Do you ever feel – as you blog – like you’re talking to an empty room?
Day after day you publish posts only to have them greeted by….
If that is how you feel – then you’re not alone. In fact one of the most common questions that I hear from bloggers is:
“How do I get my readers to interact with me?”
Over the next week I’d like to suggest some ways to increase reader engagement and would love to hear how you do it on your blog too in comments below.
But first – today I’d like to talk about WHY community and interaction on a blog is so important.
Blogging – More than Just Creating Content
There is no one way to build a successful blog but in my experience a blog really comes alive when there is at least some level of community on… or around… the the blog.
Perhaps the best example I can think of to illustrate this is the time I started Digital Photography School (my main blog).
When I launched dPS in 2006 I launched it without comments being activated on the blog. This was an experiment to see what impact not having comments would have on a new blog.
I quickly discovered that by starting a blog in this way had quite a few negative impacts upon the site – the main one being that not having reader feedback just felt plain weird and left ME as the blogger thirsting for interaction with readers. I guess I’d become used to getting readers engagement on my other blogs and without it just felt ‘wrong’ for my style of blogging.
Within a few weeks I’d not only turned comments back on at dPS but was already working towards starting a photography forum on the site too!
The impact of adding more and more opportunity for community engagement on the site was immediate and big. Page views went up, repeat/loyal readership increased and I feel the quality of the site also improved.
Why Build Community on Your Blog?
Lets take a bit deeper look at some of the benefits of focusing upon reader engagement and building community on your blog.
1. Community Increases Your Blog’s Usefulness
Right from the early days of ProBlogger my mantra has always been that a good blog is a useful blog.
If you’re not being useful to your readers on some level (and being useful can be many things from being informative,