8 Powerful Ways to Boost User Engagement on Your Website and Create a Thriving Community!

powerfulwaystoboostuserengagement

Today we are going to talk about user engagement and blog comments.

You’ll learn some simple tips that you can implement to boost user engagement and create a thriving community on your website.

So you have been hard at work researching article topics and writing in-depth content to publish on your website, in hopes that Google will feel obliged to send some traffic in your direction.

You write articles and try to target keywords and hit the publish button, waiting for the keywords to be ranked and the traffic to come in.

The traffic slowly starts to increase as more people find your articles. However, there’s one problem. Even though the traffic is increasing and by all accounts you should have a lot of engagement – your articles still don’t receive any comments.

Does that mean people don’t find your content useful? Does your content not help them? Do you need to think of better ideas or maybe re-think your entire business?

These are common doubts that website owners struggle with on a daily basis. In this article, I’m going to talk these doubts and show you how you can drastically increase user engagement on your website.

What does this mean?

It means more subscribers, more comments, more social shares, and more satisfied readers and clients.

Let’s start with website comments.

Why Should We Encourage Readers to Leave Comments?

Google’s algorithm tends to favor social pings. There are many different types of social pings, the most popular being social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. Blog comments are also social pings and Google’s robots do scan comments for keywords and content as well.

So, for starters, blog comments can improve your rank in search engine results.

I can’t say how much of a difference they’ll make but I can say that they do make at least a small difference, and any small improvement is better than no improvement.

It also goes without saying that spam comments will bring a penalty to your website and make it more difficult for you to rank for your keywords. This is one of the reasons you need to ramp up your website’s security and never automatically approve comments!

Akismet is the best comment filtering tool I know! 

Akismet is one of the best comment filtering tools for WordPress, if you don’t have it already, I highly recommend enabling it because it will save you a lot of headaches. Not only does it block spam comments but it also blocks malicious log-in attempts and other harmful attacks.

Another, and one of the most important reasons you should encourage people to leave comments is to trigger user engagement. We are social creatures. We like what other people like.

If there’s a crowd of people standing around in a circle, we feel compelled to see what all the fuss is about. Similarly,  when an article has a lot of comments we can’t help but see what all the fuss is about. I know because I do this all the time.

It’s quite simple, if an article has a lot of comments and social shares, we’ll want to check it out and see why it’s so popular.

Maybe we’ll want to leave a comment too. It’s hard to resist the urge to check out a popular article, even if the article only has a handful of comments, I’ll want to check it out.

On the other hand, if you see an article that has no social shares and no comments, it can make you think that the website is not popular. Where are all the readers? Do the readers trust this website?

When there are no comments it can feel like a ghost town…and ghost towns aren’t attractive! There’s no active community! Why is there no active community?

Obviously, these are negative thoughts, and they rush through your mind even before you can recognize them. So it goes without saying that you should focus on collecting as many comments and social shares as possible.

This is easier said then done, but in this article I’ll walk you through some simple tips that will boost user engagement.

You can always expand on these tips and use your own strategies to drastically boost user engagement and create a thriving community around your website.

1. Reward Readers When They Leave a Comment

I’m not talking about handing out cash prizes to people who leave comments. What I mean is that you should give people a reason to leave a comment. How? One of the simplest ways is to let people include a link to their website in the comment.

WordPress website’s automatically format comment forms to include your name, website, and other details, and you can add more fields as you please. If you don’t use WordPress then I suggest that you figure out a way to let people include a live link to their website in the comment section.

One plugin that you might want to use is Comment Luv, it’s a cool free plugin that includes a link to the commentator’s latest blog-post, automatically fetched from his or her website.

Leaving comments on websites that have this plugin enabled is an awesome way to network and drive traffic to your own website. I actively search for websites that have Comment Luv enabled and leave comments because it provides an awesome networking opportunity (and the bonus traffic is always welcome).

What’s awesome about Comment Luv is that it includes the title of your latest article in the comment section.

That means if you have an attractive and attention-grabbing article title, it will bring in more clicks and traffic. Once again, I need to stress the importance of article titles!

So if you have Comment Luv enabled on your website it will reward people for leaving comments because it will provide them with a free opportunity to market their latest articles…and who doesn’t like free marketing?

2. Include Open-ended Questions in Your Articles

Ideally, the content that you write should be stimulating and make the reader think deeply about the subject.

