The interaction between webmasters and visitors or readers in a website is often used as a gauge for the quality of a website and its writers or content contributors. The most telling indication of interactivity is the number of comments a website gets for its articles.
It becomes exciting when a discussion begins on the comment stream, not to mention enlightening since more ideas are being put forth for everyone’s benefit. Plus, there are so many benefits to gaining comments for your articles, such as:
- Increases your freshness score.
- Gives you more random and long-tail keywords to rank for (since search engines recognize comments as part of the page’s content, they also crawl and index them. If there are exact-match keyword inquiries, those can help your website appear in the SERPs).
- Increases your chance of getting out of the sandbox and landing in the first SERPs.
- Exposes your website to a wider community, since regular commenters are bound to share their knowledge of your site to their other contacts.
There are many ways to encourage interaction, but not all of them are suitable for a content-centric website or blog. The one strategy that always works though is putting yourself in the readers’ shoes. Take these tips, for example:
1. Make commenting as easy as a one-click task.
It can be frustrating when a website asks you to sign up for multiple things before you can even post your one-line comment. Worse still are those sites that will redirect you to another window or page.
If you want to make your readers want to leave you a comment, make it easy for them to do so. Make it a one-click task as much as possible.
2. Use social media for log-in requirements if absolutely necessary
Sometimes webmasters install a roadblock for commenting to make sure there are no spammy messages flooding his comments stream (or at least limit the number of spammy comments that get past it). You can do the same since spam content is a major red flag for the Penguin update. However, don’t go putting in very stringent security because that can discourage commenters.
Another good idea is to let your readers register and comment on your articles using their social media accounts.
3. Use calls to action and place the comment box strategically.
You can use the standard call-to-action for this. A simple “Comment here” right above the comment box will direct readers where to type in their feedback. You can be creative about it though and include your calls-to-action in the article itself.
Another important thing: if you’re going to use standard calls-to-action, make sure they are placed near the comment box so that you can trigger an automatic response. Keep in mind that strategic placement of calls-to-action matters.
While not all sites reply to the people commenting on their articles (take news websites and gossip sites, for example), replying is a wise thing to do for websites and blogs that wish to develop a community with its visitors. It doesn’t mean you should reply to each one, but do it if you have an important response to a comment.
These tips can only go so far in encouraging readers and visitors to leave behind a comment or two. Ultimately, the primary push would be the content of the article they’re reading. You need to give them very good reasons to comment on your article.
It is generally a bad idea to go overboard with jargon (especially if your niche has plenty of those), but you have to anticipate that majority of today’s Internet users are smart readers. They know a sub-par article when they see one.
Of course, there are several writing styles that you can employ. For instance, blog-type articles usually get more comments than those that are written in academic style because they are inviting and people won’t be scared to use casual talk.
Using first-person pronouns makes readers feel that they are reading something genuinely written by a person who’s inviting comments and suggestions. Inserting modern expressions or referring to famous celebrities and famous personalities will also give them additional things to relate to.
Here is a really good article that cites a three-part formula on how to encourage people to comment on website articles and blog posts.
Lastly, your articles should be written honestly. If the writer is discussing a topic that’s not his forte, he should own up to his limited knowledge or at least not assume that his word is law—especially if he cannot provide reliable and accurate data to support his claims.
Keep these reminders at heart. They won’t only help encourage readers to comment and interact with you and everyone else, but they will also give your website additional points for page rank.