Hey, SE Readers. Joan with you today. In my last post, I wrote about essentials for your author website. Today, let’s talk about engaging with your readers.
We work hard to build our blog readership, which we hope will lead to people purchasing our books. There are no hard and fast rules, and you’re probably doing most of these things already. However, I hope you’ll find these few tips beneficial.
- Always respond to readers. If someone takes their valuable time to comment, recognize them. It doesn’t have to be a long response. Depending on the comment, it could be as simple as saying, “Thank you for visiting today.” Nothing is more discouraging for a reader than to have their words go unnoticed. It also sends a message that you don’t have time for them.
- If a reader asks a question, provide them with an answer. If you don’t know, tell them. Several months ago, someone asked me a question on Story Empire that I didn’t have an immediate answer for. I explained that I needed to do more research. Because of this question, I ended up with a new blog post and learned something new in the process.
- Don’t argue with readers. Attempting to make readers see things your way can lead to someone unfollowing your blog. People have opinions that are sometimes contrary to our own. It’s not our job to change their minds. Thank the person for leaving their comment and move on.
- The last point brings to mind another something else. No politics! Again, we all have our opinions and you aren’t likely to change someone’s mind. Arguing politics (or religion) is a big turnoff for many people. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve snoozed on Facebook because they bombard the news feed with their political opinions. Doesn’t matter which side of the fence they’re on or if I agree with them. Too much is enough and a little is often too much.
- Offer original content. Most people follow your blog because they want to engage with you. Keep the reblogs to a minimum.
- I said this in a post several months ago, but it’s worth saying again. Don’t make it difficult for someone to leave a comment. If you feel you must moderate comments, WordPress has an option to moderate for new visitors only. You can also set spam filters to catch when someone includes links in their comment. Spammers often use links. If a legitimate comment ends up in spam, you can easily approve it. Captcha codes? Forget it. They’re annoying and time-consuming. Checkboxes that state, “I’m not a robot” aren’t too bad, but if I see one of those combination letters and numbers things with a squiggly line, I’m out of there. They’re often hard to read, especially if someone has visual problems.
- Strive, at a minimum, to post new content at least once a week. Twice is better. Three times even more, and so on. (Hiding my head in shame here, because of late I’ve done good to post once a week on my personal blog.) But you get the idea. If you need to take a break (and we all do) post something telling readers when you intend to return. Some blog every day and if that works for you, great. Keep in mind that many like to take weekends off.
That wraps up today’s post. What other suggestions would you have for engaging with readers? Tell us in the comments. (We don’t use Captcha codes.) 😊