The Future of Mobile Browsing (Infographic)

We’ve spoken a lot here about responsive design and mobile optimization for your blog here on For Bloggers By Bloggers.

There’s a reason for this, though, and it’s not just that we’re all smartphone and tablet geeks (okay, maybe some truth in that). Look at trends and reports looking at the future of browsing, and it’s clear mobile is going to become ubiquitous very soon.

So, if you’re not ready for mobile browsing – whether responsive design or mobile optimized design – you’re going to miss out.

Don’t take our word for it, though – check out this handy infographic on responsive design from Dot Com Infoway and what platforms you should be considering.

Then keep checking back in on FBBB for the latest tips and updates on making your blog responsive or at least ready for the imminent mobile onslaught.


Why You Need a Responsive Blog Design Instead of a Mobile-Friendly One

When you read a blog, what’s your preferred method – desktop browser or mobile (say, smartphone or tablet)?

According to our analytics here at For Bloggers By Bloggers, our mobile browsing traffic accounts for around 3,500 visitors per month (or around 10% of our visitors), and they tend to stay on the site longer than desktop visitors.

So it makes sense for us to ensure these visitors are looked after. Because we run on WordPress, we’re automatically mobile-friendly (meaning visitors on mobile browsers will get a nice replication of our design on their phones).

We could also install a plugin like WPtouch Pro, to optimize the mobile experience even more. But I’m not a fan of either of these approaches – instead, I much prefer a responsive design for mobile visitors. Here’s why.

You Keep Important Information

If you visit a site that’s running a mobile plugin, you usually see this kind of display (taken from WPtouch Pro), or similar.

WPtouch Pro

As you can see, it gives you a nice, clean look and feel and breaks the blog posts down into easy-to-manage excerpts that you can click through to. Run the pro version of the plugin, and it also gives you more theme  designs to play with as well as an iPad-specific setting.

The problem is, if you have a lot of call-to-actions (CTA) on your blog, you lose them with a mobile plugin. Sidebar ads, for example, disappear. Subscription boxes also disappear.

Now, you can set up description options on the plugin, but this isn’t as seamless a flow as having a pop-up box reminder or dedicated after-post box to encourage your readers to click your CTA.
You Don’t Need to Hold, Click and Stretch

One thing I really hate about sites that are simply mobile-friendly is that I have to either double-tap, or hold the screen and stretch it, to read what I’m interested in.

Because a mobile-friendly site just replicates your web design but on a much smaller scale, there’s no way you’ll see all the information in the same way you would on a standard browser.

Take this screen grab of the BBC website – it does a good job of replication, but you just know that’s going to involve a lot of manipulation when you start to click on articles:

Mobile friendly

Now, this may not be an issue for some folks but, again, if you – the blogger – are using your blog to make money and sell ads, etc, you’re going to lose a lot of your CTA when readers zoom into your main content.

As your blog post zooms into view, your sidebar disappears off-screen, until you scroll over that direction. If, indeed, your reader can be bothered to do that.
Responsive Design is More Than Just a Mobile Browser Solution

While there’s no doubt in my mind that responsive design is the best solution for mobile browsers, it offers a bit more than that. Because responsive design adapts to any screen size, it’s also great for widescreen displays as well as smaller desktop or laptop screens.

The layout of a responsive design identifies your display and adapts accordingly. It also keeps your CTA’s, whether at the top of the screen or below the main content.

Responsive Themes by StudioPress

It’s a smooth transition from web browsing to mobile responsive browsing – and for me, that beats any other option hands down.

Also, for any blogger that cares about the community experience when on-site, responsive design also means your blog adapts around your reader, as opposed to them having to adapt to you – an immediate plus for you over other bloggers.

So, now you know why you’d want responsive, how do you make sure your blog is leaning this way?
Taking Your Blog Responsive

The good news is, there are a variety of ways to make your blog responsive, and they’re all suited to your needs – whether you want to buy a custom-made solution, or dabble with some coding and CSS work yourself.
The Custom Solution with Studiopress

I’m a huge fan of the Studiopress developer house. They’re the guys that build the Genesis framework, used on this site with the Focus child theme (affiliate links).

