Better Blogging: How to Make it Easy for RSS Readers to Comment

You can’t force people to leave comments, although every blogger would love to. It’s annoying if you’re just getting started and nobody comments. But after awhile you just get used to it.

Well… you kinda get used to it.

Okay, you never get used to it.

Make it easy.

If you have a blog, you’re competing for attention. Your readers have a bazillion other things to do.

Which means to keep them reading – or commenting – you have to make it ridiculously easy.

If your readers use your RSS feed, they have to make a special effort to get back to the site and comment. Which means, they have to

  1. Think of something to say
  2. Scroll back to the top
  3. Click on the title
  4. Wait for the page to load
  5. Scroll to the bottom
  6. Comment

Wouldn’t it be great if they could

  1. Click on the word “comment”
  2. Wait for the page to load
  3. Comment

Remember, every step and every click is an opportunity for your reader to stop. Think about how you do things online. Too many clicks and you’re done. They are the same way.

So how do you make commenting easy?

First, ask them.

If you’ve ever been married to a man, you know that they can’t read your mind. And, in fact, only your best friend can read your mind. And that’s on a very, very good day.

So if you want your readers to comment, don’t expect them to read your mind. Ask them.

Write an action item at the bottom of the post. Here are a few good ideas to start with:

  • What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments!
  • Did I leave something out? Tell me in the comments.
  • Have you experienced something like this? Share your story in the comments.
  • Know anyone like this? Tell us about it in the comments. And don’t mention their names!
  • What do your kids do? Share it in the comments.
  • Do you disagree? Let me know your side of the story in the comments.
  • Have you written something that fits? Share a link to it in the comments!
  • Have an example of this? Link to the story or picture in the comments.

You’ve given your readers both what to say and specific instructions on how to say it.

Then make the clicking easy.

Notice each of the comment prompts above have the word “comments.” This is an ideal place to put a comment link.

Save your draft:

Now click on “Get Shortlink.”

Copy the stuff in the box and press okay.

Go to your final line and highlight the word “comments.” Click on the link icon.

Paste the shortlink in and put “#comment” right after it. Click “Add Link” to finish. Don’t forget to save/publish/update the post!

Sit back and wait for the comments to come flowing in!

Okay, this won’t make your comment numbers huge, but it will make it easier for readers to comment. And that’s the point.

When someone reads the RSS feed, here’s what happens:

  1. They read the comment prompt and know exactly what to write.
  2. They click the word comments.
  3. They are taken directly to the comment section.
  4. They comment.

Ridiculously easy.

Yay.

Whatcha think?

Do you like the idea of making commenting easier? Will you do it? Tell us about it in the comments!

UPDATE: Information on doing this in Blogger is in the comments below – click here to go right to that one.

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Comments

  1. Oh, this is such a great tip! I love getting comments, but most folks read my posts in their emails and I didn’t realize that there was such an easy way to link directly to the comments -thanks!

    • My Ma says that necessity is the mother of invention. It bugged me to read something in my reader and not have an easy way to respond. “For me to comment, it is necessary to have an easy way to do it.”

      And there invention was born.

      Alas, I’m not able to tell every blog I read to do this, but I sure can do it on mine. And help the Homeschool Post readers get it on theirs.

      Thanks for your comment and kind words, Nadene!

  2. Great idea! Why didn’t I think of that??

  3. I love it. I often want to comment on posts that I read in my Google reader, but like you mentioned, it just takes too much time. Unless I feel that I have something really important to say, I just don’t make the effort. I’ll definitely add this to my posts. Thanks for the tip!

    • As writers, we’re competing for time and attention of the readers.

      As readers, we totally know and feel it. It’s almost annoying to have something to say and have to jump through a million hoops (it seems) to just say it.

      I’m so glad you’ll be able to offer this convenience to your readers, Tonya. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Thought I would try it as a user to see how it works before I implement on my own site. I also don’t know how to put subscribe by email on my website. Can you include those instructions someday?

    • Theresa – it worked just fine!

      I’ll put it on the list to write: “How to Put a Subscribe by Email Link on Your Blog”

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Thanks for the easy tip. I just tried on my blog on a past post ;)

  6. I like this. I just moved from Blogger to WP last week, so I love reading about these little tips and tricks. Thank you for sharing!

    I specifically came from my Google reader to comment :)

  7. Thanks for the idea!

  8. Now, how do we do this in Blogger?…

    • Okay, Kathy, since you asked, I went out and dug around. I’ve had some Blogger accounts in the past, so I went and messed around with those. I also went to Lana’s blog – http://www.ILoveMy5Kids.com. She’s a proficient blogger on Blogger, so I thought I could figure out what the comment tag was there.

      Sure enough, the additive for Blogger urls is #comment-form – as shown in her post url here:

      http://www.ilovemy5kids.com/2012/01/changes-for-ilovemy5kids.html#comment-form

      The rub is figuring out what your original url is. You can’t make your own url unless you do some serious tapdancing (as Lauren describes in her older post here).

      Best I can tell from reading a bunch of recent posts and forums on it, Blogger creates the url in different ways based on where you’re writing. Live Writer, WLW, Blogjet and the Blogger iPhone app all do it a different way than the native Blogger interface. Seems also that using Blogger on different internet browsers might affect the url.

      So the best way to find out your url is to publish it and then go back and put in #comment-form.

      But guess what… when you publish it originally – BAM – it goes out to all the RSS readers/email. Which defeats the purpose! #ARG

      But I’m not one to admit defeat. I’ll conquer this and write a post on it here next month – how’s that?

      Thanks so much for asking, Kathy. I’m guessing lots of others have the same question.

      Bon

  9. Super smart tip! I’ll be using this, so thanks for the tutorial.

  10. What if your ‘get shortlink’ does not appear until your post goes live? How do you add that to your drafts in WP? I’ve been going back in after I ‘publish’ my posts…and adding the short links in areas I needed them.

    Thanks!

    • Rebecca, I just noticed this tonight – that it doesn’t automatically have a shortlink. :) But, if you choose “Save Draft” you will get the “Get Shortlink” button to appear.

      • Thanks for pointing this out, Gidget. It will appear if it auto-saves. But if you don’t have auto-save on, then it won’t unless you save manually.

        I’m a save freak, so I’m constantly saving. I don’t notice the missing shortlink button because I’ve already save a million times by the time I need it (three minutes after I start the post ;D).

  11. I’m a few months late to this blog tip party but I wanted to thank you for this one! I just started a new blog and came across your tip. It’s a great one that I’m going to put to use right now!

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