Making the most of blog comments: Part 1 - Promoting blog comments

Martin Belam  by Martin Belam, 20 February 2008

One of the great strengths often cited about the blogosphere is the fact that it is a 'conversation', and the ability to leave comments on individual posts has long been an integral part of that. However, it isn't always clear how to get the most out of the comments left on a site.

With blogging, a lot of the emphasis is on the continual update, the perpetual breathless rush to publish something new. That doesn't leave much space for the considered reflection of what has been posted onto a site by the users.

I started to think about this problem late last year, when there was a sudden flurry of interesting comments on old currybetdotnet articles, and I realised that a lot of my regular readers would never get to see them. I wanted to find a way to make better use of that content, and to alert people to comments I thought were interesting.

Over the next few days I want to look at some of the ways that you can make the most of the comments on your blog. I'll be looking in detail at the pros and cons of implementing a couple of these methods, and tomorrow I'll start publishing the results of a survey I've done across 100 blogs to see what the most popular methods are.

Today, though, I wanted to start with a basic list of all the different ways I've seen people give more exposure to the comments on their blog beyond simply listing them underneath the relevant post.

'Recently commented' list

Some blogs include a list of 'Recent comments' in their left or right-hand navigation columns. Frequently these take the formula 'person' commented on 'post title', and people generally list between 3 and 10 recent comments. This may be a case where it is useful to bear in mind the 7±2 rule when choosing how many recent comments to display.

Recent comments on A lemon tree of our own

Recent comments on A lemon tree of our own

'Most commented' list

Usually similar in format to the 'recently commented' list, the posts in this list are those which have attracted the most comments over time. When included in a blog's navigation this can serve a dual purpose, as it is likely that the posts that have attracted a lot of comments will also be the busy and popular posts from the archives worth showcasing.

'Most active' list

Although a little harder work to set-up from a template point of view, a 'Most active' post list combines both of the above into one formula. The idea is to display a list of posts that have received a lot of posts recently. This avoids the situation where that one post from 2003 which attracted nearly 100 comments is permanently lodged at the top of the list.

Engadget's most commented in the last 7 days list

Engadget's most commented in the last 7 days list

Comment RSS feed

Some bloggers provide a separate RSS feed that contains the most recent comments that have been submitted to the site. A lot of themes for the Wordpress platform provide this functionality out-of-the-box.

Jemima Kiss enthuses over RSS

Comment feed on a per article basis

Both Wordpress and Blogger provide easy options to produce an RSS feed specific to each individual post on a blog. Users who leave a comment, or who are just interested in the conversation around an individual post, can subscribe in their usual feed reader to follow subsequent comments as they are left.

Metadata from the IA Play blog powered by Wordpress

Combined comment and post feed

It is also possible to generate a mixed feed or 'splice' feeds together, so that people are able to subscribe to an RSS version of a blog that includes both links to articles as they are posted, and to any comments that are being left on the site.

Email subscription

There are plug-ins available for many blogging platforms that allow users to subscribe to an email update whenever a comment is left on a post, or to track responses to a comment they have left via email. In some ways this has an advantage over the RSS feed methods, as more people are familiar with email than with RSS. It also avoids the problem of leaving people with lots of redundant RSS subscriptions once the conversation on a post has died down.

Engadget's most commented in the last 7 days list

Comment 'index' page

A lot of blogs provide index pages to display multiple views of the same content - by week, by month, by category and so on. A comment index page is a similar listings page, but instead of listing articles and posts, it is a published list of the most recent comments. It allows the user, at a glance, to get an overview of the activity going on across the site.

Editorial round-up post

Another way of bringing interesting comments to the fore is to write a round-up of comments once a week. Or fortnight. Or month. Or however often seems appropriate. This might not suit the style of every blog, and is obviously more manual work, but it does provide a way of highlighting the 'hidden gems', rather than simply foregrounding every comment left on a site.

Which one works for you?

There isn't really a one-size-fits-all solution here. The choice of which method suits you best will be a personal one depending on your audience and blogging style. I tried, for example, to do a couple of 'comment round-up' posts, and found that I struggled to get the tone of them right. As a consequence I didn't publish them.

Another significant factor will be the ratio on a blog between posts and comments. A combined feed of posts and comments works fine if the ratio is something like 3 comments to 1 editorial post. However, if you are regularly attracting lots and lots of comments, your own content might seem swamped in a feed of that style.

Your audience makes a difference too - it isn't much good providing lots of mixed RSS options if you have a very non-technical audience who aren't going to take advantage of them.

Tomorrow...

Tomorrow I'll be looking at a survey I've carried out across 100 blogs, to see what methods they used to promote the content of their comments to their readers.

149 Comments

I use http://co.mments.com/ to track further comments to a blog I commented on. I found out about it from Lifehacker.

I get an RSS of the entries whose comments I've subscribed to. There also seems to be an option for getting them by e-mail.

Paola

Some bonkers formatting at My Right Wing Dad, but interesting how it whacks the new comments right up there above the content in a single post entry.

You make some interesting points here. Currently on my blog I don't do anything to promote comments, and don't often look at them that much. You're right - the need to come up with continual new information can be a rush sometimes. Thanks - you've made me think.

great! this was really helpful!

I like to promote comments. It is also good to know which posts people like commenting on to direct other visitors to your important posts. I think comments are the biggest indicator as to which posts are more popular rather than only visitors to the page.

