There’s nothing particularly innovative about creating a blog these days. A decade ago that was cutting edge, and the world’s preeminent tastemakers had thousands of followers on these appointment-viewing websites. In 2013 the average high school student often has thousands of followers, thanks to the massive emergence of the social networks. So what can you do to differentiate your blog from the millions of other sites competing for the same audience? The answer lies in interactivity, and the creation of a blog that promotes social engagement. Here are five ways to create a more social blog.
First of all, make sure you incorporate multimedia content in as many posts as possible. Remember, the goal of any blog is to share your ideas with readers, but if you don’t provide something compelling they will slowly but surely navigate elsewhere. Images, videos and animated content are more likely to spread, and be shared amongst people who aren’t necessarily even aware of your blog. Use all of the assets that most grab attention, and you’ll find far greater interaction will start to happen.
Whenever you write a post for your blog, include some sort of call to action to your readers right at the end. Sharing information is great, but you want to start developing feedback. Leave each blog post open-ended, or write in such a way that obvious questions come to mind. Ask for comments, and promise your readers you’ll respond to each one. As the commentary stretches beneath each blog post, casual visitors will begin to make your blog a regular destination.
Next, consider including a contact form on the website that doesn’t post in public. This may sound counterintuitive, as a focus on the social should mean everything becomes an open conversation. But a social blog also requires there is a way for visitors to reach the site moderator directly. They may have questions that are keeping them from interacting, or perhaps they have a grievance to air. If you don’t give them a safe, private place to do this they may end up spouting some serious anger on your site, or worse yet just leaving and never coming back.
Any social blog must also have embedded social network connectivity. You probably have your Facebook and Twitter pages active, but are they sending new fans and followers to your blog? Embed links at the end of each post that allow fans to share their favorite articles on their own site. And place a visual feed in one of your side panels, so visitors to the blog can see the active conversations happening on your social networks. The best option is an embedded feed that shows the latest posts and a running count of fans.
Finally, don’t be afraid to scrap your site and redesign it if these social needs aren’t being met. Sometimes a blog that’s several years old has simply run its course. If you’ve been using a template from http://www.make-a-web-site.com you may now need a bit more personalization. Or maybe those ‘click here for more info‘ links that you embedded throughout are broken, and you can’t figure out how to fix them. A visual refresh with more points of connection around the web can help your interaction immensely. This is especially true if your redesign makes the site show up better in searches. Proper SEO of your blog will automatically increase its effectiveness.