Because Studiopress knows the value of user experience and site-wide design, they have a roster of responsive themes ready to install on your WordPress blog immediately. They even have a handy theme chooser tool, to let you see the currently available responsive designs, and help you choose the right one for you.

I use the Studiopress designs on every blog I create now, and I also make sure I go with one of their responsive designs – and the feedback from readers and subscribers validate that choice.
The CSS Coding Solution

CSS is the script that site developers use to create everything from styling to specialized areas, call-outs and much more. CSS3 is the latest version, and that update introduced the concept of media queries.

This is essentially the piece of code that changed everything, and made responsive design a reality. By implementing media queries into your design, you can choose which query you prefer, based on the device you want to make your site more palatable for.

Studiopress founder Brian Gardner has a great piece on media queries over at his blog, along with links to some other useful resources, so it’s definitely the place to start of you’re thinking of coding responsive design into your site.

How about you – have you made the switch to responsive yet? What’s been your experience when visiting responsive sites versus mobile-friendly ones? Let’s talk below.

7 Words I Never Want To See In Your Blog Posts

girl shushing with STFU

When I was in high school, my junior year English teacher had a saying: “Words are power.” I’ll bet she said it at least 4 times a week. She would pull out example after example to prove her point even though no one in the class disagreed with her.

We all knew words were important and should be taken seriously, it’s why we were in AP Writing & Literature in the first place, but that didn’t stop her telling us about the Gettysburg Address and the Declaration of Independence and Mel Gibson’s speech from Braveheart.

Oh yes, words are power all right. It was drilled into my brain and resounds with me to this day. It still irks me when my wife or friends send me texts saying “your” when they mean “you’re” or “its” when they mean “it’s”. They aren’t huge deals in texts, but they’re HUGE deals in your writing.

The list that will follow this introduction are merely pet peeves of mine and you are free to disagree with me (although Ms. Davidson’s junior English class will tell you you’re wrong), but I truly believe words are power and the misuse of words not only is a misuse of power, it also makes you look like a doody-head.

Let’s do this.
7 Words or Phrases That Make Your Writing Appear Crappy

Your/You’re & Their/There/They’re – I’ve already mentioned this one in text context, but let me reiterate: Use the words you mean and use them correctly. If you are trying to tell us that “they are” going to do something, use the proper conjunction. For example:

Incorrect: See that blog over their, there writing is terrible and I never want to read it. I think I’ll burn they’re house to the ground.

Correct: Words are power and when used incorrectly, they’re going to make you sound like a cotton-headed ninnymuggins.

Let’s get this out of the way and move on:

There = A Place
Their = People’s Stuff
They’re = “They are”
Your = Your Stuff
You’re = “You are”

“Utilize” and other Ten Dollar Nonsenses – You aren’t getting paid by the syllable over here, Charles Dickens. No one thinks you’re any smarter than you actually are because you use a triple syllabic word where a monosyllabic will work just fine. I don’t want to feel like I’m reading the instructions for a 1980s VCR when I’m reading your post about the differences between Outbound and Inbound Marketing. Tell me what I need to know, in the best way possible, and move on. If you’re smart, I’ll catch on and think you’re smart. If you’re not, adding in words like “utilize” or “objurgate” isn’t going to convince me otherwise.

Irregardless – This isn’t a word. Stop using it. It makes you sound stupid.

Fewer vs. Less – A lot of you are probably getting this wrong and you don’t even realize it. These two words are NOT interchangeable. Fewer refers to things that are countable and have specific numerical values, such as money, buildings, human beings or boogers. Less refers to things that can’t be counted like happiness, stupidity or common sense. For example:
Frank Dickinson had fewer baked beans than Danny Brown, so he made less of a stink in the elevator.

Effect vs. Affect – One is a noun and one is a verb. They are extremely different. Learn the difference and use them accordingly. (Here’s a hint – Affect is the verb as in “His shitty writing affected his website’s traffic and his dreams of being a blogger-turned-TV-show-host”.)

Its vs. It’s – This one took me for a loop most of my life. Honestly, it’s only been the last year or two that I’ve really had a handle on it. Here’s the skinny: Its = possessive and refers to things that belong to its. It’s = “it is”

Putting Two Spaces After Periods – Argue with me all you want, but this is no longer necessary. If you want the long explanation, check out this article in Slate, but for our purposes, let’s just say it’s an antiquated rule based on type-faces available to printers at the time and has no bearing on our writing today. This habit took me a few weeks to break, but there is absolutely no reason why you should be putting two spaces after every period in your blog writing anymore. Stop it.

