Originally posted on The Viral Garden
A lot of people talk about ways you can get more readers to your blog. I say why just worry about trying to get more readers, instead why not try to excite and thrill them?!? Here’s ten ways I try to do that, but as you are reading these tips, always keep one point in mind; Look for ways to give your readers a sense of ownership over the content created on your blog. I always say that this blog is ‘co-created content’. And it is, I write the post, and you guys run with it and leave amazing comments. The end result is that, thanks to you, the value of the post increases dramatically, because of your comments. So NEVER take your readers for granted, and ALWAYS look for ways to appreciate them, and give them a greater sense of ownership over your blog. Because that’s what they deserve. Here’s some ways you can get started.
1 – Say ‘Thank You!’ early and often. Never forget that without your readers, you are blogging for yourself. If you’re ok with that fine, but for most of us, individuals and companies, we are blogging for an audience. Putting forth even a small amount of time to let your readers know that you appreciate their time goes a LONG way. Notice if you comment on this post, the first thing you will see is “Thank you SO much for commenting!”
2 – Ask for feedback. Let your readers know that you always want their input. When you raise a point or a question in a post, ask your readers for their thoughts. Look at my post on self-promotion, it currently has over 20 comments. The value of that post increased significantly because of the feedback via comments, from this blog’s readers.
3 – Stalk your readers. Let’s be honest, for most of your readers, reading your blog is NOT the highlight of their day. Most of the time, they will be on other sites, on other blogs. When you find them on other sites, such as Twitter, interact with them there. Twitter is still the top referring site to this blog, and while a lot of that traffic comes from links I tweet to posts here, much of it comes from people finding my blog via the link on my profile. Give them a reason to want to learn more about you.
4 – Comment on your readers’ blogs. Remember, the best way to grow your blog, is to leave it. It’s also a wonderful way to excite your readers. When you take the time to read THEIR blogs, and comment on THEIR blogs, you send the message to your readers that you are serious about interacting with them, and that you appreciate them. And use BackType to track the comments you are leaving. I wrote up a quick review of BackType yesterday for Search Engine Guide, but it’s a wonderful way to not only track the comments you leave, but to also make sure you are leaving plenty of comments on OTHER blogs, and not just yours.
5 – Add your readers’ blogs to your blogroll. Even now, I am constantly updating my blogroll to add blogs that I find interesting, and many of them are from my readers. For example, Liz Strauss left a comment here the other day, and I immediately thought ‘Wait…do I have Liz’ blog on my blogroll?’ I checked, and I didn’t, so I added it. Now you shouldn’t add blogs to your blogrolls just because you want your readers to comment, but if you read the blogs that your commenters write, add them to the blogroll. It’s just another way to say ‘thank you’, and help give your readers a bit more ownership over the content created on your blog.
6 – Add a widget to your sidebar that shows the pictures of your readers. This is the only reason why I keep the MyBlogLog widget up on the sidebar. I want my readers to be able to come here, and see their picture on the widget. *I* want to see their picture. And adding that widget is another way to create space on the blog that’s just for my readers.
7 – Put the focus on your best commenters. How many times has this happened on your blog; You leave a post, and it gets a couple of comments, pretty much agreeing with you. Then someone comes along with ‘Ok Mack all this sounds great, but I’m going to come at this from a different angle..’, and they launch into this amazing comment that changes the entire tone of the conversation, with now half the readers siding with your points, the other half siding with the commenter. And the end result is, thanks to the spark from that one comment, you now have a vibrant conversation happening. Edit your post and add a ‘Window’ to the comments. How I do this is by taking that great comment that sparked the discussion, and I add it to the end of the post, like this: “PS: Check out this amazing comment by Shannon Paul- ” And when you add the comment to the post, link to the person’s blog that left the comment. Again, this person left a great comment that sparked a great discussion. Why not thank them for that?
8 – Link to your readers’ blogs. Every morning I go to Twitter and as I am going through my feeds, I link to posts I find interesting on Twitter. And you’d better best believe that I go out of my way to link to people that I know are reading and commenting here.
9 – Actually care about the people that read your blog. Yes it might sound hokey, but you have to actually give a damned about the people that take some time out of their busy day to read your blog. When you do that, you start to think about ways you can put the focus on your readers. You start to look for reasons to link to them, to read their blogs, to tweet links to their best posts.
10 – Ask for help. What did I miss? How do you excite your blog’s readers?