Psychologists say that socially rewarding behavior with a “Thank you” is reinforcing, and that this rewarded behavior will continue into the future. Why not apply this to blogging? Most people want more comments for a range of reasons:

  • Social proof: the more comments that you have on your blog post, the more evident it is that people read what you write. If it looks like other people are paying attention to you, then people assume that what you have to say is important. This is one of those tricks that people use all the time to pass their messages through the “filters” of their audience member’s minds.
  • Engagement is self-perpetuating: Have you ever noticed that once you’re invested in something, it’s easier to continue with the process than before you had started? This is another reason why “up-selling” works so well; once the customer has bought from you once, it becomes much more likely that she will buy from you again. So start small and keep those [good value] offers coming!

With these two points in mind, it becomes clear that whatever happens after a user submits a comment on your site is very important. A comment is the lowest form of engagement that occurs on your site, and therefore can be a hook to get your readers to commit to a larger action – for example, subscribing to your newsletter. Also, just thanking the user for her engagement is going a step beyond what most bloggers do, and will reinforce engagement on your site. I mean, what other surprises could be lurking under a submit button on your site? :)

The first and foremost plugin then for a WordPress blogger has to be Comment Redirect. It has a multiplicity of options for turning on and off redirections, for including a popup after commenting, and for displaying a signup form for your readers. The author has put a lot of thought into exactly what should happen after commenting, and if you’ve read the introduction to my article then you might agree. The popup feature is very elegantly designed and unobtrusive, unlike a lot of other WordPress popup plugins that I have seen on the market. In particular, it is much more likely to fit into the design of the rest of your blog. Moreover, you can customize the colors to infinity with their stylish admin area. Adding a signup form is a little complicated, but once you’ve got it once, you won’t need to change it again; and I’m sure their support team can help you out if you get stuck.

Quick Video Review of Comment Redirect

There are some free WordPress plugins for comment redirection, but none of them really come close to Comment Redirect. I used to try to get by just using free WordPress plugins, but the lack of support was usually an issue, compatibility with latest versions of WordPress because the authors hadn’t upgraded the product, and so forth. Let alone the dearth of features that they usual come with. So now I don’t mind shelling out the usually very small fee that WordPress plugins cost these days. This one is only 15 bucks, so that’s far less than most, and (in my opinion) this one is foundational for good web UX.

If you want to see the plugin in action, check it out by commenting on the post below!

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