Blog comments can build your list like crazy.
Every comment is an opportunity for you to interact with a reader and build trust. That trust increases your chances of getting a new subscriber and even a new customer.
This is the killer setup that I use for driving opt-in rates through the roof with blog comments.
Step 1) Redirect Your Commenters
Comment Redirect by Yoast allows you to send visitors to any page you want after they leave a comment. This is a great opportunity to engage with a reader because you know you have their attention.
This is the page I send visitors to whenever they leave a comment on my blog, SEO Discovery. It’s a simple squeeze page I made with Optimize Press that lets them download my link building ebook for free or return to my site.
Step 2) Reward Your Commenters
Another great plugin for communicating with commenters is Thank Me Later. This plugin will automatically send an email to any commenters once you approve their comment.
This is a great time to address them personally and ask if they would like to subscribe to your RSS feed or email list. If you are using the redirect comments plugin then you may want to ask them to follow you on Twitter or your RSS feed instead of your email list again, so it doesn’t seem like you’re being too pushy.
Don’t be boring!
There are tons of bloggers that use some sort of plugin like this, and they totally screw it up. How?
They leave this as their subject line:
Thanks for Your Comment at [Your Site]
How high do you think your open rate will be with that subject line?
As bloggers and internet marketers we need to remember to standout and consistently over-deliver. For instance, here’s a subject line I use:
Here’s Your Gift – Thanks for Commenting at SEO Discovery
I use the first three words to get their attention before stating what it’s for. Inside I share a link to another ebook of mine and a link to my RSS feed as well.
The free ebook has links to a lot of my best content and my social profiles as well.
Step 3) Get Commenters to Return
Subscribe to comments allows people to choose to be notified of all future comments.
It’s completely optional so you know that anyone who subscribes is genuinely interested. I make sure to reply to these people specifically. A lot of times they also subscribe to all comments on a post so they get updated with every single new comment.
This helps get readers back to your site and increases odds of email subscriptions and other conversions.
Step 4) Combat Spam
Of course when you encourage or even allow commenting you’re bound to get spammers.
The first step I take to moderate spam is to turn off trackbacks:
I don’t need trackbacks to notify me of people linking to my blog. That’s why I track my backlinks and use Google Alerts
There are also two main (free) plugins I use to deal with spam.
The first is G.A.S.P by Growmap. It automatically detects and blocks most spam by adding a checkbox below your comment form. All commenters have to check off the box to verify that they are real humans and not bots.
I don’t recommend adding a CAPTCHA to your comment form because they’re so annoying and will discourage a lot of people.
Another useful plugin is Minimum Comment Length by Yoast. This plugin allows you to set a minimum amount of characters a comment must be. If a commenter tries to enter a comment with fewer characters it sends them to a page with a short message. Right now mine says:
Woops: Your comment is too short. If you’re not a spammer then sorry! Just hit back and tell us a little more
Right now I have my minimum set at 20 characters, but I am still tampering with it. In fact, if anyone has experience with this plugin I’d love to here what’s working best for you.
5) Incentivize All Comments
The first three steps I listed help get more opt-ins, RSS subscribers, and traffic in general through comments. After setting all this up, the next step is to get more people to comment.
Sweeten the deal by allowing people to use their keyword as anchor text, leave a link to their most recent comment, and/or get “dofollow” links.
I know some bloggers don’t like plugins like these, but it makes sense when using my system. Everyone who comments on my blog is entered into a sales funnel, so I want more comments on my blog.
One more way you can incentivize comments on your site is by adding a top commenters widget to your blog. This way the people who comment the most on your site will be rewarded with a link to their site and most recent post on the sidebar of your blog.
This encourage visitors to comment more frequently.
If you use CommentLuv Premium it comes with a widget called Top Commentluvvers, but there are other free options as well like Simple Top Commenters.
Like I said before, I think many bloggers under-utilize comments and the power they hold. If you implement this system I can guarantee you’ll get more traffic and subscribers.
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