Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How To Get More Comments on Your Blogger Blog

How To Get More Comments on Your Blogger Blog


Do you want to get more comments on your Blogger Blogspot blog? Maybe you are wondering why you are not getting the level of comments on your blog that you had hoped for? Well don't panic. Traffic takes time to build and commenting on new blogs is always slow at first. You could resort to creating your own comments but I strongly advise against it. Apart from being unethical I find you can often spot ingenuine comments a mile away and its a major turn off. Instead take heart. In this article I will be focusing on 7 strategies you can employ to encourage your readers to comment and to build a great community around you in the process.

Reasons Why a Visitor Might Post a Comment

To start with let's look at some of the reasons people comment in the first place. I find readers tend to comment on my blog when they have found a solution to a problem or understood something that they haven't known about before. Another reason to comment is that they may ask how to questions especially about technical problems or ask for advice. If I write something contentious readers may post to let me know they don't agree or conversely they whole-heartedly agree. Visitors post comments when they have been moved in someway.

Blog Visitor Behaviour
Visitors arrive at your site with an agenda. They are usually looking:

  • for answers to help them solve a problem
  • to be entertained, uplifted or informed 
  • to connect with other like-minded people

Visitors get an impression of your blog the moment they arrive at the landing page. They make up their minds in seconds about the value of your blog. If their attention is grabbed right away by the look and feel of your blog they might hang around and read an article or two. Mostly people are looking for fairly instant gratification so make sure you give it to them by making your blog worthy of visits.

It is well documented by other bloggers that readers are more likely to comment if they see that your blog is well patronized and already has some action going on. If it's dead most will leave straight away. Most visitors will not get beyond the first page they arrived at. That's the reality of blogging. However, if your articles are unique and cutting edge in some way then you will capture some of the other 20% who will take more than a passing look. Humans being humans people are more likely to post a comment when they are not the first. Most of us don't want to be first to arrive at a party right and this applies to blogging as well.

7 Strategies to Encourage Visitors to Comment

Strategy #1 - Don't Panic - Be Patient - Build Traffic
If your blog is not getting much traffic commenting will be slow too. If your blog is new, say less than a year old, give it time. Once someone comments often this leads to further comments. Make sure you have attended to SEO and created sufficient backlinks to generate site traffic.

Strategy #2 - Always Post Quality Content 
For visitors to post comments on your blog they have to have some kind of warm up to the content. It's that simple. Make sure you post frequent articles of a high quality.

Strategy #3 - Always Respond to New Comments
I make it a rule on my blog that I post a response to every comment made. I want people to come back and to know that there is someone there at the other end. A leading 6 figure blogger, Yaro Starak, made the comment recently that he noticed a sharp decline in comment posting when he stopped responding to each individual comment. Respond to comments and your readers are more likely to return and to even comment again.

Strategy #4 - Ask Questions of Your Readers 
Some readers like to engage and you are more likely to capture these visitors by posting a question on your blog like What's the most annoying thing about Blogger? Tell us about your experince for example. 

Strategy #5 - Write articles that reference or focus on other Bloggers 
Yaro Starak who makes about $40,000 per month from blogging suggested in a recent newsletter that you not just mention other bloggers in your articles but write an article around them as a way to encourage the other blogger to comment on your blog. Haven't tried this one yet but it is on my list so I will let you know how I get on. If you have tried it already what happened?

Strategy #6 - Make it Easy For Visitors to Comment
For visitors to leave comments the commenting process has to be easy. Make sure the following are correctly set on your blog by navigating to Settings > Comments:

  • Set Show Comments to Yes
  • Set Allow Anyone to Comment
  • Set Embed Comment Below Post
  • Set Moderation to Always (more work but prevents spam)

Strategy #7 - Comment on Other Blogs 
It is a good rule of thumb to comment on a visitors blog if they take the time to comment on yours. I'm not talking about spamming someone else's blog just writing a comment about some aspect of their blog that you appreciated, admired or interested you. And of course you can get a link back to your blog in the process.

Monday, August 5, 2013

How To Add Paypal Donate Button to Blogger

How To Add Paypal Donate Button to Blogger

paypal donate
If you want to make a few bucks from all the hard work you are putting into your Blogger blog then consider adding a Paypal donate button to your Blogger blog (Blogspot blog)

Adding a donation button will encourage all those happy readers to say a big thank you for helping them out. Not everyone will donate but you will get the odd generous soul who will willingly donate some chump change to shout you a coffee.

In this Blogger tutorial we will be adding a gadget to the Blogger sidebar or alternatively you could place it in the foooter of your Blogger template. We will be using a widget to contain our Paypal Donate Button and will not be changing your Blogger template. If you wish to place the donate button into your Blogger posts see the end of this Blogger tutorial for details.

Skill level is rated easy.