It's good to see a blogger actually recognise the importance of comments and appreciate that in general they add to the overall blog post and engage your readers. Good tips for including comments in blogs - hopefully more bloggers will foloow your lead.

it's ironic that the blog on how to properly deal with comments has the fewest comments...

I've been struggling with this as well, when is a comment valid. many comments are social interludes saying "hello" or "thanks"... but even those are not without some value.

BTW: Excellent Turing test!

I find the irony to be that this series of posts accounts for 99.9% of the slightly shady comments I get, where there is just enough unique content to make it a 'proper' comment, but it still just seems like a blatant attempt to get a backlink from someone who found the site by typing 'blog comments' into Google. Know what I mean?

Martin - Great Post. There are, as you know, many different ways of enticing comments. In addition to all that you have mentioned above, there are a few plugins that have proven to be great at promoting and enticing people to join the conversation. One is commentluv and the other is keywordluv. You have probably heard of them but if not, check them out. Nice Post.

Yes and it's even more challenging when you are trying to promote a real estate blog. Most posts are so locational that many people are the slightest bit interested. I am trying very hard to come up with interesting spinnets to put on my blog to attract some good commenters.

You made a good point about email, I don't think that RSS is recognised enough globally yet - although it certainly will be in the future.

One thng you could do is set the default for the "subscribe to email responses" as checked, that way most commentors will be notified of replies anyway, and only those who specifically un-check the box will be kept out of the loop.

By the way Martin, you may want to look at your settings, the left hand margin is cutting out the first letter of each word - for me at least.

IE 6.0, XPpro sp2.

By the way Martin, you may want to look at your settings, the left hand margin is cutting out the first letter of each word - for me at least. IE 6.0, XPpro sp2.

Hi Adrian, thanks for that. You are not the first person to point this out, but so far I have been unable to reproduce it on any machine I've used with IE6 on it, so it is a bit of a mystery to me. Well, not much of a mystery, the answer is that I am just a CSS/HTML hack, but it is a mystery how to fix it...

I forgot to invite you all to my blog. Please visit and leave me a few comments.

www.tampa-real-estate-blog dot com

Thanks!

Comments are a very funny thing!

I think that the biggest attribute of showing a comments list is popularity. It shows that your blog is popular enough that people leave comments.

It also invites people who like to get into a conversation and view others thoughts. Draws one in to speak.

But how often on a blog do we read one comment let alone all the comments? I know I only read comments when I am really involved in the topic and want or desire other points of view.

Many times I will actually skip the comments and just write my thoughts on the post, nothing else.

From a marketing perspective, the subscribe to comments is a great benefit.

From an SEO perspective, comments keep the crawlers coming back.

At the end of the day, comments overall are another form of marketing... the more you have, the more popular you become.

My two cents... Cheers, Chris.

@Chris, it's easy to scan a few comments to judge the quality and determine whether it's worth staying to read them.

For some blogs, I always read the comments on posts I'm interested in. On Lifehacker, for example, because readers usually have more tips.

I read comments and notes on Flickr photos.

Whenever I leave a comment, I always subscribe to and read future comments.

And I've become pen-pals with a dieter who is keeping a weight-loss blog - I'm reading all the comments on it, even on posts I haven't commented on.

And some sites I frequent, like Upcoming.org, I don't bother with the comments, probably because it's not a blog and that changes the nature of the comments.

Comments might be a metric of success but they are not marketing because the 'seller' doesn't originate them; comments are a dialog and community-building mechanism.

Martin
Don't know if this helps, but the further down the page the comments extend, the further to the left each new comment is offset. The effect doesn't occur in Firefox. (Not for me anyway!)

Back to the topic:
I think we are verging on semantics when we get down to discussing whether comments are 'marketing' or not.

Surely the point is that comments add original content, which is a)good for the reader and good for Google.

To generate more comments, write provocative opening posts and make sure that the ensuing comments are well moderated. Hopefully a meaningful discussion - one with substance - will ensue.

Hopefully a meaningful discussion - one with substance - will ensue.

Although, presumably it helps if you can actually see all the comments :-(

"I find the irony to be that this series of posts accounts for 99.9% of the slightly shady comments I get"

Martin I know you must feel that everybody that comes to this post is looking for the back link and I can tell you that you are totally right.

The thing is some come right out and show you what they are doing and those that act really nice and subtle with the classical ohh Martin I love you post so much and I bet you most never even read your post.

Now the typical blogger that comes and says the ohh Martin comment comes from the school of the A-listers where they teach to comment spam the hell out every blog as quick as possible like Caroline Middlebrook the "Comment Queen" but in reality if you see her comments 90% are the clasic ohh MArtin what a great post I learned so much.

Then comes me the guy who is looking for high ranking post where I can comment and hopefully get an anchor link with one of my main keywords but I am more then willing to work my behind of for that on link by providing as much content as I can to you post hence returning the juice your post will pass to my site and at the same time also get you in good graces with Google by giving your post fresh content which you will be rewarded with again more juice and a move in the SERPS up.

Martin you see this in blogging about blogs and MMO's if your blog post was about politics or sports etc etc this "Spam effect" would greatly be reduced as the avg Joe has no idea what an anchor link or Page Rank is.

Vic

The thing is Vic, I don't mind people coming here for the backlink - I'm a 'dofollow' kind of guy. What I appreciate is if they actually contribute something to the page, and then don't blatantly sign the post "Buy yr meds from my spammy site" with the URL spammy-drugs-site.com

When people do that, I reserve the right to change the anchor text to the link to something that more reflects the idea of leaving a signed comment than leaving a 'text advert'. As you'll appreciate yourself...

