Bloggers blog for a reason. You blog because you want to get heard. Blogging, however, also involves listening. You also want to gain feedback and responses from others. Ask yourself these questions to know if you encourage engagement in your blog.
Do you make it easy to leave comments?
The comments section in blogs can be an enriching read. I’ve come across many blog articles where the comments left by thoughtful readers were as enlightening as (or in some instances, even more enlightening than) the blog post itself. For the blogger, the comments section is also one of the best tools for engagement.
When you put up your blog, make sure the comments section is actually open. I also suggest making do without the captcha words and other verification processes. Some commenters would rather leave your blog than put up with time-consuming steps like registering and entering codes. But you can also choose a commenting platform that lets you go through the registration process without hassle. A popular choice is Disqus, which lets readers use their Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Open ID, and Disqus accounts to post comments. It also works in real-time, letting you see what others are typing even before their post gets published.
Another feature-packed engagement platform is Intense Debate, which lets readers leave comments using Twitter, Facebook Connect, and Open ID. This is one of the most customizable commenting platforms at present. You can let readers add smileys and YouTube videos to their comments. You can also add a spelling and grammar checker and spam filter (Akismet). One of the best features of Intense Debate is that you may allow readers to add their website address when they log in. If they do, a link to their latest post appears with their comments. To moderate comments, simply log in to your Intense Debate account.
Do you have social sharing buttons?
Sometimes readers won’t want to leave comments. But they want to show their appreciation by sharing or liking your post. This is where social sharing buttons come in handy. You can add Twitter and Facebook buttons to each of your blog posts (place them prominently below the post title or below the post). Also, choose from social sharing plugins such as Digg or ShareThis. These plugins let readers share your post to the major social networking sites.
Do you have a subscription button?
With so much content that’s being created and recreated by other netizens, readers get easily waylaid and might forget to check your blog. Give them a quick reminder by letting them subscribe to your RSS feed, which lets you syndicate blog content automatically. You can also place a subscribe-through-email button on your sidebar.
Do you respond to readers and other bloggers?
As a last point, being engaging also entails being responsive to your audience. Respond to comments and retweets. Don’t be stingy in showing appreciation and don’t balk at an opposing viewpoint. Just remember to avoid being a troll and to handle conflicts with grace. Also, engage other bloggers by commenting on their blogs once in a while.
Nancy Perkins is a writer who is very much interested in business and technology. She loves to share and learn more about the ins and outs of money making.