The success of your blog can be easily gauged by the quality of interactions happening in your blog’s comments section. As your blog gains more and more recognition, more and more people start visiting your blog and interacting on it.
Since the success of your blog depends a lot on the quality of your comments (they generate most of the repeat traffic) you should go out of your way to make your blog comments section as interactive as possible. Here’s what you can do.
Encourage people visiting your blog to leave comments
If you want people to do something, you normally have to ask them and the same goes with leaving comments. Encourage them to comment on your blog. Ask them of their opinion. Purposely leave your blog comments incomplete and ask your visitors to mention the remaining points in the comments section. You can experiment with many other tactics.
Play with controversy
Controversial topics always invite a ton of responses. I don’t mean to say that you insult people and cultures simply to irk people, but you can disagree with a popular thread as long as you can make a valid point. For instance, if the hype surrounding the various Apple products you can write a post lampooning Apple fans: but just make sure that your points are valid, otherwise you’ll lose credibility.
Let people rate each other’s comments
This way even those who don’t want to actively participate can at least vote comments up and down. There are many good plug-ins (especially for WordPress blogs) that you can install and enable to achieve this.
Routinely reply to comments
The people who leave comments on your blog need to know that you pay attention to what they say, especially if they are directly asking you something. Actively engage in conversations with your comments community. It might not be possible if your blog posts are attracting scores of comments but still you can routinely, and quickly, go through various comments and check out which ones warrant your reply.
Promote recent comments
Everybody likes to see his or her name on the main page of a marginally popular blog and you can use this as an incentive. Display 5-10 recent comments on the sidebar that people can quickly access. You can also display the highest-rated comments.
Integrate social media promotion
There are many plug-ins and add-ons that allow people to promote their comments and others’ comments on Twitter and Facebook. Commenting systems like Disqus allow these features by default. Even Facebook recently started allowing blog publishers to use the Facebook commenting add-on that allows people to leave comments using the Facebook system.
Allow people to subscribe to comments
Again, you can install a plug-in (or perhaps it’s inbuilt in WordPress) that allows people to subscribe comments appearing under specific blog posts. This way whenever somebody contributes to the thread the notification is sent via email and if that person (who has subscribed) wants to respond he or she can easily do that.
Tackle spam in a timely manner
Many blog publishers disable comments on their blogs simply because they cannot control the surge of comments that begins to hit them once their blog begins to get some traffic. You can use anti-comment-spam plug-ins like Akismet to tackle comments. Or you can simply use a 3rd-party commenting system like Disqus to manage comments, as they have inbuilt features to handle spam.
These are few ways you can make your comments section effective and interactive. Please give your own ideas in the comments section.