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The One Thing You Should Be Doing on Your Blog to Create More Engagement

This is a guest contribution from Karl Staib of Domino Connection.

Image via Flickr user realpeopleeatplants

Image via Flickr user realpeopleeatplants

Wouldn’t it be great if you were getting twice as many blog post comments as you do now?

If people would ask you more questions and add comments, it would help build your community. They spur conversation that might even help you to create new content. And as you may know, people who engage with your blog are more likely to become loyal fans who buy from you and share your content with their tribe.

Google also loves a lot of searchable comments. It helps them understand which posts are worth sending people to. Not to mention the social proof that comes along with a post that has a lot of comments.

Finding how to create this powerful engagement is so important to building an audience that cares what you create. So let’s take a look at how we can do this.

Increasing Your Engaged Blog Community

You know how important an engaged community is for your blog. I don’t need to convince you of that.

But what can you do to increase that engagement?

Of course traffic is a big part of how much engagement you generate on your blog, I get that, but we all have to start from one comment to get two, 10 to get 20, and so on.

The one thing you may not be doing is probably the same thing a lot of bloggers make the mistake of not doing.

Let me tell you a little story before we dive deeper.

I have a friend who switched blogging topics. She shut down one site and started another because she wasn’t able to monetize her blog. I was worried she would give up on this new blog too. She was too talented not to help people. I know how hard it is to get people to converse on your blog because I’ve had many blog posts with zero comments.

A funny thing happened though. She got even more comments on the new blog compared to the old blog in less than three months.

Her lighthearted, conversational tone shines through now. She is even more engaging because she enjoys building connections with people in this new topic even more than her old topic.

Small Change, Big Improvement

I noticed a small change she made that I wasn’t sure she was aware that she had made herself. So I asked her, “Why do you think you’re getting more comments?”

“I’m not sure. I think I’m more passionate about the subject I guess. No wait it’s the value. People can’t help reciprocating when something is valuable,” she responded.

Now passion is good and value is even better, but a lot of people are passionate and still don’t get 18 comments per post on a site that doesn’t get a lot of traffic.

So I looked at a few of her old blog posts and I realized the simple change she had made – her older blog posts were passionate, valuable and conversational, but weren’t getting the same engagement. The change she made with this new blog was weaving in open-ended questions and asking for her readers’ ideas throughout her blog. 

When you look at your writing, do you feel it’s open to new ideas?

She is so friendly in her writing that it makes you feel like she is just talking to you. When she asks a question, you pause and take a second or two to think about it. Then when you got to the bottom of the post and the comments section, the seed has already been planted and you don’t have to work hard to think of something unique to say. You already know something that you want to say.

3 Steps to More Engagement

So here’s my “must do” list to create more conversation on your blog:

  • Look at your blog’s tone of voice and if it’s open to new ideas. Do your readers feel like you are talking directly to them? I like to think of writing to just one person in my community. I have a few people I rotate through as I’m writing. Right now I’m thinking of a young man with glasses reading this at the end of his day. That’s why using the word “you” is so important as opposed to “I”, or someone’s name.
  • Are you passionate about your subject? People can feel when you really care about your content. They want to be a part of this passion.
  • Now look at the value that you bring to the table. Can people find this information delivered in this manner on other sites, or is yours special or unique?

Once you’ve got friendliness, passion, and value in your blog post, you just need to ask questions that plant seeds and get your readers’ ideas flowing, then hit them with a final question that they just can’t resist answering when they get to the bottom of your post, and the comment section is just waiting for them to help the community.

What piece of the blog engagement pie do you think is most important? I’d love to hear your opinion in the comment section

Check out Karl Staib of Domino Connection and his value-packed 30 Day Connection Guide and Customer Conversion e-course to Increase Your Leads and Sales. You’ll learn how to find your ideal customers, improve your landing page conversion and what you need to measure so you can convert visitors into buyers.

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Comments

  1. Every one starts with a blog with a passion, but the quality is what that matters, I can go anywhere on the web to read articles about Blogging and how to become a pro but I turn out to problogger for the only reason that Darren has walked the path, he has learned everything what he knows right now the hard way and makes it simple for people like me.

    Coming back to Engaging People I always tend to have a question at the bottom of my posts asking whether they liked the post or not or at least drop a line if I have missed something that they think would be of more importance.

    You need to take the first step, rightly stated in the blog by Stacey “YOU” is the key to start that Engagement.

