9 ways to improve reader engagement on your blog

Do you speak to your readers? Do you listen to what they want? Do you believe that reader engagement matters for you as a blogger?

Blogging is something I love with a passion. It’s one thing I consciously make time for, or at least try to, every week. With three blogs to manage, things can get a little out of hand at times so I try to keep my expectations realistic and my goals simple.

Engagement tips_Bloggers

Here are 9  ways I work on increasing reader engagement on my blog and how they seem to help me, at least at the moment.

  1. Maintain a schedule for your blogs:

Wait, how is this going to help reader engagement? Sure, it’s going to help the blogger. You’d be surprised how the two are interlinked. Since I have 3 blogs, I try to space out my posts accordingly. I try to blog once a week on this blog and once a week on my parenting blog. The third blog is fairly easier to maintain since it makes up tips and prompts.

So how does this help with engagement? Readers are now aware of my schedule and can anticipate when I’ll publish what. This sense of familiarity helps tremendously, where the blogger is concerned. Readers come back to check if the blog’s been updated and every time, I can be assured of thoughtful, relevant comments or shares on my posts.

2. Write quality content:

This one seems like a no-brainer, because yes we all want to write killer posts. However, I do find that people tend to write on instinct, dash off the post in a hurry and sit back, grinning. I’ve got nothing against this, mind you. It’s perfect to write that way. The only problem is sometimes, the posts have typos, grammatical errors leap out at me and the content seems very half-hearted, almost as if the person put together something for the sake of it.

Readers are smart. They can smell bad content a mile away. They’ll know if you’ve managed to put thought into a post or carelessly slapped together something at the last minute. This hurts your readership more than you know.

3. Converse with your readers:

This is probably the most important thing, I find. You need to allow for open and engaging conversation on your posts. Let people comment and listen, really listen to what they’re saying.

4. Ask a question at the end of your post:

Depending on the nature of your post, of course, this is a valuable tool. After you’ve made your point on a topic, ask a question inviting your readers to share their own thoughts and experiences. What this does is put control in the reader’s hands. They will want to engage and leave meaningful comments.

5. Respond to comments:

Granted, I have been guilty of not replying to most of my comments in the past, but it’s a fact I’m actively working on these days. Out of the 15-30 people who comment on a post, perhaps 2 or 3 will come back to see if you’ve left a reply. Trust me, you don’t want to disappoint them. It’s your way of saying, ‘Hey, I care about what you said and I thank you for this.’

6. Visit other bloggers:

Blogging is a community activity. I’ve said it time and again. If you have people coming over to say hello, it’s an unspoken invitation for you to go back over and return the favour.

Sure, you can’t do it all the time, but you can try and develop a habit of it. It’s good karma and people will love you for it. Oh and leave meaningful comments! Don’t just go over and say, ‘Thanks for coming over. Nice post. Here’s my blog link.’ Ugh. Sorry, that doesn’t work for me.

7. Join a blogging group:

It’s simple. Join a group of like-minded bloggers. Find a set that works for you. Allow yourself to receive critique, engage with others and develop a familiarity with people. This always helps.

8. Set aside time exclusively for reading:

I have been doing this since the beginning of 2016 and the result is fascinating. I now try and blog on Sundays/Mondays here and respond to all comments before Tuesdays. I then blog on parenting on Wednesdays and reply to comments on Thursdays there. Fridays and Saturdays are devoted to reading other blogs and the relaxation fits perfectly with my work routine as well. Find a routine that works for you.

9. Use social media as a person

People enjoy what you write. Let them know the person behind the blog. Having multiple social media handles is a waste if you’re not leveraging the power of that medium, to be honest.

Not every update or tweet can be about what you wrote on your blogs or what book you’ve published! Streams of retweets and automated posts put me off too. Be kind, motivate others, share in their joy. In short, be human. Nobody likes a robot and a self-promotional robot is the worst of them all!

*Bonus tip: Schedule social media time as well. It really helps!

I enjoy blogging. Wait, I’ve said that already. But, yes, I really do. It’s the connections that make it worthwhile for me. It’s not just about saying things out loud and leaving it in the void for people to find. It’s about so much more.

Do you agree with these points?

Do you do anything differently to engage your readers?

 

59 thoughts on “9 ways to improve reader engagement on your blog

  1. You’ve hit the hammer on the nail with each point, Shailaja.

    The most important ones for me are visiting others’ blogs and using social media as a person. When we visit someone’s blog, it’s important to show that we appreciate what they have shared rather than placing a single-line comment in hope that they will reciprocate. And often, we use social media only as a person who blows their own trumpet… not for conversations.

    Hope more bloggers heed your advice and understand the true meaning of engagement.

