Creating a More Valuable Blog for Your Readers
Most of us as bloggers and website owners devote so much of our focus on increasing the value of our visitors to us that we neglect to focus on our value to the readers. If we dedicate our efforts to creating more valuable and useful content for our readers, the natural progression is that readers will become more loyal and more valuable to us as well.
What Can You Do to Create a Blog that is More Valuable to Readers?
1. Provide Better Quality or More Unique Content.
Ok, this one is pretty obvious, but it’s definitely true. Readers appreciate those blogs that give them the best information and that provide the type of content that they don’t find everywhere else.
2. Make Yourself More Accessible.
Your readers will appreciate your willingness to answer their questions and provide additional feedback. You should have a contact page that’s easy to find so visitors can send you an email. Try to answer questions submitted by readers, and consider using a new blog post to answer a question that other readers may be interested in. Rather than just responding by email you provide all of your readers with your answer.
3. Take Reader Suggestions for Post Topics.
Most readers like to know that you consider their interests when you choose a topic to write about. You can tell readers that you’re looking for input on your future posts and ask them to email you, or you can run a poll to get reader feedback (get a free poll from PollDaddy).
4. Link to Your Readers.
Many of your readers have blogs of their own. Providing links to their posts will help them out and help you by building more loyal readers. A good example of this is David Culpepper from PureBlogging. David regularly links to posts from his readers who are most active with comments on PureBlogging, and as a result he has a very active community and lots of interaction on his posts.
5. Allow Guest Posts.
Posting articles from your readers is one of the biggest things you can do to make your blog more valuable for them. It will give them some great exposure, a chance to find new readers, and a quality inbound link. However, you should only post high quality articles, otherwise your reputation will suffer.
6. Get More Involved in the Comments of Your Blog Posts.
Many readers are looking for some type of feedback when they leave comments on your blog. Simply following up, answering a question or just thanking them for reading will show that you appreciate them as a reader. They’re much more likely to come back and post more comments if you’re interacting with them.
7. Leave Comments on the Blogs of Your Readers.
Most readers that leave comments on your blog will leave their URL. Try to make it a priority to click through to their site and read some of their posts. Leave comments and interact to let them know that you’ve visited. Getting traffic from comments is definitely a great way to make your blog (and more specifically, their participation on your blog) more valuable for them.
8. Create Networking Opportunities for Your Readers.
You can increase the value of your blog to your readers by helping them to connect with other bloggers that may result in beneficial relationships. You can accomplish this in a number of ways, one example would be to create a forum. Starting a community at a site like BUMPzee is another option, although this will take visitors away from your site. A more simple option is to simply write a post with an open invitation for readers to introduce themselves in the comments and leave a link to their own blog.
9. Display the Top Commenters.
If you’re a WordPress user, the Show Top Commentators Plugin is another way to add value to your readers. Those who actively participate and leave the most comments will show up with a link in your sidebar.
10. Consider Removing the “NoFollow” Tag on Comments.
This one is a bit controversial and different people have strong feelings on both sides. It is, however, one way of adding value to your readers, as they will get a link that will be followed by search engines when they leave comments. The DoFollow Plugin is available for WordPress users who want to remove NoFollow tags.
This list, of course, does not include everything you can do to create value for your readers. What methods do you use to help your readers?