How to increase engagement on your blog and build more followers

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Blogs are made for creative people. They're full of all the things we love, including fashion, photography, interiors and design.

If you've got your blog, or you'd like to start one, and you're keen to know how to make it a success, then 'engagement' is your new best friend.

Because the more popular blogs are the ones that have higher engagement, that is, lots of comments, heaps of social sharing and plenty of loyal fans. Want to know the secret? Here are our top tips on how to increase engagement on your blog and build more followers.

Be yourself

People like people. They want to connect with the real person behind the blog. Don't be afraid to let your personality shine through your words and pictures. Show a little sense of humour, be opinionated, write from the heart and share only the things that you love. Don't forget to publish photos of yourself and what you're up to – it helps to build trust and loyalty, which leads to more engagement.

Know thy audience

When you write, you should always have your audience in mind. Who are they? What do they like? What posts have they enjoyed from you so far? Know thy audience and always write content that they will find interesting. Write a user persona, if it helps. Go through your web analytics to build their profile, so you know who you're writing for.

Use the right friendly tone

Try and use your own voice through informal, familiar language. Write as though you were talking to a good friend in your local pub. By having a pleasant voice, people will think of you like an old friend.

Write engaging content

Interesting content is engaging content. It's more likely to be shared and discussed. When I say interesting, I mean funny, creative, controversial, inspiring, helpful – anything that will grab people's attention.

Are you stuck on topics? Do some research and see what else is out there! What are people sharing the most online? What do they like? Read these tips on things to blog about when you run out of ideas.

You can also use a tool like BuzzSumo to see what's trending in the world, and what's proving popular on rival blogs.

Most importantly, make sure you blog about what you love - because if you're writing about stuff that doesn't interest you, it'll be obvious and people will switch off.

Make the most of trial and error

It's also a good idea to listen to your followers/audience and provide what they want. Sometimes, you'll find blogging is a constant learning process – some things will work, while others won't. Learn from this process to make improvements.

Provide great post titles

Your post titles have to be engaging. Period. Great content is essential, yes – but titles are the one chance to get people to read your posts in the first place. So make sure all your titles are super enticing. Be inventive about the language you use and remember – people tend to scan social networks very quickly, so make your titles stand out.

Make it look pretty

When it comes to the font type and size, imagery and the overall look and feel of your blog – you must provide something that people will enjoy reading and looking at. And, if it's creative, you'll need to ensure your photography is pretty decent because creatives need to be visually satisfied and can be fussy. Spend some time tweaking your blog design and its readability to boost engagement.

Ask questions

Giving people a reason to respond to your posts is a great way to boost engagement. End each article with a question or two or offer something a little controversial or unusual to spark a debate. Your readers are more likely to engage if they have a clear idea of how to start or continue a conversation.

Respond to all comments

When people leave comments on your blog, you should always respond. Even if you don't agree with what they're saying. You want to show that you're available to discuss things and this will help build further engagement and followers. Don't try and 'people please' either. If you've got an opinion, share it! It's always good to get a debate going while showing the real you.

Get social

Don't just respond to comments on your blog – look for what people are saying on your social networks and respond to them. If someone is friendly to you on Twitter, for example, say hello and follow them back. If someone chats to you on your Facebook Page, reply! But don't just respond – be an instigator and spark conversations with others by 'liking' their Instagram photos or perhaps sharing other people's content on Twitter and spreading the love. Remember, it's not a one-way street, and what goes around definitely comes around.

Follow other blogs

You can't be a successful blogger without following other blogs and keeping an eye on what's out there. It's just not possible. Get on something like BlogLoving to discover blogs from all different creative walks of life and keep up with the latest content. Or you can check out this definitive list of 70 of the best blogs for creative inspiration.

Comment elsewhere

Once you've got a regular list of go-to blogs, start adding your comments to them. Get involved in the online conversation. Don't be spammy by leaving a web link to your site – start engaging with people and build up your profile on similar blogs to your own. Make friends with other bloggers, that's what I'm saying – and you'll find they scratch your back if you scratch theirs.

Guest post elsewhere

There are so many opportunities to guest post across the web. Which is why many bloggers will jump at the chance to get more original content. Don't be afraid to approach others and offer to write for them. Some will say no, but don't let that put you off. There will be plenty who will welcome contributors.