Blogs are for reading, right? Yes and no. While the central purpose of a blog is to provide information, one truth remains for any type of website: visitors like to interact. This isn’t quite as limited on a blog as it might seem. Here are seven ideas of how to get your readers to start interacting with you and each other:
Add a poll. Polling is a simple but efficient way to let your readers know you care about what they think. Create polls that are useful or just for fun. Consider sharing the feedback, either through the poll or in a blog post. Perhaps do a superficial analysis of the results. Be sure to tell your social networks about the poll so they can get in on it too.
Recent comments widget. Many blogging platforms have a recent comment feature. This makes it easier for visitors to keep track of what is being said to encourage participation. This is especially important for bloggers who do not close commenting after a certain number of days. New comments can show up anywhere, and it would be difficult for visitors to find otherwise.
Vote for comments. To further increase interaction between readers, add a thumbs up, “like,” or star ranking system for comments. This can be a fun way to let readers participate who may not feel comfortable posting right away. It’s also a means for the blog author to gather a better idea of how their readers are feeling.
Article ranking. On a similar note as above, consider adding a ranking system to the blog posts so readers can easily show what type of articles the do and do not like. These features are not yet available on all blogs, but standalone WordPress users can easily add it with a plug in. Request and keep watch for your blog platform to add this as well.
Giveaways. This can cost as little or as much as you are able and willing to put into it. Simply set up a post showing the item and listing the activities needed to enter. For example, leaving a comment, liking a Facebook page or adding a badge to their own website. Popular giveaway items include printed or e-books, gift cards and homemade crafts. Keep in mind shipping costs as blogs are read internationally. It is common practice to limit the giveaway to your part of the world.
As you can see, blogs can be a lot more than just writing and reading. Browse through plug ins, widgets and gadgets. Check third party websites for features which can be embedded, such as a shout box. Don’t be afraid to try different things until you find what works for you and your readers.