Blogging is one of the most popular practices of today’s internet world. Ranging from cricketers to movie stars and from professional writers to amateurs, everyone maintains their own blogs. Some write blogs in order to express their thoughts; others do it to gain business. Some keep their blogs private while others make them public to generate revenue.
Blogging is one of the most popular businesses of the present market. Just a quick glance through the internet and we can see the popularity of blogging as a business. People from all corners of the world blog and make money doing so. With free blog hosting sites such as WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr, managing blogs has become all the more easy and simple. You need not be a web designer or a tech person to manage a blogging site; simple and easy web hosting sites have made all these things user-friendly. As a result, people across the globe from an endless number of career fields and backgrounds are blogging. When it comes to blogging and making a business out of blogging, people think it is a very easy task; however, it is not always so.
People need to understand a few factors in order to turn blogging into a business. One of the major factors is creating an interactive blog. Whether just expressing one’s thoughts or managing a business blog, the end idea is to gain traction from readers and ensure an interactive session with them. Only an interactive blog can gain huge number of users and turn them into a revenue-earning source. In this article, we talk about interaction in blogs—its importance and how to earn it. Before delving into the factors that provide an interactive session for our blog, let’s take a look at the importance of blogging as a whole.
Importance of Interaction in Blogs
Blogs can be written on different types of topics, such as software, project management, hospitability, literature, current trends, movies, arts, music, photography, and web designing. In all these different types of blogs, the common goal is to gain a targeted audience and convert the audience into revenue-earning sources. In order to bring in customers, you need to use search engine optimization, search engine marketing, referrals, email marketing, and so on. After applying all these marketing tactics, users reach your blog. Here, the actual scenario appears. Take yourself as an example: How much time do you spend visiting blogs or how many times do you revisit them? It depends on the type of the blog and our interest in it, of course. Suppose a person is looking for some natural hair care tips. The first thing the person will do is perform a quick search in a search engine. The results show the most popular websites. The searcher enters a hair care blog and reads through it. He then moves back to click to some other hair care blog, where he reads and spends some quality time. Finally, he posts a question using the feedback form, asking if the tips given will suit his hair, which is extremely oily. The person will return in the next day or two to get his answer. If he finds a quality answer, the next time a hair care problem arises, he will directly visit that particular hair care blog. You may be asking why this person left the first blog to look at another results. Either the content on the first blog was not good or he might not have seen a feedback form or any interaction building exercise to make him feel that the tips were appropriate for him.
As this case indicates, it is very important for the blogger to interact with readers and build a foundation for conversations. You can create a well-designed website and write extremely good content for your website, but readers may still not spend much time visiting your website. Where are you falling behind? You have written quality content for your website, but you have not made any attempts to build a conversation with your users. As a result, your readers come and read your blog, take information and go back without any future commitments. Your blog is like a dull book. However, if you are writing the blog using an interactive tone, asking questions of users and providing open discussions and debates, the users become more involved in the reading. There is a difference between reading and involved reading. The latter brings readers and holds them for the long term while the former leads to one-time reading. Thus, interactive blogging enhances the visitor’s experience on your site and helps you acquire long-term visitors and customers.
Different types of readers will visit your blog. You cannot understand the approach of each of your readers; rather, you need to identify your target audience and understand their approach and requirements. Even within your target audience, opinions and needs might differ. You need to write your content in such a way that every reader connects to your writing. This enhances the readers’ experiences and encourages them to engage in a conversation on your blog, which will open up different approaches apart from yours, thereby invoking more users to participate in the conversation. Thus, the thread begins. This inherent conversation tool is very important for blogs in order to gain the required amount of attention and interaction from users. If your goal is to get long-term customers, this is something you need to focus a great amount of time on. Building brand, increasing visitors, and improving revenues are good enough reasons for you to incorporate interactive sessions into your blog. Now that we understand the importance of conversations and interaction in blogs, let’s move on to the ideas for building such interaction.
