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How to Silence Readers From Commenting on Your Blog

This guest post is by Ramcel Gatchalian of Meek Watcher.

You wake up one day and check your mobile phone for any new email notifications. There are none. Surprised, you quickly turn your laptop on and glanced at your latest blog post comment status. You can’t believe it. No comments whatsoever. Zero as in zip, zilch, nil, nothing.

silenced

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You open your Google Analytics to check your blog’s stats. And you feel a bit relieved to learn that you do have a number of pageviews. At least somebody saw your recent post. But how come your visitors left without leaving any comment on your blog? Not a single one!

Your blog is turning into a “ghost town” as far as I can tell. People just pass by, leaving no trace. The worst part is you have been blogging for several months now and it has been the same ever since.

“So, what seems to be wrong?” you ask yourself. Well, you may have honed the skill of silencing your readers. And just how did you refine this flair? Let’s count the ways.

1. You don the cloak of invisibility

You may have published a number of articles and achieved traffic of some kind, but unless you relentlessly promote your blog you will simply be a little spark in the blogosphere. No matter how great your content is.

2. You don’t extend any invitations

It may sound silly, but people usually won’t do something if you don’t ask them to. In fact, even if you turn out the best article you can craft, if it hasn’t been written to actually inspire interaction, people will have no reason to comment. So why don’t you invite them to comment on your blog, literally?

3. You don’t tickle their fancies

Readers love to think—especially if they find your article interesting, relevant, and engaging. It encourages them to wear their thinking hats and add their thoughts on the subject matter. If you don’t entice conversation and close your topic with a few questions, then why are you expecting answers?

4. You are such a party-stopper

Why, oh why do you force your readers to register or log in to your blog? Do you think they find it fun to type valuable insights in that comment box of yours, only to hit a message that says they’re not signed in and they need to register? You wasted their precious time—something that cannot be brought back.

5. You just give them a reason to leave

Readers came, but felt lonely since nobody was commenting. Why should they be the first? It isn’t fun to go to a party with no people at it. And you are not a DoFollow.

Something to muse about

Now that you came to realize these “talents” of yours, are you ready to go to the next level? I hope not. Let’s go for an open session: how can you counter these pitfalls? If you are a budding blogger, what advice you can give to bloggers who are in this situation?

Luck is only important in so far as getting the chance to sell yourself at the right moment. After that, you’ve got to have talent and know how to use it. —Frank Sinatra

Ramcel Gatchalian is a blogger who writes about Blogging and a food critique on his Food Blog. Checkout his blogs where he shares his finds about blogging and how he can tease your food craving.

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Comments

  1. Craig Arnoff says:

    Great article! We are also considering offering some prizes (e.g. a contest) for the best blog response. For your next article, I would be interested in hearing more about any incentives you have seen work. Thanks for the useful ideas on better engaging my readers!

  2. Great Post.Some points are valuable to me.Thanks.

    • Thank you Mir Imran. It always feel good when somebody finds your post useful.

    • Klonopin says:

      This is very attention-grabbing, You are an excessively professional blogger. I have joined your rss feed and sit up for in quest of more of your fantastic post. Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks!

  3. Preston D Lee says:

    Great post here! I totally agree. I’ve been blogging for just under two years and the posts that get my readers really thinking, where I break their ‘ guessing machines ‘ (to quote the Heath brothers) and simply ask for responses, are the posts that end up with the most comments.

    I would also add the importance of replying to comments. If readers see that you engage with those who leave comments, that their comments aren’t just disappearing into some black hole, they’re much more likely to comment.

    Thanks for sharing these insights.

    • Hey Preston. Yes, replying to commentators is just as important. It’s got to be a two-way communication between the publisher and the audience.

      But then again, this post is about writing for engagement, so there you go. Thank you for sharing your insights though.

  4. Jay says:

    Great post. I need to remember to ask. Thanks!

  5. Now, this was more funny the moment there was no comments. Mir Imran Elahi, you ruined it! ;-)

    It’s my experience too: The second you start asking for opinions, they’ll come.

  6. Great tips. I currently use disqus for comments on my blog, at the advice of @unmarketing guru Scott, but I recently saw an option for Facebook comments. Any thoughts on which is better or which is more user friendly? Thanks

    • I also use Disqus because I’m on the Blogger platform and the commenting system there… well, let’s just say “does not meet my requirements.” :)

      If you use the Narcissus theme for Disqus, you can activate the social media login buttons from the General Settings. Just include Facebook and you can allow your Facebook fans to comment using their Facebook account with the option to post their comments in their walls. You might need to authenticate the application service though.

      Geez Kate, I mentioned the name Facebook four times!

