Hi friends, how are you doing? Many times I’ve had some of my readers voice their concerns about not getting enough (or any at all), engagement on their blogs. It’s almost always the same thing, “I’ve been blogging for so long and still don’t get any comments on my posts.” Well, I used to be one of them 6 months ago. I used to think to myself each time I posted why people weren’t commenting and why I was getting substandard engagement. If only I knew that 6 months later all those worries would be gone and I would be getting so much genuine love and support on my little blog, then I wouldn’t have wasted any more time stressing about it (this is unrelated but take note of this point if your currently stressing about something. A week, a month or a year from now it will already be solved and you’ll be kicking yourself wondering why you wasted so much time worrying about it). The tips I’m giving you were learned not just over the last 6 six months but also from years ago, i’m only starting to see the results now.
Without further ado, I present to you tips on how to inspire engagement from your readers and subscribers:
1. Enjoy what you write about but also keep in mind that it should teach, inspire or benefit your readers in some way. Other people normally advise you to ‘write great content,’ but I believe there is more to it than that. Not only should you be writing great content (assuming your blog is more than a hobby to you) but your readers should be learning something too. I’ve noticed that people are either; nosey, like you a lot or want to learn something when it comes to internet affairs. Whichever category lands on your page make sure they learn something from you because they will also be inspired to come back and read what’s next. For example if your blog is about photography don’t just post a picture with a one sentence caption, get a little bit deeper than that. Write about how the picture makes you feel. Write about a story you remembered while you were on the walk to take the picture. Write about the kindness of the stranger you met on your way to the photo shoot. There’s many ways to incorporate inspiration into anything you write about you just have to listen to your inner voice.
In addition to writing valuable and inspirational content, I believe that the titles you use are also very, very important. You could write the most amazing and informative blog post known to man but none of it will matter if your title doesn’t give a potential reader the nudge they need to click on it. Take me as an example. Hopefully by the time your done reading this post you would have learned a thing or two, but imagine if after writing more than 1500 words (that were hopefully helpful) the title I chose to put on this post was something like; engagement, or WordPress comments. I don’t know about you but if I was the potential reader I would probably not click on it to read any further. I need an incentive to know that what I’m about to give 10 minutes of my life to is going to be valuable or helpful to me in some way. And that is how your potential reader might think if they happen to stumble across your post.
2. Ask meaningful and leading questions. At the end of all my posts I always ask questions that prompt people to answer them. I learned it a while ago when I came across some information about how to get more people to comment on my blog (hint at the irony). It took a while for me to figure out how to word my questions properly but once I got the hang of it I would say I’ve been doing okay since then. At first I would ask basic questions, sometimes not even related to the post but the more you do it, the more you gain an eye for seeing the connection between certain points and phrases in your post that would make for a good dialogue. I’m still learning how to do this but always make sure the questions are related to what you just talked about. And ask more than one question, it makes the conversation interesting and gives people more options incase they don’t find the one question appealing enough to answer.
3. Always respond back when someone leaves a comment. Wether your starting out and one gracious person took the time out of their day to write a comment on your blog, you owe it to them to give a response. This person didn’t have to read what you were writing about, they didn’t have to fill in their details so that they could leave a comment on your blog but they did! A like of the comment is just as bad as no response at all. It’s a little (actually a lot) discouraging when you hope to get a response on your comment and it doesn’t get any feedback. It also discourages the person who wrote it to never do it again because now they know you won’t waste 2 seconds of your time to say anything back to them or even to say thank you. Another thing is be genuine when another blogger leaves a comment on your post. Don’t go back to their blog to leave a comment just because they left one on yours. It’s okay to look and if you genuinely like something they’re talking about then sure, go ahead and comment away.