Okay, that’s my list. You may agree and you may disagree, but personally I don’t care. When I come across writing with any one of these mistakes repeated multiple times, I tend to take a good, long look at the author and assess the necessity of the blog in my Google Reader. And I know that “language is an evolving art” and blah, blah, blah, but some things are wrong and that’s just the way things are, so quit your belly-aching and stop using “your” when you mean “you’re”.

What are your biggest pet peeves when it comes to blogs and writing? (Note: the first person to leave the comment “My biggest pet peeve is when people write blog posts about grammar pet peeves. Just let me write and express myself however I want. HAHAHA, SEE WHAT I DID THERE, I’M FUNNY!” gets a snide look from me and a smart alec response.)

Now it’s your turn, add to the list and let’s air some dirty laundry.


Calls to Action in Your Blog Posts

I have lost count of the times when teaching a blogging seminar that one of the audiences tells me you are not allowed to sell in a blog post. Then they wonder loudly why their blog doesn’t generate leads. Another moan I hear is how no one shares their content. My response is, “Did you ask the reader to share?”
Did you ask the reader to do something or did you just sign your name and wander off?

An effective call to action is the key – it’s the start of a relationship, and to the ideal reader it is not “selling”. Although a good call to action can be used to sell from a blog post and it would not offend the reader if done with a certain Je ne sais quoi. You know your audience best and you can train them with your calls to action.

There are blog posts that are thinly veiled adverts from the company writing them, and there are business blogs that aim to educate the customer. We must remember an educated customer is a customer that will buy on value rather than price. That potential customer needs some guidance on what to do.

Your reader is looking for the call to action.

Trust me they are.

Your reader can be all fired up, all educated and they need to be guided on what to do next. It needs to be an unconscious thought, a natural “next step” after reading the post. Your call to action needs to speak loud and clear to your ideal reader. So how do we create and effective call to action on our blog?

We create urgency
Use a number
Indicate the specific action
Use images
Make the call to action clickable – people love to click!
Use colour and contrasts to make the call to action stand out
Position – pay attention to where the call to action is. It does not have to be in the post itself, it can be in the sidebar, in the header or in the caption under an image.
Then test, test, test, test until you have it perfected your call to action for your target market

So how does it work on For Bloggers, By Bloggers?

call to action on blogs

By adding some additional words to the Feedburner subscription box we also have the urgency part – Subscribe so you don’t miss a thing or Have us delivered directly to your inbox so you don’t miss out starts to create the urgency that encourages more people to click through and subscribe.

Depending on your blog’s settings you can have your call to action in multiple places but you will need to be consistent in your message.  Be gentle -If you offer multiple calls to action your reader could be overwhelmed and do nothing. If you have never used a call to action in your blog posts, start going through your archives and adding some.

Test which ones work. You know what posts are highly traffic’d, if they are converting for you, great. If they are not, tweak the call to action until it works.

What are the best calls to action that you have seen? Share them in the comments and let us know how they worked for you.


PS The call to action for this post? There are some terrific things coming your way from the contributors of this blog, subscribe now so you don’t miss out. You need to be the first to know, it’s going to make a significant impact to the way you blog. Top right of the sidebar, and subscribe by email.

We’re Leaving Feedburner and Why You Should Consider Moving Your Blog Too

For the last two years, we’ve used the Feedburner service on this blog for folks that are kind enough to subscribe.

It was the simplest and – at the time – most effective way for bloggers to offer subscription options. Then Google bought it, and it went downhill.

Subscriber numbers were all over the place; often whole subscriber services disappeared; and the support for issues turned into something pretty non-existent. Although, in fairness, that’s true of pretty much any Google product…

However, we – like many other bloggers using Feedburner – persevered, in the hope it’d finally work out. Then I read this recent blog post over at The Way of The Web, which suggested Google may be about to close Feedburner down. From that post:

But today two things have happened. The Google Adsense for Feeds Blog has announced it has closed;

‘After some consideration, we recognize that we’re just not generating enough content here to warrant your time, so we won’t be posting here any longer.’

