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Ask a Question: 10 Reasons Why Questions Work & 12 Tips on How to Ask Them [Day 25: 31DBBB]

Today’s task in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challengeis to ask your readers a question.

10 Reasons to ask Your Readers Questions

questions.jpgAsking readers questions is a fantastic way to grow you blog for a number of reasons – here are 10.

  1. It gives readers a sense of community and participation – there’s nothing like coming to a blog where readers are interacting to give a blog a sense of being alive.
  2. It increases Blog Stickiness – people are more likely to return to a blog that they’ve contributed something to
  3. Question posts don’t take a whole lot of effort to write (although can take some moderation)
  4. Question posts are fantastic for helping you to gauge where your readers are at on certain topics.
  5. Getting reader responses can fuel future post ideas for your blog
  6. They open up opportunities for followup posts as you summarize the answers, pick up conversations and even answer the question yourself etc.
  7. Well worded questions can often rank well in search engines. Pick a question that people are going to be asking when they search the web for answers and optimize your page for that question and you could rank quite well.
  8. They can be great for generating incoming links to your blog as other bloggers pick up the conversation on their own blogs.
  9. When a reader comments it gives you means to enter into conversation with that person (either by responding with a comment and/or via email). In the early days of a blog it can especially be good to do this as those few readers you have can help to spread word of your blog into their network.
  10. Reader answers can sometimes be used as actual posts. I’ve promoted the comments people have made on my blog to actual blog posts (with a few extra comments of my own and giving credit to the comment leaver of course).

Some bloggers resist writing question posts because they are scared that nobody will answer the question. This can certainly 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 your blog – keep trying.

12 Tips for Asking Your Readers Questions on Your Blog

When it comes to asking your readers questions there are no real rules as to the type of questions and how you should go about it. However, here are 12 tips that I’ve found helpful:

  1. Keep the question relevant to Your Blog’s Topic
  2. Ask a question that builds on a previous post – for example, on DPS I wrote a post about the pros and cons of shooting in RAW vs JPEG. The post was quite popular so I followed it up with a post asking readers what they shot in.
  3. Ask questions that are answerable (this might sound dumb but sometimes questions are so hard to answer that people don’t)
  4. Ask questions that readers will want to know the answer to – so ask a question on a hot topic which you think readers will want to have insight into what others think or do.
  5. Suggest to your readers some possible answers – I find that when I give some options to choose between that it can help a discussion get going.
  6. 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 (the RAW/JPEG question post answered above is an example of this).
  7. You may like to try using a Poll tool to give your readers a way to vote on a number of options
  8. Controversial questions can be a great way to get a conversation going – but be aware readers could get fired up.
  9. 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)
  10. 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. I often use ‘community workshop’ type questions where I simply pose a question and ask readers for advice on the topic – the comments section really becomes the resource (see examples below).
  11. Sometimes more personal (yet on topic) questions can be worth asking. For example don’t just ask what people ‘think’ about some sort of theoretical question – but ask them what they ‘do’ or about their own lives. For example a while back I asked readers to tell me what their favorite lens was at DPS – it was a question answered by over 200 people – at the time it was my most commented upon post.
  12. Follow up your question posts with summaries of answers – if you get a lot of responses it can be well worth your time to collate the answers in a new post. This shows your readers that you value their answers but also creates an interesting post. For example – with the question post on what readers favorite lenses were I wrote 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 of your readers.

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.

PS – Some Examples of Question Posts I use ‘reader questions’ regularly on my photography site. In fact they are among the most popular posts on the blog in terms of page views and in terms of generating comments.

Following are a few ‘reader question’ posts that I’ve run on DPS – I hope that in sharing them you’ll get some ideas for different types of questions to ask:

  • Which Digital Camera Manufacturer is Best? – a question that there really is no one answer to and which caused some real debate. I followed it up with a summary post – Best Digital Camera Manufacturers.
  • Win a Prize By Telling us About Your Digital Camera – in this instance I offered a prize for people to answer the question (they answered in the DPS forum).
  • What Digital Camera Do You Use? – another question aimed at getting readers to share their own experiences of gear that they use. This gave me valuable data on the type of reader I had but also provided me with great data for a follow up post.
  • What Shooting Mode do you Shoot in Most? – asking this question then gave me an opportunity to link to posts that I’d previously written on the topic at the bottom of the post. I also followed it up with some posts on the same topic as the question itself really opened up a topic that some of my readers hadn’t explored much before.
  • How Would You Photograph a Funeral? – this is a ‘community workshop’ type post where I posed a question from a reader and let my readers give their advice and tips. I find these question posts particularly effective as they not only answer a reader’s question but the answers from the community become a fantastic resource. Other examples of this include ‘How to Photograph Grandma‘ and ‘How do I Photograph Kids?
  • Share Your Best Shot Ever – this post simply asked readers to share a link to their best photograph. It gave readers a chance to show off their work a little – it was very popular.