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Robin! Creating a dialog on your blog will make a huge difference in how people build an emotional connection with your blog. The more feedback (questions, tips, ideas) the better. Your readers are helping show you the direction you should take your blog. The better you get at listening the more popular your blog will become.

  2. Eric Sloan says:

    I can definitely see the effect whenever I post a question on my blog, but what do you think about blogs like Seth Godin’s that don’t even allow comments?

    Also, I think it should be noted that it’s not necessarily about the quantity of engagement, but the quality. I’d rather have 3 or 4 thoughtful comments on a post that make you think than 20 comments that are basically just “thanks” or “that’s true”.

    • Tim Aucoin says:

      That’s interesting Seth doesn’t allow comments. He probably was getting overwhelmed.

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Eric! Seth Godin is an amazing blogger that didn’t want to deal with trolls. I think if people used his blog for a meaningful conversation instead of posting advertising messages and the like, he would have kept the conversation on his blog. If you ever emailed him he replies back to many of this emails. He is finding ways to create a conversation that is more manageable for him.

      As for quality vs quantity. I wholeheartedly agree. The engagement needs to add real value to the conversation, otherwise it’s just noise.

  3. Kari Scare says:

    This is actually very helpful. Going to apply these tips immediately, especially the open-ended question but also the others about tone, passion & value. I have been wondering at my stalled comments of late, not sure I’ve changed anything, but I know they have decreased suddenly. Not sure why, but I’ll definitely give this a shot.

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Kari! Finding ways to bring people back to your blog, like collecting emails, building a strong Facebook following, etc. is also key to keeping people interested.

  4. Carlos says:

    Great article Karl,

    For me it has been kind of frustrating to see that you write your best, and it is useful info, and very few people get to the info, because of a low traffic count. But, when you understand that you are writing to ONE person, you start writing and engaging more people each day. If you get ONE reader, then you are changing or potentially changing one life. If you do it again, it might become two, then three, etc. Thanks.

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Carlos! Exactly it’s a domino effect. The more hearts you touch the more likely they will share your quality content with their friends.

  5. Dion Lynk says:

    I’ve launched blog after blog with a direct sales frame of mind, and I failed miserably each time. I wasn’t even selling my own products at that time, so putting “something” out there was what I was experimenting with. From that experience I’ve gauged a couple of things:

    - People can see right through a blog with no community engagement.
    - No body wants to buy anything from a place with no face.
    - Engagement is actually the easy part, finding what to sell may be the most difficult part.

    I’ve come to realize that you better know the very BEST SEO techniques if you plan on launching a niche site where you sell without building a community, because having the money “make itself”, is an extremely difficult feat when you’re just putting a blog up and paying for “premier SEO services” from a crowd source site. I’m learning that if done correctly, you’ll have an audience that wants to buy from you on an ongoing basis, and that relationship is actually more beneficial for both sides.

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Dion! You make a good point. Creating a mutually beneficial relationships is the key of every great business. You want to make people feel like they are getting more value than they are paying for.

  6. Josh M says:

    This is a perfect example of how my blog is gaining more and more traffic. By getting readers involved is a great idea, and helps with return visits to see if their questions have been answered or discussion has gone further :)

    Cheers

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Josh! It’s so good to hear that you have such strong engagement on your blog. It will pay off as you grow.

  7. Your energy shines through in a big way Karl. No better way to increase engagement, than by attracting like-minded people who want to comment on your post. Well done!

  8. Elizabeth says:

    This is great information. I have posted questions not only on my blog but on social media and had zero response. Zero! Even when I asked what magazines people read….zip. it is so disheartening. I do feel like I am speaking in my voice and friends that know me say I do, but even my friends with the same interests don’t comment. I will go back and reevaluate if I sound open to contribution or not. But I would love some more ideas to get engagement.

    • Katharine says:

      I know that feeling Elizabeth — It’s so frustrating! I think a lot of times you just need one person to lead the way. If other readers see one person has commented, they’re more likely to. It’s getting that first one that’s tricky!

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Elizabeth! Creating more engagement sometimes does take numbers. Darren has a lot of readers, which allows him to ride the early momentum. Like Katharine said if there are enough readers and one person comments then someone else will as well. I like to look at blogs I comment on. Maybe it’s a friend that I want to support or it’s just amazing content and I really want to add to the conversation. Look at blogs you like to comment on and think about what triggers you to comment. This will help you craft content that engages people and gets people to take action.