Which is true, given the last prior post was in October, 2010.

But also the @Feedburner Twitter account is being closed from today as well. The Feedburner API was already deprecated and is due to close in October, 2012.

Now, while Google may keep Feedburner going, the signs aren’t good. So, time to move.

I’d looked at Feedblitz before as an alternative, but at the time it looked a little clunky as far as migrating feeds over. Let it be noted, however, that I am the world’s crappiest techy-type person, so that could have been down to me…

However, when I checked it out again earlier this week, it looked a lot smoother. Email subscription transfers for existing subscribers was pretty straightforward to do, and all new email subscribers should be going over to the new Feedblitz option.

RSS was even simpler – a straightforward feed redirect from Feedburner for the next 15 days, and then this blog should all be on the Feedblitz platform.

What I also like about Feedblitz are the social options – you can subscribe via a host of social networks too, so you’d get a Twitter mention once a post goes live, for example. There are also some pretty nifty analytics available, as well as newsletter options and more.

There is a cost involved, but that’s only for email subscriptions – if people subscribe to your blog by RSS feed, then that’s free for you to manage.

I don’t really do justice to the Feedblitz options here (especially the support from founder Phil Hollows) – so check them out for yourself and , if you’re currently on Feedburner, you might want to consider moving your own blog over.

5 Listening Tools You Can Use to Hear Your Blog’s Heartbeat

There is an old adage that goes “two ears and one mouth, use them in proportion” and that is the phrase that should be foremost in your mind when building community around your blog or business.

I always thought that community happens where you find a post or a product – it happens there and it stays there. I now know that blogging communities are a fluid thing and leading a blog-related community can be managed like a relay race; the baton passed to the next person to continue the race to the best of their ability. I will assume for the rest of this post you have a blog promotion strategy in place, as here we are going to talk the nitty gritty, the details of building a blogging community.
With these thoughts, let’s talk about building a community.

A blog’s community starts with listening. By listening you hear your advocates, your apostles, your second customers, your readers; the people who love your blog. These can be early adopters as well as paid evangelists. But to find them you need to listen.

Facebook and Twitter are the obvious starting points to listen, and using search tools you can find the advocates in your community. In finding your advocates you will also find the people who need support, those that are disappointed or needing extra guidance.

You can reach out to those people and then segment them into a Facebook list, Twitter list or G+ Circle.

5 listening tools you can use to hear your blog’s community

Google Alerts

Everyone has heard of them but have you actually set them up? Personal experience indicates these are highly ineffective whilst they are waiting to be activated.
Google Alerts as a listening tool image

Click the image to enlarge

Social Mention

A social search engine that searches blog posts, microblogs, forums and most forms of social media for your keywords or company name. Like Google Alerts you can receive updates via email. Social Mention is a power tool for brands monitoring customer satisfaction. A blogger can use this tool to find credible sources to link back in their post, and remember to comment in these places to drive back traffic to your own post, but only when relevant.
An image of social mention as a listening tool for communities

Click to enlarge the image

Where Social Mention actually searches can be seen by clicking the arrow in the search box, you can search blog specific sectors. Handy for locating places for backlinks?

Click the image to enlarge

Boardtracker is a tool that will enable you to track conversations about your brand,blog topics, similar products or companies that take place on discussion forums and message boards. This gives you real time engagement opportunities and can help keep your blog post high on the agenda to discuss. Again alerts are available along with advanced search and if you purchase the premium option; detailed analytics.


Blog Pulse

Blog Pulse is an in-depth listening tool for you to track your products and conversation about them via blogs. If you use  PR firms to submit information to bloggers then this is a terrific tool to keep track of those conversations. Of course you can also see what is popular with other bloggers and add your voice to the conversation.

Trend search
Featured trends
Conversation tracker
Beta testing blog profiles


If you build your blog’s community, they will not come.  They don’t give a toss.

Seriously, why do I care about what your blog can do for me? What’s in it for me? You want me to do something and act in a certain way, you need to show me what you would like and make it worth my while. I am a busy mum, I need more hours in the day. If you showed me a teleporter I will instantly grasp how I can save time. If you showed me something else, I will need showing the light. Showing not telling. Guiding not preaching.

