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How do I keep people engaged with my blog?

01 Jun
How do I keep people engaged with my blog?

I’ve been thinking about how I engage with other people’s blogs recently, and why I stop reading them, or choose particular ones to cull when I feel like I have too much to read. Here I share a couple of top two tips for engagement – and the top reason I personally disengage from blogs.

Blogging is (usually) social

Blogging is in the main a social activity. If you don’t want people to read your words, you’re more likely to write them in a journal or in a document stored privately, aren’t you?

And you’re going to want feedback from people – your readers. You might look at your statistics and know that people are reading your words, but you also want comments, other people’s words, saying they hear you, they agree, maybe they respectfully disagree, but they’re engaging with you.

Edited to add: It’s been pointed out to me that some people do (and it’s of course completely their right to do this) use their blog as a kind of diary, a point of self-reflection, but choose to place that online rather than privately.  That’s obviously completely fair enough. But such blogs don’t tend to call for answers, ask questions, look overtly for back-up or seek to engage in the way I’m talking about. If you do seek to engage, it’s good to engage back. If you don’t choose to, that’s fine, as long as it’s an active choice and you realise that might put off some readers if you were hoping to engage them. I hope that’s clearer and more inclusive now.

Business blogging is social

I read a lot of book review blogs and a lot of editing and business blogs, too. Blogging isn’t only social for the nice person sharing review of books – it’s a way for businesses, large and small, to engage. I’m thrilled when the how-to articles on this blog get liked and commented on – often many years after I first posted them. Sometimes it’s just to say thank you, sometimes to ask a question, but I always appreciate the effort that someone’s gone to to click and type.

I also like commenting on people’s blogs if I can contribute something, whether that’s a word of appreciation, a “me, too” or an answer to a question posed in the article.

Engage with your commenters

The number one reason why I disengage from a blog (after the blogger ceasing to write it and finding offensive content) is when the blogger doesn’t respond to comments. I’m not talking not responding to a few here and there, or taking a while to respond, but when a blogger either only responds to one or two obviously favoured commenters, or just none at all. Ever.

Respond to comments with a comment

So I’d suggest that if you want to maintain engagement with your readers and stop your blog leaking readers, you should consider replying to your comments, even if only with a thank you or a few words. It makes the commenter feel read, feel appreciated, feel like they’re being talked to, and builds reciprocity and connections. Going by my sample of one, they’re more likely to stick with your blog and read it through thick and thin, engage with it and share it. And that’s what we want, isn’t it?

Consider adding a like button to your comments

I’ve previously explained how to do this for WordPress.com – you can easily add a “Like” button to your comments, so you can like someone’s comment and they can like your response. I love this – it’s a great short-cut if you don’t have time to reply to a comment right now, and for the original commenter to acknowledge that they’ve seen your reply to them.

Nobody’s perfect and nobody should feel they have to be

I’ll hold my hands up now and say that I know I have not personally responded in full to every single “Thank you, you saved my document” post on this blog. I do try to Like such comments now I have my Like buttons, and if someone asks me a question, I’ll always answer it to the best of my ability, as for clarification or say I’m going to leave it up there because I don’t know the answer but someone else might.

If you dig around on this blog, you will find comments that haven’t been answered (please don’t, though – I have admitted it!) but in the main I like and reply.

Obviously, people go away, people get ill, people have scheduled times away from their blog – and sometimes schedule posts to publish in the meantime. And you don’t always want to advertise you’re away, right? But the bloggers I love will explain this, maybe afterwards: “I’ve been away and I’ll catch up with your comments now I’m back; sorry if I miss any”. Others do talk about a gap in advance, and of course that’s all fine and understandable. No one should be chained to their blog – but if you allow comments, it’s my personal opinion that you should respond to those comments if you can.

What do you think?

If you comment on blog posts, do you expect a reply or acknowledgement? Do you reply to people’s comments on your blog? What’s the top reason you turn away from reading a blog? I’d really like to know!

Other relevant posts on this blog

Reciprocity and Social Media – how to negotiate social media kindly and politely

How to maintain a good online reputation – my hints and tips

10 reasons to start a blog – why you should do it now!

