10 tips to get the passive reader do something by being positive yourself!

One of the key issues with any upcoming blog is the low level of participation from the readers. A few posts ago I had talked about Be positive as a bloggersome of the possible reasons why your readers are passive. In this post I shall put together a few tips that could be of help for some of you to improve the reader participation and prolong his stay.

Possible positive actions from a blog reader

The following are some of the actions that your readers could take during his visit to your blog. Please note that I am listing here only those positive actions that result in mutual benefit for the blogger as well as the reader.

  • Comment on the posts or pages
  • Subscribe to your syndicated content (RSS etc), eBook or newsletters
  • Bookmark your content or spread the word (send the link to a friend etc.)
  • Link back from his blog or website
  • Visit again
  • Click on your ads
  • Become an affiliate under your ad/affiliate account
  • Advertise on your blog
  • Donate to the cause

Tips and actions that motivate the reader do something

#1 Request or ask for action: Many blog posts in this world are monologues; especially when it comes to those blogs with technical content. If a post has some questions directed to the readers or asked for expert opinion or to share their experiences, chances are a few of them respond to your queries. You could also request them to participate in your latest short survey or click on voting buttons. An implicit way of calling for action is via making the next possible links very visible and immediately accessible (e.g. Most popular posts, related posts linking, Your recent posts on highly visible area etc.)

#2 Explain how stuff works and educate: Sometimes, people do not subscribe to your feeds because they don’t even understand what is RSS? Similarly, many would have wondered what are those tiny little icons at the end of each posts. I must tell you, I was very much puzzled when I saw them for the first time! Unless you explain to them what are social bookmarks and how that can be of help nobody might even go click there. Unfortunately, blogs these days are made and designed for tech-savvy readers!

#3 Participate yourself and follow up: According to me a blog’s health index is high only if the energy levels of the blogger itself is high. The blogger has to listen, feel and respond to any action taken by the readers. Many times, the readers stop commenting because of lack of action from the blogger himself. If you tend to delay in tracking and moderating the comments, please go for a point-to-point reply as and when comments come in. Otherwise, keep a scheduled task for yourself to follow-up. If you can’t still remember it, try the subscribe to comments plugin for the benefit of you as well as your readers. Alternate means (email, IM, social networks…) of interacting and communicating with your readers and their communities also increase the chances of your readers being positive to you.

#4 Tell what is in it for him: If you want to increase your affiliate sign-ups, you need to show the real benefits of signing up with facts and detailed review. People may be interested in signing up only if you relate to your own experiences. Also request them politely to sign up!

#5 Offer incentives: Incentives don’t mean that you have to pay-per-comment however it is something more than verbal appreciation. I have seen blogs that pick the top commentators or contributors of the month and give them small cash incentives, free ad spaces, entrecard credits, reviews etc. This can certainly motivate them to respond to the call-for-action.

#6 Barter the favors received: It is always a good idea to recognize the favors received from the readers by giving them back similar things. For example, if somebody has subscribed, added you to their blogroll or even backlinked to your post, you might want to return that favor in a fitting manner. This will encourage the readers to be even more positive in the future. Once in a while you may also surprise the readers by initiating link loves (do not overdo the same!), appreciating them in other blogs’ comments etc.

#7 Entice them to do something: Small short term benefits like commentluv enabled blogs or top commentator plugin can lure the readers to comment and participate more as long as things are explained well to them and soft sold. For example, many times only experienced bloggers understand commentluv and not layman (and hence remember tip #2). Again, you don’t need to over-sell yourself in this aspect and it should not sound like a cheap marketing gimmick!

#8 Explain the rules and increase your credibility: Whether you are running contests or selling your ad spaces explain the rules of the game as well as service details clearly. And once you set the rules you should stick to them and respect them. This will increase the clarity and credibility and hence more positive conduct from the readers. You could enforce your rules in a nice manner but don’t force the users to do sign up. Talking about signing up, I have seen blogs where you have to sign up before you comment. Such closed blogs will keep valuable readers away!

#9 Offer free services: If you provide free services – such as free plugins, themes, code snippets, directory services, free reviews, small-scale consultancy – to your readers the chances of getting back positive favors is very high.

#10 Accept donations gracefully but not beg: If you provide services as mentioned in the last tip, sometimes the readers and beneficiaries would want to acknowledge the same by making donations. There’s nothing wrong in putting a PayPal donate link on your blog if there are no other income generators for you. An even better way of doing the same is via something like the Buy me a beer plugin.

That’s all for now! If you found this post helpful, please feel free to bookmark and share. And please share your views on how your positive actions and make your readers even more positive!

