Acquiring dedicated readers who engage your website by asking questions, providing feedback, purchasing products or services who even return for more are some of the basic goals of the average site. User interaction and engagement is a great sign that you are producing content that sparks the interest of visitors and is an excellent indicator for sustainable growth of your blog’s audience.
Among the many different goals bloggers may have, user interaction and engagement should be among the top on your list. Whether your goal is to increase affiliate sales, e-book sales, drive traffic or become a leader in your niche, an inviting and user-friendly blog is key for all these achievements.
Methods for Getting Users to Engage Your Website or Blog
Let’s take a look at some of the basics that will capture the interest of all types of readers.
Encourage Interactive Commenting
Ensure that your blog allows users to comment and that you reply to all relevant comments. You may have noticed that there are lots of blogs out there that have different commenting policies for good reasons. For example, Seth Godin’s blog(a marketing genius) does not allow comments but at the same time his blog does extremely well. Unfortunately, not all of us can pull that off.
So for the rest of us commenting will help our blogging community to grow and strengthen relationships with readers and other bloggers. Some readers will feel compelled to leave comments on sites that already have a high level of interaction and a thriving and close-knit community. Using apps such as Disqus and Livefyre will add a professional touch and create a more interactive experience for readers through social integration, discussion filters and follow/subscription options.
Strive to be Human!
Rather than writing as though you are creating a technical manual for the latest model space shuttle, you need to have a little personality on your blog. This applies to corporate blogging as well. I’m sure you don’t enjoy talking to a brick wall, right? So don’t make it a brick wall experience for your readers. Write like you’re having an actual conversation. Use words like “you” or “we” to help connect with the reader’s experience.
Host a Weekly Blog Debate or Live Discussion
This is a technique I rarely see being used among smaller blogs but can be very effective for increasing interactions and spark discussions. This is much easier after you have started to develop a modest readership for your blog. Choose hot topics that readers can’t help but to give their 2 cents and make the entire post about asking for opinions and feedback. Also, ensure that you’re consistent and pick a specific day for the debate weekly. Your readers will look forward to it.
In addition, to deliver a lasting experience for participants, ensure you’re using a service like Click Meeting to present rich content via audio and video while facilitating real-time questions and answers-type discussions. The service is packed with features to help you brand your online meetings and discussions for greater professionalism; and integrates with social media to help you present content beyond the online meeting itself. The one-on-one nature of this type of discussion as well as with the opportunity for users to participate, you’ll create relationships with people who are in-tune with what you do and will be more inclined to listen and share with you.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask
There is nothing wrong with asking for feedback. Asking can take you a very long way towards getting the things you want. At the end of your posts, try to include a section that asks for readers’ opinions and questions. This is an excellent invitation for interaction and encourages readers to comment when they read it. So give your readers that extra nudge.
Host a Contest on Your Website
There’s nothing like winning a valuable item or service that you didn’t pay for and visitors will flock to your site for free stuff. I would advise using this technique sparingly since if not done right visitors will simply come for the contest and never come back when it’s over. So proper planning is very important.
For your contest, ensure that it ties strongly with your blog’s purpose, goals and services as much as possible. If your site offers paid consultations or e-books, ensure that these are included in the prizes or are a prerequisite for entering the irresistible contest. It would also be great if you host a contest just before a service or product launch. This will help to give it maximum exposure.
Maintain a Detailed Profile Section or “About Me” Page.
Share a little about who you are on your website to help readers connect with you on a more natural level. They will realize that you are a human being with a life and personality just like them and it will become easier for them to relate and connect. This is especially important if you’re trying to sell products through your blog. It eases some of the tension of doing business online if readers see that you’re a real person and can even become friends with you through your social profiles. So be as real as you can be.
As you focus more on interaction you will begin to find more unique ways of connecting with your particular audience. Reader engagement provides a feeling of accomplishment and will encourage you to keep growing.