Interact with the people discussing your topics of interest, if you talk to them be welcoming and not thrust a brochure in their face. Yes, just jumping into a conversation with a link to your blog post is the online equivalent of thrusting a brochure in the readers face. That method never generates you more leads, recommendations or links for your blog. In fact the traffic is very disappointing when you do that.

When managing a pub, I found community was extremely important: integral to growing my business. I went where my customers were, I listened and I acted upon their needs. They felt welcome. It works like that for your blog too.
There’s listening and then there is listening

Ask your blog community questions – this works perfctly in the pub and many other offline businesses. Whilst pouring a pint I’d say to Joe a regular of 20 years “Fancy doing a quiz night next week?” and I’d listen to his reply and then I would ask questions. The questions are important. If Joe says “quizzes worked well before” I’d ask “What worked well? Who devised them? What day did you have them on?” and Joe whilst sipping his pint would share with me what worked and what didn’t. It was a two way conversation that was extremely useful.

Henry Ford has a fab quote about listening to customers and potential customers in your community:

“If I had asked my customers what they wanted,” Ford said, “they would have said a faster horse.”

Blogging communities can focus on the now, and what their problems are right now rather than future problems that may not happen. As well as listening, you need to be understanding them, their needs and their time-scales. With the above listed tools, you can listen with both ears.
By listening, I learned. I learned what my readers liked, how my posts were doing, where they were being shared and more importantly how happy they were with the services that I provide.
Sharing comes after learning, and that means listening to their needs and not your own

Sharing with your blog’s community – what you may value your community may not and vice versa. If your community is on Twitter you may find that they talk to you there as they want a speedy response. If you cannot deliver what they want, when they want they may no longer be interested in you. Remember that when building your blogging community, the members can be transient. That doesn’t make them less valuable. It takes a lot for them to come back, so make it worth their while. Make it easy and be welcoming.

A community member who comments once a year is just as valuable as a member that comments every day. If a person doesn’t seem like a regular then step back and see a bigger time frame, you may be surprised at how many long term regulars you have. Welcome everyone equally.
Welcoming your commenters to your community

When in the pub it was easy, it was a hello, how are you. A greeting by name if I knew it, and an offer to get them their drink of choice. It makes them feel comfortable, recognised and welcome. Far more effective than “can I help you?”

If you greet someone use their name, make them feel welcome. A smile helps too, and a smile and a friendly manner can be depicted as easily online as it can offline. Friendly does not make you unprofessional, far from it.

There are multiple ways of communicating with the blog community you are building, as well as face to face at events like Blogworld, there is email, the telephone (remember that? 😉 ) as well as blog commenting, forum commenting, Twitter commenting. Not all the interactions are going to be highly visible ones.

For example, a lot of people read my blog posts by email. They have a question for me? They email me direct and I respond. That doesn’t mean there is less of a community, it means it’s not always visible. In your quest for social proof you may find you want a community that is involved and very visible. You have to make that interaction happen.
In any community there has to be recognition that the voices are heard

That’s engagement. Engagement may involve acknowledging comments and interaction. Failing to acknowledge will make people think their thoughts and opinions are worthless and slowly they will cease to share or become very vocal when they have a problem. When listening to conversations about technical issues be sensitive, do not assume that the person making the query is an idiot – that doesn’t make them feel valued. Engagement is in the conversation. In the conversation opportunities will arise for you to mention a post.

That’s a lot of steps so far, in fact it’s a journey and the blog promoting opportunities don’t appear straight away.

By taking time to listen, learn, share and engage your  blog community will grow along with your business which in turn will lead to more business. It’s important to lead and guide the way gently, a forced community is akin to a prison and builds rival factions which ultimately destabilises the community and the value that it brings.

Over to you – by comment, by email, by tweet – whichever way you prefer, I’m listening.

PS: I have not forgot measurement, I just feel that that isn’t part of the building aspect of a blog community, blog promotion more of the raw data crunching and metric analysis. Sometimes people get so wrapped in the measurement they forget to listen, to learn.

How to Install WordPress

What is WordPress? – a nice introduction to the platform and why it’s so popular.