Want More?

This task is a sample of one of the tasks in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook – a downloadable resource designed to reinvigorate and revitalize blogs.

Join over 14,000 other bloggers and Get your Copy Today.

How to Use a Magazine to Improve Your Blog [Day 24: 31DBBB]

Are you looking for some fresh design, marketing and even story or headline ideas for your blog? Today’s task in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge that might just help with this.

This is an off line activity – all you need to complete it is a pack of sticky notes, a notebook, pen, a magazine (or a newspaper) and an hour of time.

Magazine-Analysis

Your Task for Today

It’s simple really – take some time out to analyze/review a magazine with the view of learning something about how you might improve your own blog.

Which magazine do you need? Really almost any one would do – however if there’s a magazine covering the topic that your blog is on then it’s probably worth choosing it.

hint: many public libraries have back copies of magazines so you can do this for free and with lots of magazines at once there.

I do this process on a regular basis and find that it helps me in a number of ways:

  • Marketing ideas – the way the magazine markets and pitches itself to readers can teach a lot – particularly what they do on the front cover which is all about convincing people to buy the magazine.
  • Design ideas – some magazines do layout better than others and the web is definitely a different medium than print – but you can still learn a lot about design from reading a good magazine. Good magazines will give you an indication of what types of design/colors/layout are in vogue at the moment.
  • Post Ideas – whether I choose a magazine on my blog’s topic or not – I almost always come away from this with a story for a new post. Sometimes the inspiration comes from a completely unrelated topic but an article that has a headline/title that could be applied to my niche.
  • Learning about my Niche – if you choose a magazine on your topic it’ll keep you across the latest news and developments in it.
  • Writing Tips – a good article on almost any topic can teach you a lot about effective communication.
  • Monetization Lessons – mainstream media have been monetizing content for a long time – while the web is different some principles still apply.
  • Reader Engagement – while a very different medium magazines are increasingly trying to get more interactive with readers by running competitions, setting up online areas, using reader contributions etc – I often find myself with sparks of inspiration from watching how magazines reach out to readers.

Why Analyze ‘Old Media’

I can hear a few blogging evangelists asking what the point of this exercise is. Isn’t blogging ‘new’ media and why would we look to ‘old’ media like magazines to learn how to do it?

While I agree that blogging is a very different medium to magazine publishing – I don’t think that we need to throw everything that’s been learned by mainstream media out – to me that’s arrogant.

Sure we should be innovating and working with the strengths of the medium of blogging – but there are also lessons to be learned by looking at what others are doing in different mediums also. A lot has been learned over decades of magazine publishing that we as bloggers could take on board and build upon.

The Process that I Use

When I conduct this magazine review exercise I generally do it like this:

Set aside at least an hour and head to a place where you won’t be disturbed (I tend to go to a cafe)

Take with you the magazine (or more than one), a notebook, pen and a pack of sticky notes

Starting with the front cover – quickly skim through the magazine – put a sticky note on any page that catches your attention. Don’t pause to read anything yet – just take a quick flick through it to see what leaps out at you.

Once you’ve had a quick look through the magazine – make a note at what grabbed you on this first pass through. Was it a headline, picture, color, opening line of an article or something else? Attention grabbers are so important in creating an engaging blog so it’s worth noting what got your attention.

Now take a second slower read of the magazine. Start at the front cover and work your way through. As you read – ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • Who is the target audience of this publication?
  • What techniques are used on the front page to draw people into the magazine?
  • What makes you pause to read an article? Why do you skip over other articles?
  • What type of headlines are they using? How effective are they?
  • How are pictures used?
  • What colors are in at the moment?
  • How are articles formatted (use of sub headings, bold, lists etc)?
  • How does the magazine sell itself (looking forward to future issues, subscription pages etc)
  • What can you learn from ad placement and design in the magazine?
  • What level is this magazine pitched at? (beginners, advanced etc)
  • What is the magazine doing well at – what are they not doing well at? How would you improve it?
  • What are the limitations of the medium of magazines that you don’t have with a blog and how could you sell your blog on these things?

