What do we mean when talking about reader engagement? Well, in terms of blogging the first things that come to mind are comments, sharing, questions, conversion rates. To sum up we could compare reader engagement with building a community. A community where readers care about each other, where action doesn’t stop after reading the final paragraph and where exciting discussions are born. Unfortunately, good content and neat design aren’t the only factors which affect reader engagement. You need to learn to focus readers attention and start a conversation. Developing an engagement is a win-win situation. Your visitors will want to explore more and join the conversation but you, as the publisher, will be looking at higher conversion rates.
Gamification is a whole branch in reader engagement which brings together game mechanics and marketing to create engagement and solve problems. What do we understand with game mechanics from a web standpoint? Well, that doesn’t necessarily has to be the traditional online games as we are used to seeing them. Gamification relates to things like points, badges, activity levels, leaderboards, challenges etc. Gamification is an excellent way to help shape user behavior and influence them to take actions. There are already lots of successful companies who’ve implemented these game mechanics into their services. Foursquare and Farmville are only two brilliant examples of efficient use of game mechanics.
How do you start then? While there are many ideas and tips to help you improve reader engagement this article focuses on tools and services that do the work for you. Polls, comment platforms, newsletter and gamification services – continue reading and check out these 15+ awesome tools to enrich the readers engagement. The post also contains some neat examples of user engagement and gamification techniques in use.
Tools & Services
Badgeville is the leading Social Loyalty and Smart Gamification Platform. Badgeville makes it easy to drive reader loyalty and increase retention by rewarding targeted behaviors, such as visiting, reading pages, commenting, and sharing links.
You can use Badgeville pertaining to retail & ecommerce, media & publishing, entertainment, health & fitness, education etc. Basically the principle stays the same. You implement a social rewards program into your website, in that way being able to offer a variety of rewards to make the experience more enriching.
Badgeville gives content, commerce and community brands the power to drive and measure user behavior with social game mechanics. Badgeville’s industry-leading customers are experiencing increases in key business objectives by more than 30%.
Dynamic Game Engine
Badgeville’s patent-pending Dynamic Game Engine (DGE) makes it easy for smart brand marketers and product leaders to use social game mechanics to drive user behavior across their web, mobile, and social experiences. Chosen by industry-leading brands, the DGE is the most flexible and lightweight gamification solution available on the market today.
Widget Studio & API
With the Badgeville Widget Studio, you have access to an extensive library of skinnable, turnkey widgets that make it possible to deploy a deeply integrated social loyalty program across your web experience in a matter of weeks. For additional customization, the Badgeville API can be quickly integrated into any digital property.
Social Fabric is a groundbreaking technology that brings the social interactions found on Facebook, Twitter, and similar social sites to any web property, delivering relevant, real-time social experiences tied to site-specific user behaviors and content. Social Fabric offers real-time notifications, follow functionality, and relevant activity streams.
Marketers can now take advantage of the same analytics that social game developers use to build compelling, revenue-generating user experiences. With Badgeville’s Engagement Analytics, you’ll gain deep, real time insight into the health of your user community, measuring daily active users, lapsed users, as well as a host of behaviors.
With Polldaddy you can create stunning surveys, polls, and quizzes in minutes. Collect responses via your website, e-mail, iPad, Facebook, and Twitter. Generate and share easy-to-read reports.
- Create stunning online surveys. Use the survey editor to create surveys quickly and easily. Collect responses via your website, e-mail or on your iPad or iPhone
- Market-leading online polls. What does your audience think? Embed simple, one-question polls into your website to find out.
- Test their knowledge with an online quiz. The perfect tool for the classroom, colleagues or just for fun. Create quick and fun quizzes to test their knowledge.
- Get your content rated. Create simple five-star and Nero rating widgets to attach to your blog posts, images, videos, and more.
- Free (200 survey responses per month, 10 questions per survey): $0
- Professional (5,000 survey responses per month, unlimited questions per survey and more): $200/year
- Corporate (unlimited survey responses per month, unlimited questions per survey and more): $899/year
Outbrain is a simple way to increase engagement, generate new revenue and drive traffic to your mobile-optimized site. Outbrain automatically places your best content at the foot of your article to guide your readers towards more of what you have to offer.
- Improve site recirculation. Targeted content recommendations increase page views by 3-12% and move readers between your blogs, site sections, and other properties.
- Make money. Customers pay Outbrain to distribute great articles and content that they want read. When quality articles match your content, links to these articles may show and generate revenue for you.
- Editor friendly. With Outbrain, you decide which content sources will be recommended to your readers. You will also have a full control over the sponsored recommendations that drive you revenue.
- Extend to mobile platforms. Outbrain recommendations are a great addition to your mobile platforms.