How to Add a Paypal Donate Button to Blogger (Sidebar or Footer Gadget)

Note: Updated on January 20 2012 to take account of new Paypal interface

1. Get yourself a Paypal account if you don't already have one

2. Login to your Paypal account

3. Click on the Merchant Services tab 

paypal merchant services

4.  You now need to select PayPal Website Payments Standard from Merchant Services drop down and then under the buttons in option 1 you will see in pretty tiny writing I must say "There are also buttons for donations and gift certificates." Click on donations.
donate create button

5. From the Paypal Create a Donation Button screen choose Create Your Button Now link (one of two).
paypal create donate button
6. Stick with the default button unless you wish to customize it

7. Choose your currency depending on your needs and location

8. Choose Donors enter their own contribution amount radio button unless you want to have a set amount

9. Ensure the Secure Merchant ID radio button is selected. This will prevent spammers getting hold of your email address

10. At Step 2 it is worth saving your button

11. At Step 3 Customize your checkout page by allowing donors to write a short comment by selecting the Yes radio button to special instructions to seller

12. Select the No radio button for Customer's Shipping Address

13. Select the Create Button button

14. Once Paypal creates the donate button code copy it by right clicking your mouse and choosing copy

15. Logout of Paypal

16. Login to Blogger if you are not already logged in

17. Go to Design > Page Elements

18. Click on the Add a Gadget link in the sidebar

19. Choose HTML/Javascript widget from the list provided

20. Paste the button code into the Content box of the dialog box that appears by placing the mouse inside the box and right clicking the mouse and then paste

21. Select a title like "Shout Me a Coffee Today!" or whatever you would like

22. Click on the Save button 

23. Drag and drop your new donation gadget into the spot you want it to appear in

24. Click the Save button to ensure your changes are saved

25. Click View Blog to see your new donate button in the sidebar of your Blogger blog

26. Click on your new donate button and you will be taken to the Paypal Checkout screen

Tips and Troubleshooting

To Add a Paypal Donate Button to Blogger Posts

The following instructions will add a Paypal Donate button to all new Blogger posts. Note previous posts will not be changed. You will need to hard code the button into your Blogger template to have the Paypal Donate button added to every Blogger post. (Please ask if you need help with this)

Follow the directions (steps 1-16) as above to get your Paypal button code
In Blogger go to Settings > Formatting
Paste the Paypal Donate Button code into the Post Template box
Save changes 
Click on New Post to see that the code will be automatically inserted at the foot of each new post. (you will need to be in Edit Html mode to see the code)

To Add a Paypal Donate Button to Individual Blogger Posts

Follow the directions (steps 1-16) as above to get your Paypal button code
In Blogger go to the post you wish to insert the button code into
Insert the button code taking care to change all instances of double quotes to single quotes
Save post and publish as normal. (If you have trouble with the preview post button in the old editor in Blogger click on compose and then edit html)

How To Add a Feedburner FeedFlare to Blogger Feed

How To Add a Feedburner FeedFlare to Blogger Feed

If you have burned your Blogger Blogspot blog feed at Feedburner you can easily add a FeedFlare to the footer of the feed. FeedFlare helps you to distribute, inform and create a community around your content. Adding a FeedFlare to the feed of your blog allows readers to select from a range of social bookmarking links which appear at the end of each post. FeedFlare offers subscribers some easy ways to email, tag, share, and bookmark your blog content by linking them with a range of services such as Stumble Upon, Digg This, Facebook, Technorati, del.icio.us and Mixx. 

It is not difficult to add a FeedFlare to your Blogger feed but it does require you to add a snippet of code to the template of your blog. Don't be put off as I will guide you through this process by providing a step by step walkthrough. This tutorial caters for all levels of technical knowledge from the newbie Blogger to the experienced Blogger. 

How to Add a Feed Flare to Your Blogger Feed
If you have yet to burn your Blogger feed at Feedburner please refer to my articles Blogger RSS Feeds and Feedburner and Burn Blogger RSS Feeds at Feedburner for instructions on how to burn your feed and benefits of burning your blog's feed at Feedburner. 

1. Login to Feedburner with your Google Account. From the My Feeds page click on the link to your blog 

2. By default you will be taken to the Analyze page so you need to select the Optimize tab from the menu

3. Select FeedFlare from the Side Menu

4. To create a simple FeedFlare check the boxes of the options you would like. At a mininum I suggest you select email and comments count (for blogger) in addition to Stumble Upon, Digg This, del.icio.us and Facebook.

5. Once you have selected the desired options you can reorder them in the Preview/Reordering box below using drag and drop to shuffle the links around. I think it is a good idea to have comments either at the beginning or the end of the list as readers are more likely to notice it in this position

6. Click on Activate. Do not close this window as we will be returning here.

7. In a new window login to Blogger if you are not already logged in and navigate to Layout > Edit HTML 

8. I strongly suggest you back up your template as a precaution by downloading it to your computer

9. Use CTRL + F to bring up the toolbar and enter the following code into the search box 

<div id='post-footer'>

edit template blogger

10. Return to the FeedFlare page at Feedburner and select Blogger from the drop down menu at the bottom of the page to get the HTML Feedburner code. A dialog box will appear with some instructions. Copy the code found in item #1. Editing Blogger Layouts. To copy right click your mouse and choose select all to highlight the code and then right click again and choose copy

11. Paste the Feedburner code into your template directly below the line of code in your template you just located 
<div id='post-footer'> 

paste code here

12. Click on the Save Button

13. Return to Feedburner. Immediately below your blog's title and just above the Analyze tab you will see two icons. Click on the RSS icon (left button) which will bring up your blog feed.

feedburner feed icon

14. Scroll to the bottom of the first post and you will see your new FeedFlare in action.

feeburner feedflare

Other FeedFlare Options
For smarter looking links you may choose to customize the FeedFlare's appearance by tweaking the CSS.