Welcome to Book Blogging 101, a weekly feature on Parajunkee’s View that answers your questions and strives to share great book blogging tips and some helpful hints to help you on your way.

Q: How do I get people to comment on my blog posts?

Web Guru ByronIt is said, by those “Oh Knowledgeable Ones” of web guruness that about 1% of your viewers are actually actively engaging (meaning they are commenting regularly), 9% periodically contributing. The rest, complete lurkers.

I did the math on my stats (which is probably wrong since I barely remember my multiplication tables – yes, when that Algebra teacher said you’ll use it in everyday life, she lied. Graphic Designers luckily do not need Algebra, they call their printer) for the last two weeks. I took my average number of comments, which seems to be about 15.5 a post, and I factored it to the amount of unique visitors I’ve had in the last two weeks. It came out that for every 50 pageviews, I get one comment. Every 1 in 50.

Wow, to compare I looked up what else is in that ratio:

  • 1 out of 50 of the “found” planets in our Universe could possible contain life ¹
  • Rick Santorum has a 1 in 50 chance of winning the nomination.²
  • 1 in 50 New Food Products are High Fructose Corn Syrup-Free ³

Rick SantorumSince I don’t expect to find alien life in my lifetime, I doubt Rick Santorum will become the Republican Nominee and it is DAMN hard to find food without High Fructose Corn Syrup, I’m going with 1 in 50 as horrible statistics, LOL.  And considering most of us quantify our reach by the amount of comments we receive, this is terrible news to me.  In my mind a post without a comment is like a restaurant without anyone seated, lonely and depressing and reeking of salmonella. Yet, shouldn’t these numbers be reassuring? This means that most likely your post is being read – check those stats, did you have pageviews? They just aren’t commenting. WTF?

Reassuring yes, but we shouldn’t just throw in the towel and accept these lurkers non-commenting ways! Because a non-comment post says to me, basically my post wasn’t interesting enough to elicit a response. Or am I just being sensitive?

How do I make my post interesting enough to get more comments?

  1. Ask Questions.The most obvious way of getting a response is to prompt one. Ask a question in your post.
    1. End your review with, a question, like “Have you read ____, what did you think?”
    2. Bring up a discussion topic, ask a question based on the genre or author. What are your favorite books in the paranormal romance genre? Can you suggest any other books by this author?
    3. Does the book have a sexy hero? Ask about their favorite sexy hero. Does the book have an interesting locale? Ask about interesting locales.
  2. Ask For Comments. Some people are scared to leave comments, they might need a little prodding. Specifically invite your readers to comment in each post.
  3. Respond. If you get a comment, respond back! This should be a given, but I find so many blogs that don’t do it.
  4. Conversation Posts. Write your post like a conversation, stating your feelings much like you would talk to a friend about something you feel strongly about.
  5. Controversial or Negative.
    1. Negatives. Unfortunately I have to say my negative reviews get a lot more comments than my positive ones. Why is this? And should I be promoting this? That is the question. I think it might break down to the fact that I get a lot more “into it” when I write a negative review. Mostly because I feel I must prove why I didn’t like a book, whereas if I enjoy a book I don’t feel as motivated to lay it all on the lines. There are only so many ways you can say, creative, original and emotional…etc. This is my theory though, it could be that people like drama and are more apt to respond to “sucks” than “wow”.  I can’t promote this as something to do on purpose though – because if your blog starts pumping out negative review after negative review, you might form a reputation that will be hard to recover, especially with authors. I’ve seen a few blogs come and go that had a rep for being mainly negative, reviewing “Pop” books just to bash them. People do get tired of negative, so it is good to watch your Voice.
    2.  Controversial. There is a reason that my stats for THURSDAY are off the chain. We are talking 3 times my usual daily visits. Do you know what my highest-ranking post is for 2012? My name thievery post.  It was controversial, it called out a big  no-no topic in the Book Blogging world, I even pointed fingers, which I usually don’t do, but felt it was necessary instead of just doing a generic appeal. I didn’t expect it to get so much attention, but it did. I didn’t do a controversial topic, just to do one, I had been specifically asked to help. And I think this is how these things should go, you shouldn’t try to be controversial, you should only do this if you feel passionately about a subject – because if not, you’ll look like you’re just being combative and pushy. I think every now and again it is good to throw all your cards on the table about a subject — just make sure that you are informed and your argument is well thought out before you post, it is easy to get egg on your face when a controversial topic is played.
  6. Easy Commenting: People aren’t going to comment if it is hard!!!!!!
    1. Take CAPTCHA off – it is useless and just makes me want to shoot someone. You will not get spammed, if you do you can just delete it!  If you are so worried about it, make it that you have to approve the comments. Take CAPTCHA off.
    2. Make your comment link easy to find.
    3. Login required? Guess what I’m not commenting, why should I login?
    4. Comments that require personal information? I think not. No comment.
    5. You might be trying to battle spam, but all you are doing is pushing away would-be comments. Commenting should be ridiculously easy.

So what did we learn from this post? Be passionate about what you blog about. Ask questions. Turn off captcha and be controversial in the right time and place.

My question to you: What has worked for you? What kind of posts have received the most comments (besides giveaways)?

For entertainment purposes, and personal shameless self-promotion, have you guys checked out our Sh*t that Book Bloggers Say video?

XO – Happy Thursday, Talk Less, Read More.

I can’t get to all the questions, but please ask your BB101 Questions here…bring it on.

¹’Super-Earth,’ 1 of 50 Newfound Alien Planets, Could Potentially Support Life. (2011 September 13). Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/09/13/super-earth-1-50-newfound-alien-planets-could-potentially-support-life/
²Krauthammer: Santorum Has 1 In 50 Chance; Ron Paul Has Zero Chance. (2012 January 2). Retrieved from hhttp://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/01/02/krauthammer_santorum_has_one_in_fifty_chance_ron_paul_has_zero_chance.html
³1 in 50 New Food Products are High Fructose Corn Syrup-Free. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/1-in-50-new-products-are-high-fructose-corn-syrup-free.htm