says:

    This is very helpful! Thank you for the tips.

  5. Harry says:

    On my -mostly health related- blogs people tend to comment on other comments. It looks like they don’t want to be first or something. I think it has to do with the type of visitors I get, because on websites I visit for fun (mostly game/tech related) most people want to be the first poster.

    So I think it has a lot to do with the topic of your blog.

  6. Gifteveryone says:

    hi,

    I have gone through the whole of your post and so I don’t agree fully with your first choice…If the post is bigger and has enough material to make yourself interested, then I personally feel that readers will not only read you full post, but will go through other posts of yours….

  7. The number AND qualitiy of comments on my blog is steadily rising, the more I follow Darren’s recommendations. It’s developing a sense of real community and open-hearted discussion.

    I now make it a point to ask the reader specific questions related to the content of the post. I also often create sticky notes at the end of the post with those questions. (You can do it at something like wigflip.)

    The other day I created a post specifically to ask my readers what makes them want to share. I created links to the 10 posts with the highest number of comments and asked them to read any that appealed to them and leave a comment there about what made them want to chime in with the discussion. Some good answers, both on the original post and on the link post. Donna

  8. Jason Woods says:

    Wow, amazing. this is like major cool stuff. Are comments really that important though?

    Jess
    http://www.total-anonymity.cz.tc

  9. For point #7: I do not even read blogs hosted at Blogger anymore. I find the system very clunky (as pointed out in the post) and feel that there is no reason to read the post because it is just too much of a pain to comment.

    I know that some people need a free solution to blogging and will not worry about getting a hosted blog. To those people I say: wordpress.com. Its free, its hosted and easy to comment on.

  10. Deb Bixler says:

    Based on the comments you have had on this article it seems as though you have hit the nail on the head. Anyone who has their own blog should be commenting anytime they can add value to the article. Even though the link may be “nofollow” if you do a good job on your comment it will generate new visitors to your blog. I have played with content length and heard many different recommendations. I really see no difference. I stick to 400-600 words as that seems to do well for SEO and for guest readability. Thanks for a good article.

  11. axel g says:

    That rings so true!

    You have to engage the readers and invite comments…

  12. Supr Awesm says:

    you need to have a loyal audience first before you can start expecting comments.

  13. Dave says:

    Its all about Engagement! Engagement! Engagement!
    Thank you for a wonderful list, helps a lot.

  14. I found that making a controversial post or by poking fun, even light hearted, at a subject close to people hearts. Your post I think has to be different and original.

    The post which generated most comments on my site was when I said that “The Irish Langage was dead” – this really engaged the visitors to the site and there were plenty of comments.

  15. Brady says:

    Thank you for this wonderful article on comments. It has inspired me to write a comment! Seriously I did enjoy it through & will test out a few of your suggestions!

  16. CRAZYMOM says:

    You make some good points. Thank you for the input.

    One thing that will stop me from commenting is if I can’t easily find the link. I run into this a lot in mommyblog world.

  17. On all the above, the biggest mistake most of us do is “For whom are your posting the blogs”. Do you know your target audience?

    If you post a blog with good information and to right audiences, you will get both hits to the website and comments.

    I have a blog which talk about importance of Market Research:
    http://www.winwinmantra.com/traffic-secrets/market-research-important-business

    Hyder
    http://www.winwinmantra.com

  18. Valentina says:

    Great post … thank you.

    I really liked no. 8 – until recently I had no idea that the time that you post has an effect on both your traffic and comments. Someone had written that he found that the best time for him to publish his post was at a certain time of day and gave the reason why. Even though all of us visitors from all over the world, analytics will show us where the biggest amount of traffic comes from, after that I guess it test, test and test different times of day to gage your reading audience.

  19. Film Critics says:

    I’m so absolutely agree with your 1st point. My blog with completely info have not a comment, In the other side, my short post have many comments….. Your article open my eyes, thanks.

