The Sure-Fire Way to Double Your Blog Comments Every Time

double your blog comments

Guest post by Joel Runyon of Blog of Impossible Things

Comments have been a hot topic of late. Some blogs have gotten so big that comments have become more of a burden than a blessing, but the fact is that most blogs could stand to have a few more comments.

If you’re looking for a dead simple way to double your comments, every single blog post, I’ve got a new technique for you…

What it’s not

  • It’s not automated.
  • It’s not an SEO trick.
  • It’s not expensive [in fact, it’s actually free].

All it takes is one simple action from you.

Sounds easy, so what’s the problem?

It’s so easy, most of you won’t do it.

So how do you double the number of comments on every single blog post?

Respond to every single comment.

Here are a few simple reasons why:

1. Your readers deserve it

The fact that anyone cares what you have to say is amazing – Gary Vaynerchuk

Yes, there’s a lot of comment spam. Yes, some people are commenting just so they get back-links and yes, some comments are just straight spam. That’s all true. But it doesn’t matter.

Your readers took time to read AND respond to what you said. The least you can do is acknowledge them and thank them for even thinking you created something they thought was worth their response.

2. It creates a community

Some of my best blogging friends I met in the comments of my blog. By responding to the comments of each of your readers, you set the tone by acknowledging that their voices are also valid. Your response might evoke a response from the original commenter or encourage a lurker to come out and voice their opinion. People start to get to know each other and it creates a community that’s unique to your site.

3. It looks impressive

You wanted to double your comments, right? Comments are like grease for your blog posts. The more comments people see on a post, the less resistance they’ll have towards reading it and the more likely they’ll voice their opinion too.

The more comments on each post, the more likely you readers are going to assume it’s worth reading, after all it’s already been read and prompted a certain number of responses. There’s a huge difference in someone’s snap judgment when they see 10 comments as opposed to 5. 20 instead of 10. And 40 instead of 20. It’s a simple snowball effect. The more comments there are, the more likely others will be to comment on it.

The Thing About The Comments

It’s not about the numbers.  As a blogger it’s easy to get caught up in numbers. We like numbers because numbers are tangible. Numbers are measurable. If your numbers get big enough they can turn into money. So we like numbers, we get caught up in them. When we get caught up in the numbers, we forget that those numbers actually represent humans. We forget about human economics.

The strength of relationships and community isn’t nearly as easily measurable as numbers, but it can be a lot more powerful. The number of comments on your site aren’t worth crap if your comments aren’t worth crap…and that’s including your response.

What’s one way you can turn a casual reader into raving fan?

Taking the time to validate a readers’ comment with a well thought-out response or even a thank-you only takes a few seconds and could be the difference between someone who just stumbled on your site, a subscriber and a raving fan. Chapter 9 of Gary Vaynerchuck’s book “Crush It” is one of my favorites. It’s titled “The Best Marketing Strategy Ever.” The chapter has one word in it:


Commenting is a small way to show your community of readers that you care, that they care. In a world where most people operate based on the bottom line, that’s huge. That small action can bring huge returns in terms of reader loyalty.

It’s Actually Possible

The good news is real people actually do this. It is actually possible, believe it or not. Whether it’s an official “strategy” of theirs or not, I don’t know but I do know several bloggers who do this in practice. Karol Gajda does an amazing job of interacting with the readers on his site and cultivating his fan base. Corbett does this regularly both here at Think Traffic and at Free Pursuits. It’s been adopted by other bloggers as well: Colin Wright, David Crandall, Dan Andrews, Mark Lawrence do it. Sean Ogle just recommitted to doing it.

Just because your fan base grows doesn’t mean you have to stop interacting with it. Even with a sizeable audience, you can still do this; you just have to care enough to try.

Double Your Comment Challenge

If you don’t think this will work. Do me a favor before you dismiss it: try it. Give it two weeks. Schedule a time, and respond via comment to anyone who comments on a post and if by the end of the two weeks, your comments on those posts aren’t at least doubled…well, you’re probably counting wrong 😉

What do you think? Is responding to every comment a good use of your time? Is it a good way to build community? Let us know in the comments. Either Corbett or I will respond to every one 😉

photo by wallyg

Joel Runyon does the impossible and helps others to do the same at the Blog of Impossible Things. For the few moments when he’s not traveling the world, throwing javelins, or running triathlons, he spends immersed in the world of marketing. Follow Joel on Twitter.

