Why is it so important to encourage commenting? This problogger article discussed a study revealing that 90% of people online are lurkers (read or observe content without contributing), 9% of people contributing a “little,” and only 1% of people actively participate online. This is referred to as the 1% rule, and it’s your job to figure out how to break that rule on your blog.
There are so many WordPress plugins for comments, and sifting through them to find the best ones can be overwhelming. So here are four simple WordPress plugins I recommend to encourage readers to comment on your blog.
CommentLuv creates an incentive for people to comment. When a user enters his URL while commenting, the plugin automatically visits his blog’s feed and displays a titled link to his last post under his comment. This rewards him by giving other readers a better idea of what his blog is about, and an additional link to his blog. When passive readers with blogs see that you have this plugin installed, they will be more motivated to comment.
CommentLuv is easy to install: just download from their site, upload it to your plugins folder, and activate it.
Installing the DoFollow plugin can help improve your commentator’s page rank, especially when used in conjunction with CommentLuv. This will motivate your readers to comment more often. If you think the DoFollow plugin will increase spam on your blog, simply activate the Aksimet plugin, the spam filter WordPress includes. You can also moderate your comments. For example, I don’t accept comments like “Hiiiiii” or “Great blog!” that have clearly just commented to leave their link. But DoFollow rewards commentators that write insightful or meaningful comments, so I recommend installing this plugin.
There is much debate amongst bloggers regarding the no-follow and do-follow rules. The nofollow attribute prevents search engines from crawling links on your site. There is no dofollow attribute except for NOT having the nofollow attribute, and this allows search engines to crawl those links. But contrary to popular belief, having DoFollow should not hurt your blog’s SEO. Gerald Weber has a great post about dofollow vs nofollow at Thou Shall Blog, you can read about the details there.
Top Commentators lists your readers who have commented the most in a widget. You can see mine over on the left. This provides an incentive for people to post often, so that they can get their names and links to their blog on this list. This is a valuable backlink for bloggers in your niche, especially if you don’t have nofollow rules in place. So by installing this widget, you’ll encourage people in your niche to comment and be active on your site to stay on that list. This is also a great way to make connections with these bloggers, because if you comment on their blogs and they install this plugin, they’ll return the favor.
The Subscribe to Comments plugin gives your readers a way to stay involved in the discussion by receiving updates when there are new comments. If they don’t want to subscribe to your blog, they can still subscribe to individual posts to keep up to speed on the conversation.
So what do you think? Do you use any of these plugins? How have they worked for you? What other comments plugins would you recommend?