4 Scientific Tips to Help You
Get More Blog Comments

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.

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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  1. Dan:

    It’s good to see a post on comment analytics or statistics. My past life included a BA in Math, an MA in psychology (where stats is interwoven), and a Motorola statistical black belt. I understand and appreciate studies of data.

    Usually, Copyblogger will have posts on Internet marketing, copywriting, marketing, blogging, or some such theme. And it’s possible they had articles on analytics in the past.

    But enough. I loved the charts, data and conclusions. I’ll try to apply some. Thank you for a great sharing.

    Randy

  2. Between this and the data set you just released on Problogger, I think just watching you work makes me a better blogger. It’s amazing just how much Time of day/week has to do with getting more traffic, shares, and RTs. Keep doing what you do man, you’re a great asset to the field!

    • I read the data on ProBlogger and it was certainly revealing. That and this one here will help bloggers tailor their posts to have the best reach and effect; at least, I know it helped me. Thanks and keep it up.

  3. Dan I do write a lot and at the end of all my content I ask for an comment, just the same as you did to twist my arm to comment here..”laughter” but this concept works and my years online will tell me that all your numbers above are accurate.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  4. Hey Dan,

    This is great information that you gathered up. It would take an individual a lot of time to put this together. Especially, anyone getting started with a blog. Great observation with using words, that was a bit surprising for me. I’ll have to start using and giving things away.

    Chat with you later…
    Josh

  5. great insight!

  6. Dan – good observations, and thanks for doing the data collection and analysis for the rest of us. I recently guest-blogged on a friend’s site about setting up an editorial calendar with A/B testing to see what works for bloggers re: views, comments, etc. when publishing (and broadcasting) on certain days and times. I’d love to hear what you think about the calendar. Here’s the link to my buddy Colin’s blog: http://www.colinalsheimer.com/how-to-build-an-effective-editorial-calendar-for-your-blog

  7. Dan, in thinking it over & looking at the stats from my small site I have to agree with your findings here. My giveaway posts, particularly for bigger prizes engender more comments, my personal posts & observations on social media tend to get more comments on the weekend.

    I’ve started trying not just to ask people for comments but to end my post with a question involving my topic and inviting the reader to weigh in with their experience or point of view. My readers are really smart people, many of whom run very successful sites, I get a lot of help from their responses, all walk away enriched in some way.

    Thanks for another great bit of food for thought here:)

  8. I think the correlation between “giveaway” and comments is likely explained away by the fact that many “giveaways” require entrants to comment to enter. There’s not a lot of “comment value” there, other than collecting a bunch of people’s email addresses … and if that’s all you’re after, well …

    • Dossy, That was so much more diplomatic than what I was going to say about that conclusion.

    • I find a small giveaway every now and then boosts readership – I don’t harvest email addresses from them, but the reader boost is always nice :-)

    • That’s a good point about why that correlation might be there, but I don’t agree that there’s not a lot of comment value in that kind of exercise. First, depending on what kind of comment you ask for (let’s say you ask for a comment for the person’s most pressing [your topic] problem), the information can be super relevant. Jon Morrow did a very smart giveaway post (what he gave away was his hours in consulting time) that launched a business for him and gave him enough market intelligence to launch 5 more if he felt like it. Also, those kinds of “events” can attract lots of links and social media attention, which, if you’ve set your site up to be compelling, can pull in new readers.

      You bring up an important point that you need to have something beyond “I really like comments,” or it tends to be a lot of work without a lot of real payoff. :) But they don’t just have vanity value either — they can be very useful.

  9. My site used to be a desolate place when I started out 5 months ago. I began commenting on blogs, but only focused on A-list blogs hoping that would bring in more comments on my blog, alas, it didn’t work.

