Without blog comments your personal trainer blog is a magazine at best. At worst, it’s just you, sort of shouting your message to the world.
That’s not to say a blog with no comments doesn’t still offer many benefits. You’re still capturing all those keywords, for example, and you’re still building trust.
But a blog that has some engagement is pure solid gold. That’s where the real relationships get built. That’s where the trust starts happening.
When you are just getting started you might find engagement easier said than done. Many bloggers spend a lot of time looking at “zero comments” before they get any engagement. And many have to deal with a slew of spam comments, which does not, sadly, make the blog look popular. It just makes the blog look poorly managed.
So here are some tips for making your blog comment friendly.
Akismet isn’t an arcane Egyptian phrase. It’s a WordPress plugin that is really, really good at blocking spam comments from your blog.
Yes, you can put your comments into manual moderation, and I recommend it. But this program ensures that you don’t have to spend all your time moderating comments, because it gets them before you have to look at them. It gets this job done for a grand total of $5.00 per month.
What is a spam comment? It’s any comment that is totally irrelevant to you or your blog. Sometimes they look legitimate. They’ll say, “This is really great content, thanks for writing!”
Only when you look at the link you’ll see that the comment links back to a casino, or some shady online pharmacy, or something equally dodgy. And if you don’t have Akismet you might well find yourself going through 30-40 of these things every day, because spammers have robot programs that do nothing but wander around the web, spewing these things out.
Are you commenting on other blogs in your local community? You should be. You should be engaging with any blog that’s even remotely related to your blog or your city.
Comments from halfway around the world don’t do you a lot of good. And few people bother checking out a blog, or commenting on it, if they don’t feel that you gave back to the community first. If you find a post that’s really relevant to fitness, nutrition, or health then you should take the time to curate it on your own blog. Then let the original blogger know that you did so. They’ll usually at least come over to drop a “thank you” comment. If you discussed their post in some detail, however, they may also just start a discussion. And that’s what you want!
You can actually ask for comments. This little call to action works pretty well!
For example, let’s say that you write a blog post about staying motivated even when you’re really tired or really stressed out. After you give your tips you might say something like this:
Have I missed anything? What do you do to stay motivated when you’re exhausted? Please share your tips with us in the comments below!
There’s a pretty good chance that you haven’t covered every single trick in the book, especially if you’re talking about motivating people. People are motivated for all kinds of reasons. If you can get people talking you might just learn a few things yourself…and you might find some great fodder for future blog posts.
Avoid having a bland-as-dishwasher blog that never takes a stand. Sometimes an unpopular or controversial stand builds a following as nothing else does.
That doesn’t mean you have to get rude or offensive just to be rude or offensive. But people want personality. If you feel strongly about something, say something!
Consider “Hot Facebook Mom” as one example. She’s very controversial. She posted a picture of herself in a bikini with her 3 sons on Facebook and added the caption, “What’s your excuse?”
She was trying to inspire other moms to get fit. But she invokes some strong feelings. There are those who think that she’s “fat shaming.” But it didn’t matter. The outraged shared her message as readily as the inspired.
No doubt you’ve got some strong opinions about ways that people treat their bodies, or about different products that are out there, or about different myths that are permeating the fitness community. If you do it is 100% a-okay to say so. And if you get some argument and push back, well–that’s kind of the point. You’ll get your defenders, too, and you’ll build a thriving blog community in the process.
Nobody likes this advice, but it’s true anyway. Keep doing the right things, even if you don’t see results right away.
Nobody gets a lot of comments while blog traffic is still low. If you’re pretty new to blogging then it’s going to take awhile no matter how hard you work. But that’s okay. Just keep doing it! Sooner or later you will reap the benefits.
Come to think of it, I sound a bit like a trainer myself. :)