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Author: April Hall
As fun as it is to have a safe place to monologue about how much you know about your business, or to moan about how much the recession is hurting your industry, how productive is your business blog if it does not spur conversation? Unless you promote an actual blogging community, complete with comments from your readers, you do not actually have an effective blog-instead, you have a series of articles or op-ed pieces. Further, Nielson studies have found that generally less than 5% of readers actually participate in internet forums or comment in blogs (other than scrolling through the blogs others have written). Encouraging more comments on your blog is actually not that difficult, if you remember a few important ideas:
- Skip the Registration. Requiring your blog readers to register before commenting is perhaps the single most detrimental step you can take to reduce the number of comments. Unless the reader is uniquely interested in your blog or is dying to make his or her opinion known, registration is just too daunting of a task. Remember, today’s internet readers are somewhat lazy, and if they want to comment at all, they want to do it quickly and painlessly. I am only registered with a very few blogs, myself; and if I (a person who is actively involved in internet communities) do not want to take the time to register, imagine how much less a typical customer is apt to do it?
- Make your Blog Comments Open-Ended. Ask questions in your blog entries, or otherwise ponder a bit. If you claim to know it all, what more will your readers have to add? You can even ask point-blank for your readers to give you information or share their ideas. I have found that by asking specifically for input, I get more feedback. People enjoy sharing their knowledge with others-either for generosity or for some hidden narcissistic purpose!
- Interact in your own Comments Section. Nothing is more fun to a commenter on your blog that when you comment yourself, answering a question or complimenting their statement. It makes your readers truly believe that you care about what they have to say and value their opinions, which only encourages more comments. Believe me, a quick note saying your agree (or, even better, disagree) with a comment someone made provides instant satisfaction to the commenter and breathes new life to your blog.
- Comment in other Blogs and in Community Forums. Don’t be selfish! If you want people to read and comment in your blog, do the same for others. While it is not good etiquette (and is awfully close to spam!) to blatantly advertise your blog in most forums, you can subtly mention you own a business and that you are a blogger yourself. Eventually, people will find your blog and begin returning the favor. The internet is truly a community with certain niches-you just have to find your own.
- Hire a Company to Run your Blog. There are professional web development companies out there that can run your business blog for you and keep your comments section rolling. If you are too busy to interact with your blog every day, this may be an option for you.
So, what do the rest of you think? How have you encouraged comments to your own blogs?