I understand that it’s difficult to write these kind of articles when your website is in an obscure niche, some niches are simply less interesting than others, but you can still include some thought-provoking question to encourage readers to share their thoughts.

Where in the article should you include these questions?

Well, it depends. I can’t say for sure.

But I do know that if you ask a question at the beginning of the article the reader might forget to leave his thoughts in the comment section by the time he’s done reading the article.

Then again, some people only read the title of an article and rush to leave their opinions. Regardless, at least try to include a couple open-ended questions in your articles, worse scenario; the reader has something to think about for awhile (and that’s perfect because your website will leave an impression).

Asking open-ended questions with no specific answer is one of the best ways to trigger a debate, it’s a perfect strategy for social media as well. Most people can’t resist the urge to leave a comment expressing their opinions about a subject, especially if that subject hits an emotional button.

And that brings me to the next point.

3. Be Controversial (But Not Stupid)

Let’s face it, some of the most popular articles on social media are plain stupid.

I also noticed a lot of downright factually incorrect articles tend to make the most impact. I believe this is because most people will read the article and then rush to the comment section to debunk the article.

For examples, check out any conspiracy website. One hot topic is the vaccine issue. Whenever a website publishes an article about this topic it always has a huge impact, collecting thousands of comments.

Controversial is good, if your point is factually correct.

Anyone can rant about any topic but that doesn’t mean they’re right. Collect the data from reputable sources and form your own opinion then write it down.

You don’t have to be 100% politically correct when you write for your own website, in fact, readers will appreciate the raw voice much more than if you just parroted the same content everyone else writes about.

Be genuine. Find your voice. But don’t be stupid.

4. Ask for Comments.

This might seem a little too simple but it works wonders; all you have to do is politely ask for a comment.

If you read any of my previous articles you’ll notice that at the end, near the summary, I like to ask the reader a question and encourage him or her to leave a comment. I can’t say for sure how much of an impact this little tip can make because it’s really difficult to split-test that kind of feature.

Still, it’s worth looking into and if it has at least a small positive impact then it’s worth the trouble. It only takes a few seconds to write a sentence asking the reader to leave a comment or share the article on social media.

Speaking of social media, have you read my ultimate guide to marketing on social media? Read it. 

You can ask for a comment several times throughout the article or at least hint that you want the reader to share his opinions.

I think this is an interesting idea because it allows people who may be more knowledgeable about the article topic to share their ideas, thus improving the value of the community for everyone.

You might also be able to learn a thing or two.

This is why I like to admit that I’m not the best marketer in the world and I there’s plenty that I don’t know, I’m always open to criticism. Even though I do my best to study content marketing and I understand that best practices, sometimes people make mistakes.

If at any point you read something on this website that you don’t agree with or that you believe is incorrect, all you have to do is leave a comment and educate me, I’ll thank you for it.

So, all you have to do is include a sentence or two asking the reader to leave an comment below. I know this trick works on me because I love reading conversational articles that are open to discussion.

I don’t really engage in online debates because I think it’s a waste of time, but I do like to leave comments here and there, sharing my opinion with the world, especially if I have some insider knowledge to share.

I have discovered that some absolutely gold tips can be found in the comment sections of articles, so don’t skim over them too quickly!

5. Leave Comments on Other Websites (Network)

We already discussed Comment Luv and how it can be used to bring in targeted traffic, especially if your most recent article has an attractive title.

Well, one of the absolute best ways to collect more comments is to find blogs in your niche and leave comments on their articles.

I wrote about this in previous articles so I’ll keep it short.

I just wanted to mention that there are people, especially small-time bloggers, that will always return comments. The most popular bloggers rarely have time to return comments and that’s okay.

Still, there are plenty of small to medium sized blogs out there, and the owners are always happy to network with like-minded people. Everyone benefits.

I created a bookmark folder with all the websites in my niche that return comments. What this means is that when I leave a comment on one of their articles, they’ll come over to my website and leave a comment on one of my articles.

This isn’t some agreement that we have, I don’t force them to leave comments, they simply do because they like my content and enjoy networking with bloggers in their niche. The same applies for me.

It’s easy to figure out who returns comments. All you have to do is leave a comment or two on an article, and then wait for the person to check out your website and leave a comment on one of your articles.

If that doesn’t happen after a week or two, then it’s unlikely that the owner of that website will return a comment. You can choose to remove the website from your bookmarks or keep in there solely for traffic, I do both. Traffic from blog comments is awesome!

