User engagement is the lifeblood of every successful WordPress blog. We all want readers who are involved and eager to expand the conversation online. You’re looking for an audience who will not only provide thoughtful commentary on your content but also help drive more visitors to your blog.
Beyond writing excellent content, how can you as a WordPress blogger encourage readers to engage? What’s the secret to turning readers into avid followers? Well, a lively and well-maintained comments section is an excellent place to start.
In this article, we’ll be covering Postmatic – a great new plugin which makes posting and reviewing comments on a WordPress blog even easier.
Postmatic allow readers to not only subscribe to your blog but also leave comments from outside WordPress via email. It’s an excellent tool for taking engagement on your site to the next level.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
What is Postmatic?
Postmatic is a new plugin that allows reader to subscribe to your WordPress posts via email. It effectively turns your blog into a newsletter. This is a great way to promote and share your blog (and something every blogger should be doing), but it’s nothing new. What makes Postmatic stand out is the way it allows readers to submit comments to your post via email.
In addition to this, readers can view other people’s comments and respond straight from their inbox. You can also choose to get emails notifying you of new comments and discussions. Installing the plugin gives you a great way of growing conversation on your blog naturally via a source that would otherwise be completely off the table – users’ inboxes.
Postmatic is a lightweight, highly-polished plugin with a great backend and mobile capabilities. It’s easy to install, works with your existing comment and subscription plugins, and – best of all – it’s free.
The advantage of sending your content to a reader’s inbox is obvious. The really standout feature of Postmatic though is how it streamlines the engagement process. Readers are able to comment on your blog and track threads without having to leave their inbox.
The standard version of Postmatic is free but, at the time of writing, a premium version was in pre-launch beta mode with provisional per-site pricing of $9 per month.
The premium version incorporates more advanced features such as fully responsive HTML email templates, premium support and guaranteed email delivery.
Why Is This so Effective?
The philosophy behind Postmatic is so simple you’d wonder why nobody’s done it before.
We are all creatures of habit, especially when it comes to email. People check their inboxes far more frequently than they do their favorite blogs or websites. They even use push notifications on their mobile devices to stay constantly on the alert for messages.
Bringing reader engagement to something as familiar as an email client is a no-brainer. Allowing users to comment on your blog simply by replying to an email removes a huge amount of hurdles. There are no forms, browsers or validation to get in the way for starters.
Obviously, since this plugin uses the reader’s native email client, it also works seamlessly across mobile, tablet and desktop environments.
It also saves you the worry of validating new users and weeding out spam as only visitors with valid email addresses (who have visited your site at least once) can post comments.
Installation, comment monitoring and making changes are also all delightfully simple thanks to Postmatic’s headache-free backend. In short, Postmatic brings an awful lot of useful functionality to the table and using it is a no-brainer if you’re running comments on your site.
Let’s look at some of the options available.
Installing Postmatic is as straightforward as installing most WordPress plugins. As long as you have the latest version of WordPress on your website, you can simply add it via the built-in plugin installer by searching for postmatic.
Once you’ve got Postmatic installed, you’ll see a number of simple tools available to help you get up and running.
If you have an existing list of subscribers (through services like MailChimp or MailPoet), Postmatic can import those emails automatically or via a simple interface in the plugin. They also promise seamless compatibility with the popular WordPress tool JetPack.
Postmatic also offers you the choice of customizing the look of your emails. The default emails are designed to look great in any format but you can tweak them so they more closely resemble your blog’s look and feel. More advanced customization options are available on the premium plan.
Once installed, you can add a subscription widget to your website to let readers easily sign up. You can also add those ever-popular after-the-post boxes that encourage readers to subscribe after reading or posting a comment. As Postmatic is fully WordPress native, it should work nicely with any other comment plugins you may already have installed.
Monitoring comments is just as easy though full moderation controls are limited to the premium version. You can set Postmatic to send you email notifications when readers reply to your posts and replying can be done straight from your email. You will be able to jump to your dashboard and remove unwanted comments quickly thanks to these timely notifications.
Postmatic have also recently released a separate, completely free comment moderation system called Crowd Control that could be useful if you’re running a busy blog.
How All This Boosts Comments
We’ve mentioned that the best way to encourage user engagement on your WordPress blog is to generate great content. But aside from writing timely and thoughtful posts, there are other ways to encourage user interaction. The key to all of them is constantly keeping readers in the loop.
The internet is a big place. Even if you have devoted followers who love what you blog, there are plenty of websites – looking at you Twitter and Facebook! – that can steal away their attention. That’s okay though, because with Postmatic you can bring them back.
Because Postmatic sends your readers emails whenever you publish a blog, they don’t even have to hit up your website directly. New posts arrive in their inbox, ready to be enjoyed. As RSS and other older formats fade away, you can use Postmatic to maintain a loyal readership via email.
Postmatic’s ingenious option of sending comments directly through email also eliminates further barriers to user engagement. You may well have readers who are short on time for example. They may be happy to read your post while checking emails on the go but clicking a link to your website, scrolling to the comment box, and typing in all their info just to leave a comment is out of the question. Sending a quick reply direct from their email client though? That’s too easy to pass up.
Sending a comment via email also eliminates problems introduced by mobile devices. Sure, your WordPress site may have the very best theme. It might be perfectly responsive on mobile and tablet formats (guaranteed if you’re using one of our premium themes), but data limitations might hold a reader back. They might even be on an older phone that doesn’t load modern websites very well. A simple tap on the reply button is a huge timesaver for these readers and lets them share their thoughts as quickly as anyone else.
Postmatic also offers the chance for readers to view other visitors’ comments, or to continue an ongoing conversation about a blog post. This further increases the activity of users on your WordPress blog as they move from being static users to a community of peers. All comments will display in an elegantly designed, easy-to-follow email with the option to reply built in.
But Won’t This Decrease Traffic to My Website?
A valid concern for many bloggers – especially those depending on ad revenue to keep their websites profitable – is that allowing readers to comment via email will cause a drop in user traffic. If a reader can just stay within their inbox to engage, surely that risks taking away visits which would otherwise increase your pageviews?
Although this may seem like a problem at first, Postmatic can actually serve to increase traffic to your website. Remember, it’s all about pulling in visitors who don’t regularly visit your blog.
The super fans who have you bookmarked at the top of their browsers – or jump on every link you post on Facebook – will still hit up your website. We’re after the once-in-a-while readers, the people who like your blog but forget to visit every day.
Postmatic will increase their engagement and visits to your website. After commenting on a fresh post, they are more likely to visit your main page to look over older content (this is especially true if you make mention of it in your new posts). Postmatic gives them access to new articles and comments, but not further features your website might offer such as downloads, your online store, or other sections of your content. Think of those emails as an invitation to visit the site.
Leveraging Postmatic to draw the attention of occasional readers will not only increase user engagement but also potentially increase traffic as you turn drive-by visitors into fans.
Conclusion: Postmatic’s Worth a Try
If you’re at all serious about the growth of your WordPress blog, you already know how important user comments are. Any tool that promises to increase user engagement while making life easier for the reader and yourself is simply a must-have.
You have every reason to try out Postmatic. It’s a free, easy-to-install plugin, which plays nicely with the services and tools you already use.
Testing it out for a few weeks or month is painless and, if you have any problems, speedy support is on hand. If you want to kick things up a notch, the upcoming premium version is there for you as an option when the time is right.
Are you thinking of giving Postmatic a whirl? Or are you using it already and have some tips to share? Get in touch via the comments and let us know.
Article thumbnail image by TCmakephoto / shutterstock.com.