We use a Wordpress blog on our site and have gotten into the habit of only allowing comments on certain posts. We write some posts to interact with readers, and others just for SEO.
I do not know if anyone else has this experience, but I have been reading more and more about comments diluting the posts by lowering keyword relevance.
Not sure this is something I should even worry about, any thoughts?

I like to RSS my comments because the are helpful when trying to get traffic to my blogs from social sites. When comments get update on my blog, the rss feed is updated, hince everyone in my network get the update and can respond.

Although, presumably it helps if you can actually see all the comments :-(

Heh, you're right there Martin. :-)

Well there's no doubt that commentors are appearing here in order to avail themselves of the dofollow link, but look at the effect it has: would Martin attract as many comments if his blog were nofollow?

Furthermore as Martin says, he has full control over which posts he allows or edits so I don't see the problem. Martin gets extra content, commentors get a backlink, Google provides a better service to its searchers - it's a win/win/win situation.

I don't run a blog myself but if I did it would be dofollow. It's a no-brainer - to me at least!

Hello, intersting article but my english isnt well. can i translate ur text into german? im interst reading ur information about promoting my blog. which translator is the best. plz dont say google :D

I am new here and wanted to say that I think Adrian has made an excellent point. I think that allowing others the opportunity of possibly obtaining a backlink does help promote the site. And in turn, while it will likely be necessary to filter out comments of little or no value, this will always lead to unique and well thought out user generated content.

Many people put "top commentor" on their blogs to promote comments. Since there are so many competitive people who would post and post garbage just to see their name on a blogroll list, I think it is a bad idea.

Ironically, the continual update also reflects to individual blogposts also. I recently saw a real estate SEO competition where the blogger picked a fight with the competition creator. With minimal links to the blog (an authority blog but still) but with almost 300 comments in it. Of course she managed to add fuel to the fire for the whole competition long. She ended up being #2 for the keyword which was a great achievement on her end. Refreshing content applies to multiple levels of a blog is my point.

Well a good way to encourage commenting, is making a guess blog post from a famous blogger, and getting all his fans on your blog...that would double the effectivity...also u can do the same favor for him on your blog. Also make sure that commenting is easy on your blog, and not a headache...ofcourse while getting rid of spammers.

Hi Martin! Nice Article, very nice. I got 2 further ideas for promoting blog comments.

1. All comments are optical the same, but not in a contentswise matter of view. U know wikiasearch on re.search.wikia.com/search.html#seo ?
Lets imagine user could bring up there comments in blogposts like on wikia? U could possible even highlight comments and give a star rating .

2. Lets put a stopwatch under your article and countdown till close of comments. User must hurry to comment, because comments function will close within a specified time limit.

Nice Post about comments, in my blog I appreciate my user to comment, too. But they I not using it much sometimes just one post comments. I thank your advice I hope if I integrate some my users keep more track of them.

Yes, depending on how tech savvy an industry is, users may or may not understand the reciprocity principle in blogging and commenting.

I appreciate the dofollow plugin which sites like this one use, and other plugins like keywordluv goes a step further, all to encourage good participation, adding content to a blog and its value. And reciprocally, the genuine participant/commenter gets a link back to their own site.

Sure there are possible abusers out there that spam manually or via robot-scripts, but hopefully the anti-spam plugins we use as well as basic human moderation will easily take care of those problems. In my opinion, using nofollow is the lazy/uninformed way to deal with spam and misses out on a lot of potential good comments.

Keep up the good work! =)

When commenting goes right, it almost like it turns the blog into a forum, which is pretty cool.

In my limited experience, I'd say the email thing works great. I've only commented on a few blogs that used it, but getting repeatedly emailed has got me to visit those blogs over and over.

Also, if you go to Andy Beard's blog, andybeard.eu, he has some cool comment plugins. For example, comments are rated, and if you put your cursor over the commentors name, it shows other comments they've made.

Just a reminder of the house rules. I am happy to publish comments, and always happy to give backlinks to your site which are 'dofollow' if you comment. I only ask two things:

1) Please write something that adds to the debate, rather than 'Nice post, dude, I, like, so totally agree'

2) Don't sign off your comment 'Play online casino and win a video of Britney using anti-obesity drugs' simply to get your anchor-text keywords in, because I won't publish it. If you do, I'll either not publish the comment, or I'll instead change your name to minor characters from Doctor Who or something, depending on what kind of mood I'm in...

I like the idea of an Editorial round-up post every now and then. Whenever someone makes a comment that really inspires you to write more you can create a post around that comment and give the commentor a nice in content link for bringing that value to your blog.

"When commenting goes right, it almost like it turns the blog into a forum" - I think Wordpress realised that and it gave them the inspiration for their BBpress forum software.

yes sometime i also faced the same situation but i don't mind as long as the comments are very genuine and constructive

I have pretty much given up on comments on my dog blog, but the more I think about it, I am losing out on a lot of community interaction. This post has helped me rethink allowing comments and even encouraging them.

Martin,

In addition to helping promote the comments on previous posts, do you find that this also helps with creating more fresh content for posts?

Part of the related post plug in helps to get vistors to previous posts, but it can also help with SEO on the most current post.

Have you found that it helped you in any way?

Matt

Hi Matt, I can only really think of one occasion off-hand where comments on one post got me writing a whole new post much late.

What I do like about comments getting added to older entries is that push them back into my 'Recently comments' list on the side-bar of every page, which brings them back around to Google's attention when they crawl the site.

nice formats for various comments. I actually like the related posts plug. It keeps people in your site. ell, it works on me for sites I visit.