As you read through the magazine also make note of story ideas, design techniques, headline structures and other techniques that you might want to try on your blog.

I’m not saying you should copy everything you see happening in the magazine – but rather that you use it as an opportunity to learn and think about your own blog. Some of what you see will naturally lend itself to your blog – other things will not.

The value of this is in stepping away from your own blog for a little while and getting some fresh ideas and perspectives.

I’m keen to hear how you go with this exercise – feel free to share your experiences of it in comments below.

One more Tip

If you choose a magazine on a similar topic to your blog – it can sometimes be worth keeping an eye out for opportunities to directly improve your blog from it.

Pitch yourself as a contributor to the magazine – I’ve done this a number of times with mixed success – but if the magazine strongly relates to your blog – why not contact the editor to suggest that you do something together? For example you might offer to write an article or even a regular column. I’ve seen a number of bloggers do this with some success. Alternatively you might want to pitch yourself or your blog as a potential subject for an interview or article in their magazine.

Enjoy this exercise? – this is just one of thirty one exercises in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog project. Sign up for it here today.

Discuss this article in our Forum here.

Want More?

This task is a sample of one of the tasks in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook – a downloadable resource designed to reinvigorate and revitalize blogs.

Join over 14,000 other bloggers and Get your Copy Today.

Quick Podcast Interview on Blogging

If you’ve got 15 minutes to spare today (and want to hear a couple of Aussies talking blogging) check out this quick podcast of an interview that I did this week with Clayton Bjelan on the morning show local Melbourne radio station – Light FM.

In it I talk a little about my story of going Pro and give a few quick tips on building a successful blog.

Call Your Readers to ACTION [Day 23: 31DBBB]

Today’s task in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge is another writing oriented one – it’s to write a post that contains some kind of a ‘Call to Action’.

While this type of post might not be one that you’ll use all of the time it is a handy style of post to have in your tool belt of blogging techniques as in the life of most blogs there are times that you want your readers to go beyond just ‘reading’ and to take some kind of action.

The types of actions this might include could be many and include:

  • Implementing something that you’ve written about
  • Subscribing to your RSS feed or an email newsletter
  • Buying an Affiliate Product
  • Writing a Comment
  • Voting in a Poll
  • Making a Donation to a Charity
  • Voting for you on a social bookmarking site
  • Buying a product that you’ve developed
  • Visiting another site
  • Hiring you for some service that you offer
  • To read something else you’ve written on your blog
  • Visiting your business site

The list could go on… and on….

Some of the ‘actions’ that you’ll want to call people to do are things that will benefit your blog and others are things that are just about applying the types of things you’re writing about (and of course some will benefit both you and your reader).

The ‘Problem’ of Passive Readers

call-to-action.jpgWhile the above list might seem like a list of fairly simple things to get readers to do the reality is that most blog readers are fairly passive. Looking at my own blogs I’d estimate that less than 1% actually make comments and that the vast majority of those who come to my blogs leave without ‘doing’ anything.

Talking to other bloggers I get the feeling that I’m not the only one with passive readers. How about you… would you like to have a more active and interactive readership?

How do we snap readers out of passivity?

Learning how to call your readers to ‘action’ is not something that happens over night. There are some techniques that I can point you to that will help – but the best way to learn how to do it is to practice your calls to action and see what works best for you.

Hence… today’s task – to write a ‘Call to Action’ post.

Before you attempt today’s task I would highly recommend that you read my recent post – 12 Tips to SNAP Readers out of Passivity.

It contains some useful tips and techniques that will help you in today’s task. Once you’ve read it all you need to do before writing your post is to choose the action that you want your readers to take.

If you’ve not done this type of thing before choose something simple and achievable (eg. getting readers to comment or subscribing to your feed). Another option might be to write about a book that you’ve read and recommend and call people to action to buy it at Amazon with an affiliate link.

Really the action that you’ll want to call people to will depend upon the goals of your blog.

Once you’ve written your post I’d love to hear how you go with it.

  • Do you have passive readers?
  • What techniques did you use to call people to action?
  • Did it work?
  • How would you do it differently next time?
  • What have you done previously that has got your readers ‘doing’ something?

Update: You can share the above at the forum post for this task: Call Your Readers to ACTION (Day 23)

Want More?

This task is a sample of one of the tasks in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook – a downloadable resource designed to reinvigorate and revitalize blogs.

