This is a guest post by Laura on the how to improve communication at your Blog. You can read the guidelines for guest posting at our guest posting guidelines page.
Your blog is on its way to success and you’re surely working hard to see it up. Still there’s one thing that any pro can surely do better. I’m speaking about the ability of your blog to stir instant reactions and to inspire people to exchange messages, not just passively read what you are posting – all in all, to keep doors open for communication.
It’s easy to maintain a good environment for exchanging viewpoints (after all, it’s what all of us do each day). Yet too many blogs remain covered in silence – no visitor’s message, few comments and a lot of spam. How to optimize your blog to make it a friendly place for communication? Keep an eye on the following main points.
Comments and trackbacks
Does anybody particularly enjoy shouting in the void? Of course not. Comments on your posts give you and your readers a sense of belonging – you feel listened to and the relationship with your readers grows with every reply you leave below their notes.
Let’s face it: many commenters are driven by SEO reasons. Hence, they will search for topics that they can comment upon plus leave a valid link to their website. It’s your call if you leave your blog do-follow or not, but be aware that if you don’t, the buzz will be seriously pushed back. A good idea would be to leave it so and do manual comment moderation.
A bit of automatizing is always necessary. Each blogging CMS has dedicated plugins or widgets for handling comments. You can rank them by popularity, enable discussions on social networks and create a “Top commenters” list to show courtesy towards your fans. WordPress has the wonderful CommentLuv (which should be part of your online marketing kit) and many other comment plugins. Blogger, on the other hand, provides widgets such as Easy comments, Recent comments, Top commentators and Disqus.
While comments help build your relationship with readers, trackbacks are a great method to nurture your network of fellow bloggers. Not to mention you will benefit from the backlinks on the blogs that referenced you. Make a habit of regularly approving trackbacks from quality blogs even if they have lower page rank than yours, this won’t hurt your rankings by any means but you’ll make somebody happy.
You can display them as you wish: on separate pages, in light-boxes or as buttons on the side of the page. Forms are the primary way to convert blog visitors into subscribers, by offering them an opt-in field to sign up to your newsletter promotion campaigns. It’s also a handy method to gather organized feedback right to your inbox without having to display your e-mail address publicly.
Use a web form builder or create your own forms for scratch where it’s possible. From the essential contact form with maybe three fields, Name – E-mail – Message, up to all-purpose forms (order form for e-commerce, registration form online surveys), you can optimize them for good fill-in rates.
Choose a proper placement for the tab containing the form: in the page header, footer or sidebar. Divide form content into sections or branches, use less text boxes and choose a form design that fits your image. Remember, it takes 8 to 10 seconds for users to decide if they stay on the page or leave it, so make wise use of their time.
Social media sharing
Most of your readers, if not all of them, are active on social media. Share your content via your own profiles and make it easy for readers to share on their turn. For each social network there is the possibility to add a sharing button on your blog.
The major social sites have applications for synchronizing your blog RSS feed with the public profile. Take for example Facebook Simply RSS or RSS Connect, LinkedIn Blog Link that would post on your profile or on groups, Twitter Feed that makes RSS visible to everyone but with no-follow links. Generally, these apps help build reputation and buzz, not necessarily aid your SEO. And your primary aim is to please humans not bots, isn’t it?
Other communication tools
Your blog can do even more than receive comments and facilitate mail exchange. There are plugins and widgets that enable real-time messaging from administrator to visitors or chat between community members. This means you won’t have to waste time exchanging IDs and testing networks, the connections are already available.
Want to be the next official speaker of your blog? WordPress offers a variety of message bar plugins and video conference alternatives such as VideoWhisper. If you are on Blogger, you can use widgets for Google Talk, Meebo Me, Skype and many others.
A positive mindset
Yes, that’s right. Technology can help, flair is definitely a key part of your blogging kit, but it’s the overall quality of your blog that can really give your visitors a taste for communication. Write about topics that you enjoy, do the necessary legwork with positivity and it will show. With a door that’s open, you can surely expect to have visitors around in no time.
About the Author:
Laura Moisei is a blogging passionate. She writes for 123ContactForm, a web form builder that helps users create beautiful forms for any blog or webpage.