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I work for a costume company that has a company blog intended to inspire costuming and general ideas. We focus on Halloween sales, but we also have Renaissance and Oktoberfest themed costumes that are popular year round. Currently, our blog has no regular commenters, and I'm hoping to change this by taking advice on the style and content of the blog. How can I improve the blog to encourage reader participation? You can view the blog here at Mr. Costumes blog.

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Welcome to the site. As this question stands, it is quite broad and not terribly focus on a clear, concise list of questions for improvement as required by our critique policy. Please click the edit link under the question and polish it according to our guidelines. –  justkt Aug 10 '11 at 18:14
    
Does your blog have regular readers? How many? –  John Smithers Aug 10 '11 at 20:36
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I think this question needs to be rewritten to focus only on the writing in the blog. But I think that addressing the writing is only a small part of the solution you need. –  Lynn Beighley Aug 11 '11 at 14:30
    
Additionally, there is a Pro Webmasters SE webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions where you might get some answers as well if you ask the question there. –  Lauren Ipsum Aug 11 '11 at 20:18

2 Answers 2

First, I doubt that I would ever seek out a blog related to a "Costume Company." I suspect there might be a few others like me.

That being said, what is THEIR take-away? If you are not GIVING them something that makes them REALLY want to read it then I doubt if they'll be waiting for your next post.

And if you are giving away something like a discount on a regular basis THAT is the only reason they'll return- not for the "warm and fuzzy" content.

Blogs are often about information and entertainment. BTW, I've had kids and have friends with grand-kids- pictures of kids in costumes are fun for the parents but not strangers (same can be said for the adults too.)

What are you trying to do with your blog? New customers? If so how are they going to find you? Keep old customers? Sorry, I'd be more interested in good clean costumes than reading about others in the same costumes who proceeded me.

Yeah I'm an old curmudgeon but I suspect what you really want to do is sales and marketing and I don't think that can be accomplished by users "participation" in a blog. Also be wary of legal issues when you start posting photos and personal info of customers.

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While this isn't Graphic Design SE, my first impulse is to say "Change the COLOR SCHEME!" White text on black is seriously painful to read. Make it black text, larger, on a white or light-colored background.

If you want interactivity, you need to ask questions of your readers and make it worthwhile for them to respond.

How about running a weekly or monthly costume contest? Encourage readers to submit photos of themselves in costume, and give away, I dunno, gift certificates, a basket of cookies, movie tickets. Offer a bonus if they got the costume at your shop.

If people are buying costumes, they're going somewhere and doing something in them (well, most people). Invite folks to advertise their event for free on your blog.

Invite your readers to submit Top 5 or Top 10 lists and argue about them. Top 5 Victorian Movie Dresses. Top 10 Authentic Cowboy Movies. Top 5 Costuming Mistakes in Star Wars. Top 10 Reasons All the Aliens on Star Trek Have Two Arms and Two Legs (Except the Horta).

Run polls; same idea.

In short, if you want a dialogue, open one.

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What about the writing of the blog, since this is Writers? –  justkt Aug 10 '11 at 18:15
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"If you want a dialogue, open one." The current blog is a series of essays. I am suggesting that Lindsey start writing the posts as open-ended questions which invite answers, not as statements. –  Lauren Ipsum Aug 10 '11 at 18:23
    
>White text on black is seriously painful to read. - Only to you. Indeed there are people out there for whom this is the only way to read the text. If you have ever wondered why you can invert the Window's scheme ... –  John Smithers Aug 10 '11 at 20:29
    
I'm on a Mac. Windows what? –  Lauren Ipsum Aug 11 '11 at 0:09
    
Actually, white text on black is a proven usability issue. People read black text on white backgrounds up to 32% faster than white on black. –  Craig Sefton Aug 11 '11 at 8:57

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