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2.2 Get more comments & subscribers

Ways to attract and keep vis­it­ors coming

2.2.1 Disable nofollow

You like people to link to you right? Every­one likes a link back to their own site, for example when com­ment­ing. By default, word­press has nofol­low enabled on many links, which pre­vents search engines fol­low­ing them. Dis­abling nofol­low will encour­age people to com­ment on your site. The easi­est way to achieve this is to use the Do Fol­low plu­gin. A more detailed dis­cus­sion of the mer­its of dis­abling nofol­low can be found on the same site.

2.2.2 Consider using Feedburner

Word­Press includes full sup­port for feeds already, but Feed­burn­er provides e‑mail sub­scrip­tions and more advanced feed man­age­ment. The gen­er­al con­sensus is that feed­burn­er is bene­fi­cial, how­ever, there are dis­sent­ers with good counter argu­ments too, for example an art­icle on hochstadt.com (which I no longer link as the site goes up and down like a yoyo, but you’ll find it eas­ily on google). The choice is yours, we even­tu­ally opted not to use feedburner.

2.2.3 Ask people to comment

The most effect­ive way to increase the num­ber of com­ments on your posts is simply to ask for opin­ions at the end of each post! We always ask for com­ments at the end of our art­icles. If you want to auto­mate this you can do it with the plu­gin yet anoth­er ran­dom quote. Install the plu­gin, add some var­ied ways of ask­ing for com­ments in the plu­gin set­tings and then edit single.php (and page.php) and add the code <?php yarq_display(); ?> after <?php the_content(); ?>.

2.2.4 Offer e‑mail subscriptions

Give people the option to sub­scribe by E‑mail in addi­tion to via RSS. If you use feed­burn­er this is done for you, but if you choose not to use feed­burn­er than the subscribe2 plu­gin will do this for you. Hav­ing a short­er domain will reduce the chances that for­war­ded e‑mails will con­tain broken links (see sec­tions 1.4.12 and 2.1.9)

2.2.5 Display newest comments first

This is a simple idea that I think I first picked up via my Yoast sub­scrip­tion (but now I can­’t find the link, if any­one spots it please drop a com­ment in and I’ll add it). Vis­it­ors like to be rewar­ded for their com­ments — see­ing their com­ment at the top is a reward. You’ll be rewar­ded in return with more comments.

2.2.6 Reply to comments

Com­ments are an oppor­tun­ity to start a dis­cus­sion.  You, or your read­ers might learn some­thing, and com­ments can even lead to new con­tent on your site.  They’re a great way to encour­age people to revis­it your site.  On the oth­er hand — if you don’t reply then people will think you aren’t inter­ested, and are far less likely to com­ment again or to revisit.

2.2.7 Enable related posts

You want your read­ers to keep com­ing back, so you want them to find oth­er con­tent on your site use­ful.  If someone found the con­tent of an art­icle inter­est­ing they’re likely to be inter­ested in related con­tent. The more they stay on your site the more likely they are to sub­scribe, com­ment, and revis­it.  Use a related posts plu­gin if your theme does­n’t include it.

2.2.8 Enable most viewed posts

You won’t know what your most pop­u­lar posts are going to be. Let the tech­no­logy do it for you. A pop­u­lar post, by vir­tue, has wider appeal, so draw the atten­tion of new vis­it­ors to your most pop­u­lar art­icles.  As with related posts, if your theme can­’t do this there are plu­gins that will.

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