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.