    1. It’s been a long learning journey for me too, Vishal. I am pretty sure I’ve made msitakes along the way as well, to be honest :) But it’s fascinating to see how we learn so much more we can learn if we are open to the idea of good engagement :) Thank you for commenting in such detail, as always :)

  2. Hey Shailaja,

    Yet another wonderful blogpost to read :).. You know all the points you’ve mentioned above, makes so much sense and they should work if done religiously.. Leaving questions at the end of the post if a very powerful tool to know your readers better and they too feel the need to share their experience in the comments..

    All in all it works. Though, I have certain questions on my part (O nothing wrong with the post above or anything of that sort). If you’re all ears, I’d love to discuss with you over PM.. Totally up to you :)

    Cheers

  3. That’s a wonderful list :)
    Loved knowing your secret to managing multiple blogs so efficiently. But my favorite is #9
    Though I struggle with #1 since I started blogging. But since it was at prime position in your list, maybe its time for me to seriously work on this issue 😀
    My Era recently penned this post WaterMy Profile

    1. It’s a learning curve, to be very honest. I made plenty of mistakes along the way. I’m still not sure I have all the answers either. But these do seem to help so working with them :)

  4. Interesting and to the point post! I usually follow these points except scheduling my posts. Will start doing that. Scheduling tweets is a little difficult for me as I usually do not plan that. It comes naturally/randomly and I feel like posting the tweets. But, you’re right timing makes a difference here too.

    Still, I wondered why my posts go unnoticed? (When bloggers discuss how one should comment (And shouldn’t say ‘nice post’). Do you remember I have saved your feedback for my writing? :)
    Tarang Sinha recently penned this post JNU: All that anxiety and fussMy Profile

    1. I agree with the scheduled tweets. But I find Buffer is a great tool to space out the tweets for optimal engagement. People in different time zones get to read the tweets and the posts and you can reply when you are awake.

      You have saved my feedback!? How thoughtful! I’m so touched.

  5. I am guilty of rushing to publish the post. Sadly, most of my editing and correction is done after I have hit the publish button. I seriously need to stop that.
    Absolutely loved how organized and disciplined you are about blogging. These days even I am trying to allocate days and time for reading and writing. Else the virtual world starts taking over the real one. Agree with all your points :)
    Rajlakshmi recently penned this post Of Makiko, Yoko & Digging NoseMy Profile

    1. He he considering how promptly you read my posts, you’re forgiven. No seriously, you need to edit the posts. 😉

      Having a schedule helps amazingly.

  6. You’re right about readers being able to sniff bad content a mile away. Mahn, if they find even a single weird thought or not-well-thought-of paragraph, they tend to forget all the wonderful posts you wrote before!

    These tips are really gonna come in handy for me, now that I’m back to blogging after almost four months! Thank you Shailaja for the tips! :)

    1. Always welcome, Mithila :) I am glad you are back to blogging. We need more quality writers out here and believe me, you fit the bill in so many ways!

  7. Great points… I probably follow… Or at least try to do most of these.. But sometimes due to time constraints I end up ignoring a few of them. Having all these points in one place serves as a sort of refresher for people like me.

    1. Glad to hear that Ramya :) I agree that blogging can be time-consuming if we let it. What works for me is having clear-cut times for each activity, including time on social media, which I find is the biggest time sucker around.

      1. That’s the same with me…. I do manage time to read blogs and write too… But social media activeness is something I am not able to achieve with satisfaction.. Thi despite have a owning a smart phone with icons within fingers reach;)

    1. Excellent add-on points, Rachna! Yes, having the follow/share buttons clearly visible boosts reader engagement tremendously! I don’t have any ads at the moment so will keep that in mind as/when I decide to start monetising the blog.

      Thanks for all the love and you have a great week too :)

  8. You have shared some valuable information here, Shailaja. I need to work on my first tip you have shared, scheduling the posts. Will make an effort to do so, especially before the AtoZ challenge.

    1. Thanks Sulekha. As for the schedule I mean more or less working on a regular blogging schedule, not so much scheduled posts. Yes, atoz will require scheduled posts, of course :)

  9. How precisely you have compiled these pointers! Considering you manage your personal blogs and others so effectively, I really consider these as gems of advice! Thanks for sharing the same. Personally I am still in the discovery phase, working by trial and error….inputs like these help me greatly!

    1. Thanks Kala :) I am still learning, to be very honest. I am glad if this does help you. Do let me know if this is of relevance to you once you’ve applied any of the tips.

  10. Great points for all bloggers, Shailaja !!! I also maintain a schdeule for my posts. I sincerely reply to all the comments. I also read most of the blogs I am following during Wednesdays. And in my blog, I am hosting Monthly Blogging Special – which helps the blog to get more readers.

