Why Are You A Book Blogger?

Day 7 of the A-Z challenge.

G is for Goals

Answer me one question.

Why do you blog? 

It’s a simple question. But one that many new bloggers never think about. They’re too busy writing that first post and designing their site. 

And that’s a mistake. Because if you don’t know why you’re blogging, you’ll lack the focus needed for a successful book blog. 

You’ll end up writing anything that comes into your head. Random thoughts that may have nothing to do with your initial posts. Or you find you’re not writing very much at all. The result?  Your readership drops off, comments dry up and you lose every ounce of enthusiasm and motivation you once had.

That’s why so many blogs (maybe as high as 80%) fail. Some after only a few months, others go through a long and painful decline.

Clarity Of Purpose = Success

The book bloggers who stay the course are those who have a clear purpose. They know what they’re trying to achieve with their site. 

They have a goal.

Don’t panic. I don’t mean the kind of goal you’re probably used to in your professional life. The kind where you say “I’m going to achieve X by date Y”. Some of the mega bloggers probably do have the kind of goal, that says they will aim to get 100,000 visitors a month or X number of sign ups for their coaching courses.

I’m talking about something far simpler, but just as effective.

Book Blog Goals

Your goal could be to have fun while talking about all the books you love to read (BookishBeck) or to connect with people who share your reading interests. Or your intention might be to journal your progress through a reading project (just as Sheree does at KeepingUpWithThePenguins).

Some book bloggers want to build a profile to attract opportunities from event organisers. Others like Lisa at ANZ litlovers view their blog as a way to shine a light on literature from a specific country or authors from an under represented group.

An alternative approach is to adopt the approach used by Lori at EmeraldCityBookReview and say what goal you are not pursuing.

This is a forum for whatever I feel like writing about that relates to books in any way. I’m not in it for free review copies, ad revenue, or anything else except the challenge and fun of expressing my thoughts.

EmeraldCityBookReview

Changing Goals

Our reasons for blogging can evolve over time. That’s certainly been my own experience.

When I started Booker Talk eight years ago, my goal was to have a journal of my project to read all the Booker Prize winners. But I’ve since broadened my scope to include a focus on literature from my home country of Wales.

As Sue from https://whisperinggums.com/about/Whispering Gums explains, the reasons why you started a blog and why you continue to blog, may be different. I’ll let Sue explain for herself. She doesn’t like having her photo displayed in social platforms so we’re using a plant from her native Australia instead…..

Flowering Gum Blossom

Why do I blog? Well, there are two ways of looking at it.

The first is why I started blogging, which was primarily give discipline to my reading journal, to make me document my thoughts more coherently. However, I also hoped it would help me keep up with communications technology, which I see as essential to my life as I age.

The second is why I keep blogging. Again I have two reasons.

First, blogging enables me to engage with a wonderful worldwide community of readers who stimulate me intellectually and support me emotionally, just by dropping by and showing interest in what I write. The other reason relates to the prime focus of my reading, Australian literature. I keep blogging because I want to support and encourage interest in Australian literary culture, from its origins to now.

Pick Your Goal

If you don’t already have a goal, and don’t know how to decide what it should be, try this exercise. It’s called the elevator pitch exercise.

Imagine you are at ground floor in a lift, sharing the space with a work colleague. They’ve heard you have a book blog. As the doors close they turn to you and ask: Why are you blogging?. What’s all that about?

You have only the time it takes to reach your destination to give them a clear answer.

Don’t worry if it sounds ‘so-what’. You’re not aiming for a prize-winning piece of text. Nor are you committing yourself to those words for all eternity. You just need a simple, common-sense type statement.

Truly effective bloggers know that having a goal – imperfect as it might be now – is better than no goal at all.

Join The Discussion

Why did YOU decide to become a book blogger? What goals do you have for your site? Do leave a comment below to share your experience or to ask for help. This article is part of the Book Blogging A2Z series. Follow #A2Zbookblogging on Twitter.

