Three Easy Steps to Convert Your First Time Commentators into Loyal Visitors

"Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them" – Orison Swett Marden

Comments in title and opportunities in starting? Either John has not reviewed this post or the guest writer is mad! I am sure you have same thoughts in mind! Well, this is my strategy to get you deep inside the post. Starting with quotes is a good way to attract readers to read full post, you see!

OK, enough of chit chat, let’s be serious and get straight to the topic, turning the first time commentators into loyal readers. I used the quote because I wanted to convey that every first time commentator is an opportunity for your blog. While ordinary bloggers let this opportunity pass, you should not. In 3 simple steps, you can convert this opportunity into a great occasion.

1. Comment Redirect

First time commentators are usually readers who like your blog and may easily become loyal. Redirecting them to a custom "Thank You" page can prove beneficial. By using a simple WordPress plugin called Comment Redirect, you can redirect only first time commentators to a custom page that can have a Thank You note, elevator pitch, Subscription box, in short anything that impresses reader.

Here are some ways you can use your redirect page for maximum benefit:

  1. Elevator Pitch: An elevator pitch is an overview of an idea or product. In this case, you can put overview and central idea of your blog. A good elevator pitch can impress your future loyal reader. Read in detail about elevator pitches in this post by ProBlogger.
  2. Subscription Information: Information about Subscription for Feeds or Newsletter can also be put on your redirect page. If you offer a free ebook/product with it, then also include a screenshot and see subscriber number grow.
  3. Testimonials: Reader will surely be impressed when they read how your blog helped Mr. X earn more or Mr. Y attract more traffic. Although not applicable to all niches, testimonials are best way to get reader impressed(just keep them believable!).

2. Replying and Notifying

Out of sight, out of mind. Once reader leaves your blog, you can not be sure that he/she will remember your blog. After all, there are millions of other websites and blogs waiting to grab attention and distract him. Be prepared for this.

Firstly, you must have a "Subscribe to Comments" option under comment area. Many readers really like the conversations and will come back when someone replies to their comment. If you do not have this feature, you can use Subscribe to Comments plugin for WordPress. Blogger users can use Disqus commenting system to enable this feature.

After this begins the second part, replying to comments. As a blog owner, you should try to reply to all comments. This sparks the conversations and bring the "live" feeling to blog.

3. Thank You Mail

Sending a "Thank You" mail to readers is the most effective and converting step. You have two options to choose:

A. Automatic Mail Through Plugins

There are plugins for everything! And so is the case with Thanks You mails. You can use a plugin that automatically sends personalized mail to first time commentators. Thank Me Later plugin for WordPress is a good one and it lets you set the time after which mail is sent. Usually, one day waiting time is good to remind readers.

However, this may have negative effects too. First, mails will seem funny to people using keywords as name. Who would like to read a mail starting with "Hello Blogs For Sale"?

Second, this can even make you lose the reader if not done correctly. This once happened with me when I commented on a blog that had good content. The mail had lot of sales pitches in it and this enraged me! Result? I have not visited that blog again!

You do not want to have blunders like these! So, this brings us to the second(and better) option:

B. Personally Written Mail

Let me make this clear, this is highly converting and best option(if you have time). Not many people do this, so it is also very effective! But it is also very time consuming and if you have a big blog, it will eat up lot of time. If you still want to give it a try, here it is:

WordPress and most blog platforms record the commentator’s email address. You can use this to send a personally written message(please, do not spam!) to commentator. Here are some tips to make sure that your mails impress commentator and at the same time benefit you, the blog owner:

  1. Visit His/Her Blog: Visiting commentators blog and (optionally)commenting will encourage a return.
  2. Tell that You Visited: Tell that you visited the blog and like XYZ thing about blog. If you are in related niche, you can also add some advice.
  3. Use Real Name: If commentator is using a keyword in place of name, either guess real name from email or visit the about page of blog to find the real name.
  4. Add Related Posts: After all this, include some related posts from your blog. Since reader is interested in topic(that’s why he commented in first place!), he will follow up in most cases.
  5. Signature: Include your short elevator pitch in the signature. It will surely attract some traffic.

That’s it. With these 3 easy steps, you can have lot of loyal readers. Have anything in mind that I missed? Be sure to add it to the comments.

Ishan Sharma is the blogger over at Blogging With Success and he invites you to see a working demo of these steps (and get spammed with personal mails!wink) on his blog.