Five Ways to Better Engage Readers on Your Blog

Engage-PeopleMost freelancers would agree on the value of building a strong network through blogging. Besides providing value through content, blogging is also very valuable by providing community.

A strong network isn’t possible without interaction. You can write the most compelling article each time, but if it doesn’t spark conversation, your blog isn’t going to cut it as a networking platform.

In this article, we will explore five ways that work quite well when it comes to increasing reader participation.

The End Is the Beginning

We have heard it time after time that the opening statement is of utmost importance. However, we tend to ignore the power of the closing statement.

The ending of each and every article on your blog is of as much importance and value as the opening statement itself. This is where you spark and energize your readers to come join and discuss in the comment section.

Your article might be the best, but if it doesn’t create the urge to participate you are losing out on valuable members that could become a part of your network. There is a beginning to each article and an end. Once you reach to the end there needs to be a new beginning — interaction.

Create an ending that is as strong as your opening statement. Ask your readers what they think, what their views are, what their opinion is and how they would challenge your opinion or idea. Make them feel they need to connect with you and share what they think.

Once you’ve written a great ending of your blog post, you may want to move on to my next tip, which is to give your readers and incentive to interact.

Give Your Readers an Incentive

By incentive, we don’t mean prizes or contests. Something as simple as a plug-in that will show their last posts is a good incentive.

When someone prepares to leave a comment and share their thoughts on your blog post, they are giving up their time for you. They are letting you know what they think and how you might have helped them through your article. Their thoughts and their time have value, maybe not a financial value, but there are other kinds of value. Show your appreciation by rewarding them for their comment.

Although I am not very big on contests, at times contests can also boost participation. Your main objective is to keep your readers engaged so they come back for more. Give them incentives, anything that you think might work.

This brings us to our next point, which discusses how to make blogging fun.

Make It Fun, Make It Worthwhile

When I first started blogging, my main formula to engage readers was through games. By games, I don’t mean like playing a video game or anything of that sort.

Rather, I created games such as “ Blogging Tips A – Z “ in which readers would leave tips on blogging starting from A to Z. On other days, I would create games that would engage readers by trying to solve a puzzle. I’d mash up a blog’s name and ask them to find the correct blog name. It was fun for me and it was fun for my readers.

Personally, I have found fun to be one of the best ways to energize readers to participate. The best aspect of it is your readers come back to see what others have to say as well.

Another important point is the blogger’s presence on the blog.

Be There

If you have children, you need to show them you care. You need to take them out to the park and do fun stuff as well. The same is true for your blog.

As I have mentioned earlier, your readers are using their time to share their thoughts by leaving a comment. You should do the same. We need to let our readers know we care and that their opinion matters. Readers want to connect to a real person, “YOU.” The way to do that is by engaging in a conversation with your readers. Use your comment section as a place to interact.

Give it a try. Take some time out and start participating in your own blog. You don’t leave your guests unattended when they visit you at your place, why do that on your blog? Show them you care and appreciate their time.

Another point is to remember to check the blogs of your readers.

We Are In It Together

You already know this — most of your readers have a blog. Our main goal in blogging is to convert our readers into subscribers, or at least get them to visit our blog first.

Your readers are no different. If you see a link tied to a commentator, click on it and pay them a visit. Read their articles and leave a comment as well. This is a great way to show appreciation. It’s a win win situation.

Have you ever seen those link exchange sites? I bet you have! They might help you rank better on search engines, but blogging is really about expanding your network. This strategy of interacting with other bloggers will help you create a strong network that will bond for a long time. Connect with your readers. Give and get … that’s the best way to make your readers participate.

Always remember, your blog is by far the best social media channel that is out there. Everything else is secondary to creating a strong personal brand.

Your Turn to Share

Do you think the above mentioned ways are effective in engaging your readers?

I love to hear your thoughts on this topic. If you have any other tips on how one can transform a blog into a networking hub, share with the rest of us through your comments. With that, I will let you take over this blog post in the comments section.

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Comments

  1. says

    I agree with Lexi! Great article and love the idea of the games.

    I am going to try to come up with something fun for engagement.

    for an incentive, you could maybe even do a review of the person who made the most posts in a particular month… hhuummm…. I just came up with that.
    I’ll be on it!!!

  2. says

    You’ve got some fresh ideas here, Ritu. Thank you for sharing them! Like earlier com-mentors, I especially like your games suggestion. I’ve also found that many of my readers who leave comments are also on twitter, so I will go out of my way to connect with them there, too. It’s a great way to make some good connections.

