Alice Elliott
October 23, 2016

10 Reasons Your Readers Aren’t Commenting On Your Blog

10 reasons why readers aren't commenting on your blog

It can be extremely soul destroying putting your heart and soul into creating a fantastic post, and your readers aren’t commenting on your blog. In fact you get zero feedback, zilch, nothing, tumbleweed bounces across your screen.

You soon start to doubt your prowess as a blogger. And understandably so, if you get so little recognition for your hard work.

Surely it’s not your fault, but your readers? Or is it the way your blog is designed? Is the rise of social media taking over? Or those pesky spammers ruining everything?

Here’s an Infographic that may shed a bit of light into some of the reasons why:

What stops people from commenting on your blog

1. Have you turned everything off?

This may sound like a stupid question, but does your blog allow comments? Especially in the light of recent events when eminent bloggers turned off their comment facilities.

But newsflash: they’ve turned them all back on again! They’ve realised the folly of their ways, and that preventing comments reduced the amount of readers passing by their blogs. Even when most of their engagement happened on social media, a blog that welcomes comments becomes more approachable. It also makes it appear more readable.

Whenever I comes across a blog without a comment box, I sigh. This is particularly so when I feel dispelled to leave a comment, but find that I can’t. Many times I think “What a missed opportunity” as I click onto the next blog post, never to return.

2. Is it obvious where to comment?

If you have to hunt for something, like a comment box, this process instantly disintegrates the immediate desire of leaving a comment.

Comment boxes need to be totally obvious, and immediately accessible. They should not be hidden behind a tiny textual link saying “Leave a comment here” which can easily be overlooked. Neither should the path to the comment box be blocked by other comments, or diverted away by other digital marketing call to actions.

The best place for a comment box is right underneath the post. But this place is usually reserved for bio boxes, related post suggestions, social media sharing buttons, incentives to sign up to the newsletter, etc. ‘Tis a pity that web-designers neglect the importance of feedback by increasing the inaccessibility of somewhere to comment.

3. Have you asked for comments?

You can’t expect your readers to be clairvoyant. Neither will they realise the first thing they need to do after reading your post is to leave a comment. You need to tell them to do so.

You need to tell your readers to leave a comment, otherwise they won't remember to write one.Click To Tweet

A simple call to action at the end of your post suggesting a reason to leave a comment can be very effective. Without it, and you’ll find your readers aren’t commenting at all. The function of commenting isn’t a natural phenomenon like it used to be several years ago, in the good ol’ days before social media took over.

Write your posts to encourage comments. Avoid including absolutely everything – a perfect post won’t incite comments because your readers will be suitably satisfied and won’t need to add anything. Think about how to stimulate them with a controversial subject or a point of view that they could easily approve or disagree with.

4. How easy is it to comment?

Commenting on mobile devices can be a real turn-off for commenting. Unless they are particularly dexterous with their thumbs, have a strong Wi-Fi signal and a system that won’t freeze at an inopportune moment, you probably find your readers aren’t commenting as much as they should.

I don’t know about you, but I find the constricted keyboards, the tiny screens I have to squint at, that annoying predictive text that wants to take over, all these don’t make it conducive towards leaving a comment.

And many the time I have spent hours writing a comment on my tablet, hunted for my password to log in, filled in all my details and had my finger poised over the submit button, only to have the stupid thing freeze on me and the whole caboodle lost in one fell swoop!

5. Are your readers ready to comment?

The art of proper commenting, that is commenting on a blog, has been lost in the midst of time. Now you’ll find it has been superseded by the bitty, sporadic, real-time commenting associated with social media.

Commenting on a blog is like writing a mini-post, with everything that this entails.Click To Tweet

The trouble is, commenting on blogs is like mini-post writing. It requires a bit more than the usual to-and-fro-ing found within Facebook threads. And substantially more content than a series of tweets. It needs a considered approach, a beginning, middle and end, a proper purpose and an expected outcome.