Well-designed Blogging Site
The first step you need to take in enhancing interaction on your blog is to create a well-designed blogging site. You need to make sure that your readers are able to read the content on the site. One of the most important factors is to keep the website simple and clear to make it visible for readers. Imagine yourself as a reader: Would you go through the pain of reading through a complicated and hazy content from a website? Absolutely not, so do not make your readers do so. Complicated web designs might tempt you to create one, but you need to realize that sometimes complicated web designs reduce user experience on your site. Your main focus while creating a website should be to make it clean and visible. Too many widgets and symbols will give it a marketplace feel and content value will decrease. Therefore, always try to stick to minimalistic and clean designs. Whether using free or paid widgets, make sure that you are using them within limits. Here you need to be particular about the font types, sizes, and styles. What looks nice may not be easy to read. Therefore, always make sure that you are using a clean and elegant style of font for your blog.
Interactive Writing Style
In order to improve interaction with users through your blog, you need to write posts in an interactive way. While reading your blog, your readers need to feel the approach. They need to do more than just read; they should be involved in the reading. Now the question is how to write in an interactive way. Below are few simple techniques.
Ask questions: Asking questions is an effective way of involving readers in your reading. Questions here don’t suggest hard core and technical questions, but rather a trial to build up a conversation. Suppose, you are talking about the latest IPL matches in India. You can start by asking “Have you been following IPL this year?” or “Which team did you support this IPL season?” and so on. This type of question invokes an answer from your readers, who feel a direct connection to the post. This motivates them to comment and share their thoughts.
Open-ended posts: This can as serve great help in building a long loop of conversations or comment thread from your readers. Open-ended posts are those where you are not providing a direct end; you offer space for others to include their thoughts. For example, “Photoshop is a great tool for photo-editing” is a closed sentence. On the other hand, “Photoshop is covering a good mark amidst photo-editing tools among developers” is an open-ended sentence that might invoke various types of questions, such as what are the other types of photo-editing tools used by developers. Thus, open-ended posts invoke questions and queries from your readers and motivate them to build a conversation.
Direct approach: While writing a blog, you need to realize the fact that there are a host of people who will be reading your blog. You need to write it for them, not for yourself. Every reader is a different person and will be reading your blog from a different perspective. You need to find your targeted audience and write the blog while making a direct approach to them. Suppose you are writing a blog on photography and your target audience is photographers. You can start by saying “Like you, I too have been trying my hand in photography for quite some time…,” “What would we do without Canon…,” and so on. This again invokes an interaction with the readers.
Use first and second person: You should always include second person in your blogs, such as “this is to help you” and “you need to understand these factors in order to ensure success.” By using the second person with direct answers, you can improve the conversation scenario of your blog. Use terms like you, we, us, and I.
Incorporate local interest: You can always try to create a direct approach with users if you are targeting a particular locality or geographic area. Suppose your targeted audience is India and you are writing a blog on technology; with knowledge about the locality you can make statements such as “with the onset of the festival season, technology prices have gone down and there are a host of discounts in the market.” In addition, at New Year’s, you can directly start a blog saying “Wishing you all a very Happy New Year, here I start my first post of the year.” Such statements are direct interactions with readers and help them to feel a connection with the blogger.
Simple writing: Be it a child or a high tech professional, everyone one wants to read something that is simple. If you think complex or high-flowing prose will attract more readers, you are mistaken. Exaggerated terms or high-flowing words seems to falsify the sentence and reduces the real impact from the sentence. Therefore, always try to incorporate simple and easy words and terms.
This is how you can improve the style of writing in your blog to create a conversation with your readers. Your sole aim here needs to approach your readers directly and incorporate ideas to make them feel that approach.
More Ways to Approach and Engage Conversation
While managing a blog, it is very important to create bridges through which all the conversation and knowledge sharing will take place. Here, bridges mean the comment field or feedback form, field to ask questions, and so on. While creating these fields or forms, you also need to make sure that you are not forcing your readers to make comments or provide feedback. A pop-up every now and then might be disturbing; therefore, put a feedback form somewhere in the right- or left-hand side of your blog. Make it visible and able to be closed or opened per the readers’ interest. Moreover, when creating a comment field too, you can improve it for the better. Below are some simple tips on creating a comment field on a blog.
