Here are some thoughts, tips and tools that I have found useful, and thought other bloggers could benefit from as well:
Allow People to Contact You
Please, make it easy for your readers to contact you personally. They might have stories, pictures or thoughts that could help you out. I’ve seen way to many blogs with no way to contact the author, leaving it up to the reader to spam your comments section. If you don’t want to display your email address, use some type of contact form plugin on your blog.
- Those who are using Blogger (blogspot) or WordPress.com can just activate it within the service.
- If you’re using WordPress on your own site, consider the Enhanced WordPress contact form plugin.
- Want to make your own contact form? I suggest setting it up through Wufoo, it’s brain dead simple and free.
Getting Readers to Come Back
Make it easy for people to follow your writing. Almost every blog has some type of RSS as part of the structure, however you can make it even more user friendly by doing the following:
- Most people don’t know what RSS is or how to use it, so allow readers to signup for updates via email. Personally, I use Feedburner and just activate their tool. Simple and well done.
- WordPress has an incredibly nice little plugin called Subscribe to Comments. This allows anyone who leaves a comment to get pinged with an email when another person does the same (if they so choose). I’ve seen this really reader interactions.
Useful WordPress Plugins
Be proactive and get ready for problems before they happen. Whether your site gets hacked or you’re finding that you’re being overloaded by traffic, here are a couple WordPress plugins that can help:
- WP Cache – for when you’re getting slammed by traffic. Think KenyanPundit.com in the middle of the Kenyan election debacle, or if your story gets on a site like Digg.
- WP Database Backup – I have this setup to auto-save and email me the file each week. This saved me when my hosting service was hacked this last summer.
Anyway, I hope some of this stuff helps, I know it’s helped me over the years.