One great thing about blogging is it can mean instant gratification. Write a post and immediately your readers are chiming in with comments.
But what does it mean when one post receives few or no comments? Are comments an accurate reflection of how many people read your site, how well-written your posts are, or the interest level of the topics you choose? No, no and no. People usually comment if they have something to say; they may love your posts but feel there’s nothing to add. Or they may be intimidated by the idea of posting their thoughts on a public forum.
So how can you get an accurate reading of how your blog is being received? Of course, you can always check your site stats. Statistics on the number of hits, number of unique visitors, and number of people linking to you can help give you a sense of how you’re doing.
Another possibility is to encourage people to comment more. Deborah Ng, who writes for this site, ran a comment contest on her awesome job board Freelance Writing Jobs. The person with the most comments received a $50 gift certificate. As you can imagine, commenters came swarming out of the woodwork to share their thoughts. Deborah used the contest to encourage people who might usually be too shy or hesitant to leave comments, and it worked.
You can also try implementing a “thumbs up” policy in the comments. This works well if there is a regular community of the same people reading your site. A community I write for came up with the “nod.” Now when someone writes a post that is thoughtful or well-written or funny, we leave a comment that simply says “Nod.” This indicates to the author that we liked her post, even though we might have nothing constructive to add to it. It encourages people to keep posting by reminding them that they have fans out there.
Of course, the simplest way is to write a post on a discuss-able topic, and include questions. For example: How can you tell if people read your site? When are you more inclined to comment on a post? What do you do to encourage people to talk back in the forums?