Book Blogging

How To Grow Followers For Your Book Blog

Day 6 of the A-Z challenge.

F is for Followers

“How do I get other bloggers and readers to follow my site?” This is a question I get asked a lot. 

It’s a burning issue for new bloggers like Amanda Llwyd, a crime fiction blogger at The Butler Did It (a clever blog title). Amanda responded to my Twitter question about the biggest challenges facing book bloggers.

Even seasoned bloggers sometimes get frustrated when they see other bloggers leap ahead with follower numbers in the thousands. 

It’s understandable. You’ve spent hours carefully crafting that book review or a list of favourite books. But no-one seems to be listening. 

I’ve asked myself the question about how to increase my following many times over in the eight years I’ve been blogging. 

Today, I’m going to share with you some of the insights I’ve gathered about how to build a follower base. 

1. Go Beyond Content

The answer is that it takes effort. Becoming a successful blogger with a substantial number of followers can take years.

You do need to offer interesting, informative and entertaining material otherwise there is no reason for anyone to visit your site. The more popular the genre you write about, the bigger your potential readership will be

But content alone isn’t going to get you very far. 

Don’t make the mistake of thinking: “If I write it, then people will come and read it.” Potential readers won’t know you exist unless you tell them. You can’t rely on Google and other search engines to do the job for you – until you have developed a good readership, you won’t figure high enough up the search results pages to make any difference. 

2. Engage, Engage, Engage

Readers don’t find you. You need to find them.

To gain a following it’s essential to engage extensively in the blogging community. Actively seek out bloggers who are in the same niche area and build up a relationship with them. Commenting on their blogs will bring you to the attention of the blogger and to their readers.

Make sure your comment has substance – simply clicking “like” won’t have any impact; nor will comment like “nice review” or “interesting”. You want to show in your comment that you’ve actually read the content of the post. 

The more you comment, the more your visibility will grow. Over time you’ll find that the bloggers you are following, begin to follow you in return. 

How much time should you allocate to engagement?

I’ve seen recommendations from some blogging experts that you should spend as much as a third of your available blogging time on engagement. The remaining time is then split equally between content creation and promotion via your chosen social media channels. 

Christian Mikhail from The Art of Blogging, has a different recommendation. He suggests using the interval between blog posts to build your interaction levels. Let’s say you blog on alternate days. Christian’s advice would be to adopt this pattern:

Day 1 you create and publish new content

Day 2, you engage with other bloggers. not just a few people, but scores.

You repeat the sequence over again

This approach applies even if you are not publishing on alternate days. If you publish say every three days, you still use day 1 to create content but now you use days 2 and 3 to connect.

How do you find bloggers in your space?

Well you could do a Google search but you’re likely to get overwhelmed by the number of hits. Out of curiosity I did a search for “historical fiction book blogs” . Wading through all those 8,000 plus results would be an arduous task.

A search for “literary fiction book blogs” is slightly less daunting. But still represents a sizeable amount of effort.

An easier way to find like-minded bloggers would be to use the tools available in your blogging platform.

In WordPress for example the “Reader” screen gives you the ability to search for relevant blogs using “tags”. If you’re not sure what they are, think of them being like topics.  This tutorial will explain them in more detail.

In the navigation bar on the left (shown below) click on ‘tags’  and then add the name of a topic.

It could be a tag that you use on your own blog. So for example, if you focus on historical fiction, put that into the “add a tag” box and click “add”. Your main screen will now be filled with blog posts where the blogger has used that tag. 

It’s now a question of reviewing those suggested blogs and deciding which to follow. 

3. Be Easy To Follow

If you want people to follow you, you need to make it easy for them to do so.

Check that you have a “Follow” or “Follow by Email” widget clearly visible on your home page. These instructions will help you find and add the right widgets.