I think the dofollow is a good movement. It encourages people to make useful comments but on the other hand also attracts spam.
There is nothing like a good discussion with lots of comments. For me i enjoy reading, learning from other people and generally don't post much.

I understand the importance of exposing your more popular posts to reader but sometimes it's just hard to find the best way. Up to now I have been using Recent Comments. For a while I used a Google Analytics plugin that listed most visited posts, but it kept breaking on me. It also had a tendency of staying the same 7 links over time and rarely changing. Another option I found was the Popularity Contest plugin, but it takes some work to set up all the variables. You can tweak the weight of comments, page loads, trackbacks, etc. to build a custom popular posts widgets.

Regarding the do follow and commenting, one thing I think bloggers sometimes don't realize is that comments all add fresh content to the post. and Google loves fresh comments...it is a fine balance to manage a post and make sure that it doesn't become a spam haven but the way I see it, for those who are going to post relavent comments helps the blogger with content, and pinging. We can also do some to help the blog, as well as ourselves by bookmarking the post too. the more links we can help the post with, the more juice it can build up, and the more we all benefit.

thank you Martin for being so generous with us all.

As a reader, I don't get much out of the Top Commenter or Recent Comments widgets. But they are nice as a commenter. As a publisher, I had not thought of their use as a Google bait for older entries so that was a nice tip.

As for reading comments, it all matters on why I am there in the first place. If I am looking to solve a problem, I will definitely read the comments as that is usually where the solution is. If I am just commenting on a lifestyle post, I will generally just skim the comments.

Good post on blog comments. An excellent read with some nice commentary!

It would be nice to see the change in comment traffic with each different format of comment summary ie with a the most active list, I would have thought that the busy threads become even busier, and the quiet threads dissapear almost daily!

I think promoting your own blog is something very important. Most bloggers just post articles and forget about promoting their own blog.

If you're interested in conspiracy theories, you can also visit my blog.

I find that recent comments or mosted commented on pluging helps find some direction when i visit a new blog for the first little while. If the readers tend to comment more on somthing it gives me a better idea on what the blog is about. It helps me find the information I am looking for.

Martin, thanks for sharing this info, I'm a fairly newbie to blogging and just the tip on including 'recent comments' on my sidebar of my blog is great - I'll start that!

thanks! Tammy

These will be great additions to my blog. Thanks for sharing!

I'm glad I found your post on this topic, as I've been thinking about ways to promote the best posts my blog has to offer. I see a lot of great ideas on the subject.

I know that some of the blogs that I follow will list their best posts (manually for the most part).. but I see you have listed several different approaches. One of these days I'll play around a bit and see what works best for my site. Thanks!

Thanks for the useful post, and debate in the comments. There are pros and cons to KeywordLuv and CommentLuv. For me, CommentLuv has a slight advantage as it provides a deep-link to a blog post, as well as a general link to the homepage. Assuming you have keywords in your post-titles, you get the best of both.

Some good ideas of encouraging more community interaction. The more you display the activity of your users, the more others will want to be a part of it.

You are almost certainly here looking for a free 'dofollow' backlink after searching Google for how to promote your blog via comments - so to recap the house rules. I only ask two things:

1) Write something that adds to the debate, rather than 'Thanks. Great post'

2) Don't sign off 'Find out how to play x online to make free bucks and sleep with Angelina Jolie' to cram your keywords in, because I won't publish your comment.

Martin, I have been thinking over enabling comments on my site for so long but have not done it till date because of all the extra effort it demands in term of moderation and everything, but after reading this post, I think I should give it a shot. At least you get to know your reader's mind

Martin, As a new blogger, I found your content to be informative, but a bit above my skill level at the moment. I am trying to do a little research to educate myself, but I have come to the conclusion that I probably need a Bloggers for Dummies that hopefully has a hand-holding tutorial. I have, however, bookmarked your website for future reference. When I graduate from dummy level, I will be sure to check back.

Great post! Thanks!
No, I am just teasing you...
I would be curious to know what has been the impact of this comment policy on your blog readership audience and comments per visit ratio...

I personally have not made up my mind on what comment features I prefer on my blog. I've tried dofollow as a method to promote conversation, but the increase in comments didn't really add any new value to the conversation. My comments doubled, but my regulars were still comment just the same and all the new people leaving comments would only leave one or two liners. Most of the time it was just praising me for how "great" my post was. Which provides nothing but useless text.

I did consider doing a top commenter plugin thing to award those who post regularly, but they seems to lead to comment spamming. People post more to up their count, than they do to honestly contribute.

I do like the recent comment set up and the recently most active set ups. I personally don't like bloggers listing "most comments ever" type of set up, since they hardly change from time to time. Their old big posts tend to just stick there.

I personally dofollow links in comments, but I completely understand your frustration with people showing up "just" for the link and do not contribute anything to the conversation. And a concept, I support the dofollow movement, but I am personally too busy to spend the extra time trying to moderate all my comments on all my blogs =(

I have 5000+ comments pending out of which 95% are spam. Now how should I filter them out:( Comments are not good:(

I've found comments on my blog to be mostly a good thing. They add unique content and are (sometimes) intelligent.

@Sunil Ram: You need some kind of spam filter. Wordpress has one built in. I am not sure about other blogging platforms.

Michelle, you give yourself too little credit by suggesting you are a blogging dummy. You at least managed to follow the instructions for getting you link published here, unlike a lot of people who are still sending comment after comment signed off with names like 'Visit my great online casino resource'

I would be curious to know what has been the impact of this comment policy on your blog readership audience and comments per visit ratio...

