Comments are the lifeblood of a blog. Anything you can do to facilitate someone leaving a comment will add to your success as a blogger. You must be able to connect with visitors to your blog. The best way to communicate is through comments. Some people use chat boxes, add-a-link devices and guest books to enhance comments. Without interaction, your visitors are just dots on a global map or IP numbers on your statistics page.
Comments present some problems to blog owners. Number one requirement is that you moderate all comments to your blog. This will enable you to allow everyone, including Mr. Anonymous, to comment on your blog. Do not show word verification for comments, as they are not user friendly and add one more step to the commenting process. Do not require registration to comment on your blog unless you are using your blog for a group project and do not want any other comments.
Moderation allows you to view the comment and the link to the commenter’s website, if given, and to approve or reject the comment before it appears on your blog. Always check the link as some individuals will link with keywords like "parenting tips" and the link leads to a website that sells drugs or enhancement products. If a blue comment slips by you can still delete it when you see it.
If you have a problem with too many spam comments, you can always enable word verification, better known as the Turing test. This is your first line of defense. The second line of defense is to disallow commenting by anonymous persons. You may turn these features on and off at will, so try one or the other or both, and see what works for you. Only use these defenses if needed to keep your comments clean.
After you see the comment and approve it, find the comment on your blog and reply to it. If you have several comments on one post, you may reply to them all on one post, but acknowledge everyone. Some bloggers email the commenter in reply, but those emails wind up in spam filters or may make people angry. We receive too much email and rarely want more.
If you wish to do more than comment on their comment, go to the commenter's blog and comment. Just a general comment, like "Just wanted to thank you for commenting on my post at my [name] blog. I have left some information on the subject in the comments for you. Stop by again."
How do you increase comments? Hold contests, host carnivals, ask provocative questions, or make a game out of comments. I believe this is how memes began, but these are more of a chore than commenting. The only memes in which I participate are Blog Your Blessing and Click & Comment Monday, neither of which tag other people to participate. Carnivals are a great way to discover new blogs and to attract new readers to your blog.
One last word on commenting. If you delete the "no follow" tag from your comments section of the blogger template, or add the "do follow" plugin on some blogging platforms, anyone who submits an approved comment will receive a link to their blog from your blog. The search engines will "folllow" the links in the comments and will count these as outgoing links from your site. Moderation becomes even more important then, as you are creating a permanent link between your blog and their blog.
Check Home Biz Blogger blog on Monday for links to all entries in the Carnival of Blogging Success. Please leave me a comment so I know what you think about my idea of Successful Blogging.
Anyone commenting in April on CoolAdzine for Marketers is entered into the drawing for $50 via PayPal. Every comment is an entry. See this post, Comments and Favorites Worth Cash Contest, for more information.