Comments

  1. moserw :

    A good list yet again Ajith. I only find holding competitions on a regular basis not the right way to go. Some blogs have one every other week and you have to link to them in so many ways to even partake in it. Interaction on your blog is good, but getting links in the name of competition is bad!!!

  2. There is a lot of good things on here that I should do. I guess in time I will get better at these thing as I start doing them one by one.
    Thanks for the good tips

    Bruno Auger’s last blog post…What Is Web 2.0?

  3. Hi Ajith – My favorite is Number 1 – If we don’t ask our readers what they think, they’ll read and leave. Ending a blog post with a question is often the best way to get a conversation started.

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post…A.S.K. Darren Rowse of Proglogger – How Do We Increase Our Readership

  4. I remember reading somewhere that only 1% or 2% of the readers who view a post, will really take time to comment. On a blog that talks about “blogs”, the involvement from readers may be high, as most of the commenters are bloggers themselves, who understand the importance of commenting. On a technology blog, where most of the readers are non-bloggers, the involvement is less.

    You’ve gone little geeky with your b+ve (be positive) image. :-)

  5. Akhil :

    very good and informative list of tips!!!
    but I think, that your layout and theme play a vital role as far as comment section is concern.
    blogger.com is not very friendly for readers to leave their comments.
    even many celebrities, who are writing their blogs on blogger.com, they are getting only 2-3 comments per post.
    So, we can imagine about the common people.
    if one is writing an interactive post, the chances of comments increase rapidly.
    I can see that all of your posts are very interactive, and it seems that writer is trying to talk to us face to face.
    I’ve lernt allot, and thanks for this nice post again.

    Akhil’s last blog post…1200 Rupees Worth Google Cashkey Ebook For Free

  6. @Rajiv, thanks for your views and compliments. Yes, even I am convinced that conducting a competition or contest every other week to attract readership is not at all a great idea. They should be used as jump-starters only!

    @Bruno, you are welcome… I am just writing a few things that I have personally found good and few other things taught by some of the experienced bloggers.

    @Barbara, I know that your secret of involving readers is in tip #1 :) Probably I learned it from bloggers like you. I kind of like your daily assignments in every post. By the way, I liked your A.S.K post this week with Darren Rowse!

    @Ramesh, it’s true that when people talk about blogging, seo and especially ‘make money online’ etc, there will be a lot of interest and involvement from the readers. But at the same time any other niche blog can also have involvement as long as the readers are not information junkies (read and use information but won’t appreciate/comment/involve). The key is to ask the readers something out of their experience or ask for clarity wherever you may need some information. Also, I found that technical sites where people provide a lot of code snippets, tricks, hacks etc attract a lot of comments. In your particular case, I guess you have way too many good quality RSS subscribers that many of them don’t want to come and comment. But they are really appreciating your good content for sure.

    (And as for the post image, I just quickly edited something to sound positive. Incidentally, my blood group is B+ve as well and that’s how the idea came 😆 )

    @Akhil, thank you very much for the compliments. I am glad that you found this blog’s interaction levels very good… Thanks for your visit and I see that your blog has really positively changed its outlook :)

    Thanks everyone! Please keep writing!!

  7. Susan :

    FollowIng up and participating in comment discussions is quite important as you noted :)

  8. Yes susan, absolutely! The reciprocal should also hold good… ie. the readers coming back and following up on their/others’ comments :)

  9. Nagraj :

    thats another great list ajith….thanks……its true that when people start responding u will get more interest in writing also……….;and again it depends on the energy level of the blogger as u mentioned ……….many things to learn here for me…………thanks again……….

    Nagraj’s last blog post…Simple animal with complex genome : Trichoplax adhaerens

  10. It’s true that many visitors never leave comments. One of my most visited articles is about converting a video clip into an animated gif. People only comment when they can’t follow the instructions and get stuck.

    Who knew that so many people would want to know how to do this? It was fun for me to figure out how to do but overall it seems to be a pretty useless skill :-)

    Great list Ajith!

    Kim Woodbridge’s last blog post…Stuff This in Your RSS – 10/14/08 – Popular Links on Delicious

  11. @Kim, Manytimes we write based on prejudictions and expectations. What we think as well explained may be ‘greek and latin’ for many :) In fact, after I added a ‘What is RSS’ page a lot of people are actually clicking it… Also, i you carefully analyze the Google Analytics, you may understand a lot more on what people are expecting or finding interesting…

    Thanks for your comment.

  12. FollowIng up and participating in comment discussions are the most important…

  13. @Downloadic, the vice versa is true as well… you need to involve with your readers + need to be regular on a couple of dozen blogs as well…

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