One reason many of us love the blogging medium is that it’s a fantastic platform for conversations and community to blossom in the comments section of our posts. Whether it’s just getting some praise for your latest post, providing advice for you or others, or generating a lively debate, the comments section transforms our blogs from a bullhorn into a two-way street of discourse.

Sadly, great comments don’t magically appear moments after you hit the “publish” button. It takes a little bit of work to ensure your readers also take a moment to write. Here are some tips to ensure your blog is comment-worthy:

Ask easy and clear questions to get the conversation started – Instead of opening the door for comments by simply asking “what do you think?” or “what did you like about that?” try something straightforward and specific. Try things like “was that helpful?” or “have you had similar experiences?” that give the reader and potential commenter somewhere directional to jump off from.

Show readers you value their opinion – Don’t just turn on comments and hope they come, express your appreciation for comments by telling people how much you appreciate them, both in general and by replying to specific comments you think are winners.

Don’t scare off people who disagree with you – Your blog might be expressing some strong opinions, which means others may feel differently. Try letting them know you appreciate their alternative viewpoint instead of shouting them down, deleting their comments or ignoring them altogether.

Promote your best comments – When someone adds a great comment, it’s not enough to just reply and say “right on,” it’s your job to showcase this feedback as much as you would your own work. Add a “favorite comments” widget to your site, blast it onto social media or even use it as the prompt or intro for a future post.

Offer a real incentive – Depending on the goal of your blog, this may be overkill, but offering an actual “thing” in return for commenting can spark the behavior you’re looking for. Have a drawing among people who comment, give away some prizes or some of your time (if you offer services) to get things moving.

Remove any barriers – Some platforms and comment add-ons require potential commenters to jump through hoops or register just to leave some feedback. Make sure this process is as simple as possible so no one gets scared off and you maximize your comment volume.

Become an active commenter yourself – Model the behavior you’re looking for by contributing to the comments sections of other blogs in the same niche as your own. Not only does this show you’re a true believe in community but it may also offer other opportunities to promote posts of your own.

So, got any other great strategies you want to share? What’s worked for your blog?