Want to build better relationships with your blog readers? Check out these four engagement strategies which will help you grow your blog authentically.
That One Blog I Visited…
I remember reading an expert blogger’s post on building better relationships with readers. In the post, he encouraged his audience to leave a comment. So, I fell for the bait. I left a comment, and then subscribed to the responses so that I’d receive a notification when he answered the question I left.
Four years later, I still haven’t received a notification.
After a few months of waiting, I realized I had fallen for a classic bait and switch tactic. A blogger wanted to increase the number of comments on his blog, so he wrote a post about commenting, promised to respond, and then didn’t.
Needless to say, I never returned to his blog, nor can I even remember his identity. Although I scoff at this bait and switch tactic, I confess I have failed to effectively use the comments section to build better relationships with my readers, too. But I know the importance of building relationships with readers, so I set a goal of interacting more with the people who stop by.
Want More Comments?
1. Ask a Question
Most people won’t comment (even if they liked your post) if they don’t have a compelling reason. When you ask a question, you open a conversation—always an effective method for building relationships.
I don’t always remember to do this. Especially in months where I post nine times a week!
Since your blog belongs to you, you get to choose how you handle controversy on your blog. Think about this beforehand. You may state your expectations upfront (you can invite people to comment respectfully, use G-rated language, etc.). You also have the right to delete comments.
Make your conversation place a safe one to build relationships not only between you and your readers, but for your readers to build relationships with each other.
2. Get Rid of Captcha and Re-captcha
Just don’t use them. Invest in a low-cost spam filter, such as Akismet (which allows you to pay a fair-for-you price).
When people have to look at tiny photos on a phone screen and identify grainy photos of cars, it takes away their interest in the conversation. Do you refuse to talk to someone unless they can read an eye chart at forty paces? No.Do you refuse to talk to someone unless they can read an eye chart at forty paces? No. Get rid of Captcha and Re-Captcha! #blogger #write28days #relationships Click To Tweet
You can also turn on comment approval, where you have to go in and manually approve comments. You’ll find this more effective than captchas and re-captchas. Trust me.
3. Install the Free WordPress Plug-in CommentLuv
This makes it easy for you to identify whether or not the people commenting have a blog. If they do, pay them a visit!
Do everything within your power to answer their comment and return the visit as soon as possible. Set up a time and a system for responding.
Once again, I haven’t achieved perfection in this area—especially during busy months. But I don’t want to act like the guy that said commenting will help build relationships and then never actually practice it myself.
4. Install the Comment Redirect Plug-in
Comment Redirect, a free plug-in for self-hosted WordPress sites, will automatically redirect a brand-new commenter to a party page. Ok, not really a party page, but a page where you can welcome the person to your community, celebrate the fact that they left a comment, and let them know what you have to offer.
Don’t forget to go back and update your comment redirect party page occasionally as your blog grows and changes.
We’ll talk more tomorrow about effective ways to grow your blog through social proof.