126 thoughts on “The Sure-Fire Way to Double Your Blog Comments Every Time”

  1. Great idea and great post. I’m working on getting more comments myself and, although I respond to every comment, what are the bets ways to get more comments in the first place?

    1. Relationships.

      Hands down, the best way I’ve found to build a network is by reaching out to people you genuinely respect & telling them that [without ulterior motives]. Genuinely building relationships with other people/bloggers can bring all sorts of opportunities you never wouldn’t believe.

  2. Great post, As you said everyone is talking about comments, like they used to about pagerank its all about numbers, we all care about numbers. Most people comment to get a link back or get more traffic/visitors. Don’t worry about comments just put out great content and help other succeed.


    1. Numbers are a part of it, but the tipping point is when you realize those numbers are people. I think that shift in perspective changes how you end up seeing a lot of things.

  3. Absolutely worth the time! I’ve had periods where I forgot about this then wondered why my comments started to fall off. Responding tells the people that stop by that you are a real person that wants to hear what they have to say.

    Another great way to get comments – Ask! Ask your readers their opinion (as done at the end of this article).

    1. Ditto on the asking.

      Some readers get used to the idea that “bloggers don’t care about comments.” Asking is a tangible way to let them know that you’re not one of them and really do value their opinion.

  4. Great post Joel, for me its so much fun to be a chatty Cathy in the comments I really enjoy the format of back and forth with people on my blog, never thought of it as a strategy but I’m happy to be more strategic by default!

    1. That’s one of the things I LOVE about your podcast Dan – the fact that you let your personality come through not only in the audio but also the comments (and my favorite, the post tags).

      I don’t think of it as a “strategy” necessarily, but rather an extension of what I’m trying to create at BIT.

  5. Yup, Karol was the first I’d ever seen responding to *every single comment* on his blog, and I was so impressed with the idea (and subsequently had such a good impression of Karol) that I implemented the policy on my own site from day one. Good job keeping up with your own readers, too, Joel. 😉


    1. Karol does an amazing job of not just responding to commenters, but @ messages & emails. I think that’s one of the reasons you’re going to see him start exploding soon [even more-so than he has recently].

  6. Joel,

    Awesome Post ! I really like the title of your post.
    You’ve made some great points.
    I think Comments are just much more than getting backlinks and traffic.

    Thanks for sharing this great Post Joel.

    1. “Comments are must more than getting backlinks”
      I completely agree with that statement. I think it’s a somewhat cynical view to think that people are commenting simply to get a backlink. Even if building links/traffic is their only intention, I think that by responding and connecting with them intentionally you can oftentimes alter their intentions altogether.

  7. I find it funny that this even has to be mentioned. It seems like common sense to do. If you are putting information out there and want people to read it and respond to it. At the least you can say thank you regardless of what their agenda may be. The still took the effort and time to say something.

  8. Hey Joel,

    Found you via Sean Ogle (via Colin Wright – who I just did an interview with – and so on…). Great stuff. I am passionate about blog commenting and your Gary V quote is right on. There’s been a lot of hub bub since Danielle LaPorte announced she was closing comments and Charlie Gilkey and I and others all chimed in on that. Glad to know you agree on the importance of both engaging with your readers AND giving them an obvious place to engage with each other.

    1. Hey Kelly,

      Comments deserve response – we’re here to serve, right? It’s the only way to lead…

      Colin Wright is a good guy, interviewed him myself.

      Also you should speak to Kevin Knebl, a massively well connected guy, all through sincere interaction – if you want to meet him I’ll give you an intro

      Adam :)

    2. Sean & Colin got me into this whole blogging thing :)
      I can’t speak for others, but the comments are one of my favorite parts of having a blog. Glad you feel the same

      Loved your interview with Colin btw.

  9. Its seems like such a no-brainer but a surprising amount of bloggers out there don’t do it. Not only does responding to comments show that you care about your community but the numbers show ‘social proof’ which blog visitors always look for. Great post!

