6 tips on how to get your readers to engage on your blog
The other night someone (forgive me, I forgot the name) mentioned in the inworld SL Blogger Support group chat that they missed having interactions, or rather discussions, on their blog. Some suggestions were made on how to spark discussions or threads on your blog, and it lead me to write this article, hopefully giving those who wish more comments on their posts some tips!
For starters, blogs used to be the place for discussions some years ago. The lack of good old threads and heated discussions nowadays is not so much that people don’t have an opinion anymore, on the contrary. As it went the past years, Social Media has taken over and people tend to take their discussions to Plurk, Twitter and Facebook.
Those channels are were a lot of discussions, about blog-posts, are going on. Discussions you may not see on the blog-posts itself.
Social Media is fast and easy, accessible from PC and mobile devices, most users are always online – or at least check their Social Media more often than blogs – and that makes it easier to comment and respond to than to a blog-site.
For instance, I am not keen on commenting on Blogger-blogs as a WordPress-user I get all itchy from Captchas and how the comment section works, and vice versa is the case for Blogger-users and their attempts to comment on WordPress sites. Oh and don’t get me started about Tumblr-blogs, that is a whole new level of trying to keep a discussion going (although to be fair, Tumblr has somewhat improved the look and feel of their threads, but still!).
So, let’s say you still want more interaction on your blog itself and not surf around Social Media for feedback and comments, here some examples and tips on how to get your readers to react:
First of all, you need to have content that makes it worth commenting on. Comments that spark the discussion you want.
A beautiful fashion image with credits and an embedded YouTube will unlikely lead to a discussion, no matter how lovely it all looks. So content is important. Write a story with your image, tell why you choose the set up and …..
Dare to ask!
If you want comments/responds/feedback, you need to ask for it. Ask your audience questions! Ask your readers, for example, what they think of the textures of the pants/skirt/chair. Ask how they would style this sweater/hair/shoes.
Strawberry Singh is an experienced blogger who regularly asks the opinion of her readers in her posts, and she usually gets reactions. Maybe not ‘discussions’ but still she gets feedback and answers.
Give your opinion!
If you are comfortable enough and prepared to receive comments – some nicer than others- , you should consider writing some stronger opinionated posts. Not rude, but speak up your mind. Dare to say what you really think, and again: ask your readers about their thoughts.
These posts require thought and time. Surely you can quickly vent and rant, if that is what you like, but it is for a good discussion best to keep things polite and let the audience know you are able to change your mind if arguments and reasons are right and sensible and that you are open to other peoples thought about a topic.
A great example is a blog-post in May this year by Becky, about mesh heads. A well crafted article which led to a days (or weeks!) long discussion and counter blog-posts as a lot of people felt the need to respond.
A recent example is Sophie Mojos’s blogpost last month about Maitreya’s business model, which led to a lot of comments, counter-posts again and numerous Plurks and Facebook posts.
So it begins..
If you are going the way of opinionated posts, you need to make time for the consequence: to curate the discussion. Meaning, reading all comments, keep an eye on Social Media to see what is said where and make sure you reply to the commenters. No, you do not need to sit and wait and jump on every comment the moment is it submitted, nobody expects you to be watching 24/7, but yes: you have to be engaged yourself as well and not leave it out there.
And then there is the possibility a discussion gets (over)heated. Nothing to be really scared of, but just keep it in mind. Things can get nasty and you as the author may take things personal, heck..some comments may get personal! Keyboard warriors are all around and some may take their grudges to your comment-section when they smell blood.
It is, in those cases, important to keep your cool. Really, sit on your hands, take some deep breaths and: take time to respond.
To delete, or not to delete
As blog-owner you can delete or choose not to publish certain comments. I am not a fan of that, if you are going the way of a discussion it is bad form to keep out commenters that have an opposite opinion.
The only occasions I would be in favour of not publishing/deleting comments is when it contains profanity, slurs and/or obscenity or when real life details are abused. Well, you get my point. All other opinions, the more the merrier!
Follow up in a new post
Also, be careful with editing your original post – in case your opinion changed or you happened to write things that turned out not true. It is best to write a new post in those instances, explaining and referring back to the original, rather than editing the first one. It keeps things in chronological order and when someone new reads your blog and comments, it will make sense to them as well.
Last but not least, it should be fun, entertaining and enhance your blog and your experience in SL and blogging.
I hope I didn’t scare you with the last bits of this post and hope you will find fun in engaging with your readers, whatever topic you choose!
Happy blogging and by all means, let me know if you tried it and how it went, in the comment section below! (see what I did there…?)