Writing a blog can be lonely business.
Even more so if you are actually trying to use a blog as part of your business.
One of the most common comments I hear is that it's difficult to get readers to comment. Blogging without comments is like singing to an empty auditorium.
As a general rule, a Blog is considered "successful" if there is a sense of Community among the readers. And the truth is that the most interesting part of a good blog posting will very often be the comments themselves.
Don't feel insulted if your readers are more interesting than you That's a good thing!
The savvy blog owner is happy to allow the readers to create the lion's share of the Content. Your job is to simply get the ball rolling and then sit back to watch the action.
There is a term many are familiar with, "Link Bait." That is a blog post that is so interesting, controversial, shocking, etc... that all-important Word-of-Mouth turns it Viral. People link to you, talk about you, and come flocking to your site to post their comments.
- See also: Linkbait Ideas For Small Business Owners
Even if you have an exceptional command of language, no one will care if they don't care about the topic itself.
For example, Putin's recent crackdown on demonstrations in Russia would have a rather limited appeal to anyone other than a Russian.
That's not to say that Putin isn't interesting, but a writer who's audience resides at the other side of the world would have a much smaller pool from which to draw interesting Comments.
On the other hand, if you ask your readers whether Snooki should breastfeed her new baby, you may have to quit your day job.
The most straight-forward method of getting a response from your readers is the ask for it. You don't need to ask for a comment if you ask an intriguing question.
But don't simply ask, "What do you think?" Give them a choice between two opposing viewpoints. It's even more fun when neither choice is especially acceptable, which will often prompt more discussion than you would get otherwise.
Once the comments start coming in, add your own comments by asking people to expand a specific point they brought up, or ask questions regarding an especially interesting comment from someone else.
This can get commenters debating each other, and can be add a lot of fuel to the proceedings.
Asking if Justin Bieber is cute while editing the Justin Bieber fan site is unlikely to entice long, well-crafted prose.
Announce your new petition drive to get Justin to shave off all that famous hair, and you will likely elicit endless and passionate discourse.
But no matter, just be sure to have that,
"Shave Justin's Hair!"
T-Shirt buy button prominently displayed
Introduce your best Commenters to Each Other
Nothing beats a blog where many of the commenters know each other, and like to converse back and forth within the comments.
This is where you get a real sense of community among your readers. At this point you are more than just a blog, you're a Club where all your friends like to come to hang out.
Once your various commenters know each other well enough to converse within the comments, you have a new danger! You'll have to be diligent to keep everyone on Topic.
I've seen a number of blogs that disintegrate into jokes and babbling to the point where things are no longer interesting. But no one should mind you being the disciplinarian.
Participate in Other Communities
"If you build it, they will come."
Yeah, right. That only works in the movies.
They need to know you are there in the first place, and then they need a compelling reason to come. And only you can give them that reason.
When I started my first blog, I found other blogs with active discussions and joined in. My fun and witty personality soon enticed members of various Communities to swing by my place to see what I was all about.
I soon had a community of my own because this is probably the quickest way to get active commenters filling your pages with interesting discourse.
Become the "IT" Place to Participate
Getting people to show up is one thing. Getting them want to hang out is an other animal altogether.
The famous Hot Spot night clubs are famous because of the famous people that frequent the joints. And the bouncer carefully screens out "undesirables" at the door. Because the "beautiful people" don't like to hang with the common folk.
Or so the bouncer tells me...
But most new bloggers are usually happy to get anyone thru the door, so it can be difficult--if not downright heartbreaking--to have to be ruthless about refraining to approve comments that can detract from the importance of your Blog.
You'll always get spammers, of course. Those are easy to disallow. A blog with a lot of spam comments is frowned upon by Google.
But you need to be careful you don't end up with a blog full of bozos. They babble, they don't make sense, they stir up trouble. Don't even go there.
Remember, the better your comments, the more enjoyable your blog. Good, intelligent, entertaining comments beget more of the same.
If you are going to spend a lot of time gardening, you may as well end up with luscious tomatoes, rather than a bed full of weeds.
What's It Gonna Be?
Are you going to put in the effort to entice and nurture quality comments to your site and build a fun and fulfilling sense of community?
Or are you going to remake that comedy album from the Hippy 60's called, "We're All Bozos on This Bus?"
As for me, I'm off to make my, "Shave the Bieber" T-Shirts
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