Many of us blog for varied reasons. Some of us are authors and writers, some have a brand which blogging represents, some specialize in a particular niche, and some just blog because they like to share thoughts, rant, rave, or whatever strikes their fancy. But no matter our reasons for blogging, there’s one thing all bloggers have in common and that is wanting our posts to gain visibility in the vast blogosphere.
I can say without a doubt that the best way to have our posts shared is by communing with other bloggers, engaging with readers by interacting with comments, and by visiting other blogs and engaging with content that resonates with us. These are important elements to be included and get involved with the blogging community, but how do we develop that engagement if nobody is visiting or commenting on our own blogs?
Here are some tips to make your blogs inviting to readers:
I don’t know about you guys, but first thing I do when visiting a new blog is go to the ‘about page’. This gives me a feel for the person who writes the blog posts. Why? First, I want to know what I can expect to find in posts from that blogger. Second, many bloggers don’t have their name in their website title or avatar. I like to be able to address someone by name when I leave a comment. Without learning the identity of a bloggers, it doesn’t feel personal.
For example: My dear friend Sally Cronin’s blog is called Smorgasbord Invitation, aptly named because her blog is an eclectic mix of posts from stories, various series she runs and lots of generous promotions she does for other writers – hence the ‘invitation’ part of the name. If I went to Sally’s blog for the first time, I’d know right away that her name is Sally. I could see it clearly displayed on her top tool bar on her clickable “About Sally Cronin” page. Even if her name wasn’t added to the ‘about’ link, once I go there, she introduces herself. That way everyone knows Smorgasbord Invitation is Sally’s blog, gratefully, because I wouldn’t have wanted to keep commenting by addressing her as Smorgasbord.
Sadly, I’ve come across some blogs where there is no hint of the person’s name behind the blog, on their ‘about’ page or otherwise. Our ‘about’ page gives us insight as to who the person blogging is about. It’s difficult to form a blogging relationship with someone when we don’t know their name.
Having an avatar representing us when we leave comments behind on blogs, as well as for our own social media so people can easily recognize us, is a good idea for people to become familiar with us, avatars are part of our branding. All bloggers should get themselves an avatar. An avatar not only is a photo of yourself that others can identify you by but they are also enabled to share information about you, your website, and anything you want to add for discoverability just by hovering over it with your mouse. Some bloggers don’t use a photo of themselves for whatever their reasons, but in actuality, a real photo of yourself is the best way to become easily identified around blogging circles and social media.
Are you taking advantage of using your widgets on your blog?
Widget options can be found in your WordPress dashboard. You can add widgets on your sidebar, before a post, under a post or to your footer. Widgets offer engagement, information, and give us another place to display information about us, our books, our social media links, and our blogs. Anything in a widget can be made clickable with a link to take a reader directly to whatever it is displayed in the widget.
There are many things we may choose to display in widgets, just to name a few:
- Our social media feeds, ie: Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads
- Our social blogging community
- Our books
- Awards and Badges
- Recent blogs, Search, and Archives, to enable readers to look up older posts
- Google has recently offered a new ‘translation’ widget to help expand readership by inviting readers who may not speak English to translate our blogs into another language
Learn more about using widgets HERE.
A Word on Share Buttons:
I’ve written a post before on the importance of having and using ‘share buttons’ under a post, and also to make sure when setting up those buttons, your name is attached to those share buttons so that when someone ‘likes’ your blog and clicks to share it to their own social shoutout, your blog is recognized in the social sphere. You can do this by going into your ‘settings’ in your dashboard and then clicking on ‘sharing’ where you can connect your social sites to your share buttons.
And don’t forget about using the ‘press this’ tool. You can find more about this from a previous post I wrote too. The ‘press this’ tool is available in your ‘tools’ available in your dashboard. This is a handy tool to use for reblogging a post in draft you may want to share on your blog, but the blogger doesn’t offer a ‘reblog’ button because on self-hosted sites, there isn’t an option for a reblog button. ‘Press this’ allows you to clip the blog post’s website link and copies over a few words from the post, then you can set it as a ‘saved’ draft which you can then open in your drafted posts and if you click the ‘preview’ button, it will open up another tab with the original post. From there, you can copy and paste from the original post whatever you choose over to the drafted post.
‘Press this’ is also handy to clip anything off any web page you may want to save in draft to revisit or blog about at a later time.
There are many other things we can add to our blogs to enhance them, but the above mentioned are key components to allowing readers to get to know us better and a great method of getting more engagement with our posts.