You’ll find that readers aren’t commenting like that any more, because they’ve forgotten how. Looking back at my comments from 2014 and beyond, they were well written, extensive in their communication and a suitable and welcomed addition to my posts. Very rarely am I treated to such offerings now.

6. Do you readers have anything to say?

In a past post written in 2014 I mentioned that the British aren’t as fortunate as our American cousins on the other side of the pond when it comes to comment writing. We let our stiff upper lips get in the way, so we don’t gush out our feelings, vent our frustrations or enthusiastically show our appreciation for what has been written.

Commenting needs to happen naturally, organically and spontaneously. If you are naturally shy, nervous or have low esteem, this won’t be easy for you. And excelling in the art of commenting does require practice to make it a habit. Only then you’ll be able to rattle off something good without having to think too hard about it.

Some readers aren’t commenting because they imagine what they have to say isn’t worth anything. They are also concerned what the world may think about the comment they have just written, and judge them as inadequate. And breaking the ice to be the first to leave a comment can be just too much for some people.

7. Are your readers easily distracted?

A lot of blog reading happens away from a computer, such as on a tablet or smartphone. Technology has evolved so we can do this easily and practically. However it hasn’t simplified the process of leaving a comment to suit this new found freedom.

Also, when people comment will depend upon the time of year. During the summer months blog readers are out and about, enjoying being active and only snatching a few minutes to catch up on their reading list, for example when waiting for an appointment or catching a train.

Did you know that more comments are written in winter than during the summer?Click To Tweet

You’ll probably find more comments are written during winter, when people are curled up by the fire with a laptop on their knee. Then they have more time to stop and think about what they’re going to say in reaction to what they have just read.

8. Do your readers prefer social media?

The combination of closing comments and the rise of social media comment has caused the demise in blog commenting. It has also destroyed the quality of comments, because readers have been spoilt by real-time reactionary responses, which doesn’t require thought and precision in writing.

My research also brought up the fact that readers aren’t commenting because they feel too exposed on a blog. Surely social media would be more revealing about yourself and what you think? On there people don’t think before they type, and all sorts of degrading material is shared on a network that is extremely more public than a blog!

I suppose comments on a blog have more staying power, and can be read some time later. Whereas social media commenting is far more ethereal, a here and gone forever deal, with nothing retained. Some people may feel uncomfortable about their comments still being around and read at a later date.

9. Are logins putting your readers off?

We are all plagued by spammers. They are the bane of the commenting world. They have completely taken over and were one of the main causes why those eminent bloggers closed their comments.

Even with stringent moderation systems and CAPTCHA devices to stop robotic spam, you can’t prevent human spammers from doing their worst. This nuisance has made bloggers take proactive measures, which can put off ordinary, bona fide commenters from contributing.

Many the time have I heard disgruntled complaints about login commenting systems. The act of having to remember a password, search for it if it has been forgotten, and then enter it in to connect with another system can destroy any desire to comment in the first place! I know that some readers aren’t commenting because of all this bother.

10. Why should your readers comment?

If more readers were able to understand the benefits of commenting on blogs, and how it could increase their visibility and promote their own blogs (in a good way), then there is a chance the art of blog commenting could make a come back.

If more people started commenting on blogs again, this dying art could be resuscitated.Click To Tweet

Commenting continues the conversation created by the post, and can increase the social proof and popularity of a blog. Commenting on other blogs in your niche can extend your expertise and draw attention to you and your blog for the right reasons. Many the time people have read my blog because they have read a comment I contributed elsewhere, and have followed the natural back-links created from it.

Social media commenting is great for immediate interaction and engagement. It does require a different mindset which suits particular people, and may be the reason why readers aren’t commenting on blogs any more. But it doesn’t have any lasting power, nor does it result in meaningful, valuable contributions that are worth reading, which blog commenting provides for all readers both now and in the future.

Now it’s your turn

Let me know what you think about blog commenting, and whether you still do it. Entertain us with stories of your commenting problems, what hassles you’ve had, what success commenting has brought you, and any experiences that have arisen through commenting on a blog.