4. Promote, Promote, Promote

Your job as a blogger isn’t done when you hit the publish button. It’s only just the beginning. You then need to actively market that content you’ve sweated hours to create.

If you look at the most successful bloggers you’ll see they are people who are very, very busy “off blog”. They’re prolific Tweeters, Instagrammers and Facebookers, sharing their content throughout the day. They’re also interacting with other users of that channel. It’s all geared to building visibility and driving traffic back to their blog.

Does that mean you have to be visible on all social media channels?

Absolutely not. In fact it’s better to pick just one initially and really get to know how it works rather than scattering yourself across multiple channels. You can always add another channel once you’ve got to grips with the first one.

Which channel should you pick? The answer is – as so often – it depends. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest have different advantages and benefits but only you can decide which works best for your needs. It might just be a matter of personal preference. If you’re a creative person, Instagram and Pinterest could be more to your taste than say Twitter which is more word-oriented.

Whichever platform you choose and how much time you decide to allocate to engagement, just remember one thing:

There is no magic formula for blogging success. It takes dedicated effort to get the results you want. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Join The Discussion

Where do you turn when Hyou have a problem with your book blog? I’d love to build a list of resources so please share any websites, blogs or podcasts you’ve found helpful. You can simply leave a comment below or follow the discussion on Twitter using #A2Zbookblogging.

What Will Make Your Book Blog My Favourite?

Day 5 of the A-Z challenge.

E is for Expectations

I love hosting a book blog. It can certainly be challenging to find the time but it’s a joy to connect with other avid readers all around the world.

I also love reading other people’s blogs. 

Every week sees me visit easily a hundred plus blogs. Book blogs (obviously). Genealogy blogs. Blogs that explain some of the technical aspects of social media. Blogs about social history. And occasionally, when I’m in need of inspiration, recipe blogs. 

Since I discovered blogs (about 15 years ago I think) I’ve become a huge consumer.

It’s a world that’s changed significantly since the early days. But so have we readers. We’re more demanding. More savvy in searching out content to suit our interests and tastes. Quicker to form an opinion whether we like what we see. Less tolerant of sites that take a long time to load. 

I thought I’d share some of the elements of book blogs that I enjoy the most and some of my expectations.

There are three key elements that help determine whether I enjoy the experience of reading a book blog and whether I become a loyal follower.

3 Elements Of A Successful Book Blog: A Reader’s Perspective

book blogging

Relevant Content

Perhaps it’s stating the obvious but the content of the blog site has to be relevant to my interests. I want a good match between the blogger’s shares literary tastes and my own. Not an identical match, but good similarity. So if I detect that the blogger mostly reads Young Adult, Science Fiction or Fantasy, I know we’re not going to have a long term relationship.

My main interest in the site will be the book reviews: ideally those that introduce me to new authors or new titles by authors I have already experienced. I want the blogger’s reaction and enough information about the book’s plot, themes and style to help me decide if it’s one for me. I don’t like reading a blow by blow account of all the plot developments. Nor do I like just getting the publishers blurb and two lines of why the blogger enjoyed or didn’t enjoy reading it.  

I also enjoy discovering what other bloggers are reading (Is this me just being nosey or being afraid I’m missing out on something exciting? )

Next in priority would be interviews with authors I’ve heard about and reactions to shortlist/longlists for prizes I don’t follow personally. 

Of lesser interest are monthly round ups (especially if they are just a list of the books read and reviews posted) and book haul posts.  I do read them but if I’m short of time, these are the posts I will tend to skip. 

Usable Features

By usable I mean the whole experience of visiting the site is a positive one because it’s easy to use and easy on the eye.

I don’t want to spend a ton of time figuring out where to find the blogger’s “About” page or a way to search for topics of interest. A clear navigation bar is a ‘must have’ but sometimes it’s not in the common place at the top of the page and you have to scroll far down to find it.

