Example

I’m going to share a little secret: the process I go through when writing a new blog post isn’t usually this: “Idea = Blog Post”

Instead, my equation looks a little more like this:

“Problem > Research > Solution > Blog Post > Feedback > Better Solution”

You see, I’m entirely sold on the concept that a blog shouldn’t be looked at a one-way information vortex. Instead, it should be more like a hurricane or tornado (or some other turbulent force of nature) that stirs up information and ideas from a group of people. In the same way most people read a recipe and adjust it based on the reviews, I believe most readers find blog comments as rich in information as the blog itself. So, now you’re asking: how do I get more comments on my blog?

I’ll share a few ideas I’ve learned over my blogging experience:

1. Interact with other blogs

Find blogs that are related to yours, and join the discussion on their articles. In addition to learning more about your field of interest, you can share your expertise and get to know like-minded readers. You can often find appropriate places to add a link to an article you have written on your blog, but only do so if it adds to the discussion and benefits the other readers. Keep at it, and over time, thoughtful blog interaction could increase comment-giving traffic to your own blog.

2. Submit guest articles to other industry blogs

Why would you put time into an article that someone else gets to run without paying you? Well, in essence, you are getting paid; provided that the blog provides your author bio at the bottom. In one fell swoop, you’re getting your name out to a wider audience, a link to your page that could help search engine rankings (especially if the blog has a higher page rank), and you’re establishing credibility by positioning yourself as an industry expert. Anyone can create a blog and publish articles on it; however, having a reputable blog publish your articles speaks volumes to readers.

3. Keep it casual

This isn’t English 101 anymore – you can speak in first person, use contractions, and have a sense of humor. If your blog comes off too textbook-y, readers may be uncomfortable commenting for fear of getting slapped by a ruler after neglecting MLA format. That isn’t to say you should neglect spelling and grammar, or be unprofessional. But your goal here is to engage in conversation, and conversations don’t sound like term papers. Think of it like talking to colleagues over coffee. Oh, and in case you didn’t notice back there: I started a sentence with “but.” Yes, I’m a rebel.

4. Keep stirring the pot

The directions mean it when they say “stir constantly over low heat.” If you stick your blog post on the burner and abandon it, you’ll end up getting burned in the end. People who took the time to comment on your blog should be recognized and responded to, especially when they have questions or criticisms. The rest of your audience is watching how you respond to these comments, and the impression you make could be the difference between repeat visitors (and commenters) and a dwindling audience.

5. Be diplomatic in your comment responses

A reality you must accept about blogging is that your ideas are out there, open for praise or attack. If you get a criticizing comment, you should always take the high road in your response: thank them for contributing their thoughts, apologize and clarify if they misunderstood (or misconstrued) something you said, and maybe even ask them how they would do things differently. If the comment is non-constructive, mean spirited, or downright wrong, resist the urge to puff your chest and tell that person off. Respectfully disagree, or politely comment that you would appreciate more constructive feedback. You can’t win a war of opinion against an ill-mannered person, so don’t lose your professional image over a nasty comment.

6. Ask for what you want

Would you like more responses? Ask for them. In the footer of every article, ask the reader if they enjoyed the article, and tell them to add their two cents in the comments section. It sounds unnecessary, but if marketing has taught me anything, it’s that people respond better to calls of action. Many non-bloggers may not realize how much time and resources goes into writing articles, and that comments are what make it worthwhile for many writers. If you’re still not getting responses, consider whether you’re asking the right (or any) questions.

Now it’s your turn:

Remember the equation: Problem > Research > Solution > Blog Post > Feedback > Better Solution? This is part where you help solve a problem many bloggers (including myself) have. What advice would you give to a blogger seeking more comments?

Mandy Barrington is the lead web designer and blog author at RYP Marketing, an online marketing company whose name describes their objective – to “Raise Your Profits.” Take a stroll by the RYP blog to read more of her ramblings. When she isn’t busting out articles or websites, she’s probably cooking sinfully delicious food or planning her next getaway.

