A successful blog is built on a series of vital elements, two of which are closely related: (1) a community of readers and commenters, and (2) user-generated content (UGC). The two are intertwined; an active community will foster more user-generated content, and more UGC will encourage new readers to join the community. So how do you go about developing a community? How do you set up the conditions that will foster a community for healthy debate and great content? Let’s take a look at a few great – and closely related – tips for building a community.
Promote Reader Engagement
You want to encourage your readers to engage with your blog, and with each other. The first step toward this is maintaining an active comment section. Post your comment policy openly, so that your site and blog visitors know the comment section is open, and that it is moderated.
A moderated comment section is no drawback; rather, it is an advantage. Moderating the comments allows you to truly host the conversation, keeping out spam, bots, and trolls while answering genuine commenters and keeping your own eyes open to what your readers are saying. This will make the comment section more conducive to civil discussion and debate.
A last point on promoting reader engagement: make sure that you allow replies and rich media in the comment threads. The plain text allows single statements to start a conversation, while rich media is attractive to readers who may want to leave their thoughts with images, audio, or video rather than plain text.
Talk About Great Topics
The next area in which you can influence the quality of your online community is your content. Make sure that you post content that interests your site audience. Remember, your audience comes to you for a reason, and they’ll come back if you give them what they want. Great content isn’t just great writing, it’s also relevant and useful. The best content will include a hook to which your readers simply MUST respond.
You don’t have to work on content alone, however. User-generated content – UGC – is built on contributions from your audience and is a wonderful way to maintain a steady supply of fresh and relevant content on your website. A large part of UGC is derived from the comment section, so everything you do to enhance your comment participation is a boon to your website.
Start a Conversation
Finally, make sure that your comments are two-way. You don’t want readers to just leave a thought and go, you want them to engage with your site. Always reply to your readers’ comments, even if it’s just to say ‘thanks for posting.’ When you reply, you let them know that you are listening and that you care what they have to say. And when a reader asks a question, always answer it fully, even if another reader has already responded to the comment.
As the host on your website, it’s up to you make sure that your comment section is active and vibrant. It is work, but it will pay dividends. As your readers see that you are willing to engage with them, they’ll grow more willing to use the comment section. It takes time to get an online conversation going, but once you have it, you’ll see the benefits to your business.
Benefits of a Strong Online Community
When you develop an online community from your website audience, you’ll see gains in customer retention, sales, and customer service. You’ll find that customer base built on community has more invested in you and your business than one based on simple transactions. After all, a community is social by nature, and people place a great deal of value on social connections.
Heyoya is a game-changing voice comments platform that brings voice to online publishers, improving user engagement by allowing readers to express themselves beyond the medium of text. Heyoya is proven to increase brand affinity and the quality of user-generated content. In addition, Heyoya’s options for preventing spam and abusive content allow you to keep your comment section clean and civil while increasing reader interaction with your blog. Join Heyoya today and grow your community.
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