I’ve noticed something quite peculiar. Despite my blog’s traffic up more than 10X in the past five years, the number of comments per post have declined. I used to regularly produce posts that would regularly get over 100 comments during my earlier years. Nowadays, not so much.
To figure out what went “wrong,” I did some investigating. Let me share with you what I found.
HOW TO GET MORE INTERACTIONS
1) Write with a lot more opinion about topics which don’t have a right or wrong answer. For example, my 401k By Age post garnered over 400 comments in 2012 because it was an opinion piece backed by detailed assumptions over the years. I stated my opinion that XYZ is how much an individual SHOULD have in their 401k at various ages. Although I believe in the numbers, I also realize the numbers are aggressive for those in their 20s and 30s. The funny thing is, most people in their 40s and beyond tend to agree with my assumptions.
2) Write shorter posts that are less convincing. In other words, leave your posts more open to interpretation. If you write a post that is so thorough, who is going to argue with you? My average post length in 2015 is now 50% longer than the average post length in 2012. We know that meatier content tends to rank better in search. But on the flip side, if your content is really long, less people will probably end up digesting the whole article, let alone leave an intellectual comment.
3) Make fun of funny situations. Humor goes a long way in social media and with blog articles. There are so many funny situations in the world to write about that people will want to share and discuss. A good example is, Stay At Home Men Of The World, UNITE! The real underlying premise of the article was to question whether it’s cheating to say you’ve retired early if you have a working spouse. Over the years, I’ve lost a lot of humor in my posts for some reason. Maybe it’s because the internet has a great way of beating writers down after a while!
4) Go against conventional wisdom. Everybody knows it’s good to save money in tax-advantaged accounts like the 401k, IRA, and Roth IRA. But if you can come up with some logical reasons as to why not to contribute, you might just have a hit. For example, I wrote the post Disadvantages Of A Roth IRA, which has gone on to garner over 400 comments and rank in the top spot for such a search term years later.
STRATEGIC DECREASE IN COMMENTS
Most publishers would love more comments. Comments are an easy way to gauge how popular an article resonates with people, including the number of social shares as well. But what I realized after writing so many posts with so many comments is that it can get very exhausting responding and monitoring them all! Not only do I like to respond to well thought out comments, I also have to check my spam filters much more often to ensure that I release good comments.
I figured one day that instead of responding to comments that could equate to another 1,500+ word post, I decided to use my comment responding energy to simply write another post! Sometimes I use the Comment Commentary system. And other times I’ll just jive off the comments I’ve read and write a post like Income Profiles Of Financially Free People, in response to the naysayers to my post on how to make over $100/hour driving for Uber.
I do believe comments help posts rank better in search instead of worse because the search engines pick up comment content as well. However, at the margin, I think it’s better to continue writing new posts with new URLs.
So there you have it. If you want more comments, do the above. But once you successfully start getting tons of people to comment, you might want to shift gears and do the opposite if you start getting burnt out. After all, one of the keys to blogging is consistency.
STARTING A MONEY MAKING BLOG
I never thought I’d be able to quit my job in 2012 just three years after starting Financial Samurai. But by starting one financial crisis day in 2009, Financial Samurai actually makes more than my entire passive income total that took 15 years to build. If you enjoy writing, creating, connecting with people online, and enjoying more freedom, learn how you can set up a WordPress blog in 15 minutes like this one.
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Updated for 2017 and beyond.