  7. The more I research about dofollow, the less I know. I’m now totally confused. First of all, Blogger does not allow me to remove the nofollow tag. Secondly, some reputable pundits out there are saying that i shouldn’t want dofollow anyway cuz it can hurt my blog if it attracts too many spammers. And then there is the fact that I can moderate incoming comments (My blog is less than a month old) even without dofollow. Obviously, this is too technical for me to understand. And I’m not alone. The debate is raging out there. When will someone give us newbies who just want to pay our dues the correct way a definitive answer?

    • Hey Rodney, I got myself confused too before. So there, you are not alone. And to answer your questions:

      1. I’m on Blogger too and it can be done. Hmm. I think I’m gonna write something up regarding this on my blog so watch out for it. :)

      2. DoFollow can only hurt your blog if you have massive readership and a lot of spam commentators. If your blog is new you do not need to worry about this.

      3. If you’re concern is about spammers commenting on your blog, there are services out there that integrates handsomely with any commenting system. Take Disqus for example, they are integrated with Akismet.

      And you have to weigh if the number of spam comments are very small, that can be negligible, as compared to valuable comments, I say don’t moderate your comments and just do a manual assessment and deletion. Don’t sacrifice easy engagement with a few rotten tomatoes.

      4. Finally, yes. I may have an answer for you just like what I said in point #1. So you have to follow my blog now. :)

  8. Darrell says:

    These are good tips — I have really been seeking to expand this area of my blog the last couple of months. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Great thoughts. One thing I’ve noticed about really successful blogs and/or youtube channels is that they have a pattern or a system that is easy to understand and that gets people involved. like comment questions or suggestions for topics. This is probably the best way to “tickle their fancies”

    • Exactly Martin. If your content is engaging and your commenting system is easy for your audience then you will receive what you deserve — Response from your readers.

  10. Amy says:

    Great advice.. especially forcing the “register” to comment. I’ve never quite understood that. :)
    It is funny how a blog kind of “sits” there in cyberspace forever and then when it finally starts gaining an audience, the momentum shift is almost overnight. I’ve been through it 3X now and it’s made me realize that one should never worry too much… just keep creating posts and working hard!

    • Thanks Amy. But you lost me there on “a blog kind of sits…” Are you referring to my blog or yours? :)

      Anyway, I’ll cheer to “keep creating posts and working hard!”

  11. Rachelle says:

    You forgot one! Your comment form or contact form is broken…

    I only mention it because I hired someone to migrate my blog and my contact form was broken. I get all my business from my blog so I kept wondering why no one was contacting me for services. A few months later someone called me on the phone ticked off because I didn’t reply to their emails. It never occurred to me. I kept looking over my posts and writings to figure out what was going on.

    I fixed it and everything went back to normal.

    • Wow Rachelle, that is a real bummer. How come you didn’t brought it up to your contractor? Anyway, I’m glad that you were able to sort it out — Yourself. We can charge it experience then.

      Good point you raised here, Rachelle. Thank you. :)

    • Robin says:

      That’s an issue with your testing / QA process. It’s not a tip specific to blogs. Sack the person that migrated your blog!

      • Aaww, c’mon Robin, let it slide. It can also be a tip to make sure that your commenting system works.

        But do I agree with the “sacking” part. :)

  12. Yingjie Hu says:

    Some points are good.

    Now, sometimes I will write at the end of post “Subscribe RSS to get latest XXX” to invite people to subscribe RSS. I think it is a good way to increase RSS subscriptors.

    • RSS subscriptions has nothing to do with blog engagement Yingjie. They are your readers. Like I said in this article, you may have traffic of some kind but unless you see social proof (comments) your blog is similar to a “ghost town.”

  13. LAjuice says:

    I struggle with this all the time, The number of unique site visits to my site each day is insanely disproportionate to the number of commenters (they make up about 1-5% of the visitors who are not robots or spammers). I feel like shouting “I know you are out there, come on, just speak to me!)

    I can only guess my problem is No. 5, since I ask questions, try to get people to play along. I even respond to their comments so they won’t feel alone. Avoiding No. 1 is hard- you have a fine line to walk between promotion and being an annoying blogger who people avoid. Its also difficult to avoid No. 4, especially if you have bad people trying to comment at your blog, or spammers.

    • I hear you loud and clear LA. I’ve been there and it ain’t fun.

      On Number 5
      Just try it. Couple this with a truly engaging content and you will see results

      On Number 1
      I put this first in my list because this is the most important thing. You need to have eyeballs on your site and blog promotion is the key. If you followed my anchor text on this article you will know why. And yes, relentlessly promoting your blog can be annoying to a few but with targeted audience and style it can really do wonders. Take this guest post for example, this is promotion and I received thousands of eyeballs in one day alone.

