Web Pro News recently interviewed the Chief Revenue officer for the Huffington Post, who attributes the success of the site to comments and audience engagement. Like the site or not, it's a very popular one, and you could learn a thing or two from it. Do you find comments to be valuable resources? Share your thoughts. Conversations are built upon comments going back and forth and branching out in new directions, taken from one channel to the next. As the web as a whole has become more social, the conversation has gotten larger and it has become easier for anyone to get involved at a growing number of destinations, whether you join in the comments on a blog post, a Twitter stream, a Facebook News Feed, an email , a Google result (courtesy of SearchWiki), IMDB, a forum, a YouTube video, etc. The web has never been as connected as it is now, and it is only becoming more so each time any service rolls out a new sharing feature. Facebook launched Facebook Connect, Digg.com launched the Diggbar, somebody launched the Shareaholic.com Firefox add-on, etc. These are just a few examples of thousands of content sharing tools. Shareaholic Example There is value in conversation. I'm sure you've heard of the wisdom of crowds. Is every blogger an authority on something? No. Are all bloggers the authority on the subject of each of their posts? Of course not. That's why commenting is an option. Comments add value for the reader. If a blogger is wrong about something (or even if he is not, but there is some debate), there are comments there to at least provide different views. Readers can then take these in with the original post and use their own judgment to reach their own conclusion, or use it as reason to further research the topic. Either way, they are getting value out of it because they are not taking one person's word for it. When you're talking about a blog, or a news site, or really any kind of content site, comments add value. They don't just add vale for the reader, but for the publisher as well. In fact, James attributes the site's success to being social. He says the site currently logs over a million comments a month. Proof That Social Media Efforts Pay Off "The reason I like to read HuffingtonPost is because of the comments - it makes it feel so much more community based AND the comments are refreshed quite quickly," writes Susan, commenting on a WebProNews post looking at the interview (and adding value to that post of course). In the above clip, Smith talks about some types of things that attract people to want to "dive into" content. He mentions polls, images, and most popular stats, like showing the most popular news stories, and how many comments they have. Readers see hot topics of conversation, and often feel more compelled to look at that content because they have an indication that it has generated some interest. Of course this helps page views, which can help advertising, and so on and so forth. This benefits everyone involved. Advertisers get more clicks. Publishers get more money from advertisers. Readers get more valuable content - not only from the comments, but because if the publisher is doing well financially, they'll be able to keep providing the content. Everybody wins. Furthermore, the publisher will be more inclined to post on subjects of interest, because they will attract comments, and the cycle continues. Sometimes readers need a little push for commenting (which is why you'll often see comment links scattered throughout WebProNews content). It's simply a call to action for added value for all parties. Blogger Neville Hobson has a nice list of tips you can use to encourage comments. As a blogger/publisher, once you get comments, keep up with them, and stay involved in the conversation when applicable (certainly time can be a factor here). For one, it will give the commentators a reason to come back, and conversations that come from comments can often inspire future posts. There also may be some things that fit right into your post that you hadn't thought of, and they will be there as additional resources for your readers. Do you enjoy reading comments on articles and blog posts? Do you find yourself commenting frequently? Tell us. Was this article interesting? [Digg This!] [Facebook] [Twitter] [StumbleUpon.com] Comment Now... Subscribe to our Newsfeed About the Author: Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003.