  9. Shailesh says:

    Very good Article. It is a good way you had described here how to create good enangement with your readers. I mostly liked your that 3 points which your mentioned at end of this post. It’s very important and precious for your blog or post. Thanks for sharing this.

  10. Sarmista Aun says:

    I think passionate, valuable and conversational are the three key elements to create more engagements. Thanks for sharing this story. It is really inspiring.

  11. Paul Davis says:

    I understand exactly where you’re coming from. When I write blog posts for our business, I aim to relate the context to how other people may feel. Thanks for sharing these tips anyway. I’m definitely going to try and implement some of them in my next article.

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Paul! I’m glad you have a good grasp on creating content that resonates. The more you learn about your readers the easier it gets to create content that you know they will like.

  12. Irham says:

    in my opinion, if we have passion in blogging, we can blogging enjoy

  13. Nikky says:

    I had similar experience when i blogged earlier using couple of blogs. But with all my experience inherited from the past trying to build a better blog this time. Making good move so far. But would love to reach more heights in the coming days :)

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Nikky! As long as you are passionate about your topic and continue to put out great content more and more people will join in.

  14. I guess ‘providing real value’ is the most important aspect to boost engagement. The internet is so full of similar blogs and sites! The same information is available to the visitors on different blogs!

    So, to hook them to one’s blog and improve engagement, the information should be presented before the visitor in a ‘unique’ and ‘fresh’ manner!

    That’s when changing and altering your style of writing will come handy :) We should adapt and evolve, keeping the visitors in mind!

    I’m kingging this great article on Kingged.com, where I got the link to it.

    Arun

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Arun! Thanks for the kingging my article. I agree with you about adapting and evolving. If we write like we did last year people won’t stick around.

  15. Barb Brady says:

    I know that “passionate” is thrown out there all the time in posts. But I agree with Karl, I think you really have to like your topic and be passionate.

    Many of us are starting from nothing. We are building our website from 0 followers. So, we have to really like what we are writing about. I think that is why there is such a high statistic for people starting and then leaving blogging in a year–they like there topic but just a little.

    For most of us there is no instant gratification. It takes time to get a comment or a subscriber. So if we have the passion it makes it more possible to stay with blogging.

    Barb

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Barb! You nailed it. Many of us start a blog out of love and it turns into a business. Sometimes it stays a hobby, but at least we have that choice. :)

  16. Barb Brady says:

    Oh my goodness,
    I forgot to add: I read about this on kingged.com.
    Just wanted to tell you.

    Barb

  17. metz says:

    Your blogs pitch and looking at my writing, if it’s open to new ideas are two things I like here. Well, the post is plentiful with thoughts and tips. This is helpful to me.

    After reading your post, I have realized that I must proofread and observe my write-ups voice/tone. I am going to follow your tips! Thanks!

    Well put all in all! Your post has been shared on Kingged.com, IM. social bookmarking site, enabling me to find. this good piece.

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Metz! I’m so glad the link trail led you to read my post. :) Taking time to write quality content shows people how much you care.

  18. Graham Smith says:

    Hi great post have really enjoyed reading it , has helped me alot , will be using these tips asap.

    Thanks Again !!!!

  19. rubel says:

    blogging is one kind of passionate but it must has good content.then traffic will be attractive for your blog as well as come to comment on post.at last you will look more engagement in your bloggsite.

  20. rhea says:

    Another helpful post from problogger!!! I am new to blogging and I have found many sites with the same niche as probloggers but nothing compares to problogger. Thanks for the tips.It really helped me with getting started with my blog.

  21. I. C. Daniel says:

    Simply ask questions at the bottom of every articles and readers will engage, commenting is their job.
    They love to comment because they gain a backlink too. Dofollow help on SEO, nofollow brings traffic.

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi I.C. Engagement is good, but it must be a part of a larger strategy. If one domino fails to tip into the next the whole system falls short.

  22. Great advice, Karl. The open ended question is like the dessert you can’t avoid. Then you hit it and you’re glad of it.

    My guru says always take a side in every post so those who agree will engage, and those who don’t agree will also engage if you go to one side far enough. I like the open ended question better.

    A parenting expert said always answer your kids’ questions. If you don’t, they’ll find an answer on their own. As long as it’s in the form of a comment, I go either way. Maybe that’s the problem with my engagement?

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi David! I think taking sides is a great technique to spark interest. It must fit your personality though. Taking a side to stir controversy helps bring people to your site, but doesn’t always help you deepen relationships if they aren’t your ideal readers.

