(this is just an image, but you can leave your comments at the end of the post!)
If you are tired of having a blog with no comments, this list will help you jump start the discussions on your blog!
Say hello to new visitors: New visitors aren’t familiar with you or your blog. Fortunately, with the help of the What Would Seth Godin Do plugin, it’s easy to say hello to new visitors and encourage them to contribute their comments.
Reply to the comments you receive: When someone does leave a comment, make sure you show them that you read it by replying. You can reply to them by typing a comment that starts with @TheirName, or you can install Brian’s Threaded Comments plugin, which allows you to post a direct response comment. Brian’s Threaded Comments will also encourage more discussion among your readers.
Allow your readers to create an identity: People are social creatures (even if their main socializing takes place online). Whether online or offline, people are more likely to talk if they know who they are talking to. By adding Gravatar support to your blog, you can give your readers the ability to express themselves through their avatar, and allow them to recognize other frequent commenters on your blog.
Ask your readers direct questions: If you want people to comment, just ask them! Time and time again (across multiple blogs), I have found that when I ask my readers a question at the end of my post, they are much more likely to chime in than if I simply assume they’re going to leave their thoughts.
Follow up on trackbacks: When someone links to you from one of their posts, they are obviously reading your blog. Therefore, return the favor by reading some of the latest posts and leaving your thoughts. Not only will this ensure they remain active readers, but it is also a great way to create actual relationships with other bloggers in your industry.
Reward your active participants: There are thousands of other things someone could be doing besides commenting on your blog, so when they do take the time to do so, make sure they know their contributions are appreciated. In addition to replying to their comment (see Item #2 on this list), you can reward the people who are contributing the most by adding the Show Top Commentators plugin, which will display a list of the people who have left the most comments in your sidebar.
Show readers where others are talking: Although not every reader will want to start a discussion, most will be more than happy to join in on an existing one. With the Get Recent Comments plugin, readers will be able to see a list of the most recent comments in your sidebar.
Make it easy to directly contact you: While some readers won’t leave public comments, this doesn’t mean they don’t want to talk you. Many readers simply prefer the privacy of email instead of having their discussions in the public comment area. By adding a contact form to your blog, you can make it easy for these readers to touch base with you.
Let readers rate your content: Readers may not want to leave a written comment, but this doesn’t mean they don’t want to participate. A great way to encourage shy readers to participate is by adding a ratings system. With the WP-PostRatings plugin, your readers can rate each of your posts on a scale from 0 to 5. I installed this plugin on one of my niche blogs at the beginning of August, and since then, over 850 ratings have been submitted.
If you know of any other plugins or tips that can help increase the comments a blog receives, share them with all of us below!
Bonus #10: This plugin was suggested by Chetan in the comments section: Subscribe to Comments, which “allows commenters on your blog to check a box before commenting and get e-mail notification of further comments.”