    1. Exactly. I reply to comments for the benefit of others (connecting with me and building community with other readers), but it also comes back around and benefits me by spreading my content by removing the barrier-to-entry many people have when deciding to read a post (will this be worth my time?).

  10. Hi Joel,

    From Day 1 I have responded to every comment on my blog. Unless you are a celebrity or a creative genius engaging your readers is the best way to grow your readership. When you care, people care about what you have to offer.

    Money advice here, thanks for sharing.

    Ryan Biddulph

  11. I always respond to comments because I think if someone has taken the time to read your post and has something to say about it, then I should at least say thank you. As my blog grows I hope more and more people will continue to comment, and I will always try to respond to them all. Thanks for the reminder that doing this is worth my time.

  12. “I think it’s a somewhat cynical view to think that people are commenting simply to get a backlink. Even if building links/traffic is their only intention, I think that by responding and connecting with them intentionally you can oftentimes alter their intentions altogether.”
    Perfectly put!
    It’s actually an opportunity for both parties, and intentions are relative to the holder.
    This was a wonderful, quick reminder of doing the right thing!

    1. oops, meant to finish…

      I love your point: “intentions are relative to the holder.” A lot of times we know ourselves and our own intentions too well and project those on to others rather than giving them the benefit of they deserve :).

  13. Well said Joel. For me interacting with everyone who visit and comments on my blogs is my favorite part of blogging. I don’t think there is a better way to gauge what it is my viewers want to see and hear than getting and responding to comments. Like you said it’s all about interacting and creating interesting conversations and building a fun community that adds value.

    1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the way we met was you responding to my comment on your Location 180 guest post. I, for one, am glad you took took the effort :).

    1. I’m still trying to figure out a way of determining general blog/website “success.” It means such different things to different people with different goals.

  14. Hi Joel,
    Great post! I like what you say about the magic word: care.
    You’ve got to care about what you do to give away great content. I agree with what @Mike said, it seems like a no-brainer to write back to every comment. I have noticed that two bloggers I follow, Leo Barbauta and Everett Bogue, don’t allow comments. That’s also interesting. For us at the IAM University of the Heart blog, building a community through interaction is a much better route.

    1. Leo & Ev have their reasons. They have tremendous blogs & I’m not trying to debate them, but for what I’m trying to do, the benefits I see from building “community through interaction” are invaluable.

  15. Joel,

    I’m glad you put this out there. For the early stage blogger this really is essential. I didn’t do it and it was a mistake. Of course now, I respond to every comment. One of the things I think that happens as a byproduct is not only a doubling of the comments, but people feel more compelled to add to the conversation when they see other people have done it. As a result of doing this, you’ll often change from 10-25 comments just because of the ongoing discussion. It also makes your blog look like a much more engaging place to hang out. Great ideas in this post.

    1. Srini-
      I completely agree. I’ve seen that effect so many times myself. I like how you said “it makes your blog look like a much more engaging place to hang out.” I love that idea. People LIKE conversation. As a networking I want people to meet each other & engage on my blog and find other cool people & connections they didn’t know before. Making your blog a cool place to “hang out at”, helps facilitate that in so many ways [btw, you’re doing a great job of this at ]

    1. Quiet Entertainer-
      This isn’t a response or debate to Everett’s decision. He can do what he wants [it’s his blog after all] and that’s totally okay. That said, one of the things I DON’T like to do in the comments section is talk about other people. No matter, if I agree/disagree with someone, I like to think everyone deserves respect :).

  16. Okay, you’ve convinced me to at least try this out on my blog for a while. But how do I do nested comments in WordPress like you have on your blog, where your reply goes directly under (and indented) from the comment you replied to? What plugin do you use for that?

    1. Nested comments help a lot in organizing the conversation.

      My site theme comes programmed with nested comments. I believe Corbett uses the Thesis Theme for Think Traffic (correct me if I’m wrong Corbett), but I believe it comes as part of the theme.

      Since my blog doesn’t require a plugin, i don’t use any of these myself, but a quick google search brought these two up

      You can always go with Intense Debate or Disqus (which seems to be getting more & more popular as of late) as they both support comment threading out of the box.