Example

I recently made some big changes to the Bike198 site that not only made my life much easier…but the big changes also drastically increased my search engine traffic. There is something in this story — we’ll call it my big mistake — for all bloggers, so take this ride with me and see how you can use this story to improve your blog.

This story really starts back with the re-branding of Bike198.com. Back then…I had the idea that I wanted to have each of the separate cycling disciplines on their own sub-domain with individual WordPress installs. On paper, it looked like a great idea. I would have individual sites that could carry their own weight and have their own direct advertising campaigns while somewhat benefiting from each others back links. I even made it look cool by the colors switching between mountain, road, commuting and the base domain.

It was a dumb idea.

At least for me. I have always said on this blog that I learn as much from my mistakes…if not more…as my successes and I was learning a big lesson on this setup. What I basically did with that setup was create a HUGE headache for myself in several major areas.

  • Separate installs was like running 4 different blogs at once. A total pain in the ass and ultimately some of the categories/sub domains suffered.
  • You don’t really get the full benefit of back linking to the main domain. The other sites have to hold themselves up in a lot of ways.
  • This setup rendered the core domain Bike198.com literally useless as it had no relevant info. All it ended up being was basically a landing page with post lists.
  • When people linked to my website, 9 times out of 10 they said Bike198.com instead of the respective sub-domains. Who was really going to type mountain.bike198.com anyway?

That really only scratches the surface of the issues I was running into. Basically I created a setup that need a team to run…and I am just one guy with a blog.

So I had to go about fixing this as it was driving me crazy. My great idea on paper was driving me up the wall and hurting my business. So I started looking into a setup that would actually work for me while strengthening the site.

I made the decision…I was going to drop years worth of articles and photos on the main domain…Bike198.com. Mountain.Bike198.com, Road.Bike198.com and Urban.Bike198.com were going to get combined onto Bike198.com. Sounds like a big move and it was.

Luckily, WordPress makes this entire process stupid simple. Export from one into the other and click a simple check box stating you want the images to be downloaded too. It is actually so easy that you think you are doing something wrong. As far as moving the domains so Google and the other search engines wouldn’t get confused, I just hit up an article I wrote on moving domains and I was set.

So everything was on one site. Google and other search engines knew to take the change due to the 301 redirects and I was on my way to having an easier life with my main source of website income. Through the process, I even figured out that I could simulate the separate sites through WordPress 3.0.

  • Conditional menus with WordPress would handle navigation
  • OiOPublisher would actually handle the separate advertising by category for me (huge score for that plugin)
  • Each individual category RSS feed would be my different feeds for road, mountain and urban…so that was an easy switch

So the only thing I lost was my colors…and I can live with that. (Oddly enough, a coding genius friend of mine thinks he can still get that done with a couple of lines of Javascript…)

The Real Result: The next 72 hours…

A crazy thing happened in the next 72 hours. My traffic went through the roof…by a large percentage. It was actually so bad that I thought I had done something wrong. I was already ranking incredibly well for high competition keywords like “mountain bike reviews” so I am used to a surge of traffic especially during the warmer months. But I was not prepared for this…

As I started to research into what was “going wrong”, I found something really interesting. As Google was spidering my content and switching the url from the sub-domain to the main domain thanks to my 301 redirects, my rankings were increasing drastically within it’s rankings. I just started laughing to be honest. I thought it was a mistake and things would go back to normal soon.

It wasn’t a mistake…as things kept going…results kept getting higher and stabilized.

I was now ranking 1 and 2 for positions I was holding in the 4 to 5 territory. Long tail keywords (around 4 words) were always in the top 5. It was as if my site was given instant juice that was getting directly injected via IV into all of my pages.

The goal of this project was to make my life easier…and hopefully that change make my site perform better. If anything, I was expecting a slight drop off in traffic until Google caught up with the inbound links from the other sub-domains. That would have been completely normal…the increase is not when moving domains.