10 reasons NOT to write a blog – and why you should stop and think, at least!

Top 10 blogging sins – avoid these if you can!

Scheduling blog posts and keeping going – scheduling the posts and the writing of them

 
30 Comments

Posted by on June 1, 2017 in Blogging, Business

 

Tags: , , ,

30 responses to “How do I keep people engaged with my blog?

  1. Annabel (gaskella)

    June 1, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Not responding to comments has to be the top reason for stopping reading a blog. But also there are only so many hours in a day and there are now so many blogs I’d like to visit that I have to prioritise and some get dropped because of that. Those of friends tend to come top, followed by those whose content and style I prefer, plus any posts that intrigue me from my Twitter or FB feeds.

    Liked by 2 people

     
    • Liz Dexter

      June 1, 2017 at 5:20 pm

      Thank you for your comment, and yes, indeed – I do skim blog posts in my reader and have to miss some out if I’m really busy. There are indeed some I always read and they do tend to be those of friends or people I’ve particularly connected with. I’m glad you feel like that about comments as well, though.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  2. kaggsysbookishramblings

    June 1, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    I tend to agree with Annabel – I have actively stopped reading and commenting on some blogs where the posted *never* replies, and yet actually seems to be seeking comments. It just seems a little rude to me. I try always to reply to any comment on mine – I know how long it takes to read all the post alerts coming into your inbox so I appreciate any comments people make on my blog. Apart from the no response thing, the main reason I move away from a blog is if the content develops a focus which doesn’t interest me any more – as Annabel says, there are only so many hours in a day!

    Liked by 2 people

     
    • Liz Dexter

      June 1, 2017 at 5:46 pm

      It’s good to know I’m not alone in that, I did wonder if I was being picky / needy! And yes, there are indeed only so many hours for reading blogs in the day!

      Liked by 1 person

       
  3. Sarah

    June 1, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    I’m in total agreement with this. If someone has gone to the effort to not only read your post but comment, it seems so rude to ignore that.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Liz Dexter

      June 1, 2017 at 8:59 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, and yes, indeed!!

      Liked by 1 person

       
  4. Cathy746books

    June 1, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    I never understand why people don’t respond to comments. I stopped following a very high profile book blogger because after several years of trying to engage, I never received a response. The conversation is what I love – the blog post just gets me there.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Liz Dexter

      June 2, 2017 at 7:21 am

      And I love the conversations on your blog. It’s such a shame when people don’t do that, but then they will indeed shed readers!

      Liked by 1 person

       
  5. Naomi

    June 2, 2017 at 12:50 am

    I’m in agreement with you and all your commenters so far. I hadn’t really given it a lot of thought before, but that really is the main reason I would stop reading someone’s blog – if I’ve tried to engage, and there’s been no response.
    As for having the time to read everyone’s blog posts… I wish I had more of it!

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Liz Dexter

      June 2, 2017 at 7:23 am

      It’s been really good to hear I’m not alone in this. I feel bad if I don’t respond to comments within a day, so hopefully people feel engaged with on my two blogs – I am going to make more effort to acknowledge every single thank-you on this one, though!

      Liked by 1 person

       
  6. Don Massenzio

    June 2, 2017 at 11:26 am

    Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Here is a great post from the Libro Editing blog on keeping people engaged with your blog.

    Liked by 2 people

     
  7. kethuprofumo

    June 2, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Dear Liz, thank you for your wonderful wise considerations! I guess that respect to our Readers, its air, if be more precise, must be passed through our blogs. When Readers feels respected he won’t leak.
    Have a nice blogging!
    Best wishes,
    Maria

    Liked by 1 person

     
  8. Dacian

    June 2, 2017 at 11:44 am

    Awesome post!

    Liked by 1 person

     
  9. Adam Hill

    June 2, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    Hi Liz,

    I have been blogging for just over a year. From the beginning, I promised myself that I would reply to every comment. If someone has taken the time to comment on my posts, then they deserve a response in my opinion. Now that my blog is reaching a wider audience, it’s admittedly harder to keep this up. Sometimes my comments are a few days later, but I still do it and stay true to my original promise.