- Allow your readers to post a comment anonymously. At times when your blog is talking about a hot topic, many readers might not feel comfortable commenting with their own names. Therefore, you should make sure that there is an option to post anonymously. You can also assure them that providing their name is for reference only and will not be published.
- Don’t make commenting on your blog a lengthy process. What we see in most of the blogging sites is the need to go through an entire registration process and answer host of questions before commenting on the blog. This discourages users from commenting and bounces them back from the comment page. From a sales perspective, it is understood that you require an email ID or phone number of your customers. In that case, you can just ask for the name, email ID, and phone number while assuring users that their information will not be published on the website. If an email ID and phone number are not required, allow your users to comment without them. Commenting comes as a flow of writing after reading and asking questions; a complex form might strongly demotivate users from doing the same.
Build a Community
In addition to creating an interactive approach and building bridges on a blog, another important factor that you can take up in order to enhance interaction in your blog is by building up a community. You can create a forum for readers or create a community platform where you can start by sharing ideas and interactive question-and-answer sessions and so on. This is one of the popular ways of branding and generating more readers for your blog. By enabling a community platform, your first-time readers register and become a member, thereby connecting with you for the future. In addition, in a community platform you can highlight debates and contests as well as share videos and images, which will generate more views from your readers.
Now the question that rises here is how to build a community of readers. You can create a community of readers either in your blogging site or outside it. You can create a member forum in your site where readers can register and become a member. No one will be interested in becoming a member for no reason; you must offer them few benefits, such as “connect with other photographers,” “share your latest photographs or designs with other professionals and expand your market reach,” and “use our free product by becoming a member.” This is one way to build a community. Another more popular way of building a community is by creating a community network on popular social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ . Create a profile or community on Facebook or other popular networking sites and link it to your website. This will generate readers from your site to your Facebook community on one hand and widen your social network through Facebook on the other hand. Thus, this is like building a brand for your blogging site while at the same time building a communication foundation with your readers. Social networking sites are one of the most popular ways of generating a public in today’s world; therefore, you should always make sure that as a blog owner you are active in community building management as well.
Start Commenting on Others’ Blogs
If you are wondering how commenting on others’ websites will help you build a conversation on your site and enhance interaction with your users, here’s your answer: When you read and comment on others’ websites, you can use three advantages along with the one we are talking about. You comment on someone’s blog, make a valid point, and include a link to your site; the readers of that blog will come back to your site in order to get an idea of your point. Furthermore, the other site’s owner will visit your site, which creates the possibility of better interaction between you both. Finally, to bring more readers to your site, comment on others’ sites to help you to get a back link and also keep you updated with new knowledge of the field that you are dealing with.
Start a Debate
You can always try starting a debate in order to gain traction from your readers. Choose some ongoing hot topic and start a debate on it and interested readers will definitely participate in the debate in order to put forth their points and thoughts. This will help you build a conversation with your readers and help your readers share their thoughts through your site as well as communicate with other readers who are participating in the debate.
Announce a Contest
Announcing a contest is one of the best ways to involve readers in reading and participating on your blog. Every person is competitive inside, and with a little push and temptation, everyone wants to go for a contest. You can announce a monthly or weekly contest. Highlight a prize (not necessarily some big gift) and ask your readers to participate in the contest. Such a contest will help you greatly in building a conversation among readers on your blogging site.
Invite a Guest Blogger
Open the way for other bloggers to come to your site and share their ideas. This will help you gain more industry-based knowledge, unique content, branding quality, and an interactive session with your readers. You can showcase a separate section, say guest blogging, where you can ask other readers to participate in the blogging. If you are worried about spammers, you will always moderate comments to address spam. Thus, guest blogging is another major way of building up interactions on your blog.
These are some of the simplest and most effective ways of building conversations and interactions on your blog. Due to the importance of blogging, it’s time you and I follow these communication building techniques—the sooner, the better!