Join over 14,000 other bloggers and Get your Copy Today.

Pay Special Attention to a Reader [Day 22: 31DBBB]

Today your task in the 31 Days to Build a Better blog is to Make a Reader Famous.

The Task – Choose one (or more than one) of your current readers and do something out of the blue that acknowledges them, shows them that you see them as valuable and highlights them to your other readers.

Why This is Important

While many blog tips going around focus upon techniques to help make bloggers and their blogs more famous and well known one of the paradoxical keys to blogging success is that many bloggers who build great blogs actually go out of their way to make their readers more famous and well known.

When you create space on your blog to highlight readers in some way the impact can be quite profound (particularly when you do it regularly). Two groups of people tend to be impacted:

1. Those you make famous benefit - the first and most obvious people to benefit from your efforts are those who you highlight. Having someone go out of their way to talk about you on their blog certainly makes an impression on them. It gives them a feeling of being valuable, gives a sense of belonging to and participation in the blog and can help them to achieve their own goals if you send other readers to learn more about them on their own site/blog etc.

2. Other Readers are Impacted – one of the lessons I learned early in blogging is that when you publicly value one reader others often feel valued also. It shows you have an interest in and that you value all of your readers even when you just highlight a few.

How to Make Readers Famous

There are many ways to highlight your readers on your blog. Let me share a few that I’ve done over the years.

  • Promote a comment to a Post - sometimes readers make insightful and wise observations and tips in the comments of your blog. While they will be read by a handful of people in the comment thread – why not pull it out and use it as the basis for one of your post – highlighting the wisdom in it and the person who made the comment.
  • Write a Post about their Blog – visit the blogs of those leaving comments on your blog and pick one that you resonate with to post about. Write an ‘unpaid review’ of the blog – highlighting the best posts and what you like about it.
  • Send Your Readers to Comment on Someone Else’s Blog – write a post that links to someone else’s great blog post and instead of asking your readers what they think about it on your own blog ask them to head over and comment on it on the other person’s blog. Shutting down the comments in your own post and saying that you’ve left a comment on their blog already can help make this more effective.
  • Give Readers an Opportunity to Promote Themselves – run a project or write a post that gives readers an opportunity to promote themselves in some way. For example – one of the things I’ve done on DPS is give readers a chance to show off their photography. One time I did this was asking them ‘do you have a photoblog?‘ where I asked readers to share a link to their photoblog. Hundreds of readers left links to their blogs and many emailed me later to thank me for sending them traffic (another similar example was when i asked readers to share their best ever shot).
  • Reader of the Week – I’ve seen a few blogs do this over the years – they simply choose one reader each week to highlight in a post.
  • Projects/Memes/Competitions – long term readers of ProBlogger will be familiar with the ‘group writing projects’ that I run here every 6 months or so where I invite readers to all write posts on their blogs and then share the link with each other. These projects always generate a lot of traffic to other blogs. Similarly you can run competitions, Blog Carnivals, memes etc which give readers an opportunity to highlight their own online presence/blog/twitter account etc. (another example of this is my social media love-in that I ran last year inviting readers to tell us what social media accounts they had). Hundreds of people participated and those that did got a lot of followers on twitter and new contacts on other networks.
  • Run a Reader Poll and Highlight Answers in a followup post – have a post one weekend where you pose a question to your readers. Then in the week that follows do a followup post where you add some of your own thoughts on the question and pull out some of the best comments left by readers. Alternatively you could survey your twitter followers on a topic relevant to your blog and then highlight their responses as a blog post.
  • Invite Guest Posts – often ‘guest posting’ is talked about solely as a way to get free content for your blog. While this is nice – one of the things I love about it most is that it puts the microphone in the hand of someone else and lets someone who would normally be constrained by the comments section have a little more power and influence on the direction of your community for a moment in time. This can have a real impact upon the person doing the post – but also upon your readership as they see someone like themselves featured on your blog.

Don’t Have Readers to Make Famous?

Of course this exercise is easier for blogs that have been around for a while and that have developed a readership – those just starting out will find it tougher (there is only so many times you can make your mother, wife or best friend famous on your blog without looking a little desperate).

If you’re a new blogger or don’t have readers leaving comments yet to help you know who they are – try making another blogger famous today by writing a post that links up to them and highlights them to your readers.

Make Someone Famous

The blogosphere was built on principles of promoting others, conversation, celebrating diversity, open source knowledge etc. One of the things that first attracted me to blogging was the way that bloggers celebrated their readers and other bloggers – today attempt to recapture some of that ethos by making others famous today on your blog.