I am very keen to rekindle the art of blog commenting once more. It is a dying art, which needs to be resuscitated. I want to to find out why readers aren’t commenting so I can reeducate them to fully understand its benefits. I can provide tips and tricks that will make the commenting process easier and more effective. It’s so important to relieve the ‘bother’ and stimulate the ‘desire’ of blog commenting again.

I’m in the process of creating a commenting challenge (promoted as soon as I’ve thought of a good name for it). It is designed to gently encourage and educate you about the benefits of blog commenting, and the skills I will offer you can be extended onto social media as well. Watch this space!

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If you are a beginner blogger who is looking for someone to "explain things really simply" about blogs and WordPress, then go ask Alice Elliott! Her award winning blog Fairy Blog Mother explains blogging using ordinary, everyday words. And take part in her 90 Days Challenge to Commenting Mastery to get more readers and traffic!
  • Great post, Alice. Blog comments are a way to build a community around your content and your brand, and it’s a shame when bloggers disable comments. This is a signal that the conversation is a one-way affair, and it makes it more difficult for readers to feel connected to you on a higher level.

    • Thanks John, I agree. Blogs were originally designed to differentiate them from static websites by allowing comments, where readers were given the chance to voice their views. Turning comments off just makes the blogs static again, which defeats the issue.

      Blogs should be seen as a community oasis for that specific readership within a wild and stormy Blogosphere. And a community cannot survive without interaction between its members. The environment in which they gather to read content should be welcoming, friendly and communicative, and certainly remain in situ rather than in a more remote social networking site.

  • How can I *not* comment on this post? 🙂

    I believe that some blog posts just don’t require a comment.
    -The writer has covered a topic *so* well that there’s not much left to say

    -The topic is so vanilla that there’s nothing meaty to discuss. The sky’s blue. Nah, it’s more of a pale gray with clouds. *Yawn.* Now, tell me it’s *white* and I’m listening. Tell me that pollution ruins my sky and I’m intrigued. Tell me that it’s my fault because I grill out every night, add to the pollution and am selfish with my grilled veg and fish and now I’m rolling up my sleeves.

    We shy away from controversy, though, don’t we? No one wants a troll. No one wants to present their brand in a poor light. No one wants to voice an unpopular truth or opinion.

    Those kinds of posts stand out as provocative, though, and lure commenters. Even if I disagree, I love a good discussion, so I can’t help myself. I just wanna participate.

    Thank you, Alice. It’s my first time chez vous and I appreciate your work. You have prodded me into commenting, so well done!

    • Hi Diane, I’m so glad I succeeded in getting you to comment! Yes, there are plenty of posts that don’t merit a response. I remember my grandmother’s old adage: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it!”

      There should be no compunction to leave a comment. However, there are many blogs that would benefit hugely from vital feedback, friendly, helpful or whatever. If you find yourself nodding silently, or seething in a corner after having read a post, you should have written a comment. (But I don’t recommend commenting in anger, as this can lead to dire consequences.)

  • I am often not commenting because content is too long. I skim through it, and eventually doesn’t have time to drop a comment, especially if there is no link dropping possible 😉

    • Andy Capaloff

      Well we appreciate you commenting on this post, Jean-Christophe! Certainly, lack of time is a common and valid reason for people not commenting – one that will be the case for just about everybody, at least sometimes

    • That’s the problem, Jean-Christophe, it’s so easy to skim through a post! I know a long post can appear to be daunting, especially in this time-poor world we live in. That’s why I add in Infographic to cater for the scanning reader, so at least they get the gist immediately, which will either encourage them to read the post properly, or at least leave a comment at the end.

  • Francis Nwaobodo

    I think a comment is a great way to say thank you for a blog post, but sometimes a I do not leave a post if I see that the post is a very old one and already has lots of comments on it. So that is at the risk of repeating something already raised up by someone else and discussed earlier.

    • Thank you Francis, that is a very good point. Particularly as blog comments stick around and can be read sometime after the post has been published. However, commenters should still feel able to have their say, even if it is only an acknowledgement, as any contribution to a post is extremely welcomed by the author.

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