Well, Olivier, the comments to visit ratio on this post is pretty high, anyway. Which strikes me as a bit lazy to be honest. There are already 50+ comments here, so any link juice value being passed on is going to be pretty diluted...

I look what you did with the comments. Most people don't want to deal with blog comments but they fail to realize that people can bring added information to the post. In addition the comments help keep the post fresh and updated frequently.

Hi Martin, I think the only way to promote your blog comments and to actually make people leave comments is to get into a conversation with them.

Also I haven't notice a plugin on your blog to notify people of follow up comments - I believe that it's quite powerful and will bring back those who had commented on your blog back to you site?

Using comment luv gets pretty hard with the glued(subtle) series of themes, which are my favorite. Everytime one makes a change to the blog design, the comment luv plugin needs to be setup all over again. So if you are using Subtle, I don’t recommend Commentluv, but for most other themes, this works great!

Awesome blog promoting tips for my next WP blog

Do ask some questions in your post to have some good comments from readers in quantity as well as in quality

Wow! Nice blog post and I was going through the comments. i think all the comments are superb!

REALLY GOOD ITEM! NICE BLOG- I AGREE WITH Tyrone! IT INCLUDE SO MANY HELPFUL INFORMATIONS! REALLY EXCELENT BLOG! THX

Marting, i just want to know you that i have made a blog in blogger.com based on communication skills. Would comment there plays an important role in increasing it's Pr. If yes , then what should i do so that more and more visitors comment there. Any suggestions ?

"I have 5000+ comments pending out of which 95% are spam. Now how should I filter them out:( Comments are not good:( "

hi Sunil Ram when you say "comment are not good " what doesn't mean ?

I dont understand why you consider the comments as spam if you have 5000 its so so good no !! in the second why do you judge? let's those who put comment judge them .
finaly thanks Martin for this nice blog

hej!
Some good ideas of encouraging more community interaction. The more you display the activity of your users, the more others will want to be a part of it.

really good item !!!!

What I find the most difficult task is getting a user to come back to the discussion again. If someone leaves a comment and I reply to them. What is the best way to inform the user to know that his post has been answered. Currently I email them but this is very tedious. Can you offer a better solution to this?

Very good tips. Comments are important to the whole idea of the blog. When you post, you end up expecting to see what kind of feedback people might send you, what kind of impression you´re giving the readers. Comments are indeed very important! ;) Thanks for a lovely post.

Great article. I had not considered some of the points you are making. This will help my blogging to boost my real estate business.

I'm a big fan of the CommentLuv plugin, which will pull up the previous post and give a keyword anchored linked while still preserving the person's name. Top Commentor is also cool, though that one can get gamed a lot if you're not careful.

Of course, having do follow comments lead to people looking to drop their keyword (like myself), but I've subscribed to many blogs I've found using this method, so I think its a net win for all in those instances.

Hello, thank you for providing a very well written article.

In regards to the "do Follow" I agree that it is very usefull but can be a 2 edged sword. You invite more spam and spammy comments by doing so, but people are attracted to write for the simple reason of getting a link!

How about featuring a "most spammed" comments list showing the sort of comments that are considered "spam"?

getting the most out of the comments on a blog really helps bring in more people commenting and that much needed ping to search engines per comment as well as the additional keyword terms. Thanks for putting this in perspective.

@Martin

The real problem I see with promoting comments is an effect that hits in after a few months, once google ranks the page well: The more popular, the more comments, the more the quality of the comments goes down the drain. People don't mind the original topic any more and instead of trying to add new useful points, they just add something already stated several times.

I don't disable comments after a certain time, but instead of trying to revive any old posts, I post on the same topic again, picking different aspects and referring to the old article.

You should throw in a ajax partial post back into the mix so you dont have a page refresh I do it for all my blogs and comments ajax or flash is the wave of the future. I think RSS is dead...

very interesting research. as for me i use "recent comments" at the right sidebar of my blog.

Wow, you have certainly done your research of blogging as well as what goes into it. I have ran across a number of blogs that don't allow commenting and I ask myself, what is the point in that. You have given a ton more reasons for the need of comments. I can't wait to refer this blog to my friends as well as my readers.

I never really bothered with a comment listing on my site; but this has captured my attention. The only problem is spam. I guess that's what moderators are for.

I honestly prefer to see the most commented list when I visit a blog. Right from the front page of the blog I can go to the most active and intellectually stimulating post.

For me, recent comments does not do too much. Recent comments tend to be on the newest posts, so it provides little value IMO.

Great work on this post Martin. You broke down quite a few options for us to digest. :)

another easy way to encourage commenting is changing small things like:

Instead of "no comments" link, use something more along the lines of "Be the First to comment"

Just a re-cap on the house rules for comments on currybetdotnet. Don't just say "Nice blog", don't stuff keywords into your 'name', and try to add something to the conversation. If you don't follow the rules, then you won't get that precious dofollow link you are after. I'll either delete the comment, or publish it as if it had been written by a character from The Unicorn And The Wasp. SearchRank blog has a great article explaining the do's and don'ts of borderline comment spam. And the link juice on this post is so diluted now, why not have a look elsewhere around currybetdotnet, and comment on something else, rather than being the 85th comment here?

I think the best will be to give users opportunity to post comments without no follow link. When I just start my blog visitors leave comments on it with backlinks. Then a approved these comments, find there sites and make link exchange with them. I think this is a good strategy.