Share How You Do it

In the spirit of this post – I invite you to share how you make your readers famous in comments below. Share a link to the place you’re doing it so we can learn from you! Also stop by the forums thread for today to share your progress.

Want More?

This task is a sample of one of the tasks in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook – a downloadable resource designed to reinvigorate and revitalize blogs.

Join over 14,000 other bloggers and Get your Copy Today.

Membership Site Masterplan Report is now Ready for Download

Click here to watch The Conversion Blogging VideoOn Friday I posted about that a great free 72 page report by Yaro Starack called Membership Site Masterplan was about to be released.

Yaro’s just old me that it’s now available for you to download.

The report contains some great information on how Yaro uses membership sites to build significant community sites and a six figure income. If you’ve ever considered a membership site as a way to make money online I’d recommend you get the report for a look.

While Yaro will follow this report up with a paid membership site for further teaching (he’s previous ones have been excellent) the report itself contains good information whether you go further in the process or not – Yaro’s approach has always been to create valuable resources and this one is no exception.

Signup to download Yaro’s report here.

Breathe Life Into an Old Post [Day 21 - 31DBBB]

This post is an excerpt from the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook

Let me be a little presumptuous and blunt - not every post in the archives of your blog is up to scratch.

I know this because the statement is true of my own blogs.

No matter how hard we work on our blogging there are always things in the posts that we’ve previously written that can be improved upon. There are also posts in most of our archives that have simply under performed for some reason or another.

Today your task in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge is to update an older post on your blog.

This is a little different to our previous task to update a key page/post on your blog (day 14) because in that task we were looking at important pages to your blog. In this one we’re looking for posts that you’ve written that for one reason or another are not up to scratch.

This might be because:

  • you rushed the initial writing of the post and was poorly written
  • your post lacked depth in some way
  • that the information is now dated
  • that you’ve changed your opinion on what you wrote
  • a key element in the post (like the title, formatting or opening lines) was poorly done
  • you were wrong with your post and it contains factual errors
  • because you know more now about the topic than you did when you first wrote it

Whatever the reason – today your task is to update at least one older post.

The update might be anything from a couple of tweaks through to a complete overhaul.

If the update is significant write a new post on your blog linking back to the old one to let readers know that it’s updated. You might also want to think about promoting it on Twitter, to other key bloggers in your niche etc.

7 Ways to Update a Post and Give it New Life

Below are 7 ways that you can update a post. These come from a series I wrote a few months back on ‘crafting blog posts‘ and while it is written from the perspective of crafting a new post I think that most of it can easily be applied to updating old posts too.

1. Crafting Your Post Title – if there’s one element that lets down posts more than others it is the post title. A title can mean the difference between a post being read or not. I’ve reworked the titles on a few old posts and seen them have new leashes of life simply because the title changed.

2. Opening Lines - your post title’s goal is to get people to read your opening line – but if you don’t have a great opening line people won’t read any further.

3. Call to Action – what do you want people to do when they’ve finished reading your post? In many cases bloggers simply let posts end in a whimper without giving readers a call to do anything. Posts that call to action give readers a ‘next step’.

4. Add Depth – many blog posts that I read would be made much more successful if the blogger just had spent a few extra minutes giving examples, adding an illustration, suggesting further reading, sharing an opinion etc. This post gives 13 ways to add depth to a post.

5. Quality Control – many posts (my own included) could be improved with a little extra proof reading. Also pay attention to links that may have become dead or facts that you present that are dated or inaccurate for current readers.

6. Polishing Posts – how your post looks has a massive impact upon how they are treated by readers. A great looking post can mean the difference between a post being read and going viral and a post that sits unnoticed in your archives.

7. Conversation – for many bloggers once a post is published it goes off the radar for the blogger despite readers interacting with it and commenting upon it for days, weeks, months and even years after.

Further Reading

Updating Old Posts On Your Blog – an exploration of the ‘why’ and ‘how’ to update old posts. This explores the question of when to update an old post and when to write a new post that updates an older one.

Check out the discussion on this topic here in our forum.

Want More?

This task is a sample of one of the tasks in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook – a downloadable resource designed to reinvigorate and revitalize blogs.

Join over 14,000 other bloggers and Get your Copy Today.