Nor am I happy if I click on a link and the page to which I’m directed no longer exists or images take forever to load because they’re so big. I’m not alone it seems: I read recently that almost 40% of people leave a website if images take too long to load. That statistic has given me pause for thought – how quickly does my own site load? I need to find out otherwise I’m in danger of (justifiably) being accused of double standards.

Human Dimension

You can have all the great content in the world and faultless functionality, but it still doesn’t add to a great blog. There’s an absolutely critical element that makes the difference between being an OK blog and one that I want to return to time and time again.

When I visit a blog I want to feel there’s a real person behind all the words.

The blogs I value most are those where the blogger sounds as if they are talking directly to me, as if we were sat chatting in a coffee shop. So, although some blog experts argue we should write in the third person, my own preference is for blogs that use the first person. It takes confidence which doesn’t come easy to many of us, so I value it even more when I see it on other blogs.

I highly appreciate bloggers whose expertise and knowledge is evident but they never boast or puff about it, it just comes through naturally in how they write about books or authors.

Personality makes such a difference to my reading experience. I don’t look for bloggers to share personal information (though the antics of their pet can be fun to read about occasionally). But I do like them to share an opinion and – just as importantly – make readers like me feel our opinions are valuable.

It’s a tall order. I know because I’ve tried to do this on my blog. I don’t think I’ve been particularly successful but I haven’t given up trying.

So let me ask for your help.

What do you expect when you visit a book blog? What do you particularly enjoy and what do you dislike? What do you like/dislike most about Booker Talk? Is there anything you’d like to see more or less of in the future?

book blog

6 Degrees From Stasiland to Larkin

It’s time for Six Degrees of Separation hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. 

We start this month with Stasilandby Anna Funder, a book I’ve not heard of nor read but which I think I would enjoy. It’s a set of personal accounts about individuals who resisted the East German regime. Other accounts are from people who worked for its secret police, the Stasi.

From here I can make a very obvious link to a book I read last year: Stasi Child by David Young. It’s the first title in his crime series set in East Germany during the era of the Cold War. Young conveys the bleakness of life in East Germany where anyone can be “persuaded” into helping the Stasi by informing on their friends, neighbours and relatives.

Part of the plot of David Young’s novel involves the disappearance of children, a theme which links me to my next novel.

A Child In Time by Ian McEwan was one of the first books I read by this author. It was published in 1987 and concerns a couple whose three-year-old daughter was kidnapped. The book concerns itself with the aftermath of that event, from the point of view of the father, an author of children’s books. It also focuses on the idea of time as being relative, fluid and unstructured. For that reason it is sometimes considered to be a time travelling story.

The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Remember the fuss about this novel when it was published in 2003? It was one of those books that “everyone” seemed to be reading. It wasn’t one I enjoyed. I just couldn’t buy into the premise about time travel.

It’s a love story about a man with a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel unpredictably, and about his wife who has to cope with his frequent absences and dangerous experiences. Henry DeTamble mostly travels to places related to his own history, places with which he is familiar like the library where he works.

For my next link I’m continuing on the theme of libraries.

The Librarian by Salley Vickers was not a great hit with me. It was chosen for the book club to which I belong. It concerns a new children’s librarian who arrives in a small town, determined to improve the lives of local children by giving them the right books. Then she begins an affair with a married doctor, much to the outrage of the town’s inhabitants (the book is set in the 1950s so reflects the moral indignation of the times)

But this book failed to live up to the promise of its blurb. I gave up around page 80 because I couldn’t take any more of the trite nature of the narrative.

Much more enjoyable was another novel set in the 1950s about a librarian who has just been appointed to a new post.

Larkinland by Jonathan Tulloch

Book number five in my chain is set in the city of Hull, a place of Teddy Boys, trolley buses, travelling salesmen, fish and chips and spartan rented rooms. Into this bleak, mundane world steps Arthur Merryweather, newly recruited as head librarian at the city’s university.