How to Build a Blog for Beginners- a walk-thru of the basic blog set up process versus – a comparison of the two versions of WordPress and which one is right for you.
How to Install WordPress – how to use an FTP program if your host doesn’t offer one-click install.
The WordPress Dashboard – an overview of the main features of your Admin area.
Creating a New Post – how to create a new post and some of the tools available for that.
Edit an Existing Post – how to tidy up a post, make changes, correct errors, etc.
Categories and Tags – understanding the difference between these two important features of WordPress.
Creating and Editing Pages – how to make your blog or site more functional with specific pages.
Adding Images – how to sex up your content with the right image.
Embedding Video – a key tool for many bloggers, this shows you how to use video on your blog posts.
Media Library – understand what your media library is, how to compile an image archive and more.
Managing Comments – should you moderate, assign filters, and more in this video about a blog’s most active section.
Creating Links – how to drive more traffic to older posts with clever link strategies.
Changing the Theme – spruce up your look and feel with a new design. This will show you the free options as well as the premium ones.
Widgets – the lifeblood behind a blog’s functionality, turn yours into a powerhouse with the right widgets and where they should be placed.
Custom Menus – make your blog easy to navigate as well as functional with the right menu options.
Plugins – the beauty of WordPress is the sheer amount of customization you can do with plugins, from better SEO to ecommerce options, social sharing and much more.
Adding Users – how to create a multi-author blog, and set parameters for their use of the blog.
Tools – get up-to-speed with importing and exporting content and more with these handy WordPress tool tips.
Settings – make your life easier on your blog by only using the settings you need, versus those WordPress says you should use.

Nobody Cares About Your Damn Blog

One hundred and fifty-four million, four hundred and forty thousand blogs go completely and utterly unread.

Let me write that number out for you so you can really take it in:


That’s not even the number of blogs yours is actually competing with, those are just the ones that no one felt were worthy enough to even be read in the first place. If you had even one reader on your last post, you’re doing infinitely better than millions of others out there right this very minute.

So, with all that indifference running around for blogs, what makes you think anyone gives a damn about yours and how can you make sure that someone actually does?

A Journey of a Thousand Readers…

I might have scared you with the big numbers starting this post, but let me bring it back down a bit. You don’t need to worry about the millions of blogs out there not getting readers. You also don’t need to worry about the thousands out there getting more readers than you…..yet. What you need to worry about is finding your golden reader, that one person who, if they approve of your blog posts, that will make everything alright.

They say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Well, a journey of a thousand readers begins with a single one. Your job is to find that one, that one reader that will make all the difference and carry your blog and your message to others because they believe in it. The nest part of finding that reader is that you already know who they are.

I Am Tyler Durden

By now you’ve probably already figured out who that golden reader is. For those of you who haven’t (and the rest of you who haven’t seen Fight Club), the only reader who’s opinion you need to worry about is you. No one is going to give two craps about your blog until you start caring about it.

“But Joey, I do care about my blog. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be writing it.” That’s one of the biggest causation fallacies in our world today. Just because you’re doing something doesn’t mean you care enough about it to put your whole heart and passion into it.

There’s a huge risk about committing yourself totally to something like blogging. What if people don’t like it? What if it doesn’t get any readers? What if people leave nasty comments? What if people disagree with you? Those are all real fears and real questions I get asked when I do blog coaching and social media seminars. They’re all embodiments of fear and exist for the sole purpose of holding you back from truly loving blogging.

There are only 5 questions you need to honestly worry about and know the answers to if you’re going to succeed in blogging.

