Welcome to my first guest post!
Do your stats show that readers are coming to your blog but leaving soon? By looking at your stats page, you can see how long they stay. Are you disappointed?
Linda and I met at a blogging class we took recently, we struck up a friendship, and I instantly checked out her site. I was shocked by what I saw–smiley faces and the response to them.
Linda had written a post about smiley faces. What impressed me more than her creativity (I wouldn’t know what to write about smiley faces,) was how engaged her readers were–I mean they were really engaged. She had 21 “likes” on the post, and she had just written it. There were already seven comments. Seven comments and 21 “likes” on a post just published–I was impressed.
Is it magic? Is it a mystery? What is Linda’s secret to reader engagement? I invited her here today to tell us. Linda, take it away!
What an honor to be invited to guest blog on Janice Wald’s Reflections!
When I started blogging a little over a year ago, it was basically to prove to myself that I could still harness the power of the written word, to learn a whole new technology and to try to determine what my next career move might be. It never occurred to me that I would meet so many like-minded people along the way!
So I wrote and posted and what the heck, some people clicked the like button! And some others wanted to read more so they followed! And I follow some intriguing people who share their varied lives.
What makes them engage? I think I’ve connected with that corner of the everyday. A stairway is a stairway unless you shoot it upside down. A local park is more interesting when you learn the story behind it.
I started to look at my hometown, New York City, in a different light when I viewed it through the lens of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.
Yup, photos. People need pictures to get what you’re saying, although it doesn’t have to be literal. When the Photo Challenge was “express yourself” I showed fireworks. It could have been the express train to work or an espresso coffee. And give your challenge posts actual titles, not “my weekly photo challenge thing.” Think of it as a magazine article.
Challenges are great because there is a built-in community of creative people who want to see how others interpret the word of the week. WordPress Blogging University, where I met Janice, is another way to meet other bloggers. You’re all there to learn something from the WordPress people and from each other. You visit each other’s blogs and answer each other’s questions. Instant engagement!
I would also advise to keep it light. That’s not always possible but sometimes, we need to read a positive spin on something negative. One day I felt really down but kept thinking of the Photo Challenge word “serenity.” So I posted about the Museum of Modern Art. Thirty-one readers liked or commented. They understood!
Comment on other blog posts. You have something to add to the conversation and most likely, someone else agrees.
Another word of advice: post frequently. To be honest, I don’t do that because life keeps getting in the way. But take a look at www.unclespikes.wordpress.com. Somehow this guy manages to post gorgeous images, share his story and still be a farmer, daddy and husband. He is what I aspire to be as a blogger. Also worth a visit are www.psychologistmimi.com and www.anotherday2paradise.wordpress.com. They post regularly and intelligently and comment. I just read the loveliest thing from www.thismansjourney.net who does not post a lot but when he does, it’s heartfelt and sweet. Eighty-six likes and nineteen comments on his latest post prove my point. Above all, be yourself. Share knowledge. Have fun.
There you have it, the secret to increasing readers’ time on task. It may also increase bloggers’ time on task. They will be so motivated by the encouragement that readers are spending longer at their site, they will keep writing.
Thank you so much to Linda for being our guest today. More of Linda’s writing can be found at Laughing Through Life. In addition, if you’d like to read the post about the smiley faces that so impressed me, here’s the link: Expressing the Smiley Side.
If Linda’s tips for engaging readers can help other writers, please share.
Readers, what do you think? Do you agree with Linda’s tips for engaging readers? Which tips have you tried that work the best? On the other hand, do you have your own suggestions for reader engagement? I look forward to your views.