  20. Milena says:

    Daren, It’s absolutely right.
    Lately, when I changed a lot on my writting I see the difference. For small blog like mine, I have post with more then 250 comments. Now I have problems with a lot of comments to answer :)

  21. I agree with that it could be hard for them to comment as some article or post is really very tough to understand or its very long to understand.

  22. Gin says:

    I also wonder if people get scared to leave comments since some may be aware their ISP info is recorded? also, must agree, that some people don’t always understand since education levels will vary. Great points to keep in mind, :)

  23. Farnoosh says:

    I do like writing long posts, rather than publishing frequently with short bursts. It takes time to go through a thought-process sometimes. But alas, I do see your point. I think it’s easy to get carried away with the passion if the story requires it. Thank you for the clear tips though!

  24. Estetik says:

    I found that making a controversial post or by poking fun, even light hearted, at a subject close to people hearts. Your post I think has to be different and original.

    The post which generated most comments on my site was when I said that “The Irish Langage was dead” – this really engaged the visitors to the site and there were plenty of comments.

  25. Jerry Okorie says:

    I just realised that my posts are not really that great, but your tips does open up some ideas. Thanks

  26. Nnetta says:

    Great advice. I’m new at blogging and most topic I cover are new to me as well. I find it a bit difficult to be consistent with my thoughts when I get to ‘put them on paper’. But it gives great satisfaction when I see a commonest under my reflections…

    http://netasbitsandpieces.blogspot.com/

  27. thx for this good article, at the last i realised my blog it not really good enough….
    I will try and use to make better blog…

  28. Chris says:

    Good insights. The problem with me though is that I read all these tips but I don’t get to apply them all. I think I have to deal with some follow through issues.

  29. I went here searching Goth! This post probably has a cool consideration on bing also if it wasn’t definetly the post i was struggeling searching

  30. More often than not I do not comment on blogs, but I would like to mention that this article really forced me to do so! Thank you for your perceptive post.

  31. Thanks for the share. I have a random question? I am starting my own blog and want to know what is sharing to much information? lol and what is contributing? I want to get it right like your blog.

  32. Yes Yes, on the “too hard basket”.

    I’ve seen some great posts on various pages that ask me to sign in first, “Salon” nice posts, too hard to comment, no reason to make an account there.

    Disques, a real pain in the bum, I have an account but I rarely use it and never remember what it is, so I log in as a guest and I still get my avatar anyway.

    No serious blog site should ever ask people to sign in, if the writer has the power to modify posts, then what’s the point?

    Wolfie!

  33. For the ones who wants to know :

    The benefits of commenting on others blogs:

    * You’ll be getting to know what other bloggers in your niche are doing
    * You’ll hopefully read some great content that could spark ideas for your own blog
    * You’ll be reaching out to another blogger in your niche (often comments are the start of fruitful relationships
    * You’ll be creating a small doorway back to your own blog for the readers of that blog
    * You’ll be building your own profile in your niche – it’s a chance to show your expertise, knowledge and understanding of the topic.

  34. Bryant says:

    You gave fantastic honest ideas here. I performed a research on the issue and discovered almost all peoples will agree with your blog.

  35. Antoony says:

    Yeah, You’re right Charlie. I have never asked visitors to make comments. I will perform it soon.

  36. Kristen says:

    I have no idea why I read so many blogs, but I’m glad I do so. I always come out learning at least one thing every day.

  37. Orjin Krem says:

    Yeah, You’re right Charlie. I have never asked visitors to make comments. I will perform it soon.

  38. Jeff Schmidt says:

    Hey Charlie, love the article. Very useful and pragmatic.

    As many blogs get more professional, I think your point #3 “They don’t know what to say” could become a bigger contributor to the pin-dropping quiet than many folks realize.

    Well-thought out points and posts are critical to the credibility of all the work we do, but we’ve also all seen ideas that feel so complete that it’s hard to contribute in a meaningful way.

    Have you thought about doing an article that develops your point #3 more fully? Maybe… The Art of Half an Idea (not a great title, but might be worth exploring).

    Thanks