When gauging user interest in your content, try looking at your most read and commented articles. Which topics were the most popular for that week and why? How many comments were posted on your articles? While quality and content ultimately determine how many comments you get on individual articles, here are tips to increase the number of comments and user interaction with your site.
Make it easy to comment
When setting up the process for users to register or comment, make it simple. If there are too many steps required to sign up for commenting, users might not be motivated enough to register.
Users will be more likely to leave comments if they have incentive, too. By giving incentive to comment through giveaways or promotions to award users who leave comments or rewarding comment and reader loyalty through special posting privileges or recognition, users will want to leave more comments.
Add your voice to the thread
After writing an article, don’t stop there by simply starting the conversation. As users comment on your article, take the time to thank them for their comments, answer questions or add to the thread. When leaving your comment, identify yourself as the writer, administrator or moderator by changing your username’s color and posts or including your title.
Add features to interact and connect with each other
While leaving a comment is a way for your audience to interact with you, it is also important for commenters to interact with each other to further conversation. For certain types of comment threads, there are those that allow users to “like” or “dislike” each other’s posts, which invites users to see which comments can get the most likes. Depending on the site, posts that are the most favorited have the advantage of increased visibility at the top of the comment posts.
For your site, allow users to choose avatars, customise a profile/bio and add favorite commenters so users can see each others’ profiles.
Ask questions at the end of posts
Address users by asking questions related to what they thought about the article, anything they would have added, if they liked or disliked the article, etc. By talking to users directly and asking a question, they will have reason to add a comment or give their opinion.
Content management systems like WordPress or Joomla feature comment sections in their admin panels to manage and analyse comments. A new feature of Google Analytics is more integration of social media accounts with Google Analytics Social Analytics reports. Through the Social Data Hub, sites can see how users share and interact with their content by measuring social activity like voting, commenting, liking, etc. After reviewing measurable data, determine how you will plan your content creation around the most popular and commented articles.
To make your thread more readable and manageable, remove any spam comments advertising dating sites, medications, etc.
Take a poll
For a greater chance of user interaction, embed polls into your posts to facilitate commenters voicing their opinion. After voting, users can expand on their choice or debate with other users in the thread.
Reply or share through social media
Some comment threads feature sharing comments on Facebook and Twitter or creating a link to share through email, IM, etc. Having social media links in your comments would allow for easier sharing and bookmarking so more users can read articles and leave comments.
Email comment replies and reminders
To keep users in a conversation about your articles, email them when someone responds to their comment or thread or when someone looks at their commenter’s profile and messages them.