When you create a website, donít forget to include a blog in your design plans. Blogs are great places to create community and interact with your visitors. A well-maintained blog will increase traffic to your website and can help to set you apart from the competition. If you have a business website, a blog is the place to promote new products or services, create a buzz about your website, and share information that you think your readers would be interested in. The best way to create community is to get your readers to comment on your posts. Studies have shown that only one percent of your readers will post comments and many times the percentage is less than that. So how do you get people to stop lurking and start participating? Use these tips to get people involved and active on your blog.
An active blog is an interesting blog. Post at least three times a week, every day if you can. You donít have to write a novel each time you post. Even just a few paragraphs of interesting material are better than not posting. Set aside 10 minutes a day to update your blog. If readers know that they can go to your blog and find new interesting posts, they will be more likely to become regular visitors to your web page and become involved by leaving comments.
Take time to know what others are talking about on the Internet. This is easy to do with an Internet search for trends and hot topics. Yahoo has a service, omg.yahoo.com, that pulls up the most talked about topics on the Internet. You can also set up Google Alerts for particular search keywords and phrases. Then youíll get an e-mail each day with links to the stories that are related to your search terms. This keeps you on top of what the buzz is all about and you can be one of the first to post a blog about it. Topical blogs receive more comments that stale ones.
People like to be asked to do things. In retail, it is a basic sales technique to ask customers if they are ready to buy. There is a psychology about asking customers instead of waiting for them to make the buying decision that says people are more willing to do what is asked of them than make the decision themselves. It seems to take the pressure off of them in their minds and puts it onto you. The same concept applies for blog comments. Donít wait for people to decide they want to active, ask them.
After you create a website and gain visitors, donít just let your comments sit there. Interact with your readers. If someone leaves a comment, thank them and answer any questions they may have asked. This creates a dialogue between you and your readers and builds a strong community. When youíre first starting out, you will want to answer each and every comment you receive. You will notice that, as your blogís popularity grows, certain people will be regular visitors and start to greet new comers. This will take a while but, if you are diligent, you can build a thriving community of readers and visitors to your personal website.
Donít be afraid to give your honest opinion. You can disagree with someone in a tactful way. In fact, disagreement spurs more activity if done the right way. A comment guideline section on your website is a good idea. Then visitors will know exactly what they can and canít post. If you have to rein anyone in, you can refer to your guidelines as backup.
Ask Opened Ended Questions
The same techniques you would use to get a conversation going in person can be used on your blog. Ask open-ended questions, ones that require more than yes or no. Pepper these questions in your blog post and end with one. This will spur people to think about what you are talking about and want to give you their opinions and answers. You can also do this in your comments that you place on your blog.
To Sign In or Not to Sign In
There are two schools of thought about requiring your readers to sign into your website before they can leave comments. Some people find having to register and sign in a bother and wonít do it. Others may be concerned about the security of the information they give you during the registration process. If you are trying to collect contact information, it may be better to just put up a contact form on your website instead of relying on registrations to do it. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to leave comments, and requiring registration may be more than they are willing to do.
A blog can create community and get people actively involved with your website. When you create a website, include a blog in your design plans. Keep it updated and be active and you can create an active and thriving community of devoted readers and customers on your website.
When you create a website, remember to include a blog. Learn how to generate comments to create traffic for you blog and your business website.