Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Guest Post by Nikolas Baron

Interactive Features That Can Change a "Blah" Blog into an Amazing One

Many writers wonder why they do not receive much traffic on their blog. They write insightful articles. They update content regularly with new posts. They invite people that they meet to visit the blog. However, the blog stagnates. How can you generate more traffic to your blog? One of my job duties at Grammarly is to pursue solutions to the problems writers have. In studying successful blogs, I notice that blogs with interactive features attract followers. Here’s a list; which components can you introduce to your blog?

    Question of the Day/Week: Ask open-ended questions on at the start of each day or week. Invite site visitors to weigh in with their opinion. Before you know it, people will be checking the blog throughout the day to check other’s viewpoints or for responses to their submission.

    Quizzes: Quizzes should not be like the ACT. Instead post short, fun quizzes that subscribers can complete in less than five minutes. Quiz takers should receive immediate feedback, but you can also compile and post statistics to compare results. Relate the quiz topics to your blogs. For example, imagine you post a travel blog. You can create a quiz, “What type of luggage are you? Test your travel personality!” The multiple-choice answers that quiz takers select should categorize them as duffel bags (budget), carry-ons (spontaneous), Louis Vuitton suitcase (luxury), etc.

    Surveys / Polls:  In a poll, site visitors vote on a question, often a simple one that requires a yes/no answer. As the votes aggregate, the data is displayed. For example, should Justin Bieber be deported? Add a display of the breakdown. A survey is similar, but usually consists of several questions. Surveymonkey is a great website to create quizzes, surveys, and polls.

    Games: This is not as difficult as it sounds. Simply go to, a website that hosts free games. Copy the embed code, and paste it on your blog. If you can find a related game, such as Job Runner for a career blog, it will provide a cute, relevant distraction for your fans.

    Videos: How you post a video depends on where the video is stored.  Google Help pages explain how to link videos from Youtube and how to upload from mobile phones and computers.

    Podcasts: A podcast is a digital copy of a multimedia file that you give your readers permission to access through your site. To kill two birds with one click of the mouse, visit the Smart Passive Income podcast to learn what a podcast is and how to monetize your blog.

    Freebies: People love free stuff. As a writer, consider giving away a few copies of your book. It is also a good way to get contact information from your blog visitors. If you prefer to cut the costs of mailing, offer a couple of free digital copies.

    Raffles and Sweepstakes 
This is another good way to create excitement on your blog and to minimize the expense of the prizes. With a single copy of a book up for grabs, hundreds of fans may enter the same contest. With permission, post the winner to show that the opportunity was legitimate.

With any interactive feature, you have to weigh the pros and cons. Will the feature interest your target audience? What is the time and monetary expense of running the feature? With links, including ads, individuals could be directed away from your site. If possible, make sure that links open in a separate window. Spellcheck your quizzes, edit your podcasts, and review videos in their entirety before adding it to your site. If you fail to do so, people will be commenting more about your errors than the new interactive formats. So, do you have big plans for how to improve your blog? I hope so!

Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown children’s novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, traveling, and reading.

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