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Ask a Question – Rediscover Your Blogging Groove Day 6

Rediscover-Blogging-Groove--1Today’s task in the Rediscover Your Blogging Groove project is to ask your readers a question.

The ‘question post’ idea comes directly from one of my own weekend strategies for posting . I like question posts for a number of reasons:

  • It gives readers a sense of Community and Participation
  • It increases Blog Stickiness
  • These posts don’t take a whole lot of effort to write (although can take some moderation)
  • They are great for helping you to gauge where your readers are at on certain topics and can even give you ideas for future posts.
  • They open up opportunities for followup posts as you summarize the answers, pick up conversations and even answer the question yourself etc.
  • They can be great for generating incoming links to your blog as other bloggers pick up the conversation on their own blogs.

Of course some readers resist these types of posts because they are scared that nobody will answer the question. This can be a little disheartening – but if you construct the post well and include your own answer to the question then at least there is something there of value even if the conversation doesn’t emerge.

Remember that only around 1% of blog readers tend to leave comments – so if you don’t get a lot of responses it doesn’t mean that no one is reading – keep trying.

What question should you ask?

Really anything goes – however a few ideas come to mind to help you formulate effective questions:

  • Keep the question relevant to Your Blog’s Topic
  • You might like to try asking a question that builds on a previous post
  • Ask questions that are answerable (and not ones that are to hard answer)
  • Ask questions that readers will want to know the answer to
  • Suggest to your readers some possible answers
  • Sometimes either/or questions (where there are only two answers to choose from) can be great for generating a debate – they are easy to answer and a great way to help train your readers to comment
  • You may like to try using a Poll tool to give your readers a way to vote on a number of options
  • Controversial questions can be a great way to get a conversation going – but be aware readers could get fired up.
  • Be willing to share your own answer – but if you’re confident you’ll get people responding you might want to consider holding off on your own answer and do it in a follow up post (this means 2 posts instead of 1 but also means you won’t skew your reader’s answers)
  • Do you have a frequently asked question that you don’t know how to answer? Ask your readers for their opinion – you might learn something.
  • Sometimes more personal (yet on topic) questions can be worth asking. Ask your readers how they do something or what tools they use. For example a while back I asked readers to tell me what their favorite lens was at DPS and followed it up with a summary of popular DSLR lenses. The response from these two posts was fantastic as many readers not only had a say on a topic but enjoyed reading what others were doing.

Having all that in mind – your homework for today is to go back to your blog/s and ask a question. Once you’ve done that, come back to this post and share the link with us so we can check it out and see how you’ve approached it.

note: while your previous question posts might be interesting – I’d prefer it if you only posted links to new posts below – after all, this series is about helping you to improve your blog NOW rather than looking back – thanks.

Read the rest of the Rediscover Your Blogging Groove project.

PS: Thanks to Mark for the inspiration on a new logo for this series.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. http://nphamlet.blogspot.com/

    That’s a link to my question post. I’ll await feedback!

  2. Actually, here’s the specific post: http://nphamlet.blogspot.com/search/label/Survey

  3. 45n5 says:

    My question:

    Title:
    Ever Get An Unexpected Affiliate Check?

    Link:
    http://www.45n5.com/permalink/ever-get-an-unexpected-affiliate-check.html

    Cheers,
    Mark

    ps. thanks for the mention, the logo is much improved ;-)

  4. Deb says:

    “…a new logo for this series.”

    Darren, that is really scary. I was worried you were channeling Sonny, or maybe Cher. Thanks for the explanation. There’s never a dull moment around here.

  5. This method is very useful when I can’t think of stuff to write about. I also have realized it’s a good way to get people to email me too! .. which is great because I love meeting new people. *=)

  6. sarbarth says:

    Sometime putting question or poll definitely increases readers engagement in a blog. Suppose, only questions are been asked in a post, then how will it work?

  7. Ramkarthik says:

    Hi Darren. I wrote a post few days ago called The Right Time To Show Your Blog’s Stats. It arose many questions through forum and emails. So I thought of creating a poll. I don’t know whether it is coincidence that I created a poll and saw my feed in which you were asking us to ask people questions. So I created a poll and you can see it here:
    Poll: When Will You Display Your Feedburner Subscribers Count?

    Thanks.

  8. Mark says:
  9. Hellow Darren
    At the last Problogger group writing project, i wrote about tips for bloggers to get media publicity by getting in touch with journalists themselves, among other tips. Now the question I pose is should we call a journalist directly on their mobile phones, or should you go through the board numbers?