  1. Am I willing to put in the time to make this successful? Blogging takes time and it takes a lot of work. You need to understand up front that fact and truly know if you’re willing to be passionate about your topic 8 months from now when you “just don’t feel like writing today”. Marcus Sheridan, AKA The Sales Lion, wrote a great post about the uncomfortable road to success that explains the mindset and the turmoil perfectly. I’d suggest you read it.
  2. Am I comfortable putting all my passion into my blog? If a person was magically born with only half an ass, they’d be pretty easy to spot as they walk towards you on the street. In the same way, a half-assed blog is identifiable from miles away. When you’re blogging because you have to as opposed to because you love you, people can tell. Those blogs that have thousands and thousands of readers got that way by not only producing great content, but dedicating themselves and their passions to it as well.
  3. Do I have anything to say? This one should be self-explanatory. Also, if you look deep inside yourself and you can’t find a unique perspective on something you care about, blogging isn’t your biggest concern.
  4. Do I believe in what I’m going to say? This one relates to the two previous questions, but if your answer is a hard “yes” it will also solve the fears of what to do when people disagree with you. If you truly believe, down to your core, in what you’re writing, you won’t care if people disagree with you. That’s their right, just as it’s your right to try and sway them to your (correct) way of thinking.
  5. Would I read this blog? If you wouldn’t read it now, you won’t care about it in a year. I’m no soothsayer, I just know how passions work. You can’t force yourself to be passionate about something. You can educate yourself past the point of indifference on certain issues, but if you wouldn’t currently sit down and enjoy reading the blog you’re writing, stop writing it and find something you do care about and write about that.

If you noticed, all the important questions can and should be asked of your golden reader, the only person who’s opinions actually matter. Once you have your answers , you’ll be on your way to creating something epic that everyone will want to read. No one may care about your blog now, but they will because you’ve got on your side the only number that really matters:

10 Simple Ways to Get More Blog Comments

Much of the learning on your blog happens with the rich interactions in the comments section. And the more comments, the more readers and subscribers you get.

When it comes to blog comments—and user participation online in general— researcher Jakob Nielsen found something called the 90-9-1 rule.
On average, 90 percent of your blog’s readers will never comment on a blog post (he calls them “consumers”). 9 percent will comment from time to time (called “contributors”). And only 1 percent will regularly leave a thoughtful response that adds to the value of your post (the “creators”).

You could say that those are depressing statistics. Or you could decide that you are going to beat the law of averages by making your blog more comment-friendly.

Here are 10 ways to do that. How many are you using?
1. Make it easy to leave a comment.

If you make your readers copy letters and numbers they can’t read, you will lose some of them. And skip the register-to-comment thing. Because some readers won’t jump through that hoop.
2. Welcome opposing viewpoints.

Try writing an opinion or taking a controversial stand (if you can defend it). Readers on both sides of the issue will jump in and tell you what they think.
3. Ask.

If you want your readers to speak up, ask them a question or two at the end of your post. If you don’t,  they’ll think you just wanted to educate and inform them (which is fine, but it doesn’t encourage commenting).
4. Limit those outbound links.

I know you want to be helpful, but when you throw in 4 or 5 links to other great blog posts and articles, your reader gets confused. Do you want her to stay on your blog or leave? Consider limiting your links to one or two.
5. Respond to reader comments and invest in a good comment spam filter.

Your readers want to be recognized by something rather than that annoying, “Your comment is awaiting moderation” message. If you get a lot of spam, invest in a good filtering system. But don’t punish your readers for it.
6. Recognize that some readers don’t want to be the first one to leave a comment.

She doesn’t want to show up all by herself. She’s much more likely to chime in if other people are already talking. Nothing you can do about this one, except to know that those kinds of readers are out there.
7. Give your readers a reason to speak up.

Ask what they think, how they feel about an issue. Stir things up from time to time. If you can get them to think, they’ll be eager to leave a comment.
8. Lose the ‘trick’ headlines.

A sensational (read, deceitful) headline may pull readers into your post, but if you don’t deliver the promise your headline made, they won’t be sticking around. And they won’t be commenting.
9. Make everyone feel welcome.

If a reader doesn’t feel like she’s inside the circle, if certain people are always dominating the conversation in the comments, she won’t feel loved—and she will go away. Limit the back-and-forths with any one reader.
10. Touch readers’ emotions.

Your readers will speak up when you have made them feel something. In fact, you won’t be able to shut them up. Because you have touched a passion, a love, or an emotion.

How about you?

Have any of these worked for you?

Do you have others?

9 Ways to Attract Attention and Comments

Mack wrote 40 ways to get more blog comments on one of his recent blog posts. Although the headline said 40, Mack actually listed only 31 methods to get more comments. Mack, how could you trick us?! Jokes aside, I decided to write and search for 9 other methods to get more comments that some bloggers are actually using today.