Disqus is a comment platform that helps you build an active community from your website’s audience. It has awesome features, powerful tools, and it’s easy to install.
- Realtime comment system. Comments become more like live discussions with realtime posting and updating.
- Notification and reply system. The notification system lets people know when they’ve received a response. Best of all, they can continue the conversation straight from the email.
- Inline media embedding. Full integration with media services such as Youtube, Flickr, and more. Attach media such as photos and videos right within the comments.
- Mobile commenting. Fully compatible with mobile websites for commenting while on the go.
The Slide by SimpleReach recommends related posts from your site on a widget that “slides” in at the bottom of the page. You’ve seen a similar content recommendation widget on sites like NYTimes.com, and now SimpleReach is allowing anybody to take advantage of this awesome tool for free. The Slide uses ‘asynchronous loading’ and will not affect the load time of your pages.
Readability delivers a great reading experience that compensates publishers and writers without slowing down the web. Why would you want to use it as a publisher? 70% of all Readability membership fees are earmarked for writers and publishers. Every time a subscriber uses Readability on your site, a portion of that subscriber’s fees are allocated to you.
- Snappy auto-rendering of content on mobile & tablet devices.
- Innovative analytics that provide new insights into reading activity.
- A powerful API that is simple to integrate and build upon.
- Enhanced accessibility and instant printable + single-page views.
- A rich mobile experience — without installing an app.
Intervue is a quick and easy tool for publishers who are looking to gather short video responses online from anyone with a webcam.
ZOOSHIA is a simple yet clever tool that arms websites and blogs owners with fresh content from across the social web. ZOOSHIA is the first and only social plugin that enables you to mix content that interests you and your audience.
BigDoor use game mechanics to increase user engagement, loyalty and monetization.It’s goal is to help web publishers, marketers and developers grow and engage their communities. BigDoor offers a cost-effective, flexible and easy to use suite of tools to quickly build game mechanics into your online experiences and applications.
- BigDoor is free as a widget and for developers, yet you have to pay for the enterprise service.
Bunchball is yet another gamifaction platform which allows you to influence users behaviour and optimize the way they interact with the website.
Nitro Platform is designed to make it easy for you to offer meaningful experiences to your users. Highly flexible and scalable, Nitro can be customized to your needs, but offers intuitive, easy set-up.
This plug-in lets you collect subscribers on your blog with a single or double opt-in subscription process. Double opt-in is law compliant and it means the user has to confirm the subscription following simple standard instructions sent to him via email. Newsletter Pro can send emails directly from your blog, collect statistics, has a built in feed by mail service and an auto-responder for follow up you new subscribers.
2. Subscribe 2
Subscribe2 provides a comprehensive subscription management and email notification system for WordPress blogs that sends email notifications to a list of subscribers when you publish new content to your blog.
GD Star Rating plugin allows you to set up rating and review system for posts, pages and comments in your blog. You can set many options for displaying the rating stars, and add widgets into the sidebars for displaying top ratings and other statistics generated by the plugin. Plugin includes advanced settings panels that will allow you to control many aspects of rating.
The ShareThis plugin seamlessly enables users to share your content through Email,Facebook,Twitter, Google +1, Like, Send and many more. You can customize the ShareThis widget on your site and register with ShareThis to get access to enhanced share related analytics for your site.
5. Quick Chat
Quick Chat is WordPress chat plugin with support for translation, chat rooms, words filtering, emoticons, user list, gravatars and more.
The Gigya Social optimization plug-in aggregates authentication and social APIs from Facebook, Twitter, Google and other OAuth & OpenID providers, giving sites the ability to authenticate users via social network and OpenID providers and increase site traffic by enabling users to easily share content with their friends and followers.
Allows your visitors to comment on posts using their Facebook profile. Supports custom styles, notifications, combined comment counts, recent comments
Foursquare uses badges as a reward for challenges completed. Badges is a great way to engage users and keep competitive mood around them. Bagdes will be the stimulus for existing users to keep using service and an attractive detail for the newcomers.
Dropbox is another great example of efficient use of user engagement. They’re offering extra free space for completing challenges. One of the challenges include inviting friends so in that way the service is being popularized.
Tribesports is a social network for people interested in sports and an excellent example of website gamification. In the screenshot above you can see the user profile page. Tribesports have implemented the whole package – activity level, leaderboard and badges. One the main site’s features is challenges. You can take them., challenge your friends, create your own ones and see the progress of others.
Mint has this fitness feature which allows you to do drills, take challenges and view your progress.
Dribbble is also a nice example of user engagemenet. As you get the status and gain more exposure you’re also promoting your business. Plus the exclusivity of the site also plays a role in user engagement.