    1. Yes you really should 😉

      The social media icons point is a very relevant one. I dislike looking all over the page to find something about the person. Hope mine are fine. Need to re-check.

  11. Posting on a consistent basis is a sticking point for me. While at work, I can adhere to a schedule; but for my blog, I wish to be more… free. It’s a double-edged sword, I know, but for now, I fear it’s the only way I can be enthusiastic about blogging and creating content. I guess that’s my trade-off. Still, I couldn’t agree with your points more.

    I also think–more importantly–people forget to check their own blogs for comments and they leave those enthusiastic responses languishing in the back end of their blogs. That’s not what blogging is about, so it’s nice to see a friendly reminder that the blog’s back end should be checked regularly in case there are comments.

    1. Oh I completely agree. What I find with regard to writing is that it should happen on instinct, so there’s this treasure trove of ideas always brimming over in my head. I used to put it all down right away and although that felt great, I struggled to keep up with comments or visits. Now I keep them in drafts and schedule them accordingly. It seems to help better with streamlining the whole blogging process.

      You mean the spam folder for comments? Yes I do check those periodically. It’s important to keep tabs on who has taken the pains to comment and reply accordingly.

  12. Leaving questions at the end is a great tip and I follow that a lot. And I agree about commenting – ‘good post/picture’ can work on a picture post but not always. Having a schedule is important and I also ensure that my blog’s Facebook page has information that updated regularly. I dislike when FB tells me, you haven’t posted in a while 😛
    A very relevant post Shailaja for all of us.
    Parul recently penned this post Gratitude List – February 2016My Profile

    1. Thanks Parul. The leaving questions at the end does not work for all posts so it’s best to weigh the situation and decide accordingly.

      Pleased you liked the post :)

  13. That’s a useful list for anyone who is passionate about blogging, like me :)
    I try to do most of the things..If given a choice I would like to focus completely on blogging but since that’s not possible I make the most of the time I have..In fact, I make it a point that I devote a lot of time to it.. Hopefully I’ll be able to do well in it…Thanks for this Shailaja

    1. He he you and me both. I swear I get such a high from blogging that nothing else does the trick. Well, almost nothing 😉 I think you do a good job, Naba :)

    1. I hear you. It’s why I separated the comment replies from the return visits to blogs. I do one immediately and take my time over the week to do the latter. Works much better now :)

  14. Congratulations! Your blog post was selected in our Tangy Tuesday Picks edition on March 08, 2016 at BlogAdda

  15. The pointers are all so sensible. It is one thing to KNOW them and quite another to follow them! I struggle all the time. Glad of this reminder. I need to bookmark and read it over and over again.

  16. Beautifully written and very informative and useful tips Shailaja. I’m guilty of doing many of the don’ts you mentioned above and would work on improving on that front. :-)

  17. Hi Shailaja…
    Absolutely loved your post. And since I am new to blogging, all your tips are so very valuable. I have hit the publish button in a hurry a time or two (my last post was just that!! You know the initial anxiety and all that 😐 ) and then my mistakes have made me cringe. Reading is something I love but haven’t been able to off late. Shall definitely try and make time. This post is going to help me tons. Thank You!!!

  18. Such wonderful tips and pointers. I love the way you are managing your blogs. Maintaining a schedule is something that I need to start doing right away! Thanks for sharing… very insightful post!

  19. Great points Shailaja ! Really helps for someone like me who is a tad lazy when it comes to commenting on others’ blogs . I am also guilty of rushing to publish a post.

    I like the clarity of your thoughts. Its simple but with every line, I say to myself ‘Bang on!’.

    Thanks for putting this together.

  20. Perfect! I am a believer in engagement, and for that reason I stopped using at
    auto shares on twitter. And Interacting with the readers is another crucial point. It must be real. too many automated tweets or retweets just puts me off. Also congrats on the BlogAdda Pick :)
    Jaibala Rao recently penned this post The New Age BullyMy Profile

  21. All of these points are spot on and are all in my daily blogging planner. And 90% of the time I DO manage to stick to it, which gives me a little boost because I know that I’m engaging with my readers and my fave and new-found blogs :) And I’m one of those bloggers that goes back to check on any replies! Seems a bit daft not to, after all most people do reply to initial comments (that’s on my planner too!) #SundayBlogShare
    Carol Cameleon recently penned this post My candles bargain (and chocolate!)My Profile

    1. So lovely to see you here, Carol :) I know you do a fab job with the engagement :) It’s always good to reply to comments of course. I do tend to feel overwhelmed with my routine at times but try to pick up the slack when I can :)

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