The big difference here is that I was performing actions that was making it like trying to run in lead boots. I had great content, it was getting linked to and I was otherwise making all of the right steps. Where I went wrong was trying to bite off too much at once…which ended up biting me in the ass by making my SEO efforts harder and my general site maintenance harder. Now…my site is getting full advantage of all of my hard work…and it is awesome.

So what should you take away from this?

I know you are probably thinking “Wow…that’s great. But I don’t have multiple sub-domains or the issues you were having…I am just trying to build traffic and subscribers.”

You are right. 99% of bloggers were not in my situation which you would think would make this post completely worthless to most bloggers. But like with most stories, there are things that you can take away that will help you in your blogging.

Getting Credit For All Inbound Links

Make sure you are putting your best foot forward by choosing www or non www in your domain and stick with it. While WordPress handles this by your settings…you need to make sure you are letting Google know exactly how you want to be indexed and linked to by putting a simple bit of code in your .htaccess file .

Redirect www to non-www:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.yourdomain.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://yourdomain.com/$1 [L,R=301]

Redirect non-www to www:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^yourdomain.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.yourdomain.com/$1 [L,R=301]

Think About Your Visitors…Not You

When you are designing your site and handling how your visitors will interact with your content, you absolutely have to think of your visitors first…what you think looks cool second.

If it doesn’t convert…it is not worth having. Drop all of the widgets that 70% readers aren’t going to interact with and make things easy to find. Beyond that it is about converting visitors into readers.

Do Not Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

As bloggers, we want to take on the world. Sometimes, this gets us away from what we are good at an in a world that we can not possibly manage. Try to avoid the shiny key syndrome (running after every new idea) and really plan your attack that will fit in your life. You can not possibly manage 10 blogs on your own and be good at it. Do what you do best…and manage your life at the same time.

Blogging is not rocket science…but we try to make it that way.

Blogging at its core is great content and marketing…not complicated site builds and big dreams. It is important to have goals and to see where you want to be in the future. It is detrimental to your success to not stay rooted in reality and plan your moves carefully.

You could be giving up a lot and making things harder on yourself like I did.

Example

Editors Note: This is a guest post from Lauren Bailey. I am a firm believer in diversifying the content on your blog to engage your readers on a deeper level. I think far too many times we see people that only write posts that generate revenue or none at all while focusing on only providing one type of article to their audience. Switch it up a little bit and provide some diversity! You will be surprised at the result.

As the saying goes, content is king. Successful blogging requires many things quality web design, strong marketing, clear niche but the most essential aspect is content.

If you want to be a professional blogger, you have to produce content that is well written, engaging, and unique. One of the most difficult aspects of blogging is creating content that is new and exciting enough to surprise our readers and encourage them to want more. It can be easy to lose inspiration and interest when you are writing the same way over and over again for your blog.

Work to diversify the types of articles and posts you publish on your blog. By diversifying your blog in this way, your readers will have several different ways to interact and engage with your blog. Publish articles within these four categories to help spruce up our blog and keep your readers interested.

Pillar Articles

Quality content is what brings readers to your blog in the first place (for the most part). Pillar articles are the posts that you write that make up the “meat” of your blog. Foundational posts like this allow you to thoroughly examine a topic that interests you and suits your blog area. Your readers can read these posts and come away with a solid understanding of the subject matter.

Oftentimes, these posts will be “how to” articles, tutorials, or other informational pieces. These posts help to position you as an expert within your niche area of blogging. With strong pillar articles, readers will come to your blog for the information they seek. Furthermore, quality pillar articles can generate a lot of traffic from search engine results.

 Guest Posts

Diversifying the voice used in your blog can help keep things new and fresh for your audience. Invite guest post bloggers to write for your blog. Readers will appreciate hearing varying viewpoints and opinions on the topics considered in your blog. Guest bloggers can help generate more traffic to your site by linking to their guest post for your blog on their own social media and website. This may attract readers you would not have otherwise reached. Of course, it is important to select the guest posts you publish wisely. Make sure that your guests write quality posts that fall within your blogs general niche.