    Some think it it too intrusive while other journalists are okay with it. Well lets see the answers from the readers.

    http://www.indiaprblog.com/2007/07/should-you-call-journalist-on-mobile.html

  10. Arpit Tambi says:

    Hi there

    congrats for being featured on BusinessWeek

    lots of wishes

  11. Good post, I definitely need to check out the rest of this series and apply it to my blog.

    I have been using a poll on my blog ever since I created it; I enjoy answering a quick question with stats and thought others might too.

    I have tried asking a question in a post before, but have gotten little results.

    I will be back for some other helpful information later, keep up the hard work Darren.

  12. JennyHow says:

    hmmm, this method is truly useful. I feel that asking for opinions are a good way to bring interactivity in the blog and allows the readers to express their view points. When my blog is getting quiet, I will try to come out with some question posts to get the readers talking:

    http://www.jennyhow.com/should-you-blog-if-english-sucks/
    http://www.jennyhow.com/are-they-more-female-or-male-in-the-blogosphere/

  13. Christi says:

    Great post Darren, I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now, but rarely participate in the conversation. I’ve been blogging for about two years, but recently started a new blog and have very few readers so far. But decided to go with the question post as you suggested, and see how it goes! Here’s my link:
    Why Do You Blog?http://bloggingwriter.blogspot.com/2007/07/why-do-you-blog.html

  14. Great thought, very provoking. I have always been nervous about asking questions, for the reasons that you mentioned. Mostly because I didn’t think that my readers would answer. I have a pretty good traffic count on a daily basis, but most of the readers don’t participate. But, I took the challenge, and plunged in with a question for my readers. It’s not really a question everyone could answer, I pretty much blog in a niche, but we’ll see what happens! Here’s the question: What is Your Favorite Mt Hood Spot?

  15. Wendy says:

    I think that I’m in a group of smaller bloggers that will ask a question of readers and not have any response in the comments at all for a week or more. Even though it’s a little frustrating I still like asking questions, because at heart I’m pretty curious about how other people do things.

  16. Mark says:

    I have been reading your blog for about a year and a half, maybe two years. It’s really interesting. You always write excellent articles. You continue to dazzle us with your pillar series again and again. I’ve been reading this series about rediscovering your blogging groove, but have been very busy this past week. Only today have I had a chance to actively participate in the blogging groove series. Today’s post on my blog is a question about how bloggers go about deciding what they will write in their next blog article:

    http://www.probloggersmatrix.com/how-do-you-decide-what-you-will-write-on-your-blog/

  17. Tracy says:

    Mine is in the form of a poll. It is called, “What kind of Camper are you?
    http://possumliving.blogspot.com/

  18. Deb says:
  19. marquis says:

    This is a great tip. Thanks Darren.

    Do you like sports?

    http://alltalksports.wordpress.com/

  20. ciken says:

    i like your tips using the Pool tools…thanks.. i have more idea now..

  21. Tom Hanna says:

    Once again you pushed me to quit procrastinating on a post I’d had in the planning stage for a couple of weeks. I’m preparing to write a long term (possibly several years) series for my site Financial Options reviewing investment strategies, trading platforms, broker/dealers and other tools in a variety of investments. I have several questions for my readers as I prepare for this and today I asked “What is your trading strategy?” in this post

    http://financial.tom-hanna.org/?p=766

    I’ll also be looking to readers for “What do you trade?”, “Who’s your broker/dealer?”, “What software do you use?” and “What’s your favorite research tool?”

    Oh, and my strategy – make enough from writing the series to pay the losses until I find a real winning strategy!

  22. David Mackey says:

    I like this idea, but I need a little extra traffic before I can use it (I just started the blog around two weeks ago). My question would be, “Would you consider doing reviews of blogs of your users?” For example, I’d like to know how my blog is.

  23. I like the idea of using polls. Any recommended online tools for setting them up?

    In “How to Make Money Management a Family Affair”

    http://millionairemommynextdoor.blogspot.com/2007/07/how-to-make-money-management-family.html

    I asked the following questions:
    How do you feel about sharing your personal income with your children? Do you have any other family-friendly books or games relating to personal finance that you’d recommend? Do your kids receive an allowance?

  24. Tim Peter says:

    Great post, Darren. I decided to kill two options with one post. I told the story by asking the question, “What’s stopping you?”

  25. There is much more to blogging than just writing posts…
    Are you reading enough to become a good writer?