Before we get started with today’s Blogger Series post, 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.
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:
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 the 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’ newsletters 😀
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?