Answers to Your Questions Found in the Cow Pasture

 I’m having a wonderful time participating in, Robert Lee Brewer’s,  2015 October Challenge. The Writer’s Digest has been a favorite resource for me since the day I began writing in earnest. So, when the opportunity came to take part in a challenge focused on building and/or improving my platform, he could count me in.

It’s day 15 and I’m pleasantly surprised to find myself ahead of the gameso to speak. Yesterday, while chatting on Twitter with fellow challengers, several people expressed confusion regarding #hashtags. I’m not the expert when it comes to Twitter, but I did my best to answer their questions. The conversation reminded me of an idea for my blog, I’d been tossing around for a while, and decided now was the time.

Each week I’ll answer questions on writing, blogging, or any related topicposed by my readers. I understand many of my readers are way ahead of the curve, but we all have questions from time to time, regardless of one’s experience. I don’t profess to know all the answers, but I can share what I‘ve learned and what the experts say.

So, here’s your chance, ask away. I’ll do my best to find  the answers. Leave your question(s) in the comment section below and check out the first Q & A in my next post.

I’d love to hear your comments. Talk to me. Tell me your story. And as always, you can follow me on Facebook at SheilaMGood, PinterestBloglovinTwitter @cofcmom, and Contently.

The Value of Blog Comments

leavecommetgifWritten in response to the Writer’s Digest 2015 October Platform Challenge

Blogging is an excellent way to express ourselves, improve skills, impart knowledge and expertise, or share stories. But, what role do comments, both given and received, play? Are they important?

When I began blogging in 2008, I had no aspirations beyond using my blog as a way to express grief after the sudden loss of my best friend. But, then people began to respond. I made connections, my grief lessened, and my writing evolved. Without their encouragement, I’m not sure I would still be writing.

The Value of Blog Comments: 
  • They are the lifeblood of any blog – connecting us to others.
  • Tell us our words have resonated with someone.
  • Sometimes, they express gratitude.
  • Other times, they offer us a different opinion to consider.
  • An avenue to share resources, give recognition, or validate information.
  • Provide ideas for future topics.
  • Creates a network of bloggers, writers, classes, and groups.

Given these benefits, how can we create an atmosphere of interaction?

Ways to Invite Reader Participation:
  • Lead the way – Comment on your favorite blogs. Make sure what you have to say will add value to the conversation.
  • Keep it simple – spam is a valid concern. However, CAPTCHA’S can actually discourage readers from leaving comments. Trying to match blurred letters or numbers in little boxes is more annoying than trying to read the fine print on the back of a medicine bottle.
  • Do away with registrations. Requiring readers to fill out a form before leaving a comment is a sure-fire way not to get one.
  • Readers respond more often to a call-to-action or questions.
  • Be an active participant on your own blog – respond and interact with those who have taken the time to read and respond.

Not only is replying to comments, the polite thing to do, but doing so helps create a network of like-minded bloggers and writers, which adds value to all of us.

People blog for different reasons and the topics are as varied as the names. We want to believe our blogs provide valuable information or entertaining stories, but without reader participation, how will we know?

I’d love to hear your comments. Talk to me. Tell me your story. And as always, you can follow me on Facebook at SheilaMGood, PinterestBloglovin, Twitter @cofcmom, and Contently.