31 Days to Build a Better Blog – Two Thirds Through Update

We’re at Day 20 (almost 21) in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge and at two thirds of the way through the project I thought I’d give a quick update with a few random highlights, updates and thoughts:

1. We’ve got over 12,000 people signed up and at different stages of the process. 100 or so are joining every day. We’ve set it up in such a way that you’ll get emails starting at Day 1 so you can sign up at any time.



2. The
31DBBB forum area is cranking - those that seem to be benefiting the most from 31DBBB seem to be those interacting in the forum area – particularly those who are actively collaborating with other participants. The exciting thing is that while the numbers of people who’ve joined the forum are smaller – most people there are really genuinely interested in working together. A fantastic community is emerging there which I think we’ll continue after the end of the project. I’ll include some of the popular threads in the forum below.

3. Success Stories – A number of participants have reported significant improvements in their blogs. While everyone’s story is different we’re hearing feedback that some bloggers really seeing their blogs lifted to new levels (example).

4. Your Feedback Invited - I’ve just posted a thread in the forum asking for feedback – if you’d like to share some thoughts on how things have gone for you so far (good and bad) share them here.

5. Workbook Coming – I’m still planning on putting together all 31 days tasks into a workbook e-book which we’ll sell at the end of the 31 days at an affordable price.

All in all it’s been a positive experience. While there are a few things I’d do differently I’m really pleased with how it’s been going.

6. Popular Forum Threads – As mentioned above – here are 10 interesting threads in our forum area that have generated some great discussion in the last few days:

  1. What does your significant other thinks?
  2. Twitter List – Add Yourself
  3. Copyrights and How to Protect Your Writing?
  4. Donations
  5. Favicons
  6. How do You make Money?
  7. RSS subscription. To do or not to do???
  8. Categories vs Tags
  9. Statcounter, google analytics, site meter – which one?
  10. ProBlogger Budget?

Of course there’s also a discussion thread for each day of the challenge here.

Leave Comments on Other Blogs [Day 20 - 31DBBB]

This post is an excerpt from the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook

“Leave comments on other blogs.”

If there’s one piece of advice for building traffic to a blog that is given to new bloggers more than any other it is about leaving comments on other blogs.

Today your task in the 31 Days to Build a Better blog is to do just that – spend 10-15 minutes reading and interacting on other blogs on your topic (or surrounding topics).

The benefits of commenting on others blogs:

  • You’ll be getting to know what other bloggers in your niche are doing
  • You’ll hopefully read some great content that could spark ideas for your own blog
  • You’ll be reaching out to another blogger in your niche (often comments are the start of fruitful relationships
  • You’ll be creating a small doorway back to your own blog for the readers of that blog
  • You’ll be building your own profile in your niche – it’s a chance to show your expertise, knowledge and understanding of the topic.

Warning!

It should go without saying but just having moderated the comments on my own blogs I suspect it needs to be said a day – DON’T BE A COMMENT SPAMMER!

More than that – DON’T LOOK LIKE A COMMENT SPAMMER!

I add that second warning because I come across a lot of bloggers who try to leave comments on other blogs in a way that they think is genuine – but that looks very spammy. Their comments more often than not get them on blacklists of comment spam filters.

The rule of thumb that I advise when leaving comments on other people’s blogs is simple – add value.

A comment that simply says ‘great post’ and that then has a link signature back to your own blog adds little if any value to the blog. It looks spammy. The only visitors you’ll get back to your blog are people wanting to know who the spammer is!

  • Keep comments on topic
  • Let your comment show that you’ve read the post
  • Say what you like or don’t like about the post
  • Add an example or another point that the blogger might have missed
  • If you put a link back to your own blog in the comment try to make it a relevant one that adds to the post and will be useful to those who follow it.
  • Ask a relevant and insightful question

Comments are Mini Resumes - Every comment you leave is like a mini resume for you and your blog (read more about that in the last point of Lorelle’s post on comments here).

Comments can Hurt Your Brand - On the flip side – every comment you write can potentially hurt your reputation and brand as a blogger. Here are 10 Ways that comments can actually do more harm than good to the brand of your blog.

Further Reading: I wrote a comment back in 2007 (which I think is still relevant today) with 11 Tips for Getting Your Comments Noticed on a Popular Blog.

Your task today is to find blogs on a similar or related topic to yours and to spend 10-15 minutes interacting on them in a genuine and useful way. Let us know how you go below (with a comment of course)!

Want More?

This task is a sample of one of the tasks in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook – a downloadable resource designed to reinvigorate and revitalize blogs.

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