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7 Steps Towards a More Interactive Blog

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One of the things I enjoy most about writing for the Christian Web Trends blog is the interaction with other people.  I appreciate the comments you post because of the insight it gives into other perspectives.  I enjoy reading the blogs of those of you who have posted links to CWT.  I’m especially grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to get to know some of you a little better via email, forums, etc.

The goal of Christian Web Trends has never been to be a lone fountain of knowledge or wisdom (which would be futile for me anyway), but rather to spark conversations so that we can all learn from each other.

With that in mind, I recently set out to upgrade the CWT blog to make it more interactive.  I hope these additions will help you become more involved in these conversations.  If you blog, these are features I strongly recommend you add to your blog.

1) Invite guest bloggers.  A good way to add some fresh perspective and new interaction to a blog is to invite guest bloggers to post articles.  If you’ve got something insightful to say about ministry and technology, check out our new Become a Guest Blogger page.

2) Improve site navigation.  Probably the change you’ll notice first is that the layout of the blog has been altered.  It’s still a work in progress.  All off the blog-related links which were squeezed into the main navigation menu on the left have now been moved to a new column on the right side of the page.  Putting the blog navigation links in their own separate place will help people get around.  The fact that they’re higher on the page also puts some of the links “above the fold.”

3) Add a big, honkin’ RSS feed icon.  The best way to get people to return to a blog – bar none – is if they subscribe to the RSS feed.  (What is RSS?)  No reason to make anyone hunt around for the RSS subscription link.

4) Put links to the most popular pages/posts on the homepage.  They attracted a lot of readers and comments when they were published, and they can continue to spark interest and conversation as long as people continue to read them.  If you blog, don’t let your best articles ride off into the sunset of your archives.

5) Add a subscribe to comments feature.  I comment on a lot of blog articles, but 99% of the time I don’t return to the article after that simply because I don’t remember.  Someone could post a great response to my comment – the makings for a great conversation – and I would never know… except when the blog gives the option to receive email notification of new comments.  I added a new WordPress plugin to add that feature to our blog.

6) Add social bookmarking links.  A couple months ago I added the addThis social bookmark icon/link.  However, I mistakenly added it only under the excerpts of the articles on the homepage.  If someone is going to bookmark an article it’s going to be after they’ve read it, so I moved the icon.  I am also adding links to Blogs4God and GospelShout at the bottom of each post.

7) Add an “Email this Post” link.  This feature gives readers the opportunity to email an article to up to 5 friends at a time.  This is another WordPress plugin I came across that I would recommend to anyone using WordPress.

I’ve got some more ideas that I’ll talk about in the future but this seems like good stopping point for now.  What do you think of these improvements?  Will they help you become more involved reading, commenting, and even guest blogging on the Christian Web Trends blog?

Will you take some of these steps towards more interactivity on your own blog?

P.S. If you found this article interesting or helpful, please vote for it on Blogs4God and GospelShout so others will see it.

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    About the author

    Paul Steinbrueck

    Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck.

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