Kara Vanskike, a reader of Spin Sucks, the blog I manage, sent me an email recently saying:

Our blog has been up and running for about a year and a half.  We know it's being read through analytics and in person comments, but we really struggle to get people to comment on the posts.”

Despite what many people think, it’s not as easy as starting a blog, publishing a few posts and waiting for the comments to roll in. I know that’s not what Kara thinks, but I have a few suggestions for her, and I thought I’d share them here, since this seems to be a common problem.

I could easily suggest simple things like asking questions at the end of your posts or writing about controversial topics, but the truth is it’s less about what you do within your blog than what you do outside of it.

Most people won’t comment unless a) they know you, b) there are already a bunch of comments when they get there or c) you REALLY piss them off.

The third one isn’t advisable on a frequent basis, and the second one is dependent on the first one, so let’s stick with the first.

Yes, your friends obviously know you, but they’re not necessarily interested in your chosen topic.

So…you’ve got to get out there and meet people who are interested in picking up what you’re putting down. Good news: There’s a whole world of really smart people out there who love to share their opinions! They’re called bloggers.

The first step toward more comments is counterintuitive for a lot of folks, but, trust me, it works. Comment on other blogs! Bloggers like nothing better than to receive comments on their posts. (See Kara’s question above!)

When you leave a comment on a blog, you usually have an opportunity to include a URL. If I want to find out who a commenter is (I always do!), the first thing I do is click on their link, which often leads me to their blog. Now that I’m there, I just may follow suit and leave my own comment.

It actually annoys me when a commenter doesn’t leave a link because it makes it difficult to connect with them.

And that brings me to the next step, which is to interact with people on Twitter.

Gini Dietrich wrote a great post recently about why she loves Twitter. I know of no better way to connect with large numbers of people from around the globe who share similar interests. Find them, strike up a conversation about your shared interest, and next time you share a link to your blog, you might be surprised how many of them click on it – and leave a comment.

Why? Because they now know you. And beyond that, they know that you share similar interests, they know a bit more about where you’re coming from, they’re happy to get a deeper window into your thoughts, and they probably want to share their two cents and further the conversation.

Simple, right? Yeah, it’s not a complicated formula. It takes time, and most people don’t want to spend the time. But if you follow these two steps – well, not just follow, but really put your heart into it – you will start to receive more comments on your blog. I promise!

How do YOU encourage comments on your blog? I would love to hear other suggestions in the comment section below.