Fake It: At Least Until You Make It In Blogging
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Activity on your blog is important. Those comments make your blog look more exciting and inviting for new visitors, like it’s probably a really fun blog and they should join the party, too. Problem is – Nobody wants to be the first to leave a comment or share. What are you going to do to get the ball rolling? Fake it till you make it.
Comments on your blog are “social proof” that show new visitors that your blog is interesting and exciting. If all those people are commenting then you must have a great blog that engages your readers and makes them feel like part of a community.
Comments also show new visitors that you’re there, maintaining your blog. These days there are millions of abandoned blogs all over the Internet. That social proof that your blog is alive and well goes a long way toward building trust with your readers.
Social sharing buttons that show how many times your post has been Tweeted or Liked are also social proof that people like your blog. Just like comments, nobody likes to be the first to share, but once people start commenting and sharing that activity increases exponentially.
So, since nobody ever wants to be first, how to you get the ball rolling?
How To Fake It Till You Make It
Notify family and friends: Email your friends and family and send them a link to your blog. Let them know you need them to actually read the post and leave a relevant comment – something other than “Nice post, bro!” In fact, if you feel it’s necessary, tell them exactly what you want them to say or do. And don’t forget to have them share your post in their own social networks.
Enlist your online friends: If you belong to relevant forums, and if you won’t be violating any forum rules, invite members to visit your new blog and leave a comment. Be open and let them know you need their help kicking off your new blog and you’ll be surprised at how many jump at the chance. Don’t forget to ask them to share and tweet, too.
It’s also perfectly acceptable to share your own posts across your own social networks. Again, ask people to visit, leave comments and share.
Enlist your network: Don’t forget about your blogging network. Email all your fellow bloggers and give them a link. They’ll know what to do and they’ll be happy to help.
Give Them Something To Talk About
If you have dozens of contacts and they all jump in to help you’ll quickly see a huge impact. However, if you only have a few contacts, don’t be discouraged. While it might take a little longer, it only takes a few comments and a couple of shares to get the ball rolling. You can help things along by giving everyone something to talk about:
Stellar content: Make sure you have plenty of stellar content on your blog so people feel comfortable leaving a comment and sharing. Nobody likes to recommend shoddy content, so give them something remarkable to talk about.
Multiple links: You want comments and activity all over your blog so don’t send everyone to the same post – and especially don’t send them all to your homepage. Send each person one link and spread them out all over your blog. Make sure you keep track of who gets what link so you can send them somewhere else next week, in case you have to repeat the process again.
Social sharing buttons: Make sure your social sharing buttons are prominently displayed. In fact, it’s a good idea to have them right at the end of the post and include a call to action reminding your visitors to share the post with their friends.
Comment moderation: There are dozens of plug-ins out there to help control comment spam, and there are plug-ins that can connect to Facebook and Twitter, or add in anchor text links or Twitter links. Additionally, you can control a lot of comment activity from your dashboard and you can change your settings so comments won’t appear until they’re manually approved.
Controlling comment spam is a must, but be careful about using other plug-ins to help moderate or share. It varies from blog to blog, but some people don’t like to have to jump through hoops just to leave a comment. If you make it too difficult, they won’t bother at all.