To Uzi.
I don’t think it is great idea about nofollow link. You will get many of senseless comments, though their number will certainly grow. The right way is to post interesting content.

Make it Easy to Comment - I leave a lot of comments on a lot of blogs each day - but there is one situation where I rarely leave a comment - even if the post deserves it - blogs that require me to login before making a comment.

I am finding that getting people to comment has been difficult. I am getting traffic and I assume people are reading the blogs but not commenting. Any suggestions?

In my opinion, registering and logging in to comment wouldn't really be all that bad if it was a huge blog network where you wouldn't need to log in multiple times a day just to post a comment. By making it too easy to comment , it attracts scripts and whatnot.
Having an autofilter for comments under a certain number of words if the link function is used may help discourage people from cramming in their keywords and spamming.
Active moderating is very time consuming if the blog is run by a single person and is attracting heavy traffic.

Linking is just the means of added incentive to join the discussion.

"Be the first to comment" is a very interesting idea.
The thing I don't like is when I leave a comment and do not find it in a couple of days. I do never leave comments that do not make sense. Though moderators delete 'em.
So I never get back to such blogs.

It seems like some combo of recency and most commented would work best for most blogs. I also think making sure you use no follows is the way to go. I've had huge issues with some blogs b/c I left them open to "following".

I wonder, Professor Peach, if the issue you had when your blogs were 'dofollow' was idiots leaving comments almost directly under a plea not to keyword stuff your name with the name "My Domain Name And Business Keywords"?

Like you just did on here?

Result: Epic link-building FAIL.

I do find it quite ironic that here we all are commenting about comments... although I'm none to sure if that's using the correct definition of irony!

It's a shame that so many of these outlets for discussion and debate get misused.

This is difficult really, when you look at a post, it is encouraging to see lots of comments, it also adds unique text to a page, therefore helping with the seo etc. However the spammy comments can be quite annoying.

Keeping on top of comments, weeding out the spam for more than a few articles must be quite time consuming?

@michael - I couldn't agree more! If I have to log into a blog to comment then I am out real quick. Unless it is a premier and exclusive type of blog in the industry like Aaron's Seobook blog then what is the point?

I have seen so many new blogs shoot themselves in the foot with this and I could never understand why they do this?

Hi Martin, you're right when you mentioned there's no one size-fit-for all in promoting blog comments.

I was sad to tell that comment feeds, for example, works terribly with one of my jokes blog. Nevertheless, this makes perfect sense - who cares about the 56th 'LOL' in your comment lines?

Hello Martin.
You have a very informative site here. I would only want to note that the perfect strategy for making your blog popular - is a do-follow.
There will be lots of spam if you have good ranks, so you spend more time on deleting the mess people want to leave there.

I do not see the point of getting the most out of the comments!
What is your purpose?

I like the fact that you allow do follow to encourage commenting.

But I think blogs in general lack a motivational factor when it comes to CONTINUAL commenting.

Someone comming by, making a good comment and leaving, is probably a lost opportunity in getting that person to be a frequent commenter.

Forums make it so that a if you post often, you will likely eventually be upgraded to an "administrator" who has special privilages.

Maybe if the bloggin sphere could come up with something similar.

I saw one blog that only allow do follow links on members who have made 5+ QUALITY comments.

I love this article, its very well written and so inspiring. thanks

Though many people say that using "do-follow" on your blog is a surefire way of popularizing it, I am a bit apprehensive about the same. Regular readers of the blog would visit and comment anyway but the flurry of spam would take a lot of time for moderation and cleanup. Is dofollow really worth all this trouble? I doubt.

I agree Chris, it is still quite bad, but since learning PHP I've been able to cut my spam down significantly. I made a basic anti-spam rule which filters out the obvious words spammers use, but i still get a heck of a lot :(

How about a comment voting system where real bloggers can vote on the relevance of comments from others? This would help reduce spam, create better relations among bloggers and make it more fun :P

The problem with that is it is highly susceptible to abuse and the moderator could end up with more on his plate than before.
Have you had a look at SmarterTools? They have alot of anti-spam scripts for URIBL, keywords and blogs.

J.

I think to the extent that dofollow encourages people to really read the posts and genuinely contribute to the conversation, it is a good thing.

There are software tools out there that help you to find dofollow blogs in your area of interest, so if you are genuinely looking for communities to participate in you are more likely to choose dofollow blogs to participate in than nofollow blogs.

Although in an ideal world people would participate for the sheer joy of being part of the community, in the real world people want to get some recognition for their contributions, and are more likely to participate in blog conversations that recognize that contribution.

Hi Martin,

I hope you are well. Just thought I would dilute the juice on this page a bit more.

A couple of points I thought I would throw into the debate.

1) Most of the comments left here are by people who follow the 'A-List' bloggers, therefore have no clue or manners.

If I was to mention play lists or ticket refunds they would not have a clue what I was talking about (clue: try reading a few of Martin's other posts) and yes I have left comments on other posts prior to this.

2) Vic (who commented earlier) makes serious money online, but he would never try and get a high PR anchored link without giving back in terms of content and adding to the debate.

3) "Great post" type comments and comments that just repeat what someone else said are the worst type of spam of all. They want the high PR link but are not prepared to put any work in to get it.

4) Finally, rant nearly over, a high percentage of the people that have left these types of comments here, do not realise that the juice left on this page is probably PR0 or PR1 at best.

If you want to get do-follow links give something back.

If you want to cut out spam delete any thing under 75 words, and give a keyword anchored link to good comments of 100 words or over.

