Over at Friendfeed, in the Start Up Success Room, I came across a post by Zee that pointed out a really interesting blog post entitled “Learn How This Blogger Averages 100+ Comments Per Post And Did It In Under a Year“. Now this seemed quite interesting. Comments are a true sign of user engagement and inspiring comments is a true art.
The post is an interview with MizFit Online who’s a fitness blogger. Reading the post however did not get me too far, other than MizFit’s avid blog reading and commenting herself and a key phrase “commentversation” which tried to capture her approach. Even MizFit seems unsure of what drives the comments saying “If only I knew. It varies wildly.”
I wanted to know more and decided to do some real analysis on MizFit’s blog. It seems like a great blog. True to her personality. Quite personal. And it seems she’s got a strong following. She also has a theme/category of the day: Monday Faceday, Tuesday Trends, View Mail Food, Glorious Food and Link Love.
I started by looking at every post she made in November. I looked at the title of the post, the theme, the length of the post, text vs. video, the number of outbound links in the post and the number of links to other pages on the blog.
The only thing that seemed to matter was whether the blog post was part of a theme. Uncategorized posts did very poorly incomparison. Post length, other than extremely short posts, had no impact. Number of links had no impact either. Video performed as well as text.
I decided to dig in further. I took the last 10 posts for each theme and for uncategorized posts (note: I screened out the uncategorized posts that were very short announcements).
Here are the results of the analysis of the last 10 posts by theme/catagory:
The results are facinating, at least to me. If you factor out contests, four of the themes average about 100 comments per post. Food Glorious Food does a little less well averaging 89.6 comments per post, which may be due to a heavier reliance on guest posts in this theme.
The pattern I saw with the uncategorized posts held true. These types of posts only averaged 48.4 comments per post.
Contests also play a big role in making the numbers fluctuate. They seem to add about 45 extra comments to a post on average. More when the contest was enticing and less when it was not so enticing.
I dug further into the best performing and worst performing non-contest posts to see if I could find some other qualitative reasons for the variances. Indeed there seemed to be more going on qualitatitively.
When I looked deeper at the strongest performing posts based upon comments, I saw that these posts tended to stand out for one or more of the following reasons: Challenges, very personal stories, strenuous exercise video, or lots of questions (3-5) to audience at the end of the post.
In contrast the poorest performing posts were missing these elements. The poorest performing posts where guest posts without questions to the readers. These posts dropped to 66-79 comments. Guest posts with questions did a little better running in the mid 80s. MizFit’s poorest performers in themed posts tended not to have as much passion and had no questions for the audience.
My take aways if you want to generate comments:
So what do you think? What kind of posts get people to comment? Is it this list or some other factors? Who else gets lots of comments and what do they do?
Update with ideas from comments about what drives comments: