Tuesday, November 13, 2007

10 Things You Can Do to Get People to Comment on Your Blog

By Bob Sommers

For the blogging community, a comment is a badge of sorts. Every comment you receive represents one person that, regardless of whether they agree with your ideas or not, read your post and felt strongly enough to respond to them. Comments can make even the most jaded of bloggers feel fuzzy inside. So, how does a new blogger start turning those dozens of posts into a field of comments and discussion? It can seem hard at first, but there are a few steps you can take right away that will increase your readers' willingness to speak up.

Invite Comments
For whatever reason, if you ask your readers to leave a comment on your post, they will be immediately more willing to do so. This is just a natural response that the human brain tends to have. People are often in a hurry, or have multiple things on their mind. They might fully enjoy your post, but as soon as they are done, click to something else. If you ask them to comment, it serves as a subtle reminder that they should join in the conversation.

Open Ended Posts
Even if you are an expert on a topic, don't try to share every possible detail in one post. Be as open ended as possible and leave a few points for your readers to share. This takes a little bit of the humility mentioned below. If you can keep from throwing every fact you've ever read about a specific topic into one post, your readers will not have to think about something to say in response.

Ask Lots of Questions
The obvious way to get responses is to ask a question. If you ask your readers what they think about a topic, or for specific people to give their opinion on a lifestyle, you will get more responses. For example, if your blog is about TV shows and you ask a question such as "What shows did you enjoy in the past that are similar to The Simpsons", you will get many more comments than if you said "I enjoy old shows like All in the Family, because it is like The Simpsons". Engage your readers by addressing them directly.

Respond to Existing Comments
If someone comments, respond to it. Even if the comment is short and not particularly deep, a quick response can show that you are always paying attention and willing to engage in conversation with your readers. That commenter is now much more likely to comment again.

Setting Rules
Most blogging platforms such as Blogger do not have a built in set of rules for comments. The comments section is left open by default and you can make changes to it if you desire. Try creating a commenting policy and posting it on your page somewhere. This may seem like it would lower comments, but by describing what is allowed, readers with potential comments they might not have been willing to share initially are more likely to comment.

Show Some Humility
Don't try to know everything all the time. Be humble and show that you are aware of your own shortcomings, failings and holes in your knowledge. Don't be self-defacing, but be willing to say "I don't really know much about this, but I had a thought". The best part about blogging is that it gives readers and writers a chance to interact on an equal, real time level. If visitors want to read the opinions of those who feel they are always right, they could buy a book or pick up a newspaper.

It's a gamble, and you can go too far, but if you want to breed new comments on your page quickly, pick a controversial topic and make a statement. This does mean you need to become political or religious. You could simply say that you disliked a popular movie. Anytime a blogger disagrees with popular opinion, comments skyrocket. Just be prepared to stand up for your opinion and to do it gracefully.

Graciousness, Admit When You Are Wrong
If you make a mistake and someone writes a comment pointing out that mistake, try to accept their comment and admit your mistake. It is very easy to become defensive and angry on the Internet where you have no personal contact with your readers. However, by showing that you graciously accept someone else's comments and opinions, you show humility and increase the likeliness of return visitors and readers.

Don't Make it Hard to Comment
Blogger has an option that allows you to require a login for the posting of comments. This is too much work. If you require a login, many people will decide against commenting altogether, especially if they need to sign up for a new account to do so. Instead of requiring login information, you can set your comments for approval before they post. This allows you to sort out comments and delete spam if necessary.

Make It Worth Their While
If you offer a reward for a good comment, you not only encourage repeat comments, you encourage better comments. Mark especially good comments with a comment of your own, or reference them in a new post. This draws attention to your readers and shows you are reading what they say.

If you want to grow your readership and comments section, the best thing you can do is to be involved and pay attention to what your readers have to say. Do these things and you will start to see your comment spaces fill up in no time.

Article Source: http://www.articlehighlight.com

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The Difference Between Diaries, Journals & Blogs

By Javier Colayco

The words diary, journal and blog are terms often used interchangeably to mean the same thing. Most people associate a diary with a special book that is closed with a padlock to keep your thoughts and feelings private. Journals are recorded entries that are often not as private, although you may choose to keep it so. A blog is often used to publicly share your thoughts on specific topics. Blogs have become so popular that even companies are using them to update people on changes in their industry or in their company. However, each is different and unique in its own right and they can be put to different uses. You may even choose to use one, two or all three.

A diary is often the most personal of the three. They are often arranged by date and have space for you to write what has happened over the course of the day. Many diarists often think of their diaries as a special friend that they can confide to. For example, Anne Frank named her diary "Kitty." She begins her entries with "Dear Kitty" so it as though she is writing to a dear friend that she can tell all of her secrets to. The naming of a diary has a unique psychological effect as it gives the writer a feeling of someone listening to his or her inner secrets and feelings.

The word diary itself is for the Latin word diarium or "daily allowance." A diary tends to be more focused on daily thoughts and events, while a journal can be written sporadically. The "page a day" diary is popular amongst young girls and are often given as gifts. However, the diary goes back hundreds of years and one of the first most popular diaries belonged to Samuel Pepys. Pepys is known for making the diary more personal, while it had been more of a business notation in the past. Several books have been published from diaries as well. It is these diaries that have given us great insight and knowledge into history from all parts of the world.

A journal is a diary in a sense. It can be used to document life events like a diary, but it is not necessarily a daily activity. There are also several different types of journals that a person may keep. There are travel journals to document your various travels across your state, country or the world. There are workout journals that help to keep track of the type of workout you do and make comments on it.

Journals have also become popular in schools. Teachers often give students a writing prompt to get them started in their journal writing. Each week the students may write from the prompt and then share the journal with their teacher. These are excellent because they get children to think creatively and to learn to put their thoughts and feelings down on paper. This is an important step in teaching children to express themselves and communicate effectively through the written word.

A blog is another form of diary or journal, but it is one that is digital and on the Internet. These are often referred to as online diaries / journals or personal blogs. They may document your day-to-day experiences or even social commentary. Many people use personal blogs as a way to keep in touch with friends and family, as well as to share with them their thoughts and feelings on certain subjects. You may choose to keep your blog personal or to share it with the world. By sharing it with the public, you can open the blog up to personal comments from those who view and read the blog. This is unique to the blog and many personal opinions are common throughout the world of blogging, some are kind and others may be quite blunt.

One of the first online diaries or blogs was Claudio Pinhaneza's "Open Diary." This was the first web site that was published in a diary format on a web page. This site was published in 1996 by the MIT Media Lab. Since, there were several different online diaries that popped up and now the web is full of them. There have also been several websites open up since then to allow people to have their own online journals and diaries. They are especially popular with teenagers and college students.

The blog has also changed the world in terms of marketing. In 2006, Entrepreneur magazine listed it as one of the top marketing tools of the year that can get your website noticed. Website promotion is a common hurdle in marketing an online business and because blogs are easy to set-up and use, they have become a popular way of sharing information and news with the online community.

Article Source: http://www.articlehighlight.com

Javier Colayco is the founder of InboxJournal.com, a journaling site for keeping a private or public diary. Users can post entries directly in daily journal reminders, set reminders according to their schedule or post directly through the site.