God that feels good, lol.

Ps no offence meant to those genuine comment makers

I am in the process of making a PHP script as part of my degree course, which I think will eliminate 99% of all spam (hope so or i wont get a good grade ha!). It is a plugin for Wordpress and uses the following criteria:
comments must not contain the typical spam words like viagra or their numeric substitutes like v14gr4 etc. (this is a pretty basic rule for any spam filter)
comment must be at least 100 characters long.
comment cant contain only "great post" etc.
Multiple posts from the same IP address cant be posted right after a previous post from that same IP.
If a user wants to add something else they forgot, they can edit the last comment they posted within a certain time limit (10 minutes?).
Will of course include the standard "type the letters in the picture" requirement.

I am even considering a method where by the time the user has spent on the site is taken into account. The time required would be based on the number of characters in the original post? or by the number of comments? only problem is that people sometimes only read the post and not other peoples comments.

Once i'm finished i will be posting a live test.

Very interested in hearing your thoughts.

Interesting project Tom, that is going to be a lot more complicated than you think ;). How far along are you with it? PHP validation is easy enough for your "is the comment at least this long" rule, but the timer thing will be troublesome. You will have to create session cookies for each IP address and have the server running counts. If your blog is popular this could cause major slow downs of your server and if someone finds out your using this method they could exploit it and make your domain unusable (similar to a DOS attack).

Hello Martin,

thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Indeed writing a blog is one thing and getting it spread out is another thing. I think everyone has his own method. I got the impression that many blogs are written because of a big talkativeness and a lack of communication in real life.

Great article on comments. I feel that commenting is a great way to pull in some extra traffic and at the same time it gives something for people to come to.

Hey Martin, great post. This is true in most cases. My blog has all this spam even with nofollow enabled. I just don't know what to do. any suggestions. I'm using wordpress.

Many thanks for this - I think it may be the answer for a number of blogs I have that seem to be 'dying a death' no matter how many posts I write, which seems a waste as they take most of my spare time up!

Thank you for show us the possibilities how to get feedback. By the way your article make me thinking. What do we want to say with article blogging? Is it to check out how "popular" we are or is it to get value feedback? I guess it is a mix tending more to value feedback. I also find it interesting to read the thoughts of other people because it can amplify my horizon. Concerning spam it is a phenomenon and annoying!

You can manually edit the Wordpress comment submission form to include a "what is the number in the picture" type verification system. The system in itself is pretty simple.
To the guy who is making that anti-spam thing for his university project - Are you making a standalone php system or is it a Wordpress plugin?

I'm going to bring it back home a little and talk about what the poster posted hehe.

About making the most of your blog and comments. The term "content is king" applies to blogs as much as it does when your making a website. You could even go as far as editing you posters comments a little so that they include more keywords for your site. A little devious but it would be effective SEO (you could always email your commenter and ask his/her permission first, this kind of respect and involvement with your community could pay off well in the future).

Martin did you know that two days ago the servers of McColo were shut down and even I can feel it :-) Instead of more then 200 spams a day I get now only 20 per day! Only one spammer away and 90 percent spam less! Love things like this but I think it is only temporary.

Blog comments are in a class of one's own. So I am happy that your blog was very helpful to me. Thank you, Martin!

Now here is your example.

Whenever I post a comment on anything i've ever read I have always thought it a good practice to link to my bread and butter whenever I leave a comment.

Now then, is my comment on subject, or is it spam..

It is an interesting dilemma for which i have no real solution.

The only way to really weigh it is whether it has merit to you or not. Its your blog, do what you feel is right.

just my 2 cents.

I'd say "content is king" applies more to blogs than to websites, and they are not the same. The most important thing to a website is its inbound links from other site, for a blog its the content, its what makes people navigate the categories and stay on your blog to read what you have put, they will read your other blogs if they liked what they found initially and the biggest bonus you can get is if they post links on other blogs and their website(s) to your blog(s). So eventually you end up with two great things, quality content that people like and inbound links that help you with the search engines (passive seo).

One of the added benefits of blog comments is that you get more text for long tail keyword searches. I've noticed I get a few hits on my blogs from keyword phrases from comments rather than the blog itself.

Martin, your blog is VERY conversational and that in itself is kind of self-promotional and helps the cause, right? I like the fact that you are deeply involved with your readers and their comments.

blog commenting is a good way to get traffic rather then looking for pr. most of the times blog receive is spam comments just for the purpose of gaining pr. if done properly and with good effect- you can end up with good amount of traffic. also the commented blog gets good content and more traffic, better for both i guess

I think you’re exactly right about mixed RSS options for a non-technical audience. Rule number one: know your audience! I have included a YouTube video on my blog that shows how Google Reader can be used to introduce readers to RSS.

I always love it when I get new comments on my blogs. They always strike up some good conversation. Another thing I always do is make my blogs DoFollow. It tends to bring in a bit more traffic, and make readers want to post more comments. It's sort of a tip that webmasters use to increase the traffic to their own website.

I am new to blogging and am being driven mad by people dumping links to sites offering porn, russian mail order brides and little blue pills in my comments. I have turned off the comments to allow me to catch my breath, but I really do want the blog to be interactive. Am I missing something obvious? (like your human type test below?

"Am I missing something obvious?"

Well, Miss Evangelista, you certainly missed the comment above where I pointed out that if you try and keyword stuff your name for links, I'll publish your comment, but turn you into a futile linkless character from Doctor Who.

Here's the rules again - you'll get a dofollow link on this page if you leave a comment that adds to the conversation and doesn't keyword stuff your name.

