How to work with engagement on your blog

Happy Thursday!  Ready for another Blogger Series post? Well, before we get to that, I had an awesome surprise recently when I found out that my blog was mentioned as one of the Top 10 UK Writing Blogs (criteria included Google ranking, quality & consistency of posts etc).

This made me so happy and not just because I got a cool award graphic (see my sidebar).  I want to say a big thank you to all my readers and followers, I am so glad you enjoy this blog and I look forward to making many more posts 😀

Okay, enough of that, on with the regular schedule.  Today’s topic is about engagement.  All my previous blogging articles are listed under Tutorials in the Blogger Series section.

Title Image - The Blogger Series: How to work with Engagement on your blog. What to do when you receive comments

Part of the reason we have blogs is for the engagement.  You very well may enjoy writing about whatever topics you cover, but eventually, it’s good to have engagement.

It’s nice to know someone else is reading your words and hopefully finding your articles, stories, rants (or whatever you blog) useful or entertaining or amusing.

Engagement comes in three basic ways (at least at the start).  These are likes, follows and comments.

Let’s talk comments

Moderation is your friend

I personally recommend having your comments set to moderation.  This means that people can leave a comment, but it doesn’t go live on your site until you’ve checked and approved it.

Moderation allows you to keep any spam comments off your page (not everything gets caught by the spam filter).  It can also stop people from self-promoting, as well as keeping trolls from leaving horrid or pointless comments.

It doesn’t actually take that much time, as once a person’s comments have been approved, this marks them as being on a safe list and all future comments will be accepted automatically.

But anytime someone new comments, they will need to be approved.

There is also an option where ALL comments are moderated.  This can be good but it does take a lot more time.

Check your spam comments

WordPress.com has a pretty decent spam filter that catches the junk comments.  However, sometimes it can catch a genuine comment.  So take the time to check your spam comments once a week.

It mainly happens if someone uses a rude name or if they include a link in their comment.

Do check all the comments.  Some are obviously spam.  Such as the ones I’ve just deleted that were all “get a pay-day loan” I mean, they don’t even try!  Others are a little more subtle, like this example below:

Image a subtle spam comment

At first glance, a comment saying “Thanks for the info” on one of my posts looks genuine.  But when you notice the URL connected, you realise it’s just a spammy comment and deserved to be in the spam filter.

I also get ones that again seem genuine like “great article, I never really thought about that.  But I can see it being really useful.  Can I ask you a question, how do you [insert random blogging issue] I had that issue and [insert website link] who can help]”

But end with a sales-y pitch leading you to some (possibly) dodgy link.  A good marketer doesn’t need tactics like these.  Delete and move on.

So always read ALL the spam comments, check the URLs and make sure they belongs there.  Very few real comments end up in the filter, but some do.  If you’re not sure, delete them.

When you check spam comments, always delete permanently.  Don’t leave them in the filter.

Responding to comments

If you receive comments on your blog, then make sure you take time to reply.

If nothing else, thank the commenter.  The fact that someone took time out of their day to leave a comment deserves at the minimum a thank you.

Make sure to “like” their comment (unless they are being a jerk… but then, that’s why we have moderation).

Read what they said and respond to it.  There are a few times I’ve commented on blogs and the blogger has ignored what I actually said and then tried to get me to read something else or follow their blog.  Don’t be THAT guy, no one likes that guy.

A quick point about replying: I personally have gotten bogged down with work and sometimes my internet connection is so bad, it constantly crashes.  This can delay me replying.  So while I don’t always reply instantly, I do always go back through and reply.  It’s not about how quickly you respond.  It’s about just responding at all.

Don’t use people’s comments as a way to push for a sale, a follow or anything else.  They have already been generous with their time.  Don’t dishonour that.  There are other times and places to ask for those.

If your commenter asks a question, try to answer it.   If you are not sure what they are referring to, ask for clarification.  Try to make sure communication is clear.

Avoid confrontations in comments and remember things are not always easy to perceive in a comment/text – tones and nuances can be missed.