  23. Britnee says:

    Great tip! I’ll have to remember to try out open-ended questions in my next blog post.

  24. Good points but I have seen some terrific posts with thoughtful questions that still get zip comments. I’m also an author and the advice there is much the same, and yet most authors (even some bestsellers) complain it’s harder than ever to get reviews/comments. I’m not saying I disagree, just that I think there’s more to it than inviting people to comment.

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Marquita! I don’t disagree with you. You must be a really good writer that can develop an emotional connection with your readers. Once this connection starts to happen you have a foundation to work from and get people engaged.

  25. Bob Marconi says:

    Allowing comment on a blog scares me.

    Recently I received several comments on a site of mine (not a money site but). They were fairly well done but something about them yelled ‘caution’ to me!

    I have had attacks on this site, tho no one seems to have gotten in but it scares me. Yes, I have security on the site(s). It’s paranoia I know but not being a technical guy, dut what I don’t know or see scares me…

    Bob

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Bob! There are a lot of ways to protect yourself with plug-ins and other software. I suggest opening up and allowing your people to comment for 30 days after you have the right software installed and see what happens. If it helps you deepen your relationships the extra work is worth it. Just keep back-ups of your site and you should be fine.

  26. Jeff says:

    You’re wrong!, wrong wrong wrong!

    Just kidding… but one point I feel which was missed and should have been made was…you need an opinion. Having an opinion polarizes the the readers: Some agree, and some don’t… it brings out the fire in people. The is especially so of social issues and politics.

    Another important point also is, some topics simply don’t attract comments as much as other topics… it’s just information people read and enjoy.

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Jeff! Lol. I agree with having an opinion. Someone suggested the same thing in an earlier content. It’s important to have an opinion, but also make sure it’s in line with your personality. I don’t advocate people have an opinion to rile up readers. They should only write something they 100% believe in even if it means talking about a subjects different sides.

  27. I am very new to blogging, I just launched my blog at the end of December, and this post was very helpful to me! Thanks for the great tips. I think that the tone of voice of your blog, being conversational, is very important and is something that I am trying to work on. The only “real” writing I have done is academically and so I am now trying to find my writing voice, one that is more me. I don’t want to come off too stiff or informational. I want to be relational. I know that as a reader, I relate more and join in the conversation when the author of the post has made me feel like I am a part of what they are saying, like they are talking to me.

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Ellen! Good luck on your blog. Remember to have support systems in place like other bloggers you can talk with about issues and fresh ideas. The Problogger community is probably a very good idea to make sure you can get the support you need.

  28. Hi Karl
    So who’s the blogger we should emulate? Would love to see her new blog and style. Thanks!
    Julie

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Julie! I’m sorry I can’t say. I asked my friend before I wrote the post and she didn’t want me to reveal who she was. I’m hoping she sees the popularity of this post and changes her mind, until then I have to wait for her to let me tell you.

  29. Terry says:

    Wow! You hit the nail on the spot. Passion is the number one ingredient. I also think talking directly to your ideal customer is the best advice ever. I find myself sometimes getting to technical. I re-read my posts thinking of someone who may not understand what an IP address is. When I find it hard to write non-technical I just imagine talking to my wife about the subject. This has helped me create great articles that people comment and respond to.
    Also I find asking questions through-out the article really engages the readers.

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Terry! Finding one person that is your ideal reader is a great way to craft your posts. Thinking of writing to one “ideal” person is way easier than writing to 100 different people.

  30. Catherine says:

    Does thst means in every post we should put in more questions to the readers?
    Thanks, 风水师

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Catherine! Yes! (most of the time) You have to look at who you readers are and how they interact with your content, but when in doubt… yes. :)

  31. Amit Kumar says:

    Blog Engagement is just like the power of attraction, so at first we need to know that what thing readers are loving (being attracted) to any particular Blog. I have experienced that sometime people love the article writing style or the way of presenting content while some people love the only lots of and unique information.

    You well said sir that increasing our Engaged Blog Community is also more important. i liked your “little story”. Same thing has happened with me when i was writing article on a Government job blog i hardly see any comment on my post but now with tech Blog i am enjoying my work.

    Thanks again sir for this great post :)

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Amit! Enjoying your work is so important. Readers can feel this when they visit your blog. They see how much you care and want to reciprocate your efforts.

  32. Great post here on building engagement and comments. Questions with an engaged community are likely to result in a far better conversation. I wonder though about those fantastic posts that have open ended questions but still don’t get the engagement – what is the distinguishing feature?