Better still, if you think about it my link-building chums, have a surf around the rest of the site, and you might find an article to leave a genuine comment on where the link juice hasn't already been diluted by the previous 124 comments...

What i think commenting is good for getting traffic only, as its pretty hard to get juice from commenting pages, and most of the time you get victim of being spammed.

i don't really agree to Eric. Such commenting on blog to get link is really help me my site to rank pretty well on Google.
the rule is only never spamming and lower competitive niche

Thanks for updating me on popularizing blog comments. I am a blogger and was not aware of how to draw more traffic to my site. All the best for your future endeavors!

Martin, the fact that you get people talking so much about blogs and link building is what you want in the end right? Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between proper content comments and comments that don't immediately look like spam but that are not really related if you take a closer look. It's just part of the job to maintain a successful blog. It might take up a lot of your time, but you see the results and all those guys that put nofollows or spam their own sites have really no idea what the actual function of a blog is.

I use many different ways to promote comments on my own blog, including being able to leave global comments on the index page, which also displays on every page of my blog. I also enabled the DoFollow tag, which increases the conversation. CommentLuv is also a plugin I use for WordPress, which displays the commenters latest blog post. Comment conversation is something I always enjoyed, and my viewers engaging in conversation always makes my blog worth something more to me.

Just getting started on this whole blogging thing, but on the advice of a friend I've had comments turned completely off on my blog for fear of spam. After reading your article and all the comments here, I'm definitely rethinking that strategy, as I would like to encourage feedback and a sense of community. Thanks for giving me food for thought!

I'm beginner at the blogging. Thanks for this list. I consider each part of this list will function differently for different subject blogs.

I like the comment above about writing some posts for SEO and others for a conversation. I'm new at this, observing and pondering. I chose blogger, I'm kind of sorry I did now as there are none of the comment type plugins for it... but then the free wordpress platform won't allow the plugins either... and I'm not in the mood for paying for hosting while my blog is new and light on traffic.

To generate more comments, write provocative opening posts and make sure that the ensuing comments are well moderated. Hopefully a meaningful discussion - one with substance. the list are very useful for visitor who would like to comment.

To get the most out of your comments, publish something either very interesting, or highly controversial. Many people will have something to say about a controversial article or idea. If you publish an article that is too difficult to read or it is just very boring, readers will have a hard time grasping the focus of the article, and their comments will be garbage. Bloggers, do your readers a favor and publish interesting/controversial articles that are easy to grasp. I bet your comments will be higher quality.

Getting a balance between complexity and controversy is important to getting quality traffic, good traffic will bring good comments and make your blog even greater, it has a snow ball effect. Strike at your reader's heart without confusing them and make your points clear and you are bound to do well.

Thanks, I am beginning to start bloging so these tips about commenting are really helpful for me.

i agree with jordan, i was make simple experiment about the correlation getting quality traffic with comment on a blog. Good comment will increase traffic to your site, and also google with listed your site into good position. When your ranking on google Search engine position was good, it's easy to get highly organic quality traffic to your website. This discussion is very interesting. Thank you

Posts that are slightly edgy, thought provoking and maybe a little controversial will spur your readers to get involved. Everyone has an opinion and if you can get them to express them through comments it makes for interesting reading. By the way I happen to like the first example above "Recent Comments" posted above the fold where it's the first thing a visitor sees.

the comment should be relevant and more then that you should read the thread and post relevant comments. If you spam without reading a single line --- it will suck. Read properly and put in something relevant to help it get approved

How shall i Increase blog comments quickly. I get rare comments on my blog? Help!

I must admit that I have a hard time understanding the need for a email subscription. Are there any web people left that are not using rss ?

Only about 95% of them Peter, only about 95%.

Great article on commenting. I feel that commenting is a great way to share your thoughts and receive some traffic.

I sometimes feel that blog comments are more work than they're worth. But on the other hand, having a dead blog with no comments at all is definitely something that nobody wants. It's just that I'm having to do a lot of manual work to seep through all the crap 'just-give-me-a-link' comments that I sometimes feel overwhelmed.
I'm wondering how your 'Turing test' is doing. Does it manage to filter spam?

I enjoy reading comments, however, they have wrought some damage on the blogosphere thanks to the malicious intentions of a few individuals. This is the reason why many avoid trying to promote their comments, as they think by doing so, they are automatically making themselves targets for these unscrupulous individuals.

I like getting comments and responding to them. Comments let me know that my readers are enjoying my posts and taking the time to leave their opinions regarding my posts.

All comments are good comments. The more comments that one has, the more impressive one's blog's authority looks.

Peter, som blog owners make their websits DoFollow websits. It just means that anything that is posted on the blog will be posted on web. is one of many programs that can help find Dofollow websits and can help increase comments on your blogs.

And, numpty, som websit owners don't seem to have an 'e' key

Well, that is 148 comments published on here so far - and this is the last. Seriously, I think 90% of my blog maintenance overhead is from deleting comments on this one single post that say 'Nice blog post y'all' from "Realtor in Smallville"

My favourite was a comment that simply said "We are the world best internet marketing company" which was signed 'Internet Marketing Company'.

Bless you, but I beg to differ, so comments closed here on this post.

If you really are desperate for a 'dofollow' link from a UK based blog that is mostly about newspapers, search engines and the media in the UK, why not look at a recent post, and actually write a comment that is relevant, interesting and doesn't keyword spam?

Then you'll get published, otherwise you are just wasting your time and my bandwidth...

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