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Recently I made two subtle changes over on the Warfare Plugins blog that I hope will increase the comments. I made these two changes several years ago on another blog and tested it on a very high traffic article and saw comments on that article go from 1 or 2 per day to around 5 or more per day overnight!
First, move the comment form up above the list of comments. The vast, vast majority or comments on blogs are directed right at the post author. Very, very few of them are directed at other people’s comments.
There are two types of folks who comment:
- Those who simply want to comment immediately after reading the article and don’t necessarily want to read through or respond to any of the other comments.
- Those who want to read through and respond to other comments.
I would contend from looking at the comments on the various blogs on which I’ve worked, that far more people fall into group A. With the form at the bottom, you just increased the barrier to entry for folks in that group to satisfy the much smaller group B. This barrier increases with each additional comment.
With the form at the top, you’ve removed that barrier, and folks in group B who do want to read other comments can still do so. And the form at the top is not a constantly growing barrier to those in that group. It’s a small static size.
You’ve now removed the scroll barrier from the 90%+ of folks who don’t want it, and replaced it with a much, much smaller scroll barrier for the small group who do want to read the comments.
Second, order the comments with the newest comments on top. The logic here is that when folks do get to the comments section, the more recent the first comment is that they see, the fresher and more alive the conversation will feel. The psychology of this can help the post to feel more alive if they see that others have been interacting on it very, very recently.
If you do this, I do recommend that you use the threaded comment system so that rather than the most recent comments appearing at the top, it’s actually the most recent conversations at the top. This will make the reading order much more coherent.
Have you tried either of these methods? Or do you have any other tips?