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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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