Almost every blogging tutorial suggests you to end your posts with the so-called CTAs (call-to-action). They say that encouraging your readers to comment will help to promote your blog. Most bloggers seem to miss the point and use phrases like “and what do you think?”, “share your thoughts in comments”. For sure, commenting increases indexation of your page and solidifies your audience, but this only happens if comments come organically. I will now elaborate on my claim.
Never end your blog post encouraging to share thoughts in comments
Unless I am reading a Tumblr post about some poetry piece my friend has written, I won’t even click on posts about some topics I am already an expert in. Indeed, I will think “what could this post teach me that I don’t know already?” and skip it. So, here is my point: unless you are an internet addict or really bored you won’t open an article to comment on it, you will open it to learn something or just enjoy author’s writing style.
Normal people click on your article to read it, not to comment on it
No matter what social media experts will tell you, people still respect expertise - academic journals and printed newspapers are still being published, television and radio are still broadcasting although none of them have one-click feedback mechanism. The same thing goes with the blog posts: I hate reading a very long complicated technical post comparing two laptops which ends with “and what do you think? write in comments.” This immediately kills a confidence in everything an author has written above. I get an impression that the author isn’t sure about what he’s talking about and isn’t an expert in this field. This wouldn’t be a problem if I knew the topic myself, I would just evaluate the article in my mind and go on, but the problem is that I don’t click on topics that I am an expert in - I click on topics in which I am a newbie and want some expert to give me an expositive summary. Would you imagine the disappointment when at the end of a long read I see an out-of-place call-to-action asking me what I think? Well, I don’t think anything! I am a novice, it is you who should be telling me what to know, how to think. Can you imagine a primary school teacher asking children at the end of a math class: “2 times 2 equals 4. What do you think about that?” I can’t.
If people have thoughts they think worth sharing, they will comment without you asking them to
Here is my solution: use CTAs but use them differently, in an expert way: “if you have questions/didn’t understand/wan’t me to continue writing on this topic, ask me in comments”. The message should be that you know what you are talking about and some random thoughts in comments won’t easily change your view on the topic. Of course this also means that if you are not an expert, then don’t waste everyone’s time by your useless piece of graphomania.
What about expert debates in comments? Simple, I suggest that if an expert happens to read your post and have some important thoughts, he has to write them up elaborately in a new article and share the link with you - expert debates shouldn’t happen in comments. Anyway, even if the expert wants to write a comment, he will do that without you asking to “please share your thoughts”