We, as human beings, tend to seek some kind of validation for our efforts. So when we write what we qualify as a great post, it would be nice to get some of that validation via comment chatter.
It's disappointing to make a post, and then wait anxiously, only to find... nothing.
The sound of silence...
In a bloggers world, silence is deafening, and defeating.
So why is it so hard to get your readers to leave comments? Well, there are a few reasons for this.
Firstly, you may be writing in a niche that just doesn't get a lot of comments. Your audience may just not be the type of readers that comment or interact. A blog about blogging, read by other bloggers, is likely to get a lot of comments and activity. A blog about tech stuff will inevitably get less. The users are different there.
Another reason may be that your niche demographic is not as familiar with interaction on social media. This may be true if you have a group of older or less tech-savvy readers. Think about your following, and how they engage online in other areas. If they're not engaged on other platforms, chances are it will be difficult to get them to engage with you. However, it's not impossible, so don't give up.
The most important thing is that you're increasing traffic to your site. That is a much better method of tracking your growth and worth online. However, if you can't tolerate the silence, here are some methods to nudge your readers to leave you a comment:
#1 Ask Them
It may just be that simple. Maybe they're really just waiting for an invitation. "Please comment below with your thoughts" at the end of your post is bound to prod someone to type out a few words. What's better is that you ask them a specific question. If you give them some direction, "Tell me what you think is wrong with today's economy below" they are more likely to interact than if you were leaving them to come up with some material of their own. Many users simply don't feel comfortable leaving uninvited feedback on your blog.
#2 Post Questions
It's a sales tactic, it's a psych tactic. Hey, can I ask you a question? Just about every time you open with that, you're going to get a positive response.
Who says no? Practically nobody.
You've already established a mental dialogue with your reader this way.
"Can I ask you a question?"
"Sure, what's up?"
"How do you feel about xyz on the 123?"
"Oh, well... let me tell YOU...."
This is the kind of thinking pattern that you want your readers to be in when they reach the end of your blog post. That way it's very natural for them to continue this mental dialogue with a comment, letting you know what they truly think. Once a few readers comment, it will be easier to get more conversation going.
#3 Don't Be the Mom (or Dad)
Lecturing your readers won't spur them to talk to you. If you're talking "at" your readers, they aren't likely to talk "to" you. Also, if you're only posting instructional pieces, you're not likely to hear much. There isn't anything to carry on the conversation. If you want comments, give, and ask for, opinions. This isn't to say that you should post about controversial topics, unless that's your "thing" of course, but do blog about things where more than one point of view may have some relevancy, and leave the door open for your fans to express their own opinions.
#4 Talk Back
Not in the "you're-so-grounded" kinda way. You're asking your readers to talk to you, so it's important (especially when your blog is new and building) that you try to reply to every comment. In time you'll see your readers interacting with each other, and in those cases you can step back a bit, but initially they need to see you being as active as you'd like them to be. Make them feel like you noticed them, and value them enough to comment on what they had to say. That will keep them engaged and coming back.
#5 You've Got a Mail!
As in, you've got an email to use as a tool. If your readers comment, and then see others commenting on their comment, they're likely to return to your site. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it's great for the blog. Everyone wants to know what someone had to say about their comment. Humans are nosy. Use it to your advantage.
These are some simple ways to motivate your readers to interact with you, and with each other. The friendly banter back and forth on a blog helps to build interest. We've all seen articles where the comments were actually more entertaining than the original piece itself.
Some writers may find that offensive, but hey, whatever works, right?
The main idea is to get your readers to your blog and then keep their interest. Fostering the comment conversations does just that. Also, it helps build a sense of community around your blog. After awhile readers will look to see who commented and even strike up friendships between them.
Whatever the means, the point is that you're growing your fan base, and in turn growing the potential of your blog to give you the results you need. Not to mention that at the end of the day, it's nice to look over your latest work and see the flurry of activity you've created. Actually, that's pretty cool.