    Only recently did I begin to involve myself with other budding bloggers did I begin to get comments on my blog. For, the key to getting comments, especially when starting out first is to comment and comment some more on growing blogs more than you comment on established ones. When i want to get more comments, I look for blogs with less comments and I make a strong contribution to the ongoing discussion, as a result my comments gets noticed. With Established blogs, my comments could go easily unnoticed, not that A-list bloggers do this intentionally, NO. It’s just that they are already saturated with attention and comments, that becomes increasingly difficult for them to follow up on every possible commenter on their blogs considering their busy schedule.

    If you want more comments, comment some more on blogs with less comments. My experience thus far :)

    • I find this to be the case, as well. Being a niche sometimes isn’t enough. You have to be a distinguished small fish in a niche or hang out with other small fish to be noticed.

    • Tito – That’s a great strategy. The “A-Listers” of any niche are likely too busy to step out and jump on your site to leave a comment, while other budding bloggers are looking for the same thing as you are. Build your own community and you guys can all elevate one another. Good luck!

    • Nice tip. I agree completely. Building relationships with budding bloggers is definitely the way to go.

  10. Useful information. Thanks for sharing it.

  11. Great article, I have to say when the request for comments is clear. I’m guilty of trying to be too elaborate with my wording, maybe I should just write, “Please leave your comments below?”
    Thanks for sharing with us what works, it has had a positive affect on my blogging.

  12. Wow Dan,

    You’ve got me curious about digging a little deeper than I normally would on my own blog.

    I have to admit, many times I visit and comment on more blogs on Saturday than during the week. I feel more relaxed and in less of a hurry.

    Thank you for sharing all of this, it got me thinking…

    Susanna

  13. Wow! Freaking awesome! The scientific of blog-commenting. Sometimes the only way to get great result, is to do what other people are NOT doing. I find that relevant to this article of posting on the weekend.

  14. Hi! Just wanted to state – nice oservation! :)

    Now, I run a T-shirt log for 2 and a half years now and lately I’ve been trying to get people commenting more on posts. Seems like posts which are issuing “how to’s” in the T-shirt business get the most comments. I also tend to have top list (especially top sales lists) which get a lot of comments. However, these comments are more focused on information on the sales of shirts I didn’t include in my top lists.

  15. 150,000 blogs surveyed – wow! Thanks for sharing your findings.

    It would be very interesting to see this data overlaid with views. In some informal research, some of my colleagues and I have found Tuesday and Thursday to be high view days.

    Also, I assume the data was gathered in Pacific time (thus the bump in 5am comments, which would of course be 8am EST?)

  16. This is some really good information. I need to learn how to use Google Analytic’s better to track my website performance.

  17. I appreciated seeing this. I have noticed more comments when I post in the morning. I had previously thought that afternoons were good since so many of my artist-clients have day jobs. That doesn’t seem to be the case.

    My goal is to schedule the posts at 5am MT (7am ET). It doesn’t always work out as planned, but I do notice a difference when I follow through on the 5am goal.

  18. Wow, that’s great information. The commenting on PhitZone has been spotty, and I haven’t been able to track any trends. I will definitely be applying some of this info though. Thanks.

  19. Interesting information. I guess I’ll have to do a giveaway on my blog. What kinds of giveaways are people most interested in?

  20. Love it!

    For the personal blog: the more I poke fun at myself or other people, the more comments I get. And the more I introduce new blood (guest bloggers).

    For my business blogs: I find that mentioning a specific person, article or book generates more conversation.

  21. Dan the space after a post is the most productive space on my site. What ever I put after a post sees an increase in reader engagement. I will experiment with adding an “Ask for comments” line in the post footer area. I find it disturbing that the term strategic is on the least commented list. Do you have a alternative that is on the most commented side of the data?

  22. Ooh, I’m SUCH a data dork! VERY interesting. I have to say I find I get fewer comments on the weekend. Monday I think is my best day, but now I want to do more analysis.

    Coming to your free Webinar for more!

  23. The more human and positive sounding the post the more comments you will receive. If your post is too technical and robotic then no one is going to feel that they are even capable of joining the conversation!