I wanted to find 19 but it was tough to crack another 19 different methods which is totally different from what Mack wrote, so I came up with 9 and the last remaining number 10 is for YOU. Share your methods and we’ll have them featured in a future post with credits to you.

1) Reward Comments

Showing love for someone is one great way to get their attention as well as getting more comments.  This is one way that sprout social is currently using. Every Friday they have a column called “Fan Friday” where they list 4 different people and thank them for their comments. What a great way to flatter someone and show your appreciation and get them to come back and “compete” for another spot?

I actually did! I commented in another 3 blog posts after that and I made it into their Fan Friday on their second week. After posting the blog post, @sprout_insights tweets the post and mentions people who are listed in there too.


Fan Friday: Sorry, You’re Not The Center of the Universe

2) Top  X-amount of [niche]

Who are the top people in your niche? Who are the new people in your niche? Who are the upcoming people in your niche? People love to be mentioned because they feel appreciated. This is one method to get more attention from bloggers as well as getting more comments, as they would comment to thank you and share it with their friends.


Top 50 social media blogs
40 Bloggers to watch in 2011

3) Weekly roundups

I like weekly roundups, and I find that many bloggers are doing them these days as it allows them to showcase the best blog posts that they have read in the week. Sort of like a summary of great blog posts. It’s a good way to get attention from other bloggers too.


SuperPost Sunday – Weekly Roundup #19
Fetching Friday – Resources Mashup & Partners in Crime

4) Mention them on social networking sites

You’ve mentioned someone in your blog. One way to get them over to your post is to actually mention it on social networking sites just in case they have missed it. That is what I did at my Friday column at iStrategy. Every Friday we have a Q&A session with our followers and I answer their questions on a blog post. After posting, we’ll send out tweets to all of them mentioning that we’ve responded to their questions. We have a 75% rate of responds (well… 3 out of 4 is 75%… clears throat).


5) Send a personal thank you email

Recently I commented on one blog, and the user sent me a thank you email for leaving a comment. What a great way to show your appreciation to someone. Did I reply? I sure did.


6) Personal Follow Friday… on a blog post

A great way to showcase someone’s talent is to write about it on your blog. Gini Dietrich is doing it at her blog, where every Friday she personally recommends one person for her readers to follow. Two weeks ago, this blog was recommended by her. The entire team thanked her and we continued to comment on her blog later on.


#FollowFriday: For Bloggers, By Bloggers

7) Write thoughtful comments

There is a difference between commenting and writing a thoughtful comment, I have seen a lot of great comments that really stands out. One who is doing very well is @nittygrittyblog, who we can see puts a lot of effort and thoughts into a comment whenever she leaves a comment on a blog.

Example:From @nittygrittyblog

Hey Aaron,

Well your strategy certainly seems to be working for you my friend. I should really think about mimicking or “at least” trying a few of the things you do more often 🙂 .

In all honesty – I do quite a few of these things – just a bit differently at times maybe. I engage a heck of a lot – but they’re not always new people – although they are at times. I do a lot of thanking (at least more than 10 a day) – especially for RT’s and comments – whether to new folks or to ones I already know. Doesn’t matter – a thank you to anyone that’s done something nice for you is well worth it. But then again – you already know how I feel about that right 😉 ?

The one thing I don’t do – which I really should consider – is follow enough people. I’m one of the twitterers that wait for someone to follow her and then I decide if I’m going to follow them back or not. I should actually make more of an effort to search for like-minded individuals to follow, learn from and engage with on Twitter instead of simply waiting for them to get to me first.

This is some good tips to take into consideration. Thank you for sharing your ways Aaron. You’re a great example to follow.

Enjoy your weekend.

8) Be controversial

I realized that being controversial is a great thing – one of my recent articles I posted last month about ‘which social network will die first, Facebook or Twitter?’ had tons of people talking about it on Facebook and on Twitter. Of course no one could tell if both will ever “die”.


Which will die first? Facebook or twitter?

9) Stalk them everywhere

Stalk the people you want to leave a comment everywhere, on Facebook, Twitter, fan pages, Linkedin… everywhere. Scary…but it works.


@askaaronlee (true stalker… beware)

Hopefully I’ve given you enough examples, share with us what other methods that you’ve seen gain a lot of attention and comments. Share with us below. We would love to learn from you.