If I genuinely like the articles on a website and even if the owner does not return comments, I’ll still check out his or her website and leave comments, maybe even share the articles on social media, it all depends if I find value in the article.

Once again, value is so important, and creating it should be your number one objective! 

I have discovered that if you browse to the comment section of a popular article on a popular website you can find a lot of people with websites in similar niches.

You simply have to click on their website and check out their articles, maybe leave a comment or two. It’s also a perfect networking opportunity, it’s a strategy that I have been using for awhile, and as you can see, almost all of my articles have a handful of comments.

It is time consuming  but worth it.

I use Google Chrome and created a bookmark folder for all the websites that I leave comments on, I open all the links once a week and check if any of them have new articles, if they do, then I leave a comment on their latest article.

You can also sign up to their newsletter and receive their latest article directly in your email inbox but I like to keep my inbox clutter-free, so I don’t want to sign-up to too many newsletters (I receive enough emails already!).

It’s not perfect, but it works.

You could also consider signing up for RSS feeds or find other ways to be notified when a website publishes a new article.

6. Show Top Comments or Recent Comments

This is a feature that I’m testing on my website, if you check the right sidebar you’ll notice a section for the people who left the most comments on my website.

For larger websites, this feature might cause more problems because people will try to abuse the system and leave as many junk comments as possible in order to reach the top of the list.

But for now, I think it’s a cool way to encourage people to leave more comments because if they do then they’ll be featured on the top of the list, meaning more people are likely to click their link and head to their website. It’s free marketing!

If you don’t want to include the top comments, then something as simply as including recent comments could be helpful as well.

It shows that people are contributing to your articles and as we mentioned at the beginning of this post, peer pressure is important. New readers want to feel like the joined a community and not just a random website that has a bunch of stagnate articles.

On that note, another thing that you can try is Featuring comments. This mainly works on comment systems like Disqus and Facebook. The admin of the website can choose the best comment and “Feature” it. Featured comments will be at the top of the page for everyone to see. It’s something to consider.

7. Join Facebook Blog Challenges or Other Groups

I talked about this marketing technique in detail in my guide to marketing on social media. 

It’s worth another mention. When sharing an article in Facebook groups, I suggest that you mention you’ll always return comments. This encourages people to check out your article and leave a comment because they want you to comment on their articles too.

Most people don’t share articles in these groups for simple views, they need some user engagement, that’s what they’re after and that’s what you can give them.

You can also keep an eye out for any VIP Tribes or small Facebook Groups that have an active community where everyone engages with one another.

I like small groups because the members are more likely to leave comments on your articles, if the group gets too crowded, the user interaction tends to do down as well. Or the group is filled with spam. It’s counter-productive.

8. Get Your Article In-front of People!

This is a more generalize tip but one that needs to be mentioned. If you want to boost user interaction on your website then you’ll need to simply promote your website as much as possible.

It might take sometime before your website starts to collect organic comments. It’s okay, it’s normal, there’s no reason to take it personally. Most people just don’t want to leave comments and that’s okay.

Your website won’t suddenly sink if you don’t receive comments!

That’s one point that you need to remember, I know after reading this article you might think that your website absolutely needs comments, but that’s not entirely true.

Comments are always a bonus because they demonstrate that your website has an active community and they have a positive affect in search engine optimization as well.

Regardless, websites can survive without them, and a lot of websites actively discourage comments or disable them all together!

You can consider disabling comments but I don’t think it will be a help unless you own an extremely popular website and approving comments manually is too much of a hassle.

I know some websites, like Writer’s in Charge, disable comments. I think this is because it places the focus on the content of the article and not on the comment section.

Anyways, if you want more comments, then you’ll have to work on getting your article in-front of people who want to read it. Obviously, this is easier said than done, but if you follow the advice on this website I’m sure it won’t be a problem.

It all comes down to how you market your articles, whether that’s with search engines or social media, it all comes down to effective marketing tactics.

Make your website public.

Summarize:

So, thus concludes our discussion about how get more comments on your articles. Here is a convenient bullet-point summary of the most important points for your convenience.

I would also really appreciate a social media share or two, and if you want to leave a comment, feel free to do so. 