      If anyone else has suggestions, opinions on these plugins, I’d love to hear it…

  17. Hey, thanks Joel! I’ve always been a big fan of responding to comments precisely because of Gary V. He’s at the point now where I’m not sure he actually responds to e-mails (I sent him a short e-mail with 1 question a month ago), but back a couple years ago he used to respond to everything. (This was before he was a superstar, but definitely already a star.)

    My thinking has always been: “either respond to comments or turn them off.”

    1. It definitely can become a chore when you get to Gary V’s status (850,000+ followers on twitter!). I think at that point you have to strike a balance between cultivating your community & creating so it can be sustained. However, I think with some good time management skills, most bloggers won’t have that issue.

      Love what you’re doing at Ridiculously Extraodinary :)

  18. Corbett, When I first started blogging, I read your blog and left a comment. You immediately replied to me. It made me feel that you found my comment valuable enough to spend the time to respond to me. Since then, I’ve made it a point to reply to every comment on my blog. You’re right. Double the number of comments does look impressive.

    1. Awesome, Sherryl, it’s great to hear first-hand that replying to comments has a positive effect. Cheers, and thanks for all the thoughtful comments you’ve left here.

  19. Gary Vaynerchuck would be proud. Clearly, this works. I think any blog in any field is at least as much about the community as it is about your content. I, for one, will definitely comment on everything until I’m as popular as he is.

    There are exceptions to this of course, Leo Babatua being the prime one who doesn’t allow comments.

    I think anyone who’s commenting solely to get back links or traffic is going to run out of steam. That type of selfishness is not sustainable.

  20. Taking the time to respond to comments is valuable.

    I enjoy when readers take the time to let me what a blog post means to them. And I equally enjoy letting them know I appreciate their input!

  21. This is awesome! It actually IS a strategy that I’ve been conscious of on my site. I remember Gary Vaynerchuk talking about how we should be humbled and amazed that people want to hear what we have to say. Anytime someone comments, it’s like gold to me. In fact, I normally check my comments multiple times a day waiting for that bit of interaction.

    And I’m with Dan, I just like the back and forth chattiness of it all. (Might be my same approach on Twitter. LOL)

    But then again, I’ve been known to have really long Skype calls with the author of this post. 😉

  22. Joel, you are giving importance to your commentators by responding to each & every comment. That’s why you are getting a good number of comments.
    Joel you said that respond to every comment and magic will happen or at least situation will improve. But first of all we need some community. If we have no community and no one is visiting/commenting, how this magic will occur. So, isn’t batter to participate in other blog’s discussion in addition to responding to every comment on our own blog? Such strategy will have good effect. What do you say? Visits of human comes first and then we will be able to respond to comments.

    1. This strategy works for every blog. You can double your comments from 1 to 2. However doubling “zero” will still leave you with 0, so you’re right in that regard :). The whole post is much more about cultivating the community you already have.

      Corbett has dozens of other posts on how to get traffic in the first place (the site is :). I’d go on & list a bunch of ways to go about it, but Corbett’s already got you covered with this article –

      Hope that helps.

  23. Comments are definitely one of the best parts of blogging. I really enjoy the different perspectives and how one commenter can completely elevate your idea to a new level that you had not thought of prior to.

    On the other hand, I also enjoy leaving comments on other blogs whose content I value and find engaging. I view the content as the minimum (or foundation) for engaging the reader, the comments maintain interest and engagement over time and keep them coming back for more based on their interest in you. I have experienced this firsthand – I am much more engaged in blogs whose authors respond to my comments when compared to those who let my thoughts die on the vine. I carry this with me back to my own blog and put myself in the shoes of my readers.

    I hope more bloggers will follow your advice!

    1. Thanks John. I agree, I think it’s pretty obvious that if you’re not writing good content, than you’re doing yourself a disservice & chances are you’re not going to attract many readers OR commenters.

  24. I typically go to the commenter’s website to respond. I’m going to use your tip this month and respond to each comment below where it was written. I hope it works as I want my readers to know I do read and care about each comment. Thanks :)

  25. My blog is not one that incites comments for some reason, although I get a lot of responses in my FB page. From my page, however, I’m able to respond to comments and build rel. with my readers. it only shows that commenting and interacting with your audience is important in any platform.