    When I comment on other people’s posts, I am disappointed when I don’t get a response. If this happens repeatedly, I definitely disengage. Blogging is definitely social. Relationships and interactions are crucial for engaging readers and building a following.

    Although a ‘like’ is better than nothing, for me it still misses the mark. Acknowledging the comment is better than ignoring it, but it seems like the lazy option. As someone who comments on a lot of blogs, I am dissatisfied with them. Especially if I have left a lengthy response or questions. However, I kind of understand it if a blog is very established and difficult to manage. Like I said, I’m starting to feel it already.

    Great post. Food for thought indeed!

    Adam

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Liz Dexter

      June 2, 2017 at 1:39 pm

      Thanks for your long and thoughtful comment, Adam. As I said in the article, I’ll use a Like to acknowledge the comment if I don’t have time to reply (e.g. if I’m looking at comments on my phone but don’t want to type a response there) and also to acknowledge a reply to one of my comments one someone else’s blog, if available, to avoid a string of “Thanks”, “Thanks”, etc. For example, you might Like rather than reply to this reply to your comment, and that’s fine. And at very least, you’re demonstrating you’ve seen the comment. Well done on sticking to your principles on this with your own blog, too.

      Like

       
      • Adam Hill

        June 2, 2017 at 2:37 pm

        Hi Liz,

        I agree. I often Like the replies as acknowledgment that I have seen them and appreciate them. I Like if there’s nothing more to say. I forgot to say that I sometimes also Like for the short ‘well done’ comments. These don’t need a longer response.

        Well done again for a great post. Good to chat and share ideas!

        Adam

        Liked by 1 person

         
  10. Ste J

    June 2, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Some sort of acknowledgement to a comment is always good, I am rubbish at liking them but unless it seems like a natural full stop to the conversation, it is always good to respond. The only way to really get the most out of a blog is to comment and engage and hope you are reciprocated to.

    Recently, there seems a trend of bloggers spam liking posts or leaving a generic comment with a link to their site, these people are clearly just after the attention so don’t get a look in but I find that the group of bloggers I follow regularly are all amazing and deserve the plaudits for always being on hand with likes and comments for which I am very grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Liz Dexter

      June 2, 2017 at 2:37 pm

      I get a lot of spam posts although more on this blog, my work one, than my book one, just the odd one there. You can usually tell from the URL that it’s not relevant. And I love the community of book bloggers that we’re both a part of (well, we have a fair bit of overlap) and the conversations that take place on those blogs.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  11. Hugh's Views and News

    June 4, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    You’re absolutely right in everything you say, Liz. I’ve written about this subject a few times. For me, one of the big factors of blogging is building a community and being part of other blogger’s communities. I see asking people to comment on my posts to inviting them around for coffee. I wouldn’t ignore my guest while we had coffee, would I? So, why would we ignore anyone who left a comment on one of our blog posts? If bloggers don’t reply or even respond to questions about their post, then I will almost certainly press the ‘unfollow’ button.

    I always check out a blogger’s ‘about me’ page and if I find that they have not responded to any comments left there, then I’m very unlikely to follow the blog. Blogging is all about fun, but if we find it is stressing us out or becoming frustrating, then we need to do what we can to change the situation and make it fun again.

    Like

     
    • Liz Dexter

      June 4, 2017 at 6:44 pm

      Thank you for the vote of confidence and I will pop over to your blog and have a look. And yes, I agree that it should be fun, even if it’s for work purposes (I have a bit more fun over on my book review blog, though …)

      Liked by 1 person

       
  12. trackcec

    June 6, 2017 at 12:54 am

    Do you have any tips for gaining views on your blog. I just started and mine is about self improvement please give tips or share. Thank you.

    Like

     
    • Liz Dexter

      June 6, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      There are lots of tips on this blog: the most important two are blog regularly and use natural language to talk about things people are interested in, rather than filling your text with adverts and keywords. Reply to comments, attract guest posters, build community first and the rest will follow.

      Like

       

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