Do you participate in #blogchat? Every week, this weekly discussion on Twitter focuses on a specific topic and bloggers everywhere are invited to join in. Because I often have more to say than what will fit in 140 characters, every Sunday night (or Monday morning), I post about some of the most interesting #blogchat tweets. Join the conversation by commenting below.
(Still confused? Read more about #blogchat here.)
This Week’s Theme: Blog Design
During this week’s #blogchat discussion, we talked about everything from blogrolls to whitespace. One of the subjects that came up again and again was what elements to include on your site (especially on the sidebar) and what elements to leave off. Said one tweeter:
thekrg: Social media contacts are a must for me.
Back in December, I compiled the 12 Days of Blogging mostly by clicking from site to site. I visiting blogs from BlogWorld speakers, blogs that respected IM/blogging bloggers recommended, blogs people were promoting on Twitter, and blogs I just thought might be cool. In the end, I included posts from over 100 bloggers. Of those hundred bloggers, I found Twitter information for all but one or two, and I would estimate that at least 95% were active accounts (i.e., used regularly). I’m willing to bet that almost all of these bloggers are also on Twitter, and many are on LinkedIn and other social networking sites as well.
But not everyone made this information easily available. In fact, I’d say that I had to actively hunt for social networking information from about 25% of the bloggers that were included in the ebook.
That’s way too many people who aren’t making it easy enough for readers to find them.
This isn’t about promoting yourself even more or something. I mean, it can be – having more followers on Twitter, more “likes” on Facebook, and so forth…those are definitely good things. But more importantly, this is about recognizing that not everybody wants to contact you in the same way.
I’m a fan of email, for example. I will freely give my Skype information to anyone wanting a chat or phone call as well, and I reply to comments as needed. As much as I’m a fan of email, though, I’m finding it more and more convenient to reach people on Twitter or Facebook. Twitter is nice because it’s a quick and instant way to contact someone with a single question. It’s almost like chatting via an IM platform, but without the need to have an entire conversation. Perfect for someone who is busy. Facebook is another great tool, since it allows you to connect with someone in a more public way if you want, as well as invite them to events or send private messages. LinkedIn is another awesome social network for communication – if I’ve worked with someone in the past, I can send out a recommendation.
If you don’t include your social network information on your site, people can’t do those things. Frankly, sometimes I’m too lazy to open up my email. If I can’t quickly find someone’s Twitter information, I just thing, “meh, maybe I’ll catch them later” unless the question/comment was really pressing.
That’s not a good thing. The buzzword right now is engage, and you can’t do that if you don’t give your readers options for connecting with you. Not everyone likes the same things you do.
Is it a must to have Twitter/Facebook/etc. information on your sidebar? Although I think that’s the most convenience option, I wouldn’t say it’s a must. If you’re going for a minimalist look, you can also put this information at the bottom of your posts, one your About page or on your Contacts page. I recommend having it several places. Just where you want to place it on your blog depends on your niche and overall design.
But make sure you include it somewhere. If you expect to make money from your readers, give them several contact options!
Thanks, @thekrg, for a great tweet!