Here’s my notes and some further thoughts on Darren Rowse’s Problogger Free Podcast on 31 Days to Building a Better Blog. You can listen to Darren Rowse’s free podcast here Day 25 Use a Magazine to Improve Your Blog. The complete list of challenges can be read here on Day 0 – Welcome and Introduction.
As I’ve mentioned before, to get the full benefit of this series I’m going to go at a slower pace by posting this series typically on Tuesdays each week. I hope with this challenge we are all able to improve our blogs and websites.
So lets do this together! Day 25 here we go! Subscribe and check back often! #31DBBB
Day 25: Today the challenge is to ask your readers a question.
This is a writing challenge that might be the shortest post that you’ve ever written. Your blog post might be just a question. Or it could be a question at the end of your blog post.
People generally love to answer questions and to talk about themselves. We all love on some level to be the expert or share our opinions. What are some of the benefits of asking questions?
10 Benefits of asking your readers questions
Asking questions creates a sense of community, participation, and belonging. There is nothing quite like finding a blog where readers interact with one another. This is a type of social proof if you inspire people to comment and engage one another. It also gives the reader a sense of ownership in some sense.
Asking questions and having discussion on your blog also creates your blog’s stickiness. Readers are more likely to come back to your blog if they have contributed to it.
Questions are relatively easy to ask. Think carefully as questions may require some moderation.
Learn about your readers.
This will help you gage where your readers are at. What are their interests? What are their problems?
Fuel post ideas.
Or this could be an introduction to a new series you are writing.
Fuel follow-up posts.
The question or comments could lead to a great post or series.
Well worded questions can rank really well on search engines. People tend to type in questions into search engines.
As other people pick up the conversation they may link back to your blog on social media. You might even ask other bloggers to feel free to answer the question on their own blogs. This can increase your blog traffic and reach.
Enter Into Conversations
This is a great opportunity to connect with readers and bloggers alike. This helps you get to know other people on a personal level.
Use Blog Comments as Posts
Remember from day 22’s challenge that this is a great way to really pay special attention to a reader? This comment could be from another blogger or it could just be a reader that make a really good point. This can also be very insightful for other readers.
The big question: Are you scared nobody will answer your question?
This is certainly a challenge if you don’t have many readers. Ask questions over time and you will build engagement on your blog. Here are some tips to encourage you to ask questions on your blog.
12 Tips and Ideas for asking your readers’ questions on your blog
- Keep the question relevant to the blog’s topic. A question that has nothing to do with your niche or blog topic could potentially backfire.
- Ask a question that builds upon a previous post. Darren suggests asking a question relevant to another post
- Ask questions that are answerable. Don’t make it difficult to answer. If it’s too hard people won’t answer.
- Ask questions people will want to know the answer to. A relevant question will attract readers, be easily shareable, and will encourage engagement on your blog.
- Suggest possible answers to your readers. If you get some options at the end of the post it can help start the conversation. There are times when you don’t want to
- Generate some debate by asking an either or question. “Would you do this or that?” for example. This is easy for people to answer as it may just be a one word response. This is particularly useful to train your readers to interact with your blog.
- Try using a poll. Polls are great because they are typically anonymous. Nobody has to reveal who they are. People are very likely as well to click on something for an easier answer. This again is very useful particularly at the early stages of your blog.
- Ask a controversial question. Some bloggers like doing this a lot. Just be aware that people could easily get fired up. You will likely need to moderate and keep close tabs on such a question.
- Be willing to share your own answer. It’s really important to do this. This shows that you are participating in the conversation. If you are pretty confident you are going to get some answers hold off on answering first. You also don’t want to sway the conversation unnecessarily. You might also want to wait and create a follow-up post with your answer. See below.
- Do you have a frequently asked question that you are unable to answer? This is a great place to get feedback from your readers and other bloggers.
- Ask more personal yet on topic questions. Not just what people think about a question but what they do in their own lives.
- Create a follow-up post. After the discussion has died down follow-up with a post that summarizes and gives the best answers to your questions. This shows your readers that you value their answers and also creates a really great second post.
Examples of question blog posts
Ask an opinion
You might ask for example “Which digital camera manufacturer is best?”
When people buy a digital camera they invest a lot of money. So this is a good question to ask when someone is heavily invested in something and wants to “prove” they made the best purchase.
Offer an Incentive
Darren offered a prize for people to write about their digital camera. I offered a $50 gift card from Amazon and 2 leadership books here. I’ve also seen month long competitions where bloggers are given one entry for each day they comment. A winner is then selected at the end. This resulted in 275 or more comments on that post!
What do you use?
Darren asked the question “What digital camera do you use?” This gave him really good information on his readers. Another question he asked was what shooting mode do you use most of the time? This also led to a great post he wrote and a second post that allowed him to summarize the answers.
One reader once asked Darren “How would you photograph a funeral?” Instead of trying to answer the question as he had no experience with funerals Darren instead asked his readership how they would photograph a funeral. This stimulating discussion and helped the reader that was tasked with doing that particular thing.
Opening up this sort of question to your readership that you don’t know the answer to also shows your readership you are willing to learn as well. Being teachable is a great character trait.
Share your best…
Darren asked readers to share their best photo ever. This gave readers a chance to show off their work a little. It also provided an opportunity to do a summary post. Another idea would be to ask fellow bloggers to show and link their best blog post.
How to get responses to question posts, even when you don’t think you have enough readers.
- Poll. This was mentioned above. You can set up a poll through this site.
- Ask a question that only has two answers. This could be an either or question. Or perhaps give to options and ask people’s opinions.
- Answered your own question in the comments. “I’m going to kickoff with my answer…” type thing.
- Email a few friends or other bloggers. This might sound a little fake but could easily stimulate discussion. You could also return the favor at some point in the near future!
- Join a social media reciprocation group. Here are a few I’d suggest on Facebook:
Are you ready to get started? Ask your readers a question this week!
- The Blog Maven: The #1 Question You Should Be Asking Your Blog Readers
- Blog Tyrant: The Essential Guide to Creating a Survey Your Readers Will Love
- Wise Link: 8 Questions To Ask To Get To Know Your Readers
- Write and Publish a List Post
- Write a post that contains a Call to Action
- Write and Publish a Link Post
- Write an Opinion Post
What question or questions will you ask your readers this week? Feel free to brainstorm below!