It’s a lot like the age-old question, “If a tree falls in the forest and nobody’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?” If you publish a blog post and no one leaves a comment, was it worthwhile?

You always want your blog posts to garner a large readership and spark conversation. Sure, you can see that your site’s page view and unique visitor numbers are good, but unless these visitors are leaving comments, it’s hard to be sure that they’re actually reading your post. If you’re hoping to generate some more comments on your blog, here are seven ways to get the conversation going.

1. Don’t post too often.

This tip may seem counterintuitive, but it does work. If you post frequently, the content on your blog may start to feel watered down. More than that, readers may not be able to keep up with your pace, and they may not be inspired to comment because another post will be coming along soon and their comment will get buried in the site. By posting less frequently, maybe two or three times a week, your readers will look forward to what you have to say, and your articles will have time to be shared and build up an audience while they’re still current.

2. Write about things that no one else is writing about.

If you jump on the blog topic bandwagon, your post becomes just another voice in the crowd. However, if you’re the only one writing about a particular issue, readers who have been eager to discuss that issue will be motivated to do so in your comments section.

3. Get opinionated.

Remember high school English class, where you learned how to write an argumentative essay? Here’s where those skills will help you immensely! When you compose a well-written opinion piece as a blog post, you’re bound to get comments from both supporters and opponents. State your opinion, state it well, and back it up with facts.

4. Get emotional.

You don’t have to be a trained rhetorician with a vast knowledge of Aristotle to know that people respond to emotional appeals. To encourage comments, write about topics you feel passionately about, and that passion will shine through. Tell stories that are overly happy, or overly sad, or overly something, and you may find that readers are motivated to reply with their own similar tales or just a few words of encouragement.

5. Take part in the comment conversation.

Just like you want to know that your blog post is being read, commenters want to know that their comments are being read. Reply to what readers write and keep the conversation going, and more readers will be inspired to leave their own thoughts in your comments section.

6. Ask for comments.

Invite your readers to share their thoughts and experiences on the topics you cover, ask for relevant links and advice, and encourage an open dialogue on your site. Sometimes just the simple act of asking for comments can draw a good response from your audience.

7. Give commenters something — or the chance to get something.

When all else fails, a bribe succeeds. If you just can’t get the level of response you’re looking for in your comments section, up the ante and create an incentive. Most often, bloggers will offer a prize to a randomly selected commenter. It’s maybe a slightly cheap way to earn comments, but ultimately, it works.

Comments on your blog posts are great for knowing that what you’re writing is being read. They can also impact your website’s SEO ranking to some degree, though not as much as they used to, thanks to comment spammers. Still, building up the comments on your blog posts can serve as great motivation and reassurance. Try these seven tactics, and let us know (in the comments, of course) what works for you!