Engaging Readers: Tougher Than You Might Think

Daily Blogging for Over a Year

My blog is just over a year old, and during that time I have posted almost daily. My readership has grown at a nice rate. I started just before the 2017 Slice of Life Challenge hosted by TwoWritingTeachers. According to my WordPress insights, I had 949 views in March of 2017. It was my blog’s most viewed month since I started!  This year, unless things really pick up, I will not acquire that number of views. My blog has been viewed less than half that amount as of this morning – what I am considering half way through the month and half way through the challenge.  More than that, those commenting on my blog is way down this month. I am somewhat disappointed and confused by all this. I gave up posting my photo-only posts on Sunday and Wednesday to be sure I was writing for this writing challenge. Those were a very popular type of post for my blog.  I am second guessing my commitment to the challenge, in all honesty. While last year I got a lot of “warm and fuzzy” support, I have felt invisible for the most part for much of this month on the writing challenge. The support is has just not been there for my blog.

Terms of Engagement

Part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge is to read and comment on at least three other blogs that are participating and posting to the forum. Instructions included to be sure to post on those blogs that are new to the challenge.  I definitely have done the last, and tried daily to do the first of these requirements. Yet, I have found my readership to be flat this month.

This observation made me wonder how it is going for other writers that are participating in the challenge. So, last night when I went to read and comment on the other blogs, I began noticing how others were fairing.  I looked at five blogs and commented on four.  Two of the blogs I commented on had no other comments before mine. The other two blogs had 2-3 comments a piece. Certainly, not a lot of comments but at least the author was connecting with readers.  It was 8:30 last night when I looked at this.  Each of those blogs had been posted for 3-5 hours before I commented.  I was not impressed. Where are all the supportive comments? Maybe it is just the blogs I chose to look at or maybe the community of writers is not the same this year.

Engaging readers is a difficult task.  You have to write on subjects people can relate to and do it with accessible language.  You have to offer an entertaining piece and not have it be too long. Offering a piece of appropriate length, I find difficult.  Some of my blog posts are expository, not just reflective, and might be a paragraph or two or three or four longer than other posts who come from authors just struggling to get it done for the day.  And, I’ve been there – done that, too. This month has been extra-busy for me with my graduate work and other obligations such as speaking at a local conference.

Ways to Engage: Visuals and Links

One needs to make their blog visually appealing with the use photographs. I usually try to include at least one photograph per blog. Again, I am wondering about the wisdom behind my decision to not have my photo only posts.

WestMauiMtnsrainbow78

Providing links to similar content, references, or resources is also an important way to engage readers. If they think they might like something you mentioned, they will not have to hunt for it, if you provide a link.

Inspirations: Other Bloggers

Aim to inspire others and be inspired by others. There are a few bloggers to which I have  connected over the last year that I continually love to read and comment on their posts. One of these is the author of WahooLiteracyTeacher.

Another blog I have enjoyed reading is not from the Slice of Life Challenge but a blogger I connected with over the topics of distance education and anxiety, two topics on which we both have personal experience. This is the writer of AlysJournals. This young writer has found an audience.

Audience is something I believe I am still working on. My posts are varied from things that encompass parenting, travel, gifted education, educational reform, food, volunteerism, photography, and gardening. Perhaps, my blog is too broad. Perhaps, my readers do not know exactly what they’ll be getting when I write. Perhaps, it is just a lull. I will have to give this some thought.

 

In the meantime, I will finish the Slice of Life Challenge and be interested to know how my “numbers” will fare when they are stacked up at the end next to last year’s challenge.  I intend to play by their rules of engagement – after all they are only asking what blogging is about anyway – connecting with others.  I will wait on deciding to do next year’s challenge until next year. But, I will continue to write daily because I want to write and maybe, at this point, even need to write. A blogger wants to connect with readers. Ways readers can show they are connected or can relate to the blog or blogger is by viewing, liking, and comments on the blog itself.  I hope as I continue to do that for others, the same is done for me.

12 Thoughts

  1. It’s so frustrating to write a post and get no response.
    I got my most viewed posts when I participated in a WordPress University class, which they offer differently now, so there’s not the built-in audience of fellow “students.”
    Connecting with an audience is tough!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Peg, it really is…..I just do not feel the same support from the SOL community this year. Perhaps it is because I am not a “new” blogger. I am trying to return the support to others that I was offered last year but as far as future years go??????? Leaning towards not participating in this challenge in the future. The built in audience has been less than my regular audience and that is what I am trying to figure out.