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Chris! This is where testing becomes so important. Testing out different ideas that you enjoy writing and people enjoy reading is vital to deepening your engagement on your blog. If you noticed one type of post creates an emotional connection you can recreate other posts around the same concepts and themes. Then as you build your audience you can get creative and try different techniques to keep yourself and your audience from getting bored.

  33. Zoli says:

    I’ve noticed other blogs asking questions to try engaging the audience. I will certainly add this strategy to rev up comments.

  34. James says:

    Using social media like fb, twitter, is good to create blog community

  35. Pete Boyle says:

    Interesting post!

    Whilst i’m still relatively new to blogging i’m no stranger to the disheartening lack of comments that i’m sure effects many bloggers. Despite adding what admittedly seem like rather forced calls to action at the end of my posts I’ve been getting zero response on my posts.
    I thought the lack of involvement from my readers was predominantly due to the tone in which I wrote and decided to focus on that. Adding in open ended questions throughout is something I haven’t tried yet but will definitely do so going forward to see if there is a measurable difference.

    Do you think that the comment system you use has an effect? For instance would I be better off reverting to the horribly spammed inbuilt WordPress system, continuing with Disqus or trying something else?

    Cheers

    Pete

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Pete! I use the WP system with Akismet to help block out spammers. You can try “are you human” plug-ins that make you click a box, add numbers together, or spell out a word. This will help decrease spam. I use WP system because it helps with Google SEO. The more comments you have the more weight they give the post.

      • Pete Boyle says:

        Hi Karl,

        Thanks for the advice. I’ve been thinking about reverting back to the WordPress commenting system and have to say that the SEO issue is a major deciding factor. I’m going to do a little more research but i think you may just have tempted me to get rid of Disqus!

        Thanks

  36. sweety says:

    They seem like good tips…theoretically. Need to put them into practice before I realize their veracity. Thank you for the free advice.

  37. Frederik says:

    When people browse the web, they’re looking for evidence that the websites they visit are legitimate. Blog comments act as such evidence because people assume “if other people are sticking around this blog, I probably should too.”

    thanks for the information. cheers!!!

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Frederik! Very good point. They are looking for social proof when they arrive that they aren’t wasting their time. The more comments the more likely your post is probably valuable and useful to their lives.

  38. jessicaanna says:

    Hi,
    Great post Kristi, Thanks for sharing the result of your research. Strange but true. I always liked commenting on posts written by the blog owner. And used to stay away from blogs that focus more on guest posts. Especially because while posting a comment on a blog where only one person solely writes the content, you are sure to interact with the blog owner than any anonymous guest.

  39. Neman Ashraf says:

    You know what? this is what going through my mind lately. Whenever I feel like I have just written a great article ( I said, I feel like ). I kind of expect somebody to say something about it in comments but Usually they don’t. 90% of my posts have no comment to be honest.

    I think you have suggested something real doable here. To engage reader and invite them to share their thoughts. I should try to change my tone while writing articles explaining things. Does not seem easy to me, But I will give it a persistent try to change up the situation.

    Thank you.

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Neman! I know the feeling. I’m not even close to getting the kind of comment numbers Darren gets here, but if you believe in your mission, it will happen. :)

  40. Samuel Brody says:

    Thank you so much! I’ve just started a blog and this is the second genuine piece of advice I get. Thank you; Sam.

  41. Enrique Vega says:

    I really agreed Stacey that we should understand the audience better than understand themselves. It takes a lot of upfront research, and often means being a member of the very tribe you’re trying to lead – but it pays off. Great technique for doing this is to simply ask your readers first on twiter, facebook, and LinkedIn with engaging communication.

  42. Warren says:

    Is it worth adding a blog to a commercial site in order to drive traffic (and hopefully sales)?

    I know blogs can be a great source of free traffic, but I’m not sure if the investment in time to write a few articles each week will be worth the slight increase in sales.

  43. Sarah says:

    You always know just how to inspire me, Darren. More than you know. So, thank you. I try to speak directly to my readers, but when I still don’t get any comments, it makes me wonder if what I’m writing is actually inspiring them in return. I’m already passionate about my subject, but I guess I’m not sure what value it has. You said to ask questions of readers, and maybe I should do that more. My question to you is after all these years, why are you still passionate about blogging? What do you most want to teach your readers?

  44. Tomas says:

    Nice article. I am trying to get more engagement on my blog but it’s really hard for a new blogger. Hope this will help. :)