Part mystery, part love story, Larkinland is a novel loosely based on a period in the life of the poet Philip Larkin. Larkin moved to Hull in 1955 as Librarian at the University of Hull (a post he held until his death). He disliked the place intensely, describing it as “a dump” whose sole redeeming feature was that it was flat, so making it good for cycling.

I can’t leave this chain without turning to the words of the poet himself.

High Windows was Philip Larkin’s final full poetry collection. Published in 1974 it contains two of his most famous poems: The Whitsun Weddings and An Arundel Tomb. As a special treat, click here to experience Larkin reading the latter poem.

Larkin’s poems provide solace for the soul, particularly in these times of turbulence and uncertainty. So I shall end on his most often quoted (often misunderstood) line.

What will survive of us is love.

This month’s chain has taken us from the inhumanity of life in East Germany, to a poem that for many people speaks of hope. It’s always surprising where these 6 Degrees chains take us.

Can You Make Your Book Blog Distinctive?

Book Blogs

Day 2 of the A-Z challenge.

D is for distinctiveness

There are a lot of blogs. WordPress, the world’s most popular blog hosting service, saw its users publish more than 70 million posts each month last year. That’s roughly 2 million a day.

If that doesn’t statistic doesn’t knock your socks off, maybe this one will.

More than 600 new WordPress sites get built every day.

Which presents a challenge for every one of us. Every time we push that “publish” button, our words are launched into a vast universe of cyberspace. How do we get our blog to stand out from the millions of others clamouring for reader attention?

There is a knack to this apparently. According to the advice I’ve read you should:

  • Select a blog topic that hasn’t already been written about a zillion times. OR write about a popular topic but from an unusual angle
  • Have a professionally looking and clear design.
  • Make great use of images and graphics.
  • Write blog titles that zing.

If only it were that simple. But some of these tips I think are quite hard to put into practice on a book blog.

Find Your Niche

I understand the point that readers get jaded by reading the same thing over and over. I feel that way myself when I see the 20th review of a newly released book pop up in my feedreader. It does make a refreshing change to see reviews of less well known authors or less well-known books from popular authors.

But if they are less well known, they might not attract much interest. I’ve seen that happen myself when I’ve reviewed some authors from Wales.

So to follow the experts’ advice I’d need to find a topic that’s not too popular but not too niche either. That’s too much effort for me. I think I’ll just carry on with what I’m doing.

Clear Design

This is far more doable. All of the blog hosting companies like WordPress and Blogger offer an extensive number of design themes as part of their free service. They’re all you really need to make your site look professional but if you have the time, energy and inclination you can go further.

If you pay for a package If you want more choice, you can opt to pay for a package.

You can then customise the theme further to make it even more distinctive. Just bear in mind a few key principles of good blog design. For example:

  • Use plenty of white space. Don’t be tempted to clutter the page with too many elements.
  • Choose colour themes carefully. Text which uses bright colours like orange or yellow are very hard to read against a white page background.
  • Try to avoid white text on a dark or black background. This can strain the user’s eyes after a time

Good web design of course is about more than just making the site look pretty. It also has to work functionally.

Readers need to be able to easily find the content they want so make your key pages and information highly visible. Put items like “About”, “Contact” in your top menu bar and use your side bar on the home page to explain how to subscribe and how to find you on various social media platforms.

Everything that readers are likely to want, should be available within 2 or 3 clicks at most. There is nothing more frustrating than visiting a blog, searching for information and ending up drilling down page after page to find what you want.

Images And Graphics.

Did you know that blog posts with images get twice as many shares as those that don’t? At the same time as making your blog look visually appealing high quality images also increase engagement.

Visual elements in your posts add a new dimension to what is largely a text based medium and they appeal to those readers who are more visually oriented.

This was something I paid scant attention to when I started BookerTalk.