  26. Joel, I follow the practice of responding to each or any comment on my blog. My problem is you get a lot of spam, and a more primary problem, building up the readership. I have a couple of regular people who leave comments, and we interact, but i want more! any pieces of advice? i’m thinking traffic 😉

    1. have you installed askimet? That takes care of 95% of spam issues with me. From what I’ve noticed, spammy posts attract spam comments. (The most spam I’ve ever gotten was when I talked about some products my friends came out with – and they didn’t even include affiliate links). t

      As for building your readership, relationships, guest posts & keeping at it. Most blogs don’t get any traction for the first couple months….it takes time, but if what you’re writing is good, it’ll get found.

    2. Thanks Joel, I haven’t installed askimet yet – will do thanks.

      Started my blog about 4 weeks ago – so early days. I’ve managed to guest blog on a connection through twitter. I think my content is quite good, but of course that depends on who is reading it, and the relevance they can find in it!

      great post, thanks again.

  27. Great titles. Comments are the life-blood of a blogging community.

    Running a great blog is hard because it takes so much emotional effort. But it’s well worth it.

    What would you recommend for someone just starting out with 0 comments?

    BTW, I gave this a thumbs up on StumbleUpon.

    Nick, The Traffic Guy

  28. Nick, Here’s the advice I gave to Hugh above. I’d try to rephrase it, but there’s really nothing else to add (unless you’re talking about “paid traffic”).

    “Relationships. Hands down, the best way I’ve found to build a network is by reaching out to people you genuinely respect & telling them that [without ulterior motives]. Genuinely building relationships with other people/bloggers can bring all sorts of opportunities you never wouldn’t believe.”

  29. I have an ‘answer everyone’ policy (of course, not including spammers, I treat those with the contempt they deserve:P). I usually do one big bulk comment with everyone’s name included. But I’ve been doing them more individually as you describe, and am really happy with it:) It just means instead of waiting to do everyone at once, I answer them as they come. Well worth it, though!

    1. I like the in-line comments because it makes it so much easier to follow the flow of the conversation. Otherwise, it can be hard to tell who’s talking to who.

  30. …couldn’t agree more about, Joel. For me, that sense of dialog and interaction is what makes blogging such an effective medium. When you respond, the relationships build and you find yourself with some “champions” who share the same values as you do – in terms of how to be authentic, how to conduct a conversation, how to affirm and encourage a like mind. Then in turn, you build and foster community, which is just amazing.

    I have several folks who regularly stop by on my blog, and are a massive encouragement to me. It those guys who take the time to respond who are often your strongest blogging allies.

    In my circle it’s folks like Mike Cliffe-Jones of Beyond Blogging fame , or Kapil Apshanker of who is outstanding at responding to comments, my buddy – and now cohort from, Chris Hinton and a new kid on my block who is becoming a fast friend because he keeps the conversation flowing, Jonny Rose –

    Each of those guys are brilliant at replying, and inspirational to me as I try to do the same…

    This one post will make sure I keep coming back here!


  31. Wow! Thanks for this- so true!
    I practice this in my blog and have a very good fanbase – a group of “biatches against bullshit in beauty” who i love interacting with! So fulfilling really!

  32. Hey Joel!

    This was an excellent post! I’ve recently launched a new blog, and am working on the brand I want with it, but it’s getting some traction (comments), and I’ve been working pretty hard to comment back, so your post was validation to keep it up. I’ve followed you on Twitter (I’m at @mikepedersen), and would love to have you visit my blog and let me know what you think.

    Thanks again,

  33. This is a good post. The points you bring out are common sense points. I don’t however think they will work for everyone including myself. I’ve done
    everything you’ve mentioned here and I just don’t get any comments. It’s worked for you that’s why you got 90 comments about how to double your comments every time. Perhaps my content sucks, or perhaps it doesn’t. perhaps it’s not comment worthy. You said numbers are not important, but you also said a large number of comments looks impressive and when people see that they’ll be more likely to leave a comment. So which is it? I don’t think what you’ve outlined here is a sure fire way to double your comments with every post. The same things you’ve outlined here have been posted on a million blogs seems to me.

    1. Joe-
      Numbers AREN’T everything. That’s the point. That’s the whole point of the post. The title is admittedly sort of a bait & switch tactic. People usually care about numbers, which is why I titled the post “the sure-fire way to double your blog comments every time”, but the real point of the post is that you need to care about your people more than your numbers. If you do that, the numbers will come.

