You're blogging for your business, just like everyone says you should.  You're putting out this great content, but somehow you feel like it's not drumming up the kind of connection that you hoped it would.  What's missing?

If you're leaving your comment section totally unattended, you might be missing out on valuable community building through discussions on your site. Being active in your own comment section usually helps, but there are also a few plugins that can help grow your community and help things run smoothly once those comments start rolling in.

1. Comment Reply Notification: If you're going to take the time to respond to comments in your comment section, you want people to be able to see it!  This plugin automatically emails commenters to tell them when their comment is replied to.  This is much better than a system where you have to opt in to get emails for all comments.

2. Add New Default Avatar: This is just a fun little thing to make your comment section prettier.  Ideally, all commenters would have their avatar set up with Gravatar (and if you don't, DO IT! I wrote about why it's important here) but for those that don't, it's nice to have something branded to match your site as opposed to that boring mystery man.

3. CommentLuv: I don't use this personally, but this shows a link to a commenter's latest blog post underneath their comment, which encourages your community to check out other readers' sites- and encourages them to comment, because they know their own blog will get some publicity. Pretty cool!

4. Akismet: Nobody likes spam.  Akismet is the most popular spam plugin, and I've had good luck with it. Some bloggers use and like FV Antispam if Akismet isn't cutting it for some reason.

5. Recent Comments widget: Okay, this isn't a plugin.  But by using this simple built-in widget in your sidebar, you can help generate discussion by drawing readers' attention to the posts that are currently attracting the most comments on your site.

Last but not least, my favorite tip for generating comments on your posts is to directly ask your readers a question at the end of your post.  A lot of times readers want to give you feedback and connect, and by asking a question you're giving them something specific to talk about.

What is your favorite plugin for managing your comments section? (See what I did there?)

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As the designer and developer at Katelyn Brooke Designs, Kate creates WordPress websites for creative women. She gets excited about collaborating with other designers and loves learning about her talented clients' business goals and artistic aspirations. She's also a total dork about blogging and social media, and happily includes those activities in her job description.

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