Your blog is gaining traction: followers are trickling in and they’re commenting and hitting the like button on your posts. How do you respond?
All of a sudden, your growing blog is attracting likes, comments, and pingbacks, and the party is bubbling at your (blogging) house.
You think: People? Comments? Likes? Oh no, now what? How do I respond? I’m not much of a conversationalist.
There’s no need to wilt under social pressure. We’ve got some tips on how to keep the conversation real and flowing.
Let’s take things one step at a time.
Note: this piece focuses on how you might handle constructive responses to your posts. Got trolls? Here’s some great advice on how to deal with them.
Likes are a nice way to show support for another’s post. How might you respond to a like? A reciprocal visit shows you care. Clicking on a liker’s Gravatar takes you to their Gravatar profile, where you can find their site (if they list one). Visit that person’s blog and see what they have to say. You might just find something you like and if you do, recognize it with a like, follow, or comment. If you don’t find anything that moves you, that’s ok — it’s better to say / do nothing than to practice blind reciprocal liking, commenting, and following.
Comments are where a lot of the action can happen on your blog. Sometimes you’ll get thoughtful comments and sometimes perfunctory praise, such as, “awesome,” or, “great post.” In both instances, inquiring blogging minds want to know more — pose questions to suss out your readers’ deeper opinions on what you wrote or shared:
- The “tell me more.” You said you loved “x.” Say more about that. Why did you love it?
- Ask all about them. Have you had any similar experiences? Tell me about them.
- Ask them to put on your moccasins. What might you have done differently, if you were me?
Other general conversation starters:
- Ask them how they found you. What drew you to my blog?
- Ask about their origin story. How did you get into blogging?
- Ask about their favorite reads. Which other blogs do you love? Do you have any favorite posts you return to again and again? If so, which ones?
Pingbacks may be only a few words, such as “Loved your post,” or, since commenting etiquette dictates that comments over a few paragraphs should be written on the commenter’s blog, you might get well-considered pingbacks containing much more.
You may choose not to respond to shorter pingbacks, though a “thank you” to the pingbacker and even a probing question about why they loved your post could generate some deeper discussion.
Longer pingbacks are definitely worth responding to. If someone has taken the time to write up a few paragraphs in response to something you’ve written, it’s good form to visit the pingbacker’s blog and respond to any questions they may have posed and pose any questions of your own (such as the ones we suggest above) that arise after reading their response.
And now, over to you
What tips and suggestions do you have to offer for creating a warm atmosphere and lively, constructive discussion on your site?