  34. First-time visitor(via A-List Blogging Club Newsletter) and am glad I clicked. There’s some truly great info here and as for replying to comments am totally with you on this. There are times when I want to comment on something a “big” blogger has said only to realize that comments are turned off. Often, I’ve unsubscribed simply because of the lack of community. Yeah, I know that’s extreme but community is important to me and am like that:-)

  35. Joel

    Man you got me! That was awesome …..I see your point now. And I apologize for the tone of my comments. Joel let me ask you, do you think comments are important in some aspects? for instance if readers coming to a blog and see a larger number of comments they will be more likely to comment? And if a blog gets a significant number of comments that shows in some aspects the success of that blog?

    1. Of course. Like I said in the post:
      “Comments are like grease for your blog posts. The more comments people see on a post, the less resistance they’ll have towards reading it and the more likely they’ll voice their opinion too.

      The more comments on each post, the more likely you readers are going to assume it’s worth reading, after all it’s already been read and prompted a certain number of responses. There’s a huge difference in someone’s snap judgment when they see 10 comments as opposed to 5. 20 instead of 10. And 40 instead of 20. It’s a simple snowball effect. The more comments there are, the more likely others will be to comment on it.”

  36. I’m a rookie blogger. I’m open for suggestions, feedback, constructive and even destructive criticism. Please stop by and check me out

  37. This is absolutely the right track. I would go a step further, though, and insist that you include that little plugin that gives the commenter the choice to receive notification of followup comments via email. Like the one you have. This lets the commenter know if/when the blogger responds. Yes, it can be a pain in the butt if you comment on a very popular blog and your email inbox gets hounded by dozens of emails you don’t want to read.

    There’s still room for someone to create a plugin that allows you to get emailed ONLY when someone responds to YOUR comment. Do that, and you’ll be the awesome one.

  38. The part about the math in your post made me laugh out loud! :-) I am brand-new to this blogging world — just started writing one about my passions around food and locavore living as a fun creative outlet, and as a way to build community among like-minded folks. I’ve been surprised at how many bloggers NEVER respond to your comments, even when you ask a specific question that would enable them to showcase their expertise (and when it’s clear you’re actually hoping for an answer to learn from them!). Thank you for writing this post; advice like this for a novice like me is so helpful.

    1. I was tempted by irony to not respond to this comment…. *mischievous grin*

      I’m glad you liked the post. It’s funny, but it’s true. If you want to double your comments, match them, comment for comment :).

      Glad the post helped! Thanks for stopping by Stephanie!

  39. Great article Joel! Funny thing is, I’ve done this on my own site since the beginning. Never realized this was the “right” way to do things, I just thought it was common courtesy to respond to comments, considering people took the time to leave one in the first place.

    You know what would be really helpful? A WordPress or Disqus plugin that spits out a checkbox after the name and email field that says “subscribe to XXXXXX newsletter”, so it’s even easier to sign up on your email list, since they’ve already provided their name and email to leave a comment.

    If you ever find something like that, let me know!

  40. The blogger’s comments show care—so true, Joel.

    I like to think of comments as cars in the parking lot of a new restaurant. Passers-by can’t help but think that there must be something to the hype and that they should give it a try. Cars—and comments—lend credibility, and I can’t help but think that bloggers who take good care of their readers are a lot like good restaurateurs who do their customers the honor of remembering their names and preferences.

    I like that practicing what used to be called “common courtesy” signifies a warmer, more hospitable way of earning fans than we often dare to expect online. Thanks for the tips on the plug-ins. I’d also suggest asking a select number of faithful readers/commenters to share their opinions about the blog through free SurveyMonkey surveys.

    This is an easy way to show your readers that you NOTICE their faithfulness. Noticing is a huge part of caring.

  41. Great headline, and not what many of us had expected, I’m sure 😉

    I respond to every comment. Okay, so we are not talking Think Traffic numbers here, but still. It takes time and effort, and I think it’s totally worth it. I have created posts based on questions/thoughts people posted in the comments. It allows me to know my readers better, and I hope it allows them to know me better as well.

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