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Denise Wakeman

I'm delighted that Shannon and Melanie agreed to answer your blogging questions. Post them in the comments and throughout the day on April 7, they'll stop by and respond.

Blog on!

Tony Faustino

Denise, thank you for this highly informative interview with Shannon and Melanie along with the free chapter from the book - how very cool! I was scrolling through the Table of Contents provided and it looks like there's some great advice on leveraging TypePad Lists and Adding Images to Your TypePad Sidebar (both are enhancements I'd like to learn).

Shannon

Tony, we gave special attention to both those issues, because they're questions we've both received so many times! It's NOT hard to do, truly--the tutorial in the book should walk you through the processes quite easily.

mollyc

I am blogging not for business, but just as an outlet as a writer. I am an Erma Bombeck type. I just want to get more readers. I am at about 2000 hits a month now. What things can I do to increase readership? I have no interest in making money by blogging, and I have no "junk" on my blog. I have a blogroll that features some of my friends and favorite blogs. Advice?

Shannon

Molly, it sounds like you're already on the right track. Many bloggers get so focused on finding "gimmicks" to increase readership that they lose focus on the real reason they started: providing well-written content. It sounds like you have your focus firmly placed there already!

Continue your firm commitment to your writing, and find ways to engage elsewhere in the community (leaving comments for others, etc.). I see that you're a professional writer as well; when you publish something, consider asking the publication if they can include a blurb at the end of your piece that says "You can read more of Molly's work at her blog, etc."

Also, look around and see if you can post on another blog. Many bloggers are eager to accept guest posts (particularly when they have to be away for an extended period of time). This is a great way to introduce new readers to your writing, and they might just follow you back to your blog!

Good luck!

mollyc

Thanks for the advice. I will keep on keeping on!

Sheryl

What's your advice for building a community and encouraging people to engage? I'm going to be managing a B2B blog that isn't getting much in the way of comments right now. What's your tip on how to get the conversation started and increase traffic to the blog?

Also, do you prefer Typepad over WordPress and why?

Thank you!

Zan Packard - The Adventurous Introvert

Hi, thank you for helping us understand what we are doing a little bit more :-)
I am currently blogging with blogspot.com and want to change to either Type Pad or Word Press and use my own domain name. Since I will be doing the designing myself with limited experience, which one do you recommend for ease of use for the novice? I am a writer and will be promoting my new book as well as have a web site appearance (I already have a site and will convert it. I'll check back often for your responses to this and others. Thanks again, Zan

Melanie Nelson

Sheryl,

I always try to explain to people that there isn't a magic trick to establishing community. It takes a *lot* of time to build up loyalty, establish your authority, and get your brand out there.

The first thing you need to do is be part of the community. Ensure you aren't just broadcasting your own information, share good info from other sources.

Try to respond to your reader comments as much as possible. Your visitors really like to know you've seen their comments and acknowledged their input. However, as your blog grows, you may find it impossible to respond to every comment; right now, though, if things are a little slow, participate in the comments at your own blog. Then make sure you're visiting the blogs in your community/niche and commenting there as well.

Sometimes getting your audience to engage is hard. You can start by asking them questions related to your post--ask them to weigh in with their opinions. Or ask them to leave a link to something they've written about that relates to your post. If that's not working, look at your topics and how they relate to what people are discussing online (check Twitter trends for a start) and start addressing those topics (as they relate to your niche).

Shannon

I'll confess to being biased (when I started, I was also a beginner with limited experience!), but I think TypePad would be a great fit for you. You can do a surprising amount of design tweaking on TypePad WITHOUT having any real code knowledge--our entire Chapter 11 in the book is devoted to that very subject. TypePad is definitely aimed at bloggers who want a hassle-free blogging experience. Good luck!

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