One of the great things about WordPress is its ability to have ongoing discussions with your visitors, and encourage them to contribute to the conversation. There are a few things you can do to encourage participation:
- ask open-ended questions which invite a reply
- ask visitors what they’ve done with the information in your post
- offer an incentive to post feedback (the hundredth commenter gets a free something-or-other)
- get a small group together and agree to post on each others sites (seeing one comment makes people more likely to chime in)
Once you do start getting comments coming in, try to approve each one quickly and reply to each with a personal message. For instance, if someone has sent an example, reply with honest feedback on what you like best about what they’ve done. This makes people posting comments more likely to come back and add more.
Beware of comment spam. There are some bots out there which will post things like ‘This is a very informative post, I look forward to reading more’ or ‘I found the info on this site beneficial.’ Whenever you get a new comment, check to see if a URL has been entered. Usually, this comment spam is basically to get links added back to their website. You can either mark these comments as spam or remove the URL and publish, although savvy visitors will likely recognize these as spam. There are also some great plugins for helping to control spam (like Akismet or Anti-spam Bee).