Mixed Media

Using multimedia within your blog is a great way to change things up. A blog can get weighed down by too many text heavy posts. While text posts are popular for their search engine optimization potential, an occasional multimedia post can attract new readers and bring new life to a dull blog. Try doing a video blog or a podcast every now and again. This can be a great strategy for upping the traffic to your blog. Some visitors may not want to spend the time reading a post, but if they can watch or listen, they may stick around.

This guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey, who regularly writes for best online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: blauren99 [at] gmail.com.

 

Example

It is a struggle for everyone that is on the internet and has a video camera. What actually makes a video go viral? What brings your brand, blog, product in front of millions of YouTube visitors all looking to digest unique video content?

Real Life Examples of Viral Videos

As most of you know, I am obsessed with my Subaru WRX. I take pictures of it…take it apart on a weekly basis…and watch much of my income get dumped into it with upgrades. The sickness spreads beyond my car as I also pay attention to drivers out there that are behind the wheel of WRX’s and STi’s.

Ken Block is known throughout the car industry for producing viral videos that scream through YouTube like wildfire. His latest viral video shows off his new Fiesta RS WRC rally car with the “Monster Girls”. With 568,400+ views and counting…the video you see below is doing pretty well on YouTube.

(of course, when he made his Subaru STi video informercial…it is at 26,427,000 views and counting…maybe he should switch back to Subaru. See that video here.)

Ken is tapping into one of the oldest rules in viral videos…sex sells. In an attempt to one up Ken Block, fellow rally car driver and general nut case Travis Pastrana made is own version of “car and girls” video.

In this video…Pastrana says “car + girls = traffic”. And while Pastrana’s video is only at about 300 views when this article was published, I have a feeling it will eventually take off as more forums and Facebook pick it up.

What To Take From This And Viral Videos You Produce

Do you need to have dancing girls around your eBook or video review? No…absolutely not (but it might help).

Viral YouTube videos are a black art of sorts. You never really know what is going to take off and what sits in the graveyard never to be found. From my experience with YouTube as both a watcher and producer of content, there are several key things you need to keep in mind when producing your videos if you want them to go viral.

  1. They Must Be Entertaining – If you are going to put up some boring video and expect it to get a lot of views…you are going to be waiting awhile. People want to be entertained. Even with more boring subject matters and reviews, the entertainment value can still bring a lot of views to your video. I remember including me wrecking in one of my video reviews of a mountain bike and that video saw 10’s of thousands of views over the regular website views. It brought (and still brings) a lot of new visitors to my blog.
  2. Be Over The Top – This really goes with #1, but on video…everything looks flat. You really have to take facial expressions…wording…and tone to a new level for it to be caught on video. You will feel stupid during the execution, but it will come out better on video.
  3. It Has To Be Unique – Even with the videos above…there is nothing new about girls and cars…but there is a uniqueness to the editing and feel to the video that allows it to not be just another car video. Especially with the 25+ million views video from Ken Block, the uniqueness of his skill and the added effects (like drifting across light bulbs) add to the “wow factor” of the video.
  4. Keep It Short – When I used to work in video production, we were constantly looking for ways to keep people invested in the content while viewing. We found that shorter clips (around 6 minutes max) with multiple cuts through the clip (15 to 20 seconds) kept people’s attention. You do not have to have fancy editing techniques, simple cuts are fine but what you want to stay away from is your face infront of a camera for 6 minutes. People will get bored quickly and leave no matter what you are saying.
  5. Quality Wins – Take your time and do it right. Just slapping up subpar video quality with audio that people can hardly hear is not going to work. Also, use HD where ever possible.

At it’s heart…it really is a simple formula. It just takes time to execute it correctly. When you look back at the videos that you posted on YouTube, did they have these features that set you up for success? Or did you create a video that you wouldn’t even watch…