Just imagine it’s your first day here on Planet Blog and you and everyone else with you hears the words “Hands up all those that want 1,000 followers.” What percentage of people in your group do you think would put up their hand?
When we start our journey in the world of blogging, getting as many followers as possible is very important to all of us. Why write and blog if nobody is going to read what we have to say?
So we’ve managed to gain lots of followers and we want more, yet we seem to also be losing followers. I wonder why?
I learned very quickly that building and maintaining your very own blogging community is an important aspect of blogging and one of the easiest ways to start losing followers is by not acknowledging those followers that leave comments. In my time as a blogger I’ve seen this happen quite a lot.
When I am introduced to or discover a new blog, one of the first things I do is to check out the bloggers ‘about me’ page. If they don’t have one or it is not easy to find then it won’t be long before I will have moved on without pressing the follow button. However, it does not end there. I won’t follow a blogger if they have not answered any of the comments on their ‘about me’ page. For me that’s like inviting people to a party and just ignoring them. If you have an ‘about me’ page (and if you don’t then I recommend you set one up) then respond to anyone who leaves you a comment. They are far more likely to continue to follow you and far more likely to become part of your blogging community when you acknowledge them.
I also try and find out the first name of any new followers. I think it’s a far more friendly approach when somebody addresses me by my first name when responding to a comment I have left on their ‘about me’ page. Of course, it’s not always possible to find out a blogger’s first name and some don’t make it easy in trying to find that information out. My advice is at least to mention your first name on your ‘about me’ page and to try and mention the first name of the blogger when responding to a comment they have left.
Of course, we also want readers to leave comments on the posts we publish. I often leave comments that include a question to the blogger of the post I have just read and then never hear back from them. For me this is another sure way of un-following the blog. I don’t expect all of my comments to be answered, but when I have asked a question I do expect the blogger to come back to me with an answer, even if it’s to say they are going to try and find out the information. Should they choose to ignore my questions then I’m unlikely to continue to follow them.
As we build up our blogs and gain more followers we will no doubt start to get more comments left on our posts. Don’t ignore those comments and leave then unanswered. A sure way to lose followers is to not acknowledge comments or answer questions. Some posts can generate hundreds of comments and you should do all you can to answer them. I check and respond to comments on a daily basis. That’s not going to work for everyone because we all have busy lives, but try and respond to comments and questions left on posts within a few days of them being left. If you do not want comments to be left on a post, or you are finding it impossible to respond to all of them, then close down the ability for any new comments to be left. After all, we don’t want your blogging to start getting out of control, do we?
Make sure you check the comments section of your blog’s dashboard on a regular basis. You may think you’ve answered or responded to all comments but make sure the number next to the number of comments pending is zero. Don’t forget also to check your ‘spam’ folder on the comments page of your dashboard. Some genuine comments can sometimes end up in here.
Even if you have nothing to add to a comment that has been left on one of your posts, always thank the person who has left the comment or ‘like’ their comment by pressing the ‘thumbs up’ icon. Pressing the ‘like’ button for a comment takes less than a few seconds and the reader who left the comment will get a notification that you have liked their comment. For me that is far better than believing my comments have been ignored.
Another area to discuss is about how friendly your blog is, for those that visit, is to make sure that everything on your blog works. I’m a huge fan of using ‘Twitter’ to share posts and promote blogs, but if I press the Twitter link on a blog and it does not work then I’ll start to ask myself questions like “is it worth following this blog” or “does the blogger not want me to follow them on Twitter?” If you are going to include links in your posts then make sure all those links work before you publish the post. Ensure links in widgets and on your menu bars also work. From time to time, and for whatever reason, links stop working so try and get into the habit of checking all links to make sure they not only work but take visitors to the page you intended the link to take to them to.
Don’t be afraid to inform a blogger about links on their blog that do not work. It’s happened to me several times and I’ve been very grateful to the blogger who has highlighted the fault to me.
What about you, what do you do to make sure your blog is friendly for visitors? Do you have any tips or advice you’d like to add and share with us about leaving and answering comments?
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