Increase interactivity in your blog

Some blog owners love to interact with their visitors. Getting feedback from them is a way of finding out the presence of their visitors (and not just lurking while surfing through the pages), or whether what they put in their blogs are interesting enough. Let’s face it, people love to voice out their opinions (which is one of the reasons why blogs were created) and react to each other’s thoughts. By putting up blogging tools in your own blog (or blogs), you can allow your visitors to interact with you, and comment on your posts.

There are blogging tools available over the internet that can be included in your blog to increase interactivity. The most common is the comment section of your blog. All blog providers have this feature included in the blogs that it hosts, and they give the blog owners the option to enable comments on all or certain posts. If you don’t like your blog provider’s comment section feature or if you create your own blog (meaning you programmed it yourself using PHP, for example), you could try out websites that offer commenting service like HaloScan.

Another blogging tool that is popular among blog owners is the Tagboard. It can be placed in your blog code or template. Visitors can leave a few messages on the tagboard anytime during their visit in the blog. Tag-board and Cbox are some examples of websites that offer tagboard message board service. Some tagboards have a refresh feature to allow new messages to be seen (some have a refresh button for manual refreshing and others have an automatic refresh that refreshes the tagboard for certain amount of time). Blog providers like Blogdrive and Tabulas have a tagboard widget included in the blog service. Blog owners only need to enable the widget in order to use it.

A blogging tool that is similar to the tagboard is the chatbox or shoutbox. The main difference between a chatbox to the tagboard is that it allows the conversations to be seen at real-time, by some presence-abled mechanism programmed into the widget. An example of this one is the Meebo widget. Meebo users can create a meebo widget that can be embedded into their blogs. Once a visitor goes to the blog, the widget checks if the owner of the blog is connected thru their Meebo account. If the owner is online, they can message each other like the chat feature of instant messengers, otherwise, they can just leave a message on the widget, which can be received by the owner once he connects to his Meebo account.

The last blogging tool that I’m going to mention is the Guestbook. It works similarly to the tagboards and comments, where the visitors can leave messages (which could range from a simple hello to a rant or violent reaction to the posts) that can be checked by the owner later on.

If you don’t like the above mentioned tools, you could go personal and leave your email address on your blog so the readers can email you personally. However, you could easily receive spam mails by posting your email address.

It is your choice whether you want to include all of these tools in your own blog. Some blog owners only use the comments section for reader feedback, because putting up other tools would prevent them from using the comments section. Readers often choose the easily accessible tool to post their comments. For example, a tagboard on the sidebar is more accessible than clicking the “Post a comment” link (it could be directed to another page, which would mean another few seconds of loading time, or even longer for those who use a slower connection). Some tools require little or no experience in HTML or other scripting language to install the tools in your blog. However, some tagboards and chatboxes require browser plugins like Adobe Flash Player in order to function, but these plugins aren’t initially included in the browser, so it would take more time installing the plugin before the widget can be used. This could be a burden if you’re using a slow connection.

Originally posted on May 19, 2007 @ 9:44 am