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  2. I have lots of thoughts about your comments. First, I know what you’re experiencing because last year I had several posts w/ no comments. This year I’ve written several that have only one comment. If you were a first-time slicer last year, you had Welcome Wagon members visiting you; then this year they likely did not return. I noticed that after my first year in this challenge. I think this is my 4th year.
    Regarding “getting it done” posts: If someone doesn’t have time to compose a thoughtful post and posts what I call a “drive by,” as a reader I’m offended. I take time to read thoroughly and comment thoughtfully. I have decided not to comment on six-word posts this year, w/ the exception of a commenting challenge. I consider those posts lazy. I realize that might offend some, but I’m saying this anyway.
    In terms of commenting: I’m part of the Welcome Wagon this year and have seven newbies assigned to me. I comment on their posts every day and even sent one who skipped two days and email. Only one of those new bloggers reciprocates w/ comments on my blog. I will not join the Welcome Wagon next year. I emailed one of the TWT team members about my concerns. Also, I set a goal of commenting on at least ten blogs a day; I missed that goal two days but still commented on 8 and 9 those two days. Some days I comment on 15 blogs. Still, I receive few comments on my own blog.
    Once I offered a blogger a note on how to schedule posts. Do you think that person reciprocated w/ a comment? No. What’s most frustrating is when I post a comment and the blogger responds to my comment w/out commenting on my post.
    I try to find all who comment on my blog and reciprocate, but I’m not always successful because the blogger is on a different platform and/or doesn’t blog under his/her name. Then I fail at reciprocating.
    What all this means: When I put a post into the world, do I have a right to expect comments? I don’t know. Maybe not. I have to find reasons to write apart from this challenge.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! I agree with everything you said. Thank you for your time you are spending on the welcome wagon. I am sorry you do not see your blog as being reciprocated on in the same manner, or in other words, with thought and care to relate to what was written. I agree about the lazy posts. I am also trying not to comment on those because I see no point in it either. Fortunately, I have not had any form of writer’s block and have tried to write and post well thought out blogs. I also reached out to one of the blog organizers before the challenge started because I was experiencing some of these same things on the Tuesday Slice of Life Challenge that runs all year. I guess my point is the same as yours, I need to write for reasons other than this or other challenges. I guess I mistakenly thought that since I was a more established blog with a readership, it would continue to grow by participating in this challenge. Since that has not been the case, I will write and post more for a general audience and not worry so much about connecting to other SOL writers. I will do my best to make sure I comment on other blogs but think an ongoing conversation about posts, comments, and reciprocity is necessary. Thank you, again, for sharing your thoughts.

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  3. I found this post fascinating as well as the comments. I’ve been thinking about this issue a lot (and even wrote a blog post about it earlier in the month with how-to’s for getting more comments) as I have seen a lot of posts with 0 or 1 comment, which seems very different from previous years to me. I have not been able to figure out what’s making the difference. I do think that with 300+ people participating, the expectations for commenting need to be raised. Three comments a day just don’t go very far, especially when some posts may receive 15-20 comments.

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    1. Thank you for offering your thoughts and responding to my posts. I agree with your thinking, although I only have the one, past year, of experience. My own goal is to try to comment on those blogs not receiving many other comments. Perhaps, it would help if everyone considered this. Thanks, again!

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  4. Hello,

    I hear you. As a newbie blogger, I am looking for feedback and enjoy “mini conferences” with several kind mentors/ commentators.

    Sometimes, finding a commenting section on a blog is not easy. e.g., your comment section starts after relevant posts, previous posts etc. I had to swipe up & down several times to find where to comment for this post. Do you think it may be contributing to fewer comments?

    Many times I will read a blog but do not leave comment because others already has said what I want to say.

    I have made a policy of answering each of my comments as well as visiting each commentator’s blog. I ask in my blog posts if the commentators will prefer to leave their blog url. Like Glenda said, it is not always easy to find their blogs. So far, I am commenting on 11 blogs regularly as I have bookmarked them; these are the bloggers who visit my blog daily / routinely on different days. I also pick 3-10 other blogs a day (sometimes way more than that) to comment just to support other bloggers.

    Glenda,
    I think 6 words posts are brilliant. brief, succinct and includes backstory (OK , The one I had about Conference with MOM did not have one- My intention was to start a conversation).

    Best wishes.

    Purviben
    @TrivediZiemba
    http://trivediziemba.edublogs.org/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comments. I do appreciate them. I have had trouble on other blogs finding the place to comment. I will have to look into it for my own blog. I have not had someone tell me it was difficult to find the comment spot before. I apologize. Since my blog format has not changed since the I participated in the SOL Challenge for last year, I do not think that is a major reason for the decrease in comments. I do believe it is more what Glenda wrote in her response, in that my blog is not being visited by the welcome wagon members. It is hard to explain, just a different gestalt this year than last in the SOL challenge for me. I do try to visit the blogs of those that visit mine and I do comment back on anyone who is kind enough to leave a comment. I also try to lend support to other blogs, newer blogs, each day. I just think that with over 200 people participating, not to receive any comments at all is poor. I do have an audience, I just realized that it just might not be those who are participating in SOL, with the exception of a very few. Thanks, again.

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