When someone reads what we have written and takes the time to give their opinion on it, positive or negative, it becomes an extension of our thoughts as we think about their view, and respond with what we think and then someone else jumps in, and the conversation continues!
These online interactions can be much more enriching and rewarding if we follow basic tenets of communication, with an intent to cultivate a relationship with our visitors, because communication, as we all know, is a two way process, of giving and receiving information. Whether it is that we are speaking to someone offline or online, if we are courteous and respectful of others, the experience will be much more enjoyable for all involved.
So, what basic principles we should keep in mind to foster a good relationship with our site visitors?
This one I believe is the first and foremost to follow rule when interacting with anyone online. Getting more comments and more visitors can quickly start elevating the ego and its this time when we need to try our best to stay humble. If the tone on the blog is obnoxious or patronizing in any way, you can be sure to not get the visitor to attempt to contribute to whatever you want their opinion on. Don’t be preachy. Say whatever you want to say, because that is what freedom of speech is all about, BUT, say it with some modicum of thoughtfulness to your readers.
Get to know your readers
Welcome your readers to your blog. Ask them to introduce themselves. Make time to visit your reader’s blog and participate in discussion, make sure to thank them for visiting via a quick email and ask about their opinion of your blog. Some people are much more comfortable in voicing their opinions in an email if you ask, rather than talking about it on the site. Engage in conversation about their blog if they have one.
A remarkable technique for any relationship to flourish is to get to know the other’s likings and dislikings. Finding what your blog readers like or do not like, can help to give you ideas for your content, thereby making them interested in reading your site more. Join their social network communities. The basic principle is that the blogs and sites should be about your readers, not about you. Because if you want to write just about yourself, you would be writing it in a journal, wouldn’t you?
‘Listen’ to your readers
If the readers are providing some input on your blog, do not ignore that either. Every once in a while the members of the blog reading community or new visitors offer up great advice on how certain aspects of your blog could be improved or what isn’t working. Give them feedback by thanking them and letting them know that you will consider their opinion! This kind of interaction from the blog owner will make the reader feel valued on your site and would encourage them to come back to read your blog more. Don’t be afraid to engage in conversation with them.
Learn to accept constructive criticism
Constructive criticism almost always results in improvements, provided we train ourselves to accept it. And an easy way to train ourselves is to accept the fact that we are not perfect and there is always room for improvement.
This goes hand in hand with developing a positive attitude. Try not to be defensive and argumentative with the commenters even if they are not praising your work or agreeing with you. Don’t take it as a personal attack, rather look at the *thing* that is being criticized! And do not forget to thank the critic for taking the time to read your article or evaluating something else that you have done or not done. After all, you want someone to visit your blog and that is exactly what they did! Handle negative comments with grace and care.
We all know that it is easy to get obsessed by the idea of making money via blogging and completely forget about the fact that most of us have lives away from computers. And that part of our life is still huge, for majority of bloggers anyway, so sharing a small part of that huge life with the readers will only help in building stronger connection with them. Injecting some warmth and passion in your writings can certainly enhance the blogging experience for the blogger as well as the readers.
Blogging is truly a medium that allows people to write with freedom, without having someone stand over their heads dictating what and how to write. So, write with passion. Write as if you are talking to your readers.
So, to sum up, recognizing and giving importance to the readers and making them a part of your site by talking about them in the posts while staying respectful will make the relationships last longer.
I am sure there are many other ways to build and develop relationships and I would love for you to fill in with the ones I missed.
What do you do to build and develop relationships with your blog readers?
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