      On Number 4
      It’s not that difficult. Just deactivate registration from your commenting system and that’s it. If you worry about spammers, let me ask you this. Out of a statistical figure of 10 commentators on your blog right now, how many do you consider spammers? If your answer is 1 or 2, is it too much trouble to just delete them or mark them as spam manually? Why do you have to make things difficult for 8 people who contributes great value to your blog?

      But if you answer 5 or more, then get yourself some spam-comment blocker like Akismet.

  14. Marita says:

    Forcing people to log in to comment means I don’t leave as many comments as I used to.

    I mainly surf via iPhone and so many comment systems are not iPhone friendly. If I can’t comment from my phone chances are I won’t comment at all. Having to go to Facebook or twitter to leave a comment because your blog is not iPhone friendly is something I only do for really inspirational blog posts.

  15. Rae says:

    Perfect timing. I just looked up from my empty comment area to see this come across my reader. Gives me something tangible to work on. Thanks!

  16. jessica says:

    Thank u for this. We are still trying to get our blog name out there and get comments and have tried many of these items, but its a work in progress, and a reminder of ways to increase involvement is always helpful.

  17. Good points, I especially agree with #4, forcing people to register. I gave up at some blogs that used Disqus and another one; I forget what it’s called. It took forever sometimes, and other times just didn’t work.

    I would also add that commenting on other blogs–when you’re just starting out, especially–often results in that blogger visiting your blog and commenting as well, esp. if you’re in the same niche and both new at it. Making sure fellow bloggers get a link back to their blog (with comment luv or similar) also helps.

    Good point about promotion! Definitely important.

    • We are on the same page here Leah. Whenever I encounter a blog that requires me to register, I simply give up. I can’t retype everything again on that comment box. The momentum has faded. By the way, I am using Disqus on my blog. So far, I didn’t receive any issues. You can try to comment and see if it has any problems.

      On commenting with other blogs, I make it sure that if people comments on mine I spare some time to visit their blog and comment there as well. It’s like giving courtesy for me and reciprocating their efforts.

  18. hashif says:

    Great Ideas..Its always good to stop Blog posts with a question..This will encourage visitors to comment on..

  19. Salman says:

    Truly awesome Ramcel … pretty nice tips to encourage comments on our blog !! Strongly agree with the point #5, people don’t like to start a discussion but they’ll think twice if it is a dofollow blog

  20. soubhiks says:

    i have seen many bloggers in an attempt to start a discussion over their comments often end their post with asking for a the readers views, suggestions, sometimes they even leave a question at the end of their post….
    and believe me it works….

    • Yes, that works. But if you want to carve the engagement success in stone, you can tailor your content such that discussion can be encouraged from the opening until the closing of your article.

  21. suraj says:

    i too facing such a problem because i am new in the blogging word. i agree with this post.

  22. Yup, all good points. I’ve been really happy to see a growing number of comments on my blog – but I crawled out on a limb the other day and published an article on a subject I feel strongly about even though I KNEW would make some people uncomfortable – sure enough, smallest number of comments in months. I write for my readers, but I can’t lose myself and what is important to ME in the process, so I’m still glad I wrote the article.

    • Congratulations Marquita. It’s all hard work and it paid off. Well done.

      Don’t burden yourself if one article doesn’t get commented as many as other posts are. Just take it like a grain of salt. You can always come up with better contents than the previous that will surely rock.

      All the best.

  23. Navneet says:

    ya! just want to say that i have seen many blogs with no comments but still i want comments on my blog as they appreciate my skills and develop a confidance between me but i said above there are many blogs hardly with a single comment but still they are ranked less then 1lakh mark in Alexa…

    • Thanks Navneet. However, Alexa ranking is all about traffic and has nothing to do with reader engagement. A good commenting community rises from building readership. And you know how important readership is. If you have products or services, readership can be converted to sales. :)

  24. Network, network, network, that is the best way to get noticed, get more traffic, get more comments and get more sales too.

    Like you mention, extending invitations is one of the best ways to network, find people that are in your niche, collaborate with them, you help them, they help you, everyone wins.

  25. Henry Louis says:

    Ramcel, your view/thoughts about the comments on blog posts is commendable but I initially got confused with the Title you have used for this post. It stated something like how you could stop people from commenting from blog posts but article brought in a different view. However, the tips are appreciable. Thanks.

  26. Sorry to got you confused Henry. My creative thinking got the best of me. I think it paid off and I’m happy with the results.

    Thank you for liking my article despite it all.