  • Reward readers for leaving a comment. Let them include a link to their website URL or active Comment Luv.
  • Include open ended questions to spark a debate in the comment section.
  • Write about controversial topics but do the research and don’t be stupid. Ignorance kills business.
  • Ask for comments. All it takes is a sentence.
  • Leave comments on other blogs and interact with other bloggers. Most bloggers with return comments and that’s a win-win for everyone.
  • Show top comments or recent comments in your website’s sidebar for everyone to see. This shows that your website has an active community!
  • Join Facebook groups where people exchange blog comments.
  • Promote your article as much as possible.
  • Remember that blog comments are not the sole indication that your website is a success. Many websites disable comments and are still successful.

Thanks for taking the time to read my article. 

And as always, if you could leave a comment or share this article on Twitter or Facebook, that would be a huge help and I would really appreciate the gesture.

Do you think blog comments are important for online business? Let me know below! 

OR Subscribe to my newsletter and receive the next article in your email inbox! 

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Until next time.

-Timothy Gagnon

22 thoughts on “8 Powerful Ways to Boost User Engagement on Your Website and Create a Thriving Community!

  1. Hello Timothy and wow…many thanks for such a great post.

    If anyone is not getting the trafic, engagement, subscribers and eventual profits from their blog efforts then your 8 tips will be a wonderful resource for them.

    Just to add another tip to your list, I have found some great free traffic can be created easily by creating a fun, 60 second video that simply raises people’s curiosity about your blog post. Then upload it to YouTube and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter with links to your post.

    And yes I am one of those smaller bloggers you mentioned who always does and always will repond to comments and return the favor – witrh pleasure. It’s got nothing to do with SEO but everything to do with building relationships as you never know who your next customer or joint venture partner will come from.

    Delighted to have shared this widely as many folks will benefit for the experise you have shared here Timothy

    Best wishes from a remote Thai village blogger

    Peter
    Peter Beckenham recently posted…5 Affiliate Marketing Lessons I Learned From a Thai Village HeadmanMy Profile

    1. Thanks Peter, I’m always happy to read your comments. I totally agree with the video idea, I just haven’t had a chance to try video marketing so I haven’t written about it yet, but when I do, I’ll write a detailed article about it. Thanks again for leaving a valuable comment!

  2. I wholeheartedly endorse the controversy idea… my most popular articles are on baby sleep training, circumcision and vaccination… I don’t post many of those because I only post them when they feel “right” to post, but as a Certified Pediatric Nurse, at least I am trained in the subject matter!

    I haven’t been doing enough networking, though. Good reminder.

  3. Hi,Timothy:
    I really enjoyed your post on engagement. The tactic/idea that stood out for me was the one about being controversial. I think this is something that a lot of people shy away from because they fear the controversy about that which they say. I know I try to be “careful” about what I may say or write but I sure don’t mind giving someone to think about. That’s good for the soul. And yes being “stupid” about it goes a long way to a short career as a writer.

  4. Hi Timothy,

    That’s a really helpful post.

    I enjoy exchanging comments with people, although I have to confess it’s very time-consuming. Completely agree that it’s well worth reading comments left by other people – I have learned a lot from very experienced bloggers by reading their comments.

    Interested in what you said about Akismet. I disabled this a few weeks ago because someone (forgotten who) said I should try a different plugin instead. Sadly I have seen an increase in spam since disabling Akismet, so I’m feeling I may go back to it.

    Joy
    Joy Healey recently posted…Review of Affiliate Marketing For Bloggers – Why Buy From Enstine Muki?My Profile

    1. Some people hire virtual assistants to post comments for them, I don’t do that but I heard it’s pretty common. You could think about that. I’m glad you liked the article!

  5. Hello Timothy.

    How are you?

    What an AWESOME post you have written.

    We are a married couple from Mumbai, India and we are just a couple of weeks into the blogging adventure.

    Your tips are really cool and they are sure to help us find success in blogging. Thanks a lot for sharing them.

    We enjoyed the part where you talk about writing in-depth content in the hopes that Google will fell obliged to send traffic our way – just what we did. Our first post was 8500 words.

    The result? ZERO TRAFFIC!

    Enjoy your weekend.

    Regards.
    Vee N Ric

    1. Hi Vee, thanks for commenting and I’m glad that you liked my article. Remember that publishing new content is not the only way to bring in traffic! In fact, it’s one of the slowest ways to attract traffic. You should always be marketing your website non-stop and networking with other bloggers! Good luck!

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