Leave comments for others

If you want to keep engagement flowing you have to be a giver.  Take the time to visit blogs you like.  Read their articles and if you have a thought or a response, leave it.

It’s not always easy to think of what to say.  So if you liked the article, say it.  However, you should try to make most of your comments more than just “nice post”.

If it helped you, say that.  If you shared it, tell them.  If it spoke to you, inform them why.

Blogging is a community and we connect via engagement.  Comments are the best way for this.

Let’s talk about Follows

Follow for Follow

My thoughts on Follow for Follow?  Don’t. Never follow someone’s blog in expectation of them following yours.  If the only reason you did it was to gain a follower, then you’re doing it wrong.

Also, there is no point following someone’s blog if you don’t think you’ll enjoy the content.

It’s nice to want to support other bloggers, but if the niche is of no interest then don’t feel like you have to follow their blog because they followed yours.

Do check out the blogs who follow you

This may seem counterintuitive after what I just said but what I mean is, if someone follows you, check them out.  You might find a new blog that has content you are interested in.

Take the time to visit them.  If it turns out not to be the case, that’s okay.

Checking on blogs you follow

Now with WordPress.com, there is the Reader feature that can list the newest posts of blogs you are following.

However, I have found that sometimes if bloggers are posting several times a week (sometimes multiple times a day) that other blogs don’t get a look in.

How I manage is I have a folder in my Bookmarks called Blogs.  I then bookmark blogs into it and can then make sure to check them out.  I haven’t saved them all in there yet but it has definitely helped me.

You may wonder why I don’t follow people via email that way I will always get a notification.  I tried that… my email box which already gets a lot of mail was becoming unbearable.  So now my emails are just for bloggers’ newletters 😀

If it works for you, then have at it!  But for me, having blogs I like bookmarked worked better.

How do you manage the engagement on your blog?

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I hope you are enjoying these Blogger Series posts as much as I am.  I’ll be back tomorrow. 

As always, leave me your thoughts in the comments below and if you want to see something specific on this blog, drop me a message, am always happy to hear from you.

Happy writing

Ari

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21 thoughts on “How to work with engagement on your blog

  1. I have to get back into a routine with reading blogs I follow on my Reader. Some days I just don’t get around to doing it and I feel bad. I’ve got to find the time to do that again.
    Also, congrats on the award. That’s awesome!

    • I know what you mean I used to check blogs three or four times a week. Now I’m lucky to check them once a week. My schedule has been shot to hell these last few weeks.

      Thanks Rachel, it was such a nice surprise. 🙂

  2. Hi Ari, another great post full of great tips for all bloggers. Just a word of warning about moderating comments. I chose to moderate all comments regardless of whether the reader leaving has left a comment before. Why? Because I had a couple of bloggers who left really nice comments, then, a few months later, attacked another blogger who had left a comment on one of my posts. I was horrified when I logged on the next morning and saw those comments on the post. Of course, I deleted them straight away and blocked the offenders, but it taught me to moderate everything. Yes, it does take up more time, but I’m safe now in the knowledge that nobody can attack another reader/blogger on my blog.

    • Thanks Hugh, I appreciate your comment. How horrid that someone used your platform to attack another member. There really is no reason for such behaviour.

      If it truly so hard for people to be civil to each other? *sigh*

  3. congratulations on validation of your blog. excellent news. all good points that you make in this post. mostly common sense, but good to be reminded. personally, i don’t do a follow for follow. i only follow blogs that interest me. keep up the good work Ari.

    • Thanks for your kind words Libby 🙂 It was a nice surprise, especially with all the changes and updates I’ve been making. It was good to know I was doing something right lol

      How true, but common sense has never been that comment. I am still stunned when I visit blogs and see comment after comment without a reply from the blogger. It’s such a shame.

      Yes! Follow for follow is so frustrating, that’s not how it should be. I see that a lot on Instagram, especially when you get messages saying “hi, I followed you, follow me back” errr nope. Sorry, not unless I’m interested.

  4. First off – Congratulations. I must say I am not surprised. You have one of the best sites around. You work hard and give all of us valuable information. Job well done!