I just wrote a review, added an image of the book cover and hit publish. Looking at those early posts now I’m struck by how dull the pages appear. The photographs are too small to make any visual impact and they’re surrounded by a sea of text.

Instagram of course has taken this issue of book images into a whole new arena. Though I’m impressed by how much effort a lot of bookstagrammers put into creating unusual and eye-catching images, I know this just isn’t for me. I don’t have enough of a creative to come up with the ideas nor the willingness to invest the time required to look for props etc.

Similarly, as much as I admire the original artwork used on the orangutanlibrarian blogsite, or the cosy book/tea combination HeavenAli often features my own drawing and photography skills are not up to the task.

That doesn’t mean I’m giving up entirely. I’m experimenting with some simpler options for images to accompany book reviews and also trying my hand at creating simple graphics using Canva.com

This is one of my efforts. I think you’ll agree it won’t win any design awards!

Book blog

Blog Titles That Zing

Use killer headlines to lure readers in. Face it. Without a strong headline, your posts’ chances of getting read are greatly diminished.It’s worth your effort to spend time crafting the best headlines you can.

http://www.heidicohen.com

Heidi’s advice is echoed by most social media experts. Killer headlines are make you distinctive. They grab the reader’s attention and draw them by asking a question, promising quick ways to solve a problem or making unusual connections. Killer headlines often convey an emotion.

All well and good, but you try writing one. It’s somewhat easy to do for discussion type topics but much harder with a next book review. I know it’s hard because I’ve tried!

Over the past year I’ve been playing around with my post titles. Yes I can come up with something that shows emotion or contains buzz words. But finding a great post title that also includes the author/book is really, relly tough. It ends up being very long. And that’s a problem for search engines like Google and for any of your subscribers who follow you on a mobile device (they don’t see the full title on their screen).

I’m still wrestling with this one. Stay tuned for more on this topic by the way – it is such a big topic that I’m going to dedicate a future post just to blog titles.

Join The Discussion

Where do you turn when Hyou have a problem with your book blog? I’d love to build a list of resources so please share any websites, blogs or podcasts you’ve found helpful. You can simply leave a comment below or follow the discussion on Twitter using #A2Zbookblogging.

book blog

How To Get More Comments On Your Book Blog

Day 3 of the
#A-Z challenge.

C is for comments

It’s enough to make you want to ditch your book blog.

You’ve sweated hours over that post. It’s on a topic you felt sure would attract attention. You put your heart and soul into the writing. Found some eye-catching graphics. And did everything the experts tell you to do about formatting and linking.

It’s now out in the world but instead of generating loads of comments, it’s met with almost silence.

Frustrating isn’t it? Especially when you see other book bloggers getting scores of comments on their blogs.

It’s dispiriting when this happens once. But when your posts disappear into a black hole time and time again you begin to doubt yourself. If other bloggers can get comments, why can’t you? What are you doing wrong?

If this describes you, you’re certainly not alone.

The question of course is what can you do to get readers to pay more attention and leave you a comment.

I’ll do my best to answer with the help of the blogging experts I’ve mentioned previously.

4 Ways To Get More Comments

A lot of those experts tell you that to get a reaction to your content your writing needs to show passion. According to Christian Mikhail from The Art of Blogging, it’s all about getting your readers to feel something when they read your article.

Imagine your readers. Imagine that they’re stressed from their jobs, probably hangry (hungry+angry) and tired. Your job is to get them to wake up, pay attention to your post, read all of it, and then care enough so they can comment.

I got the point that if people are inspired by your content, or they strongly oppose your point of view, they are more likely to react. But it’s not that easy to accomplish in a book review. There are only so many ways you can sing the praises of a book. Doing the opposite and going negative on a book sits uncomfortably with most of us.

So while I understand the advice, I probably won’t over exert myself to put it into practice. I’d rather adopt these four much easier, but still effective approaches.

1. Publish Less Frequently

I can see your eyes rolling at that piece of advice!.