  24. In order to be successful, people have to track down the results and analyze them and on top of that adjust their marketing or blogging to that. I’m still amazed by the fact that many marketers or bloggers still don’t track the results and then they are depressed by the outcome.
    Anyway, good points,
    Greg

  25. great (and timely) post, as I’m just about to do a small giveaway on my blog.
    I honestly don’t collect email addresses via giveaways, but I find they are great to generate additional traffic as word spreads around about a freebie ;-)

  26. Great information, especially for folks like me who are new to the whole entrepreneurial thing. It’s like I’ve been dropped into an alternate universe where I have to re-learn everything I thought I knew after being an employee all my life! Thanks for the great info, as usual!

  27. I appreciate the information about comments increasing on the weekends. As we had into a new year I was planning on increasing the amount of weekly business blog posts, but wasn’t sure what day should host the second post. I’ll try Saturday and see how that works. Thanks!

  28. Interesting. I’m trying to post my articles around 9:30 am now, instead of 6am like I had done previously. The change is to test a new theory: if it is in w/ all the first morning mail, it might be overlooked. If it is there fresh at 9:30, it’s ready for coffee-break reading and may stick out more. Will be interested to see if my stats support this theory.

  29. Love the post- thanks for sharing your findings. It’s kind of funny that people will take a great deal of time to write an excellent post and then neglect to ask people to comment. I have found better comment success rate when I give the reader a choice to comment or “like” on Facebook. Regardless of what they choose, the call to action is executed.

  30. Great analytics! I agree with the data regarding comments by hour of day. I’ve noticed a change in the number of comments on my blog posts since I started prescheduling my posts for a early. I look forward to applying the tips on word choice.

  31. Oh I’m definitely too subtle in asking for comments – I’d love you all to comment on my blog ;-)

    seriously though…. I have a pretty new blog and the most commented post was one that was slightly controversial and got people talking – i put it out on day of the US election – ‘if you don’t watch the news who do you know who to vote for’ – I was getting a bit fed up with everyone telling me to turn the news off!

    Cathy

  32. I’m a newbie to the blogging world so this information is very timely – thank you. I’ve been pouring through all your articles and I subscribe to your daily newsletter, your information is invaluable. Looks like its time for a giveaway!

  33. Dan,

    This is good analysis, I have never thought of doing test to see what time, or which words were bringing more comments. From my experience;

    1. People with commentluv plugins more comments as they get to have their last post shown in comments. I have found some great blogs through commentluv.

    2. More controversial the subject, more comment it will gather.

    3. I have seen it when author/blog host is answering each comments, the more communication happens inside the comment section.

    4. Sometimes the subject is that strongly liked can bring lot of comments.

    5. As you suggested, free and giveaway are always brings more comments.

    6. Most important aspect for comment: Having a good traffic sure helps.

  34. Marshall Adler :

    This is a random question really…but maybe someone with reality on this can help me.

    Is it really possible to make money writing for the web? I mean I know that there’s expensive courses on the topic but outside of Copyblogger, where can you really make a lot of money writing for the web? Does the Web Copywriting field produce big profits? Does Affiliate Marketing work best for being a Web writer?

    Who knows the HONEST answers to these questions? Can you help me?

  35. Here are my realizations:

    1. Not everyone will comment on your blog entry. They may not have the time, or simply they don’t want to share what they have in mind to the whole world.

    2. When a post is universally acceptable that there seems to be no point for debate, most people do not comment.

    3. When a post is intellectual ( I do sometimes believe that my post is intellectual), people do not comment. But when it is personal, they do. This does not mean that they do not like your post. They simply do not want to comment.

    4. The post with less comments brought to me more customers than those with comments. There are post which answers the need of a manager or company owner. Instead of commenting on my blog, they call me and request proposal to conduct training in leadership, customer service, or maybe one hour inspirational talk for their company.

    These are the reasons why I am trying to be not addicted to comments. I still am. Comments to me is a show of appreciation. And who does not like to hear appreciation?

  36. Wow, this is very good information. As a beginning blogger, I think it is very important that I begin with the right habits.