4. Limit your comments on older posts. I only started doing this one about 2 months ago. As most of you know, I only have one post showing on my home page and the rest are archived in the ‘all posts’ section of my menu. The reason for doing this is because I only write one post each week and I want that post to shine brightly above the others because it is current, it is present, it is now, therefore all the attention should be on it now. After seven days the main post is archived and the comments section is closed. Only the main post on my home page has the comments open and the reason I do this is because it encourages people to leave a comment on it if the others are closed for discussion. Someone can visit my archived posts and if they like what they read and want to comment on it, unfortunately they cannot, hence the only space open for discussion is the main post on my home page.
5. Engage with people in your niche and market your post to the right people. If you write about food, it doesn’t make much sense to market your blog posts to people who like football or music. Depending on your niche and what you choose to write about, you can market accordingly to the people who suite you. Just remember to be authentic and don’t engage with people for the sake of it but genuinely care about the entire process and the people. There are plenty of ways to do this but one that I’ve seen that is becoming increasingly popular is by getting your blog post reblogged by someone very popular or by being a guest writer on a popular site. I should also add that this point goes in line with point number 1. It won’t matter who reblogs your post and how many readers they have if what you write about isn’t very useful information. People need to learn, people need to grow, people need information that makes them feel better, get better or hope for better. Give them and show them that through your writing and they will appreciate you forever.
6. Pray. This is the simplest point but the most important one. When I had zero after zero comment on what seemed like every blog post I published I decided to get personal and ask my best friend for help. You don’t have to have an affinity to a certain religion in order to pray. All you have to do is clear your mind/heart and speak to the deity that most of us call God. He listens, he directs, he guides and most importantly he knows everything. I didn’t say a fancy prayer. I didn’t kneel or close my eyes. I just spoke to my best friend and asked him to help me make my blog more interesting so that people could read it and find it interesting as well. Not long after that it was like a lightbulb went off in my head. I started getting inspired thoughts about how to make my writing and my blog better.
Inspired thoughts led me to a lot of things that helped me to make my blog better. It led me to find unsplash to improve my images. It led me to Amir, a developer with expertise in WordPress coding. It also led me to finally create a theme that was not only cohesive but also matched the positive image I was trying to create all along! Blog post titles and content ideas started to pop off like corn kernels in my mind (which I get almost everyday now, I just store them in the drafts section of my post editor and when I’m ready to write, I write). You don’t have to believe me, try it for yourself, be patient and see what happens. Talk to your best friend and he will answer you in the most delightful ways.
“But anyone who needs wisdom should ask God, whose very nature is to give everyone without a second thought, without keeping score. Wisdom will certainly be given to those who ask.”
James 1:5 (CEB – Common English Bible)
7. Do not overdo the hashtags. This is WordPress and one of the advantages of blogging on WordPress is that there is already an available community of people who love to write and love to read. What this means is that you don’t have to work extremely hard to get people to read what you write about as opposed to other blogging platforms. This is all thanks to the WordPress reader. As a lot of you already know you can use hashtags on your post (when placed in the categories & tags section of your post settings). Almost all posts that use the same hashtag i.e poetry, will be able to be seen in the WordPress reader if someone searches for the tag poetry. However, what you may not be aware of is that if you over use the hashtags on each post (10 hashtags or more) your post won’t even show up in the reader under the hashtags you used. I’m not sure why this happens but it does. I noticed that a while ago when I would put 10 or more hashtags on each post. I now only use 5 or less and my posts show up each time in the reader. Remember we’re not on Instagram folks, do not overdo the hashtags! Find 5 or less that are relevant to your content and tag away!
I’m very grateful for how much my engagement has grown over the past few months. I remember praying and wishing that people would genuinely support and enjoy my writing and I feel for the most part that they do. So if your currently struggling in this arena, take a page from my playbook and practice the things I’ve mentioned above. These tips worked for me and I believe that if I can do it, so can you! In order to end this post I have a few questions to ask you (hint at point number 2). Are you content with how much engagement you currently have on your blog? How many of the things on my list do you currently practice? If your happy with your engagement can you please give some tips/advice to me and my readers so that we can learn from you? Please feel free to share your thoughts, they are always welcome here. Thank you so much for reading and see you in my next post!