It seems counter-intuitive doesn’t it? It certainly sounded so to me when I first heard about it from Christian Mihail.

Christian works on the principle that you shouldn’t publish a new post until your current one has attracted a few comments. His reasoning is that your followers and readers will always look at the newest post first. That may in fact be the only one they have time to read. Which means the previous post is history in their eyes. They probably won’t look at it, and hence you won’t get any comments.

Jon Morrow from SmartBlogger has the same recommendation:

The more often you publish, the less comments your posts will receive (on average). For one, the number of new comments a post receives drops dramatically when it’s pushed off the front page, but also, readers tend to get overwhelmed when you’re publishing a lot of content. By publishing less often, say once a week, you can actually increase your engagement, and therefore, your comments.

2. Re-promote Older Posts

If you’ve been book blogging for several years, many of your new followers will never have seen your older posts.

You’ve invested time and effort to create them so why not extend their life by re-promoting them?

There are three ways you can do this.

  1. Try linking to one of those older posts each day on whichever social media channel you use. Or use events in the calendar to push out a new promotion: for example, marking an author’s birthday to promote your reviews of their books or celebrating key dates in different countries by highlighting those local authors you’ve read.
  2. You can also re-publish older posts. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do this. We’ll tackle the details in a future episode of A2Zbookblogging.
  3. Finally, remember to enable “Related Posts” to show up at the end of each of your posts. These act as a nudge to readers that you have other similar, and equally interesting content on your site. 

3. Ask A Question

Readers can be shy creatures. They often don’t like being the first to comment on a post. So they hold back from commenting especially when they are not confident about expressing an opinion. So make it easy for them.

Ask them a direct question at the end of your post.

It needs to be something simple – you don’t want to make them feel you’re testing their knowledge! But don’t make it too generic either.

I’ve seen far too many blog posts that end with a bland question like: “What did I miss? Leave your response in the comments.” Or at the end of an opinion piece the blogger just says: “What do you think?” or “How about you?”

It’s too broad a question and invariably won’t provoke much of a response. If a reader isn’t that invested in the topic, they’ll have to think hard about what to say in response. Many simply won’t bother.

Instead, ask them a more specific question. For example. at the end of an article about your favourite fantasy authors you could ask “Who is your favourite fantasy author?” Or if you’re writing a review you could ask for a recommendation of other books by that author.

I’ve done this periodically and it really does work!

4. Respond To Comments

Want to know one of my pet peeves about blogs in general?

It’s that too many of the bloggers never respond to comments left by their readers.

I appreciate it takes time to reply to comments. And if you have a very popular site with scores of comments on every post, it could take you hours to reply to everyone.

But If I’ve taken the time to read their content, and to type a response, the very least they can do is to acknowledge my contribution. A considered response would be favourite but even a simple “thank you” would be welcome. Anything better than silence. Because silence means they just don’t care about my thoughts. And if they don’t care about me, why should I care about them?

book blogging

I’ll give any blogger the benefit of the doubt initially. They may be ill, or on holiday without online access or have family issues. I certainly don’t expect them to be sitting at their computer or mobile phone just waiting for me to comment. But if the silence happens repeatedly, then I walk away. There are plenty of other fish in the blogging sea.

It’s isn’t just good manners to respond to comments left on your site. It’s a critical part of building engagement.

If you want more comments you have to show that you care about your readers. The people who comment on your blog are waving at you, telling you they’re interested in becoming a friend. Are you really willing to ignore them after all your efforts to get them to your door?

It also sends a poor signal to everyone else who visits your blog if they see comments go unanswered. But  if you do reply to people, then it encourages them and others to comment more in the future.

Makes sense, right?

Join The Discussion

Where do you turn when Hyou have a problem with your book blog? I’d love to build a list of resources so please share any websites, blogs or podcasts you’ve found helpful. You can simply leave a comment below or follow the discussion on Twitter using #A2Zbookblogging.

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