  3. says

    The games tip is a good idea. I try to leave a short question on my own blog every other Friday, that allows commentors to sort of make up their own post. I’ve gotten a lot of great comments from it.

  4. says

    Thanks Ritu! These tips are great. I’ve been trying to think of ways to make my young blog more intriguing and your advice has definitely inspired me.

  5. says

    Agreed, my blog has little activity on both my part and comments. Simply because I struggle to come up with topics that I feel comfortable enough (skill wise or knowledge wise) to discuss. I have been brainstorming using the “bubble” method and have been coming up with ideas this way. I now need to begin executing these and writing about them.

    I like the game idea as well.

  6. says

    Great tips. I also love it that you have buttons for sharing the content right after the article ends. Wish I knew how to do that with our blog. I guess I’ll have to figure it out soon.

  7. says

    Really good article ritu, some good advice on how to engage better with your Blog audience. Liked Ambers suggestion and how she already poses a question every other Friday to keep people coming back for more will be checking her blog out. Thanks again good article ritu

  8. says

    Ritu,

    Great article. I am starting to blog again after nearly a one year absence. I like your point about being YOU and to respond to every comment that is made on your blog. It is all about connecting and engaging with your readers. Make it a great day!!!

  9. says

    Great tips! I am in need of help building a community/network. I think I have tried to many things and niche attempts. Time to focus in 2010. Your blog be one of my top reads. I discovered Freelance Folder in November 2009 – great ending for the year and start for the new one.

  10. says

    This article was interesting. Although in order to really to get the most out of these ideas, your blog would need to have traffic already – how else would people know about these games and play along. I imagine that most of your readers are still pretty new to blogging and are trying to learn more, so that their blog can be as successful as other blogs.

    So, this is what I have to say for people. It is evident that people want to learn more (about whatever interests them) – just the simple fact that you are on this very page proves it.

    Write educational articles and use your humor (in moderation). Keeping your reader engaged DURING the article is important too, make sure that you write in such a way that will make them want to read the next sentence or paragraph. I totally agree with Ritu, the closing statement is just as important as the opening statement.

    To sum it up: Write an educational article about whatever your niche happens to be. Your opening statement is important to grab your audience, the body needs to keep your readers engaged (there are several different ways to do this), and your closing statement should be compelling enough for your readers to comment and imagine the thought of coming back to your blog.

  11. says

    @Lexi : Be sure to let us know what you come with…would love to know and participate

    @Kelsi Awesome idea. Let us know how it goes

    @Jesaka I am glad you enjoyed it and found it useful. I had a lot of success with games when I first started out. It was a good way to get people interested and create that bond between a blog and the readers and of course trust through back and forth communication.

    @Amber Hey, thanks for sharing. yup, I think posing question is a great idea. It gives the readers the power to share their opinion without first having to see the bloggers opinion first. Sometimes we have to give full control to readers and I think asking questions and letting them share their opinion first is a great way to do it.

    @Dan Thanks!

    @Rik I know what you mean when you say coming up with ideas that you are comfortable writing about. But remember though, posts doesn’t always have to set you as an authority on a topic. Sometimes it’s best to share your thoughts from a “newbie” point of view. We always surround ourselves with people that know as much as we do if not more and this sometimes can hinder the creative process. Sometimes it’s just best to let it out, after all you aren’t the only who might have a question or less of a skill set in that niche. It can certainly foster a healthy discussion.

    @Juliana There are many plugins for the share button. The one on this blog I believe is custom. However, here is the link to the plugin http://www.addtoany.com/ or you can search for “wordpress share plugins” or something along that line. I am sure you will find something that will suite your needs.

    @Victor I have something coming soon :)

    @Ian and @Harold Thank you for stopping by and reading. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts on it.

    @Debra It means a lot to us that you find us as one of the top reads for the coming year. We assure you we won’t disappoint you.

    @Stacey My first blog only had 100 readers after 3 months of running. However, almost 30 of those 100 people commented on each and every post. I think the key is to analyze your niche. Are you going for a broader appeal or is your target readership very concentrated? These questions will help you a lot to start out with. Another thing is, you are right that a blog can’t be seen by itself. This is why participation in social media channels and basic search engine optimization skill is a must.

    Once again thank you all for stopping by and thanks for your kind words.

  12. says

    Your post was very compelling in that I’ve have been wondering about this subject.