    I believe this info will go a long way for creating a better reading experience for my subscribers.

  37. I completely love the way you guys mix real life with your blogging tips. Awesome segue into blogging from science.

  38. This is amazing information, although I have not been blogging long I have noticed that certain keywords provoke different responses to my posts. I have also noticed similar responses in my email champagnes as well. Thank you.
    Mark

  39. Hmm. Very interesting. I’m going to put this into practice and monitor the results.

    Like some have said, comments themselves aren’t always the best indicator of blog/article popularity, but if you want the appearance of an active blog then they are vital.

  40. I have to say, I believe this is the first time I’ve ever seen anyone take this data driven type of approach in the blogosphere (did I spell that right?) I have to admit, I’ve often wondered was there a best time to publish and post to Twitter/FB etc. I’ve been going with tthe idea that noon is generally best, but clearly early in the am is best for reasons you’ve previously mentioned. Thanks for the info!

  41. Thank for this insightful post. I’ve recently used http://www.whentotweet.com to discover the best time to tweet my group of Followers. You can find out in less than a minute or two when the best time to tweet is for your specific group of Followers.

    I discovered that the best time for me to tweet my Followers is 7:15pm and I used http://hootsuite.com to schedule what time I want my tweets to be sent to my follows. Happy blogging!

  42. This blog was quite informational. I am sure it will help my internet marketing skills. Blog commenting does play an important role in the process of getting more and more relevancy in the website development.

  43. This is soooo great. There are a lot of opinions out there…so every once in a while it’s nice to get some actual data!

    I had a great comment response recently not to a ‘giveaway’ per se, but when I promised to donate one dollar to the Ronald McDonald House for every comment. Sure, this is ‘buying’ comments…but for a good cause!

    Amy
    The ParmFarm.com

  44. Well, this is really interesting, also worthy to note is the fact the content is it something to talk over? if the content is not up-to the mark people never comment. Also the social standing and the topic is very important.

  45. Fascinating article. Particularly interesting to note that people’s comments peak from 8am – 9am. I wonder if this is a US trend? I have a notion that in the UK sluggish execs are trying to wire-up on caffeine at this time, or are still stuck in the morning commute. Then, when the Brits finally make it in, we need to rush through our in-boxes.

    Amazing to note that the word “giveaway” sparks the imagination more than the word “money”. Maybe the American Dream has been achieved, so the time for freebie extras has arrived?

    Anyway, a wonderful report – thank you so much.

  46. I find that posts get more comments when a specific question is posed or when a common problem is discussed. People like to add their experiences to the discussion.

  47. Okay Dan, I’ve memorized your article… gonna scientifically experiment some now. Thanks!

  48. What is the best system to use for comments, for example Disqus – does my blog get any seo value from the comments if I use Disqus?

  49. i find that people like to discuss the specific thing of the theme that people liked.
    Just like this post.

  50. Interesting, but if you don’t collapse this across all blogs does it still hold? I guess my real question is that each blog is so niche that your analysis takes an average for most commented on words, what about more esoteric blogs?

    Kudos though, as I found the metrics on time of day and time of week very helpful!

  51. That’s so informative. I use Hootsuite to make sure my posts launch early in the morning when people first get to work. Thank goodness I don’t know much about finance. ;0)

  52. This is a very informative post. I enjoy reading the graphs and analyzing the data collected. This information will be very helpful for me to try and increase the number of comments on my blog.

  53. Dan,

    Fascinating insight.

    When I was looking at my own data, what surprised me the most was that people seem drawn to my book reviews above all else, and when I discuss a certain topic, I’m finding people digging through my archives to learn more about it. This tells me I should provide more links to my own work inside my own blogs if people want to learn more.

    Thank you for the work you put into this. Extremely valuable stuff.

  54. Dan,

    Did you churn out any numbers on the length of the blog. Obviously each blogger has different writing styles and subjects, but it would be amazing to see if there is a trend across many blogs that entries that are shorter or longer attract buzz. Let me know, and thanks for the 411.