Guest post by Alexis Bonari
Success in attracting and retaining readers is often influenced by a blog’s level of interactivity. Many readers are more active than passive and want to feel like they have a role in affecting a blog’s content, design, structure, and overall ongoing conversation. Posts shouldn’t be thought of as soliloquies, but as the beginnings of highly interactive discourses. For effective ways to keep your blog interactive and encourage your readers to come back for more, try reading and adapting these ten tips to fit your blog’s needs.
1. Encourage Guest Posts
If you want an easy way to get more players involved in your conversation, encourage guest posts. Even though your readers are probably used to your style and enjoy reading your posts, interactivity can be improved by giving visitors the opportunity to read something different every once in a while. This also enables you to participate in conversations by posting comments on someone else’s content. To promote guest posts, include a separate tab for submissions or mention it on your contact page.
2. Write Guest Posts for Other Blogs
To get more activity on your blog, offer to write guest posts for others. Your byline on someone else’s blog may lead new visitors to your page, so take advantage of this opportunity. You might even arrange a guest posting trade-off with another blogger, writing for each other once a month to help generate more traffic for both of you.
3. Take On a Friendly Role
People love talking to their friends. If you want to encourage your readers to respond to content, you might consider being friendlier with your tone and adopting a more casual style. By “selling” less and being more approachable, you could increase feedback and readership.
4. Allow Guests to Express Themselves
Enabling comments on your blog lets readers know that you welcome their feedback. Even if you have a lot of RSS readers who don’t visit your page, it’s important to leave the lines of communication as open as possible. As with guest posting, commenting on other blog posts can result in reciprocal favors for your own blog, so don’t hesitate to let others know what you think. Depending on your relationship with the blogger, you might even mention a popular post from your blog somewhere in your comment.
5. Request Feedback
Ask readers to respond to your content. You can do this by asking visitors to submit article topics they would like to see on your blog, posting articles with interactive questions, or starting a weekly (or monthly) poll post. Once you’ve established a recurring poll day, readers will know when to stop by and respond so they can be included in your results and discussion.
6. Demonstrate Good Intentions
Let visitors see that you’re motivated to please them rather than use them. You can do this by offering free tips and advice, minimizing obvious commercial ventures on your blog, and responding when you do receive feedback. When your readers know that you’re invested in helping them with your blog, they’ll be more likely to participate when you include interactive opportunities.
7. Reward Your Readers
For RSS feed subscribers or those who subscribe to your full content (if you offer different versions), consider offering an annual or biannual gift. You could give subscription discounts, free access to one of your eBooks, a small gift of merchandise if you run a commercial blog, gift certificates, coupons, access to special content, or anything else to let them know that you appreciate their loyalty. By doing this, you can both secure long-term readership and encourage increased interactivity.
8. Hold Contests
Contests can be for best guest post, most interesting article topic submission, cutest pet photo, or any variety of other premises. Offer a modest prize and watch contest submissions stack up, increasing your blog’s interactivity by leaps and bounds.
9. Write at Least One Article Series
Writing a series can attract short-term readership from those who read one post and return for the next installment. If you can sink the hook this way, you might receive interesting feedback from new visitors and get some long-term readers who want to see more of the same.
10. Understand Readers’ Interactive Tendencies
Don’t be offended or discouraged if you don’t notice drastically increased comment numbers on your blog. With RSS feeds, Twitter, and re-posting popularity, it’s more likely that your interactivity will increase in places you can’t monitor as easily as your blog. You can either hire a social media service to track threads related to your blog or simply trust that your efforts are increasing your blog’s interactivity and readership.
About the Author:
Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education and performs research surrounding online degrees. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.