    Is there also perhaps a component of the website that makes it easy for folks to comment?

    I’m talking about design as well, I’ll have to explore that as leaving a comment here was easy. I did not have to go searching for a comment box, so in addition to your points I’ll re-examine my designs as well.

    Thanks for sharing!

  13. says

    Great ideas! I think the incentive is a good idea. I like Comment Luv as it does exactly what you’ve said here, shows the last blog post of the person commenting. Maybe that would be a good thing FF could add. **hint hint wink wink*

  14. says

    Blogging is a great way to share ideas and establish community. I think the more interactive a blog can be the better. Plus the more updated and new posts added to a blog the better also. Thats part of the reason Freelance Folder is so good and I come on here to check for new posts every day.

  15. says

    Great ideas. I’m working on developing a new blog right now, so I appreciate the helpful tips. I’ll definitely be writing from a semi-newbie perspective. I’ve been designing for a long time, but let my skills lapse due to years of burnout. After a good recharge, I’m jumping back in there and slowly catching up to the rest of the design world.

  16. says

    Thanks for the information, I’m currently trying to write a blog but, at the moment, have had very few comments. I still have a few little features to implement and a few other things that I need to make work, but it should be working nicely soon.

  17. says

    Good post Ritu! You have some interesting insights.

    By the way, Passenger, we schedule our posts here at Freelancer Folder way in advance. This post was written last week. Ritu had no way of knowing that Mashable would also address this topic. It is an interesting coincidence, though.

  18. says

    Thanks for all the comments guys, I am glad you all found it enjoyable.

    @Passenger : Here is the link from my first blog which I ended up selling in January of 2008. Here is the article where I ran a game which shows I actually did these things and not just saying. Besides I didn’t know Mashable covered this topic http://bit.ly/5giDGp

  19. says

    Giving your readers incentive is a great way to make it encourage first time commenters, or those readers that typically are not active commenters. Something obvious like CommentLuv is a great way to bring commenters out of the wordwork.

    Being There is a solid way to keep readers coming back, and hopefully, to keep interacting. When you know you’re dealing with a real person, you’re more willing to check back to see what the site’s author had to see in response to your comments.

    Good stuff, as always.

  20. says

    Good tips, Ritu. Part of the enjoyment I get from blogging is reading my readers’ comments and replying. My blog is all about fun – it’s a humor blog. I’ve mentioned in several posts that, if readers don’t check out the comments, they are missing some of the best humor of all since my readers have a great sense of humor.

    I have to say that, looking at my top ten commentators in the sidebar, only two of them are also bloggers. Interesting.

  21. says

    Hi Ritu,

    Very helpful post. I still struggle with the personal touch in my blogs. I try to give readers good information, but have just started using the first person recently.
    Something that is helping me is article marketing, in that I have collected a couple of fans, and find exchanging comments with them very helpful. I get very little response other than occasional spam on my blog, so when somebody says they like something I wrote, it’s a big deal for me. I haven’t ventured to any social networking yet, but I’m thinking about Facebook. That should help socialize me a bit more too.
    Best wishes,

  22. says

    I’m the kind of guy who passions to try recent things. Presently I am building my private solar panels. I’m making it all alone without the help of my men. I am using the internet as the only path to acheive this. I ran across a truly awesome website which explains how to build photovoltaic panels and wind generators. The web site explains all the steps required to solar panel construction.

    I am not exactly sure about how correct the information given there is. If some experts over here who had experience with these works can have a see and give your feedback in the page it would be great and I’d extremely appreciate it, cause I truly like solar panel construction.

    Tnx for reading this. U guys rock.

  23. says

    Thanks very much, Ritu! My blog is young ( and proud :) ) and I’m trying my best to get it visited. I’m going to use all of your tips. Also I would suggest to use polls as a way of attracting people attention.

  24. says

    Thank you for the post. Returning traffic does matter. They help spread word about your blog and like to learn more from you. One should always concentrate to keep them engaged. Also, they can be helpful providing you tips or correcting errors which you might have done unknowingly, improving site design through their suggestions, problem related to accessing sites through different sites and platform, etc….

  25. says

    I am very much agreed with all point from your post, but want to add one point more that is freshness your post must be a refreshing one, it increases the chances of visitors coming back.

  26. says

    I am not positive where you’re getting your info, but good topic. I must spend some time learning more or understanding more. Thanks for magnificent info I was on the lookout for this info for my mission.

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