I’m really good at completely losing track of the important people in my life. I’ll get an email or call from one of my sisters every few months and never respond. I forget about best friends’ or family members’ birthdays. I never get on Facebook to see what my buddies are up to.

Does that make me a bad person? Yeah… Probably.

With all of that said, however, I *am* pretty good at keeping track of who’s reading my blog.

If your blog has been around for a while, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that your readership changes over time. Try as you might to retain everyone, you’ll constantly be gaining and losing readers. And all other things being equal, you want to keep those readers around that are actively commenting on your blog. And I’ve got a pretty sneaky way of doing just that.

Before I get to it, though, I want to talk about why your most active commenters are so important. Here are a few reasons:

  • More comments make you, the blogger, feel warm and fuzzy inside
  • More comments mean social proof
  • More comments mean more page views and more time spent on your blog
  • Your most active commenters are likely your biggest fans and are most likely to spread the word about your content

Ready for the trick?

The short version

Install a top commenter plugin/widget and keep track of who your top commenters are. If you’ve got it to reset every month, check it on the last day of the month and note who your top commenters are. Compare your top commenters from month to month and see who used to comment a lot (but isn’t anymore) that you can bring back to your blog.

The long version

Step 1: Install a top commenters plugin. Put it in your sidebar, footer, or wherever. This type of plugin shows you who has commented the most on your blog in the last X amount of time. I have mine set to refresh every month.

I use one called (wait for it)… Top Commentators Widget.

Top commenters

Top Commentators Widget options

Step 2: Configure the plugin and widget however you want. You can change the number of commenters shown, whether to include their gravatar image, whether the links to their blogs are dofollow or nofollow, and so on.

If you need help configuring your Top Commentators Widget, you can check out a screenshot of mine to the right.

Step 3: At the end of the month, record the names and URLs of your top commenters. You could either write it out by hand (how quaint!), or keep it in a spreadsheet, or take a screenshot.

Step 4: Compare the names from month to month. You’ll probably see that someone who was commenting a lot one month didn’t comment much or at all the month after. Your job is to go find those people and bring them back. You can do this by sending them an email and asking them how they’re doing, by commenting on their blogs, or by retweeting/sharing their blog posts.

Final Words

And here’s a neat little tip: You can actually check your past months retroactively. So right now it’s June, and let’s say I wanted to see who my top commenters were in January. In the date range field of the Top Commentators Widget plugin, I’d type in 20110101 and 20110131, meaning January 1, 2011 to January 31, 2011. That would give me the top commenters for January, and then right away I could just change it back to counting the current month.

Make sense?

So I might be a terrible friend and family member, but at least I’m not too shabby of a blogger.

  • Do you keep track of who comments on your blog?
  • If so, how? If not, why not?
  • How else do you reward your blog commenters?

Note: Speaking of commenting… I know I’m really behind on replying to comments! I’ve been super busy and will reply to all the comments before the weekend is over. So… be sure to leave a comment and share the post :)