    For me, when it comes to blogging so much of it is common sense. Responding to comments, visiting other sites and most of all being nice and respectful goes a long ways. I still have a lot to learn but I have learned that patience is the key.

    Happy for you, Ari. Well Done!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Bryan 😀

      How true, it should be common sense. Though common sense is never very comment. I’ve found a lot of blog where the blogger does not interact even with a simple “thanks” for the comments they receive.

      You said it perfectly, patience is the key! Yes, blogging and creating connections takes time, takes patience, we could all do to remember that 😀

  5. Thank you for the fantastic information! I’m working on a new website with a blog (which I’ve never really done before), so these were very helpful tips for me to keep in mind as I start that process! I’m looking forward to reading more of your other tutorials as soon as I’m able! ❤️

    • Thanks so much Holly. Feel free to reach out if you want any help with anything at all.

      I also have a post about creating an author website that you might find useful. If so let me know and I can drop you the url.

      I’m looking forward to seeing your website 😊

  6. Great tips! Then again, it seems we have similar blogging philosophies.

    I was just clearing out my spam comments on Tuesday and that sexcambot lady had commented on one of my posts, too!

    I use the WordPress feed as well, I HATE emails.

    • Thanks for your comment, Morgan. lol that Sexcambot lady must be working hard posting on random blogs. Maybe she thinks writers are into that LOL

  7. Congrats! I love hearing good news!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    My blog has been around since…March of 2011. ??? WOW! How time flies!!! I’m not a consistent blogger. (My readers aren’t that consistent either. Most are binge-readers. LOL ) However, I’m fortunate that I haven’t had problems with “trolls” on my blog. The spam filter on WordPress has worked well for me over the years. I don’t moderate my comments beyond the spam filter. I did when I first set up my blog, but it quickly became apparent that I was creating more work for myself than I needed to. I just don’t get enough traffic to worry about it. Maybe 60 views on a good day? In the blogging world, I’m not even a tiny fish in the pond. I’m okay with that.

    Over the years, I’ve met some AWESOME people through blogging. (Some in real life!) Commenting back to EVERYONE who leaves me a message is my favorite thing about blogging. So is looking for similar blogs, based on tag lines.

    Thank you for sharing your blogging tips! I enjoy reading them.

    • Hi Juli, thanks so much! I was flabbergasting when I saw my blog was listed! I don’t feel like I do enough to deserve it but I’m not going to argue :p

      It is so strange how fast time goes. Wow, from 2011 that is great! Have you felt you’ve learnt a lot since those early days?

      I feel like I learnt nothing until around 2016 when I decided to make it less of just a blog and more of an Author Website.

      That is great you haven’t had trolls. I had quite a few in the beginning. The odd one still tries to get through, usually just trying to pimp their own blog… usually one that has ZERO to do with writing or blogging, so not sure why they think that would be a good idea ;/

      Oh yes! My closest online friends were all met through blogging. It is such a strong community. Everyone is helpful and supportive. 😀

      • I’ve learned so much over the years. My first blogging attempts were rather rough, maybe a little spammy since it was self-serving and I was clueless. (A Look at MY writing and I’m doing kind of blog.) I had NO idea how to use widgets, etc. It was frustrating.

        So yeah…I started out trying to create a writing/author blog and it morphed into a “What inspired me today?” blog. Look! Something shiny! A well-written book! Artwork! A video! There are so many people creating WONDERFUL things. Yes, I do enjoy sharing my own stuff too, but I sort of sandwich it in between everything else. “Is it useful or Interesting?” if yes, I share it.

        I enjoy all the tips and tricks you’ve shared. I’m not very good in the role of teacher, so I appreciate it when others can do this! Take care!!!

      • Hi Juli, thanks for your comment. I totally understand, when I started blogging I was just the same, no clue, just throwing things up, no idea how to set up or format my blog, use widgets, moderate comments…

        lol I love the part “look something shiny” it reminded me of magpies finding shiny trinkets 😀

        I love the idea of sharing a variety of different things.

        Thank you so much for your kind words, I am happy you like my posts. Your comment made my day!!

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