One of the best ways to gauge the health of your blog readership is to check out how many comments you have for your posts. More comments mean that your readers are actively engaged in what you have to say.

There are lots of ways to encourage discussion on your site—in fact, in most cases, starting a conversation could be a lot easier than you think.

End with a question

Posting a question about your post will give them an anchor point to what they can talk about. Your question should be as general as possible unless you want to direct the discussion to a specific point.

Make it easy

To encourage comments, you need to make the process as simple as possible, with a system that’s user-friendly, clear and intuitive, in order to draw in even newer blog readers. Take a look at your current setup: is there a ‘leave a comment’ button prominently displayed?

Build traffic

Before you’re going to get comments, you need to get visitors—because without good traffic coming to your blog, there won’t be anyone to respond to you. So all the steps you can take to increase traffic can also work, indirectly, to improve commenting.

Reply to comments promptly

If you take too long to respond, the reader might have already forgotten about it and take it that there’s no point commenting on your blog posts. The issue here is that these comments are addressed to you, so no one else but you yourself has to reply to it before the reader feels ignored.

Show your weakness

Content that gets to readers’ hearts is the surest way to build comments. Readers respond well to posts that are authentic, especially when you are coming across as vulnerable and transparent. So to incite comments, show your own weaknesses, and you’ll be more likely to connect with readers and prompt them to have something to say.

Have a strong opinion

Reward insightful comments

When a reader leaves a good comment highlight it to give them some attention. Tweet it or post it on your Facebook page, or maybe refer to it in another post. This tells readers you’re paying attention to them and encourages them to comment more.

Comment on other blogs

If you want people to comment, then set a good example yourself! Comment in your own blog and other similar topic blogs in the community.