One of the more rewarding parts about blogging is when people spend the time to leave comments. This is made more flattering when those comments are well thought out and attributable to a person within the blogging community known for their knowledge or contributions to a particular area of expertise. The focus of this one is on a few ways to highlight commenting and make it worth while for your visitors to leave comments. Because many bloggers take measures to keep spam comments out that place some onus on people leaving comments to jump through some hoops before they’re able to successfully post a comment we’ll take a look at a few ways to make leaving a comment worth the time and effort. Here are some plugins that can assist you in that effort.
1. Blog Follow. This plugin will track the URL that commenters leave in the comment and show an excerpt from their source blog. This works well for both parties involved because it gives those perusing your comments the opportunity to preview other blogs and provides more incentive to pay them a visit. The plugin imbeds the excerpt below the text of the comment so it doesn’t depend on the reader to mouseover a link or anything like that. This is a great step in the direction of blog cross pollination and a good way to forge a friendship with a commenter who would otherwise leave the comment and forget about it.
2. DoFollow. This plugin overrides the “rel=”nofollow” attribute that WordPress will add to links in comments. The intent here was to protect against spam commmenters being able to use URLs included in comments to gain credibility in the eyes of a search engine robot. If you’re using spam protection (and you should be) or moderating comments then this automatic inclusion can hinder the submission of comments. Using this will also build links, in the world of search engines, between the owners of blogs that leave comments and your site so it is worthy of your consideration.
3. TinyMCEComments. This plugins provides the same rich editing tools for creating comments that is available to you when creating a post in the WP Write panel. If you want to encourage people to leave comments what better way then to give them a real environment for crafting them?
4. Edit Comments XT. This one is also a real redeemer for folks that post comments. It allows them a 30 minute window to correct any errors or add more text to comments they’ve already submitted. It does require the editing of WordPress files to implement but the fast/sloppy typists who leave comments will be grateful when they can correct spelling errors or include the essential point of their comment forgotten in haste.
5. Get Recent Comments. If you’re getting comments then why not display them prominently? This plugin allows the display of recent comments in the sidebar and is configurable to limit the number displayed. Give credit where it is due!
These are a few that should get you started. Don’t forget though that the best way to get people to leave comments is to post good content regularly and to leave thoughtful comments on other blogs. Nothing will prompt readers to click through the link next to your name like good information added to the post they were reading elsewhere.
Letting the world know about your blog is one of the trickier aspects of starting a new blog or getting people notice one that you’ve been working on. Google is the most obvious target for these efforts as it dominates the search market and is the default search engine for popular browsers like Firefox. Working around the rules that keep Google and other search engines relevant is arcane at best and at worst will result in your sites being demoted in relevance or delisted entirely. There are many theorists and companies that indulge in this sort of speculation and some are more successful than others at nudging search results in the ways they desire them to.
The general rule is that the better content your site contains then the more highly ranked in search results it will become. The tricky part is how to relay that information to the search engine crawlers and robots without getting yourself into hot water during the undertaking. How does one accomplish this effectively without risking negative repercussions? This is where WordPress plugins again become indispensable as many are set up to safely optimize your ranking without bending or breaking rules to try to cheat the structure entirely.
Here are a few examples of plugins you can confidently use for that pursuit:
1. All In One SEO Pack. This plugin does a huge amount of work in making your blog more search engine friendly. One of its best features is the ability to create META tags in all of your posts, even the ones made before the plugin was installed. You can also manually toggle the keywords for each post or page or create a list from the content of your categories. Overall this plugin gives you a very high degree of control over how each post or page is presented to a potential search engine spider without offering risky options and even giving users the opportunity to remove duplicate content before the site is indexed. This plugin would be the first to install or the only if you’re looking for an all inclusive solution that adequately handles nearly all of your SEO needs.
2. Headspace2. Headspace2 also deals with tagging and a myriad of other SEO tasks but it has some extras that make it worth investigating. One of its most powerful features is its ability to make per page/post changes like enabling otherwise disabled plugins on a per post basis. It can also theme specific pages with very little effort on the admin side. Headspace2 can also handle things like nested keywords and cleaning up affiliate links.
3. SEO Slugs. This plugin does a simple job but one that is pretty vital to SEO work: it removes common words like conjunctions from post slugs to make them more search engine friendly. It can make a post that initially looks like: a-search-engine-is-an-indispensable-friend into search-engine-is-indispensable-friend. While it may appear as line trash to the human eye, spiders unaware of the subtleties of English grammar and tense will eat these titles up.
4. Google XML Sitemaps Generator. This fella will generate a map of all of the pages on your WP site in a manner that allows more efficient crawling by not only Google but other engines that adopted the XML sitemap protocol including Yahoo! and Ask.com. This is a great idea because it utilizes a protocol approved by the big guns instead of trickery.
5. AskApache Search Engine Verify. This plugin allows the creation of verification codes from both Yahoo! and Google to enhance the validity of your site and to assist in correcting past wrongdoings if you’ve recently purchased a domain that may have gotten in trouble with either engine prior to your ownership. This becomes more important when you’re purchasing domains with the intent to have them appear more relevant to the big boys: it is likely that someone had the same idea and possibly gave your new home a criminal record. You lose nothing either way and have a lot to gain by adding this one to your site.