One of the biggest benefits of using blogs versus static websites is the fact that your visitors can interact so much. They can leave comments, add their own posts and articles (if you allow them to do so), and even interact with one another. It’s important that you monitor these activities, but that you also allow natural growth of user generated content. It will be one of the things that keeps people coming back over and over again!
The first thing you should realize is that getting comments on your blog posts is absolutely essential for blog growth. People love to see social proof that a certain blog is popular and worthy of reading. If all they see are “zeros” in the comment section next to your blog posts, they may subconsciously feel like your blog is not worth visiting again.
That’s why you need to encourage comments in any way you can. Specifically state that comments are welcome in the body of your blog post. You can even do things like run giveaways or offer free products when people comment on your blog! This will get them into the habit of doing so and can definitely help to increase your readership since it can attract more people in your niche.
Unfortunately, the fact that you allow open commenting can cause some issues with spam. There are some people out there who spend their days spamming blogs, unfortunately. There are many more people who use automated tools to do so — making this an even bigger problem to handle. There is almost nothing you can do single-handedly to stop this from happening — you’ll quickly find that your comment queue is completely filled with spam posts and you won’t be able to sift through to find the real comments!
The good news is that there are solutions around this. If you use the highly recommended WordPress script on a self hosted blog, you’ll find that it comes with the Akismet plugin pre-installed. You should definitely activate this plugin because it will save you a lot of time. No one wants to come to a blog where all there are are spammy comments!
In addition to encouraging quality comments on your blog posts, you may also want to allow for user posts or articles. There are certain plug-ins that allow you to have users write posts and publish them on your blog. This is great for you because you get free content for your blog. This is good for the users because they know they can get some good exposure for what they have written, as well as a link back to their website. Remember, fresh content always looks great to Google!
It’s important for you to encourage as much user interaction as makes sense for your business model. Put methods in place to keep the spammers out, and do everything you can to get people to comment on your blog posts. If it fits in with your business plan, you can also allow for user generated content, which can be a wonderful thing!