Thursday, December 9, 2010

Copyblogger: Scientific Analysis On How To Get More Comments

This is another great post from CopyBlogger and I appreciated how Dan shares his data on which he derives his conclusions.  Getting comments is a goal for every blogger; not only does it show that your audience engages but it must also be a driver for SEO and rankings.  I heard that some mommy bloggers from a conference even formed groups to comment on each other's blog posts.  

I have to say that I am not overly driven to get comments; page views are what I am focusing on right now but I do notice that there are things you can do to get more comments.  The most obvious is, of course, ask for comments.  End each post with a question.  Invite your readers to give their opinion and then comment back to their comment on your blog.

Another snippet on comments:  the librarian bloggers that I met at KidLitCon 2010 all like Live Journal for the threaded comments.  I was assured by them that Wordpress would be adding this feature soon.  To be honest, I am not sure how much my readers read all the words in my posts, let alone the comments, but comments are an important part of your blog!  So, carry forth and let me know if any of this advice helps to get you comments!

Pragmatic Mom,
I am working on a new tagline:  Education Matters
What do you think?!

image of scientific flasks
One of the most engaging features of the blogging platform is the commenting system.

Many bloggers believe there is as much or even more value in the discussion than the posts they write themselves. Comments are a classic form of social proof for blogs, and blogs that attract lots of comments appear more authoritative. Comments are also a great way to facilitate user generated content that is perfect for SEO.
Because of all this, comments can become addictive, and many bloggers want to know how to get more of them. While there is a lot of great anecdotal advice out there from experienced bloggers, I thought some might appreciate a more data-driven approach.

Fortunately for you, I’ve spent the past few months analyzing data on more than 150,000 blog posts. And in doing that, I’ve identified four data points you can use to encourage more commenting on your site.
chart with data about blog comments
The first thing I noticed is that while articles published during the week generally tend to get more views, articles published on the weekends get far more comments. This may be because users have more freedom on non-work-days to take the time to share their two cents.
chart with data about blog comments
Then, when I analyzed the hour-of-day blogs posts were published during, I found that commenting peaked on articles posted in the morning, specifically around 8 and 9AM.
I believe this is because posts released early are in everyone’s inboxes and feedreaders when they check them in the morning and the rest of the day.
chart with data about blog comments
I also found some interesting things when I looked at words used in articles and how they correlated with comment numbers.
Posts that mention “giveaways” and “gifts” are commented on more than the average article in my dataset, as are posts that mention “recruiting” and “jobs.” In these tough economic times, everyone loves a present and many people need jobs.
The word “comments” also appears in this list, indicating that directly asking for comments on your post does work.
chart with data about blog comments
On the flip side of the coin, I noticed certain words were correlated with posts getting fewer comments than the average.
The list includes many technical, legal and financial terms like “settlements,” “derivatives,” and “franchise,” “investing.” While people are concerned with their own monetary issues, they’re not so excited about discussing the finance world at large.

How about you?

What does your data tell you about the factors that seem to invite more comments?
Let us know (in the comments, of course!) what seems to increase (or decrease) comments on your site.
About the Author: Dan Zarrella is HubSpot’s social media scientist. This post contains data from his upcoming webinar The Science of Blogging, taking place on December 9th.

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