October 6, 2011

12 ways to develop a loyal community for your blog

blog community
Image by Palto for Big Stock

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, businesses, Web publishers, bloggers, individuals


Live-blog sessions you attend, or ask others to do so and post to the blog.

4 Blog conference sessions. The surest way to attract a community is to be part of the community when events and conferences are happening. Live-blog sessions you attend, or ask others to do so and post to the blog. Use the session’s Twitter hashtag and tweet that you are live-blogging certain sessions. Those following the conference online will refer to your blog as a source of session content, expanding your organization’s usual reach.

5 Remember you ABCs: Always Be Commenting. Reply to (almost) every blog comment. Readers comment on your blog post because they want to be recognized, add to the conversation, and be considered. Replying to comments can lead to other interesting discussions within the blog posts’ comments, and deepening a reader’s engagement with your blog and its content. No need to reply to every person who writes, “great post!” Instead, comment after a few of these types of comments are up.

6 Ask for blog comments. Don’t be afraid to ask for comments. Send a DM on Twitter to people you know would be interested in a certain blog post. Ask Twitter and Facebook followers and fans to comment as you share the post. If there is a great discussion happening in the blog comments, tweet that out and ask for even more comments!

7 Friend and acknowledge your commenters. Once you begin to see regular readers commenting on the blog, seek them out and friend them in your social spaces. Follow them on Twitter, connect on Linkedin, comment on their blogs. Periodically send a public shout out to those who comment. You could even recognize them in a tweet such as this: “Great comment from @username on today’s blog. Thanks!”

8 Install an easy-to-use social commenting system. Disqus and Facebook comments are two very easy-to-use commenting systems that are inherently social. Once users are logged into Facebook or Disqus, the comments are publicly shown either on Facebook feeds or the Disqus network.

9 Include a “recent comments” widget on the sidebar of your blog. Highlighting recent comments sends the message that your blog already has a blog community. I’ve installed the Disqus “recent comments” widget within Community Organizer 2.0’s sidebar for that very reason.

10 Post the latest blog posts to your organization’s social spaces. A recent case study implied that autoposting to Facebook may decrease views, so be sure to post manually the latest from your blog to Facebook and Twitter. Consider also posting great blog comments to your Facebook Wall and other social spaces.

11 Show blog post retweets on the sidebar of your blog. Consider creating a Twitter feed that pulls in all the blog post retweets as a way to show that your blog already has a community of readers.

12 Give out some link love. Though linking out a lot is not always recommended as a good SEO practice, linking will get your blog noticed. Especially when your blog is relatively new or unknown, don’t be afraid to create links to other blogs your readers will recognize. When you link to others, the blog owner is usually notified of the link and will often take a look at your blog. This is a simple way to get your organization’s blog onto the radar of other industry blog owners.

January 14, 2010

How to optimize your blog’s commenting system

Hand with wireless microphone

Welcome to the 31 Day Challenge To Optimize Your Blog With Social Media. Today we’ll talk about how to make your blogs commenting system more social media friendly.

John HaydonYou can tell a lot about the impact you have on  your readers by the number, diversity and quality of your comments. For example, if you get a flood of comments when you first publish a post, you know that your readers are highly responsive. You also can see how much they trust you by what they share in those comments. In this sense, comments are a a window into then soul of your readers – and a guide for your blog strategy.

But what if you are unknowingly creating barriers to comments?

Common barriers to comments

CAPTCHAS – Get rid of these. Visual CAPTCHAs are “no blind people allowed” signs.

Requiring registration – I’ve seen a few blogs that require registration in order to comment. Don’t do this unless you have a very good reason – and I can’t think of one.

Blogging tools for better comments

Now that those barriers are gone, you want to find ways of encouraging comments and making them more social. There are two ways blog technology can help:

  • Get the right commenting system
  • Get the right comment plug-ins

Get the right commenting system

Comment systems have come a long way over the past year to include social media conversations into your blogs comments. These are the four most popular commenting systems for WordPress bloggers:

1. WordPress commenting system

WordPress comments (standard on all hosted and self-hosted WordPress blogs) are highly customizable and allow you to easily add functionality either with custom coding or with plug-ins (WordPress Thread Comment, Highlight Author Comments, Comment Redirect, Social ProfilesEmail Commenters, Subscribe To Comments, and WP Ajax Edit Comments and a few that enhance functionality) Themes also add features. For example, Headway allows for threaded comments. Continue reading